Fancy Franks For the Fourth

All along on my Hot Dog Research Journey I knew that I would be purchasing my own weenies and take the inspirations from Happy Fatz and Frank along to make some bomb-dot-com hot dogs.

 

The 4th of July is this week and I want to share some information from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council from www.hot-dog.org,

On Independence Day, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. over five times.

During Hot Dog Season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs or 818 hot dogs consumed every second during that period.

Los Angeles residents consume more hot dogs than any other city (over 95 million), beating out Baltimore/Washington and New York.

 

As discussed in my previous post about Franks (address here) I found that I can dress a hot dog with any elements that I would usually pair with turkey, beef or pork. My all time favorite pizza is the Hawaiian with Canadian bacon and pineapple so I set my sights on making the Hawaiian Weenie.

 

I took myself to the grocery store in search of supplies for my dogs where I spent 20 minutes in front of the meats reading the back of hot dog packages, trying to determine which one’s had fewer mystery and unpronounceable ingredients. Lesson 1: Do not read the ingredients in hot dogs. There is nothing gross in them but there are many elements that are processed, it’s just like buying fast food or packaged meals, there are ingredients that you can’t pronounce so you decide to ignore them. I went with the Hebrew National’s because they’re Kosher. I myself do not require a Kosher diet but I felt like I was winning the mystery ingredient battle this way.

 

I do not own a grill, while I acknowledge that hot dogs taste a million times better when cooked on a grill outside while enjoying a cool beverage on a fine summer day, I have to work with what I’ve got, a pan and boiled water. I filled my pot and allowed the water to start simmering but not to a full boil, next I placed my weenies into the water for 8-10minutes. I removed them from the water after 8-10 minutes and let them sit as I finished up my dressings.

 

For my Hawaiian Weenie I created a smoky Hawaiian BBQ sauce with a combination of Sweet Baby Ray’s Hawaiian style BBQ sauce, Tomato Ketchup, Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce and brown sugar. Them I chopped up some pineapples to garnish and BOOM, hot dog perfection!

Smoky Hawaiian

Fast-forward a few hours from lunch and I hunger again, for dinner I made myself a Chipotle Chili Pork Dog. Combining mayonnaise, chipotle chili powder and lemon juice I had a small batch of chipotle chili mayo that I paired with two slices of cooked bacon and a freshly heated hot dog. Beware: First start with a small amount of chili pepper and increase as desired and add more mayo and lemon juice to the mix if it’s too spicy. By the end of my meal my nose was running it was so spicy!

Chipotle Chili Dog

 

Recipes

Smoky Hawaiian BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

¼ cup Ketchup

2 Tbsp. – Honey Mustard

1 Tbsp. – Sweet Baby Ray’s Hawaiian BBQ Sauce

1 ½ Tsp. – Packed Brown Sugar

Combine all ingredients and mix. Taste and add additional amounts of ingredients to desired taste.

 

Smoky Hawaiian Hot Dog

Ingredients:

Desired number of Hot Dogs

Smoky Hawaiian BBQ Sauce

Cut Pineapples

Optional Ingredients:

Cooked bacon

Grilled onions

 

Directions:

  1. Heat water in pan until simmering, not boiling
  2. Place hot dogs in simmering water for 8-10 minutes & remove from water after that duration
  3. Dress the dog!
  4. Insert food in mouth

 

I hope you enjoy these recipes & I hope you share your weenie-spirations with us in the future.

 

Have a fun & safe Fourth of July weekend with your friends & families!

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Summer Veggies & Pasta

 

 

Lightly tossed with extra virgin olive oil and S&P

Zukes and cherry tomatoes ready for roasting.

 

Just look at them! Aren’t they beautiful?? I have been craving summer veggies like crazy. Maybe it’s because I have been eating out way more than I would like lately.

During the last few weeks of the spring semester, I had all these wonderful plans of how I would cook and bake and write blog posts and take lots of pictures because I would have all this newly acquired time, right? …wrong. I have been just as busy now but in a different way. So my goal is to post once a week, and it will probably happen on Sundays. Be on the look out and feel free to call me out if I don’t stick to it.

Ok, let’s talk summer veggies. Saturday night I waited way too long to figure out what I wanted to eat for dinner. Honestly, I was avoiding it because I knew that no matter what I decided to make, it would require a trip to the grocery store. That’s a bad place to be when you’re hungry. And here in Texas, where “everything is bigger”, it takes so long to get anywhere…Ok I must admit my concept of “long” might be a bit skewed – in Indiana we live less than 5 minutes away from the nearest grocery store. On the flip side, Austin has some really great natural food stores that make the extra drive well worth it (I’m looking at you, Whole Foods). 🙂

Anyway, I was lacking some serious motivation but I did make it to my laptop to start searching for what would satisfy my palate. I started with Gena’s vegan and raw food blog, Choosing Raw and landed me on this delightful dish. My dinner search was over and my motivation found! I made it to the grocery store and back with all my items just before 11pm. The only thing left to do was eat a bowl of cold cereal with almond milk and call it a night. The zukes, tomatoes, and fresh corn would have to wait.

Sunday afternoon, I prepped all the veggies while Christi, my partner in crime (and sister), made us pink smoothies (beets, carrots, strawberries, dates, water, and cashews) to get us through our hangry hankerings.

Pink smoothie - hangry crises averted. Thank you, Christi!

Pink smoothie – hangry crisis averted. Thank you, Christi!

We needed that smoothie too because the veggies require some serious oven time – 45 mins to be exact. I was pretty tempted to just sauté the veggies to speed up the process but that would have been a serious mistake. The oven time (and a little patience) allowed the veggies to marinate in the extra virgin olive oil and freshly crushed garlic. Mmm…. the smell radiating from the oven was divine.

The final fare was even better.

fulldish

 

 

straighton

 

It took some serious self-control to wait long enough to snap a couple quick photos of this and not just shovel it all in my mouth.

What’s to love about Gena’s penne with sweet summer vegetables, pine nuts, and herbs recipe @ChoosingRaw:

  • it’s easy to make
  • fresh summertime veggies, including zukes, cherry tomatoes, and corn (off the cob)
  • the fresh basil really brings it to the next level and the oregano too (you can settle for dried oregano if you don’t have the fresh stuff on hand but don’t skip out on the fresh basil)
  • it’s sauceless but you won’t miss it one bit
  • pine nuts – so the recipe clearly calls for it and I had them but…I forgot about them. They’ll make their first appearance in the left overs though
  • it’s vegan!

Subs or suggestions:

  • the recipe calls for onions but I opted out because sometimes they don’t agree with me.
  • try a yellow squash or another one of your favorite veggies.
  • the recipe recommends adding the corn in to roast for the last 15 minutes of oven time, but I think our corn could’ve had a little more roasting time. Maybe try adding them in a bit sooner.

So what’s the final consensus? I think it’s obvious by all my raving but just in case any shadow of doubt remains, it was an absolute hit. You should try it. Check out the recipe here.

Dessert: vegan chocolate chip cookies

xo

 

Love & Food – S+J Anniversary 2

6.21.12 That was the day. Exactly two years ago yesterday, James and I got married. Last year, we threw our bikes into the back of the van and we drove to Navy Pier in Chicago. We left the van at the pier and rode our bikes all around downtown Chicago and ate whatever we wanted. It was perfect. Here we are:

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This year is a little tougher – James is in Indiana doing research and I’m here in Texas for my summer internship – but we made the most of it through a FaceTime movie date and eating a lot of great food for breakfast and dinner. We took it easy for lunch.

S. Breakfast: Green pancakes
J Breakfast: German pancakes

S Dinner: red potato & pork sausage hash
D Dinner: sushi at Majé

I know what you’re thinking – James really out did me on both accounts. I can’t compete with German pancakes but stay with me for dinner though, you gotta see this. It was so good! But first, we will start with breakfast.

German Pancakes

These are, no joke, my favorite kind of pancakes. They’re quick and easy to make and absolutely delicious. First time I tried German Pancakes was my freshman year of college. Meridith Marie Petty – a kindred spirit – introduced me to this family tradition of hers and it quickly became a forever favorite of mine.

Best part of german pancakes, second only to shoveling them in your mouth, is seeing them right when they come out of the oven. They’re so fluffy and buttery and crispy!! Mmm. James chose well.

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup of butter
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
6 eggs
Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the butter in a 9×13 glass dish and place it in the oven while it preheats so the butter can melt.
  2. Meanwhile, place all the other ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Once the butter is melted, pour the batter into the glass dish and bake for 35 minutes.

Now, if you’re anything like me and get excited about taking pictures with/of food, then you need to be ready and I mean ready. These beauties only stay puffy for a minute. Snap a few shots and then let it go. Serve with pure maple syrup or maybe fresh fruit.

Green pancakes

I have to apologize, I don’t have a photo of the green pancakes. I promise you’re not missing much though. They look like normal pancakes, but they’re green. Basically, they’re just another “creative” way to get greens into your mouth before noon. Brit showed the family this recipe a while ago and I’ve lightly adapted it:

Ingredients:

1 cup milk alternative (I use almond milk)
1/2 cup coconut oil (make sure it’s melted)
3 eggs
1 tbls agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
3 large handfuls of Spinach (or whatever fits into the blender on top of the other ingredients)
1 cup wheat kernels

Directions:

  1. Put everything into your high speed blender (I use a Blendtec) in the order listed above and blend on the Whole Juice setting twice. Just make sure it’s well blended.
  2. Allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. Drop about a 1/2 cup of batter into a heated pan. Flip pancakes when little air bubbles start to form on the top.

I recommend spreading some of your favorite nut butter on top and drizzling with pure maple syrup.

Fast forward 8-9 hours and dinner time it is! James had sushi. I’m sure it was good. But let’s talk about my dinner…

Fresh Garden Veggies & Pork Sausage Hash

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Evidently this a breakfast dish but I know very few people that wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to eat breakfast twice in one day. Just look at it. Isn’t it beautiful! This dish was inspired by Celeriac and Sausage Hash from the Against All Grain cookbook by Danielle Walker. You can check out her blog here.

Ingredients:

1 tbls coconut oil
2 cups red potatoes (leave the skin on, it’s good for you!)
1/2 lb breakfast sausage
3/4 cup finely diced carrots
3/4 cup finely diced zucchini
1/2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste

Add-ins/toppings:

chopped radishes
chopped tomato
fried egg
chopped rosemary for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in the skillet over medium heat
  2. Place the potatoes in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes
  3. Add in the sausage and carrots, cook until the meat is fully cooked through
  4. Add the in the remaining ingredients and cook until the mushrooms and zucchini are tender
  5. Top with your add-ins: radishes, tomato, fried egg and rosemary.

Enjoy! I’m sure this would be good with a number of different veggies. Use whatever you have in your fridge at the time. I honestly could’ve gone without the sausage but my siblings really liked the flavor it added.

I rounded out the night with dessert, of course, because anything less than that would just be unacceptable. Luckily for me, Brit had this frozen little delight ready for me (recipe cred: Angela Liddon at OhSheGlows):

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I think it’s safe to say that James and I ate well this year for our anniversary, even if we weren’t able to eat together. It would have been nice to go on some sort of adventure but the delicious food and our FaceTime movie date (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) made it manageable. 🙂

What do you and your significant other do to have fun when spread miles and miles apart?

 

Frank – Gourmet Hot Dog Review

After Happy Fatz in Huston, TX, my hot dog research took me up to Austin, TX to see fellow WY&PF blogger Sherree where we explored the food and the wonderful things that make Austin weird.

 

Our first stop was Frank (hot dogs, cold beer) a restaurant claiming to be a purveyor of artisan sausage. Frank is located on Colorado Street between 4th and 5th streets in Austin, TX (zip 78701), it has a huge parking lot with a monthly rotating mural supporting local and up and coming artists.

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Help yourself get more familiarized with Franks, check out their website http://hotdogscoldbeer.com/austin/eats/

 

There were four of us dining that afternoon, we were able to sit as soon as we walked in and asked for a table and were able to place our drink orders quickly. Sherree and I sampled the freshly made lemonade and puckered up immediately, word or advice it’s t-a-r-t. It took us awhile to decide on what dog we would all order but we settled on the following,

 

Carolina Pork It – Vienna Beef stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon then deep-fried (why not amiright?) with a layer of grilled horseradish coleslaw and pimento cheese.

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Southern Boy – The base of this dog is a blackened, split Vienna Beef Hot Polish link with caramelized onions, crispy pork belly, pepper jack cheese and Frank’s Dr. Doppelgänger BBQ sauce.

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Jackalope – Smoked antelope, rabbit and pork sausage topped with cranberry compote, sriracha aioli and cheddar cheese.

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And The Notorious P.I.G – Smoked pork, bacon, jalapeno and sage sausage dressed with mac n’cheese and Dr. Doppelgänger BBQ sauce.

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Everyone loved his or her weenies. The Carolina Pork It was a tasty meaty choice, the Southern Boy was pretty freaking spicy so know that before you go face deep in that bad boy but the spices were flavorful even though they were hot. The Notorious P.I.G. was another hit, the mac n’ cheese wasn’t particularly delicious, fortunately for Sherree she ordered it on the side and not on top of her dog. As a whole we felt that the sides at Frank were lacking. The waffle frys and the additional dips available for order were amazing. My personal favorite was the Chili Mayo. I ate the Jackalope, this dog has changed my wiener life, let me tell you why.

 

While eating the Jackalope I realized that any recipe used for pork, beef or turkey could be done for a hot dog! I am a huge cranberry fan and I dream of big fat turkey and cranberry sandwiches every time there is a boxed lunch option at the Business school or work. Finding that I can marry some of my favorite toppings on what I had previously thought was a run of the mill hot dog is a total game changer.

 

If I lived in Austin I would make regular visits to Frank to eat my way through their menu. I highly recommend this restaurant for any locals, those in the surrounding Austin area or anyone passing through, make a point to stop by this place.

 

Not food related I also recommend you take the time to either walk down South Congress to the 1300 block to see the famous “I love you very much” graffiti and other surrounding gems. If you’re in town around dusk 1.5 million bats fly out from under the South Congress bridge to do their nighttime thing, apparently the site is one to be held and one of the many things that help to keep Austin Weird.

 

Happy Fatz – Gourmet Hot Dog Review

I’ve had hot dogs on the brain recently and there are a few reasons I can think of that would make me be thinking of weeines so much:

  1. I love potty humor
  2. I enjoyed a delicious white sausage with a pint of Hefeweizen during a recent layover in the Frankfurt, Germany airport (more on this Sausage experience later)
  3. It’s summer and I’m dreaming of baseball and hotdogs in my beloved AT&T Park
  4. I saw an article on the cover of All You while in the checkout lane with an article on fresh recreations on a family favorite, hot dogs (http://dailysavings.allyou.com/2014/06/11/easy-ketchup-recipes/)

 

So I launched my first research project for WY&PF that I dubbed simply “hot dog research”, my initial name was “Weiner Search 2014” but I thought I should reel myself in a little bit…

 

When I told some fellow interns at work they were very concerned that I was going to be researching à la Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle) I’m not a mystery meat kinda gal, so I let them know I most certainly would be staying out of slaughter houses for this assignment and would focus solely on artisan sausages.

 

First up on my tour de dog was Happy Fatz in Houston, Texas.

 

Happy Fatz is located in The Heights, a cute hipster residential part of Houston that is one of Texas’ earliest planned communities that boasts many quant restaurants and beer gardens. Happy Fatz is known for its Gourmet Hotdogs and Specialty Desserts and regularily receives favorable reviews on Yelp.com as well as operates a clean and user friendly website, http://happyfatz.com, all of these things are important to me.

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On a Friday night for dinner I met up with a friend from Purdue who is also interning in Houston this summer. I ordered The Clucker and she ordered the Texas Chili, it just so happens our orders represent the two most ordered dogs on the menu.

 

The Clucker is a mammoth of ¼ pound Hebrew National Kosher Beef hot dog with shredded has brows, large bacon bits, grilled white onions, and an over easy egg onto of a gourmet sausage covered in a light red secret “clucker sauce”. When asked how many calories this behemoth was I was told the calories count is unknown and likely for the best, I decided to order the side of fresh cut fruit to ease my caloric guilt. I had to cut through this dog with a knife and fork, there was no way I could take it to the face with out a bib. With that being said the dog was good and I enjoyed the toppings and the experience of eating a big fat hot dog but I was hoping for bolder flavors. The grilled white onions were prefect and there were bites of flavor with the bacon bits but the clucker sauce didn’t bring much favor to the experience and the egg mostly stressed me out with the running yoke.

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My friend ordered the Texas Chili that housed the same ¼ pound Hebrew National Kosher Beef hot dog along with homemade Shiner Bock chili, onions, melted cheddar topped with a handful of Frito chips. Another dog that was too big to eat without a knife and fork that left a little more to be desired. The chili was spicy but the report back was that it was just OK. I personally love the idea of chips on my hot dog (or homemade sandwich for that matter) and my recommendation would be to add a side of sour cream to ease the heat of the chili.

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Overall, would I go back to Happy Fatz? Oh heck yes.

 

The Happy Fatz experience is laid back and relaxing. I thought the restaurant was a great place to kick back and catch up with a friend and expand my palate. I appreciated how there were local artists hung on the walls and mention to animal adoptions hosted by the Happy Fatz community, these are all the elements I like to see in a local establishment that engrains it into the community members and brings a sense of belonging to customers.

 

Lastly, I have my eye on the Lotus Blossom (Fresh spinach, red cabbage, Happy Fatz white cheddar pimento cheese on a jalapeno bun) or a Build your Own dog with grilled onions, grilled peppers, hash browns, feta cheese & salsa verde. Also, I didn’t have a stomach capacity to explore the Specialty Desserts so a second visit to Happy Fatz is in my future.