Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bacon & Chicken Liver Dog Treats with a Ketchup Glaze

First, I need to apologize for not posting sooner.  Believe it or not, I am having trouble adjusting to the kids' new schedule.  It's the end of October and I am still so unorganized.  Hopefully, I'll get back on track soon.  Next, I am seriously embarrassed to admit that this is the first time I've ever made treats for my best doggy-boy L.T.  As much as I love to bake and cook, I've never baked him anything.  Nada.  Zilch.  Rien.  It makes me feel like a bad Mom and it's going to stop immediately.  From now on, he's going to get great treats.  Thomas Keller caliber treats.  And actually, this is a Thomas Keller recipe from his Bouchon Bakery cookbook.  I've made them gluten free because I think L.T. gets itchy when he eats gluten (I know it sounds weird) and I don't do any gluten baking in the house.  He loved them and gobbled them up unlike any other treat I've ever given him.  I can also verify their tastiness.  I tried one.  Hilarious but I ate one up and I can see why a dog would go crazy for them.  Very chicken livery:). I also gave him little bites of dough along the way- it was so cute!  L.T. is like a child to me.  He is the sweetest dog and is actually the only one in  my home who listens to me and definitely the most well behaved.  I love this little guy so much and I am going to make him a lot more of these treats.  He deserves it - such a wonderful dog!    

L.T waiting patiently until I give him the o.k. to dive in.  Look at that face!  

Licking his chops.

Asking for more treats after he's already finished a few...

La Recette:

1 lb- sliced bacon cut into 1-inch wide pieces
13 oz. - chicken livers cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon - fine cornmeal
3 cups + 3 tablespoons - gluten free baking mix (or all purpose flour)
1 tablespoon - extra virgin olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 cups - chicken stock

Ketchup Glaze-
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 egg white

Stand or hand mixer
Blender or food processor
Saute pan
Baking sheets
Parchment paper and/or silpats
Metal wire rack, and aluminum foil for cooking bacon
Chef's knife
Measuring cups and spoons
Rolling pin
Small bowl
Pastry brush
Bone cookie cutter (any size works).  I ordered a trio of cutters from Amazon and I prefer the smallest size (1 3/4 inch), as L.T. is under 20 pounds when he is on his diet ;)

-Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
-Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
-Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
-Line one baking sheet well with aluminum foil.
-Place the bacon on the wire rack and then place the wire rack on the baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
-Cook the bacon for 20 minutes in the oven.   Remove the bacon and let it cool to room temperature.
-Turn the oven temperature down to 250 degrees.
-Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the saute pan and then add the chicken livers.  Cook for about 5 minutes turning frequently and smashing them slightly until they are broken down and become a paste.  Don't over cook.
-Place the chicken livers and bacon into a blender or food processor and process until paste like and well combined.  Add in the cornmeal and process until you have a course mixture.
-Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Slowly add the flour and mix until combined.
-Next, slowly add 1 - 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock.  The dough should be moist to touch and gather around the paddle.
-Remove the dough from the mixture and knead it just enough until well combined.
-Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll the it out to 3/8 - inch thick.
- Using the dog bone cutter, cut out the treats and place them on the prepared pans.
-Knead the leftover dough together and repeat.  If you use the smallest dog bone cookie cutter, it makes a lot of treats.  You can cut the dough in half and freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.  Or cut out all of the treats and freeze them on the prepared pans.
-Bake until treats are completely dry.  1 1/2 hours in a convection oven and 3 hours in a standard oven.
-For the glaze, remove the treats from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees.
-In a small bowl, whisk the tomato paste and egg white together until well combined.
-Using a pastry brush, cover the treats with the glaze.  Return the pans to the oven and bake for 20 minutes so the glaze is set.
-Remove from the oven and let the treats cool to room temperature.
-The treats can be stored in a covered container for up to 1 month.
-I hope your pooch enjoys :)

*The smallest size (1 3/4 inch) makes 190-200 treats.
*I would also like to note that every year on L.T.'s birthday, I make him a petite filet.  So, I'm not a completely neglectful Mommy!

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Tale of Two Veggies...

So, it's always a constant struggle for me to get my kids to eat green vegetables.  They are really good with seafood and fruit but if it's green, it usually doesn't even make it to the, "just try it" stage.  The benefits of green veggies are endless.  They are rich sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, and vitamins, C, A, and K.  I would really like my kids to consume more of this stuff.  Over the summer I made Green Goddess dressing for Mason and he loved it.  Then, I had the idea that if I created something to accompany the veggies for them to dip into, it might make things a little more interesting.  I discovered that I was 50% successful.  The asparagus was a no go (I happened to love it), but the Sugar Snap Peas with Green Goddess dressing was a big hit!  Cucumbers also work really well with Green Goddess dressing.  I actually like the dressing so much that I found myself licking the spoon.  Weird but it's great.  Maybe I should try it with the asparagus but I loved the honey mustard sauce pictured above.  If you have the same issues as I do, try these two recipes.  They are quick, delicious sides for almost any meal.  I also found that the kids seemed really interested in the vegetables that I grew in my garden.  I even caught them picking sugar snap peas off of the stems and eating them in the back yard!  Gasp!  Well, it made my day and in the mean time I am going to be the biggest green veggie pusher in town.

Sugar Snap Peas with Green Goddess dressing

*Both recipes call for blanching and shocking the vegetables.  It essentially means boiling the veggies for 3-4 minutes and then putting them in ice water.  I am a big fan of this.  They are cooked just enough and retain their vibrant green color.  

Les Recettes:

Asparagus with Honey Mustard-
1 bunch - fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 tablespoons German Style mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
Sprig of parsley for garnish

Sauce pan
Large bowl
Small bowl
Meauring cup and spoons
Serving plate and small bowl
Slotted spoon

-Fill the sauce pan 3/4 full of water.  Bring to a boil.
-In the meantime, combine the Dijon mustard, German mustard, and honey together in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.  Garnish with a sprig of Parsley.
-Fill the large bowl with ice water.
-Once the water is at a rolling boil, pour in a tablespoon of kosher salt and dump in the asparagus. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
-After 4-5 minutes, remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and place them in the ice water.  
-Leave the asparagus in the ice water for about 10 minutes. 
-Drain well and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.  Plate and serve.  Enjoy!  

Sugar Snap Peas with Green Goddess Dressing-
~ 1 lb. Sugar Snap Peas, washed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup fresh basil (packed)
3 - scallions, chopped
1 - clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce pan
Large bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Blender, food processor, or Vitamix
Slotted spoon
Serving bowl and plate

-Fill the sauce pan 3/4 full of water.  Bring to a boil.
-In the meantime, combine all ingredients (not the Sugar Snaps) into your blender/Vitamix and blend until smooth.  You may need to scrape the sides down one or twice with a spatula.  Pour into a small serving bowl.
-Fill the large bowl with ice water.
-Once the water is at a rolling boil, pour in a tablespoon of kosher salt and dump in the sugar snaps. Cook for 3 minutes.
-After three minutes, remove the sugar snap peas with a slotted spoon and place them in the ice water.  Keep them in the water for roughly 10 minutes.  Drain well and serve with the Green Goddess dressing.  Enjoy ;)

-Serves 4. 

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