Let's see now... where did we leave off back in March, before that eggregious pause in dog-blogging activity... THAT'S right - we were just celebrating Oscar Dog's BIRTHDAY! Indeed, I put up a post on March 27th, to mark the occassion, but we hadn't yet had time to throw the party (and anyone following the life and times of Oscar knows that dog birthdays in this house mean baked-meat treats - and sometimes paper hats). Well, weeks later - I did get my canine culinary act together (I sadly neglected to incorporate a new hat... though Oscar appeared A-OK with that oversight) - and the feast for the Beast this year? A twist on a great classic: "Big Dog Birthday Burgers!"
*Oscar doesn't mess around: the burger buns in this dish are primarily for effect, and while they're laced with liver and plenty appealing to dog taste buds, you can see this canine foodie goes straight for the meat first... smart lad.
Meatloaf has long been a staple of mine when I want to cook something special for Oscar - it's incredibly simple to make, and packed full of healthy ingredients. I used our old standby recipe to create the "burger" here - I just shaped the meat mixture into individual rounds, instead of the large bricks typical of meatloaf. I posted an elaborate illustrated recipe for our meatloaf last year, so I'm going to simply link to that post for anyone interested (if you're shaping burgers instead of loaves, you'll want to bake them for about half the listed time).
The BUNS you see above however... those are a new concoction... A very basic (but dense!) baked good, they incorporate fresh liver - blended until mush in consistency. Yes indeed, liver smoothies are straight up gag-inducing, but trust me, your dog will adore you for adding this ingredient. So take a deep breath, open the kitchen window and follow the instructions below...
RECIPE: LIVER CRACKER BURGER BUNS
1. In a bowl, combine flour, wheat germ and parsley - set aside.
2. Briefly blend the liver in a food processor until smooth. I used chicken livers in this case, but any liver will likely do the trick, with varied amounts of blenderizing.
3. Add liver mush to dry ingredients, then mix in oil and water until a sticky, firm dough forms. I mixed the dough with my hands, dusting my fingers with a little flour when it came time to shape the buns.
4. On a greased cookie sheet, shape bun rounds - about 3" in diameter and 1/2" thick (make the bun top about 1" thick and mold it into the domed silhouette of a classic burger bun).
5. Brush bun tops with egg white and sprinkle sesame seeds over them.
6. Bake at 400˚ for 15-20 minutes. Buns should be slightly soft in the center when pressed. Cool before assembling with burgers and serving.
NOTE: This recipe makes enough dough for about 4 "normal sized" cracker rounds: 2 top/bottom bun pairings. These treats MUST be stored in the refrigerator if not consumed immediately, and they should be eaten within 2 days of baking.
... this gorgeous Beast said hello to the world. Three months later "Ricky" (yeesh, right?!) rocked into my life... and within a week of becoming "Oscar" he had launched his modeling career by doning an XL baby tee and posing in front of the lens in the Zutano photo studio (where I spent many wonderful years as a designer). The boy had swagger from day one, and an undeniable talent for pulling off ridiculous costumes with debonair seriousness.
Today also proudly marks the one-year anniversary of this blog...! A pretty satisfying feat in numerous ways, and a project that continues to unfold in increasingly thrilling directions. I might bring the brains and talent, but there's no question that Oscar Dog is the heart (and giant, cast-iron stomach) of this operation. Today, I celebrate 8 phenomenal years of beautiful canine inspiration, along with 365 days (and 60 posts) of dog-blogging escapades.
We're planning our annual celebration for this weekend (follow-up birthday post to come), but for now, on this bright March day: Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet, couldn't-be-more-wonderful boy - here's to many more years of influence and adventures...