Hood Day

On this day in history: 2012 – we brought home our little idiot.

Here’s the back story on Hoodlum: In 2011 we had to put down our beautiful Siberian Husky because his cancer had spread. He was only six. He had a great life until his last week.

Fast forward about a year: I have a friend who works with a therapy dog training group. They breed dogs and train for a variety of needs and I know dogs can wash out from those programs and my friend had adopted a couple herself (Goldies), so before I went to lunch one day, I emailed to see if there were any pups available knowing that this usually takes weeks if not months. I didn’t even tell the MotH because it was so unlikely to have a result anytime soon.

Famous last words: I got back to the office and there was this photo:Hoodie Boy

He’s half Border Collie and half Labrador and was washing out because of a hip, or so I was told. It didn’t take long to realize that his hip is fine, it was his personality – he’s too stubborn by half.

The agency was looking to have the personality of a Lab with the intelligence of a Border Collie – oops. There were four in the litter; 3 males, 1 female. Met the males – Hood was far and away the best looking of the bunch, but all the brothers washed out. Imagine that.

Either way, we went to Daytona to pick him up – how could you refuse that face? And then the fun began …..

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Homemade Mascarpone

I’m just not sure how many dogs get to have some homemade mascarpone cheese. My guess, is it just mine. This could not be easier to make and it tastes amazing. I will do the cost / benefit thing to see if it makes sense, but in my head this is so simple with things I already have on hand that I’m pretty sure this is a good deal. And did I say it tastes really good, because it is not just the Hoodie boy that likes it. It is me too.

D&D_2726Makes about 2 cups

2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Note – do use a thermometer for this recipe.

In a saucepan, slowly bring the heavy cream to a low simmer. The temperature should reach at 180° F and the goal is to try to keep it around there.

Let simmer at 180° F for 3 minutes then add in the lemon juice.

Simmer for another 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, 30 minutes.

Fill a small strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and set over a glass measuring cup.

Pour the cooled mascarpone mixture into the cheesecloth and stick the entire bowl in the fridge overnight, cover the whole thing in plastic wrap.

The next day, take it out, whip it up and use it however you would like. Keeps for a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long – in mine and Hood’s case, that is a no.

D&D_2728Source: Food52

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats

This is an easy and flexible recipe. You can used canned pumpkin or canned sweet potato or just toss a sweet potato in the oven while you’re roasting something else. All-purpose or whole wheat flour will work.

D&D_2715I have to admit they smelled good, but I was concerned when Hood dropped the cookie from his mouth and sat there and sniffed it. But that didn’t last long – he likes them. I made in two sizes for him.

2/3 cup roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or more, as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together sweet potato, peanut butter and eggs until well combined. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, mixing just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.

Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely.D&D_2704

Source: damn delicious.net

Easy and fun and Hood – arbiter of taste that he is, loves them.

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Peanut Butter Fudge

I did not have an opportunity to make much in the way of candy this winter. It was just so humid. But this is a recipe that works, is simple, and tasty. My mom used to make peanut butter fudge but I never had the recipes, so when one of my friends brought in her grandmother’s recipe – it was just like my mom’s. I have tried other recipes but this one is the only one I make any more.

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Hood was asking for a piece, so ….

This is also a treat I can share with the dog – though in very small doses.

2 cups sugar
3 Tbs butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter

Prep an 8 x 8 glass pan with cooking spray.

Put sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to minimum and stir continuously until the mixture is caramel brown and the candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees (use the thermometer – no really, do it!)  Remove from heat, add vanilla and peanut butter. Stir until completely mixed. Place in a 8 x 8 glass pan and let firm up. Then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Amy’s grandmother

11 March 2018

Mardi Gras

Well Carnival season is always a fun time here in Pensacola. Everyone associates Carnival with just New Orleans, but in this country it started in Mobile, Alabama – and moon pies are involved. Yep. Moon Pies. Pensacola has a vibrant krewe tradition and a host of parades and balls from 12th night (6th of January) on – there is not much else to do in January and February after all. It is cold and rainy most of the time so any excuse to drink like fish and dress up is appreciated. I would join a krewe, but I just do not like people. Nope.

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Yes, I have carnival cookie cutters. So?

Throws (beads, cups, and, whatnot) vary, but Moon Pies are in the mix. I am so not sure why, but hey, what is wrong with a chocolate Moon Pie once a year. Apparently this year there were calorie count moon pies – like tiny little things – who does that? This season is for indulgence, so let us just have a regular old-sized moon pie – like the kind I ate when I was a kid. I do not like the vanilla ones and really do not like the banana ones – ugh. Go chocolate (which is odd for me) or do not bother.

So today I wear beads to work – just like I wore beads this weekend when the major parades were going on. Monday was red beans and rice day and while that is a traditional Monday thing, but this is the important Monday. Today is Mardi Gras – the crazy day and then Ash Wednesday changes everything.

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Hood – my Mardi Gras pup

National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day, so I think I will begin operation Get Another Dog in earnest now. Up to this point, I have been casually dropping hints that the MotH* has consistently ignored, but I think I will put the spurs to it, as it were, and actively start looking for a dog that I want.

That raises the question – what kind of dog do I really want? My first knee-jerk reaction would immediately be a German Shepherd Dog, but I am wondering if that makes sense going forward. I would always compare any GSD to Duke and I just do not think it could possibly measure up. IMG_0041

And then there is Bering. The  Boy wanted two types of dogs, a GSD and a Siberian Husky. When our friends rescued a Husky right after Hurricane Katrina, I was not enthusiastic. It seemed that he was noisy. Guess I did not know anything about a Husky. The Boy picked the name, it was the Bering Sea. And lord help me, the Husky was beyond words beautiful. I miss my little puppy friend. It is a damn shame that cancer took him at six years despite all the efforts we made.

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Then we got the idiot. He was bred to be a service dog. The group thought that mixing a Border Collie and a Lab would make a good service dog. Funny, but I do not think this group will try to make that mix again, since 3 of the 4 of that litter totally washed out. But he is my little idiot and no one else can say that about my dumb little boy. He is my Hood. This the picture when I knew he was mine.

Hoodie Boy

*Man of the House

My thoughts on the Cracker Challenge – yep, that sounds slightly weird. Geh.

After the 2012 cracker challenge, I decided to make the ultimate cheese cracker – my own version. I took the following things into consideration: ingredients on hand, time to mix, log or flat, dough handling, time to chill, spice. nuts. flavor, crispiness, cost to make, and it all culminated in an all around winner which was – Parmesan Rosemary Walnut Shortbread.Will make that again, because I really love them. Because growing fresh Rosemary is simply easy – just put it in the garden in a place  that gets lots of sun, but not too much water – read: no sprinkler system.

D&D_1476That said, I took the best qualities from the 5 recipes I used and developed this. I think this just might be my first real recipe on my own – although with a little help. I do freelance in cooking, but baking is a completely different animal.

The cracker challenge sat for a while (until 2016), but now we are going to make my ultimate cracker and see if/how it measures up. I am not growing Rosemary – damn it. But we shall manage. Will soldier on. That is what I do. It is June 2016 and I cannot sleep, so this is what I decided to do. I’ll wear it proudly. It is June 2016 and I cannot sleep, so this is what I decided to do. I’ll wear it proudly.

6 ozs all-purpose flour – yes, we are measuring by weight – why else do I have the damn scale? Thank you Ruhlman.
2 ozs grated cheddar – plus just a bit because that is what I do.
2 ozs finely grated Parmesan – it really seems like a lot but in reality it is not, mostly.
1/2 tsp cayenne – I think next time – more, yes, please – more.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped, but not too finely
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 ozs (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2” pieces
1 egg yolk, with just a smidge of cold water

First thing, I chop the walnuts in the food processor and since everything else is going to be mixed in there, it is no big deal. Remove the walnuts.

To the food processor, add the flour, and cheeses, cayenne, walnuts, pepper and whir around a bit. Then add butter. Once that is combined, add the egg and water to the top of the dough and just pulse until it comes together. Then add the walnuts back in. Will not be long to come together.

Dump out on waxed paper and press together and then shape into a couple of logs. Chill overnight or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut the logs in 3/4 inch slices or there abouts. Just try to make the slices very similar to each other. That way they bake the same way. It takes about 12 minutes to bake them, but you need turn them half way through. You want the edges slightly gold and the same with the bottom. That really is as far as you want to go in the baking these cheese crackers.

Hood got a bit of cheese, but the cracker rolls are in the fridge and ready to be baked and in my head, they will be good because the dough was not damn bad.

Nota bene:That is something I have learned – if the dough does not taste good, neither will the cookies or crackers.

 

 

National Puppy Day

I had no idea that this was National Puppy Day. But I think that is a great idea, because I don’t think anything can make you feel better than a dog – no matter what the MotH says. I’ve loved all my pups (or puppers which how I usually refer to them.)

So today, I remember all my pupper friends. Two how I miss beyond words, and my little idiot (I’m the only one who can call him that) that I am so grateful for. Hate ending a sentence that way.

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Bering – My Siberian Husky – Duke the best GSD ever

Hoodie Boy

Hood – my Border Collie / Labrador Mix – My little idiot