We're spoiled here Colorado. Bison (commonly called buffalo) can be found at most super markets and small specialty shops around town. I love the taste, texture and colour. It has a depth of meatiness that's sweet and slightly more gamy than beef, but in a subtle way. Though I eat bison all the time, it still holds a magical mystic for me. As if I'm partaking of something sacred and ancient.
For years the bison of North America were mercilessly slaughtered, to the brink extinction (at one point there were just 25 bison left in the wild!) for sole purpose freeing up valuable pasture-land for the beef cattle that Americans loved so much. Thankfully, times have changed, and we've become more conscientious about the way we eat. (Though we still have a long way to go!) It makes my heart soar to know that the American bison are once again roaming the great plains in their native habitat! Here's a must see video about what's being done to protect them.
The bison is stately, proud, and more beautiful than the humble cow. Wrapped in chocolate fur, there's a bright intelligence behind his eyes that isn't found in any cow. He will defend what's his with a fury that must be respected. Treat the meat with respect, too. Handle it gently. As I form these burgers I find myself lifting up words of gratitude to the spirit of the animal for giving his life for our meal, just as the Native Americans did so many years ago.
Let us honor the bones of those who gave their flesh to keep us alive. - Buffalo Alter Prayer
Honor and respect. It only seems right.
Buffalo is lower in fat than beef, always free range, free of hormones and antibiotics, and there has never been a reported case of an allergic reaction to the meat! Additionally, since it's native to the northern US, and adapted to the harsh wintertime climate, it's more sustainable and can be raised more naturally and closer to the land than beef. And who doesn't like that?
I made a variation of these burgers while on vacation, and I knew I had to make them for my carnivorous husband at home as soon as possible. He's been asking for banana cream pie for weeks now, too. So, when the bison burgers were finished, the banana cream pie was waiting in the refrigerator. Cool, light and creamy. It's an old fashioned recipe made with just a few ingredients: pure milk, flour, sugar, and vanilla, and of course, bananas. Vintage and kitchy, just the way my grandmother made it, before the days of jello and instant pudding. This pie is thick and smooth. Perfect for a hot summer night.
Jalapeño Cheddar Bison Burgers with Guacamole-Mayo
1 lb ground bison
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
2 tsp olive oil
Preheat the grill or a grill pan. Meanwhile, mix the all the ingredients together in a large bowl, adding the meat last. Form into 4 or 5 patties with you hands. Grill until cooked through.
Serve on toasted buns, with guacamole-mayo, sliced red onion and tomato, and crisp Romaine lettuce.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, pressed in a garlic press
the juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 green onion, chopped
a handful of cilantro, chopped
With a fork, mash the avocado in a bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients until smooth.
Vintage Banana Cream Pie
for the crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (this is one individual package of Honey Maid graham crackers)
6 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
for the filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks, at room temp. and beaten
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 375 F (190 C). Lightly butter a 9 inch pie plate. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove and allow to cool while you make the filling.
In a medium sauce pan, whisk the sugar, flour, and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until thick and bubbling, whisking continuously. Cook a minute longer. Remove the pan from the heat. Temper the eggs by whisking a quarter cup of the filling into the egg yolks. Then pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan with the filling and whisk to combine. Place to pan back on the heat and bring to a boil. Cook one or two minutes longer, whisking continuously. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Cool slightly.
Slice two of the bananas (reserve the third for garnishing just before serving) and arrange the slices in concentric circles on the crust. Pour over the filling and spread evenly into crust. Refrigerate until chilled through. Just before serving slice the third banana and arrange on top. (Serve the pie on the day it's made, otherwise the bananas will discolour.)