The combination of starting my garden late and the unseasonably cool weather we’ve had has meant most of my veggies are a little behind schedule. I have several tomatoes and a few peppers on each plant, but no signs of ripening yet. The same goes for my strawberries, which are still decidedly green. I’m hoping we’ll start to get some summer warmth (maybe by August?) to coax the garden along, but in the meantime there are plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to be plucked from their vines beyond my backyard!
We ventured outside of Portland this week to visit Sauvie Island, a picturesque farming community just north of the city. I visited the island’s pumpkin patch on class field trips most years as a kid, and never realized just how much there is beyond the pumpkin fields! P and I had visited an organic farm on the island for fall squash a couple years back and decided to see what we could find there in the summer season. Luckily for us, blueberry season was in full swing! We grabbed some buckets, headed out to the fields, and tried not to go overboard. In the end we hauled about four pounds of berries home. I didn’t have the mascarpone on hand I needed for the fresh blueberry and mascarpone tart I’ll share with you later, so I decided to make something for Bisou first. Did you know cats can eat blueberries? They were an ingredient in a dry food Bisou used to eat, so I decided to try including them in some homemade cat treats.
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I like making Bisou treats at home because a lot of the packaged treats out there are made with meat byproducts and are held together with wheat, corn and other carbohydrates cats don’t need in their carnivorous diets, and can be hard for some cats to digest. These treats were a bit of an experiment, so I’m happy to say they turned out nice and chewy, and pretty darn cute (I used the world’s tiniest heart-shaped cookie cutter!). Most importantly, Bisou gave them her paw print of approval, and that’s saying something. She is crazy picky for a former street cat.
Not only are these treats tasty, they’re also healthy. They’re grain free, made with real meat and with only four ingredients they’re a breeze to make. Did I mention they only need to bake for five minutes!? Okay, now that I’ve got you on board, let’s get started.
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast
- drizzle of olive oil
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup+ potato starch
- Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place chicken in the center of the sheet, and drizzle the top lightly with olive oil. Bake until the inside of the meat is no longer pink, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit. Set cooked chicken aside to cool, and lower the oven temperature to 325° Fahrenheit.
- Crack your egg into a medium-sized mixing bowl, and whisk until fluffy.
- Chop the chicken into large pieces and add the pieces to a blender or food processor, along with the blueberries. Pulse until mixture is evenly chopped and combined. Some large pieces of blueberry skin will remain. Don't worry about the odd color; I promise your cat won't mind!
- Add the blueberry chicken mixture to the mixing bowl, and whisk with the egg until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and once a dough begins to form, work it with your hands until combined. Depending on the size and juiciness of your chicken and blueberries, you may need more than a 1/2 cup of flour. If the mixture is still runny, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough is pliable and not too sticky to handle.
- Roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness. If you have tiny cookie cutters at the back of a drawer somewhere, now is the time to use them! Otherwise, use a pizza cutter or knife to cut 1/2 inch pieces. You can leave them square, or roll each one into a ball and press it down like a tiny thumbprint cookie.
- Line your baking sheet with a new piece of parchment paper and arrange the treats so they aren't touching. Bake for five minutes, or until treats are just sturdy when you press down on them.
- Store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator. Treats will keep 7-10 days.