jerky

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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Sweet Potato Dog Treats (or Vegan Jerky)

by Anne Maxfield on March 25, 2016

Accidental Locavore Sweet Potato TreatsThis was one of those too-good-to-be-true recipes, or, why didn’t I think of that? The Accidental Locavore was reading a blog post about making dog treats from sweet potatoes. 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!

Accidental Locavore Sliced Sweet PotatoesMy verdict: Depending on how many sheet pans your oven will hold, as long as you’re running it that long, you might as do as much as you can fit. I did two large sweet potatoes because we’ve got a big dog, but you might want to use smaller potatoes if you’re eating them yourself or you have a small dog. Along with being low calorie (and knowing exactly what’s in them), these have the advantage of being really chewy so it takes a dog a little longer to wolf them down. After I did the sweet potatoes, the two butternut squash on my dining room table (since Thanksgiving) got peeled, sliced and dehydrated too. I took a bite and promptly spit it out, but my brave friend tried both and preferred the sweet potato. She thought they were both too chewy though.

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!Accidental Locavore Rif

 

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My Problem With Preserving

by Anne Maxfield on June 15, 2015

Accidental Locavore Saucisson Wrapped I don’t know how much preserving you’ve done, but the Accidental Locavore is pretty much a novice when it comes to anything more than some simple pickles. And preserving meat through drying has always been difficult, mostly because there aren’t any safe (meaning free from potential hungry rodents) places to hang things where there is some sort of temperature control. But there are a few nooks and crannies for me to play with when it’s cold out.

Accidental Locavore Saucisson CuringWhen I saw a recipe recently from Jacques Pépin for saucisson of pork, I thought it might be worth a try. It was early March, the temperature in my tool room is pretty consistent and there are places to hang meat where it should be safe from marauders. Made with pork tenderloin (and coming from Jacques) it seemed so incredibly simple that I was willing to sacrifice a tenderloin to the charcuterie gods.

You cure the pork in a salt mixture overnight, wipe it dry, sprinkle it with Cognac and Herbs de Provence, wrap it in cheesecloth or muslin and hang it to dry for 5-6 weeks. Nothing to it, right? So I left it hanging from a light fixture and forgot about it.

Accidental Locavore Saucisson SecSearching for a light bulb, I saw my saucisson dangling, a sliver of its former self. It had been a little over a month, and it seemed firm (Jacques says “I like them when they are still a little soft, not too dry”). I cut it down.

Accidental Locavore Sliced SaucissonFirm is an understatement! This thing was really dried. Slicing it, even with a really sharp knife, was close to impossible. I managed to get a few slices so we could taste it. Chewing it was almost as hard as cutting it was! Now, all of this would have been workable if we were tasting something delicious (and you know we love charcuterie), but it was unbelievably salty! Somewhere in the directions, Jacques forgot to say to rinse the pork really well before wiping it dry. Going against my instincts (I’ve made the salty charcuterie mistake before) to rinse it and actually following the recipe proved to be a huge mistake!

If the dog wasn’t supposed to be on a diet, he might have been the beneficiary of what we were calling pork jerky, but sadly, it made a quick trip to the bottom of the trash can. Even more sadly, now that the weather is finally getting better, it’s going to be too warm to try another for at least another six months. Oh well, I’ll just have to go hit some golf balls.

 

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