Ronnie Paul: The dog-gone days of summer |

Ronnie Paul: The dog-gone days of summer

Ronnie Paul
Special to The Union

We’ve been dogless for over a year now, and although I still hear the patter of little cat feet, I miss the tread of an 80-pound canine. To honor our departed pal during the deluges of this past winter, I still trudged through the neighborhood daily in my rain and snow gear as though I were walking him. For old time’s sake, I even waited patiently beside every tree and shrub.

You’d think I’d celebrate the absence of claw marks on freshly polished oak floors, the spotless sheen of navy blue carpets free of dog hair, and the time saved by not combing through thick fur for ticks. For me, these are losses, not gains.

Our felines offer purrs when I feed them tuna and disdain when I give them dry food. But whether I scooped kibble or an oxidized avocado into his bowl, our dog always beamed me unconditional love.

The house feels quiet and empty now. If kids who leave home create an empty nest, our dogless house feels like a vacant blanket.

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I tell myself that without a dog I’m care-free, and that petting other people’s dogs is enough to fill my heart. But recently I’ve noticed that when I read the paper each morning, it usually falls open to the dog adoption section.

I’m not sure your dog will appreciate the results of the following recipes, but I hope your two-legged family will.

Red Beans and Rice Salad

Generously serves 6

Here’s the opportunity to show off your colorful pepper crop.

1 cup white basmati, cooked according to directions and cooled

1 cup chopped garden peppers

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 15-ounce can red beans, rinsed


Whisk together:

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon orange juice concentrate

1 tablespoon honey

1 garlic clove, pressed

Salt and pepper

Toss the ingredients with the dressing and chill well before serving.

Thai Tofu

Serves 2-4

This dish may convert a few carnivores.

14 ounces of extra firm tofu

2 tablespoons cooking oil

2¼ teaspoons water

2¼ teaspoons peanut butter

1½ teaspoons tamari

1½ teaspoons rice vinegar

1½ teaspoons honey

Set the tofu on a paper towel and pat it dry. Then cut it into 1-inch cubes.

Heat the oil and slowly sauté the tofu until two sides are crisp and golden. This may take a while, so do a few yoga stretches and make the peanut sauce while you wait.

To make the peanut sauce, whisk together the water, peanut butter, tamari, rice vinegar and honey until smooth.

Dip the tofu in the sauce and let your taste buds frolic.

Sesame-Ginger Cabbage

Serves 2-3

If you’re wondering what to serve with the above recipes, look no further.

12 ounces of thinly sliced and chopped Savoy cabbage (I’ve also used whatever cabbage is currently inhabiting the refrigerator)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger

Sauté the cabbage in the oil over a medium flame until it’s limp and a bit charred.

Turn off the flame, stir in the sesame seeds and ginger, and serve.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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