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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Midwinter's Moon


  According to Iroquois tradition, the year begins with the Midwinter's new moon, which occurs either in late January or early February. This year, 2011, it happened to be on February 2-3. As the moon grows to fullness and then wanes once again, we are motivated to finish up our winter projects and look for the subtle signs of Spring's coming.

  Historically, Iroquois hunters, having been away from the village for several weeks, paid attention to the Pleiades which signaled the middle of winter by appearing directly overhead in the early evening. The following new moon would be the Midwinter moon and would mark the beginning of the first lunar cycle. A few days later, the hunters would arrive home to refresh and renew themselves for continued hunting in winter's deep snows. This time also provided opportunity for what was, and still is, the largest of Iroquois' celebrations, the Midwinter Ceremony.

  Full of spiritual and social significance, the Midwinter Ceremony has a solid foundation of thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving Address, spoken before and after many of the events of the week long celebration, begins by thanking and acknowledging those things closest to the earth. It moves attention up through the "stories" of life coming to completion after reaching beyond the sky to include spiritual entities.
 

  This focusing of attention is a powerful method to expand our awareness. As Winter slowly concedes to Spring, use the guidance of the Thanksgiving Address to notice the subtleties of Spring's emergence.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Liver - Breakfast of Champions

I know, you hate liver.  So do I.  More precisely, I hate overcooked beef liver that has flavors reminiscent of the barn it came from.  However, I have to say - I don't mind fresh, perfectly cooked venison liver.  I had it for dinner recently after a successful hunt and it was so surprisingly edible I cooked some more for breakfast the next day.  Given that it is packed full of protein and nutrients, no serious paleo eater would let this tasty slab of offal go to waste.  Especially after I share a few secrets.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Paleo Salmon Patty

1 can Wild Caught Salmon
1 egg
1 stalk celery
1/2 green pepper
1/2 small onion or a few green onions
1/4 cup almond flour
1-2 tbsp coconut oil

Mix all ingredients togther in a medium bowl.  Form patties or balls and set aside.   Melt coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.  When oil is ready, fry patties until golden brown.  It is best to make the patties small or round so that they can be turned more easily.  Serve with paleo dill mayo and enjoy a meal full of heart healthy omega 3's.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rose Hips - Perfectly Timed Wild Supplement

     Nature never ceases to amaze me.
     Our first lake effect snowfall finds me out stalking through and around known deer bedding areas.  The hope of bringing home some more 100% wild venison focuses my mind to virtually ignore the chill.  Additionally, I can't ignore the beauty.  I shift from seeing through the eyes of the hunter to viewing the world as an artist, admiring the wonderful balance of white and gray.  In this two tone world, the whitetail can disappear surprisingly well. Its cryptic coloration combine with the extreme insulating quality of its coat (allowing snowfall to accumulate on the coat without melting) to turn a bedded 150 lb deer into a fallen snow covered log.  The hunter must pay attention to the slightest variation in color and form.
     Not everything hides however.  The color red is a certain standout in this environment.  Like blood on snow it attracts my paleolithic evolved senses. Especially within the forest openings which congregate deer activity, tiny droplets of red dangling amidst the undergrowth tug at my attention revealing nature's perfectly timed wild vitamin C supplement - the seed pod, or hip, of the wild rose. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Great Winter Workout and "Snow Fort"

Want a great primal workout that allows you to spend quality time with the kids and teach them something useful? All you need is a little snow.

Burger lunch - sans bun


Eating paleo gives rise to the creative cook within. For example, the kids are asking for cheeseburgers and you immediately dread the cyclop stare of a lonely bunless burger staring up at you from your plate. My solution is to reserve some ground meat to cook loosely and serve with a plate of sauteed veggies and greens. Very filling and nourishing - try it and see.
1/2 red pepper
6 shitake mushrooms
4 large mustard greens
1/2 pound ground meat (preferably venison)
Saute the veggies first starting with the peppers and ending with the greens. When the greens are wilted, remove all veggies from the pan. Fry the ground meat seasoned however you wish. Doesn't get much simpler or nore nutritious than that.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Venison Tenderloins - A Hunter's First Gift

A good friend stopped by last week after taking his first deer in many years. He was as full of questions as he was excitement. It seemed he needed a refresher on a systematic way to process his deer and I gave him my version as accurately as I could - realizing that butchering is not a procedure that is easily conveyed in words. He kindly offered me the hide and some meat for my time and I graciously accepted the hide not wanting it to go to waste.
"You're kidding, right?", he replied. "I was going to give you a tenderloin."
Well, having grown up in Pennsylvania where the first gift of the hunt was to present the landowner with a beautiful tenderloin and having given away my share over the years, I rethought my position. "Oh alright, if you insist", I added and set to work to remove one from inside the cavity.
"What are you doing?", he scolded. "I said you could take a tenderloin!"
When I showed him where the true tenderloins sit and how they differ from the backstraps (which he had referred to as tenderloins his whole life), he sheepishly admitted that he had never bothered with those "small scraps" before. I decided to hand the gift back and give him this recipe to try upon returning home. Mind you - he's not concerned with eating paleo.

Marinate tenderloins in 1 cup soy sauce and 1/2 cup brown sugar or maple syrup for 1 hour or more.
Wrap whole tenderloins with bacon strips -each held in place with a toothpick. (precook the bacon slightly)
Drizzle remaining marinade over tenderloins.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Serve by toothpicks after cutting between bacon strips.

In case you're wondering, this recipe works just as well with the backstraps but requires a little longer in the oven. And Finally, remember that the people you share this recipe with will not likely offer you their tenderloins in the future.