Best Dog Food; A Raw Food Diet for Dogs is the Healthiest

What is the Best Dog Food? / Healthy Raw Food Diet for Dogs

At the Blue Mountain Bistro we always want to give you and your family – dogs and cats included – the ultimate best in healthy foods!

We are proud to now be selling all natural, pure premium raw pet food from Woodstock Meats called “Butcher’s Blend”. They’re our longtime neighbors in Woodstock, and have been known for years as purveyors of the highest quality meats and grocery items. And now they’ve turned their attention to making pet food of the highest quality as well. Here is some of the information from their literature:

Did you know that raw food diet for dogs provides double the nutrition of any canned or dry food? It is not measured  by the descriptive label on the package, it’s obvious in the absorption of their food. Dogs and cats are NOT humans. They have a very different digestive tract and process. We can get very sick from raw meat, while dogs thrive on it as their natural diet.

Feed Your Dogs and Cats Healthy, Premium, Natural Raw Diets

Compared to us, dogs and cats have a very short digestive system, which means that foods are processed quickly — before harmful bacteria have a chance to multiply and cause problems. Also, carnivores have a very high level of acidity in their digestive systems. This high acidity allows them to break down the nutrients in raw meat and bones, and is also hostile to bacteria. A raw food diet consists of good quality, USDA-inspected and approved meats and bones.

Cats and dogs are carnivores (or meat eaters). Yet all dry commercial pet foods are at least 60% (or more) grain because the carbohydrates are needed to hold the food together. Does it make sense to feed our carnivores a diet that contains at least 60% of a substance they don’t need? Additionally, carbohydrates are metabolized by the body to glucose (sugar) which is known to feed cancers, diabetes and many other disorders that now plague our companion animals. Raw diets simulate the menu that nature intended carnivores to eat. When a carnivore eats an  herbivore (like a rabbit) the carnivore eats some meat, some bone, some organ meats (liver, heart, kidney, etc) and some green vegetation contained in the herbivore’s digestive tract. That’s natures’ perfect meal – the meal that raw diets replicate.

Raw Pet Food Diet Ingredients

Here are some things they think are not obvious, but they want you to know about their foods:

  • Beef and Broccoli is 75% beef, antibiotic and hormone free beef – the same ground meat that we eat! The color appears to be a greenish-brown due to the grinding of the broccoli and the juices that are released into the meat.
  • Beef, Liver, and Yam is 50% beef, the same beef but the overall formula is less expensive because there’s a lower percentage of meat and additional less expensive organ meat.
  • Butchers Blend 100% is exactly that – not a blend at all. It’s 100% meat – human grade meat – to be offered by a small local butcher. It’s great for dogs and cats. The beef flavor contains no bone.
  • Salmon is a real source for the good omega 3 and 6
  • All Butchers Blend products contain NO additives or preservatives. This combination offers optimum levels of amino acids, protein, essential fatty acids, naturally occurring enzymes and the necessary vitamins and minerals that are the building blocks for your pet’s healthy biological functions.
  • All of our ingredients come from suppliers recognized for their superior quality products and the highest standards of safe food handling for humans.
  • Every ingredient in our formula will provide your pet with essential nutrients they need to build and maintain healthy immune, circulatory, nervous and digestive systems.

The benefits of Butcher’s Blend raw pet food are better health, more energy, less allergies, cleaner teeth, shinier coat, less odor, and a longer life.

Flavors available are: Beef, liver, and sweet potato; Chicken, sweet potato, and apples; Salmon, sweet potato and apples; Beet, broccoli, and apricot; Turkey, sweet potato, and apples; Lamb, carrots, and kale; and Venison, carrots, peas, and cranberries. Oh, did I mention that the mastermind behind this whole project is Kevin Christofora? One of the owners of Woodstock Meats – hats off to you Kevin!

What’s not to love?! I can testify that the very first day I fed this food to my black lab Molly, she ran around the room doing circles for a few minutes! One of her sure signs of being extremely joyous!

Super Soups! Fresh and Frozen

Our “soup freezer” broke down last month, all better now (thank you Charlie Groeter and Mary Anne to the rescue). In the process of pulling all the soups out we took stock of what we had. Now we know why our savviest customers walk in and head straight for the soups. We’ve got a pretty impressive collection to suit most anyone anytime. All our soups are made here with fresh stocks, herbs, vegetables and lots of love. It may sound trite but as any true cook will tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than making a delicious soup.

Often we have some of the stocks we make, chicken of course, but also a roasted chicken jus for making sauces or gravy and fish stock. Many are vegetarian, some are vegan, all are fresh, clean and delicious. The mix is constantly changing of course but to give you an idea we’ll run down a partial list:

  • Chicken Soup, far and away the best seller, they don’t call it Jewish penicillin for nothin’
  • Butternut Squash and apple, made with local cider and Granny Smith apples Carrot Ginger, smooth with lots of fresh ginger and yogurt
  • Italian Minestrone, rich with bean, tomato and packed with vegetables
  • Minestrone Verde, a green vegetarian version of the classic
  • Potato Leek, sometimes vegetarian, sometimes classic with chicken stock
  • Harira, spicy with lamb, barley, lentil with lemon, traditional to break fast of Ramadan
  • New England Clam Chowder, we steam fresh chowder clams ourselves!
  • Vegetable Beef, packed with vegetables and beef in a rich beefy broth
  • Curried Mussel, one of the most requested, check our specials menu for dates Chili con Carne, stew meat and ground meat with multiple layers of flavor
  • Turkey Black Bean Chili, a popular lighter version of chili con carne
  • Split Pea and Ham, simmered with smoked pork shanks

We take requests and are always happy to be reminded of something we haven’t made in a while. We also make and freeze Marinara, Putanesca, Bolognese and vodka sauce along with Lasagna and Mac n’ Cheese. Occasionally, you can find chicken pot pies or our chicken burgers with feta and olives in the freezer as well. Stop in, check it out, a couple of quarts of soup or a great sauce can be a real lifesaver if you get snowed in!

Farm Fresh Milk

Got milk?

Yes we do! Great tasting local milk from a farm in Salem N.Y. The McEachron family has been farming for over 100 years, the old-fashioned way. They grow their own feed for their cows, recycle the manure for fertilizer, do not use growth hormones or antibiotics. Taste the difference, rich clean milk. The reduced fat milk is so good it tastes like whole. The milk is only sold in a 275 mile radius from where it is made and it goes from cow to bottle in under 8 hours! This is the milk we use for our cooking, coffee, and for sale in our store. I was won over from the first sip, and I was also won over by the price, very affordable for such a premium product. What could be more satisfying than supporting your local farmers and getting a great tasting product? Come pick some up today.

Long Island Wines, White House Pre-selections

We were honored to co-host a Long Island wine tasting last night with a friend and client of ours who works with national and international hotel groups as well as The White House on service, food and wine issues.  That’s right, that White House, the one on Pennsylvania Avenue!  In response to social conversation with Daniel Shanks, the Food and Beverage Director and Wine Steward at the White House, he realized the time was right to familiarize himself with the current vintages of various Long Island wineries.With scarcely 24 hours notice we put together a menu to accompany 16 different wines and eight people whose job it was to rate the wines. Yes, I know, a tough job but….blah blah blah

Our friend Eric Weiss, the consultant, has a wine and hospitality resume longer than my arm. He kept us on task in a fun, friendly way, always mindful of the job at hand. We described each wine with three words, ie. “black currant, white pepper, soft”, judged whether or not it was representative of the grape variety, and finally, whether or not we liked it.

Apparently these State dinners  run like clockwork, 1 hour to an hour and 15 minutes max. No waiting for the bouquet to open, everything must be right there, up front, immediately accessible. So what did we serve? Here’s the menu:

BLUE MOUNTAIN BISTRO-to-GO
Richard and Mary Anne Erickson, Chef/Owners
Kingston, New York

MUSSELS “MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE”
mussels with white wine, creme fraiche and blue dʼAuvergne

Riesling, 2009, Grapes of Roth
Sauvignon Blanc, “Mudd,” 2011, Channing Daughters
First Label Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Raphael
Pinot Blanc, 2009 Lieb Vineyard
Gallery White Blend, 2010, Bedell

ROLLED STUFFED PORK LOIN with prosciutto, raisins, pine nuts and sage

Pinot Blanc, 10 year Reserve, 2010, Lieb Vineyard
Chardonnay “First Label,  2010, Raphael
Chardonnay, 2008, Pelligrini
Chardonnay, “Old Vines,” 2008, Lenz Vineyard
Chardonnay, “L’Enfant Sauvage,” 2008, Channing Daughters

BRAISED BEEF BRISKET, WINTER VEGETABLES, ONIONS AND MUSHROOMS

Petit Verdot, 2008, Lieb Vineyard
Merlot, “Tuthills Lane,” 2007, Paumanok Vineyard
“Sculpture Garden,” 2008, Channing Daughters
“Fatalis Fatum, 2007, Wolffer Estate
Merlot ‘Estate,” 2007, Lenz

POLENTA RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

“Finale,” NV, Pelligrini

Years ago at our restaurant Blue Mountain Bistro we loved hosting wine dinners, but in our current incarnation as a take out business this doesn’t happen very often, You can imagine how fun it was to come up with a menu like this. Also challenging, as we didn’t want the food to overpower the wines or have flavors that would conflict.

Everyone agreed the evening was a smashing success, and what fun to hear the variety of comments about the wines.It’s amazing how your impression of a wine can change from that first sip to the experience of savoring it with food. Many of my first impressions changed 180 degrees!

Chef Jonathan Sheridan executed a perfect progression of plates, Michael Clark from our catering staff kept the wines poured and provided excellent service, and when it was all over it felt like we did this every day instead of once in a blue moon. I’m sure some of these dishes will find new homes in our food cases and on our catering menus. Oh, by the way, if you haven’t had wine from Long Island lately do yourself a favor. I was particularly impressed with the red wines which were a total surprise to me. Cheers!

Hawg Wings for Super Bowl!

What the heck’s a “hawg wing”? Well if pigs could fly, would they have wings?

This year, we’re offering up our delicious version of this recent invention from the food industry – that is a reshuffling of  the shank portion of the pig. The pork is wrapped around a sturdy bone, in a drumstick fashion which  allows you to eat the tender morsels with one hand. They taste like a cross between chicken wings and barbecued ribs. If you’re tired of chicken wings, or just want something meaty and different, come on in and check out our hawg wings!

Surprisingly, I asked Richard a few weeks ago if he had stocked up on chicken wings for the Super Bowl party weekend and he replied “no”! What? Sacrilege!  How could you NOT have chicken wings for the Super Bowl? Then he explained that the price of wings had skyrocketed out of sight and most of the big chains had bought up all the wings. He couldn’t even get ahold of wings, almost two weeks out from the Super Bowl.

This reminded me of the old days when we owned a restaurant and the liquor companies would jack up the cost of champagne a month or so ahead of the holidays. Unfair!! or just the American way?

Anyway, enter the hawg wing! And I have to admit – I tried my first one today and they ARE delicious! So if you want a special treat to take to your party tomorrow, stop on in and get a bunch!

Turducken or Turkey Ballotine? It’s Our Recipe!

“a post-mortem on our favorite Christmas dish”

Let me first say it didn’t start out to be a “turducken”, that is a chicken, stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey. It really was a “ballotine”, a French name for something stuffed inside a boneless poultry.  The turducken to which I refer is a Cajan creation involving andouille sausage, cornbread etc.  I wanted a long cylinder filled with something delicious, suitable for a Christmas-type dinner celebration. What I came up with was a boneless turkey breast wrapped around a chicken mousse that was studded with confit of duck. All poultry, all delicious, seemed like a winner. I later added prunes and some spinach for contrasting color. It turned out fantastic! Trouble was very few people had heard of a ballotine.

Turducken Recipe Hit (…or Miss!)

Food Arts Magazine, a popular food industry publication for chefs, that is heavy on recipes, has a wonderful semi-regular feature titled “Hits & Flops”. It’s quite  interesting because everyone has them, hits and flops, that is. What fun to read about high profile chefs having to pull something from their menu! Usually it’s a matter of wording, timing, or ingredients that are too unusual. It could even be that it’s too much work for the kitchen staff.

Technically this dish worked quite well, it was beautiful and delicious. It was hardly a flop, but I think customers were afraid to order it as no one knew what it was…  “Turkey Ballotine with chicken and duck”. I think next year with a few pictures and a better description it could be a big hit. I was quite pleased with it. Not much new under the sun these days, but I’ve never seen or heard of a similar dish. I’m not quite ready to call it a “turducken” just yet but when I described it to people that seemed to be the word that really gave a visual. So the next time you’re looking for a fabulous dish to entertain your guests, give the turducken a try – then tell us what you think?

And as for the recipe? There are so many steps and it’s so time-consuming, that we recommend you let us do all the hard work! Order ahead, then come in and get it from us!

Enjoy the slideshow of how we made the turducken.

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The Beet Goes On! / The Health Benefits of Beets


Beets were the number one item on the list of “best foods you are not eating” which first appeared in the NY Times in 2008 (http://nyti.ms/2IATkZ). This incredibly popular article lists eleven foods that are good for you but for some unknown reason don’t make it to the dinner table or into people’s lives. So what is it with beets? Sometimes it’s a matter of the labor involved (the long cooking time and messy peeling process), and is probably why they are so popular in our store. We’ve had beets on our daily menu since we first opened in 2007 and they continue to be a big seller. And now we understand they have become very popular in upscale restaurants too!

The Nutritional Value of Beets

Beets are related to spinach and chard; the leaves and ribs are all edible and good for you: from the New York Times article, “Dr. Bowden says, … they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.” Mostly we boil the beets, peel and cut them, then cover with a vinaigrette/brine seasoned with star anise and clove. They are great oven roasted as well: we parboil them briefly before peeling, seasoning and roasting. Occasionally we have golden beets which are a bit milder in flavor and appeal to those who are not crazy about beets. This week we are making borscht so stop in for a warming bowl of beet soup!

And just for fun, we thought we would share a wonderful excerpt from Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume:

“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…

The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.”

Beet recipes: Roasted Beets / Pickled Beets / Sugar Beets / Cooking Beets!!!

And here is our favorite recipe for Borscht! Another great thing you can do with beets!

3 lg. beets, peeled and shredded
3 lg. carrots, peeled and shredded
3 medium baking
potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 lg. onion, sliced thin
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 qts. water or vegetable broth
1 medium head cabbage, cored and shredded

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cloves garlic
minced salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste sour cream, for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill for garnish
horseradish also makes a nice garnish with a little kick

Sweat the vegetables in the oil, (beets, onion, garlic and carrots) until they release their juices. Then add  tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the water, salt, pepper, and diced tomato. Simmer for 1/2 hour and then add the cabbage and potato. Cook for another 20 minutes, then adjust seasoning. Garnish with the sour cream, dill and horseradish as an option. It can also be chilled and served cold.

Serves 6-8 as a first course or 4 as a meal!