Red Velvet Balloon Dog Biscuits

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

For the fun-loving and heath conscious dog!
Balloon Dog, Vizsla, Dog Treats
Red Velvet Balloon Dog Biscuits
yield varies based on the size of your cutter

What you need:
6-7 medium canned beets (drained)
1/4 teaspoon chicken base (can substitute beef or ham…The Bitch likes them all)
1 egg
1-2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dry milk
2 teaspoons baking powder

What to do:
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the beets, chicken base, egg, 1 1/2 cups flour, dry milk and baking powder. Process just until combined. The mixture should feel like a bread dough. If it’s too wet, add more flour (2 tablespoons at a time).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll to a 1/4-1/2-inch thickness and cut with your cookie cutter. I used a balloon dog shaped cutter, but often I’ll just use a small star because The Bitch thinks she’s a star and we like to indulge her.

Bake for 30 minutes or until hard and crisp but not too browned. You can turn these over halfway through the baking process, but it’s not necessary. Repeat with the remaining dough. Allow to cool completely before using.

Use within one week. Biscuits can be frozen for up to 3 months.
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Watch the video!

Balloon Dog Biscuits (VIDEO)

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

One very judgy dog LOVES this very delicious dog biscuit, but refuses to act like she does.

Before and After: Lotus Root and Chips

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

The beauty of the lotus root.
Peel, slice, fry, salt, repeat.

Lotus root…before. 
Lotus Root, Food Styling, Food Photography, Libbie Summers
Lotus root…after.
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Spiced Lotus Root Chips
(try with any of the finishing salt recipes below) 

What you need:
1 lotus root, peeled using a vegetable peeler
juice from one lemon
canola oil for frying
Dry Herb Finishing Salt (recipe to follow)
Chai Spiced Finishing Salt (recipe to follow)
Sweet Onion Finishing Salt (recipe to follow)
Coriander and Pepper Finishing Salt (recipe to follow)

What to do:
Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.

Squeeze lemon into a medium mixing bowl filled halfway with water. Set aside.

Slice lotus root into 1/8-inch thick slices (we used a mandoline). Place in the lemon water while your oil is heating up.

Heat oil in a wok or heavy pan until it is hot, but not smoking (approximately 300 degrees F.) Working in batches, pat dry lotus root slices before lowering into the hot oil. Fry lotus root slices until golden brown, turning as needed. Remove with a spyder or slotted spoon to the paper-towel lined baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with a Finishing Salt. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Dry Herb Finishing Salt
In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried dill, 1 tablespoon dried parsley flake and 1 teaspoon flaked or kosher salt.

Chai Spiced Finishing Salt
In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar and 1 teaspoon flaked or kosher salt.

Sweet Onion Finishing Salt
In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion, 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar and 1 teaspoon flaked or kosher salt.

Coriander and Pepper Finishing Salt
In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon flaked or kosher salt.

Refrigerator Pickles

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

Grandma had a sunporch that was nearly falling off the southeast side of her old farmhouse. Each year, after the late-summer cucumber harvest, a rickety shelf running along the ceiling of the sunporch was lined with jars of the most unnaturally green sweet pickles a child could imagine. The same nuclear green pickles could be found in the refrigerator, for the grandkids to help themselves to. It was not unusual to be playing ball outside each summer and notice the players on both teams had green-stained fingertips. When I ate my first hot dog in Chicago, I finally came face to face with another relish as green as Grandma’s. I was relieved to know my grandma wasn’t the only crazy green pickle maker in the nation. Thank you, Vienna Beef. I’m forever grateful.
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Green Grass Refrigerator Pickles
yields 2 quart jars

What You Need
4 large cucumbers, skin left on
2 banana peppers
1 medium white onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
4 drops green food coloring (optional)

Step 1.

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Slice the cucumbers and peppers into thick slices, and the onion into thin slices.

Step 2: 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Put the sliced vegetables in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to coat and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Step 3: 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, and 1 cup water.

Step 4. 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Add the green food coloring, if using, to the vinegar mixture. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 5. 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Transfer the cucumber mixture to 2 clean quart jars or other glass containers.

Step 6. 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Pour the brine over the cucumber mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 2 days before eating.

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Pickles are ready to eat. They are best when eaten within 2 weeks.

Kool-Aid Pickles

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

If you have ever stopped at a roadside market along a Southern highway, these pickles are no stranger to you. Pickles floating in jars of a brightly colored brine are normally lined up at the cash register. These Kool-Aid pickles may seem odd at first, but once you bite into one you’ll appreciate the sweet and sour flavors. Let me just warn you, because no one warned me, your fingers may just turn the color of the pickle you’re eating!

Red Kool-Aid Pickles
yields 1 (90-ounce) jar

What you need:
1 (90-ounce) jar of whole dill pickles
4 packets Kool-Aid (I prefer cherry—it’s just how I roll)
2 cups sugar

What to do:
Drain the juice from the pickle jar and discard, leaving the pickles inside.

In a medium pitcher, combine the Kool-Aid, sugar, and 4 cups water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour enough of the Kool-Aid mixture over the pickles in the jar to completely cover them. Put the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks before eating.
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