Thursday, March 27, 2008

book giveaway and some a tasty homemade dog food dish

Here's a few great recipes from this new cookbook, The Natural Pet Food Cookbook by Wendy Nan Rees with Kevin Schlanger. Ever since that horrible dog food scare a little over a year ago, many people have turned to cooking for their dogs, or at least thought about it, but maybe didn't know how to go about doing it. It's important to provide a balance meal so that your dog gets all the nutrients he/she needs. I'm offering a free copy of this book to the first person who responds by posting a comment - yay! - but in the meantime, here are some delicious recipes. Your dog will LOVE you for it. A word of advice though, once you switch to cooking for your dog, it's hard to go back. After all, if you were in their shoes (or paws) would you!

Nautical Navy Bean Soup
(from The Natural Pet Food Cookbook by Wendy Nan Rees with Kevin Schlanger)
Makes 8 servings

In the late 1990s, I discovered that my dogs Governor and Senator loved beans. After I learned that beans are actually good for dogs, I decided to create a soup recipe for them. To this day, Little Man, Cappy, and Senny love my navy bean soup. This soup will keep in an airtight container for 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. I never let my dogs eat the ham bone, but if I’m going to freeze the soup (or, for that matter, refrigerate it), I always store it with the ham bone in it because the bone continues to flavor the soup.

31⁄2 quarts water, divided
2 whole tomatoes
1 pound (2 cups) dried navy beans
1 meaty ham bone, about 11⁄2 pounds
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup chopped carrots

1. In a saucepan, bring 1 quart water to a boil. Drop in one whole tomato, blanch for 3
minutes, and then drop the tomato into cold water. Repeat with the second tomato.
Under cold water, peel the tomatoes. On a clean cutting board, cut the tomatoes in half
and scoop out the seeds. Then dice the tomatoes and set them aside.
2. Bring 21⁄2 quarts water to a boil in a large stockpot. Boil the beans for 2 minutes; then
remove from heat and let them stand for 1 hour.
3. Add the ham bone to the beans, cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until almost tender.

4. Add the potatoes, celery, carrots, and blanched tomatoes and simmer for 1 hour longer.
5. Remove the ham bone, cut off the meat, dice it, and add the meat back to the beans. Let
cool to room temperature and serve.

Blanching is a cooking term that means to put a food into rapidly boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes,
or until the skin starts to peel off, and then take it out and run it under cold water.
Blanching is used to help remove the skin of tomatoes and some fruits. Placing them in very
cold water right away stops the cooking process.