2 lbs venison tenderloins (a single deer loin or Moose or Elk or Pork or Beef)
1/2 lb bacon (Plain, thin-sliced Bacon is best)
3 cups dark brown sugar
2 cups soy sauce (Regular NOT low-sodium. You'll want the saltiness)
1/4 cup white sugar (Optional for added Sweetness)
1 Mix brown Sugar and Soy sauce together in a bowl. They should combine nicely into a soupy soy liquid.
Potential Panic Attack Trigger No. 1: Curly had basketball practice that night (a Sunday) and I had it all planned out that I would start preparing this meal at a certain time and be ready to eat at 5 so he could be at practice by 6. When we put the kids in the car to go to Mass that morning, we discovered a nail in one of the tires and that I'd have to take it to the tire place to be replaced. I figured, OK, I'll start cooking by whatever- o'clock and Curly should still be able to make it on time. The tire replacement took twice as long as we expected, of course, so by the time I got home I was really on a time crunch.
Potential Panic Attack Trigger No. 2: I realized after getting started that I didn't have any toothpicks. This didn't seem to be a problem, though; the bacon stayed wrapped around the loin pretty well without them.
Potential Panic Attack Trigger No. 3: Worrying that I would overcook the meat and it would be a complete disaster, or that by trying NOT to overcook it I wouldn't cook it long enough and therefore give everybody some fatal sickness like deer trichinosis or some such horrid disease.Fresh from the oven. I chose Option 1 from the recipe above.
The Good News: Joe said I cooked it perfectly. He and Larry loved it. He said if it had been freshly killed instead of farm-raised and frozen it would have been even better, but that it was neither undercooked nor overcooked and it was delicious.
The Bad News: Curly, Moe, and I, who had never eaten venison, realized something about ourselves: We can't stand the stuff. I mean, I could barely swallow my first bite and didn't try to eat any more of it.
This has nothing to do with the recipe, or how I cooked it, or anything; in fact, Joe can vouch that if you like venison, he would DEFINITELY recommend this recipe. I don't think I would have liked it no matter how I tried to cook it. So no, it was NOT an epic fail, quite the contrary; it turned out quite well. If you like venison. And really, I think the recipe I chose WAS just the thing: I had fun preparing it and it got a thumbs-up from my husband. I couldn't ask for more than that.
I recently took a trip to my aunt's house in North Carolina to attend my cousin Greg's funeral. Aunt A. had been in the process of purging her house of dozens upon dozens of cookbooks she had accumulated over the years. Her dining room table was covered with them, and she insisted to everyone who came through the door that we look through them and take whatever we wanted. (By the way, do you know what else Aunt A. has in her house? A framed picture of herself, her daughter and her granddaughter, and they're grinning from ear to ear because the fourth person in the photo is Nicholas Sparks! They had gone together to one of his book signings in Charlotte a couple of years ago. I'm positively green with envy.)
One of the books I chose was this one:
Potential Panic Attack Trigger No. 4: As I was sitting in the tire repair shop I realized that in order to make the potato salad, I would have needed to cook the potatoes enough ahead of time so as to allow them to cool first, and there was no way I would be able to do that now. I ended up choosing a different recipe from the same book, one that could be served warm. Once again, a disaster was averted.
SAVORY HOT POTATO SALAD 3 lb medium potatoes 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 2/3 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup sliced radishes 1/2 teaspoon celery seed 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 9 bacon slices, finely cut up 1 tablespoon flour 1/2 cup white vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar
Cook unpeeled potatoes, covered, in boiling water just until tender--about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes; cool; peel, cut into cubes. (To save time, I did not peel the potatoes) Toss lightly with salt, pepper, onion, radishes, celery seed, and parsley. Saute bacon in skillet, over low heat, until crisp; remove from heat. With slotted spon, remove bacon; add to potatoes. Drain from skillet all except 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Stir in sugar; bring to boiling point, stirring. In serving bowl, toss lightly with potato mixture until combined. Serve warm. (from the1963 McCall's Cook Book, p. 496)
This version was good, but to be honest, I personally prefer my potato salad cold with mayo and all the traditional potato salad trimmings. (Click here and check out the much yummier one I made for our fall picnic.)
The baked beans were my favorite part of the meal, and they were the easiest to prepare:
BARBECUE BAKED BEANS (from the 1963 McCall's Cook Book, p. 572) 2 meduim onions, coarsely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 2 tablespoons salad oil (I used extra-virgin olive oil) 4 cans (1-lb size) baked beans, undrained 1/4 cup light molasses 1/2 cup catsup 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese 1/2 cup packaged dry bread crumbs (I made my own with stale bread in my food processor) 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In 2-quart top-stove casserole (I don't even know what that is. I used my favorite pot, the one that I often substitute for a Dutch Oven, since I don't have one of those either) saute onion and garlic in hot salad oil until golden and tender--about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in beans, molasses, and catsup. In small bowl, toss together cheese, bread crumbs, and butter. Spoon over bean mixture. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and top is browned.My Favorite Pot
Curly ended up grabbing a snack before practice, and ate his dinner afterward, so this was the first Cooking Nick's Books meal that we didn't sit down to eat together. We would have, were it not for that danged nail...
It sure did look delicious, even if not everyone found it so. The beans were the yummiest! There is one more meal from The Rescue that I want to make for this blog, but I'm saving it for the late spring or early summer. That one will involve digging our electric ice cream maker out of the attic and making sure it works. In the meantime it's on to Nights in Rodanthe, and a roast chicken dinner that Martha Stewart would be proud of. See you soon!