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  • December 29, 2010

    Recipe: Smoked Salmon Dip

    By David Draper

    Win friends and influence people on New Year’s Eve with this smoked salmon dip. It’s easy to make, which is good, as you'll want to whip up a big batch because it doesn’t last long. Be sure to save some to spread on a bagel when you finally roll out of bed on New Year’s Day.

    I’m assuming you have some smoked salmon lying around, or, if not, have befriended a salmon fisherman who does. If not and you want to learn how to smoke a salmon, there’s a good tutorial over at Salmon University. As a last resort, you can also pick up a package of smoked salmon at most good grocery stores, but do me a favor, make a New Year’s Resolution to catch a salmon before this time next year.

  • December 27, 2010

    Food For Flying

    By David Draper

    On Tuesday, I will join the masses of post-holiday travelers subjected to the whims of the TSA, the airline industry and the remnants of a blizzard. I’m still surprised people, including myself, pay for this privilege, but until we get personal jetpacks or bullet trains, it remains the quickest way between points A and B most of the time.

    In this column from The Atlantic, Corky White takes up the familiar complaint regarding the food, or lack thereof, airlines subject their passengers to:

    “... on this very plane on which I sit on my way to Tokyo, there is a slab of this horrendous stuff on my black plastic tray, trying to hide under an equally doubtful pile of stuffing mix. It is punky pinky white inside, bouncy, uniform, and—the telltale sign that we're all going to the demnition bow-wows—it's moist. No actual chicken breast served in economy class is moist inside: the shreds are dry and overcooked. The shriveled hard green peas next to it were by contrast consolingly "natural." I held the chicken up on my plastic fork to investigate it as a steward came by. "Is there anything wrong?"

  • December 22, 2010

    Gift Ideas From the Cupboard

    By David Draper

    So, Christmas is just a few days away and you still haven’t gotten everyone crossed off your gift list? I know I still have a few people left as well and am dreading the last-minute trip to the store where I, and the rest of us procrastinators, will be facing bare shelves and surly shopkeepers. Instead, I propose raiding the pantry for the perfect present with a hand-made touch. Any of these make great gifts by themselves or package a few in a basket for festive food gift that will rival any of those overpriced jobbies from the mall.

  • December 20, 2010

    The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

    By David Draper

    Despite the lack of sunlight that makes me moody (or so people tell me), December is probably my favorite month. Waterfowl seasons are typically reaching their peak, the hordes of opening-day pheasant hunters are gone, and I have the whole month to hunt deer with a muzzleloader. Throw in Christmas and New Year’s Eve, along with my birthday, and I have plenty of reasons to celebrate this time of year.

    And celebrate I did this past weekend. Saturday I went goose hunting with a couple of friends. That afternoon, a long nap was in order followed by a birthday dinner with T_Rebel. On Sunday, I slept in and after, plucking the geese along with two pheasants I had hanging from earlier in the week, I went deer hunting.

  • December 17, 2010

    Food Photo Friday: Quail, Venison, Moose, Pizza, and Prize Winners

    By Colin Kearns

    It’s not often you kick up a quail out here on the High Plains, so I took advantage of the rare opportunity (admittedly on the second shot) while pheasant hunting earlier this week. That night, in honor of Bob, I pan-fried the singular achievement with a lemon-soy marinade, served with rice noodles and steamed broccoli.

    But enough about my food. We have several great reader photos this week, two of which will earn the cooks a copy of Mark Leslie’s new cookbook, Beyond the Pasta, which we featured earlier in the week.

  • December 16, 2010

    Gift Guide: A Wild Chef’s Christmas

    By David Draper

    I’m not sure how it happened, but somewhere along the way I became the guy shopping for gifts the week before Christmas. So it stands to reason, I’m also the guy who gets his wish list to Santa late. Which maybe explains the lump of coal I find in my stocking every year. I mean, it couldn’t be because I’m naughty or anything. Right?

    So, with just over a week left to get your shopping done, here’s a list of gift ideas for the Wild Chef in your life. Some I have and highly recommend, and others I would love to find under my tree on December 25:

  • December 15, 2010

    It’s a Nice Day for a Wild Wedding

    By David Draper

    First, apologies in advance for linking to a celebrity/gossip magazine like US Weekly. It hurts me to do so, but the news story is worth it. Despite what you think about the current state of country music, it’s pretty cool to see a couple of Nashville stars honoring their roots by serving up venison to celebrate their nuptials: Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton have spent this fall filling the larder with whitetails in anticipation of true Texas wedding early next year.

    Filet Mignon? That's so not happening at Miranda Lambert, 27, and Blake Shelton's Texas nuptials next spring.

    “We're having deer meat served at our wedding -- we've already got a pile of 'em ready,” Shelton, 34, told at Monday's American Country Awards. “It was actually her idea, so when your girlfriend thinks like that, it makes it easy for me just to show up and have a good time.”

  • December 14, 2010

    Recipe: Make Tuscan Trout Filets (Plus, Win a New Cookbook)

    By Colin Kearns

    I don’t know about you, but I love Italian food. So when chef Mark Leslie offered to share a few of his wilder and fishier recipes from his new cookbook, Beyond the Pasta, with The Wild Chef, I jumped at the chance. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing recipes from his book. Today’s recipe calls for trout, and it looks delicious enough to make me wish I could call it a day and go fishing.

    Along with the recipes, Leslie also donated two copies of his book to give away. Here’s how you can win: Every Friday on The Wild Chef we publish an edition of “Food Photo Friday.” We always welcome shots from readers, and this week we’ll send a copy of Beyond the Pasta to the two readers who send the most delicious-looking photos. (E-mail your shots to We’ll announce the winners on Friday afternoon. Good luck!

  • December 13, 2010

    Wild Chef Academy: Essential Frying Pans & How to Use Them

    By David Draper

    Frying up a big country breakfast or making a grilled cheese sandwich is probably one of the first things we learned in the kitchen after stepping up from pouring milk over a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Whether searing a steak, browning a burger, or sautéing onions, using a fry or sauté pan is Cooking 101.

    There are several options when it comes to frying pans, each with its own distinctive qualities. My first fry pan was part of three-piece set of cast-iron cookware bought at Target my sophomore year of college. Twenty years later, I’m still using it. I also have a non-stick pan I use mostly for scrambled eggs and omelettes or sautéing vegetables. The third choice is non-coated pan made of copper, anodized aluminum, or stainless steel.

  • December 10, 2010

    Food Photo Friday: Steak Night

    By David Draper

    Friday night is steak night at my house, celebrated recently with pan-fried elk steaks covered in sage and mushroom gravy with mashed potatoes and the last of the garden-fresh carrots on the side.

    When is steak night at your house, or do save those precious venison steaks for special occasions only? Send pictures of your favorite steak to and we’ll feature the best ones here.

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