puppy

Keep Calm and Science On

Everybody knows that my mommie is a very good cook. In fact, her favorite books are cookbooks! And a big part of what she loves about cooking is the science behind it, the processes through which food is transformed into an unforgettable sensory experience. So, it makes sense that the yummy dog treats she makes for me are rooted in food science.

When Mommie started making me dog treats, she had to figure out a way to do it so that she could work at her day job without having to be in the kitchen 24/7. She accomplished that with 2 handy pieces of equipment: her water immersion circulator (sous vide) and her trusty dehydrator. Let's explore why these cooking methods make so much sense.

SteveBaxter a la sous vide

SteveBaxter a la sous vide

Sous vide, a convenient, hands off means of cooking, is French for "under water." Mommie uses an immersion circulator named "Yummy" to heat a big container of water to a certain temperature. When the water is ready, she plops in a bag of vacuum-sealed food (like chicken or venison or fish), sets a timer and gets back to playing with me. One time, Mommie put me inside the sous vide container. Why are people so weird?

 

Anyway, the food is cooked at a constant temperature over a specific period of time, kind of like how pasteurization works. Mooooo! While no cooking technique is a guarantee of food safety, a little science goes a long way with regard to understanding how proper sous vide cooking kills harmful bacteria utilizing the inversely proportional, logarithmic relationship between time and temperature. Below is another link for further understanding of the sous vide process:

http://www.amazingfoodmadeeasy.com/info/sous-vide-safety/more/sous-vide-safety-salmonella-and-bacteria

 

Just checkin' out the treat situation :-)

Just checkin' out the treat situation :-)

Dehydration is an ancient method of food preservation in which food is dried to remove water, preventing yucky stuff like bacteria, mold and yeasts from growing and multiplying. Depending on the means of dehydration used, the nutrient value of certain foods can also be retained. Mommie is hoping to score a freeze-drying machine soon, which would be the bomb. For right now, she dehydrates her yummy dog treats at 165 degrees Fahrenheit for about 14 hours, until they are light and crispy. She then freezes them to keep them nice and fresh. Every time I hear the refrigerator open, I get super excited because...you guessed it...it means she's probably going to give me a treat! 

Here are some links about food dehydration:

https://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/drying/methods-for-drying-food-at-home/

https://en.biomanantial.com/dehydrated-food-dried-advantages-properties-and-procedure-a-2202-en.html

https://dehydratorblog.com/food-dehydrating-time-temperature-guide/

OK, whew, I'm all scienced out now and about to floof down in Daddy's lap. Although I'm just an adorably fluffy bichon frisé puppy, I do understand a thing or two about science. After all, my father was named Sir Einstein. Just like him, I enjoy knocking toys off the bed and seeing them drop to the floor. Gravity, y'all! Well, maybe that's a little more Sir Isaac Newton than Einstein but you see what I'm getting at. Although Mommie says making dog treats isn't rocket science, a lot of science goes into producing them. And science never tasted so good!

 

science is yummy!

science is yummy!

Welcome to Outta My Kitchen!

Hi there! In case you haven't met me yet, I'm a bichon frisé puppy named SteveBaxter. I came to live with my Mommie and Daddy on Superbowl Sunday of 2018.  They had a big party for me and I immediately felt right at home. I got to sleep on their bed the first night I was home and have slept there every night since! Since I am an early riser, Mommie and Daddy had to start getting up early, too. Mommie and her friend, Paige, would drink coffee and play with me on the floor and feed me frozen green beans and peanut butter while Daddy taught me how to fetch a ball and let me chase him around the house. 

When I was about 12 weeks old, I had a scary accident and spent 3 days in the puppy ICU. Mommie and Daddy and their family and friends sent out SO many get well wishes and positive intentions to me while I was sick; between that and the expert loving care I got from my vet doctors and techs, I made a full recovery and came home, good as new! After I came home, Mommie continued giving me boiled chicken like I was getting in puppy ICU. I think she wanted to make sure I was getting enough good stuff to eat so I would keep healing. Then, she started making me all sorts of different treats, using things she already knew I liked, like green beans and blueberries and peanut butter. 

Soon, Mommie and Daddy realized that I preferred Mommie's treats to the ones they'd bought me at the store. They would hide the storebought treats and the ones Mommie made under these little white teacups and every single time, I picked Mommie's. So, Mommie decided maybe other puppies and dogs might like them, too. And that's how Outta My Kitchen! came to be. Mommie tells me that when she was a young mom with young kids and dogs underfoot, she was always having to shoo them out of her kitchen. Now, her kids are grown and there's just me and Daddy. But, boy oh boy, there are treats galore coming outta her kitchen. Funny how that all worked out, huh? 

Have you ever been to a cafeteria? I hear they are wonderful places where humans feast on all kinds of good smelling and tasting foods, usually a protein, like meat or fish, and 3 veggies, like green beans, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes and peas & carrots. Mommie tells me that her treats are based on the idea of the cafeteria "meat & three," only she uses foods that are organic or sustainably produced. She's weird like that. Mommie also wanted her treats to have layers of flavor all in one bite, kind of like that special gum from Willy Wonka where you get to taste a 3 course meal with each chew. I love watching her make my treats as much as I like eating them! She mixes up freshly cooked meat, fish or sprouted chickpeas with sprouted brown rice and yummy fruits and veggies and then dehydrates them until they're nice and crispy. Mommie calls them "hound hors d'oeuvres," but I think that's just a fancy word for dog treats. Don't tell Mom, but even my human brothers like them :-)

In short, getting Outta My Kitchen! up and running has been a real educational process for my Mommie. A couple of months ago, she would never have envisioned herself cooking up dog treats, much less having a new puppy! Life is funny like that: you never know exactly what it has in store for you. And soon, Mommie's handcrafted dog treats will be at a store near you!

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