"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Bayou Bill Cooks, Nature Smiles, Birds Nest
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

This may not be considered the most ďwoodsyĒ column I have turned out recently, but it seems to be one of the most useful, especially as it applies to preparing wild game and fish for the table. Itís a good garnish for meat or fish dishes, or just as a side dish. I even use it alone as a snack.

Cook the meat--the kind of your choice--and ditto the manner. But use the following veggie concoction as a garnish, or a side dish.

With a pinch or two of brown sugar while it is cooking, and ice cream or sweet cream after the fact and it becomes a yummy and very healthy dessert.

After thinking of this application of cabbage--and other vegetables--for some time, I decided to put my culinary skills to the test. With a no-stick skillet (with a lid), I first put in the skillet a glob of olive oil as large as two silver dollars and an ounce of tap water. To that I added two cups of shredded cabbage (pieces the size of my finger), and half-a-cup each of sliced onion, cooking-apple slices, celery chunks, and wild mushrooms (any edible species).

A smattering of green or red pepper adds color. Salt and pepper to taste, and if you are planning it for dessert, add two thumb and forefinger pinches of brown sugar. Actually just about any veggie will find a nice niche in this dish. Save an ounce of sweet wine for the last stage of cooking.

Keep it covered--except for an occasional stirring--and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. Then remove cover to allow moisture to escape. At this point the olive oil takes over, but most of the veggies are tender. Stir in one ounce of sweet wine (any wine will work). When the wine has gone up in steam, it is time to dine. If you want to garn the garnish, sprinkle your dish with a few pinches of shredded cheddar or dust it with Parmesan cheese.

NATURE SMILES--Mother Nature smiled on me again as this column took shape on my computer screen in the form of a male (in breeding plumage) scarlet tanager, only the second of my life. Beauty . . . sheer beauty . . . with fire engine red head and body contrasting to midnight -black wings and tail.

We donít see a lot of tanagers in Indiana. I presumed that the bird was migrating to some far-flung northern oak-pine woods although we have our fair share of this habitat. My thoughts on the bird (Piranga olivecea) are undoubtedly shaped by the only other sighting of this bird several years ago while morel hunting in Boone County.

Whatever, wherever and whenever, the sighting was plain, unadulterated joy.

MORE ON BIRDS--Elsewhere with the birds, I have recently found what I believe to be the large, stick nest of a pair of red-tailed hawks. I have not had the right kind of camera lens for a picture--nor have I had a good look at the birds--but the size of the nest (well over 30 inches in diameter), and its location (high in a hickory tree) has the earmarks of a red-tail. With some luck we will see.

In yet another chapter of the bird book, a pair of red-tails has been on the nest for some two weeks on the densely wooded banks across the river, but I have been unable to find the nest. 

WARBLERS HERE--Donít be alarmed if you are seeing yellow outdoors these days. It is only the spring warblers, most headed for the northlands for a round of nesting. You donít have to have names and identities for most of them--just look and enjoy their beauty and song. Right now the yellow tail-spotted birds seen to dominate, but donít be surprised at anything you see. Just be grateful.


All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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