Pan Seared Venison Backstraps with Mushroom Risotto and Asparagus

It’s always a treat when we get venison on our table, and especially when it is the prized backstraps. I have to thank my good friend Aaron for this wonderful gift. It took me a while to decide how I wanted to prepare dinner for the venison. I had a few thought and even ways after I prepared this dish to do it better the next time around. I was going through the cabinets and notices I still had some Arborio rice from a few months ago where I made Risotto to pair with a New-York Strip, and I thought it would go nicely with the venison.

The only thing I really wish I had differently for the Risotto in this dish was wild mushrooms. You can use, and choose your own selection of mushrooms for this dish, or whatever you have at your disposal. And, I think the next time I would like to have a longer seasoning time on the meat or even marinate it with some red wine and rosemary. I think the red wine would pair nicely with the meat. But, overall this was a dish we really enjoyed, and look forward to improving on.

Servings: 2 people
Mushroom Risotto
  • 1 cups Arborio rice
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese not the powdered stuff
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup dices onion
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 - Backstrap Medallions
  • 2 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • kosher or sea salt & pepper
  • 1/2 lbs Asparagus
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Season the meat on both side with salt, pepper and rosemary. Let it sit while preparing the other dishes.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

  2. Place Asparagus on a baking tray.

  3. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Rotate the asparagus on the dish to cover thoroughly with oil, salt and pepper.

  5. Place in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway though.

Mushroom Risotto (Risotto will take about 30-40 minutes to prepare.)
  1. In a pot, add your chicken stock, and place on low heat.

  2. In a hot pan add 1 tablespoon of butter, and saute mushrooms.

  3. Remove mushrooms to a separate bowl.

  4. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan, and diced onions or scallions and saute.

  5. After, add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 cup of Arborio rice.

  6. Stir the rice for about 2-3 minutes continuously, slightly toasting the rice until the edges have turned translucent.

  7. Add 1 cup of white wine to de-glaze the pan. Stir until all of the wine is nearly evaporated.

  8. Add in ½ cup of chicken broth in increments , stirring constantly. When the broth is almost compltetly absorbed by the rice, add in another ½ cup of broth, and repeat until the rice is al dente, fluffy, and creamy. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes.

  9. Once the rice is done, Remove from heat, add in another ½ cup of chicken stock, the mushrooms and 1 cup of parmesan cheese, and 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Stir to incorporate.

  1. In a hot pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 2 table spoons of olive oil, and a sprig of rosemary.

  2. Sear the venison for 3-4 minutes on each side (until you reach your desired temperature). Medium Rare/Medium is recommended.

  3. Remove and let rest then slice and serve.

Peach Cobbler + Wonton Cup Appetizers

Nothing really quite says southern like a nice juicy peach. This iconic southern dessert is probably my all time favorite, and it is really simple to make. For this recipe I use canned peaches (for convenience, and they are readily available out of season), but if you want to hassle with peeling, pitting, and prepping fresh peaches I won’t stop you. If you want to make the standard peach cobbler, there is no need to use the wonton wrappers.

Peach Cobbler
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
  • 29 oz Canned Peaches
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup Sugar divided
  • 1 cup Self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 stick Un-salted butter 1/2 cup
  • 2 tsp vanilla flavoring divided
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • ground cinnomon
  1. Pre-heat over to 425F

  2. In a 13- x 9-inch baking dish add peaches with juice, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, 1 tsp of vanilla, cornstarch, and sprinkle cinnamon generously over the top. Stir ingredients together. 

  3. Place the dish in the over for 10 minutes.

  4. In a sauce pan bring the water to a boil.

  5. Cut butter in to small pieces.

  6. In a large bowl combine the flour, 1/2 sugar, baking powder, salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon (or more to taste), 1 tsp of vanilla, and butter.

  7. Slowly add the boiling water and mix ingredients in to a batter.

  8. Remove the peaches from the oven.

  9. With a spoon, carefully add scoops of the mixture over the top of the peaches.

  10. Bake for 30-45 minutes. Check at 30 minutes and continue until the top is a nice golden color, and the liquid is bubbling around the sides.

  11. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes.

Wonton Wrapper Cups
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • vegetable or light olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Brush oil on both sides of each wonton wrapper.

  3. Tuck the wrapper evenly into a well of a standard sized 12 cupcake pan.

  4. Bake until cups are crispy and golden brown. About 10 minutes

  5. Remove from oven, and let cool.

  6. Fill cups with Peach Cobbler filling

  7. Add whipped cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon

Homestead Concept Designing with Chief Architect – Part 1

I came across Chief Architect Software when I was looking around for a program to design blueprints. I tried several free programs online and some trial versions of others. Nothing seems to give me exactly what I was looking for. When I found Chief Architect I was thrilled. I played around with the trial version and watched many of the starting videos they have available. The blueprint design window in itself is great, I was able to switch views, create new ones for things like water and electrical.

Being a visual person though the option to have a blueprint layout and also go into a 3-D view, Framing View and Cross-section views to get a real-world look at what I was creating, and a place to make visual adjustments that fit my style and liking. There are also many landscaping features that I have not experimented within their full capacity, yet! I will be looking more into those as I continue learning about the programs and diving in deeper.

The program was a little hard to understand and a little intimidating when I opened it up for the first time, but there were many videos, help tutorials, and forums to help me figure out the basics, and some of the more complex questions I ran into. The only down-side of the program is the cost, and it is not really beginner type software. The similar version Chief Home Designer is around $400 and the Chief Architect Premier is a whopping $2,795. But, if you are like me, you want to have control over what your future home will look like and Do-it-yourself. Though I am by no means an Architect, I do have some ideas of what I want, and how I want them to look so getting the experience of learning and designing that idea and being able to visually see the layout and blueprints is rewarding.

In this section of videos, I will be using the Chief Architect to work out some design ideas, and hopefully give anyone out there some pointers that are looking to take a similar path in designing their homestead home. I am in no way an authoritative resource for the Chief Architect Programs, and this series will be a learn as I go, but if you have questions I am sure I can help to the best of my ability.

Gathering and Drying Rose Hips

The past few days have been cold and frigid in PA, today warmed up to 50 so I made the most of it and took a hike. While I was out I came across some rose hips. Rose hips can be eaten raw, but we dry them to use in our teas and Kombucha. The best time to harvest rose hips is in the cooler months after the first frost where they become soft and sweet.

The Multi-flora Rose is a common invasive species originating from to Japan and China, and can be found abundantly in our area. The rose hips of the Multi-flora Rose are small, unlike some cultivated varieties. I do recommend using gloves if you plan to gather rose hips.

To air dry rose hips, I give them a rinse with warm water, pat dry, and de-stem. To de-stem I found that using a pair of scissors works great to speed up this process. Then I spread them out on cardboard paper, and let them sit for a few weeks give them a turn every few days until they are completely dry.
A quicker way is to use a dehydrator or the oven or toaster oven. Since I do not have a dehydrator I use my over to help with the drying process. To start I rinse and de-stem the rose hips. Next I cover my toaster over tray with aluminum foil, add the rose hips to the tray, and place it in the oven. Set the oven to the lowest temperature, and set the timer to 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes rotate the rose hips, and reset the timer for another 10 minutes. Continue to do this for at least an hour or longer depending on the size of your rose hips. Keep checking to make sure that you do not burn your rose hips.

When your rose hips have dried you can store them in a glass jar or a brown paper bag away from sunlight.

Dried rose hips can be used in a number of ways. Try steeping some with your next cup of tea, a homemade vinaigrette, or kombucha. See our recipes that include rose hips. Rosemary, Rose hip and Sage Kombucha Recipe and Cranberry, Grapefruit, Hibiscus, and Rose hip Kombucha

Books on Foraging: (affiliate):
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide
Northeast Foraging
Foraging Cookbook
Forage, Harvest, Feast: A Wild-Inspired Cuisine
Wild Berries & Fruits Field Guide of IN, KY, OH
Foraging with Kids

Fried Okra with Habanero Mustard Sauce

Originating from Africa, okra is a strange delicacy that is related to cotton and hibiscus. It can be a fruitful plant, especially in warmer growing climates. Many people shy away from okra because of its slimy texture. I’ve always been fond of okra, and every time I have a chance to use it, I feel like I am going back to my roots in the south.

A good friend of mine has a nice-sized garden, and every year we grow a few types of okra plants. From the common Clemson Spineless, to some really neat varieties that we get form like Red-velvet, Star of David, Burmese, and a few others. So far our favorite is the Star of David, the pods that form on these plants are short but larger in circumference than most other varieties. The long, drawn-out wait turns to joy when it is time to pick and cook the okra straight from the garden. How I long for those summer days.

There are many recipes that okra can be found in though out the world. I recently picked up the cook book Okra: a Savor the South and I hope to try a few of these dishes in the near future. But, for me, most of my experience with okra comes from my child hood in South Carolina with recipes like Steamed Okra, Pickled Okra, Peppery Stewed Okra and Tomato Soup, and my favorite, Fried Okra.

Fried Okra is simple, quick, and easier to enjoy for those trying it for the first time.

  • 1 lbs Fresh Cut Okra
  • ½ cup butter milk
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal or as an alternative Panko works too
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cheyenne pepper less if needed
  • Sea Salt or Kosher Salt added after cooking to taste.
  • 2 cups Vegetable Oil
Sauce Mix
  • ¼ cup Yellow Mustard
  • 1/8 cup Fire Roasted Habanero Sauce We like
  1. In a large cast iron skillet or cast iron pot, add oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, Cajun seasoning, black pepper and Cheyenne pepper.
  3. In small batches dip the okra in the milk, and then dredge in flour mixture to coat well.
  4. Place okra on a baking pan spread out and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Heat oil, then carefully add small batches of okra to in to the pan and cook until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, sprinkle sea salt to taste, and then serve.
  7. Mix Mustard and Habanera Sauce of a tangy, spicy dip.


Take 2 – Video Editors

I installed several open-source and free video editing programs to see which one had the best features, and had an easy learning curve. The two runner ups that had the most promise were OpenShot Video Editor, and Shotcut, but they were missing a few features I was looking for like color correction, and audio editing. Both seem be a great free open-source option for anyone looking to start editing family video clips, but they lacked many professional features.

I finally went with the free version of DaVinci Resolve 15. DaVinci Resolve is a professional video editing software. The free version has limits of some of the features you can use, and the number of video tracks that can be added, but the free option had everything I was looking for. There are separate modulus for editing, color correction, and audio mixing along with a few audio and visual effects/transitions. It did take some time to get the hang of everything, and watching a few tutorial videos on YouTube, but after a few hours making edits,color corrections and transitions DaVinci Resolve is less frightening than when I loaded it for the first time.

In the future I will be trying my hand at a few screen capture videos as well for some tutorials on the video editing process, using Chief Architect Pro, and other tech related resources we are using at Road to Homesteading to expand our content and channel. So that left me wondering what software was a good choice for screen capture recording. The one solution I found that was open-source, free, and easy to operate was OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studio. This program is used by many professional streamer online. Not only is it a good resource for live streaming to channels like Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and other top platforms it is also a top quality free screen recorder.

Simple Mango Kombucha

This is a great starter flavor for the mango lovers out there.

Servings: 1 Gallon
  • 1 Gallon Unflavored Kombucha
  • 1 Cup Sliced Mango
  1. Place mash the Mango slices lightly then add to the Kombucha.

  2. Give the ingredients a light stir.

  3. Recover your Kombucha with your cloth.

  4. Let the mix sit for 1-2 days. Taste in between until you are happy with the flavor.

  5. Strain and remove the mint and lime.

  6. Finally Bottle.

See our post on bottling, to bottle your Kombucha

Cranberry, Grapefruit, Hibiscus, and Rosehip Kombucha

Did someone say tart, tangy and floral? Find dried herbs here or here

Servings: 1 Gallon
  • 1 Gallon Unflavored Kombucha
  • 2 Quarters Grapefruit
  • 1/2 Cup Cranberries cut in halves
  • 1/4 oz Dried Hibiscus Leaves
  • 1/2 oz Dried Rosehips
  1. Place the Rosehips and Hibiscus in the Kombucha.

  2. Cut cranberries in to halves.

  3. Cut the Grapefruit in to quarters.

  4. Add 2 quarters of the grapefruit, giving them a slight squeeze, the add the cranberry halves.

  5. Give the ingredients a light stir.

  6. Recover your Kombucha with your cloth.

  7. Let the mix sit for 1-2 days. Taste in between until you are happy with the flavor.

  8. Strain and remove the mint and lime.

  9. Finally Bottle.

See our post on bottling, to bottle your Kombucha

Rosemary, Rosehip and Sage Kombucha Recipe

One of the first experimental herbs flavored Kombucha Recipes that we tried, and it was wonderful, refreshing and different from most of the fruity flavors we made before. It is important to note that when using fresh herbs in Kombucha that a little goes a long way and to much may make your batch over-powering.

Sampling is one way we start an experimental flavor, before making a full batch. Remove 2 cups of Kombucha from the batch and scale down the herbs to make a sample tasting. You can add this to a mason jar, cover, and let sit for 1-2 days, tasting in intervals. This way you are not using a whole batch on a flavor you may not like. Find dried herbs here or here

Servings: 1 Gallon
  • 1 Gallon Unflavored Kombucha
  • 2 oz. Dried Rosthips
  • 3-5 leaves Fresh Sage or 1 oz dried
  • 1 sprig Fresh Rosemary or 1 oz dries
  1. Add all herbs to the Kombucha.

  2. Give them a few light stirs with a wooden spoon.

  3. Recover your Kombucha with your cloth.

  4. Let the herbs infuse for 1-2 days. Taste in between until you are happy with the flavor and strength of the herbs.

  5. Strain and remove herbs.

  6. Finally Bottle.

See our post on bottling, to bottle your herbal Kombucha

Mint & Lime Kombucha

This refreshing Mojito inspired Kombucha is defiantly a summertime hit, or great for a Taco Night.

Servings: 1 Gallon
  • 1 Gallon Unflavored Kombucha
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Mint (around 10 leaves)
  • 2 Limes
  1. Place the mint leaves in one hand and gently smack it with the other, then place in the Kombucha.

  2. Cut the limes in to quarters, lightly squeeze the juice in to the Kombucha, then add the lime parts as well.

  3. Give the ingredients a light stir.

  4. Recover your Kombucha with your cloth.

  5. Let the mix sit for 1-2 days. Taste in between until you are happy with the flavor.

  6. Strain and remove the mint and lime.

  7. Finally Bottle.

See our post on bottling, to bottle your Kombucha