Argentinean Empanadas

Empanadas are very popular as a street food in South America. Essentially, it is a crescent-shaped pastry with a filling, which may vary greatly by region or preference. Empanadas can be fried or baked, and may use a variety of fillings from meat or seafood to fruit or cheese. While this recipe uses the filling most popular in Buenos Aires, you can fill an empanada with virtually anything you please, so experiment! Tip: A recipe for empanada dough is given here, but they can be found in the frozen pastry section of many specialty or Hispanic groceries. If you are in a rush or just feeling lazy, frozen puff pastry can serve as an adequate substitute. Note: To the reviewer who said the flavor did not seem authentic, you probably haven’t had meat empanadas from Argentina then! I am Argentine, and the ground beef empanadas you find there *always* have cumin. Other cultures may have different fillings.

INGREDIENTS

Doughargentina dove hunting blog

Meat Filling

DIRECTIONS

  1. Empanadillas-argentina wingshooting Sift the flour, mix the sifted flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the solid margarine or butter with your fingers, (best to cross cut with two knives). The flour should have an even, coarse texture, with the margarine lumps no larger than a pea.
  3. Beat together the water, eggs, and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly mix into the flour mixture, until you have the desired consistency (it should not be too sticky, but still malleable).
  4. Place the mixture on a floured surface. Knead with the heel of your hand to bring the dough together.
  5. Cover the dough and allow to sit in a cool place for at least an hour.
  6. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 of an inch (0.3 cm) thick. Cut into circles about 4-6 inches (10 – 15 cm) in diameter and lightly flour them.
  7. Heat some oil in a large saucepan. Mince the onions and garlic, and add to the pan. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  8. Add the ground meat. Break it up with with a spoon and cook, stirring until lightly browned. Drain off fat.
  9. Mix in the cumin, pepper flakes, and sugar. Adjust to taste.
  10. Chop the hard boiled eggs and halve the stuffed olives. Carefully mix into the meat mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Preheat the oven to 375ºF/200ºC.
  12. Stuff the empanada dough wrappers. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Dampen the outer perimeter of the dough.
  13. Fold over, forming a semicircle. Pinch a corner of the dough, and then fold that section onto itself. Pinch and pull out another 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) section and fold over, so that it slightly overlaps the first piece. Repeat along the length of the folded side, until you create a braided or twisted seal.
  14. If desired, brush the tops of the empanadas with beaten egg yolk for a nice golden color.
  15. Place the folded empanadas on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

(Source: By Sephardi Kitchen. www.food.com)

A GUN FOR THE LADY

As a full-time shooting instructor, I teach men, women and children. As a female shooting instructor, I teach a lot of women. Not only do I teach a lot of women, but I also field a lot of questions about guns that are suitable for women. Sometimes the questions come from the women, but more often they come from the men. Husbands, boyfriends, fathers and grandfathers, all thrilled that a special female in their lives might want to share the joy of a day on the clays course, an early morning duck hunt or an afternoon in the field.argentina dove hunting woman

It is these men who purchase more gift certificates for shooting lessons for the women in their lives than anyone else. Often they show up at the lessons as excited—or more so—than the recipients. It is these same gentlemen who again are so excited that they cannot wait to go buy that new gun for that special someone. In fact, about half the time that is just what they do. I’m not kidding. Women show up at their first lesson with a new gun purchased in advance for that lesson. I often sit and listen to the men describe the pros and cons of the newly purchased gun—one “light enough for her to handle.” Often I smile to myself and wonder how excited this guy is going to be when he tells all of his friends that his wife shoots and “even has her own gun!”

I also realize that this can be a great reason (excuse) to add to an existing gun collection. You know, one of those “our guns.” I have a friend who really wanted his wife to shoot with him and encouraged her to take lessons. When she agreed, he happily went out and purchased her a beautiful Krieghoff K-20 he had been eying. He brought both his wife and “her” new gun to the lesson. We looked over the gun and let her shoot it, but when it was noted that the stock needed to be shortened and a few other adjustments made, my friend seemed to flinch a little. The next day I got a phone call: “Are you sure we need to shorten the stock? I was hoping that gun would also serve as my bird gun.” I gently suggested that after the lesson and all of his wife’s excitement that he probably should resign himself to having to use a butt pad to lengthen the stock for his own use.

Let’s face it: Most “off the shelf” guns are made to fit the average man—and in case you haven’t noticed, this is not how the average woman is built. Women, in general, tend to have smaller body structures, with narrower shoulders, longer necks, higher cheekbones, smaller hands, and the distinctly female feature that dictates that the butt of the gun fits against their bodies at a slightly different angle than on a typical man. Thus, with the average off-the-shelf gun, the length of pull is probably going to be too long, the drop at comb is likely to be too low, and the pitch may need to be adjusted. Of course, the gun’s weight and balance are important, as well, and remember that most shotguns are manufactured for the right-handed shooter, complete with a slight cast-off—which could be a problem, given that about 65 percent of women are left-eye dominant.

Before continuing, I should explain some of these critical measurements, why they are important to proper gun fit and how they can be modified to achieve proper fit for a woman.

Length of pull (LOP): basically the distance from the trigger to the middle, or center, of the gun’s butt. (If a gun has two triggers, it is measured from the front trigger.) If LOP is too long or too short, it can adversely affect the gun mount and how you shoot. Ideally, your nose should be about 1¼” to 2″ from your thumb knuckle where it meets the trigger hand. This is an easy fix on most guns, as a wood stock can be cut down to the correct length. (Adjustments to the stock mentioned below can be done at the same time.) According to Chris Batha, women’s LOP generally falls between 12¾” and 14¼”.

Drop at comb: This is the vertical distance between the comb, or nose, at the front of the stock and a straight line extending from the muzzles to the gun butt. Often combs are too low for a woman’s longer neck, resulting in the head being lifted off of the stock in an effort to see the bird. There are several ways to fix this. Adding moleskin, readily available at drugstores, is quick and simple. Other products, such as the Accu-Riser by The Leatherman or the Beartooth Comb Raiser, look a bit better, and a more permanent fix would be adding an adjustable comb to the stock. Semi-automatic shotguns are available in left- or right-handed versions and often have shim systems that allow for some modification of the comb height and also cast (addressed below). The proper drop at heel (the vertical distance between the heel, at the back of the stock, and the line extending from the muzzles to the gun butt) depends on where the gun hits the shoulder, and we want it to be such that the collarbone is avoided.

A Gun for the Lady

Cast: This is the bend in the stock—right or left of center—as it relates to the line of the barrels, allowing for proper eye alignment down the rib. Many guns are cast-off (bent to the right) for right-handed shooters, so buyer beware again, as many women are left-eye dominant and may need a stock that is cast-on. (Changing a stock from cast-off to cast-on requires a significant amount of work—i.e., bending.) Cast allows the gun to sit into the shoulder pocket while allowing the shooter’s eye to align with the rib.

Pitch: This is the angle of the butt of the stock as it relates to the barrels. You want as much surface against the shoulder pocket as possible, but you also want it to be at an angle, to be comfortable. Women with larger chests require more down (negative) pitch, whereas women with smaller chests require more up (positive) pitch, to prevent the toe from digging into the chest. The angle of the butt also affects how high or low the gun shoots as well as the amount of felt recoil, especially at the face for women. Another consideration is the amount of cast at the toe, as the proper combination of pitch and cast—often more at the toe than at the heel—makes a gun more comfortable to shoot and helps combat things like canting the barrels, improperly mounting the gun and excessive cheek slap.argentina pigeon hunting women

Grip: The size, angle and type of grip affect LOP and the angle of the wrist. Women’s smaller hands dictate that the grip be narrower for comfort. This also applies to the forend of the gun. There are pistol, semi-pistol (also known as round knob or Prince of Wales) and straight grips. The choice is personal, and the best choice is the one that puts one’s finger in the proper relationship to the trigger.

All of these “touch points” on a gun are important considerations when getting a gun sized properly. Gunfitting has been addressed by many fine writers and experts in the field. There is no magic
formula to make it perfect. Perfection comes from the shooter’s desire to become proficient with the shotgun. And proficiency comes from consistency. Until you can mount the gun in the same place over and over, the fit will change constantly—as fit has as much to do with how you mount the gun as it does with the shape of your body.

What most instructors know and the industry is realizing is that for women to develop this proficiency, their guns should at least come close to fitting. As noted by Lars Jacob of Covey & Nye: “The gun mount should be one fluid movement. When the average lady mounts a gun with the average man’s dimensions, the gun mount is made in stages as the shooter is fitting herself to the gun. Not only is this inefficient, but tiring and inconsistent.” Yes, certainly there are women who can shoot guns straight “off the shelf.” But often these are women who are taller and/or who have been shooting a long time and are able to work through some of the nuances mentioned above.

So why all the hoopla about guns for women? Because women currently are the largest growth sector in the shotgun industry. And when women get involved, families start getting involved. That is what we need for the sport to continue to grow. One thing is for sure: While women have been competing in shotgun sports for years, more and more are entering the recreational-shooting world. I personally have watched the number of women shooters grow exponentially. Ten years ago I started a women’s shooting group called G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Really Into Shooting) with four women and myself. In November 2014 we made it an official membership organization, and in just more than one year we had 320 members, nine chapters and 10 gun clubs cheering us on. The gun industry is embracing women shooters and answering with more and more “off the shelf” guns for them (see below).

 

(Source: By Elizabeth Lanier. shootingsportsman.com )

Pigeon or Dove Tortellini

Note that you will need to cook these tortellini within a couple hours after making them — or you can freeze them and have them ready to rock whenever, although frozen tortellini only keep for 3 to 4 months before deteriorating. To properly freeze, put the whole baking sheet in the freezer for a few hours, then you can put them all in a freezer bag. Once they’re made, this recipe comes together in minutes.

This is also a recipe you can use for any red meat: Pigeon, squab and dove of course, but duck, goose, sharptail grouse, ptarmigan, woodcock, are all good substitutes. Or you could use venison, lamb, goat or beef, too.

I like a mid-range red wine to drink with this, like a Chianti or a French Cotes du Rhone. As for beer, go with something bold and malty like a Scottish ale or an English brown ale or a German dunkelweizen.

Serves 4 to 6.

Prep Time: 90 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutesPhoto by Holly A. Heyser

DOUGH

  • 10 ounces of all-purpose flour, about 2 cups
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ounce of water, about 3 tablespoons

FILLING

  • 3 pigeons or teal, or 6 doves
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons duck fat, butter or olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  •  1/4 cup sweet white wine or sherry
  • A small pinch of celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Black pepper to taste

SAUCE

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 8 juniper berries, mashed
  • Grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, for garnish

 

  1. To make the dough, make a well in the flour and drop the eggs and water in. scramble the eggs in the center with a fork and then incorporate the flour until you get a shaggy mass. Knead this well for 6 to 8 minutes, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for an hour. Alternatively, if you have a vacuum sealer, you can seal the dough, which will hydrate the dough instantly.
  2. To make the filling, salt the pigeons well while you heat up the duck fat in an ovenproof pan. Pat the birds dry and brown them well on all sides. Take your time to do this: You want them well browned. When you start this process, preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the pigeons are browned, add the garlic cloves to the pan and pop it into the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  3. When the pigeons have cooked, remove the pigeons and garlic to a plate to cool. Set the pan on the stove (remember the handle is hot!!) and deglaze all that browned goodness with the sweet wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape down the pan to incorporate everything. Let this boil for a few minutes, then turn off the heat. Pick off all the meat from the pigeons (use what’s left for stock if you want.) and remove the skins from the garlic.
  4. Chop the meat and garlic roughly and add it to a food processor. Add the celery seed, rosemary and black pepper, as well as some of the liquid and fat from the roasting pan and buzz everything into a fairly smooth paste. Taste and add salt if you need to. You might need all of the pan liquid, you might not. Eyeball it.
  5. Roll out the dough in a pasta maker or with a rolling pin. I roll mine out to No. 7 on my Atlas, with is two stops from the thinnest setting. You don’t want it ultra thin or the filling will soak through. Use something round to cut out circles of about 3 inches across — these are largish tortelli, not strictly tortellini. Put a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the circle and fold it into a half-moon, removing as much air as possible. You might need to wet the edges with a little water. Bring the ends of the half moon together and squish them to make the tortelli. You might need to flip the edges up to get that shape. This recipe makes about 40 to 45 tortelli, or twice that many tortellini if you make them small. Set each one on a baking sheet that you’ve dusted with semolina flour or fine cornmeal.
  6. To finish, melt the butter in a wide pan and add the juniper and rosemary. Keep this over low heat while you boil some water; this allows the flavors to infuse in the butter. Boil the tortellini until they float, and then for 1 minute more. Move to the butter, toss to coat and put them on the plate. Grate some cheese over them and serve at once.

(Source: By Hank Shaw. honest-food.net)

 

Ten Tips for Better Dove Hunting

Equipment and preparation wise, dove hunting is simple, especially compared to other types of wing-shooting. Skill wise, it’s notoriously difficult. Doves are small, fast and acrobatic. Consistently knocking them down can prove quite tricky.  

Patrick Flanigan, an exhibition shotgunner (and seven-time shotgunning world record holder), typically does pretty well on a dove field. But he says you don’t have to be a professional shotgunner to be a great dove shot—in fact, most hunters, new and experienced alike, can probably have better hunting this fall by just remembering a few of these tips:

1. Open the choke: Use a modified or improved-cylinder choke tube to provide you with a wider pattern. Many people use too tight of a choke for dove hunting. A tight pattern makes most shots in a dove field more difficult to hit—and it will destroy your bird if you do connect at close range.

2. Upsize your pellets: Most people use 7 ½ or 8 shot for doves, but at close range, there are so many pellets in those shells that you can pulverize your birds. Plus, those tiny pellets quickly lose energy at longer range. Flanigan likes to upsize his pellets for doves—say to 4s, 5s or 6s. He says there are still plenty of the larger pellets for a dense pattern, but the knock-down power is better at longer range.

3. Exaggerate your lead: Overshoot like you’re going to miss. You’ll shoot at most doves as they cross in front of you. Work at over exaggerating your lead by 6 feet or more, which means your barrel needs to be 6 inches in front of the dove. One inch of barrel movement equals about 1 foot of distance when you’re shooting targets in the air.

4. Stay flat-footed: Your shooting stance is extremely important. Flanigan stresses the importance of staying flat-footed. If you’re out in a cornfield standing on divots and rough ground, patch up that small area beneath your feet so you have a level spot to stand.

5. Focus on gun mount: Make sure you mount the gun correctly. Take your time when shouldering on an approaching bird, and make sure your cheek is on the stock. Otherwise, you’ll shoot high.

6. Shoot while sitting: Many shots in the dove field happen fast, and you need to shoot while sitting. Try to maintain good form and continue to focus on your gun mount. If possible, practice shooting a few clays from a sitting position before season.

7. Going away: When a dove comes in from behind you and passes in front of you, use a front lead to catch up to it. This means you’ll actually need to aim a few inches below the bird to shoot in front of it. Envision floating the bird on your gun barrel as you press the trigger.

 

8. Pick a bird: When doves approach in a group, don’t get distracted and start shooting at the mass because you’ll likely miss. Focus on one bird and stick with it until it falls.

9. Coming in: When a dove is descending over decoys or about to land on a fence, power line, crop field, etc., let it begin its descent and begin your swing below it. Just as the gun barrel blocks the bird from sight, hit the trigger.

 

10. Try decoys: Decoys aren’t necessary, but they can help you get closer shots at times. Try spacing four or five decoys out and double up a pair or two. No pattern is necessary. Spinning-wing dove decoys also offer added attraction from a distance (but make sure they’re legal to use in your hunting area).

 

(Source:  By STEPHANIE MALLORY; ILLUSTRATIONS BY PETER SUCHESKI. www.realtree.com)

Roast pigeon with braised butter beans

1- Begin this pigeon recipe by preparing the butter beans. To cook the beans, put the drained, soaked beans in a saucepan of fresh water. Add the celery and bay and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 2 hours or until soft
  • 300g of butter beans
  • 1 head of celery
  • 1 bay leaf
2- If the pigeons have not been gutted, remove and, but reserve the livers. Cut the feet but not all the way though: twist and pull and the feet will come off together with the sinew from the drumstick. Remove the wishbone and neck bones from each pigeon and keep to one side
  • 4 squab pigeons
3- Finely chop the shallots and divide them between the four pigeon cavities. Put a bay leaf and sprig of thyme in each one too. Season the inside of the birds with salt and pepper and push a cocktail stick though the legs to secure
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt
  • black pepper
4- To make the sauce, roughly chop the shallots and fry them along with the pigeon scraps for a few minutes. Add the brandy and bring to the boil, then add the Madeira and white wine. Boil until reduced by half, then add the stocks and simmer for another 30 minutes
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 50ml of brandy
  • 100ml of Madeira
  • 100ml of white wine
5- Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan, return it to the boil and reduce until slightly thickened
6- Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7. Place the pigeons in a roasting tray, season with salt and pepper and spread the butter over the breasts. Once the oven is hot, roast the pigeons on their backs for 8 minutes. Baste with the buttery pan juices then turn the birds over so they are breast-down and continue cooking for a further 4 minutes for pink meat and 6-8 minutes for well done
  • salt
  • black pepper
7- Remove the pigeons from the oven and set aside on a warm tray to rest. Pour the fat away from the roasting pan then place it over a high heat. Use the sauce you have made to deglaze the roasting pan, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom. Strain the sauce back into a clean saucepan and set aside
8- To cook the mushrooms, heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the cleaned wild mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender. Season to taste. Meanwhile, reheat the butter beans and check the seasoning
  • 150g of wild mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
9- Remove the legs from the pigeons and return them to the oven to continue cooking for another 4 minutes while you carve the breasts (with wings attached) from the carcass
10- Reheat the butter beans and season with salt and pepper
  • salt
  • black pepper
11- To plate, arrange the beans and mushrooms on heated serving plates. Sit the pigeon breast portions on top and add the legs. Pour the sauce over and serve.
(Source: By Bryan Webb. greatbritishchefs.com)
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