The Weston “Earth to Table” Series Presents – Eastern Shore “Fish” and Chips

The basic premise of The Weston “Earth to Table” Series is that our team of hunters, anglers, foragers and micro-farmers are out in the field taking part in a hands-on experience with the foods that we will be using in this series. All of our proteins have been harvested or raised by one of our team members and the vegetable portions have either been found, grown or purchased from one of our many local farmer’s markets.

By approaching food from this angle we hope to promote the consumption of locally sourced items and provide outdoorsmen/outdoorswomen with another option for preparing wild game and food from the surrounding area.

In addition to this article, you will be able to view a video of the preparation of this dish right here on the Chasin’ Whitetails Media website, on our YouTube channel or on Vimeo. So please feel free to tune in and watch as we fire things up in the Chasin’ Whitetails test kitchen at Mill Creek Brewery and put some Weston equipment to work in order to “Reconnect with Real Food”.

For this month’s recipe, we decided to put a new spin on an old staple…Fish and Chips. This past summer our team was able to harvest some ‘Rhinoptera bonas’, more commonly known as Cownose Rays, on a bow fishing trip to the upper Chesapeake Bay. We have come up with several recipes that take advantage of this surprisingly delicious protein, but Eastern Shore “Fish” and Chips was a favorite amongst our team.

*Using both the French Fry Cutter and the Weston Deep Fryer were integral to the preparation of this dish. Check out the teaser videos of them in action on Instagram @chasinwhitetailsmedia).

Eastern Shore “Fish” and Chips

Ingredients

  •  1 1/2 – 2 lbs. Stingray wing (cleaned and cut into half inch strips)
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 16 oz. Beer of your choice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. French Fries (Chips)
  • Additional flour for dredging the stingray

***In order to give yourself the best opportunity for success when preparing this recipe, you must follow these three simple rules…

  1. Make sure that you have enough oil in the Weston Deep Fryer to ensure the product will float in the oil as opposed to sitting on the bottom.
  2. Make sure that the oil is at 375°F minimum, but not over 400°F maximum.
  3. Do not over mix the batter. Mix it just enough to incorporate the ingredients.

Preparation

Bring the oil up to temperature while you are prepping the dry ingredients.

Place all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix them thoroughly.

Add 1 cup of beer to the flour mixture. You’re looking for a consistency that is slightly thinner than pancake batter (you may need a little more or a little less liquid to achieve the proper consistency). Remember that the consistency is the key!

Lightly dredge the stingray in flour (This helps the batter adhere to the meat properly).

Place the stingray in the batter to coat.

Immediately after coating the stingray lower it into the oil using a sweeping motion.

As the stingray hits the basket bottom make sure to shake the basket to avoid sticking.

Cook the stingray for about 3 to 4 minutes. (The internal temperature should reach 145°F for safe consumption).

Remove the stingray and allow it to drain slightly.

Plating

Serve the stingray with a side of fresh cut French Fries and some delicious remoulade for dipping (see recipe below).

To prepare the remoulade sauce simply mix the following ingredients in a bowl. For best results allow the sauce to sit in the refrigerator overnight.

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Mustard of your choice (Creole, Dijon or Whole Grain all work well)
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Horseradish
  • 2 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
  • 2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Finely Chopped garlic (We utilized the Weston Chopper)

The Chasin’ Whitetails Challenge

Okay so here it is…as the 2018 – 2019 hunting season begins to wind down we are all going to need something new to talk about around the campfire. Obviously we will tell our friends all about the game that we bagged and about the ones that got away. We will discuss the new spots we are going to focus our attention on and the “hot-spots” that didn’t produce the way that we had expected them to. We’ll tell some “war-stories” about deer camp and what our fishing plans are for the spring, but I’m interested in a subject that has a little more “meat on the bone”.

I have recently had some serious upheaval in my life. Over the last several months I’ve started to come to the conclusion that it’s time to make a major change. I’ve decided that we should all live our lives with one simple thought in mind…living our life in a manner focused on happiness. Life is too short to spend all of our time making sure that our boss ends up rich while we end up emotionally spent.

At the age of 47 I was completely unprepared for the passing of my mom this past November. Obviously it can happen to anyone at any time, but I hadn’t even started to contemplate my life without her in it. Her passing leaves my Dad on his own for the first time in his life. At 71 years old he’s still more than capable of taking care of himself, but he is a warm weather guy and I don’t see him ever moving back to the Northeast. I’d love to end up a little closer to him geographically speaking.

My little sister is a successful food stylist that lives on the outskirts of Chicago. She is awesome at her job and is committed to staying in that part of the world for the foreseeable future. She has a very solid situation and is more than capable of taking care of herself.

My son just moved into his first apartment in Lynchburg, VA and will, most likely, be moving towards being out on his own and in that neck of the woods fulltime. He’s a good kid that has another couple years of college to knock out. I’d like to remain within an easy day’s drive from him.

My mother-in-law lives in FL and my father in law lives in PA. They are both pretty healthy, financially stable and are both currently able to fend for themselves. My wife is an only child, so there are no siblings to worry about on her side of the family.

I am gainfully employed and enjoy my current position, however, I am also at the point in my life where if I am ever going to try something new…well then the clock is ticking. I plan to continue my endeavors with Chasin’ Whitetails Media, but that can happen from anywhere and part of this discussion revolves around being able to increase my outdoors activities.

On the personal front I like to waterfowl hunt, small game hunt and I am very interested in learning more about hog hunting. I like to fish, but prefer saltwater opportunities. I plan to own an 18’ – 21’ skiff of some sort that I can hunt, fish and scoot around in. I like warm weather, hate snow and would like to wear shorts 365 days a year. I love to be outdoors, enjoy playing golf, shooting sporting clays and watching baseball. Professionally I have been in sales and management for roughly my entire adult life and would see myself remaining in that capacity.

My wife likes to stay busy. She enjoys shopping, socializing and hits the gym religiously. She likes the idea of a shared outdoor activity, however, so far hunting, fishing and golf haven’t worked out well for us. She likes warm weather, but she’d also like to see spring and fall to some extent. Professionally she has held numerous banking positions and does well in customer service, She’d also like to get more involved in volunteering, specifically at an animal rescue of some sort.

We both like the idea of “community living”. By “community living” I am talking about planned developments that include shared amenities: rec. centers, swimming pools, fitness centers, golf courses, sports leagues, restaurants, bars, shops, etc.

So here is the challenge. Pick the place that my wife and I should move. There are really no rules to this challenge and there is no guarantee that we’ll follow through and pick up sticks, but the idea of a fresh start is always fun to explore. I’d love to hear your opinions on the perfect town and why you’ve zeroed in on that particular location. Let’s hear your thoughts on the perfect sportsman’s paradise here in the grand old USA.

 

 

 

 

Tranquility Custom Rods

I’ll lay my cards out on the table early in this article. I do not consider myself to be much of a fisherman.

I enjoy deep sea fishing from time to time, but mostly for the boat ride. I grew up doing a lot of surf fishing, but haven’t done much of that in the last twenty years. Fishing has always been my Dad’s thing and, since my son is a fishing fanatic too, it must have simply skipped a generation?

So why is this non-fishing guy writing an article about a custom rod builder you may ask? Well it’s pretty simple…I believe in generating publicity for good people that work hard to provide their clients with a quality product at a fair price. Greg Kwiatkowski, of Tranquility Custom Rods, is one such person.

I met Greg when, Chasin’ Whitetails team member, Max Crumlich (@theroadsideangler) mentioned that he had a friend of a friend that wanted to discuss a possible partnership on some custom fishing rods for our CWM “The Roadside Angler” series. As a senior member of our management team I decided that I’d accompany Max to his meeting just in case any questions came up. To make a long story short a lot of questions came up.

Max and Greg started discussing fishing rods and that little “Charlie Brown’s teacher voice” started playing in my head “Whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp”.

Questions about the length, flex, material and targeted species were flying around in the ether. So as those two discussed their passions for all things fishing I decided to take in the space that Tranquility Custom Rods currently occupies.

Although the main working area is a relatively small space it is extremely well laid out. An “L” shaped work area, that appeared to be custom built for guys like Greg and I (both well over 6’ tall), takes up two of the walls. The third wall is made up of two closets that house shelving for additional storage. Every piece and part has a defined place that it calls home. A rack of colorful thread dominates one corner of the workspace providing Greg with what appears to be an endless amount of color combinations. There were multiple drying racks spinning rods that had recently been clear coated and a barely visible cork board that displayed current and upcoming work orders.

The second room at Tranquility contains a couch, kitchen area and a pool table that, at that time, was being used as the Tranquility shipping department. Incoming pieces and parts were to the left and several recently completed rods were packaged up and off to the right side. I can only assume that this area harkens back to the early days when Greg still had enough time to shoot a game of pool? As it stands now there were enough outgoing packages to prove to me that Tranquility’s custom work is in high demand.

As I circled back to the conversation it was evident that Greg is very thorough. Every question that Max asked was answered in detail and usually elicited a follow up question to help Greg pinpoint exactly what it was our team was looking for out of these rods. They discussed what our team would be doing with the rods, where they’d be fishing and what each team member would like to see in the rods aesthetic design. The majority of the members of “The Roadside Angler” team are under the age of 25 so between their ideas and Greg’s abilities some really stunning fishing rods were produced. Over the next several months be on the lookout for the rod reviews at www.chasinwhitetails.com.

Like I mentioned above, I do not claim to be an angler of any worth. I like to wet a line from time to time, but I spend the majority of my outdoors time with a shotgun in hand. Our “The Roadside Angler” team on the other hand are fishing fanatics. They eat, sleep and dream about being on the water. They also fall into the millennial age group so at this point in their young lives money is a constant concern. They are not yet able to purchase rods in the $1,000.00 or more range. Thankfully Tranquility Custom Rods is able to work with each customer to design a rod that meets their needs and their budget.

So if you are looking for a custom rod, or would like to give one as a gift, I would strongly recommend giving Tranquility Custom Rods a shot at your business. I can assure you that Greg will go above and beyond to make sure that you get a rod that both satisfies your needs and makes your fishing buddies jealous.

 

Tranquility Custom Rods

Contact – Greg Kwiatkowski

Phone – (717) 572-3053

Email – tranquilitycustomrods@gmail.com

Instagram – @tranquilitycustom

A Maryland Tradition – Pan Seared Rockfish

Maryland is famous for several regional culinary delights. As a Pennsylvania guy I had some previous experience with the “imported” staples such as steamed crabs, Chesapeake Bay oysters, crab cakes, Berger cookies, Thrashers French Fries and National Bohemian Beer. However, it wasn’t until after I started working in Maryland that this delicious dish was first introduced to me.

Prior to my Maryland employment I had never even fished the Chesapeake Bay for the official State Fish of Maryland. You may hear the Monroe saxatilis, or striped Bass, called by a lot of different nicknames, but when you are in Maryland you better understand that it’s called a Rockfish here, Hon!

Here is my favorite way to prepare it.

Rick “The Butchers” Famous – Pan Seared Rockfish

Ingredients

  • 6 portions (3 – 6 oz.) Fresh Caught Rockfish Fillet
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Canola Oil

Tartar Sauce Ingredients

  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

 

Preparation

Rinse the Rockfish portions and pat dry with a paper towel

Put canola oil into the pan and heat to medium high heat

Mix the All-Purpose Flour with the Old Bay Seasoning and coat fish

Add the butter to the pan and heat until melted

Sear fish 2-3 minutes per side and remove from the pan

Add additional Old Bay Seasoning to taste

For the Tartar Sauce mix the Mayo, Pickle Relish and the Lemon juice together

Serve the Tartar sauce on the side for dipping

 

I hope that you enjoy this tasty recipe!

 

Rick “The Butcher” Bolinsky

Candied Bacon

This has to be one of my favorite uses for delicious, cured bacon outside of simply just eating it straight out of the oven.

It’s a nice treat any time of year, but it’s especially great around the holidays. This can be done with any type of bacon depending on your tastes; hardwood smoked, apple wood smoked, sugar or salt cured…your choice.

One of my favorite uses for this little delectable is garnishing an Eastern Shore Bloody Mary. It’s also a great item to sit out on the snack table.

CANDIED BACON

Prep time: 5 minutes  – Cook time: 25 minutes

You will need a baking sheet, some aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and a cooling rack for this recipe.

Ingredients

1 lb. Thick cut Bacon (¼ inch or more thick)

2 cups light or dark brown sugar

1 Tsp crushed red pepper  (or you may substitute – ½ Tsp ground cayenne pepper)

1 Tbsp Kosher salt

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line the pan with either aluminum foil or parchment paper. This is to catch the sugars and fat that drip from the bacon.
  • Mix the brown sugar and hot pepper (or cayenne pepper) together thoroughly.
  • Dredge and press the bacon into the sugar mix. Make sure that it is lightly coated and not crusted.
  • You may sprinkle additional sugar on your bacon during the cooking process.
  • Place all of the strips of bacon in a single layer on the cooling rack with a little space between the strips.
  • Place that rack over the lined baking sheet. It doesn’t matter if it fits exactly. Just make sure nothing will drip onto your oven or the heating element.
  • Place the rack and tray combo into the oven on the middle rack. Cooking for about 10 minutes then flip the bacon.
  • Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture on the bacon and place it back into the oven for at least another 5 minutes

The goal is to get the sugars to melt and caramelize on your bacon as the bacon renders and crisps. The time will also depend on the thickness of the bacon, oven type and heat source.  Remember that the bacon will carry over cook after you remove it from the oven. This means that you should remove it a little earlier than your desired crispness as it will continue to crisp up as it sits.

A 2019 NYE Resolution

I know that the majority of people reading this article are already getting out there and getting after it, but you…yeah you…you know who you are.

You’re that person that craves the outdoors. You’ve watched every  single Alaska outdoors show rerun, you never miss an episode of that “how to forge” series, the idea of “off the grid” makes every hair on your neck stand at attention and you know exactly who Steve Rinella is without doing a Google search.

So…what will it take to convince you to get out from behind that computer screen and to venture out into the great outdoors? You know you want to do it, but you just need a little shove. You are dying to throw that Snuggie off,  kick off your furry slippers and trade in your energy drink for some crystal clear mountain spring water, but how is it possible to learn everything you need to know?

Well you’ve come to the right place. The Chasin Whitetails website has some valuable information to help get you started.

  • The Heartbeat offers an inside look at our hunting adventures.
  • Life Afowl will give you insight into the world of waterfowl hunting.
  • The Roadside Angler follows a group of fishing fanatics onto the water
  • The Fortified Female will prove to you that women are every bit as capable of getting outdoors and getting after it.
  • Hunt Fish Forage Farm shows you how to take your harvest from Earth to table.
  • Introducin’ the Outdoors provides a broad overview of helpful information for those of you that are just getting started.
  • In the News is a weekly roundup of press releases from the outdoor industry on new and exciting products.
  • The Killin’ It Podcast is a chance to pull up a stump and sit down by the campfire as our team discusses a little bit of everything outdoors related.

Now I’m not going to tell you that sitting down and scanning our website is going to make you an expert…heck, none of us are claiming to be experts. We are just a group of avid outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen that want to share our experiences with anyone that is crazy enough to watch, read or to listen to them.

Getting outdoors is all about the knowledge that you take away from your time afield. Our mission is to share our experiences with you. We will share the good, the bad and the ugly as we continue to hone our skills in an effort to reinforce our connection with Mother Nature. Hopefully you’ll learn something from our successful hunts, but my guess is you’ll learn even more from our failures

By this point in the article I hope that you’ve picked up on my sense of humor? It’s pretty sarcastic and it’s definitely dry, but the one thing that I can tell you with all seriousness is that I love being outdoors. Every one of us here at Chasin’ Whitetails Media would like nothing more than to be that spark that sets your love of the outdoors on fire.

I Shot a Deer: Now What? On the Trail

After sitting in the cold for hours, you finally get to draw back your bow.  You stare through your peep sight and down the sight, focusing your sight pin on a single hair on the deer’s body.  You ignore the coat rack on top of his head, and you take a deep breath while gently squeezing your release, sending the arrow hurling towards your target.  Schwack, thump, your arrow has hit its mark.

Carefully watch the deer as it runs off into the distance.  If you are hunting over an open field or some other type of open terrain, follow him with your binoculars for as long as you can.  Listen to hear any sounds of breaking sticks or wrestling of leaves: anything that might sound like a crashing animal that might give you a clue later to his final resting place. 

Your heart is racing and your blood is pumping through your body like never before.  You are beginning to uncontrollably shake a little as your body gets a full shot of adrenaline.  Despite the freezing temperature outside, your body is now warm from the excitement of the shot.   Quietly, you cheer and pump your fist to celebrate from your perch.  Your body is experiencing a natural high from all the excitement. You check your watch, note the time, and wait to climb out of your stand, for if you don’t and the deer is still nearby, you will spook him.

Finally, after a 30 minute wait, which seemed like an eternity, you can climb down out of the tree and the process of blood trailing begins.  That ever-slow process by which you’re carefully following every single drop of blood on the ground, leaves, trees, rocks, and anything else it ends up on, until it leads you to the animal that you just shot.  Once on the ground, make sure that you nock another arrow; you just never know when you might need to shoot again. 

If it’s raining, snowing, or precipitating in any way, you should climb down immediately, as the rain and the snow make it difficult to find the blood, for it gets washed away fairly quickly. 

Before you take a single step down the trail, you need to determine where you shot the deer on its body.  The first clue of where a deer was hit, is its initial reaction to the arrow.  If the deer was shot through the heart and lungs, its back legs will typically buck up in the air, much like a bull does when it leaves the chute at a rodeo.  If the deer gets shot in the stomach area, it will run away hunched over.  A deer that gets shot in the spine will drop immediately to the ground and will require a second shot to kill it.

If you are not sure of where you shot the deer, a second indicator of where a deer was hit begins with an arrow examination.  If the arrow has little-to-no blood on only one side of the shaft and one or two fletching’s, or has meat or hair on it, it is likely a meat hit.  If there is no blood, you probably shot the deer in “no man’s land” and the deer will likely heal and live.  Any vital cavity hit will completely cover the arrow in blood.  An arrow covered with bright, red, frothy blood that bubbles signifies a lung hit.  Dark red blood is from the liver or stomach area and will stink.  A leg hit produces thin watery blood.

You are going to have to wait longer to track a liver or stomach-hit deer.  Patiently wait three to four hours before following the deer.  If an animal was shot in the gut, wait at least 12 hours.  This will give the animal the chance to bed several times and die.  It is typically more profitable to wait too long to track, rather than not long enough.

Once the blood trail has been located, do not leave it to randomly search the woods.  Always stick with the blood trail moving cautiously and slowly.  You never want to jump an injured deer, as they can run a long way on adrenaline.  Constantly scan your periphery for the deer.  I have had a lot of deer run a curl pattern on me. 

Attempting to find deer in dense terrain is nearly impossible without a blood trail.  Even if you think you know where the deer went down, just stay on the trail.  As you follow your trail, it is often helpful to use neon colored survey tape to make the blood trail.  This will give a reference point to look back to if you lose the trail at any point.  As you are trailing the deer, stop every ten yards and use your binoculars to look ahead.  When looking out ahead of a blood trail, look at the tree stumps, compost piles, hay bales, and such, as deer will often curl up next to these items.  I have even had one crawl into a thicket and die there. Patience is your best friend when you are trailing deer. 

You do not want to spook the deer if he has not died yet.  If you go more than 150 yards and do not find him, stop, back out, and wait four more hours.  Deer will head to water when they are injured.  If you shoot a deer near a creek or a river, expect the deer to head in that direction. 

Blood trailing is best done with the help of only one other person.  Any more than that will make too much noise and could spook the deer.  If it is dark, make sure you have a high-quality blood trailing flashlight.  You should only ever add additional people after several hours of searching and when you are going to do a grid search. 

Sometimes, you may even be down crawling on your hands and knees.  It is when you find your dead animal that you can truly appreciate the power and magnitude of the weapon that you hold in your hand.  It is also the moment you realize how majestic the animal is that is laying front of you.  It will definitely cause you to pause for moment and thank the Lord above. 

Merry Christmas

From all of us here at Chasin’ Whitetails Media to all of you at home we wish to extend you a Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

It is our hope that 2019 finds you outdoors chasing after your dreams. Hopefully one of our featured series; Life Afowl, The Roadside Angler, Introducin’ the Outdoors, The Fortified Female, The Heartbeat or Hunt Fish Forage Farm has inspired you to make the most of the great outdoors?

We look forward to taking it up a notch in 2019 and would love to have you along for the ride.

Enjoy the holidays!!!