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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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K’s Mini Cookies: Edible Art

by Anne Maxfield on May 1, 2017

Accidental Locavore K's Mini Cookies EasterCookies as beautiful hand-painted tiny works of art.

Bunnies, chicks, ducks all looking like spring.

I had tasted a couple of K’s mini cookies before we started the Accidental Locavore’s radio show recently, and they were delicious!

Butter and sugar, the perfect sugar cookie.

And then, the ride home from the station was torturous.

Accidental Locavore K's Mini Cookies WrappedWrapped up next to me was a selection of beautiful hand-painted cookies.

They had that distinctive smell of butter and sugar, which is somehow different from the butter smell of a box of croissants.

Both good, but not while you’re driving.

I had been talking with Sue Radon on my radio show, the Accidental Locavore Live! about her burgeoning cookie business.

She and her daughter started it in the fall, partly as an afterschool project and looking towards building a college fund.

Accidental Locavore K's Mini Cookies on a PlateThey’re both very artistic and it shows in each and every handcrafted cookie. For Easter a bunny sports tiny carrots, another a border of red tulips, a third is a gilded duck with matching bow tie.

While they’re looking towards selling at local farmers’ markets in the summer, currently it’s custom work only. That way they can control the quality, while building the business one cookie at a time.

If you’ve got a minimum of a week and an idea, they can make it come to life in cookie form. Parties, showers, weddings, holidays—they’ve got it covered. With Mother’s Day just around the corner you might want to give them a call!

Accidental Locavore K's Mini Cookies Mother's DayAnd while classic sugar cookies are generally the base, if it can be decorated, you can pick a different flavor (like gingerbread).

They’re playing a little hard to get when it comes to finding them. No website yet and if you’re not on Facebook (K’s mini cookie), you’re almost out of luck, but you can email Sue at: sueradom7@gmail.com.

Not to worry, a website is coming soon.

Thanks to Sue for the cookies (delicious!) and the photo of the Mother’s Day Cookie.

 

 

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5 Chocolate Ideas for Valentine’s Day

by Anne Maxfield on February 13, 2017

A friend of the Accidental Locavore inspired this piece.

He said he was having Valentine’s Day dinner cooked for him for the first time in his life, but that the cook was still going to get chocolates from him. Sweet.

It made me think about alternatives to the traditional heart-shaped box. Okay, or square box.

Not that there’s anything wrong with chocolate in any form.

Here are five chocolate desserts that are favorites and will be appreciated by anyone (and it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day). Always use the best chocolate you can find.

  1. Molten Chocolate Cakes: I laugh every time I see these on a menu. Why? Because they’re super easy to make and always impressive. Even if you don’t bake, you can pull these off. A few raspberries and maybe some vanilla ice cream and you’ve got a Valentine’s Day treat. Bonus: you can make them ahead, bring them with you and just pop them in the oven as dinner is wrapping up.
  2. Ultimate Chocolate Cookies: These cookies with chocolate in three different forms are amazing! And being that cookies are totally ready to go, you’ll be excused if not all of them make it to the intended recipient.
  3. Caramel and Chocolate Tart: This is a little more complicated, but no less delicious. It’s a tart shell lined in chocolate and topped with caramel. Depending on your need to be trendy (or not), pick a garnish of Malden salt or some chocolate shavings.
  4. Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse: Another winner that travels easily, this just takes chocolate mousse to another level. If you want to dress it up even more to impress your Valentine, some tuiles are easy to make and add a nice crunch to the mousse.
  5. Chocolate and Cheesecake Brownies: Chocolate, check. Cheesecake, check. Portable, check. Elevate your brownies to the next level with this recipe. While it will never replace a classic brownie in my book, the cheesecake topping dresses it up for a special occasion.
  6. DIY Hot Chocolate Mix: For this you might want to find a pretty container (mine just sits in a Ball jar). Six ingredients and you’ve got a superior hot chocolate mix. It’s easily tweaked depending on how dark you like your cocoa. If you’re not a purist, some chipotle powder or coffee could be interesting.

Which of these do you think would bring smiles to your Valentine, or any dinner guests?

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How to Impress Your Friends With These Easy Tuiles

by Anne Maxfield on May 26, 2016

Accidental Locavore Tuiles RolledAs the Accidental Locavore promised last week, here’s the recipe for the tuiles that went with the salted caramel chocolate mousse. Tuiles are really easy to make, and even easier if you have a Silpat. Both make about a dozen.

Sweet (Caramel) Version:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 Tbs. water

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. In a pot over medium heat, melt the butter then stir in the sugar, syrup and water. Continue to stir until it comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes. Stir in the flours mixture until smooth. Spoon onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Make sure to leave plenty of room around them, they’ll spread.

Accidental Locavore Tuiles FlatBake for 7-10 minutes until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about a minute before shaping them. If you want to make tubes, you may use your fingers to do this or lightly butter the handle of a wooden spoon and roll them around that. If you want to make small dishes, drape them over a small bowl or ramekin. Set on a rack to cool. You have more time to work them than you might think but if they get too stuff to roll, place them back in the oven for half a minute or so and they will soften again.

Savory Version:

  • 2 cups grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350° (Do not use convection!).

On a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper, drop the cheese into small, cookie-sized piles. Bake until the cheese is melts and forms lacy disks, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool a minute and shape like the sweet version above. Cool on a rack. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Salami CrispsMy verdict: Sweet or savory, these are so simple but always impressive! The caramel ones added exactly the crunch I wanted with the chocolate mousse. If they look square in the photo it’s because I didn’t space them far enough apart and they needed to be coaxed into shapes. Lesson learned.

The savory ones (otherwise known as fricos) are even easier to make and are great in things like Caesar Salad. I’m not sure about the caramel ones, but you can make the savory ones one at a time in a small frying pan. We’ve even tried embedding things like a slice of salami in them – less than successful.

 

 

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