Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cakes

Oh my goodness, I thought my brownie recipe was seriously rich with chocolate. This recipe goes to the next level and beyond! While visiting some of my dearest friends who spent their Spring break here at Sunriver in Central Oregon this past week, I was treated to this intoxicating chocolate espresso dessert. It does take a little time to make, yet is well worth it. Also it is a dessert that one can not eat quickly, at least not by me.


3/4 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
5 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. fresh eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 dark chocolate bar finely chopped, such as Valrhona Le Noir or Green and Black's 85% cocoa


1. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level w/knife. Add cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, salt and sift together.

2. In a large bowl add butter and mix at med speed for 1 minute. Add both sugars and blend for approx. 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla beating until well blended. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture, then fold in chocolate.

3. Divide batter evenly among 10 (4-ounce) ramekins. Arrange ramekins on a cookie sheet cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days.

4. Preheat oven to 350

5. Let ramekins stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before cooking. Place in oven uncovered for 21 minutes or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve hot immediately. The top should be cooked and appear cake like while the inside will have the consistency of pudding.

Servings 10, calories vary depending on type of dark chocolate used.

An ice cold glass of milk is a fine accompaniment to wash down this decadently rich dessert. Also if caffeine keeps you up at night, than I suggest having this wonderful dessert after a fine lunch.

My thanks and appreciation go to my friends Stephanie and Leah for sharing this recipe with me, so that I can share it with all of you. Enjoy!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity for The Hunt

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

White Fronted Goose Hunt, Pt. 2

Having spent the better part of opening week sick, I eventually regained my strength and returned for the final week of the season. Although I had not forgotten the skybusters ruining opening weekend. All I was able to do is hope they had been visited by a state game officer, informing them about shooting hours and maybe even gave them a warning or more. As of this writing I have not heard the outcome of my reporting them.

Anyhow, Dan and I agreed to meet up on Thursday and see if our luck was any better than the first week. I hunted Thursday evening and had little success while mostly trying to pattern the geese for the following days. Dan arrived late Thursday evening after a long days work and was more than ready to decompress and get some field time in. He hadn't hunted at all during the regular season and we were both excited to hunt together.

The next morning we hunkered in a small ditch next to an over grazed pasture, which was adjacent to the Klamath River where the Specs had been spending the night. We had nothing more for cover than camo netting as we waited for the geese to arrive. We spent a few hours listening to them vocalizing amongst themselves before they finally made their move. They are smart birds and have keen sight so we had to take advantage of even the slightest shot opportunities they provided. The shots were long and in the end of our first morning we each had 1 Spec to our credit. Dan was able to retrieve his from the field while mine had made it to the river and died there. It was to far out for me in my chest highs, so I drove up to the cabin and got Jet to help me. I marked the bird for her and she made a wonderful retrieve swimming out some 30 yards or so. Considering her age and fast decline in physical abilities this season, I was very proud of her effort.

After retrieving our birds, we headed for the cabin and a late brunch followed by much conversation about how and where to make our next hunt. There were about 300 to 500 Specs in the immediate area feeding in the fields for a few hours in the mornings, then returning to the river for the duration of the day. Not until after evening shooting hours did a portion of them return to the fields for a quick evening snack. So our best opportunity was the morning hunt and it took a lot of years of experience to decide just where to set up.

We opted for the number 1 field next to the river. Using the dig out excavated from my previous hunt with Jackie, we again took our positions. We had set out 6 full bodied GHG Spec decoys and with the light breeze they were moving well. As the sun began to rise the continual chatter from the Specs in the river behind us was making our hearts beat faster with each crescendo. Anticipating their taking to flight is an exercise in controlling of ones adrenaline, patience and learning the subtle nuances of their vocalizations. Ultimately being rewarded for such diligence in ways that are both unexpected and unpredictable. Once they finally decided to feed they came off the water in succession, not all at once, but in small bunches. With the sun in our eyes on the horizon we had a small flock land in our decoys. Whatever Dan and I were talking about ended abruptly and our attention was now squarely focused in front of us at 40 yards. We eased our camo netting up over the bill of our hunting caps with one hand to help shield our eyes from the blinding sun, while our other was firmly a hold of our shotgun. We are now frozen in whatever position we uttered our last words. With our hearts pounding the small flocks continued to circle our spread and eventually land. Our small set of decoys worked their magic and we were now looking at (and being looked back at) approximately 200 or more live Specs in our decoys at some 40 to 60 yards away. I was almost speechless and I whispered to Dan, what do you want to do? As we were both waiting for the other to make the first move, after a bit of quiet whispering we agreed on taking the next group that offered us a shot as they circled overhead. It wasn't long before we broke the silence and took aim skyward. The Specs in our decoys took off with great surprise and more noise than one can imagine. We had our days limit and were amazed at what we had just witnessed. Neither Dan or I had ever had that many live geese in our decoys before. It was an experience that neither of us will soon forget, if ever. Especially the handful of sentry's that kept a sharp eye on us, knowing something wasn't quite right yet not being able to clearly bust us.

We had succeeded at fooling some of waterfowls wisest birds. No doubt had we stayed silent they would have continued to land in front of us. Although we were becoming quite stiff, and even a bit cramped in the cool morning air lying on the frozen dirt face of the dike. We were all grins as we both got to standing and working the kinks out of our frozen poses. The down side were there to be one, is that we had also just educated all those geese to the subtleties of hunters.

None the less Dan and I had several great days of hunting Specs and portability was a key ingredient to our success. Just as the geese learned where not to go, we learned to better guess where they were going to go. It was about being in the right place to intercept their movements while coming off the river en route to feed. Soon Dan was on his way back home while Jet and I stayed to finish the last 3 days of the season. More of those stories to come down the road. Oh, and the skybusters were no where to be found, or heard!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Friday, March 19, 2010

White Fronted Goose Hunt, Pt.1

I was down in Klamath for a special hunt this past February and early March. The opening weekend was a complete disappointment. Not so much due to lack of geese but other factors. My friend Jackie and I set up in a field against a dike face and had a few full body Spec decoys out. There were decent numbers of geese in the area, although with unseasonal mild temps and no snow, the geese had the entire state to go where they wanted. They were not pressured to any one area because of limiting factors such as snow covered ground, iced rivers, lack of food sources or inclement weather. We dug in our ground blinds a day before the opening with the usual optimism. I was fighting off early symptoms of a bug and doing my best to keep the upper hand.

We were in our blinds by shooting time on Saturday morning and waited patiently for the geese to make their move from the Klamath River to the fields. There was a lack of green up due to poor snow pack and less precipitation than normal years. The geese were finding food where ever they could with no real jackpot anywhere. Across the river from us there were a couple other hunters set up near the river. As the geese began giving us a look, the fellows across the way were shooting at geese well out of their range. Thus having a negative effect on all the geese in close proximity. I was beside myself with the display of poor judgement of shooting distance and the ill effects of educating the geese. Once they started shooting or what is known as skybusting, we had next to zero chances of calling in any geese to our spread. I watched as they continued to skybust and didn't see a single goose ever get knocked down. By the end of the first evening after we picked up our decoys, I continued to hear shooting well beyond legal quitting time. A healthy 20 minutes after the fact, which just added to my disgust. After we returned to the cabin I reported the location, number of hunters and associated facts to the proper authorities. Considering I wasn't feeling well they picked the wrong time and place for their display of poor ethics and disregard of game laws.

The next morning found me sick as a dog and able only to make a trip to the field to gather my gear and head home to lick my wounds. Jackie was on her way home also as work was on her itinerary. So, after a very disappointing opening weekend it took me a week to get back on my feet and entertain the thought of returning for the last week of the White Fronted Goose hunt.

Fortunately, the season ended better than it started. I'll have the conclusion in my next post in a few days. Jet even got into the action and had some proud moments.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thoughts About The Hardcore Huntress Contest and Do It Yourself Hunts

Alright, I have honestly stewed on this for quite some time now. That being The Hardcore Huntress Contest that recently took place. Let me say that by the lack of comments I've seen on blogs,(virtually zero) I don't think I'm alone with my thoughts. So much to comment on and just where to start?

I will spare you the nitpicking from every angle, instead touching on what I consider to be the more important points regarding the contest.

I will open with the basic premise of the contest name and what can be read into it or not. At first read, it hit me as depicting a woman who is dedicated in pursuing her quarry within her own means, not an outfitter guided pursuit. The majority of women hunters are not financially able to afford the luxury of guided hunts. That's why much emphasis is placed on DIY hunts and the rewards of such efforts. Not to mention that DIY are public lands and not leased or private game management areas. The work involved in packing your own gear and scouting months prior are far and above more rewarding than the other. Writing a check, mailing it in, driving or flying to where your guide is then being escorted to where you'll be able to have a shot is not the same as DIY in my book. While the majority of top ten women wrote of being guided in exotic countries in search of trophy animals, this was a very disappointing selection by the judges in my opinion. To me it was a direct reflection of the judges themselves, how could it not be? Instead of the judges choosing a woman who has never been on a guided hunt to have such an experience and may never have the financial trappings to do so, they chose mostly individuals who had been guided once if not several times. Ultimately choosing a winner who had also been on guided hunts. It was about the almighty dollar and the chosen few, not the majority. I am not saying that the women in the top ten nor the winner did not shoot straight, only that the majority were not DIY in the truest sense of hunting. Was I in the minority thinking this contest was about DIY and in being so was optimistic about entering? Perhaps, yet this contest in the end seemed to be more about deep pockets and not hunting the lower 48. There are shooters and there are hunters, I proudly fall into the latter. Obviously there are guides because it is a lucrative business and for those who are able to afford guided hunts that's great, just don't knock DIY on public lands.

Let me move on to the next bone, that being what seems to be a diss on public lands. Have we not already lost enough property to those who have deep pockets, anti hunters and the environmentalists? We must not lose sight of what Aldo Leopold, Teddy Roosevelt and others of their fabric have done to protect public lands, for the PUBLIC! Perhaps I am off the mark here although I bet there were more than a few top ten who took their trophies on leased or private lands. We need to encourage stewardship and protect our public lands for us to have a future in hunting and for the generations that follow.

Of my greatest disappointments were the fact that in every photo was a dead animal. Granted this contest was about hunting, yet I sorely missed the respect and dignity due the animal, let alone the appearance and lack of conscious moral character chosen by the contestants. In my opinion there does not need to be dead animal photos to show ones self as extreme. What it showed me was a lack of respect for the animal and more so about the conquest and ego of making a kill. Call me harsh if you like, but I have been a hunter for more than 35 years and I feel it is a hunters responsibility to ask, Why Do You Hunt and to be clear about ones intentions. To do anything other, is disrespectful to our quarry, our heritage and the future of hunting.

Lastly I will touch on the aspect of glam hunting. Is there really such a thing? Well, from the results of the contest it seems so. Considering the major sponsor being Tahoe Sports Ltd. who will be filming the winners hunt and airing it on VS, they do have a interest in what appeals to the viewing public. I just ask that there be less emphasis on eyeliner and more on hunting. I don't feel that a woman's pursuit of hunting is any different then a mans. The goals are the same, the weapons used are the same, the efforts exerted and the shots made. Other than men being physically stronger there are no other differences in the pursuit of hunting. Hunting is without gender bias until the marketing intercedes. Can you tell I'm not a fan of pink camo?

I want to suggest that perhaps the next time a Women's Hardcore Huntress contest is launched that there be clearly defined guidelines. Better yet lets have a contest for the woman hunter who saves all year or for years, to hunt in her own state with a friend on public lands doing it on their own without guides or outfitters. Gee, what a concept. I bet there'd be a lot of wonderful stories with much less bravado, more humility and respect to the animals.

Let me close by saying that I have thought plenty of times about going on a guided elk hunt, yet a part of me feels that by doing so I would be giving up instead of stepping up to the challenge. I don't want to buy a Bull Elk, I want to earn it. I will get my bull elk on my terms doing it myself when I have paid my dues the hard way and have risen to the task. For me that is what hunting is about. Here's a link to my Extreme Huntress Contest essay and what extreme hunting means to me.

Congratulations to the top ten contestants and the winner. Truly have a great hunt.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt
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