Dark Days Dinner #4 - Dec. 23rd - Venison Tenderloin and Potato Latkes
I'm a bit late in posting this - the holidays have managed to keep me blissfully away from the computer for many days in a row now! I figure if I can at least write about one meal before making the next, I'll be doing all right...
This dinner really starts quite some time before last Thursday...
I've mentioned before that this fall was extraordinarily busy for me, but I did manage to get myself a hunting license and did sit out in the woods for a few hours opening morning of deer season back in November. My intention had been to get out with my bow again this year, but I didn't get in enough practice and so was not comfortable hunting that way (if I'm going to kill an animal for my food, I really do want to be sure I make it swift and painless as possible). After that though, I didn't get hunt at all until I returned from my California trip in mid December.
Long story short - I finally managed to get a deer just days before the end of the season, and this meal was of the tenderloins, to me the most prized pieces of meat on the animal.
With the venison (seasoned with just salt and pepper and cooked on the grill) I served an appetizer of a delightful 44-clove garlic soup (another Smitten Kitchen recipe you can get to here), steamed green beans and carrots, potato latkes (roughly based on this Smitten Kitchen recipe, but with the addition of the starch from the potato liquid) with homemade yogurt and/or homemade applesauce for toppings, and a rhubarb pie (rhubarb from our garden) for dessert. With all this we drank another bottle of my father's home-made Merlot wine.
Doug's Mom is with us for the holidays and we had my parents over again to enjoy the meal, so we had a full and happy table.
How local was I / What did I learn?
I did use a few things that were not on my allowable exceptions list. 1) The garlic soup recipe said to serve it with parmasean cheese and lemon so I did, though neither were local. I think it would have been nearly as perfect without it so would leave this out if I did it again. 2) I ran out of time in my day so used a pie crust I had made and frozen a few weeks earlier that contained shortening and vinegar. 3) The rhubarb filling had sugar in it that was not in any way local. 4) Again the Merlot was home-made but the grape juice was not local. I'm going to work on finding my own juice or grapes maybe from local vineyards for next year's batch(es)!
Other than those things, I once again made the 50-mile radius for all the other foods I used.
I used the last of my home-made/local butter to cook the latkes and top the vegetables - we liked it so much that I'm sure I'll be making more.
I will make a lot more latkes next time because 1) we will clearly eat more than I plan on and 2) I think they'd make great leftovers (breakfast hashbrowns? yummm....).
Next week I think I may brave home made pasta, and I hope to write about my attempt at making ricotta cheese from my leftover whey, so stay tuned!
P.S. If you're interested in reading more about the hunting and preparing of the meat, please feel free to read more here in a separate post. There are pictures though, so please consider yourself warned if you're not into that type of thing!