carrots

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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Accidental Locavore Pickled VegetablesThere’s not much that the Accidental Locavore won’t attempt food and cooking wise, but pickling, and canning scare me. Last Sunday, I decided to confront that fear, and make the Armenian pickles that my mother used to make. Armed with a dozen jars, I called mom and got a couple of her recipes. This is what I did:

  • First I cut up some pickling cucumbers and cauliflower that were in a recent farmbasket.
  • They soaked in salted water (brine) for 2 hours (while I ran out to get the jars).
  • Each jar gets a clove of garlic, and a 1″ piece of hot red pepper (I used serrano chiles since I had them), and a small handful of coriander seeds. I also had a little pickling spice so I tossed that in too.
  • Fill the jars with your vegetables. I had a lot of veggies from the farmbasket, so I used the cucumbers, and cauliflower, some green beans trimmed, strips of yellow peppers, carrots, and pearl onions. The original recipe also calls for green tomatoes, but since I was trying to use what I had…
  • Top the jars with a sprig of fresh dill
  • Heat 3 quarts of water, 1 quart of vinegar (I used 2/3 white vinegar, and 1/3 cider vinegar), and 1 cup of kosher salt to a simmer. Remove from the heat and fill the jars to the top.
  • Let them sit for 3 weeks.

I also put the sealed jars in a water bath, brought that to a simmer and let them simmer for about 10 minutes, but my mother later told me that wasn’t necessary. I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks how they turned out. Have you ever made pickles? How do you do them?

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