Almost a year ago, I adopted my dog Barclay from the Austin Humane Society. His name was Ringo then, and he was terrified of most things. He hated busses, cats, and his crate. He couldn’t really walk on a leash without trying to eat it. He was even scared of cameras, so this was one of the best pictures I could get of him during that first month. (I snuck up on him ninja style while he was sleeping.)
Today Barclay is a healthy, happy dog. He gets along great with our cats Chloe and Cannonball Adderley, and with his cousin dog Spirit.
Barclay still struggles quite a bit with separation anxiety when he’s locked in his crate during the day. Besides an hour-long walk each day, the best tool we’ve found for Barclay’s mental health is a kong (the red, hive shaped toy pictured to his right). Each day we stuff it with tasty treats and he licks and plays with it all day until we’re home from work.
The only bummer is that pre-made Kong fillings can be kind of expensive and gross (liver paste is the seventh of 30 ingredients in the liver paste flavored commercial product) plus it doesn’t work that well. We’ve taken to cementing his regular kibble inside the kong using various homemade purees. These use up our leftover local box ingredients and give us a cheap, fun way to keep Barclay entertained. Here’s one of my favorites:
Homemade Kong Filling
1 big sweet potato, cut into chunks
1 apple, cored and sliced with all seeds removed
1/4 cup peanut butter
Cut up the sweet potato and core and slice the apple. Be sure to get all the seeds out of the apple since the seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide which can be toxic to dogs in large amounts over time.* Microwave the sweet potato and apple for several minutes until tender.
Combine cooked apple and sweet potato with 1/4 cup peanut butter in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Store in the fridge in an airtight container until you’re ready to feed to your dog. I layer about a tablespoon of Kong filling with a tablespoon of kibble in Barclay’s kong until it’s full, making sure the puree creates a plug in the top. For extra long days I prepare the kong the night before and freeze it overnight so Barclay has to work extra hard to lick out all the goodies inside. This recipe lasts us about a week in the fridge.
*Please talk to your vet about any food allergy or health concerns you may have about your dogs. This recipe is vet-approved for Barclay!
Image via Wikipedia
Last week we got a Canary Melon in our local box. Honestly I had never heard of Canary Melon before, and I was sort of hoping we’d get arugula instead so I could just avoid it altogether. Canary Melon sounds terrible, like a fruit made out of birds or a big sweet egg.
Luckily my first instincts about the Canary Melon were way off base. In actuality this little, slightly lumpy melon is like a cross between a canteloupe and a honeydew melon. It has canary yellow skin and bright white, firm flesh. As soon as I tasted the canary melon I knew I wanted to make something cold with it in celebration of the end of summer here in Austin.
The musky sweet flavor of the melon lends itself beautifully to this simple ice cream. I adapted a strawberry ice cream recipe from the instruction manual that came with my Cuisinart ice cream machine, but you could really use any vanilla ice cream base and get a good result.
This recipe turned out terrific, but it is very rich. Next time I think I’ll try making tart Canary Melon frozen yogurt, so I can indulge with a little less guilt.
Canary Melon Ice Cream (makes 1-1/2 quarts, or about 10 servings)
1 cold Canary Melon, seeded and chopped*
1 c. sugar, divided
2 Tbs. lemon or lime juice
1 c. milk
2 c. heavy cream
Seed and chop the canary melon. Remove skin. Puree melon chunks in a food processor; add 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice to food processor and pulse until sugar is dissolved. Strain melon puree through a mesh sieve, reserving one cup of liquid & melon pulp. In the same food processor (no need to rinse the bowl), combine milk and granulated sugar. Process for about 2 minutes until sugar is dissolved.
Turn ice cream machine on, pour milk mixture, cream, and one cup of melon juice through ingredient spout. Let mix until thickened, about 30 minutes. Add the melon pulp to the ice cream in the last five minutes of mixing.
*I saved time by cutting the canary melon as soon as it ripened and storing the prepared melon in an airtight container in the freezer for about a week. I pureed it straight out of the freezer and everything tasted terrific.
We got 20 sweet peppers in our local box last week, plus 3 red bell peppers. I love peppers, but it’s tough to use up all those yummies before they spoil in the crisper. Solution? Roast them!
Roasted peppers keep very well in the freezer (detailed instructions here) if they stick around that long. I’ve knocked out about half of ours this week making Roasted Sweet Pepper Hummus. This recipe works well with any mix of roasted sweet and/or hot peppers.
Roasted Pepper Hummus
15 oz. can Garbanzo Beans
1/4 cup liquid from Garbanzo Bean can
4-6 roasted peppers*
2 cloves garlic
juice of one small lemon or lime
2 Tbs. tahini
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sumac (optional)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Combine beans, peppers, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and spices in a food processor. Pulse until smooth, streaming in bean liquid and olive oil until hummus reaches desired consistency. We like our hummus about as thick as sour cream. However, it makes a terrific sandwich spread or canape filling if it is thicker, similar to a peanut-butter consistency.
*Here are the best step-by-step instructions I have found online for roasting peppers. I especially like the technique of steaming the peppers that utilizes a large metal cookie sheet instead of plastic bags/wrap since I don’t really want melty plastic chemicals in my organic peppers.
Posted in Gluten Free, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian
Tagged Bell pepper, Food processor, Garlic, Hummus, Olive oil, Tahini
Hey y’all! I took a little break from blogging since work has been so crazy the last few weeks. Now that the clouds have parted a bit, it feels good to be back!
I didn’t take a break from cooking. Rami and I have been plugging along through our Greenling produce, and we found some great recipes in the past couple of weeks. There haven’t been too many exotic additions to our Greenling local box lately; lots of peaches, beans, summer staples. This week we did get some wild grapes, though! I never imagined that I would eat locally grown, wild Texas grapes. The grapes came in a pint container and looked like small, red grapes you might find in the supermarket. However, they were in smaller clumps than grocery store grapes, mostly 2-3 pieces per clump. They were incredibly tart and a little musky tasting, with seeds and thicker skin than I am used to. I considered slicing them up in a chicken salad, but ultimately decided a sweeter preparation would be best. So, Rami and I made this delicious wild grape granita!
Wild Grape Granita
1/2 lb. wild, red Texas grapes
1/4 c. sugar*
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
Take grapes off stems and rinse. Puree grapes in blender and let sit for 20 minutes to rest. Meanwhile, prepare a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Strain grapes so skins and seeds are removed from the liquid. Add cooled simple syrup, wine, and lemon juice to grape liquids. Pour into a glass 9×11 pan and freeze. Stir mixture every 45 minutes with a fork until it’s slushy. Granita will keep for 2 days in the freezer (if it lasts that l0ng). Serves 2-3.
*We used a 1/4 cup sugar because our grapes were really, really tart. Adjust to taste, particularly if you’re using sweet, store bought grapes in place of the wild ones.