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July 18, 2013

Dog Biscuit Dough

In a passage I became intimately familiar with during the final two years of my English degree, James Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus walks along Sandymount Strand contemplating very important life philosophies…and dogs!

Their dog ambled about a bank of dwindling sand, trotting, sniffing on all sides. Looking for something lost in a past life. Suddenly he made off like a bounding hare, ears flung back, chasing the shadow of a lowskimming gull. The man’s shrieked whistle struck his limp ears. He turned, bounded back, came nearer, trotted on twinkling shanks. On a field tenney a buck, trippant, proper, unattired. At the lacefringe of the tide he halted with stiff forehoofs, seawardpointed ears. His snout lifted barked at the wavenoise, herds of seamorse. They serpented towards his feet, curling, unfurling many crests, every ninth, breaking, plashing, from far, from farther out, waves and waves.
– James Joyce, “Proteus” episode, Ulysses

If you think Stephen is contemplative and intense, you should meet Kelenn. He was having a big snooze in the other room as I was making these and I made the mistake of waking him up to offer him a taste of this dog biscuit dough. HOOKED. He didn’t leave my side for the rest of the baking and kept trying to put his front paws up on the counter to lick the bowl. “Tatters! Out of that, you mongrel!”

Kelenn and BiscuitsThese vegan dog biscuits have peanut butter for deliciousness, pumpkin for good digestive health, and parsley for fresh breath! They’re very un-gross by human standards so you can put them in your pocket on walks and not feel slimed. Helpful. They keep very well too (they made it all the way to Canmore for my dad and stepmom’s dog Picos) as they’re quite dry. I used a one-inch cookie cutter to make cute rounds, but you could just as easily roll out the dough and slice it into squares.

Vegan Dog Biscuits
Adapted from Lola’s Hippie Dog Biscuits
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp pumpkin puree (as in for pumpkin pie, without additives)
1 cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup chopped parsley
large pinch of cinnamon
small pinch salt

Combine wet ingredients and whisk until peanut butter is incorporated into the other ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined, then knead a few times. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick (or 1/2 inch if you’re baking for larger dogs) and either use cute cookie cutters to make dog-appropriate (?) shapes, or just cut into squares.

Bake at 350˚ for about 8 minutes on each side. They will get slightly golden but shouldn’t be too dark brown. Let cool then “serve”.

Dog Biscuits


Garden to Table: Roasted Beets with Scallion Bulbs and Basil

July 9, 2013

Beets and Scallions Garden
From the oval-shaped flower-bed there rose perhaps a hundred stalks spreading into heart-shaped or tongue-shaped leaves half way up and unfurling at the tip red or blue or yellow petals marked with spots of colour raised upon the surface; and from the red, blue or yellow gloom of the throat emerged a straight bar, rough with gold dust and slightly clubbed at the end. The petals were voluminous enough to be stirred by the summer breeze, and when they moved, the red, blue and yellow lights passed one over the other, staining an inch of the brown earth beneath with a spot of the most intricate colour. The light fell either upon the smooth, grey back of a pebble, or, the shell of a snail with its brown, circular veins, or falling into a raindrop, it expanded with such intensity of red, blue and yellow the thin walls of water that one expected them to burst and disappear. Instead, the drop was left in a second silver grey once more, and the light now settled upon the flesh of a leaf, revealing the branching thread of fibre beneath the surface, and again it moved on and spread its illumination in the vast green spaces beneath the dome of the heart-shaped and tongue-shaped leaves. Then the breeze stirred rather more briskly overhead and the colour was flashed into the air above, into the eyes of the men and women who walk in Kew Gardens in July.
– Virginia Woolf, “Kew Gardens”

Roasted Beets and Scallion Bulbs

A new series on Dough Also Rises, though honestly a pretty short-lived one. Hélène and I have been experimenting with a garden this year and we’ve had some successes already! In this series, I’ll feature what we harvest and what we cook with it along with a garden scene from literature, because those gardens are enviably lush and beautiful or dramatically fading and overgrown and there’s nothing about our little container gardens that can offer that. Our beet tops are slightly dried out, our carrots are only good for a laugh and not at all for eating, and our radish tops barely broke the surface of the soil. Not exactly the stuff of great literature.

This week, we harvested beets and scallions. We’d let the scallions go a little long in the ground so we could get bigger bulbs. They’re almost like pearl onions in size and somewhere between an onion and a scallion in taste. The beets are a variety that grow long instead of wide so that they’re better suited to containers and small plots (we’re growing ours in a 16″ container). I’ve had an obsession with baby beets this year and plucking them from the garden has been a much better solution than all the rooting through the bottoms of beet bins for the tiny ones like I’ve been doing all season. The basil in this recipe is also from our garden! We’re getting much better about basil growing this year after bothering to learn the first thing about actually doing it (pluck the tops, etc.) so we’ve been using it abundantly! Of course, all this can be replicated with market and grocery store ingredients, but my garden has been a nice new inspiration for me based on what things become ready to eat.

Roasted Beets with Scallion Bulbs and Basil
Baby beets (or larger beets cut in half or quarters)
Scallion bulbs with green parts cut off (or pearl onions with skins removed)
6 large basil leaves

I’ve stopped peeling beets and most other root vegetables because I suddenly realized “why?!” Just make sure to give them a good scrub. Toss the beets in 1 tbsp oil and roast in a covered dish (with a lid, or use foil) at 425˚ for about 40 minutes or until a knife goes through with just a tiny bit of resistance. Cooking time will depend on the size of the beets.

About 10 minutes before the end of cooking time, add scallion bulbs/pearl onions and roast uncovered until bulbs start to soften and brown. Remove from oven, toss with salt and pepper, and top with ribboned basil.

Kale Garlic Scape Pizza

July 6, 2013

Kale Garlic Scape Pizza

If you’re a regular reader of Dough, you’ll have probably realized that I really like pizza (almost as much as burritos!!) In yet another effort to use up the overwhelming amount of greens from our CSA, we made a kale pizza. I’ve heard all the praises about kale pizza (the crunchiness! the relative healthiness!) but this was my first try. The four different cheeses on this version certainly limited the relative healthiness! claim, but it was also a use up the cheese bin effort, and it made it pretty delicious.

Kale and Garlic Scape Pizza

1 pizza dough recipe (this one is still my fave)

1/2 bunch of kale, cut into ribbons
2 garlic scapes, chopped into rounds
1-2 tbsp pine nuts
1/3 cup ricotta
1/3 cup mozzarella
grated parmesan cheese
*grated dutch gouda was my fourth cheese, but it isn’t necessary
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 or as high as it will go. Roll out pizza dough and brush with olive oil, paying special attention to the edges. Sprinkle grated parmesan (and any other cheese you’re trying to use up) in a thin layer on the dough – complete coverage isn’t necessary. Spread kale ribbons and garlic scapes evenly, adding more kale if needed (remembering that it will cook down in the oven).

Fig Avocado SaladCombine ricotta and mozzarella in a bowl. Place small dollops of mixture on top of the kale bed, evenly spread. Sprinkle pine nuts over the pizza.

Bake for as little as 5 minutes, up to 8-10 minutes, watching very carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn around the edges. The kale will crisp, the ricotta mixture will melt and spread delightfully, and the garlic scapes and pine nuts will add little exciting moments of flavour.

We served this with a fig avocado salad, in a toned down version of Summer Salad with Fruits from earlier in the week.

Food Anatomy: Summer Salad with Fruits

July 3, 2013

Summer Sald with Fruits

My friend Laura asked me to bring “beer, and interesting salad, and patriotic thoughts” to her Canada Day gathering on Monday. Alas, only one of the three made it to her place, but the salad was delicious!

Grilled LemonThe salad is a collection of items from our CSA box, local produce from the market, and a few non-local add-ons (pecans and lemons) just because they’re delicious! I loved the combination of savoury and sweet items, and there are some great possible substitutions along these same lines (nectarines, blueberries, pea shoots, etc.). It was perfect as a side dish to veggie burgers, but would also be an amazing summer lunch all by itself.

I have a stovetop grilling pan, which makes the lemons really easy to do up. Laura has an enviable cast iron grill, but mine is the $14.99 Ikea version, which works well enough for now, and is absolutely worth the price. I use it all the time – those grill lines are just so beautiful!

House of Sandwich and Fog

June 12, 2013

Grilled Zucchini Sandwich

The blog has been on a bit of a sad hiatus for a few months and no one regrets it more than Katie and I! But to focus on the exciting parts: in that time we’ve been off Katie has been teaching classes, attending academic conferences, taking a class at Harvard (NBD!), applying for and being awarded a giant grant, and starting her thesis proposals. I’ve been completing my final two placements as a nursing student (in home care nursing and with a community youth mental health team), graduating from nursing school, applying for jobs, and starting work as a mental health nurse. The even better news is we’ve still been cooking!

I’ve been doing a lot more cooking from recipes and have been working my way through some fabulous cookbooks such as Pure Vegan and the fabulous new Plum, the cookbook from Plum Bistro in Seattle. However, most of my cooking lately has been in the style of this sandwich: a quick and easy compilation of what’s on hand that often ends up becoming a new favourite.

CookbooksGrilled Zucchini Sandwich
length of baguette
cream cheese with chopped cilantro mixed in
shredded purple cabbage
grilled zucchini, lightly tossed in olive oil, pepper and salt
caramelized onion

“A Pesto of God”: Arugula Pesto!

January 23, 2013
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Arugula Pesto
Growing up, pesto was a staple in our house. As in once a week, without fail. We had this great tradition where my dad and stepmom would tape Buffy the Vampire Slayer the week I was at my mom’s house, and the day I came back to their house, we would make pesto and watch the taped episode. Then, we’d tape the episode during that week and watch it the night before I left! Brilliance.



As much as our love for pesto, the local Italian Centre fuelled our pesto addiction. Dad still buys these giant bags of basil there and then gets the romano and parmeson from the cheese counter. I really haven’t found this in Vancouver, and since Helene and I are apparently the worst at growing basil (see Figure 1), I’ve had to find a reasonable alternative…

Arugula. Cheap. Delicious.

Some people find arugula too bitter. One time, our friend Allen came over and stared in dismay at the arugula salad we’d made him. But we’d tossed in grated parmesan, which I really feel is the secret to mellowing out arugula. He was convinced! It works just as well in this pesto as it did in the salad, and I wouldn’t skimp on that. Interestingly, I found that for the vegan version, lemon juice had a similar effect though it’s a very different concept.

Arugula Pesto – Vegetarian Version
In a food processor, combine:
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
6-8 big handfuls of arugula
3 cloves garlic
handful of walnuts
salt and pepper

This is all extremely approximate. My pesto making usually involves alternately dumping a bunch of stuff in until I’m satisfied. You can use less oil if you want a more choppy pesto, use the full amount if you want a very smooth pesto. Luckily, this method also REQUIRES extremely frequent taste tests (particularly exciting when you get to the next stage…)

Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup parmesan (use less if powdered, but really – just use grated).

Vegan Version
Follow directions from recipe above. Instead of stirring in parmesan, stir in the juice from half a lemon. You could add the zest too for a little extra, but if you’re already on the fence about the bitterness, leave it out.

Serve with:
-roasted potato rounds, dollop of pesto, caramelized onion, walnut piece
-on whole wheat pasta
-spread on top of homemade pizza after baking
-on bread with a slice of cheese
-stirred into risotto

*Note on the title: As much as this is in reference to Margaret Laurence’s A Jest of God, it’s also a personal reference to the sweet way my stepmom always said “food of the gods!” whenever Dad made pesto. I agree!

The Mascarpone of the Red Death

December 9, 2012


For my birthday this year, my Mom gave me the most fabulous book: Artisan Cheese Making at Home. It’s this absolutely amazing book that takes you through all types of cheeses, starting with the most manageable and leading up to all sorts of cheeses that involve rinds and special ingredients and washes and things. But I already feel like making mascarpone is brave!


The most difficult part about this recipe is getting the ingredients. I found that most of the heavy cream at the grocery store contained carrageenen. This is a thickener that also serves to prevent the milk and cream from separating: bad news when you’re actually relying on a bit of curdling to get the mascarpone to thicken up! The only brand I was able to find that just contained milk and cream (and no other ingredients) was Avalon.

2 cups pasteurized heavy cream without thickeners
1/3 cup powdered skim milk
1 lemon

You’ll also need a cooking thermometer.

Whisk together cream and powdered milk in a pot. Place on very low heat (adjusting as needed) in order to heat the mixture to 180˚ over 40 minutes. This is both kind of boring and extremely important: slowly heating the milk allows it to “ripen” without overheating destroying the proteins that are needed for curdling. Once you’ve reached the right temperature, turn off the heat.

Juice half the lemon, and slowly pour it into the cream, stirring with a metal spoon (not a whisk – too much stirring will break up the curd formation). You won’t get solid curds with this type of cheese – it will just thicken so that it coats the spoon. Once this happens, juice and add the other half lemon.

Cover the pot, refrigerate overnight. The cheese will be firm to the touch – EXCITING.

The next day, transfer to a colander lined with cheesecloth. Draw up the sides of the cloth and squeeze out the excess moisture. I found that a double-layer of cheesecloth was best to prevent the actual cheese from leaking out the holes.

This is a truly magical experience – I was so impressed by the whole thing every step of the way. It’s amazing to see it actually work! Now what to do with this mascarpone miracle…?

Tomato Mascarpone Bites

These are very simple, show off the mascarpone, and were a huge hit this summer at two different dinner parties!

Tomato Mascarpone Bites
3-4 ripe but still firm heirloom tomatoes (don’t waste your mascarpone on a sad tomato!)
dollops of mascarpone
sliced chives
a few twists of sea salt and black pepper

Espresso Mascarpone Bites

Espresso Mascarpone Cake

These cream and cake recipes are both from Cook’s Illustrated – they test all of their recipes numerous times so you know they’re good! Put together, this is possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had.

Espresso-Mascarpone Cream

1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp espresso powder – I used about 1 tsp of coffee powder, and 1/2 tsp ground espresso, since I wanted a bit of graininess
2 tbsp icing sugar
8 ounces (about a cup) mascarpone

Heat cream until warm. Dissolve coffee powder into cream, then add in espresso powder and sugar. Let cool then mix in mascarpone with a spoon, then a whisk. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp table salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup homemade buttermilk (1/2 cup milk with 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice, let sit for 5 mins)
1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350˚. I used a 5″ springform for this.

Combine eggs, sugar and vanilla. Heat chocolate in double boiler (we’re usually rash and just do it on low heat and hope for the best) then whisk into eggs mixture. Add homemade buttermilk and whisk, then add all dry ingredients and mix to combine.

One great tip I once heard for chocolate cake is to use cocoa powder to butter and “flour” the tin – it prevents the patchy white look around the outside of your cake! Isn’t that brilliant? Once you’ve done that to your pan, add the batter and bake for about 25-35 minutes. Cool, top with espresso mascarpone cream and chocolate shavings.


Next up, queso blanco!

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