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The North American Wapiti (Cervus elaphus), or elk as it is often called in North America, is the second largest member of the deer family. Wapiti bulls grow to nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height at the shoulders and may weigh more than 750 pounds (340 kilograms). The cows are smaller. Wapiti are dark brown in the head and chest region and light brown on the rest of the body with a large white patch on the rump. They have huge antlers that may spread 5 feet across. Wapiti were once found throughout most of the United States but are now restricted to the western states and southern Canada. Their range includes Europe (where they are called red deer), central Asia, Siberia, and northern and western China.

Wapiti roam in herds, moving from the mountains to the valleys in winter. During the mating season in the fall, fights between males are common. They challenge one another with a loud bellow. Two animals face each other from a distance of about 20 feet (6 meters), paw the ground, and then charge and crash their antlers together. Bellowing as they fight, they continue the struggle until one goes down. The loser usually survives but leaves the area. Occasionally the antlers of the fighters lock together so that neither can eat, and both animals die from starvation. In March the bulls lose their antlers, but they can still ward off predators with their sharp front hooves. In early summer each cow gives birth to one or two white-spotted calves.

From: Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1998


Cocktail Meatballs  - Elk

Recipe By:	Sue Whittlesey, High Wire Ranch	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
1	pound	elk meat	ground
1/2	cup	dry bread crumbs	
1/3	cup	onion	minced
1/4	cup	milk	
1	whole	egg	
1	tablespoon	snipped parsley	
1 1/2	teaspoons	black pepper	
1/2	teaspoon	worcestershire sauce	
1/4	cup	shortening	
12	ounces	chili sause	
10	ounces	grape jelly	

Mix ground elk, bread crumbs, onion , milk, egg, and next four  
ingredients; gently shape into 1-inch meatballs. Melt shortening in large 
skillet; brown meatballs. Remove meatballs from skillet; pour off fat. 
chili sauce and jelly in skillet, stirring constantly, until jelly is 
melted. Add meatballs and stir until thoroughly coated. Simmer uncovered 
minutes. 5 Dozen Appetizers.


Native American Elk Stew with Acorn Dumplings

Recipe By:	Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
4		Slices bacon, halved	
1 1/2	lb	Elk or beef chuck steak,	
		-trimmed and cubes	
1	qt	Water plus 1/2 cup	
1 1/4	c	Chopped onions	
2		Bay leaves	
1	t	Salt	
3		Potatoes, peeled and diced	
2		Carrots, peeled and diced	
1	lg	Turnip, diced	
1/4	c	Acorn meal or finely ground	
1/2	c	Acorn meal or finely ground	
1/2	c	Whole wheat flour	
1 3/4	ts	Baking powder	
1		Egg, beaten	
2	tb	Milk	
2	tb	Vegetable oil	

  In a large skillet over medium heat,  cook bacon until some of its
  fat is rendered.  Add elk and brown with the bacon. Add 1 quart of
  water, onion, bay leaves, and salt. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  Add potatoes, carrot and turnip and cook 30 minutes longer. Combine
  remaining water with acorn meal and stir into the simmering stew. In
  a bowl, combine dumpling ingredients and beat until smooth. Drop by
  tablespoonfuls into the simmering stew.  Cover tightly and steam 12
  to 15 minutes.
  From "Spirit of The Harvest: North American Indian Cooking," 

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