Anytime a Chef makes something "prepared two ways" I giggle like a schoolgirl at a Taylor Swift concert (gag, I know, hence the simile) and think to myself How can anyone prepare something in two different ways? My answer is always met with some pairing that looks like it came out of a museum for food I would never eat but looks super pretty; a duo of duck, one pan-seared (whatever that means) and one thrown into dirt then fried: a pair of pear, both emulsified (again, not sure what that refers to) but one dipped into acid and set on fire (that one seems wrong and unsafe): a half quatrain of pig's ears, one still on the pig, one off. Given that I am a preschooler compared to these behemoths of culinary perfection, if I get one dish right, it is a celebration that will rival the one I will throw when Taylor Swift stops her rein of terrible music upon the good name of Country music. If I even attempted a duo of anything, one would probably turn out edible but discolored while the other would be on fire, taking my house with it. Imagine my surprise, however, when I woke up this morning and realized that last night, with a little of DU's help, I had "prepared" venison "two ways".
We, fortunately, thankfully and blessfully (not a word, I know but I just invented it, ahhh the power of blogging), have a whole freezer full of deer meat. With my buck and DU's doe/buck combination, we are in desperate need of a bigger freezing containment structure. Hence, I have been eating venison with everything lately. This has forced a little of the Top Chef knowledge I've osmosised (again, not a word, but it is now!! MUAHAHAH!) to the surface. I've made everything from venison pitas with onion chip dip, pasta with salsa, and even little fajitas with an absurd amount of sour cream. Last night was no different when DU suggested we pull out some tenderloin from his buck and grill it, bacon wrapped. DU has a tendency to wrap a lot of foods in bacon, and while this gives me a small level of anxiety, it always turns out perfectly so I go with it. Before we could really get our fingers dirty with the wild game, DU had to run "somewhere" to get "something". If you read Mounted In North Carolina, then you know this is manspeak for "I have a present for you but I don't want you to volunteer to come along and ruin the surprise". So, while I did laundry, made DU's lunch for the next day (nothing special there, it looked a lot like the lunches I opened as a second-grader) and actually did laundry (gasp!), DU went out to do whatever it is that he does.
About an hour later, the dogs' barking (Dixie, we have come to find is a really good home-defense dog as her howling seems that of a much larger canine) informed me that DU was home. I greeted him at the door, and to my surprise (not really, because I knew exactly where he was going), he was holding my first ever buck, European mounted, just as I wanted it. Our taxidermist did a fantastic job preparing our bone-seared venison head, such a good job in fact, that for the purposes of this post, I'm going to take part of the credit. Okay, maybe not any of the credit but I'll just say that I had some hand in preparing the head one way (I killed it, didn't I?). This is my first-ever buck, taken with a bow, on camera, that has been mounted so the fact that I stare at it each time I walk into my bedroom is completely normal. He is currently hanging between the rungs of our Christmas-light entwined log backboard, watching over all, a testimony to my bowhuntress skills, an afternoon I will remember forever.
Once Mr. Bone was in his proper place, DU and I focused on our dinner. The tenderloin was thawed in a pool of warm water then extracted from their bag to lay upon the cutting board. Thick slabs of bacon were then halved then thirded (word? maybe?), wrapped around and adhered to the venison with toothpicks*. The meat then was carried with a manly touch to the manly grill to be manly watched for about 10 minutes. DU had the little nuggets of PETA- disapproved but humanely killed meat on a high heat so while the outside began to crisp, the inside heated slightly. While DU manned the manly grill, I threw together some homemade (read: from the blue box) macaroni and cheese. After a whole tenth of an hour of blood, sweat and a couple of tears, our dinner was ready, venison prepared its second way: slightly charred, wrapped in bacon and delicious.
For the past couple months and for the next, DU and I have to face some tough situations. Again, I can't go into detail here even though I would positively love to tell y'all everything. Since I've lost my job and have been unable to find new work, we have been really struggling to get by, hence I have been sulking a lot, not doing much besides looking for work, reading book after book, and crying. However, this morning, after I realized that I had done something (okay, maybe not me, by myself but me nonetheless ((give me a bone here, this is the first realization of my ability to overcome anything, face any challenge and meet it head-on has not disappeared in the face of all of our recent adversity!))) I never thought myself able to do, I understood that life as I was living it wasn't true to who I am. So, starting today, as in this morning at 6:42, I am going to start living again and try my best to disallow any of the negativity surrounding us to affect me so greatly anymore. I have a couple plans go about this (volunteer at the library, since I spend enough time there anyway, write for a new blog (details to come), walk the dogs more, and stop taking everything so seriously all the time) and I feel ready to take on the world. I needed this push desperately, this realization of the way I've been living my life, and who knew it would come from venison, prepared two ways?