Baseball, roasted venison a big hit | News, Sports, Work

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Pictured is the Bradigan family in 1962.

Can anyone tell me? Imagine, I used to be somewhat cute. The years have not been polite. This photo was taken before the weekly baseball game on a late Sunday morning in the summer of 1962. Baseball was the closest thing to the church in Bradigan. My dad played first and third base for the city team, the Forestville Merchants. This is somewhat ironic because we were farmers.

My older brother Bruce – as you can see, he was already leaving the rest of us – was about 16 or 17 years old then and was attractive. He was famous for the ability to throw out runners in second base without getting out of his bed.

My dad could strike for power from both sides of the plate. He played the third and first base for the Visalia Single A team in the Dodgers organization before World War II. People often said he could hit a baseball farther than anyone they had seen before or since.

This photo was taken at a certain point in time. Within a few years, my brother Bruce was at the Airborne Rangers in Vietnam, where he served three tours, before being wounded by fire from an AK-47 from a frightened Vietcong. My younger brother, Bob, left numb because he was told he was too young to play, joined him in the military about four years later.

So I grew up with very old fashioned models of what a man should be. My dad grew into the teeth of the Great Depression and went on to become the B-24 bomber at the Pacific Theater. He was also wounded in the action – with flames from a Japanese anti-aircraft battery. He lost half his belly and most of his chances of resuming his baseball career. He did a trial with the Chicago Cubs after the war, but his injury slowed him down and being fast was a key asset for a baseball player. But as far as I was concerned, he struck the Great Depression and Hitler and Tojon with a powerful swing of his stick.

The Roast Saddle of Venison was a delightful meal for the Bradigan family.

Maybe it was this special Sunday, or one, but I remember leaving as the teams warmed up, as 2-year-olds usually do. I felt this darkening storm gathering around me. And that fear spreads in my stomach. It was among my earliest memories.

It rained and lightning flashed around me. I stood in this field, scared for my new life. Suddenly, these sharp arms stretched out and gathered me up and led me back to the car, where the family had gathered to wait for the storm.

I remember well the smell of my dad’s wings as he wrapped himself around my chest – this very distinctive smell of wood and leather. And how comforting it was.

Countless times that, whenever I get stressed, I wrap my arms around myself and inhale deeply. You have probably heard of something called “histo-compatibility”. We smell like our genetic relatives. It took me a while to realize that I was smelling my dad’s smell on me. And that relieved my anxieties.

Something else that took away the anxieties was my mom’s cooking. After a Sunday baseball game, she often did a baking, as a way to celebrate, put on a win or loss, usually a win, and turn on that metabolic oven after the day’s efforts. Work hard, play hard.

The most fantastic roast we have ever had – which I can still remember – was the deer shawl with a cherry filling along with the ground beef. Deer meat is very lean but also very tender and gets along very well with the fattest beef (or otherwise lamb), and the cherries bring out equal parts of sweetness and sweetness.

A generous tablespoon of unsalted butter

A roast with two or three kilograms of venison (for a large, hungry litter like Bradigans, double the size). Give roast a light but full salt and pepper.

1/2 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

Four ounces (about half a cup) cherries, from freezing, melted. Then grind finely.

Eight ounces of ground beef

Half a cup of minced bread

A small handful of sage or mint, each has its own characteristics – the most delicious sage, the sweetest mint. If the cherries are particularly sour, then I recommend chopped mint. Stir in the beef and cherries.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the filling, melt the butter in your trusty cast iron skillet and then create your own “Sofrito” first garlic, enough to flavor the oil and not enough to burn, then add the onion until it becomes translucent. Give a good shake with salt and pepper. Boil and rub with a good sherry or vermouth spray for an extra layer of flavor. Add the ground beef and sauté it until browned just until it takes on a light brown color. Add the bread crumbs, then add the sage and / or mint, add another pinch of salt and pepper, then remove from the heat.

Now for the tricky part:

Place a sheet of parchment paper, with a sheet of parchment paper on top (at least two or more inches larger than the baking). Lay four pieces of twine across the kitchen counter and place the foil and parchment on top – the string will help hold it together and seal the juices. Spoon the filling into the center of the baking dish and form it as a putty into a round sausage-shaped roll along the length of the baking dish.

Then fold the game meat well, using parchment paper and parchment paper to help it roll into a nice tight roll. Tie the strands around the game meat, making sure the peta and parchment close the meat but stay out of it. Fold in the ends and tie the other pieces of yarn tightly around the outside of the parcel to keep it in shape.

Place the beef tenderloin on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the meat thermometer reaches 135 or 140 degrees for rare cases. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then remove and discard the paper and parchment. Then coat the meatballs with butter and maybe a slight shake of salt and pepper. Return to the oven for the last 8 or 10 minutes to get a nice brown glaze.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Then remove the thread and cut abundantly.

Excellent with roasted root vegetables, potatoes, polenta, risotto or a hard day to play baseball.

Bret Bradigan is the editor and publisher of Ojai Quarterly & Ojai Monthly in California. He also produces a weekly podcast, “Ojai: Conversation about the city.”

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