Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Orson's Opinions

Note: Due to my hectic schedule filled with puppy-wrangling and trips to Walmart, today’s post will be written by a guest writer.

My name is Orson Bouvier, and I, along with my sister, Cupcake Bouvier Ramirez Jones, live with Lula Lemon and LA. Lula has asked me to provide some insight and observations on food items that I’ve had since moving in with her and LA. I’m not as eloquent as Lula, so please forgive my writing.

When we met Lula and LA, they presented us with cheddar cheese. Heaven! Neither I nor Cupcake had ever had cheese before. We would do whatever Lula and LA asked just to get more cheese, including sleeping in two cramped, over-the-top pink crates. Since then, we’ve also had American cheese. Lula uses it sometimes to get me to go for a walk or sit down and shake hands. It works.

Bananas were the next treat given. Not as good as cheese, but we still like it. Now that we’ve grown a bit, we get Alpo dog treats when we learn tricks. They’re hard, but tasty. When I’ve walked really well on my leash, I get Ol’ Roy’s Tiny T’s treats, which are like smoky little T-bones. I eat mine really fast and then steal Cupcake’s, because she always drops hers.

The author
 Before we moved in, Lula baked treats for us. The bone-shaped chicken ones are really good. The people-shaped peanut butter ones are too, but they give me diarrhea. Lula wasn’t too happy with that.

Some of my favorite things to eat don’t come from Lula’s kitchen. I discovered grass and leaves since moving to Lula’s house. They’re so good, but they don’t really agree with my tummy. They agree with Cupcake’s even less. LA wasn’t very happy with Cupcake the night she ate all the grass and leaves. Or maybe it was the berries that were on the ground next to the “croutons”. LA calls them croutons, but Lula calls them rabbit droppings. Either way, they’re crunchy and I like that. Dead bugs are good too, but I don’t find those too often. Kleenex, wax paper, and cigarette filters are pretty high on my list, but Lula always takes those out of my mouth before I can really enjoy them. One of the best treats was when LA dropped a Bit O’ Honey on the floor. I ate the candy, wrapper and all. Cupcake tried to take it away from me, but I won. Until Lula took it away from me and yelled at LA for leaving it on the floor.

I also like to eat shoes, but LA hit me in the face with one today, so I don’t do that anymore. He said it was an accident, but I don’t think so. That’s okay. I’ll just poop in his room later. Or goad Cupcake into eating some more of those berries!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Shepherd or Cottage

I’ve had some ground beef sitting in my freezer for some time now, just waiting for divine inspiration to strike me in the forehead. And strike me it did! LA and I had been discussing the relative merits of shepherd’s pie and both realized that we haven’t had any in quite some time. Time for shepherd’s pie!

Now, technically, shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb. If the pie is made with ground beef, it becomes cottage pie. I’ve seen some very nasty comments on assorted websites from incensed Brits upset with our use of “shepherd’s pie” when we should be referring to it as “cottage pie”. Well, Limey, this is America and we can call it whatever we want. The French have resolved the problem completely by calling it hachis Parmentier, which loosely translates as “chopped meat with potatoes on top”.

I called it shepherd’s pie, and I also called it delicious. I’d love to give you the recipe I followed, but, as usual, I just threw stuff in a pan until it tasted right. Basically I softened an onion in butter and olive oil, then browned the ground beef in the same pan. When that was browned, I tossed in some minced garlic and fresh thyme. I then added beef broth, a few squirts of tomato paste (from my tomato paste toothpaste tube), some mustard powder, and salt and pepper. Since it was still a bit flat, I finished it with a bit of sherry. Just for flavor. I mashed some potatoes with a lot of butter and milk, then elegantly piped the potatoes onto the top of the meat mixture. A sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese and the pie was ready for the oven. Once the top was browned and golden, we were ready to eat.

In true British fashion, I served the shepherd’s pie with peas. At least, that’s how I had it in London. I thought it was very good, but not exactly how I wanted it. LA loved it, hot or cold. I actually thought it improved with a rest in the fridge overnight and enjoyed it reheated in the oven the next day. Now that I’m reminded of how good shepherd’s pie can be, I may have to make it more often than once every 3 years.