I had big plans for a Christmas post where I was going to cook Reindeer moss.
I was all geared up to use it in place of kale in a recipe, maybe even deep fried to become a crunchy something-or-other. That was, until I read about it. There are videos on Youtube about how to survive on it in the far north, but apparently you have to boil it in baking soda and water multiple times to get rid of its acidity (sounds delicious already?) and then even when you do that, it turns into an unpalatable gelatinous mass that made the tough mountain men in the Youtube videos gag.
Plus it’s extremely high in carbs. Just what we need over the holidays – more carbs.
So… I pitched it. Recall that my goal is to make weird/creative foods delicious, not host some kind of fear factor challenge.
I was still on deck to create a dangerous appetizer for my cousins, though, so instead of reindeer moss I went for the reindeer itself,
and bought venison tenderloin.
(I only took a few pictures of my own for this post, because I find it slightly odd asking relatives, “Hey, could you just step out of my shot so that I can snap food instead of you at this holiday gathering? Thanks.” Although I definitely did just that at least twice.)
This recipe is very simple and delicious, so it really doesn’t need much commentary. Since I have some extra blog space as a result, I’ll use it to tell you a quick story that I love about the only person at the party who didn’t love the venison (she actually didn’t try it, but I don’t hold that against her, you’ll see why).
My cousin David is a cop, and he married a girl named Hannah, who is amazing, and is also a cop. She tells stories like, “So I said to the huge guy, ‘Do you want me to take you down in front of all of your friends, or do you want to quietly follow me to the back of my squad car?’” But she’s really very sweet, and this paradox (among many other qualities) makes her one of the coolest people I know.
So Hannah grew up in Fort Francis, which is here:
See Toronto way down there on the right? And see Jackfish-Hammy’s way up there in the middle? That’s 1690Km, or 1050 miles. It’s 350Km (218 miles) from Thunder Bay, which is kind of Ontario’s northernmost metropolis.
Fort Francis is far. So when David and Hannah got married, I met a bunch of her friends who visited for the wedding. And one of them told me this story about her first date with her husband, who is from somewhere more metro. They were driving in the snow, and he hit an animal with his truck. She yelled, “stop the car!” She jumped out, grabbed the roadkill, and I think prepped it in some kind of way (I want to say she skinned it, but don’t want to be overly dramatic), threw it into the back of his trunk, then got back into the truck while her future husband sat there with his mouth wide open.
Hannah’s friend told me this story while in a hot dress with her makeup all done looking super girly. They’re kind of hard core.
So when Hannah said she wasn’t into venison because she ate it nearly every day of her life, I took her word for it that she truly didn’t like it. In the same way that some people don’t like chicken, you know? I’d bet ten bucks she’s tried reindeer moss and eats it as dessert.
That was a long way to go for that story. But just as most people like chicken, you would most definitely like venison tenderloin. I didn’t have to move the knife to slice it, and I don’t think it was because the knife was extra sharp.
Here’s the recipe. Please enjoy the craisin Rudolph noses I added as garnishes because I have a very sick sense of humour.
Venison toasts with saskatoon berry mayo (makes about 14 toasts)
- 1 venison tenderloin
- 1 baguette
- 1/2 clove of garlic
- 6Tbsp mayo
- 2Tbsp saskatoonberry compote or cranberry sauce
- Craisins for garnish
Mix the following ingredients together, and add them to the thawed tenderloin in a bag, with the air squeezed out:
- 1/2C orange juice
- 1/2C olive oil
- 2Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3Tbsp brown sugar
- 1Tbsp minced garlic
- 3 or 4 turns of black pepper
Marinade in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
I fried the tenderloin because that was the heat source that happened to be available, but barbecued would be optimal if you could do it. Broiled would work too.
Heat a few Tbsp of olive oil to med-high heat. Add tenderloin and flip a few times without piercing, until it loses some of its jiggle when you poke it so that it will end up medium-rare (about 15 minutes).
While the tenderloin is cooking, mix 6Tbsp may with 2-3Tbsp of saskatoonberry compote, or cranberry sauce. Slice a french stick thinly and broil 5 minutes until toasted. Rub each one down with a half clove of garlic. Mix the mayo and compote/jam together and spread across each toast. When the tenderloin is finished, cover it with foil and let it rest a few minutes. Slice thinly, and top each toast with venison. Garnish with craisin Rudolph noses.
Enjoy the rest of your holidays!!!
Question: What was your first date with your husband/wife like, or what was the weirdest first date you ever had?