eureka!

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In my past life, I was a caterer, where I custom-catered small cocktail parties, fancy galas, annual dinners, intimate dinners for two and fundraising events for 750 attendees. Three file cabinets crammed with recipes and 237 cookbooks later, I closed my catering business, married the love of my life and moved to New Mexico. I swore I would never work nights, weekends or holidays again.

Little did I know how that would change the minute I gave my husband a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy for his 50th birthday.  Named Tiamo, the newest member of our family had us wrapped around every one of her paws. Every day was an adventure for Tiamo: there were cookbooks to chew, magazines to rip up and wooden spoons to carry from room to room. Friends would fight over who held Tiamo’s leash on walks. Neighborhood kids would randomly drop by to pet her. She was the darling of the community and our hearts.

Tiamo knew not to beg for table scraps, but she was quick to lick up any tasty tidbit that fell to the floor.  We learned Tiamo had a keen ability to counter-surf, quickly and quietly. Cartons of cream would go missing, only to be found empty in another room. Cookies cooling on racks would be one fewer of a dozen. Licked-clean butter plates would be discovered under couch pillows.  Anyone who has ever owned a dog has had a similar experience: turning your back for just a few minutes while cooking, resulting in missing ingredients and a look from your pooch that says, “Who, me?”

My love of cooking for family, friends, and my enjoyment of Tiamo’s humorous antics while sniffing for a fallen crumb has produced a cookbook designed to bring compliments to the chef and smiles from the cook, along with a tasty morsel for your dog.

Yes, cooking and dogs do go together – they are both joyous! And a stray dog hair is a reminder of their unconditional love.

A cookbook recommended by three 100-pound lap dogs, sampled by a wonderful husband and fed to some great neighbors and friends!

Every kitchen needs a dog! A dog quick to lick up the drops and drips that occur in the kitchen. A dog that looks at you with beseeching eyes for a nibble of cheese or a sliver of meat. A dog that awaits with hope and longing, a scrap of food will land on the floor. We all know better than to feed our crafty canines “human food”, but we still do!

Here’s a cookbook that will charm you with adorable pictures of puppies and dogs as they try to beguile their owner into giving them a taste of what’s to come. Recipes that have been served to former Vice-Presidents, pro athletes, family members and best friends – all savory, all tasty! These recipes were created for taste, ease, and an opportunity for the chef to showcase their talent in the kitchen. Recipes guaranteed to receive compliments – the cook will need to make enough for seconds!

Go to  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615869823 to order your book!

COVER-final-coloredition

the parking lot

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If your windows are rolled down, you can smell the spicy aroma blocks away as you wait at a stop light in your car.  Driving closer, you can actually hear the roar of the propane fueled fire as the flames nip at the lusciously curved, green and red fruit.  A peppery scent permeates the air as you pull your vehicle into the parking lot and step out on the black tarred pavement.  Your mouth has already started to water at the thought of eating freshly roasted chiles.  Hot off the grill and wrapped in a tortilla with butter and a little sprinkle of S & P, there is nothing better!

It’s August and every parking lot in New Mexico has a corner fenced off and reserved for an old, recycled 50 gallon metal drum cut in half and welded back together with additional hinges, vents, cranks, lids, and handles, standing next to stacks and stacks of large burlap bags stuffed with chiles – Hatch Chiles.  The absolutely best in the world!  For the next two months, vendors from the surrounding area work the chile roasters as locals flock to their favorite chile stand, waiting in line to buy 50 to 100 pound bags of roasted chiles – hoping to get enough for a year’s supply…. maybe.  In the mean time, family members are gathered back at home waiting in the kitchen for the return of the chiles, prepared to start the peeling and packaging process, usually, an all day family event.  In the Southwest, it is chile harvest time – the kickoff to Fall and football.

As Malcolm and I pull into the massive parking lot adjacent to our local grocery,  Dolce and Amore sense the excitement. They know this trip to the store is much different from the standard run to get more milk.  Their scent-sensitive snouts are poking out the half rolled-down car window, their noses wrinkling, sniffing at the fiery, piquant smells.  As we exit the car, I’m always reminded of the scene in the movie, Silverado, when the main characters walk into the local watering hole, the swinging saloon doors behind them, taking a deep and audible  breath at the entrance, ahhhhhh!  Breathing in the air of cigar smoke, alcohol and sweat, the tension leaves and the anticipation begins.  You know at that moment, they are at home.  That scene right there is the epitome of chile harvest – a deep breath, taking in all the fiery freshness of roasted green chiles, the anticipation of their spicy flavor, you’re at home.

Dolce and Amore get left in the car as we walk across the striped spaces to buy our chiles, the biggest decision we have to make is, do we buy one or two bags of peppers?  A mental checklist runs through my mind, do we have enough gloves at home to handle the peppers?  Did I buy plenty of Ziplock bags for the freezer?  Green or Red?  or Christmas? Do we have any Cerveza in the garage frig?  All important when peeling peppers.

Personally, I like green chiles for breakfast burritos and red for enchiladas.  Malcolm likes only green – period!  We get a bag of both.  Christmas!  The girls get neither!

WARNING:  Do not ever let your dogs eat chile peppers!

green_chile_roaster

Christmas!

CHILE CHEESE BAKE

For the tenderfoots, substitute green onions for the chiles!

  • 8 oz. roasted green chiles, diced
  • 1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 lb. Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked, diced

Preheat oven to 325 F.  butter a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish.  combine green chiles and cheese in a large mixing bowl.  Place on the bottom of the baking dish.

Add flour and evaporated milk to the egg yolks.  Set aside.  Beat egg whites until stiff.  Fold in egg whites to the flour mixture.  Spread mixture over the cheese in baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and arrange the bacon pieces and tomato sliced on the top of the cheese mixture.  Continue baking for another 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

sneaky snake

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We have a sneaky snake.  No, it’s not Dolce, who is usually our first choice to blame as she likes to double-back on the trail to sneak a bite at a road apple.  Nor is it Amore, a likely culprit however,  who likes to quietly slip into the kitchen undetected to counter-surf for any and all crumbs left behind.  Both girls have well-deserved and well-earned reputations of being sly, cunning, evasive, clever, crafty…  and, well, just down-right sneaky when it comes to some delicious little tidbit of food that they desire.  They are pros when it comes to measuring the distance between master (us),  the goal (food), and the trials and tribulations to obtain said goal.  They can recognize the challenge and process the steps necessary to achieve victory without being scared or turning back.  And, usually they are spot-on thieves, quick as a wink and unafraid of retribution from Malcolm or myself.

No, this sneaky snake is just that, a snake.  A real one.  Four to five feet long, I can only pray it is either a Bull Snake, Whip Snake, or a Red Racer.  Of course, by the time I finish this tale, the snake will be at least 6 to 7 feet long with a girth wider than Malcolm’s chest and has fangs to rival a vampire.  Unfortunately, the only evidence we have gathered is the skin.  A long, scaly, ugly snake-skin.  Uck!  Double uck!  Triple, quadruple, uck! Let me say it in plain English –  UCK!  I. HATE. SNAKES.  Big, small, skinny, fat, friendly or deadly, doesn’t matter, I hate’em all and it doesn’t help matters that I live in an area that is populated with such creatures.  Give me a spider or a mouse any day (more on the mice at a later date).  I know, without a doubt, if Dolce or Amore ever saw a snake they would think it’s play time, something to chase after, play with and perhaps bring into the house to show off to the folks.

With the frequent monsoon rains we have the past couple of weeks, the flash floods and the wash out roads, many rodents and reptiles have moved to higher ground.  We’ve seen more snakes in the last two weeks than we have in all the years we’ve lived in Santa Fe – bar none.  To year-to-date, the total count is:  4 Rattlesnakes, 4 Bull Snakes, 1 Whip Snake and 2 Red Racers – a zillion Kangaroo Rats, a couple dozen Pack Rats (imagine a mouse on steroids)  and at least 6 gophers.  Mice aren’t part of the totals, as they are beyond counting.

Even though, every spring we give Dolce and Amore a Rattlesnake booster shot, even though we are vigilant when we hike the trails and the green belt, miles from anywhere and no cell service, even though it’s often said, “they are more afraid of you” – I still fret and worry about snakes.  Especially when the below picture was taken 10 feet from our garage door.

sneaky snake

sneaky snake

Now that I’m examining the photo a little more closely, it’s evident this is probably a twelve footer with wings, can squeeze you in half, has a tail like a scorpion and can spew fire from it’s mouth.

internbern

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the berner internet

the berner internet

the bowls

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There are two kinds of bowls in our house –  the water bowl and the toilet bowl, both providing an endless supply of hydration for our dogs. Each dog has a preference, each has a favored style of distribution and each has a unique way of sipping their fluids.

DSC01437Dolce fancies running water, preferably from a hose.  She’ll crouch down, tip her head under the nozzle and “bite” the flowing water.  For the longest time, Dolce had the misfortune to have to use a standard dog water bowl, hoses not being the norm for the inside of our house.  I am now thinking she did so under duress….

On hikes, she’ll only drink from the bottle as we’re pouring the water into the canvas trail bowl, never from the nylon lined cavity.  Out in the pen, she’ll ignore the water bowls and the rain puddles and instead lap up the tiny drops of moisture emitting from the drip irrigation line stationed around the Pinon trees.  With me as I’m in the tinkering in the yard, she’ll eagerly wait for me to turn on the hose, anticipating immediate flowing water.  I chuckle over the puzzled look of confusion she gives me, as she waits for the water to run through the 150 ft. of hose, until the water shoots out the nozzle directly in her open jaws, turning her confusion into surprise.  It’s turned into a game with her as she awaits for that first shot of water to hit her, timing her mouth to open at just the right moment.

That is, until Uncle Dan came to visit and bought the girls their own running water BigDog bowl.  Dan is a long-time friend of Malcolm’s and adores the girls.  He always brings the girls a special treat when he comes to visit.  Toys, smoked bones, treats, he spoils’em rotten.  I, of course, love anyone who loves our girls, so Dan can do no wrong!  The minute Dolce heard the running water she ran in to investigate and immediately claimed the bowl as hers.  It took her all of 20 seconds to tip her head down and start biting the water.  She likes to stand to the right side of the bowl, crouch down and beeline into the fountain.  Dolce is in heaven!

Amore prefers the toiletDSC01441, also known as the 1) throne, 2) the shitter or shit box, 3) the great white porcelain god 4) the can, 5) the loo, or my favorite, 6) the library.  It’s just the right height, just the right temperature of coldness, just the right size of for delivery.  She likes the master bath’s porcelain the best, as it is closest to the dog pen and her dog pillow.  She’ll stand at the bowl for a good 4-5 minutes, slurping and lapping the cool water, sometimes, draining the basin.  Amore will drink some, think a’little, drink some more, think a’little more, and then maybe drink some more again.  She’ll take her time, stare off in space for a few seconds, then dip back down to the bowl for a few more sips.   She’ll then leave a 15 ft. trail of huge water drops into the bedroom and through the house.  Thank Gawd for brick floors!

Where as Dolce likes to bite at the water we pour from a bottle or hose, Amore would rather slurp her fluids from a standing still bowl. We’ve yet to see her drink from the BigDog bowl, not even from the wide basin.  We haven’t figured out if it is the noise of the trickling water, the ripple effect in the lower basin or if she just doesn’t like lowering her body to sip some water.  Bottom line – she refuses to drink from the BigDog bowl.

Now Malcolm goes around the house flushing clean toilets, just to refill her bowl and release some “fresh” water. AND, I leave a towel close by to “wipe” the seat for later.  How spoiled is that?