On a Mission in the Culinary Wasteland

About Country Gourmet Recipes

recipes for the country gourmet
Clay cooks some mushroom straws

Welcome to our Recipe site. My wife Lori and I hope you enjoy making and modifying my recipes.

How did this start?

I have always enjoyed cooking, and realy got a kick from cooking for others. Over the years I have cooked for my family, entertained at our home and cooked larger dinners for organizations we support. At some of the large dinners, home entertaining, and pot luck events for my daughter's school/clubs/etc., people would ask for recipes to the foods I have made. At home this is easy to handle with a quick trip to the computer. Not so much when at an outside event. So I created a family web page and placed a recipe area that I could point folks at.

This worked fine for a while. Then I noticed that my recipes were getting more visitors from the search engines than our business site. No big wonder, food is far more interesting than computer software services. It was at this point that my wife suggested that I should set up this site. I've used plenty of other food sites to find recipes when I encountered an unfamiliar ingredient (Me: "What are those? Lori: "They're on sale so cook something with 'em.") or odd combination of ingredients that need to be "cooked now". Never liked getting 15 copies of the same recipe with different names in the results. So I decided that I would just carry recipes that I created, or heavily modified. I also wanted a great way to search the site. For instance, if I am searching on cabbage (yep dropped to 10 cents a pound again) I need recipes that help me use this stuff up, not recipes that use a little bit of it as a garnish. After looking over what recipe systems were available on the web, I decided I needed to roll my own. I hope you enjoy the results and the recipes.

In the beginning

I started watching shows like "The Galloping Gourmet" when I was a young kid. Here was this english sounding guy, jumping around, cooking food, and having fun. Moreover the people in the audience were eating it up. Especially the fortunate one that got to come up and eat the food at the end of the show. Being a bit of a clown, this appealed to me. In college I started watching Julia Child and other chefs and learning more techniques and tricks. This lead to me experimenting with and modifying recipes as my confidence grew. Along the way, I noticed the folks around me were really enjoying the food I made. After college we ended up in the Washington DC area. Suddenly the availability of exotic foods, and variety of restaurants available exploded. This really expanded my pallet and repertoire. Years later, we moved to a little town in northeast Pennsylvania.

Culinary Wasteland

No more Russian, Sushi, Indian, Mexican, etc. resturants. There were some real Italian and Greek places, 45 miles away. If you don't count the wings, subs, pizza, and diner food, we were in a culinary wasteland. Yea, there was a Mexican place that opened up 20 miles away, but they served their burreto smothered in white sauce (not a cheese sauce, but the flour and milk kind). We get a lot of hunting in this area so you might think that there would be interesting preperations for venison. Nope, locals like it the same as their sausages, fryed in a pan with onions and green peppers, or soaked in Italian dressing and grilled. So if we wanted something wilder than honey mustard chicken wings, we would have to make it on our own.

A New Mission

I was determined to increase the culinary cultural knowledge of those around me. My idea was simple, and somewhat selfish. If I could get more people in the area exposed to "strange" culinary ideas, then the demand for different cuisines would increase, hopefully leading to an increased supply. In theory, this would translate into more availability of a wider selection of foods, for me! Meanwhile with the help of a mess of cookbooks and mail ordered supplies via the internet, I began to cook the dishes we could no longer pop out a pick up, or have delivered! In our town the only thing that gets delivered is beer and groceries. You can just forget Vindaloo! The DC area had us a bit spoiled.

One night, over a few beers at my new hangout, an opportunity arose to reach out to more than the few folks we could invite over for dinner or a party. The owners, Bill and Deb, had a "Beast Feast" in the previous years. Basically, near deer season the local and visiting hunters would drop off game meat, and the owners would prepare and serve a free game dinner. Well participation had grown, and much of the donations were showing up in a more "whole foods" state, and they could use some help.

So I jumped in with both feet, butchering the large donations and re-cutting the "butchered" ones (you can't feed 300+ with 40 "steaks"). I also added a few dishes not seen in previous years, such as teriyaki, curry, sauerbraten (because I larded the venison roasts, this worked), goulash, cajun fried venison and potatoes, and southwestern style chili. Every year dishes would change as you had to work with whatever you were donated, be it venison, squirrel, porcupine or turtle. I was very pleased over the following years to continue to introduce new cuisines to this "free" dinner. When my friends sold the inn, I started doing game dinners for the county forest land owners organization.

What's with the Squirrel thing?

It all started with needing a default picture for recipes. I needed something to use in refining the formatting of the recipe display. It was late in the day and I was rather punchy from php exposure so I got a little silly. Anyway, this is how it goes:

The squirrel represents our back country heritage. The spoons that face left represent the recipes that we have mastered and created. The spoon that faces right represent the recipes that we have yet to encounter or create. The apple represents the joy of simple ingredients. The knife represents the fact that no matter how tasty and wonderful simple ingredients are, we're going to muck around with them anyway. After all, if folks just wanted to eat apples, then there was no reason to come down out of the trees!

recipes for the country gourmet