Tuesday, March 12, 2013
COOKING WILD AND WONDERFUL by L.J. MARTIN
Cinch him up, spur hard, and let him buck…”
Outside my kitchen window a pair of wild Merriam turkeys with a clutch of chicks investigate my flower beds to see what my bird feeders have spilled.
They're my clean-up crew.
On the distant hillside a whitetail doe cautiously leads a spindly legged spotted fawn down to our north pasture. As I stroll along the long gravel driveway an osprey, the fish eagle, wings overhead on his way to beat the fly-fishermen to a breakfast of rainbow, brown, or native cutthroat trout from Wolfpack Ranch’s gurgling neighbor, one of the world's most pristine fly fishing streams. While I'm at the mailbox, after my leisurely morning stroll, a pickup passes pulling a float boat and carrying a local fishing guide and a couple of eager clients, and I wave and get a smile and wave in return—It's the country way, even if you don’t know the passersby, and I wouldn't live anywhere else.
Slipping the paper out of its yellow plastic container next to our oversized mailbox, I see our local paper—the Missoulian from over twenty five miles distant—sporting headlines GLACIER PARK HIGHWAY OPEN. Good news graces the front page. The horrors of the rest of the country and world are relegated to the second page or deeper in the paper’s bowel, where they well belong.
Ours is a good news type of place.
And we love it here.
At Wolfpack Ranch, in the shadow of Montana's beautiful Sapphire Mountains, we're all about good news, good times, good folks, and, of course, great food and country cooking. What country depends upon what's in the pantry on a particular day.
Although we love it here more than anywhere we've been we feel blessed to continue to travel and gain wonderful new friends, to collect great memories, and to gather hundreds of wonderful recipes. We always try to take smiles, open minds, and open hearts, and as a result traveling has been a joy.
And every country we’ve visited offers exciting, enticing, exhilarating flavors and foods.
Most of the cooking at Wolfpack is up to me and I've been told I'm a fair hand at the art of the spatula, and the chore is fine by me as I love nothing more than bringing loving friends and family around the table to enjoy a great meal, a decent wine, and most of all, each other. In fact if you love a thing, it’s not a chore at all. And yeah, yeah, I can cook wild game or fresh caught trout over an open fire and am adept with cast iron including a venison stew or done-to-a-turn perfect cobbler in a Dutch oven, but that’s a small part of cooking with the Montana mystique.
Here's a great Dutch oven recipe given to me by my good friend Trapper Badovinac, I love it, his camp hunters love it, and so will you. Learn more about Trapper at www.shootingstarpublications.com
Dutch Oven Oat Dinner Rolls
2 1/3rd Cups water
1 Cup oats
2/3rd Cup brown sugar
3 Tbl butter
1 ½ Tsp salt
2 Pkg (4 ½ tsp) yeast
5-6 Cups flour
In a saucepan bring water to a boil, add oats. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, butter, and salt. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool to between 90 – 115 degrees F. Stir in yeast, then 3 cups of flour. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead and add flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Put in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and knead again on a floured surface. Then form balls and place in the bottom of a greased 12" standard Dutch oven. Let rise until rolls are 1 -2" from top. Place 11 briquettes under and 19 on top of Dutch oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
Don't lose your breath will all the pats on the back you'll be getting.
See you soon for more from The Kitchen at Wolfpack Ranch and Cooking Wild & Wonderful.
Here's a peek at our neighbors at Wolfpack Ranch: