Monday, February 28, 2011

One Down; 101 to Go

Success! I made the “Basic Customizable Biscuit Recipe” that I posted the other day.

What did the tasters think? Riley, of course, gobbled them up. But he’s not fussy. Cody, however, generally does not take to any food that’s not his familiar brand. His usual pattern is to reluctantly take a new treat and carry it off somewhere to his private laboratory for analysis. This can take days—or until Riley slips in and steals it.

But this recipe passed the Cody test! It only took about 30 seconds—and a drooling look from Riley—for Cody to chomp in. After that, he was hooked.

The recipe was easy enough. I used one cup of Trader Joe’s low-sodium chicken broth for the liquid, fresh organic peanut butter from Roots, and shredded cheddar cheese. I didn’t use a cookie cutter (dogs don’t seem to care if their treats are bone-shaped), but cut the dough into one-inch squares. I baked them at 350 until lightly browned (about 40 minutes) and then left them in the oven overnight to harden.

I ran out of cookie sheets and shelves in the oven, so I still have a lump of dough left and froze it. I ended up with about 70 one-inch biscuits using about 2/3 of the dough.

The entire Dog Treat Recipes book of 102 recipes is available for $10 plus shipping from the Northern Breed Rescue website.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Should You Cook for Your Dog?

Here’s a funny coincidence. Shortly after I got the idea yesterday to try out dog treat recipes and write about them, I was driving around doing errands. I turned on the radio and tuned into WAMU’s (88.5 FM) weekly program The Splendid Table, “the show for people who love to eat.” (It’s basically all about food, cooking and wine and has a call-in segment for questions.) The host, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, was just beginning an interview with a veterinarian on cooking for pets! Now, I’ve been listening to this show for years, and this is the first time I ever heard a discussion on cooking food for pets. Was this a sign?

In the interview, Lynne asked Dr. Gary Weitzman, the animal advisor for WAMU's The Animal House, “Should I cook for my dog?” His answer: “It’s not what you should do, but what you could do.” Animals like variety, tasty foods, and surprises as much as we do.

You can listen to the program by going to the site’s Podcasts page, and clicking on February 26, 2011. The segment about pets runs from about 15:30 –22:00.

The site also has a recipe posted for Cheese, Please! Dog Biscuits (“loved by kids and dogs alike”).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tails in the Kitchen: My Year of Baking Dog Treats

I decided to start a Julie & Julia type blog and bake the 102 dog treat recipes that appear in a book I bought from Northern Breed Rescue about a year or two ago.

I can't guarantee that I'll be as thorough as Julie, or that I'll complete the project within a year, or that I'll even complete it at all. But I think I can  start out by trying a few. After all, who could resist Tuna Brownies, Liver Muffins, and Bacon Biscuits?

I obtained permission from the NB Rescue to publish its recipes in the blog. I'll describe my experiences with them and the reactions from my tasters. I'll always include information about ordering the book, which is available for $10 plus shipping from the rescue's website.

So, . . . I started from the beginning with the Basic Customizable Biscuit Recipe.

Recipe 1
Basic Customizable Biscuit Recipe
Contributed by Cindy, Fonz and Girl
This recipe can serve as a basic dough for dog biscuits. You can use chick, beef, or turkey, or vegetable broth (onion and garlic free)--whichever your dog prefers. You can also add raw or cooked ground or minced meat (your choice) or baby food to the dough before baking.

2 cups of white flour
2 cups of white rice flour
1 egg
2 tbsp oil
1/4 to 1/2 cups peanut butter (optional if you are not adding meat)
1/2 to 3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (optional, depends on what your dog likes)

Preheat oven to 350. Add enough water to make VERY stiff dough. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes. Bake at 350 and turn it down to 200 or 250 after they start browning. After that, it may take a couple of hours to dry out completely. Alternatively, you can bake them at 350 until brown, then turn off the oven and let them stay there overnight to cool and harden. Use within one week or freeze.
Variation: you can also substitute potato or oat flour if your dog does not handle rice or wheat flour well.

The entire book of 102 recipes is available for $10 plus shipping from the Northern Breed Rescue website.