Saturday, August 28, 2010

Call for Recipes

Homeless baby Briar says she is hungry. You can help!

You say you want my marinara recipe?

The one that I spend September cooking up and canning, imprisoning the tangy essence of summer in glass jars of goodness that nourish us two or three times a week all year?

The recipe that is so fantastic that my Sicilian husband uses it as a base for almost all his Italian cooking -- tomatoes grown and transformed by his Irish wife? (There has got to be a word for shiksa in Italian.)

Well I'm not going to give it to you.

But you can get it.

Heads up, I'm sending it in to the National English Shepherd Rescue cookbook project. NESR will start taking orders for this communal cookery tome at the end of September.

Meanwhile, you can help homeless English shepherds by contributing your favorite recipes to the cookbook. Our peerless editor, Dianne, writes:

National English Shepherd Rescue is an all-volunteer, non-profit breed rescue group working to place English shepherds in need of new homes. We are currently collecting recipes for our second edition cookbook. We're looking for everything from appetizers, soups and salads, to main dishes, side dishes, desserts, canning and preserves, crockpot ideas, and special treats for dogs. Basically, if your family likes it, we want it! Please include your name, city, state/province/country, and the name(s) of your dog(s) so that we can give you proper credit for your submission.

We've already started work on the layout, so please don't wait until the September 30 deadline to send your recipes in! Submissions should be emailed to: (We will begin taking pre-orders at the end of September!) For more information about NESR, please visit our website:

I know there are some talented cooks and some keepers of old family recipes reading here. Pass the torch and help some deserving dogs in need! There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send.

I'll also be providing my recipes for chocolate chili, hot pepper jelly, Lilly's Choice dog biscuits, Dijon vinaigrette, coq a vin, and perhaps a few more as they occur to me.

Dianne told me about a simple cheese-based dessert that caused me to invoke several deities in vain when she merely described it. Wouldn't you just like to know? I swear, bring this thing to a holiday party, and people will gnaw their way through Santa Claus to get at it. It will be in the book, but I won't tell you anything more. You just have to buy it.

And if anyone has a recipe for really crispy dill pickles, there is an entire collective of English shepherd-owning wimmin who will bow down before you.


  1. My great gramma had a recipe for ketchup -- ketchup! -- that Mom swears is the best she's ever had. Unfortunately, neither she nor gramma were ever able to get her to transcribe it to English.

    We are digging for likely noms.

  2. Oh, and as to pickles -- I have to ask Moms, but for some reason I recall that she did have a pickle recipe somewhere. Will bang on that door presently.

  3. It's the crispy that has eluded me, Dianne, Amy, and probably a bunch of other people.

    Mine are flavorful and acidic, but not crispy.

    And yeah, I know the trick about using a grape leaf or a cherry leaf. It may help, but it doesn't work.

    A couple years ago I entered pickles in the Farm Show. Apparently the jar had gone bad. Not sure why the judge didn't hunt me down and strike me about the head. But it was a jar of cucumber slime when he opened it. I hope he noticed before tasting.

  4. A couple of steps to crispy dills - soak the cukes in ice water in the fridge for at least two hours (longer is better) and cut off the ends (about a eighth to quarter inch) of the cukes. Here's a basic recipe, and read the comments...

    And I've got an awesome bread & butter pickle recipe, but it's from a cookbook. I've alway's got a few jars in the fridge.

  5. My mom says she thinks alum is the key to make them crispy. Not sure if there is anything to that. But I will submit her incredible sweet pickles recipe as well as some other family goodies.

    Rachael Roper

  6. I sent in three of our favorites - I hope they're useful! Just noticed that all three involve wine. I wonder if this is why my mom bought me the apron that says "I love cooking with wine - sometimes I even put it in the food".

    Anyway, I will be watching out for the cookbook when it's published!

  7. Always trim the blossom end of the cucumber by 1/4" during wash and prep of your cucumbers. The blossom contains an enzyme that causes the pickles to get mushy. Even leaving the scab where the blossom was can cause problems. I learned that from some university extension program. Not sure which one.


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