Thursday, September 27, 2012

Have A World Food Day Dinner and Fight Hunger

"Host a meal, share a recipe,
and spread the word."
Oxfam, the international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice, is spreading the word about World Food Day
on October 16th this year. The organization is sponsoring a World Food Day Dinner to promote the GROW Method - five principles to change the way we think, buy, prepare and eat food to create less waste.
All you have to do to participate is host a dinner on October 16th. Invite four to ten guests; your friends and/or family members. Set the table with Oxfam's GROW placemats and stickers. Sit, eat, and start a conversation using the GROW Discussion Guide.
And... enjoy!
And, here are some recipes from Jamie Oliver, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali and other renowned chefs, to inspire your World Food Day Dinner (I'm trying the chilaquiles!).
See you at dinner on October 16th!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Truthfully, I don't really bake much. Which makes it somewhat amusing that when I finally got out the baking sheets, I made dog biscuits. Hey, we all like homemade treats!
Looking at the ingredients list on a box of dog treats is often as scary as looking at some of the prepared stuff that passes as food these days. I generally believe that if you can't pronounce it, maybe it shouldn't be on your fork.
These dog biscuits came about because I wanted to find a comparable recipe for one of Jane the Dog's favorites, Milk-Bones. After her veterinarian announced to us that we should start brushing her teeth (um, what?) I knew that just giving her super-hard dog biscuits was not enough to keep her pearly whites sparkling. So, I experimented with a "copycat" recipe and I would say that it was a success. The biscuits weren't that difficult to make (always a plus). They didn't have exotic ingredients (except for the powdered milk, which can be a bit pricey, and the use of parchment paper which is something I had on hand since I use it for polymer clay). And, best of all, Jane loved them!
Jane the Dog
The process is simple enough. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine 1/2 cup dry powdered milk, 3/4 cup water, 1/3 cup softened butter, and 1 beaten egg. I used a hand-held beater but the mixture still comes out kind of lumpy and separated from the butter. It doesn't affect the final result.
Next, stir in 3 cups of unbleached flour (try substituting some whole wheat flour also). The dough will feel very similar to "people biscuit" dough.
You can roll out the dough, but I found that I could just pat it out on a piece of parchment paper. Pat or roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick and cut into shapes. I have a dog bone-shaped cutter that is 3-1/4 inches wide, purchased at a Michael's craft store, but you can cut the biscuits into any shape you like. I tried to stamp "JANE" into the bone with metal alphabet stamps, but the dough sort of puffed up and the writing disappeared. Yes, I actually did sample a little piece; these biscuits also taste a lot like "people biscuits" without the salt, etc.
Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and place the dog biscuits on the paper. Bake for about 50 minutes. They won't brown a lot, but they will be crunchy (not hard as a brick like Milk-Bones, but definitely crunchy).
I originally made half of this recipe just to try it, and with my 3-1/4 inch cookie cutter I was able to get seven biscuits plus a couple of extra small leftover pieces. So, this recipe should make about 14 or 15 biscuits with a cookie cutter of similar size. Store in a paper bag so biscuits will remain crunchy, and remember that these don't have preservatives so they won't last as long as manufactured dog biscuits. It might not really be a problem for you and your precious furbaby; Jane could probably eat all of them at one time. But, treats are treats because they're special - just like your sweet dog!


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