Archive for June, 2013

Bourbon Dijon Marinated Venison Steak & Citrus Hazelnut Asparagus

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Bourbon Dijon Marinated Venison Steak & Citrus Hazelnut Asparagus

Summer farmers markets and fantastic weather leave us no good reason to stay in climate controlled environments, whether it’s the year-round grocery store or your air-conditioned home. And if you don’t have AC, all the more reason to fire up the grill instead of the oven, and let the breeze cool you off rather than sitting in front of your fan.

This week’s venison steak and asparagus recipes were inspired by one of our favorite fellow recipe bloggers, Man Tested Recipes. The venison marinade has a sweeter style, almost teriyaki flavor to it from the brown sugar and soy sauce, and the bourbon tenderized the steak while bringing it’s own flavor profile that pairs deliciously with red meat. The asparagus was a hit with the smokey flavor from being charred on the grill, combined with the citrus and nutty flavors from the toppings added at the very end. Finish the plate off with some simple yet tasty pasta, and summertime dinner is served.




  • 1 lb. Whitetail venison steak
  • 1/4 c. Maker’s Mark (or your favorite other bourbon)
  • 1/4 c. honey-dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste



  • 2 large bunches asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil (or enough to lightly coat asparagus)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 c. toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped



  • 1 lb. pasta (we used Cavatappi)
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Venison Steak: In a 1-gallon Ziploc bag, combine bourbon, mustard, brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Holding the top of the bag with one hand, squeeze the bottom of the bag with your other hand until all ingredients are evenly mixed. Add venison steak, seal, and keep in refrigerator for 24 hours, turning the steak over around the 12-hour mark for even marinating.

Heat your grill to medium-high. Remove steak from marinade and place on grill. Use the following cooking times as a guideline depending on the thickness of your steak: 2-3 min. per side for 1/2″ steak, 4-6 min. per side for 1″ steak, or 6-9 min. per side for 1.5″-2″ steak. When ready, remove steak from the grill and let sit for 5 minutes to let the juices settle before serving

Asparagus: Toss asparagus in olive oil until spears are lightly coated. Add salt and pepper as desired. Place spears on the grill over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, turning spears until lightly charred. Remove from grill and add orange zest and hazelnuts, tossing slightly to mix ingredients. Serve.

Pasta: Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain but do not rinse, and add pasta back to pot. Stir in butter, salt, pepper, and parmesan until evenly mixed. Serve.

Photos and Feedback:

These recipes were very flavorful and we would make them again. Dinner was paired with a bold, dry cabernet blend – Yum! Next time, we might swap out the honey-dijon for the regular kind considering there’s plenty of sweetness with the brown sugar. We thought the asparagus and pasta were just about perfect, so we wouldn’t alter those at all. If you’re not a huge fan of hazelnuts, tasty substitutions could be almonds, walnuts, or even sunflower seeds. Do you agree/disagree? Let us know, we’d love to hear!

We may love our venison, but we don’t skimp on our veggies!

Make sure you let the steak rest for a few minutes after it comes off the grill – the juices need to be reabsorbed otherwise the steak may taste dry.

Tossing the orange zest and hazelnuts with the asparagus fresh off the grill brings out the aromas and flavors of the garnishes.


The grilling time guidelines are very helpful if you don’t have a meat thermometer! We loved the way it turned out going by the clock.

Venison Potstickers

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Venison Potstickers

Potstickers, also known as fried dumplings, are savory pockets full of meat and/or vegetables that are warm, crunchy, soft, and chewy all at the same time. They make a crowd-pleasing appetizer, or in our case with this particular recipe, a small family feast. And with venison potstickers, you can feel less guilty about the fried bottom because the inside is packed with wholesome ingredients that are naturally very low in fat.

We admit that this recipe is labor intensive, however there are so many upsides to taking the time to make a meal that’s “made with love”. This is a great meal to prepare with loved ones, as you will have an opportunity to catch up, share stories, and crack jokes while all hands are busy forming these little envelopes of deliciousness. As a culture that places family ties at utmost importance, Asian cultures have long used the art (or chore) of making dumplings as a way of bringing generations together. And as the saying goes, “the family that cooks together, stays together.” It may seem intimidating trying to make a piece – let alone a whole tray – of edible, stuffed origami, but it’s really quite simple, and anyone will be able to get the hang of it before long.

All of these ingredients (except for maybe the venison… wink-wink) are available in any asian market. You can also find them in most supermarkets in the ‘ethnic foods’ section.



Potsticker filling

  • 1lb. ground venison
  • 4 c. water
  • 1-1/2 c. shredded or finely sliced cabbage
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped green onion
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tbs. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce (aka patis)


Other ingredients

  • 50 wonton wrappers
  • bowl of 1/2 c. water (used as glue for sealing potstickers)
  • 1/2 c. canola oil


Combine cabbage, 4 c. water, and salt in medium bowl and let sit for 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes to make sure all cabbage is softened. In larger bowl, combine all other filling ingredients. Drain and rinse cabbage, and add to meat mixture. Mix in thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to hold raw dumplings.

Assembling Potstickers: Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in center of wonton wrapper. Dip finger into water bowl, then line two adjacent sides of wrapper with water from finger. Fold the two dry sides of wrapper on top of the two water-lined sides and pinch closed (NOTE: make sure potsticker edge is completely sealed, otherwise the juices may run during cooking and your potstickers may dry out). At this point, your potsticker should look like a pudgy triangle. Fold each corner of the triangle in toward the center of the potsticker, using a little dab of water to ‘glue’ the corners down. Place assembled potsticker on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Cooking Potstickers: Pour about 1/4 c. canola oil into the bottom of large sauce pan and bring to medium high heat. When pan is nice and hot and evenly coated, line the bottom of the pan with one layer of potstickers. We were able to fit about 1/2 of the batch into our pan at a time. Fry potstickers over high heat until the bottoms look golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Once bottoms of dumplings look nice and crispy, add enough water to submerge the bottom half of the potstickers. Cover pan with lid tilted so that steam can escape. Continue to cook until all water evaporated from pan and you hear the dumplings start to sizzle again, which can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with either tongs or a spatula. If you are going to cook the whole batch in one go, place potstickers on foil-lined try (photo below), wipe out the bottom of pan with paper towel to get the crusty bits out, then add remaining 1/4 c. of canola oil and start process again.

Saving Potstickers: If you’re not going to eat all of the potstickers in one sitting, put the tray of raw dumplings in the freezer overnight. Make sure potstickers are not touching, otherwise they will freeze together. Once they are completely frozen, place them in a large zip-lock bag (or portion into smaller bags) and keep in freezer for up to a month.

Photos and Feedback:

When sealing potstickers, try to remove as much extra air as possible. You may do this by pinching wrapper closed tightly around filling, then continuing out toward the wrapper edge.

If you’re not going to eat all of the potstickers in one sitting, put the tray of raw dumplings in the freezer overnight. Make sure potstickers are not touching, or they will freeze together Once they are frozen stiff, put them in a large zip-lock bag (or portion into smaller bags) and keep in freezer for up to a month.

This is not a dish that you stir while cooking! Once the potstickers hit the pan, you leave them right where they are until you remove them from the pan. The wrappers become delicate during the cooking process and will tear easily if you try to move them around.

If you’re wondering what delicious side we chose to compliment our potstickers, we used the rest of the head of cabbage, shredded it, and tossed it with green onion, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cool, crisp, and refreshing!

If you try this at home, send us your photos! And now for the slideshow:


Place shredded (or finely sliced) cabbage in bowl of water with generous amount of salt, about 2 tablespoons, for about 15 minutes. We used coarse kosher salt to help soften the cabbage so it would fold nicely into the dumpling wrappers.

Our potsticker filling is ready to go!

Our perfectly imperfect, hand-made venison potstickers, raw.

Make sure your non-stick pan is nice and hot and coated with oil before you place potstickers snugly together

Be careful but swift when adding water to pan. Your stove will not come out of this procedure clean. Don’t worry, it’s worth it!


Venison potstickers cooked just the way we like them: pan fried and crunchy on the bottom while being soft, chewy, and delicate on top.

The kitchen smelled so good by the time the second batch came off the stove, we had our plates loaded up and cleared before we thought to take a photo of the final plated product. We were patient enough, however, to snap a picture of our second helping before we dove in again.