When Two Little Cavaliers challenged me to build this month’s Cooking with Dogs recipes around an Olympic theme, I was all jazzed up.
What a fun task! I love experimenting and playing with food and flavours. I couldn’t wait to explore and find some really tasty dishes to share. In my head, I planned an entire Olympic cocktail party featuring entire dog friendly hors d’oeuvres. It was going to be woofing amazing.
Just call me delusional.
It never really occurred to me that there probably aren’t many folks out there inviting all the neighborhood dogs over for an elegant cocktail party, huh? After excitedly sharing my plans with a few friends and getting this weird blank stare back, I realized that I needed to reign myself in and focus on what I love to cook best.
I decided to make a cozy meal that my family could enjoy while we watched the Olympics.
Flipping through my recipe file for inspiration, I discovered something about myself; my cooking style isn’t French or English or American or even Canadian. It’s this weird mix of everything. The flavours from one region, the style of dish from another, the influences of far off places always seem to colour my cooking creations.
Maybe that embodies the Olympic spirit more than a thousand appetizers; one recipe influenced by a handful of countries.
I started with a Vegetable Tian, a classic French dish. I love the simplicity and the beauty of this layered dish, but I never really find it hearty enough for a whole meal. So I added a bit of classic English poached chicken breast and a bit of Canadian back bacon to add some protein, then finished it off with some shredded Swiss Gruyere and Mediterranean thyme. The best part? Since everything in this tasty dish is dog friendly, it’s totally OK to sneak Fido a bite or two as they watch the Olympics with you.
Want to try this at home? Here’s what you need:
2 chicken breasts
2 slices Canadian back bacon
1 yellow summer squash
2 – 3 nugget potatoes
2 oz. Swiss Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 – 3 stalks fresh thyme
Meet our Cooking for Dogs Editor Jodi and her dogs Kolchak and Felix
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Place chicken breasts in a pot that is just large enough to fit them in a single layer. Add your poaching liquid (water or chicken stock) so that it covers the chicken completely, with about a half inch of extra liquid on top. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce heat, so that liquid is at barely a simmer. Partly cover the pot and let chicken cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow chicken to finish cooking in the liquid for another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove chicken and allow it to cool slightly. Slice thinly and set aside.
Fry bacon until crisp. Drain off all excess fat and finely dice.
Slice zucchini, summer squash and potatoes into thin slices. In a baking dish, create alternating rows of vegetable, potato & poached chicken. Place sprigs of thyme over the layers and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Remove dish from oven, pull of thyme sprigs, then sprinkle bacon and cheese over top of the rows sparingly.
Bake your tian uncovered for an additional 30 minutes, until your cheese is golden brown. The pups and the people at your house will be thrilled to get to hang out together and snack on this tasty dish as you snuggle up to watch the Olympic fun!
So tell me, what countries influence your cooking? Are they competing at the Olympics?
Jodi is a canine nutrition and small animal naturopathy student hailing from beautiful Vancouver, BC. (That’s in Canada, eh?) She loves to experiment in the kitchen, creating tasty (and healthy) treats for her two dogs, Felix & Kolchak and the rest of her family. Jodi’s blog, Kol’s Notes follows the antics of the irrepressible Kolchak as he celebrates good food, good friends and the good life.