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As May moves into June, it’s time to think about different ways to use that most perfect fruit of summer -- strawberries.

If you really need a reason to eat strawberries, it is good to know that about eight strawberries will contain more than 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C.

FONTANA -- Chalk up Jennifer Dexter’s social media career to some happy holiday memories with cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles.

Her earliest forays into baking as a little girl were making cut-out Christmas cookies with her mother. Gradually she added more treats to her repertoire, much to the appreciation of her family.

Thursday, 30 March 2017 13:03

Lighten it up with spring salads

What do you think of when I say spring? Do you think of bright splashes of color, fresh green grass, spritzes of cool and crunchy?

After a long winter, we just naturally crave color. In the past, in prerefrigeration days, the urge for color was a symptom of our urge for fresh dosages of vitamins and minerals — all of which are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables.

(More Spring Home & Outdoors stories are HERE.)

After living on root vegetables and salted meats all winter, our ancestors were ready for the fresh pickings of spring. Foraging for wild greens such as dandelions and watercress, fruits such as strawberries and vegetables such as mushrooms and wild parsnips were important sources of these much-needed vitamins.

Salmon, shrimp and scallops all provide omega-3 fatty acid (good for the heart), vitamins A, B2 and B6 plus niacin and riboflavin. Use seafood as the base for these healthy recipes. Because we’re still in the Lenten season, I expect you’ll find some nice fresh seafood in the store right now.

My dad loved strawberries. Growing up, we had a huge patch —more than an acre — and us kids would pick the berries and sell them on the side of the road. At the end of the season, we each got $5 to spend at the fair.

If you find yourself reminiscing about that sweet aroma of strawberries basking in a sun-drenched field, you need to go strawberry picking. And take Dad along.

Thompson strawberry bread

— Recipe courtesy of Thompson Strawberry Farm

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup salad oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup quick oats

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 cups crushed strawberries

Beat eggs and sugar, add oil and vanilla. Mix in flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add strawberries and mix well.

Pour into two greased and floured 4-by-8-inch bread loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 350 F.

Strawberry bombe

— A fun dessert to make for Dad.

2 or 3 quart mold or bowl (use a simple shape Jell-O mold)

2 cups vanilla (or chocolate) wafer crumbs

1/2 cup crushed almonds

4 Tbsps. melted butter

1 qt. strawberry ice cream

1 qt. chocolate ice cream

1 qt. fresh strawberries, sliced

    

Let the ice cream thaw slightly. Meantime, combine the cookie crumbs, almonds and butter. Press into your mold and freeze. Spread alternating layers of the two flavored ice creams and the fresh sliced strawberries over the crumb crust and freeze.

To unmold, dip the bottom of the mold in a pan of hot water and invert. Freeze until ready to serve. This is great served with a hot fudge sauce. Decorate with additional fresh strawberries.

Pick your own strawberries:

Apple Barn Orchard and Winery, W6384 Sugar Creek Road, Elkhorn. 262-728-3266,   AppleBarnOrchardAndWinery.com

Blue Clay Berry Farm, 5154 Wisconsin Highway 50, Delavan. Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for pick your own. 262-745-3720, BlueClayBerry [email protected] gmail.com

Skelly’s Farm Market, 2713 Hayner Road, Janesville. Pick your own from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 608-757-1200, SkellysFarmMarket.com

Thompson Strawberry Farm, 14000 75th St. (just west of Interstate 94 on Wisconsin Highway 50) in Bristol. 262-857-2353

Walvoord Farm Berries, 21618 Plank Road, Kansasville. 262-878-0488, Facebook.com/Walvoord-Strawberry-Farm

Strawberry Festival

Sun Valley Strawberry Festival, June 25, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sun Valley Presbyterian Church, 1650 Sun Valley Drive, Beloit. Breakfast, lunch, entertainment, carnival games for kids, raffle baskets and a craft fair. A strawberry cookbook is also available for sale. 608-365-7547, SunValleyStrawberryFest.com

Every few days or so, I get an email or a phone call from someone who needs help with cooking.

Often, all that’s required is a bit of information. In other cases, I’ll confirm that they’re on the right track.

I enjoy these calls and letters because it helps keep me in touch with what real cooks in the kitchen are doing.

Here is a recap of some of the more interesting questions I’ve been asked lately.

Locally sourced

The biggest thing people seem to be asking about is the difference between organic, sustainably raised and locally sourced.

Among the things affecting the price of food is the price of fuel, especially for transporting the food from the farm where it is grown to our table. The higher the cost of gas, the more transportation costs go up, and that adds to the price of food. A study by Worldwatch Institute found that food travels, on average, more than 1,500 miles before we put it on our tables.

Locally sourced food is one of the key food service trends according to the National Restaurant Association. Of chefs surveyed, 44 percent said this was the food trend that grew the most in the last decade.

There is no legal definition of locally sourced, so you need to ask how far it travels. For example, farmers markets are a good place to find locally grown food, but ask. Is 300 miles or 10 miles local to you? The local food movement is one in which the goal is to develop the local economy and to create a more self-reliant and resilient food network.

Sustainable vs. organic

Organic farms require certification approved by the USDA. However, organic food can be grown on a large scale and may be shipped miles away.

Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Farms using sustainable practices do not require certification — it’s more a philosophy or way of life. Less (or smaller)almost always is more sustainable. Sustainable agriculture strives to cause no damage to the environment or threaten human health with any of their farming practices, therefore growers try to keep their selling local.

Cooking with fats

Question:I use virgin olive oil for cooking because I have been told that it is stable and does not transform into saturated fat when subjected to high temperatures. Is this true?

Answer: Yes, this is true. All olive oil, not just extra virgin, is more stable than many other oils. When polyunsaturated oils are heated to high temperatures, changes (such as oxidation) can occur, making the fat more harmful.

Butter, however, adds a unique flavor and texture to foods that you may not want to give up. Try replacing half of the butter with olive oil and you effectively will raise the burning temperature as well. This works well for sauteing vegetables.

Saturated fats are most responsible for high cholesterol and are found mostly in foods that come from animals, such as beef or poultry fat, butter, cream and cheeses made from whole and 2 percent milk. Some plant fats also are high in saturated fat. These include coconut, palm and cocoa butter.

Polyunsaturated fats are better and are found in fish, nuts, seeds and such oils as soybean, corn, safflower, canola, olive and sunflower.

Cooking with wine

Question:I’ve found a lot of recipes that call for wine. I don’t want to use alcohol; is there a substitution?

Answer: Yes, there are substitutions you can use, depending on what the alcohol is intended to do in the recipe. For example, in meat dishes, the wine usually is adding flavor and an acid — the acid helps break down the meat tissues and could be replaced with vinegar or lemon juice.

When cooking with alcohol, you need to cook the sauce for at least 20 to 30 seconds to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Because alcohol evaporates at 172 F, any sauce or stew that is simmering or boiling is hot enough to burn the alcohol off.

I’ve noticed that some cooks have decided they don’t want to cook with wine because it tastes funny. The first rule of thumb here is never use any wine you wouldn’t want to drink, and do not use “cooking wine or cooking sherry,” because these typically are salty and have other additives.

What type of cream?

Question: What do they mean when they call for heavy cream?

Answer: Typically, heavy cream refers to whipping cream, although there is a difference in that heavy cream will have a higher butterfat content, which allows it to be whipped up nicely.

Whipping cream is just fine for toppings on pie and dessert. If the cream has to be whipped, you definitely need to use one or the other. Heavy cream is often used in sauces, such as alfredo.

You can reduce the calories by using half-and-half instead. This also is referred to as “light” cream. You will need to add gelatin to give it some body.

Whipping cream comes in pint-size containers in a liquid form and says “whipping cream.”

What is creme fraiche?

More and more, I see recipes that call for creme fraiche (pronounced krem fresh).

This is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety, rich texture. The thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room temperature margarine.

In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In our country, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream.

It is used as a dessert topping and for thickening cooked sauces and soups; it has the added advantage of not curdling when boiled.

Make your own creme fraiche by whipping together one cup whipping cream and two tablespoons buttermilk. Set aside at room temperature for 24 hours or until very thick. Stir once or twice during that time. Cream will thicken faster if the room is on the warm side.

Stir thickened creme fraiche well. Refrigerate at least six hours before serving. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Lynn Greene is senior editor for CSIMedia, which publishes this paper. To share this column or read past Lynn’s Place columns, go to CommunityShoppers.com/blogs/lynns-place-blog. Contact her at 262-728-3424 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

EAGLE -- It’s the people around the table who are the most important during the holidays, and the tie that binds them together often is reflected in the food served.

A blend of old and new traditions add continuity to family gatherings. The old traditions remind us of the past and those who have passed, while the new traditions propel us forward as we welcome friends and new members to the family.

Well, the cookie baking has begun and there are so many good recipes coming my way I have to share these, sent in by friends and readers of this column. I’m going to try them all, especially the highly recommended eggnog cookies.

Eggnog

— This recipe starts with a cooked custard, eliminating any danger from raw eggs.

Makes 6 cups

6 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups whole milk

2 cups whipping cream or 2 cups half-and-half

1-1⁄2 tsps. vanilla extract

1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Use a saucepan or stockpot large enough to hold 2 quarts.

In saucepan, beat together the eggs and sugar until smooth.

Stir in 2 cups milk.

Cook over medium low heat, whisking or stirring frequently.

Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon and reaches 160 F on a food thermometer.

Remove from heat.

Slowly add the 2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half while whisking together until smooth.

Add vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and combine until incorporated.

Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled —several hours or overnight.

Serve garnished with your choice of toppings: whipped cream, chocolate curls, maraschino cherries, cinnamon sticks or peppermint sticks.

Brandy, rum, whiskey or flavored liqueur may be added before serving if desired.

Eggnog cookies

— Doris Johnson, a dairy farmer, says she makes her own eggnog using eggs from her chickens. “Sometimes I’ll use duck eggs if they’re still laying,” she explains. “But the real reason I make the eggnog is to make these cookies.”

Cookies:

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup eggnog

1 tsp. vanilla

2-1/4 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

4 to 5 Tbsps. eggnog

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease cookie sheet and set aside.

To make cookies: In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars until fluffy. Add egg yolks, eggnog and vanilla, continue beating until creamy. Add flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Mix until well combined.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned on bottom. Let cool on wire racks.

To make frosting: Cream butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add eggnog, nutmeg and cinnamon. Beat for three minutes until smooth. Frost cooled cookies and sprinkle nutmeg over the frosting if desired.

Chocolate rum balls

3-1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafers

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

3 Tbsps. corn syrup

1/2 cup rum

In a large bowl, stir together the crushed vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa and nuts. Blend in corn syrup and rum.

Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in additional powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container for several days to develop the flavor. Roll again in powdered sugar before serving.

Lebkuchen

— Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen is a traditional German Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread. There are many variations of this cookie. Some are iced with a powdered sugar glaze and some have chocolate; most are decorated with almonds. Often, these are made using cookie molds and these can be quite large.

Debbie writes, “I brought this recipe over from Germany almost 20 years ago. It has molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, honey and brown sugar in it. This is one of my favorite memories of Germany at Christmastime.”

Makes 6 dozen cookies

Cookies

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup molasses

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/3 cup diced candied citron

1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts

Icing:

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, stir together the honey and molasses. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Add the molasses mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the citron and hazelnuts. Cover dough and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease cookie sheets. Using a small amount of dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into small rectangles and place them 1 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until no imprint remains when touched lightly. Brush the icing over the cookies while they are still hot and quickly remove them to wire cooling racks. Store in airtight container with an orange or apple for a few days to mellow.

To make the icing: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat to 235 F or the soft ball stage. Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar. If icing becomes sugary while brushing cookies, reheat slightly, adding a little water.

I would wager that most everyone now knows someone that keeps vegetarian in their diet. Of course, that means they will not be indulging in the entire traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey. But there’s no reason to panic; make some minor adjustments to the menu and add one or two more side dishes and you’ll be fine.

One dish everyone looks forward to is the dressing or stuffing. Here’s where you need to make your first adjustment. Make the dressing without meat and use a vegetable stock instead of turkey stock to moisten the bread cubes. Then bake some of the dressing in a separate casserole dish before you stuff the turkey with the rest.

If you like to add the giblets or sausage to the stuffing, you can still do that after you’ve set aside the separate casserole of vegetarian dressing. A word of explanation is probably needed here -- dressing is cooked outside of the bird; stuffing is the same concoction stuffed inside the bird.

Vegetarians need to be sure to get enough protein in their diet without benefit of meat, so you can help them out by including vegetarian dishes high in protein. These dishes could include quinoa, nuts, cheese (good for vegetarians, but not for vegans -- who don’t eat any animal products), lentils, beans, chickpeas, soy and soy products and seitan (extruded wheat protein).

Vegetables generally aren’t high in protein, but spinach, peas, broccoli and Brussels sprouts have more than most.

Lentil quinoa salad

-- This recipe combines two high-protein foods, quinoa and lentil.

1/2 cup quinoa

1-1/4 cups water, plus 2 cups

1/2 cup lentils

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 lime, zested

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 green onions, chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse in cold water. In a large microwave-proof bowl with a cover, add the rinsed quinoa and 1-1/4 cups water. Cover and microwave on high for nine minutes. Let it sit for two minutes, then stir. Quinoa should be tender enough to eat, but with a little pop upon biting.

Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse in cold water. In a saucepan, simmer the lentils in two cups water until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool.

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard and vinegar together and drizzle in the oil to make an emulsion. Add the garlic powder, lime zest and salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the salad: In a medium salad bowl, mix the quinoa, lentils, green onions and chopped cilantro. Top the salad with the dressing, toss to coat and serve.

Roasted Brussels sprouts

--From “The Barefoot Contessa” television show.

1-1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts

3 Tbsps. olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve.

Baked vegetable side dish

1 lb. baby red potatoes, halved

2 Tbsps. olive oil

1/2 lb. Portobello mushrooms

6 cloves unpeeled garlic

2 Tbsps. chopped fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/4 lb. cherry tomatoes

2 Tbsps. toasted pine nuts

1 lb. spinach, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 F. Place new potatoes in a shallow roasting pan; drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes, turning once.

Add portobello mushrooms, placing stem sides up, and garlic cloves to pan. Sprinkle with chopped thyme. Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Return to oven; cook five minutes.

Remove pan from oven and add cherry tomatoes. Return to oven; cook until mushrooms are softened, about five more minutes.

Scatter pine nuts over potatoes and mushrooms.

Wash spinach and slice thinly. Toss with the potato mixture and serve. The spinach will become wilted from the heat of the other vegetables, cooking it just enough while retaining some crispness and all its color.

Cheddar cheese potato bake

4 large russet potatoes (peeled or unpeeled)

1⁄4 cup butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic (optional)

1-1⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 Tbsps. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Butter a shallow baking dish.

Thinly slice the potatoes and place in the baking dish.

In a small saucepan, heat butter, onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme until the butter is melted.

Drizzle over potatoes.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

Return to oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.

Endive appetizers

1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsps. lemon juice, fresh

1/4 cup basil leaves, fresh, torn

30 Belgian endive leaves

1/4 cup California walnuts, toasted, chopped

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

Puree beans, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Add basil and pulse on and off until basil is finely chopped. Spoon equal amounts into endive leaves and top with walnuts and bell pepper.

Lynn Greene is senior editor for CSIMedia, which publishes this paper. To share this column or read past Lynn’s Place columns, go to CommunityShoppers.com/blogs/lynns-place-blog. Contact her at 262-728-3424 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Are you hosting the family’s Thanksgiving dinner this year? If so, plan ahead — it’s less than two weeks away — so that you can enjoy your company instead of spending all your time in the kitchen.

It’s such a traditional event that most people already know what their menu is: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a vegetable or two, rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert.

It’s that time of year ... deer hunting season has begun, at least for those who use a bow. Gun season starts Nov. 21. It’s time to wear blaze orange if you’re out in the woods, whether you are a hunter or not.

Processing venison

Cooking and preparing venison depends on two things: the hunter and the cook. And the more important of the two is the hunter -- he or she is the one primarily responsible for the way the deer is processed.

The most important part of harvesting a deer is the field dressing. I still think they should be “bled,” but this is losing popularity. The whole idea of field dressing is to cool the meat as quickly as possible. This is done by gutting it and removing the innards to create an air cavity, which should be propped open with a stick to let the air circulate.

Get the deer home or to the processor as quickly as possible. This does not include throwing it across the hood of a truck and parading through town with it while you honk your horn. The hood is hot and does not promote quick cooling.  

Depending on the weather, deer can be hung outside to age for several days to a week. Temperatures have to be consistently cold (34 to 40 F) and it should be hung out of the sun -- somewhat tricky with no leaves on the trees. A properly aged venison roast is much superior to one that was frozen outright.

However, when you have too warm of temperatures and don’t take it to a processor, there is no other choice but to immediately butcher and freeze the meet. At this stage it is important to know what you are doing or have someone show you the way to butcher the animal to achieve the best cuts.

The best cuts

It used to be that meat -- game and venison in particular -- were “larded,” meaning they were laced with lard (fat). A larding needle was the instrument with which to do this. Nowadays, of course, no one will admit much to adding fat to an already lean piece of meat such as venison. But it is done. You couldn’t make venison sausage without adding fat of some kind. Actually, most processors tend to use pork and mix the two together -- best to ask before you take it in.

“Barding” is of the same intent: It involves wrapping the meat with strips of bacon or salt pork or rolling the bacon inside of a roast, then slow cooking the whole thing, an easier method for sure.

Shoulder roasts are not so often boned out, rolled and tied, but I think it’s the best way to handle them -- if you have an option. If you are doing your own processing you can roll up some of that bacon or salt pork at the same time.

Tenderloin roasts are very small on deer but very good, and I would suggest you always trim them out and cook that up first -- sort of a victory dinner.

The saddle is the part between the last set of ribs and the rump. If you have the means to control the temperature, and the time it takes, cooking the saddle on an outdoor grill is outstanding.

Rump roasts -- depending on the butcher, you’ll get one or more -- make excellent pot roast.

  

Cooking it

The two points to remember when cooking venison: Cook it slow and cook it wet, meaning with moisture or other ingredients that will lend moisture. This does not mean you give up searing a venison steak or charcoal grilling a cut. But be forewarned -- for the best taste with those methods you will need to add some fat or, as in barding, fat in the form of bacon.

When cooking venison, or other game animals for that matter, I like to complement its woodsy beginnings with other wild flavorings and ingredients, such as wild rice, nuts, woodland berries and wild greens. This list includes black walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns (if you have the patience), cranberries, blueberries, crabapples, chokecherry, wild grapes, wild plums, dandelion greens, morel mushrooms and fiddleheads.

While some of these you will not get until spring or summer that is for the better. They will add taste and character to your stash of frozen venison.

Pot roast of venison

-- If your rump roast is much bigger than 2 pounds, you will want to add more cooking time.

1 rump roast of venison

Salt and pepper

3 Tbsps. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot, grated

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup wild rice

2 cups chicken or beef stock

1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

1/2 cup black walnuts, or hickory nuts (optional)

2 bay leaves

In roaster pan, heat three tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots and mushrooms until onions are tender. Add the wild rice and stock and bring to a boil. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.

Salt and pepper the roast and set in roaster on top of the other ingredients. Put in the two bay leaves. Cover the roast and cook at 325 degrees for two hours. If the rice has not absorbed all of the liquid, remove lid for last 15 minutes and cook until liquid is gone.

Remove from oven. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before slicing thin. Serve with the wild rice.

Venison stew

2 lbs. cubed venison

1/4 lb. bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces

2 leeks

1 clove garlic, minced

8 oz. whole mushrooms

2 or 3 large carrots, diced

2 or 3 parsnips, diced

1 lb. potatoes, diced

3 cups meat broth (chicken, beef, pork, venison)

2 tsps. parsley, dried, crushed

1 tsp. thyme, dried, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

2 or 3 bay leaves

2 Tbsps instant tapioca

12 oz. fresh greens, cleaned

In saute pan, heat bacon until sizzling. Add cubed venison and keep cooking to brown. Clean and dice leeks and add to pan along with the garlic. Saute until leeks are tender.

Pour this into a slow cooker along with the mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, meat stock, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cover with lid and cook on medium for four to six hours (check your slow cooker directions for specific cooking times). Or place in a roaster or Dutch oven at 325 F in the oven for four hours.

For the last hour of cooking, add the tapioca and the greens.

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