Shelter in Place Projects: Amazing Homemade Dog Treats

Dog Treats
Meet Oliver, my bestest buddy and definitely my savior during these safe, but oh-so-boring, times. Let’s face it, most of us have already binged Tiger King and McMillions (spoiler alert—neither one lives up to the hype.) We’ve been reading, doing puzzles, cooking and finding a myriad of ways to stay safe but also stay busy.
Dog
One of my escapes from the house (while still maintaining social distancing) is to take Oliver to the dog park. We both get some fresh air and also get to stretch our legs. These dog park trips have really been keeping me sane, so I felt it was only fair to do something nice in return for his companionship. (Not to mention, a lot of the local pet stores are running low on essentials and getting dog treats is becoming more difficult.)
So I figured, why not do a little research and come up with a simple but healthy homemade dog treat that we can both feel good about. The recipe has only 5 ingredients, is incredibly easy to make, and I swear your dog will go absolutely bonkers for them.
Dog Treats
How cool do those look??!
Here’s all you will need:
Dog Treats
Delicious Dog Treats
 
2 eggs
1/2 C canned pumpkin puree
1/4 C healthy peanut butter
1 cube of beef bouillon 
1/2 C water
2-3 C whole wheat flour (as usual, we recommend Bob’s Red Mill)
 
A few notes before we begin:
Let’s just be honest here…everyone has a can of pumpkin puree in their pantry leftover from thanksgiving. This is a great way to use it up.
Beef bouillon cubes are usually dissolved in 1 C of water. I only use half a cup to concentrate the flavor. You can leave this ingredient out entirely, but I promise your dog will love you if you keep it in the recipe.
As I will further explain, the flour will vary as per how wet the other ingredients are.
Most people will have whole wheat flour that they had to buy for some random recipe and never used again—so check the back of your baking shelf before going to buy more.
Dog Treats

 
STEP ONE
 
Crack a can of Underwood Pinot Noir. (This is solely for consumption, not the recipe.) Then, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve one bouillon cube in 1/2 C of water and set aside to cool.
STEP TWO
 
Once bouillon liquid is cool, put eggs, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and bullion liquid into a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and blend well.
STEP THREE
 
While running mixer, slowly add flour, 1/2 C at a time until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky.  When I did it, it took about 2 1/4 C of flour but this may vary. Remove the dough, place on a large work surface dusted with flour and kneed for 2-3 minutes.

 

Dog Treats
Puppy Interlude….
Here is an unnecessary but ridiculously cute picture of Oliver (and his sister Pretty Penny) just to keep you entertained.
 
Dog Treats
 
Dog Treats
STEP FOUR
 
Roll out the dough to your desired thickness (I went with a 1/4” because they tend to puff up in cooking.) Use a cookie cutter or just cut small squares—I promise your dog won’t know the difference—and place on a baking sheet with either a silpat pan liner or parchment paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating the sheet pans every 7-8 minutes for even baking.
The extra dough can be reshaped and used for a second and third batch.
Dog Treats
Let the treats cool and keep in a dry place for up to a month.
Dog Treats
Believe me, you will have one happy puppy, not to mention an incredibly productive afternoon!
Enjoy and remember to keep those #pinkiesdown.
Dog Treats
Dog Treats
Photography, Recipe and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Virtual Happy Hour: The Newest Way to Stay Connected

Salty Dog Cocktail

In these crazy times of social distancing and isolation, it’s as important as ever to stay connected any way you can. Thus, the advent of the virtual happy hour. This is the newest trend that has caught on not just between family and friends, but workmates as well. Now, happy hour used to be a firm 5 PM, but with co-workers and family often times being all around the country, that rule has had to loosen up a bit. If we choose to join in from the West Coast with our East Coast compatriots, we might find ourselves having a drink around 3 pm.

So we decided to create a light cocktail using our Underwood Pinot Gris for when you need to start the party a little earlier than expected. We also wanted to try and use ingredients that most people have around the house since as we all know, running out to the supermarket just isn’t as easy as it used to be. This is a perfect time to remind everyone that the Union Wine Co. shipping team is working tirelessly to get wine sent out to homes across the country. A four-pack of cans equals 2 full bottles in volume and is easily shipped without the hassle of all the extra packaging to protect the glass. You can order cans for yourself or surprise a friend or family member with an unexpected gift right HERE.

OK, back to the cocktail. We created a sort of amalgamation of two classic cocktails, the Moscow Mule and the Salty Dog, and replaced the liquor with our Pinot Gris. We call this one The Salty Underwood Mule. We figure most people are keeping their vitamin C levels up, so you might have grapefruits at your house, and many people have fresh mint growing in the yard already. So, all you need is fresh ginger and you are most of the way to the cocktail.

The Salty Underwood Mule

2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1.5 oz Underwood Pinot Gris
.5 oz Ginger Mint Syrup (recipe to follow)
Club Soda
1 lime
Salt for the rim of the glass

Mint

The first thing you will need to do is make the ginger mint syrup. At best you have some mint growing in your yard (or maybe a neighbor does who wouldn’t mind sharing.)

STEP ONE:

In a sauté pan, put 3/4 C of water, 1 C of sugar and 2 good sized pieced of fresh ginger (its not necessary to peel the ginger) and bring to a boil. Allow this to cool completely.

Ginger

STEP TWO:

Remove the ginger, pour the liquid into a glass jar and add 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh mint. Allow this to sit overnight. By adding the mint after the liquid has cooled prevents it from turning black and also adds a great subtle fresh mint flavor to the syrup which strengthens over time.

Mint Simple Syrup

Once this is done, you are just about ready to make your cocktail. But first you have to salt the rim. This can be a bit more challenging than you would think. One trick I learned from my bartender friends is to run a lime wedge around the edge of the glass as opposed to dipping it in water (which is what I used to do). I’m not sure why, but using citrus ensures a much more even coating of salt to remain on the rim.

Salt Mule Cocktail

Next, pour some salt into a shallow bowl and press the glass firmly into the salt for an even coating.

Salty Mule Cocktail

And voilá…

Salty Mule Cocktail

Add a few ice cubes, the grapefruit juice, Pinot Gris and Ginger Mint syrup. Give a gentle stir, top off with a splash of club soda and garnish with a lime wedge.

Salty Mule Cocktail

And there you have a deliciously light afternoon cocktail to virtually toast with friends and family.

We hope you will enjoy this new cocktail creation while staying safe out there! Keep washing your hands and don’t forget to keep those #pinkiesdown.

Salty Mule Cocktail

Photography, Text and Recipe by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Chefs at Home Series: Sunday Dinner with the Ruckers

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

It’s safe to say that Gabriel Rucker is one busy guy. With 2 restaurants, 3 children, a creatively explosive wife with the drive of the Energizer Bunny, and a weekly run club,  there isn’t a whole lot of time in the day to relax. Throw in travel events and cooking demonstrations and life gets even more hectic. Anyone who knows Gabriel, or has eaten at his restaurants, knows that he is a tremendously talented chef who puts his whole soul into every dish. But Gabriel is also a consummate family man and in between all the craziness that fills his days, he always makes sure there is quality time for his family. I’ve personally been watching him do it for 10 years and it’s quite an impressive balancing act.

So, I considered myself and my wife very lucky to be able to spend a Sunday evening with him and his family as he created a delicious home-cooked Sunday evening meal. Of Gabriel’s 3 children, the middle one (and only daughter) Babette, age 6, is the one who will most likely be following in her fathers’ culinary footsteps. At age 3 or 4 she was already shadowing her Dad in the kitchen, helping wherever she could. Now that her knife skills have improved, she is even allowed to cut and chop, which I must say she does with more acumen than a few OCI grads I know. In organizing this project with Gabriel, he decided on three dishes that he often makes for his family on the weekend that make a well rounded, delicious and healthy meal that can all be done in just over an hour. Of course, when you have a pro like Babette as your live-in Sous Chef, everything runs that much smoother.

On the menu for the evening was:

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions and ‘Dad Rice’

Cast Iron Roasted Leeks with Garlic

Dinosaur Kale Salad with Apples and Warm Kumquat Vinaigrette 

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

Some kitchen tasks Babs can do on her own, others require a little extra supervision…

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

There were a lot of moving parts all going at the same time while dinner was being prepped so I will do my best to keep everything well organized throughout the post.  Also, Gabriel approaches all of his kitchen projects with a confident but laidback vibe which I will do my best to replicate here. There is little to no pomp and circumstance when Gabriel is in the kitchen, and no ingredient is off-limits as you will soon see.

The first thing you want to do is get the chicken and rice going because that will take about 45 minutes in the oven. Gabriel cooks the rice, mushrooms, onions, and chicken all together in a large ceramic dutch oven. Here, the ‘Dad Rice’ refers literally to the addition of a powdered Ranch Dressing seasoning that Gabriel adds because his kids love it (and it’s pretty freakin’ delicious!)

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions and ‘Dad Rice

1 whole chicken, separated into 1/2 breasts, thighs and legs
2 1/2 C rice (Gabriel uses sushi rice but feel free to substitute brown or white)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 large package of mixed mushrooms (about 1/2 lb)
1 C Underwood Pinot Gris
4 C chicken stock or broth
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 C Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
 

Heat oil in a deep dutch oven and carefully sear off all pieces of chicken. Remove chicken from the pan, add the onion, mushrooms, and rice. Sauté for 5 minutes, add the Ranch Seasoning and salt and pepper to taste, then deglaze with the Pinot Gris. Reduce slightly, add the chicken stock and all the chicken pieces, nestling the chicken pieces partway down into the rice and vegetables. Cover and put in the oven for 45 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is fully cooked.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

This is what the finished product will look like:

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

Once the chicken is in the oven, it’s time to deal with the leeks. Gabriel prefers to use his locally made Finex Cast Iron Pan, but any thick bottomed pan will do the trick.

Cast Iron Roasted Leeks with Garlic

10-12 full sized leeks
8 cloves of garlic, skins removed
1 T celery seed
1/2 T dried tarragon
1/4 C sherry vinegar
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Cut the dark green tops off of the leeks and remove the butt ends. Cut each leek longways down the center, trying to keep them together. Rinse gently under cool water to remove any dirt and gently dry. Chop your garlic cloves in half. Place the leek halves and garlic in the cast iron pan, sprinkle liberally with remaining ingredients, cover with tin foil and place in the oven for about 30 minutes or until leeks are tender.  *You do not have to heat the pan or do any searing ahead of time for this one.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

Once the leeks are tender, remove from heat and keep covered until ready to serve.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

While everything is cooking, its time to prep your salad and make the vinaigrette. Dad demonstrates the proper Kumquat prepping technique and then feels comfortable leaving Babette to her own devices.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

Dinosaur Kale Salad with Apples and Warm Kumquat Vinaigrette

For Vinaigrette:
15 kumquats
1/4 C Underwood Pinot Gris
1/4 honey
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Halve the kumquats longways, remove the seeds and pith and slice thinly. Put all ingredients into a small sauté pan, bring to a boil and then immediately shut off the heat. Keep warm until ready to use.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
For salad:
2 large bunches of dinosaur kale
2 honey crisp apples
1/4 of the hot liquid with kumquat slices
2T balsamic vinegar
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

1/3 C grated parmesan cheese

 

Slice kale and apples. Put in a large bowl. Just before you are ready to serve, dress with the warm vinaigrette, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese. By keeping the vinaigrette warm, it will soften the kale without wilting it too much.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

And just like that… dinner is served!  Bon Appétit.

Gabriel asked that we give a special shout out to his newest endeavor, the Bird Dog Run Club. Completely free and open to all, the club meets every Thursday at 930 AM in front of Canard.

Bird Dog Run Club
You can follow the run club on IG @birddogrunclub.  Also check out Gabriel’s two restaurants: Le Pigeon and Canard.
Photography and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)
Recipes by Gabriel Rucker (@ruckergabriel)
Expert Prepping and Tie-Dyed Good Vibes by Babette Rucker

A Night in One of Oregon’s Fire Lookouts

Union Wine Co Pickett Butte Lookout

On a quiet Thursday afternoon at the beginning of February, we found ourselves slowly winding our way up a dirt logging road in the dark and damp Umpqua National Forest. Following some loose directions printed offline, I pushed in the code that released the lock and we passed through the large metal gate, navigating the last half mile up the muddy drive into a clearing. The fire tower, and our home for the night, came into view as we crested the hill in Krista’s Honda Element.

Underwood Wine fire lookout

We were fortunate enough to arrive just a few short days after the most recent snow cover had melted, making the road passable all the way to the base of the tower. In the winter, they don’t plow the road, occasionally forcing some guests to snowshoe to the hut. Just as we arrived, the sun started to peek through the clouds to welcome us. The temperature was toasty compared to Portland, and after hauling our supplies several times up the steep 40 ft of stairs, we were hot enough to hang around in our t-shirts. We busted open our snacks, cracked our cans of Underwood Pinot Noir and settled in for some relaxation; ie. guest book reading and dog snuggles.

Underwood Wine Pickett Butte

Underwood Pickett Butte

Pickett Butte, rebuilt in 1958, is one of many reservable fire lookouts in the PNW. Along with thousands of other lookouts, it was built in the early 1900’s after a fire swept through Washington, Idaho, and Montana, burning over 3 million acres. The government’s solution was to hire folks to inhabit these lookout towers during the driest seasons of the year, monitoring weather patterns and forest activity. Although many have since then burned down or decommissioned, some are still used for fire surveillance to this day. During the off-season, many structures become rentable to the general public. But reservations are often hard to come by. So, if you’re lucky enough to land one, make sure you take advantage of a unique opportunity to stay above the clouds with 360 views.

When the light started to fade on us, the temperature dropped and the sky turned pretty shades of pink and orange. We pulled on our puffy coats and stepped out onto the deck to silently watch the show, wine in hand. The peaceful sounds of the wind and the forest were all we could hear.

The rest of the night was spent cooking Indian food—the smells of warm spices filling the tiny 14×14’ room—playing games, drinking Underwood Wine and catching up as the propane heater warmed us and the clouds hung low over the horizon.

Underwood Wine Pickett Butte

Underwood Wine Pickett Butte

When we woke up at first light the next morning, we were magically perched inside a cloud. What an unreal feeling to be engulfed in this damp, white fog, the trees of the forest looking ghost-like just feet away. Slow to rise and make coffee, not wanting to eject ourselves from our sleeping bags, we took full advantage of a chance to be extra lazy in our cozy cabin in the sky.

Union Wine Co Pickett Butte

Pickett Butte Oregon

Eventually, thoughts of the long trek home drove us out of our beds and into action. Using the basket and pulley system rigged on the catwalk, we lowered our belongings back to solid ground, packed up the car and waved goodbye to our little home on stilts, grateful for the opportunity to step away from civilization and experience this small sliver of history.

Words and Photography by Brooke Weeber.

When It Comes To Valentine’s

Union Wine Co Galantines When it comes to Valentine’s Day, we could probably argue that most men don’t even think about the holiday until the month of February hits, and for a lot of men, not until the week of Feb. 14th! But, for some reason, in our society, it is an important holiday to a lot of us women. We don’t necessarily know why, but we know we don’t want it to slip by without something special happening to or for us. It could be because we have someone special in our lives and we want to celebrate that, or, it could just be that we see pink and red hearts everywhere this month and we just don’t want to miss out!

Union Wine Co Galentines Day

Union Wine Co Galentines Day

So, we decided to pull together some of our besties and celebrate each other for Galentines Day! Our girlfriends are so important to our everyday lives—they support us when we are feeling down or struggling with something, they are happy for us when things are going well, and they are always up for a fun get-together with a little wine, sweets and catching up.

Union Wine Co Galentine's Day

In our opinion, the holidays of any type are meant to be spent with loved ones. Any excuse to get together with the people in our lives who mean the most to us is what we feel is important. Gather around a table, sharing a meal and company.

Union Wine Co Salt and Straw

Cheers to great friendships! Happy Galentines Day!