GALVESTON — What could be better on a beautiful April Saturday than a picnic in the park?

The Galveston Island Dog Show, better known as A Bark in the Park, might suggest that the only thing better would be a picnic in the park accompanied by canine friends.

Better still, achieving that state requires neither dog nor picnic lunch, because the dog show has made arrangements to have plenty of both on hand.

The Galveston Island Humane Society will have a “rescue village” of adoptable dogs from its shelter, and Sunflower Bakery will be serving picnic-ready lunches of their signature sandwiches and pastries.

A Bark in the Park will fill historic, tree-shaded Kempner Park on Saturday with a full day of fun activities for pets and people. The morning kicks off with a “Blessing of the Dogs” ceremony officiated by Father Serge Veselinovich of Sts. Constantine and Helen Serbian Orthodox Church. Serge also will be available to perform private blessings throughout the day.

Once blessed, the dogs begin a variety of competitions, segmented by breeds (including mixed breeds) and age, with special categories for puppies and dogs older than 7. Other competitions include canine costume and “Best Pet Trick.”

All this activity is bound to work up an appetite for both humans and dogs, and vendors will be on site all day to satisfy both.

Bark-n-Bisket will be among the vendors going to the dogs. Sunflower Bakery’s Bark in the Park menu features some of the essentials of a Southern picnic, including pimento cheese, chicken salad or turkey sandwiches on its fresh-baked bread.

The island-based bakery also is bringing a selection of sweets, including compost cookies, blondes and blueberry muffins. For many participants, lunch will be a quick bite between various competitions, which run at 15-minute intervals culminating in the “Best of Show” presentation at 2 p.m.

There’s even an opportunity for those not fortunate enough to be accompanied by a dog to have their own turn in the show ring. One of the most popular activities in past years has been the “Doggie Derby” hat contest, where elaborate Kentucky Derby-style hats are judged, sans dogs. The grand prize hat-wearer wins an equally elaborate basket of beauty products.

Outside of the show ring, agility and obedience demonstrations, microchip services, spay and neuter information and Canine Good Citizenship testing offer everyone attending a variety of ways to improve their pets’ lives.

A Bark in the Park also improves the lives of countless animals in the area by raising funds for the Galveston Island Humane Society.

“Last year, show attendance doubled and over $20,000 was raised for the Galveston Island Humane Society, the sole beneficiary of this event,” Bark in the Park chairwoman Allison Schoenvogel said.

All dogs and all breeds are welcome to enter events.

At a glance

WHAT: Fourth annual A Bark in the Park

WHO: Galveston Island Humane Society

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Kempner Park, Avenue O and 27th Street, in Galveston.

COST: Entry fee is $10 per dog/ per class

DETAILS: Advance registration is available at; on-site registration begins at 9:30 a.m.

Compost Cookies

MAKES: 15-20 very large cookies

16 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

23 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons glucose or 1 tablespoon corn syrup

1 egg

12 teaspoon vanilla extract

113 cups flour

12 teaspoon baking powder

14 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

34 cup mini chocolate chips

12 cup mini butterscotch chips

12 cup graham crackers, crushed

13 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

212 teaspoons ground coffee

2 cups potato chips

1 cup mini pretzels

Combine the butter, sugars and glucose or corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed, until just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips.

Using a 234-ounce ice cream scoop or a 13-cup measuring cup, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan.

Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week.

Do not bake your cookies from room temperature. They will not bake properly.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes.

The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage.

At room temperature, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

(SOURCE: Recipe courtesy Momofuku Milk Bar)


Chicken Salad

1 whole cut-up fryer chicken

2-3 stalks celery, chopped

3 whole green onions, chopped

2 cups to 3 cups grapes, halved

12 cup mayonnaise

12 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

12 cup half-and-half

a small handful of fresh dill, minced

12 cup slivered almonds

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Rinse the chicken thoroughly and place in a large pot of water. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is done — about 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a plate. With your fingers or a fork, pull off all of the meat from the bones, chop into bite-sized chunks and set aside.

Chop all of your fruits and veggies and place them in a bowl with the chicken. Add almonds.

In another bowl, mix mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream, lemon juice, brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh herbs.

When the dressing tastes just right — taste test for appropriate saltiness — pour it over the chicken/veggie/fruit mixture and stir gently until everything is thoroughly mixed.

Allow the salad to chill for several hours — or even overnight. Serve on a bed of lettuce or in a sandwich.

(SOURCE: Recipe from “The Pioneer Woman Cooks,” by Ree Drummond)


Augusta Pimento Cheese

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese

12 pound Monterey Jack cheese

2 medium kosher dill pickles

2 or 3 cloves of garlic

1 4-ounce jar of pimentos, drained

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Cut all of the ingredients except the pimentos into large chunks. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just long enough to roughly chop. Don’t purée the ingredients.

Put the mixture in large bowl and mix with the mayonnaise.

Refrigerate. Set out for 20 to 30 minutes before use.

(SOURCE: Recipe from Wright Bailey, National Public Radio)

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