Asia, the tabby, twirled his whiskers and pawed through the back list of pet column ideas. He agreed to take charge of this week’s column until Gabby returns from a holiday mini vacation. But some of these ideas – like recipes for pet treats – made his tail twitch.
“Peanut butter surprise, my paw,” Asia fumed. “Yuk. Plus, it’s always a one-way street with these humans. If people can invent recipes for pet treats, why shouldn’t the pets come up with ideas for people treats?”
Or – to put it another way – isn’t revenge a dish best served cold?
With apologies to Susan Orlean and her dog, Cooper Gillespie, Asia presents A Cat’s Holiday Cookbook of People Treats.
Let’s clear the counters and start with a salmon entree. Our human has been poaching our salmon – for health reasons. But fortunately, for our taste buds, a New York friend happened to be visiting, took over the chef’s duties and came up with this alternative, twice-cooked salmon baked with bread crumbs and tomatoes.
I have modified it slightly.
Asia’s Salmon in Tomato and Dill
1/2 lb. salmon filet
1 fresh tomato (ugly, if possible)
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. dill
Olive oil (lots)
Start with fresh salmon filet – wild Pacific Coho, if possible. Rinse the salmon in cold water and pat dry in paper towel.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sprinkle olive oil on a pan and fry salmon (bottom-side down) on medium heat. Turn and fry top side one or two minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Coat top side of salmon in bread crumbs. Add dill. Slice tomato and arrange on top of salmon.
4. Put the salmon in oven for, give or take, 15 minutes. (When done, remove from oven and cool. If you’re not sure, let Charlie taste it. He’s the new cat. We’re trying everything out on him.)
5. Serve with arugula rabbit food dressed with raspberry vinaigrette.
Also, for a cold day, a little quiche – just a taste – hits the spot.
Gabby’s Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche
1 frozen pie shell (Mrs. Smith, and don’t fool around).
1 package frozen broccoli florets (unless you want to chop stalks for another half hour)
3 eggs (organic, humane certified, but of course)
1 package shredded cheddar cheese (any brand that’s ON SALE. There’s usually one.)
1 cup half and half (plain milk can be substituted)
The human came up with the quiche recipe after eating at a French restaurant in downtown Providence and has told this story almost as many times as the one about me running away and not coming home for two months.
Could my departure have had anything to do with her cooking?
Per the story, she discovered this restaurant in the basement of an old building on Weybosset Street, not far from the Block Artist supply store and the old Cellar Stories shop with thousands of used tomes on every subject a cat could claw through. She ordered the salad and quiche, thinking she would be digging into another lard-crusted heart attack special. But this quiche was light as a soap bubble – a bad simile, but memorable and you get the concept.
Figuring – wrongly – she could whip up a replica at home by substituting light cream for heavy cream, the human experimented for years, producing many failures (including some pies that Lucky, the terrier, bravely chewed like bubble gum).
Finally, Asia arrived and achieved perfection.
Here is the recipe for Gabby’s cheddar broccoli quiche. (BTW, that dog really does like broccoli. And please don’t tell Martha Stewart I also am using a Mrs. Smith pie instead of making one from scratch.)
1. Remove pie shell from freezer and discard wrappers. Let sit at room temperature–maybe 20 minutes or long enough to knock over the Christmas tree.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Cook the broccoli until unfrozen and partly cooked but still crisp. Remove from heat and drain.
4. Mix eggs and milk in a bowl.
5. Put down a layer of shredded cheese in the uncooked pie shell.
6. Add broccoli.
7. Pour the eggs and cream mixture into the pie.
8. Top with layer of shredded cheese.
9. Cook in oven for 45-60 minutes.
10. Serve with tomato soup and red leaf rabbit food dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.
“Finally, here is one holiday pet favorite that’s almost foolproof.
1. Drive to the Market Basket.
2. Proceed to the dairy shelf and select vanilla eggnog. We repeat vanilla, NOT golden.
3. Drive home.
4. Open the carton and pour into cat’s saucer.
5. Repeat Step 4.
6. Give the leftovers to the dog. MOL
“Hope you enjoy your people treats and remember not to give the pets any people food – except for just a little teensy tiny taste.”
Happy New Year and Seasons Greetings from Asia, Charlie, and The Gabby Dog.
Margo Ann Sullivan is a pet columnist who has written for ZooToo, and numerous publications in New York and in New England. She’s had pets all her life, starting with a rescue collie named Lollypop. The Gabby Dog column chases the news that helps pets and people. It also chronicles the adventures of Gabby, the peke-a-poo, and Asia, the tabby cat, and their many pals, hitting the high spots between Providence, RI, and Manchester, NH.