Miscellaneous Recipes

Saying Good Bye to Our Dog Rif

by Anne Maxfield on July 29, 2019

As we start to get into August and the dog days of summer, I’d like to take a moment to remember a very important dog—our boy Rif who died last week from abdominal and liver cancer.

We had just over 6 years with him, a rescue at age 7 (give or take) about half his life and we hope he was as happy to be with us as we were to have him.

I didn’t cook a lot especially for him, but we did get really good at perfect brunoise of carrots and celery that accompanied most of his meals. We referred to him as the canine composter because of his love of all sorts of other veggies (not leafy ones), especially the stems of broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

Here are three of the recipes for treats I’d make for him, ranging from really healthy and easy to not so healthy, but he loved them.

Sweet Potato Dog Treats (or Vegan Jerky)

This was one of those too-good-to-be-true recipes, or, why didn’t I think of that? I was reading a blog post about making dog treats from sweet potatoes and if you’re a sweet potato fan, feel free to try them too. Here’s how it works:

  • Preheat the oven to 175°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper – figure one pan per potato, depending on their size.
  • Wash and dry 1-2 large sweet potatoes and slice very thinly the length of the potato. If you have a mandolin, this is the time to use it. If you’d rather practice your knife skills, slice a small piece off one side to give yourself a steady base.
  • Arrange the slices in one layer on the baking sheets (they can touch but not overlap).
  • Bake for 8 hours until they’re dehydrated.
  • Let cool overnight, serve or feed to the dog and enjoy!

Rif’s verdict: Woof, woof, woof! Worth sitting for. Nice and chewy and I’m a fan of sweet potatoes in any form. Not sure they replace a classic large Milk Bone and definitely no contest when it comes to a smoked pigs ear, but since the humans think they’re better for me, I seem to get a couple extra. Butternut squash was pretty good too, but not as chewy. Keep up the experiments, mom, but please no kale!

Oatmeal Banana Dog Biscuits

If your house is like mine, there’s a good chance that there’s a banana getting a little tooooooo ripe on the counter. Before you toss it out, try these dog cookies. Easy with ingredients that are in your kitchen, and healthy.

Rif’s verdict: Woof, woof! Much better than those healthy dehydrated sweet potatoes (don’t tell him these are healthy too!). I’ll sit for one of these anytime!

Frank’s verdict: “Are these for the dog?” Maybe the bone shape gave it away. He thought they needed salt, something he rarely says.

Liver and Bacon Dog Biscuits

These are a lot more indulgent (and probably why Rif gained a lot of weight that first winter), but an occasional one will definitely make you your dog’s best friend.

 

 

Rest in peace beloved friend.

 

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Pickles: Easy and Easier

by Anne Maxfield on June 17, 2019

Easiest PicklesPickles are so easy, and these two recipes will have you making them again and again. I always have a jar of the sliced pickles in my fridge and the fermented ones are like the ones I miss from Gus’ in the city.

The first one is so simple, you’ll think it’s a joke, but it makes great pickles fast. You’ll find a jar of them hanging out in my fridge all the time.

  • 3-4 small pickling cucumbers, sliced about 1/8” thick
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 scant tablespoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (optional), lightly smashed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a quart Ball jar, cover it and give it a good shake. Put the jar in the front of the refrigerator. Every time you open the fridge, give the jar a shake. Pickles should be good after 2 hours, but I usually let mine sit overnight. They last for a while and are great on burgers and sandwiches.

The other was a recipe for half-sours that I found on Fine Cooking. It was pretty simple, just requiring a little patience (something not normally on my top-ten list of attributes) to let them sit and become pickles.

Now that I have my kits from Kraut Source, this recipe is almost as foolproof as the other. I’ll usually let them sit for about 2 weeks in a cool dark place (for some reason, under my guest bathroom sink seems to work well), taste them and then cover and refrigerate.

This makes pickles closer to those classic sour pickles and you can control how “sour” you want them to be.

My verdict: These are very different but both really good and easy pickles to make, so give them a try and let me know in the comments what you thought.

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Crêpes: Mastering My Fear

by Anne Maxfield on April 1, 2019

Accidental Locavore Pile of Crepes Crêpes are simple enough to make.

Or so I thought.

My previous attempts have been pretty disastrous—maybe it was just thinking they were easy and overreaching. Anyway, they made it onto my things to challenge myself to cook list.

Luckily, I’ve got a couple of friends who are crêpe making fans/fiends and one of them recently gave me a private tutorial.

I brought my own pan so that any miraculous achievements could be reproduced at home and a spreader stick that I’d brought back from France (more about that later).

Accidental Locavore Crepe PanWe mixed up her go-to batter and let it rest overnight (not necessary but resting for 30 minutes is a good idea).

The next morning, we got to work. Jan has a special ladle she uses for crêpes that I’m guessing is about ¼ cup. We heated up the pans, smeared them with butter, and Jan poured a ladle full of batter into her pan, expertly swirled it around, let it sit for a minute, flipped it et voilà , a perfect one, first time out.

My first attempt wasn’t too bad, but there was a spot in my pan that lacked proper batter coverage. However, flipping it was simple and I ended up with an acceptable (i.e. edible) crêpe.

A few more later, and I was getting the hang of it, but was still not getting full coverage in my pan, so I decided to try bringing out the French spreader stick. Bad idea. Of all the crêpes we made that day (and we made a nice stack), it was the only one that was a failure. So, I’m going to blame my previous failures on lack of proper equipment.

Jan's Crepe RecipeHere’s the recipe that we used. It’s from an old edition of Fannie Farmer and I particularly like the headnote: “Internationally famous for dessert. Also the basis for some exceptional luncheon dishes and an epicurean way to use leftovers.”

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Butter for greasing the pan

Beat the eggs until well blended. Add the milk, salt and flour and stir until smooth. Cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes (we refrigerated overnight, and let come to room temperature before making).

Accidental Locavore Crepe with Ham and SwissI had some filled with Italian ham and a slice of Swiss cheese and a couple for dessert with a drizzle of my friend Kristin’s amazing Cara-Sel, salted caramel sauce. Both ways were great!

What’s your favorite crêpe filling?

 

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DIY Hoisin Sauce

by Anne Maxfield on July 2, 2018

Accidental Locavore DIY Hoisin SauceAre you a huge fan of hoisin sauce? If you’ve ever eaten Peking Duck or Moo Shu Pork, it’s that delicious dark sauce that gets painted onto the pancakes.

I’ve always been a big fan–Frank and I often make pork roasts smothered in some mix of hoisin and whatever looks Asian in the fridge. So when bon appétit ran this recipe for pork chops with hoisin sauce that you make yourself, I was skeptical at first—why make it when the stuff in the jar is just delicious? But then I saw how easy it was and became interested.

Accidental Locavore Ingredients for Hoisin SauceDIY Hoisin Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • Salt to taste

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, honey, vinegar, tahini, and Sriracha and whisk until smooth. Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper and let it cool. The sauce will keep about 4 days, covered, in the refrigerator (if you don’t eat it all first).

I used half the hoisin to marinate the pork chops overnight, but if you’re impatient, you can do them for as little as an hour. The way I’ve been cooking pork chops recently is really simple, it just requires “standing over a hot stove” but you can catch up on email etc… Click here for the recipe.

Accidental Locavore Hoisin Marnated Pork Chops (2)My verdict: We were both really surprised at the addition of tahini which I’ve never thought of as Chinese, but hey, they travelled.

This was really good and the hardest part was coaxing the honey from the container. They just don’t make those bears like they used to!

I’m about to make another batch to coat a pork loin that will get roasted (unless the weather warms up and we can grill). I forgot to do a taste test with our old standby, but there will be other chances. What do you think the results will be?

 

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