Thursday, March 11, 2010

Of Ragout and Dachshunds

My co-workers and I depend very heavily on our administrative assistant, Diane. Diane, like me, is an animal lover and so most of our conversations centre on the animals in our lives. I talk about my dogs and cats and she talks about her dogs and cats... and chinchillas and horses and peacocks. No joke. She and her husband live on a small hobby farm and they basically take in any animal that needs a home. She's got a soft spot for just about any creature that is unwanted or in crisis.

A few years ago, Diane adopted Maggie, a plump and happy dachshund who quickly became the queen of the household. Since then, Diane has been wanting a second dog, but her husband, Joe, wasn't crazy about the idea. Until last week. When he told her that yes, he'd been thinking it would be nice to adopt another dog.

As soon as I arrived at the office yesterday, Diane had me looking at the local SPCA's listings on Petfinder. The first dog that appeared on the search was a dachshund. Diane leaned in closer to my computer screen.

"Oh yeah, that's him," she said, "I can tell by his eyes."

A few hours later, Diane, Joe, my coworker Christine and I were all at the SPCA, eagerly huddled around a staff member who was holding Anikin, the dachshund. She handed him to Joe, explaining that he was a bit shy, having spent his entire life thus far in a cage, never allowed out for walks or fresh air or affection.

Joe carried him outside and we all sat down and took turns petting him. After five minutes his tail started to wag and he licked Joe's nose. Diane went inside to fill out the paperwork.

Anikin gets fixed on Friday and until then he has to stay at the shelter. They have a wise policy that no dogs are allowed off the premises until they are neutered, especially purebreds like our little dachshund friend. After that he'll be on his way to a better home than he could have imagined.

While we were there, I walked through and met some of the other dogs who were up for adoption.

Like Dorothy, who I would have taken home with me about twelve seconds after meeting her if we had room for more dogs in our household.

And Polar, who is a puppy with fantastic eyes who couldn't get enough affection from us.

And Henry, who was the quietest, cutest chihuahua that I've ever seen.

All these dogs are up for adoption right now, in case you were wondering. The SPCA is a no-kill shelter and the people working there obviously love their jobs and love the animals. My very own lovely, lovely Sacha came from there a few years ago and she is pretty much the nicest dog I've ever met.

Yes, yes, all this dog talk is very nice, Jennifer. But what did you eat when you got home after all this excitement?

For those of you who are still here after all that non-food dog talk, here's what's more of a recipe tip than an actual recipe!

Artichoke and olive ragout

Last night for dinner I made the Artichoke and Olive Ragout from the March issue of Vegetarian Times. I was slightly skeptical, since the recipe didn't have any flashy ingredients in it and I worried it might be a bit bland. Of course, I was foolish to worry. It was hearty and flavourful. We ate giant bowls of it over brown rice and the Man of Science pronounced it delicious.

The one change I made was to add chickpeas for protein because I was too lazy to make another protein-laden side dish. To make sure the textures worked, I added an extra cup of crushed tomatoes. It worked very well. Highly, highly recommended.



Marc-André said...

Looks like a delicious ragout!

On the subject of pets...I got 2 cats over the last year: 1 from the Humane Society in Ottawa and 1 from the SPCA in Gatineau. They are fantastic pets and these 2 organizations do a terrific job and are very helpful. Save a pet (and eat ragout)!

MK said...

Aww, I just love going to the shelter and playing with all the animals. I wish I could save them all. It is so hard to imagine how someone can throw out or mistreat animals.

Penny said...

Anikin is beautiful! And Henry!! Gorgeous!

'col said...

I wish Dorothy could come and live with me. Man, do I wish it.

Sadie said...

Cute, cute, cute puppies! I want them all.

As a long time reader of your now defunct blog (alsoatalker), I have a big favour to ask! Would you please re-post your mini tofu quiche recipe here? I went on there yesterday specifically to find it, but of course, your blog has been shut down. It's the one in phyllo pastry, that is SO delish.

Pretty please, with cashew cream on top?

thanks in advance.:-)

Veg is Sexy said...

Aww, I'm trying to convince my parents to adopt a dog. I think this is a sign!

The Voracious Vegan said...

AWWW! Anikin is the most handsome little man ever! I'm so happy he is going to a great home. And I love the shelter's policy of not letting any animals off the property until they are desexed. Brilliant.

We've got 4 dogs (and 2 cats and a horse!) so we can't rescue any more, but I dream about it all the time!

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Marc-Andre: That's so nice to hear about your cats! We also have a couple of cats, one from the Humane Society and one that was rescued from someone's backyard 10 years ago! They are nice beasts.

MK: I never understand how people could mistreat/discard companion animals like that. It is good to see some of them being adopted to loving families.

Penny: They were even better in person!

'Col: Do you want me to go get her for you? I could have her on your doorstep in about 7 hours.

Sadie: That recipe was actually from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. The link is here: And I just changed it by adding pesto to the top and making a crust out of a few sheets of phyllo pastry. I hope that works!

Veg is Sexy: I'm biased, but I think adopting a dog is a GREAT idea!

VV: I'm the same. I wish I could have more but we're maxed out!

'col said...

My heart says "Oh my god, yes, go get her for me." My brain says that until we sort out whether alex is allergic, and Jake gets a little older and starts to sleep so I don't feel so psycho all the time, and possibly until Tish goes to cat heaven because she hates all other animals, no dogs are in the cards for me. But I'm now fretting about whether she'll find a home. :(

bionic woman said...

looks great! do you have the recipe for this? looked at VT website and it wasn't posted yet... they apparently stopped sending me my subscription. thanks!