Just when I thought I had made it to my break and I could rest, the unexpected happened. Lisa and I are fortunate to have two of the sweetest dogs ever put on this earth, both Bernese Mountain Dogs. Lucy we had since a puppy, and she has never know a day of pain or suffering, but our big guy Beau was a rescue, saved by Barc (Bernese Auction Rescue Coalition) they go into auctions where unscrupulous uncaring poor excuses for human beings sell these poor mistreated dogs when they feel they no longer have any value, or if they just have too many to feed. Our Beau was one of these dogs, he has no rear hip sockets and had ingrown eyelids, both which caused this poor boy constant pain. When we got him his paws were still pink, he had been caged all of his life, only taken out when necessary and then more than likely beaten. His spirit was broken and he was in constant pain when we got him standing in one spot with his feet turned in, in an effort to relieve the pain. His rear was so narrow with so little muscle tissue and with his large frame at 88 lbs he was so thin. We drove to West Virginia to pick him up, and cried all the way home and through the rest of the week.
But there were angels watching our boy, the ones from Barc who saved him, and a former Nasa rocket scientist who found a dog and saved him, then went back to school to become an Orthopedic Veterinarian Surgeon. Through a regiment of water therapy and herbs, Beau became as close to pain free as he had ever been, and learned to how to enjoy life, being able to run and play like any other dog. Although still small in the rear he had put on a good deal of muscle and had thigh muscles to help support his hips. His weight increased to 115. A few years ago he developed some stomach issues, and then Epilepsy, and the drugs necessary to keep his seizures under control have also added to his rear become weaker. But through all this he is the happiest sweetest boy you could hope for, tail wagging, wanting nothing more than to be loved and to love us back.
When I got home Friday after work he met me at the door so excited with his Woo, woo woo greeting, and life was good. Then for no reason he began to throw up, until all of his undigested breakfast had been returned . No clue as to why. We called our vet at his Pt Rehab facility (where he goes after his shifts at the hospital) and told him of our problem, we were told to bring him in and he would wait for us. This was at 9 pm on Friday night. He thought it was just a bug and that he should be fine, no other symptoms were present, but the next day things got worse so we went back to see him in the morning. Beau was in pain, his abdomen was sore, so x-rays were ordered….they were inconclusive but they did show pockets of gas in his abdomen, some medications were administered to help with the problem and we would just have to wait and see. The rest of the day was spent trying to keep him calm, he still wouldn’t eat, but had stopped throwing up, but he still seemed so uncomfortable. Another late call to our vet (we now had his cell phone number) and he suggested to walk him and see if that helped. I didn’t mention that Friday night we got out first real snowfall, and then sleet and freezing rain, and everything was covered in ice….sigh But out we went out in 20 degrees to the frozen tundra to walk our boy, and dam if that didn’t help. He slept comfortably, and even ate a little rice.
This morning he looked even better, and has eaten small amounts throughout the day with out any incidents. We’re not out of the woods yet, but he looks more like himself and even managed a woo, woo, woo for me today….my sweet boy.
And that my friends is how we spent our weekend, watching over our boy, luckily I’m off this week and can make sure he’s ok. Needless to say I didn’t make much of anything good to eat, there wasn’t time or the desire. But today I did make some bread dough, I wanted to make something quick, but something homemade that would at least make feel better about how we ate this weekend.
I don’t know if you’ve ever made no knead bread before, but it really is simple, and quite good. One of the best books I have purchased is “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes” by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg you can find a lot of helpful information as well as how to video’s at Bread in Five . Jeff and Zoe have brought bread back to the masses. With a simple fool proof recipe. I had absolutely no experience making bread and this recipe works every time! I also had the pleasure of meeting both Zoe and Jeff at the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco where they were handing out they’re new book on Pizza.
- 3 cups of warm water
- 1½ Tablespoons of Coarse Salt
- 1 /1/2 Tablespoons of Yeast (2 packets)
- 6½ cups of all purpose flour
- Corn meal for dusting peal
- Flour to dust dough ball
- Start with tap water at about 100 degrees (body temperature), make sure the water is not too hot it will kill the yeast. Colder water is ok it will just take longer to rise, if your letting it sit overnight it really doesn’t matter.
- add the yeast to the water and mix it up. Don’t worry if all the yeast does not dissolve, it will finish mixing in the flour.
- Mix the salt into the flour
- add the flour into the yeast water and start your mixer. (This is wet dough.)
- Now place your dough into your container, and cover but not tightly and place on the counter for about 2 hours to rise. (If you don’t have time to wait let it sit out for about a half an hour or so, and put it in the refrigerator overnight, it will rise just more slowly.) The dough does need to sit in the refrigerator after the initial rise for at least 3 hours before using*
- Now that your dough has set up we are ready to form a dough ball. Pull off about a one pound piece of dough (this recipe will make about 3 loaves this size). This is the only time you really handle the dough. You need to pull it down to form a ball, tucking all the ends in at the bottom. The ball should be semi smooth.
- place the dough ball on a pizza peel or cookie sheet with a liberal amount of corn meal under it so it will not stick.
- Let this dough rise for 40 minutes, and while it is rising lets preheat our oven and baking stone to 450 degrees for at least 20 minutes*
- Before sliding the dough off the peel, dust the top with flour and make some light slices into the dough for that artisan look.*
- before you slide it into the oven you need one more thing, in another baking dish, or the broiler tray add two cups of water, the steam it creates will give the crust that nice crackle.
- Now slide of the dough closer the door and give it 30 minutes to start.
- The dough should have a dark colour (probably darker than you think it should be), this is our rustic artisan bread.
- You may have to experiment a little to get it just right for your oven, but you won’t be far off the mark with this as your starting point, my oven took 35 minutes
As tempting as it may be to cut right into the bread, restrain yourself and let it rest for about an hour. You want the outside crust to settle and the delightful crumb inside to be perfect!! Serve it up plain, with seasoned olive oil, or your favorite European style butter (I use Kerrygold salted)
Have a happy week my friends, stay warm, and stay full.