Last weekend I went with my husband for a fishing and hunting exhibition hosted by Red’s Fly Shop at Canyon River Ranch, one of our favorite places in Washington on the Yakima River. They had a variety of clinics, from training your bird dogs, to exhibition shooting from one of the top ranked trap & skeet shooters in the country. Two of the sessions were going to be focused on how to cook pheasant, which I thought would be fun to attend as this bird is delicious but can be a little tricky.
My plans included, hanging out by the pool, reading, catching the two cooking classes and joining in for the evening barbeque. The perfect recipe for relaxation after a long and challenging two weeks at work.
We were invited to have dinner with the owners of the lodge, some of their friends and a few other key people involved in putting on this event. One of the guests brought a wonderful lasagna with all the fixings and there was plenty of wine, talk and laughter. Shortly after dinner, Steve Joyce, one of the co-owners and the coordinator of this event came in and announced that the chef scheduled to do the pheasant cooking demonstrations cancelled. He was very frustrated because this was the first time they had held an event like this and he really didn’t want to have any gaps in the program. I jokingly, said “I can do it!” , however as soon as he said “Really?”, I thought better of it and said, “No, just kidding.” After all, I haven’t cooked pheasant in 15 years, the first demo was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. the next morning, there were no ingredients on hand, the closest store is 15 minutes away and the best reason of all, I HAVE NEVER TAUGHT A COOKING CLASS BEFORE!!
When I woke up the next morning, all I could think of was what I would feel like if that happened to me. I own a small insurance agency and have hosted various events and I know how stressful they can be. So I mentally concocted a couple of recipes I felt that I could pull of in an hour and would still be able to gather all of the ingredients for. In my business I frequently give presentations, so speaking in front of a crowd doesn’t bother me. How hard could this be?? I told my husband what I was thinking and he said to go for it. We went to see if Steve really wanted me to take the slots and he was thrilled. So off we went to the store in Ellensburg to gather our ingredients. This is a fairly small town so I had to keep my ingredients basic, which really is perfect for any type of game cooking.
We arrived back at the demonstration kitchen at 10:45 a.m. with the class set to begin at 11:00 a.m. I grabbed a couple of friends and they helped me prep my ingredients, and fortunately the previous session ran over by about 10 minutes so we had just enough time to get everything together. For the first session I made an Asian Pheasant Stir-Fry with Steamed Rice. I faced a couple (more) challenges with the knives and the propane fuel stove which would not get as hot as I wanted it to, but we worked through it and everyone was thrilled with the final dish.
Fortunately my next session wasn’t until 1:00 p.m. so I had almost an hour to prep for this round. For the second demonstration, I made Pheasant Marsala over Parslied Fettucine with Grilled Asparagus. The response was overwhelmingly positive with many saying that both dishes were the best pheasant they had ever eaten!
I don’t have any pictures of my class or the finished dishes because I was fully involved with cooking. Hopefully I will be able to come back and post pictures at a future date as one of the photographers from the Outdoor Channel was there and took a bunch of pictures which he promised to send me. So for now, the pictures included in this post are just of the lodge and the surrounding beauty.
It was thrilling beyond belief to find out that I actually had the ability to do something I had previously only dreamed of. The very best part? I have been invited back to teach a Pie Baking class where I am actually the scheduled teacher on October 8th!