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  • Bear Ham Split Pea Soup – A tasty twist on a family favourite

    Posted by Mandy Starnes | Jun 3, 2020 | Recipes Pea soup has been around for centuries and this latest recipe from Mandy Starnes adds bear ham to the mix for a tasty twist! “This is a good savoury recipe for a cold day.” —Mandy Starnes 1 & 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning 1 tsp ground black pepper 1 tsp fennel seeds 2 & 1/4 cups rinsed split peas 6 cups water 2 & 1/2 cups broth or stock 1 meaty bear ham bone 1 med yellow onion 2 tbsp olive oil 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce 2 bay leaves 2 carrots 2 stalks celery 1 tsp beef oxo Simmer the bone in the liquids (water and broth), with the split peas, and onion for 1 &1/2 hours. Take the bone out, take the meat off the bone, and add the meat back to the pot. Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 30 minutes. The peas should be nice and soft and fall apart.

  • DIY Fruit Leathers

    Posted by Heather Kelly | Jun 5, 2020 | Recipes With the snow melting away in the high-country, we’re all gearing up for spring adventures. But this also means we need healthy, trail-worthy snacks. In the process of perfecting my dehydrated fruit leather recipe, I came up with a new twist that’s been a huge hit here at home. If you’re new to using your dehydrator, or have some frozen fruit taking up space in your freezer, this is a great starter recipe. DIY Tropical Paradise Fruit Leather Recipe 3 frozen bananas 1 pound frozen pineapple chunks 1 pound frozen mango 3 cups orange juice Put all of the ingredients together in a high powered blender. Blend until smooth like a thick applesauce. Spray a fruit leather sheet lightly with coconut oil, then pour the fruit smoothie onto the sheets. Dry at 135 degrees for 6 to 8 hours, until it easily peels from the tray. While it is still semi-warm, lay the dried leather on parchment paper, then roll it up and tie with butcher twine. Fruit leathers will keep for weeks in a cool dark place, or can last for months in the freezer. Enjoy! For more trail-worthy recipes and articles on nutrition check out

  • Deer Meat Dry Rub (Try it on a roast!)

    Posted by Shawn Hanson | Jun 17, 2020 | Recipes Growing up in central BC, I was lucky to have the outdoors surrounding me and the opportunity to learn how to harvest food for myself and my family. From an early age I was taught the importance of conservation, ethical and sustainable hunting and fishing, and the importance of teaching others of the many benefits of enjoying the outdoors. Above all, utilizing every ounce that you harvest from our beautiful lands remains paramount and the most important part of every outing. From the fish in the rivers and lakes, to the wildlife abundant around us, I eagerly share my knowledge and skills with anyone wanting to broaden their skill sets or have an open conversation about hunting and fishing and the ethical practices shared by all. If you want to have an open-minded two-way discussion on the subject, I encourage you to pull up a seat beside my campfire, even if you don’t hunt or fish and are not interested in participating, I usually use this when making kebabs, but would be a great dry rub for a roast! Deer meat Dry Rub (1 1/2lb – 2lb) 2 Tbsp kosher salt (1 or 3/4 is better) 1 Tbsp ground smoked cumin (regular is fine) 1 Tbsp freshly ground pepper (preferably whole ground with a pestle) 1 Tbsp ground coriander 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Wild Game Chimichurri – Try it at the next barbecue

    Posted by Dan Rosenfeld | Jun 21, 2020 | Recipes Popular in South America, particularly in Argentina, chimichurri is an uncooked sauce or condiment that’s used in cooking, or as a sidekick for grilled meat. Check out the recipe that Dan sent us below! “I love a fresh green Chimichurri with Elk, Venison, Lamb, and even beef. Try this!” Dan Rosenfeld 1 bunch Cilantro (thin stems OK) 1 bunch Italian Parsley (stems OK) 1-2 limes, juiced ¼ cup olive oil ? white onion 3 garlic cloves 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground coriander ¾ teaspoon kosher salt ½ jalapeño pepper with seeds (or to taste) Mix all ingredients in a blender until desired consistency.

  • How to render bear fat for baking and salves

    Posted by Mandy Starnes | Jun 25, 2020 | Hunting, Recipes Did you know that you can use bear fat for baking, salves, and more? Mandy’s back to show us how to render bear fat! I begin by cutting the bear fat into smaller cubes, approx “1.5” size. Next, I cook the cubes in a heavy, cast-iron pot, in a 300°F oven for 3-3 &1/2 hours. Check on it occasionally to make sure that the oil isn’t smoking; if it is, you will have to turn the oven down. The “cracklings”, aka rinds, should float to the top and look crispy after 3 & 1/2 hours. When this happens, you’ll know the bear lard is all rendered out. If some of the cubes appear to have some fat un-rendered, be careful; bear fat that gets too hot during rendering will taste strong. It is better to stop early than to get the fat too hot, not only will it have a stronger taste, it won’t be as white as it should be. Next, you will scoop out the rinds with a slotted spoon. You can even eat them like pork rinds if you’re so inclined. I keep the rendered fat in quart jars. It should keep well for months in the fridge, and even years in the freezer! It’s a slow process, but well worth the wait and effort!

  • Making Braised Bear Shanks – A recipe your family will love!

    Posted by Mandy Starnes | Jun 27, 2020 | Recipes Mandy is back at it with another great recipe! This time, she’s cooking up Braised Bear Shanks. “I prepared it in the morning and let it cook for 7 hours! The meat fell off the bone.” Mandy Starnes 2 bear shanks 2 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper to season 1/2 tsp cinnamon 3 cloves of garlic 1 medium onion 2 carrots 2 stalks of celery 1 sprig of rosemary 2-3 sprigs of winter savory or thyme 3-4 large basil leaves 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1 cup red wine 1 can Pepsi 1 can tomato sauce 2 cups game stock or beef broth- 2 tsp juniper berries 1 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp pepper 1 tsp salt First, heat up your heavy cast iron pot on the stove with the 2 tbsp of olive oil. Brown the shanks on all sides, seasoned with the cinnamon, and salt and pepper. After browned, remove them and set aside. Next add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic to the pot and saute for about 5 mins, then add the herbs and cook for another 2 mins. I use fresh or frozen herbs, but you could substitute dried if that’s what you have on hand. Put the shanks back in the pot and add the liquids, juniper, nutmeg, salt and pepper. I cooked the bear shanks all day in a heavy cast iron pot with the lid on, in a 285°F oven. I prepared it in the morning and let it cook for 7 hours! The meat fell off the bone. A slow cooker would also work, you would just transfer the browned shanks and vegetables into it. I served it with rice!

  • 5 Things I’ve Learned From Hosting Pop-Up Dinners across Canada

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | Jul 2, 2020 | Slow Food, Stories A pop-up dinner is a dining experience for one night only. Leaving restaurant life behind, I have commitment issues now. I’ve been hosting my ever-changing moveable feast since 2017 and in that time, I’ve fed hundreds of people without fancy kitchen equipment, running water or electricity. Most of the time, it’s just me, a cast iron pan or two, a fire pit or a camp burner, and the goal is to serve up restaurant-quality food in unexpected places to 30-or-so people. The project is all about building community one pop up dinner at a time, getting people to think about where their food comes from and sustainability, and just doing some good. Oh yeah, The Paisley Notebook is also one big social experiment. But, we’ll get to that. Here are five things I’ve learnt along the way: 1. Trust Our food system has become such a tangled web and we have every right to not trust where our food is coming from. That’s why I turn locals into tourists and I take my guests on an edible road trip direct-to-the-source for a hyper-local experience, where every ingredient passes through my hands. My thinking is that for someone to see the value in something, they need to get up close and personal with it – to play with it. Once you see the work, love and effort involved in our growing seasonal organic produce, we now value it. It’s my job to plant a seed and start the conversation, and a dinner table is the best place for that. We’re breaking bread with the farmer and there are no wait times to hear from customer service about the origin, growing practices or harvest date because my farmer is a person with a face, a name and a family. With every pop up dinner, we follow the seasons and I tell the story of the organic farmer. Together, we change perceptions and behaviours, letting people connect the dots for themselves. And as the menu is always a surprise, you have to be up for an adventure and therefore open-minded. 2. Figure it out I’m a planner. And I’m also a Virgo. So, there’s always a plan of a plan. I have our supported local farming industry for long enough to know that Mother Nature will dish out whatever she wants. I work closely with my farmers to talk to try and predict the business of growing food, but ultimately Mother Nature dictates my menu. We also figure out a rain plan. With plates, cutlery, napkins, tables, chairs, décor, glassware on the packing list, the food is the smallest component of what I do and I host dinners! Going back to the plan of a plan: when it comes to execution on the day, it’s time to just let go and figure it out. It’s a good thing that entrepreneurs are problem solvers because something always goes wrong! 3. Farmers are superheroes For years, I’ve seen my farmers as my secret weapon. Every year, they are faced with the unpredictability of the seasons. From wildfires and pollination issues to climate change, disease pressure and more, they’ve dealt with it and will continue to year-in and year-out. It’s always the chefs who are transported into the spotlight – I wanted to flip that because great food starts on the farm and that’s the understory that’s often overlooked. As each farmer is different, so every dinner is different and each dinner is inspired by the beautiful imperfections that go hand-in-hand with supporting local (and not the consistencies that the restaurant industry strives for). Oh yeah, it’s also important to note that if you want to experience a farm dinner, you should also eat like a farmer – meaning, using the #2 or imperfect veg. 4. Magic in a table In such a fast-moving world, it’s kind of my superhero power to stop time around my communal table. When my guests share a meal, random strangers are transformed into friends. The best thing is when you take a moment to look around my table and you realize that I don’t have a demographic; it’s a very value-based group. That is what food is supposed to do. And I’m proud that my orchestrated feast is a without the privilege or price tag usually associated with magical experiences. This isn’t just food, it means so much more. With every pop up dinner, our little eco-system slowly grows and grows. 5. Canada is incredibly edible Since jumping over the pond from England and stumbling on this food thing, I’ve been trying to learn about the world through food. To truly call Canada home, I’ve been travelling province-by-province and getting to know local producers and suppliers that share similar thinking. It’s pretty cool to then teach Canadians what is possible in their backyard. From lentils and legumes, honey, wheat, hops and maple to wine, more booze, fruits, vegetables, wild game or ethically raised meats, and even rice, Canada is oh so edible that I don’t have to import anything except my spices. Ok, now let’s bring on the summer so we can play outside and you can experience it for yourself (even if we are 6ft apart, togeether).

  • Mandy Starnes’ Homemade Bear Salve for aches and pains

    Posted by Mandy Starnes | Jul 2, 2020 | Foraging, Hunting, Recipes The key to making salve is to let the essential oils diffuse out of your herbs – the longer, the better. I heated mine on the stove in an enamel cast iron pot, on the lowest setting, just enough to keep the bear fat liquefied. Add all the herbs and oils to the grease, but not the beeswax. The bear grease shouldn’t simmer or smoke. It should just keep warm. I heated mine for 4 hours, but you could let it sit all night in a slow cooker on low. After you have let your bear grease heat with the herbs and oil, make sure to strain it with a sieve to get out any chunks of herbs or gritty pieces of juniper berries. Return it to the pot, and add the beeswax pellets. Heat it gently until the beeswax is fully melted, approx 15 minutes. You are now ready to pour your salve into jars or whatever container you want. Glass is better than plastic, and tins would work too. 1 quart bear grease 1/2 cup crushed juniper berries 2 cups crushed arnica 1 cup crushed mint 1 small 4ml vial cbd oil (you can definitely add more if you have it, I only had this amount) 4 branches rosemary 2 cups beeswax pellets Arnica is a key ingredient in this bear salve recipe.Crush your juniper berries well! If you don’t have a lot of bear grease, you can make a small batch of salve with one cup of bear grease, a smaller amount of herbs, and 2 Tbsp of beeswax. I also made a skin treatment salve with a handful of fresh sage and yarrow using these proportions. Just rub a small amount into your skin on an aching joint. I use it mainly on my back and it really absorbs well into the skin. The key to making salve is to let the essential oils diffuse out of your herbs for as long as possible. You can order beeswax pellets on Amazon, as well as CBD oil, and even little cosmetic jars, like what I used!

  • What we eat matters in more ways than you think. Here’s why…

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | Jul 5, 2020 | Slow Food You may have noticed the strange and crazy things happening in our world. More than ever, what we eat matters. As we re-start and press play, it’s our chance to try and fix a broken food system. One small step may not seem like much, but multiplied by a lot of people it equals a big change – we’re in it together, right? Here are some of my thoughts about why what you eat is important more than ever: Reducing our carbon footprint My pop up dinner series is called SOURCED for a reason – the short food chain goes from farm-to-market-to-table. You’re pretty much helping to save the world by lowering your carbon footprint. Not to mention eating fresher produce that, when organic, is better for you and the planet, which sounds like a good trade to me. For me, a meal is a sum of its parts. When you break it down, ingredient-by-ingredient you get a tiny glimpse into the true ‘cost’ involved. For example, coconut milk may come from Thailand, avocadoes may be in season year-round in Mexico but they use a lot of water during the growing process and now there’s monocropping to keep up with the world demand (and not to mention the cartels), quinoa production puts a strain on farmers in Bolivia and Peru, a large portion of readily available soy is from the US and GMO (unless it’s organic), ginger from China, rice from India, it’s a pretty excessive list already, even if it’s a vegetarian or vegan meal. And then there’s importing of water hidden in imported foods. It’s quite an interesting way to look at sustainability, especially when that hidden water is being diverted away from water-stressed countries, that’s a huge ‘cost’ when looking at the bigger picture. Having a real conversation When you buy directly from a farmer, there’s a person behind the produce. There’s no standing in line for customer service to get back to you or being placed on hold as you’re passed from department to department, my farmers are happy to answer questions about the farm, their growing practices and everything in between. With the use of harmful sprays in conventional compared to organic farming, it’s important to ask questions and then do what you feel is right for you, your loved ones and your budget. Be curious because food isn’t just food anymore. Keeping things natural Whether you’re on agricultural land or a winery, farming is farming. In the last little bit, there’s been a surge back to regenerative farming. That’s pretty much where you farm naturally without polluting the land with harmful chemicals – from using cover crops to build organic matter in the soils, having pigs to till the soil, creating biodiversity with what you’re growing (so the opposite of monocropping), creating waterways, letting the dandelions grow without mowing to help the bees do their thing, and all of that helps to reverse (some) climate change. Going back to the winery side of things, a vineyard is a fancy name for a farm – great wine starts in the vineyard, after all. Just like with our food system, RoundUp and other herbicides and pesticides are being used in the vineyards. We live in a highly processed and commercialized world, but together we get to shape our food culture, identity and leave a piece of us one beautifully imperfect plate or sip at a time. The first step is to ask questions and then ask ‘why’ before making a purchasing decision. Respecting seasonality The Okanagan Valley is a place with four distinct seasons and even more interesting microclimates. Put simply, we have delicious things to look forward to every step of the way. If things were available all the time, we’d lose sight of how we value it. The sad thing is the fact that that’s already happened. During the season, I preserve and freeze ingredients at the peak of their respective season for when I need a little Okanagan sunshine in my life, especially during the cold, grey winters. This way, I know who’s grown it and how it’s been grown; even when frozen, it tastes better than something out of season at a grocery store, so there are loopholes. Supporting the local economy I have a thing about family businesses. Supporting local is not what I do but who I am – your support means more than I can describe or do justice to with words. Buying locally means your hard-earned dollars are directly going to people who are producing the goods, instead of a huge corporation. There are fewer hands involved and our supply chain gets shorter. We build a sense of community and keep those dollars in our little area, so that means we strengthen our local economy, which is super important when you think about what’s happening in the world today. In a world full of perfection, it’s the imperfections of our local artisans, farmers and suppliers who make us uniquely who we are as a place. It may sound cliche and cheesy, but the people make the place! We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’. But, that’s also true for where you consciously shop and support all things made in the country you’re living in. Doing the right thing is often the hardest thing, but small family-run and independent businesses do it just because they want to look out for us and that’s special in itself. Support local and stay safe.

  • Game meat and Royal India – A wild game Keema recipe

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | Jul 16, 2020 | Hunting, Recipes, Stories Indian cuisine, just like everywhere else, is very regional. That concept tends to be quite misunderstood, with Indian restaurants focusing on dishes from the fertile farming land of Punjab, which, also happens to be landlocked. But ever since I ended up in the kitchen of our family-run, farm-to-table restaurant, I was intrigued to find out more. India is as diverse as its religions, food and class structures. It’s a land of extremes – enormous wealth mixed in with dire poverty. Tracing back the history books to the Moghul Empire and the British Raj, the north of India, in places like Rajasthan, is synonymous with not only slow-cooked red meats like lamb or goat but game meat, too. Even the cooking processes tell us a story. In India, the cow is regarded as holy amongst the primarily Hindu and Sikh populations – which isn’t to say it’s not being served, just mainly in Christian states like Kerala for example. With cows roaming free, there is a lot of poo, which dries to make dung, which is essentially a type of clay. It can and has been used as an abundant alternative fuel source. By the time the animal does the deed, what’s left is mainly grass. The grass is flammable, which means that so is cow dung and even the impoverished has access to it. Once lit, it produces a low and slow steady heat, which is perfect for braising. That helps to piece together why so many dishes in the north of India revolve around slow-cooked diced meat. When you start to get an understanding of the layering of spices involved, the choice of spices based on geography and the time it takes, maybe it’ll be regarded as more than cheap food. Anyways, I thought I’d share a Keema (or minced meat) recipe that works well with wild venison, mallard duck, goose or even bear. Instead of a braise, mincemeat using the off-cuts is a good way to not only use all of the harvested animal but also add a little convenience with cooking times. When it comes to the world of deglazing the pan, the French would use wine, whereas Indians use the acidity in tomatoes. As I live in the Okanagan (British Columbia, Canada), I decided to add in both to create a rich and cozy comfort food that’s perfect with the 2-ingredient flatbread recipe that I’ve given earlier. Wild Game Keema recipe Ingredients: 3 tbs. rendered animal fat or oil 1 tsp. cumin seeds 2 bay leaves 1 onion (finely diced) salt (to taste) 2 tsp. garlic & ginger paste (equal parts, pounded with a pestle & mortar with a splash of water) 1 tsp. turmeric powder 2 tsp. The Paisley Notebook’s Garam Masala 1 tsp. ground cumin powder 1 tsp. red chilli powder (or to taste) 1lb wild game mince (venison is my favourite) 2 kidneys or alternative offal like liver (chopped finely) 3 large tomatoes (puréed) ½ cup red wine (optional) fresh fenugreek leaves (chopped, optional) cilantro for garnish (optional) Instructions: In a large frying pan, heat rendered fat/oil over a medium flame. Once heated, add the cumin seeds and bay leaves, sizzle for 10-20 seconds (don’t let these burn) Mix in the garlic and ginger paste, cook until golden brown Now, the diced onion goes in – sauté with 1 tsp. salt and slightly brown. In goes the wild ground game meat of your choice. Let this lightly brown – that’s extra flavour. Add the ground spices, remembering that it’s easier to add more heat from the red chilli powder than taking it away. Cook for another 2 minutes or so. Stir in the red wine, reduce the heat and cook until the wine has evaporated. Now is the time for the tomatoes. A thicker sauce is developing after cooking for approximately 8-10 minutes. You may need to add a little water if it gets too dry. Add in the kidneys or livers, adding the chopped fenugreek for the last 8 minutes of cooking on a low flame. Check the seasoning and chilli levels. Garnish with fresh cilantro or edible wild plants/flowers and serve with Chapatti Roti and cumin yoghurt. Enjoy! This recipe is being shared from my family to yours, so there are no rules as long as it’s delicious. I love how there are so many similarities with ingredients and food cultures from around the world and each interaction with another culture brings another dimension or spin – food is a living thing and is made to change. Keep on tasting and exploring.

  • Resourceful & Delicious: Steamed Sea Asparagus

    Posted by Mike Anderson | Jul 24, 2020 | Recipes Anyone who’s lucky enough near a seaside has probably taken the time to do some beachcombing. One of the treasures likely missed is this delightful one called sea asparagus. Gathering some of nature’s bounty is quick, easy and sustainable — and tasty! It’s a simple and salty side dish to accent any wild game or seafood dish. Sea asparagus or pickle weed is a common estuary plant found along the shoreline of the Pacific Northwest. The best time to harvest is late spring to early summer sea asparagus when the new shoots are growing. This is a simple recipe that anyone can follow: After you have picked your sea asparagus and brought it to you kitchen either at home or beside the campfire, you will want to ensure all the roots are cut off and rinse it in fresh water, then let it soak for an hour or so in fresh water. Once you are nearing the end of the soak, add 1” of water to a pot with a steam basket inside. Bring the water to a boil and add the sea asparagus and cover. Steam it for 15-20 minutes. Plate the asparagus with a bit of butter, no need for salt as the plants holds its own.

  • Impress The Family With This One: Grouse Fajitas

    Posted by Mandy Starnes | Jul 24, 2020 | Recipes If you don’t have any grouse on hand, give this a try with chicken or any vegetarian options you may choose. Food brings us together so let’s celebrate this connection. Easy to make, grouse fajitas are often on my menu. I have grouse frozen in water, in my freezer. I just put them in a ziploc, fill it with water until the grouse is submerged, and squeeze out the air. It keeps them from getting freezer burn. I used 2 small, and one large ruffed grouse; the breasts and thigh meat all deboned. 2-3 grouse should do. For the marinade – 1tsp paprika – 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder – 1 tsp cumin – 1 tsp black pepper – 1/2 tsp salt – 1& 1/2 – 2 tbsp olive oil – 1 tbsp lime juice – 1 tsp garlic powder I mixed everything together with the grouse meat and let it sit in the fridge for 1/2 an hour. Then I put the meat, and marinade in a heated skillet to cook. When the grouse was browned, I added a thinly sliced bell pepper and about a 1/4 of a thinly sliced onion. I put a lid on the skillet and when the peppers were tender, it was time to come off the stove, about 30 mins. I served it on a tortilla with my homemade salsa, and avocado slices. It would be great with sour cream and fresh cilantro too, but I didn’t have any on hand.

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