This past Christmas, I cooked a delicious Venison Wellington that I can’t wait to make again! It was the first Christmas I cooked the entire dinner myself and I knew I wanted to make something special. I had backstrap still in my freezer from the doe I shot the year before, just waiting for the “right” recipe to use it.
This past spring, I attended the Washington Outdoor Women’s “Duck Hunting 101” workshop. It was a day long workshop consisting of four separate stations: clay shooting, setting decoys, using a hunting dog, and duck hunting and gun safety. I took their shorter version of the Duck Hunting workshop at their fall retreat and loved it, so I was really excited to go to this.
The workshop was being held at a private hunting club—a men’s only hunting club to be exact. But, for this one weekend out of the year, ladies took over! The hunting lodge itself was beautiful. I wish I could’ve gotten pictures inside of the big vaulted ceilings, wood and stone work throughout, a huge fireplace, and big leather couches to relax in. I’d love a hunting lodge like that one day!
About 30 women attended, plus all the instructors. The day began with breakfast. Washington Outdoor Women sure know how to feed you well at all their workshops! Breakfast was a huge spread of options, several home cooked. One dish was a delicious salmon egg bake that I’d love to try and make myself. After everyone was fed, we had a quick intro then broke off into our groups.
The ladies were separated, groups A-D, and would rotate through all the stations. My first station was clay shooting. I ended up in the group with women who had previous gun experience, so we shot first. Everyone else took the gun safety workshop before getting to shoot the shotguns.
A father and son taught this workshop. They quickly went over the basics and it was time to get shooting! Each woman had 6 chances for their turn. I’ve only shot clay pigeons one other time and it was during my Hunter Education field test where I hit it on my first try. Definite beginners luck!
The first couple women who went missed all their shots. To be fair, we were having some problems with the machine shooting the clay pigeons. It wasn’t shooting when it was supposed to. It was my turn to get up and the instructor said he thought I’d shoot one since I shot a deer last year.
I yelled pull and sure enough, he was right! First clay pigeon shot of the day! I’d really love to get more into trap shooting. It’s a lot of fun and I feel like it’s something I could become pretty good at with practice. It’s also so satisfying to see your clay target break into pieces!
We had an hour at each station and boy did that hour fly by quick! Each woman went through the station once. A couple women were pretty new to using shotguns and they went another time so they could hopefully shoot their first target.
One of the reasons I love learning with a group of women is they’re incredibly encouraging. Everyone cheered and was genuinely happy when a woman did finally hit her first target. It’s an incredibly supportive environment to learn in.
Our next station in the Duck Hunting workshop was setting decoys and we were getting out on the water to learn!
To be continued…
I’m gearing up to head out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca next weekend and I can’t wait! It got me thinking about the last time I was out fishing in the San Juan islands and I realized I never posted my crab recipes from the delicious fresh crab I brought back that trip.
Crabbing is something I had never done before so it was really cool to be able to see it first hand. I learned all about pulling pots, distinguishing males from females, seeing if their shells are soft, and measuring to be sure it’s legal to keep. This guy was one of big ones they could keep (yes he’s still alive in the picture!).
Once I was home with the crab legs, I knew I needed to find some great recipes to really show off this delicious crab meat. But before I could get to cooking, I learned the not so fun task of getting all the crab meat out of the shells. It took me over an hour to do all the legs, but it was so worth it when I was left with all this gorgeous fresh crab!
Crab cakes were the first thing I wanted to make. They’re one of my favorite appetizers to order at any seafood restaurant. That being said, I’ve definitely had some crab cakes that left me wondering where all the crab meat was in between all the breading. So it was important to me that I found a recipe that really showcased the meat and didn’t use a bunch of fillers.
I found this recipe on All Recipes and followed the directions to a T. In the end, I was left with these beautiful crab cakes that everyone loved!
It’s full of crab meat and delicious seasonings. You broil them in the oven to get the nice crispy outer crust. There aren’t many fillers added, so the crab is really the star of this recipe. If you love crab and love crab cakes, definitely give this recipe a try!
Now, for the rest of the crab meat, I knew I really wanted to go all out for what I made. What better than surf and turf? And Steak Oscar was the answer! For this recipe, I looked to Ree Drummond for inspiration and loosely based my recipe off of hers, found here.
Now her recipe called for shrimp to be used on top, but I swapped that out for fresh crab meat soaked in the butter sauce. Unlike a typical bearnaise sauce used for Steak Oscar, she makes a tarragon hollandaise sauce that is so dang good you’ll want to put it on everything you cook!
For the asparagus, I coated them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roasted them in the oven. This is actually my favorite vegetable to eat with any meat dish. They turn out soft and crispy on the ends. The steak was grilled in a piping hot cast iron skillet to medium rare. It’s a little bit tricky to get the timing right for everything to be done at the same time (my sauce thickened up a bit) but the end result is so worth it.
This may be the nicest meal I’ve cooked so far. It’s definitely a pricey meal to put together, but the final dish rivals anything you’ll get at a nice seafood restaurant!
I served mine with roasted tri-color baby potatoes and salad. It was definitely a crowd pleaser! I can’t wait to make it again, maybe next time with a nice venison steak!
What’s your favorite way to eat fresh crab? Share below and let me know if you try either of these recipes!
If you haven’t seen it yet, the latest issue of Field and Stream features female hunter Mia Anstine on the cover.
I was really excited to see this. Mia’s blog was one of the first blogs I found when I was getting into hunting so it’s great seeing her gracing the cover. Plus, there are 10 other women making a difference in the outdoors inside the issue!
Did you know there have only been 3 women on the cover of Field and Stream in the history of the magazine? The first, Queen Elizabeth in 1976. The second, Eva Shockey in 2014. And now the third, Mia Anstine in 2016. While it’s small number, I’m glad it only took years for this to happen again instead of decades.
Representation is so important. Seeing a magazine full of strong women in the outdoors makes me really happy. When I was younger, I never saw hunting as something I could do. Field and Stream magazines were always around the house growing up, but I never saw a woman on the cover. I never looked at the magazine and thought, “hey, that could be me one day!”
Now, no one ever said I couldn’t hunt when I was younger. Not even my dad or brothers said I couldn’t join them. I just didn’t know any women who hunted nor had I seen a picture of a female hunting so it seemed off limits to me. Now this doesn’t mean I grew up a girly girl either. At my brother’s wedding last month, his best friend even told people there, “You wouldn’t believe how much of a tomboy Jen used to be growing up!”
Looking back on it, I wanted to be a lot of female characters I saw. I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and wanted to be April O’Neil. I always chose Sonya when playing Mortal Kombat on Sega because she was my favorite from the movie. I loved Sam on the sitcom Step By Step because she worked on cars and was also a tomboy. Do you see where I’m going here? In movies and shows, some geared for boys, I always identified with the women. I’m sure there’s a fancy psychological term and explanation behind that but that’s out of my realm of expertise. What I do know is the females that young girls see in media are important.
I often wonder what would’ve happened had I seen a woman on the cover of my dad’s hunting magazines. Would I have told my dad I wanted to be a girl like that one day? I guess I’ll never know. But I hope that there are little girls who have seen either Eva Shockey or Mia Anstine on the covers and told their parents they want to be like that one day.
That’s why representation is so important—all it takes is one picture to open a whole new world to a child and create a new passion. More and more women are being highlighted for their accomplishments in the outdoors and it’s amazing to see. I hope by the time I have kids, females being represented in the outdoors is the norm. Because I sure could’ve used it when I was a little girl.
I’m really excited for the workshops I’ll be taking this year: Fly Fishing 101, Wilderness First Aid, Survival Skills, and First Aid for Dogs.
I can’t wait for Fly Fishing, the instructor seems amazing. I remember last year a woman told me she took that workshop and now teaches other people how to fly fish from everything she learned.
I was happy when I saw they offered a Wilderness First Aid course this year. I’ve been wanting to take something on first aid basics since you can be miles away from help when you’re out hunting. I can’t wait to see what I learn in there. Survival Skills is another workshop that’ll teach me skills I’ve been wanting to learn. The chance of getting stuck or lost in the outdoors is always there, so knowing how to make shelter and fire will be great to make me more confident when I’m out hunting.
I can’t wait, I’m so excited! September needs to hurry up and get here! Definitely expect posts on everything I learn!
Registration is open until September 7th if any ladies are in Washington and would like to go! You can find more information on the workshops and the registration here.
Summer is here and what better time to grill up some delicious venison bacon burgers! You might be wondering where the bacon is, this recipe has it inside the burger creating a great flavor!
One complaint I’ve heard about venison burgers is how dry they can be. Not this recipe! Big, juicy burgers full of flavor that go great with a beer on a beautiful summer day.
Click below to get the recipe!
It’s great knowing people out there not only read my blog, but enjoy reading it and look forward to my posts. So thank you so much for nominating me! Sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to making this post, my life seems to be running at two speeds lately, busy and busier!
The Versatile Blogger Award is to celebrate bloggers who bring something special to your life. The blogs that I’ve nominated below are ones that I always get excited when I see they have a new post. They share great hunting stories, amazing pictures, delicious wild game recipes, and make it an enjoyable read from start to finish.
Here are the rules:
– Thank the person that has nominated you
– Include a link to their blog
– Nominate at least 5 blogs of your choice
– Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination
– Share seven different facts about yourself
Here are some random facts about me. This blog is very hunting focused so I chose things that have nothing to do with the outdoors.
You read that right—I used to be a vegetarian long before I became a hunter.
It’s why when my dad tells people I shot a deer, he follows it up with, “she’s the LAST person I ever would’ve thought would shoot a deer.”
So how did I end up here? Now butchering my own meat.
When I was around 16 years old, my best friend and I decided we’d become vegetarians. There wasn’t much to it. We likely watched some ridiculous video or read an article and decided it was a good idea. To be honest, I think it had more to do with being an angsty teenager making things difficult for my parents by refusing to eat meat. Sorry guys! I’m sure karma will come back my way when I have my own children!
Here’s the thing, I still loved meat. Not a day went by that I didn’t want to eat a piece of bacon or a steak. It hurt to see someone ruin a perfectly good steak by ordering it well-done instead of medium-rare. Obviously I wasn’t the greatest vegetarian.
So after a year, being a vegetarian became a thing of the past. Fast forward more than a decade and now I’m a proud hunter.
How did the pendulum swing so far?
When I started learning more about hunting, one of the things to spark my interest was being able to provide organic meat for my family. Knowing exactly where your meat is coming from really intrigued me. It’s why when I shot a deer, I wanted to watch and learn all I could about skinning and gutting a deer.
Later, when my brother showed me how to butcher the meat, I was still intrigued to keep learning. It was fascinating seeing how all the cuts are connected. You don’t really realize how it’s all put together when you only buy packaged meat from a store.
Learning how to process a deer myself really gave a new appreciation for meat and where it comes from. And now I’m able to cook delicious meals with venison and I have no questions about the quality of the meat. I know because I was involved in the processing of the deer from step one.
So it’s a little funny when people who don’t agree with hunting tell me I should be a vegetarian. Been there, done that—it’s not for me. Just like hunting might not be for them.
I’m going to keep eating meat whether I hunt or not. I’d just much rather the meat come from the field than a store!
So, what about you guys? Anyone else make the same change from vegetarian to hunter? Share below!
I know a few of you that I follow are from the Lone Star State and I can use your help! I want to maximize my time there to see and experience everything I can.
I’ll be in the Houston area, so where should I go and what should I see to have the best Texas experience? I know the state is enormous so you might not be near Houston, but I’m looking for any restaurants or stores unique to Texas that I’d never find up here in Washington!
There won’t be any time for hunting unfortunately, but I’d love to check out popular hunting areas to see how much they differ from what I’m used to.
My family has some Texas roots, so I can’t wait to see the state! And discover how good Texas barbecue really is!
Share your suggestions below and I’ll check them out! I can’t wait to plan this trip!
Today this little blog turns one year old!
I wasn’t sure what would happen when I started this, but I’ve loved the journey so far. I’ve met some great people and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to learn more when it comes to hunting. Without this blog, I probably wouldn’t have done all the things I made happen in the past year!
A big thank you to all of you who read this blog! I wouldn’t be here without you! I appreciate every follow, comment, and like you leave on my posts. It’s been great learning more from all of you as well!
So, with one year under my belt, I’ve decided to finally branch Country Huntress out to other social media platforms. Feel free to follow me on any of them!
Lets see what can happen in the next year!