Tom “Sleep with the Fish” does Game

Demonstrating his great artistry and versatility in the kitchen, Tom “Sleep with the Fish” C. served us a delightful lunch of game that had been “harvested” from one or more of his latest hunting trips.  Tom is a dear family friend and former Chase colleague who now has traded his 3-piece “power” banking attire for wading boots and a shotgun.   The world is a better place now that Tom has decided to forego trading in sub-prime debt and join “happy hunters anonymous” where you never have to apologize for killing deer that spread lyme ticks.

Hunter's Anonymous

Tom is one of a handful of loyal Gourmay readers who actually contributes to the well-being of gourmands from around the world with his insights into Italian cuisine. I would like to share his delightful “light” lunch menu that was brilliantly executed at his home near Philadelphia. Photos of Bambi are not included for fear of offending some of our more rabid vegetarian readers.

Tom’s “Light” Game Lunch

Starter:  Cup of lentil soup with wild boar bits.   A great way to kick off the meal.  Both Sheila and I love lentil soup and the “bits” of wild boar provided a delightful upgrade from the traditional ham hock.

Salad:   Fresh mozzarella topped with his Mom’s basil pesto recipe (with walnuts rather than pine nuts).   Here, Tom went the extra mile and actually made his own mozzarella from fresh cheese curds purchased locally.  Most exciting and very tasty – the pesto sauce was not overpowering and complemented the mozzarella perfectly.

Entree:  Venison straps with cranberry apricot chutney and pheasant and teal sausage with sweet pepper jelly.  (Editor’s Note: Tom had planned elk sausage, but a family member had chowed down before us).  Delicious fare that was tender and not at all “gamey”  (Editor’s Note:  Jamie Oliver would have spelled it “gammy,” and I agree!)  We loved the chutney that accompanied the venison.

Veggies:   Kale with extra virgin olive oil.

Dessert:  Cannoli (purchased) that were simply delicious.  Tom had befriended some cooks from the old-country (Croatia) that definitely knew how to make these authentic beauties.


Home cooking doesn’t get much better than this and both Sheila and I deeply appreciate spending a few quality hours with a friend willing to share his cooking passion.  Tom, thanks for your gracious hospitality.

Mary’s Grape Chutney

This unusual grape chutney recipe was given to us by our dear English friends, Mary and Arthur Hunt who now spend much of the their time in Tavira (Algarve), Portugal.  We have been scratching our heads trying unsuccessfully to remember what Mary served with the chutney.  We decided to substitute the grape chutney for the recommended plum sauce used in Jamie Oliver’s delicious crispy duck.    The chutney has a bit of a bite (but not a kick), so do pay attention to the amount of crushed red peppers you use.

  • 6 cups seedless red grapes
  • 1 cup of chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 1 bay leaf

Place all ingredients in a sausepan and cook over a medium heat until it thickens (about 45 minutes). 

Add 1 Tbsp of  Dijon mustard and then allow to chill.  The chutney will continue to thicken. 

Yes, Jamie’s crispy duck was delicious.  Will tell you more about that later.