July 31, 2010

Lovely Summer Salad with Crabcakes


Ingredients:
for the salad
2 cold or hot crabcakes
4 slices pickled beets, cut into sticks
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 oz plain crumbled  feta
1/2 cucumber, sliced
15 cherry tomatoes, halved

for the dressing:
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Toss the salad ingredients together (except for the crabcake) divide among two plates. Place the dressing in a jar or salad dressing container and shake. Pour over salads.

My thoughts:
This is a great way to use up leftover crabcakes. I know it is hard to even think about having something as delicious as a crabcake leftover but living in a two person household, we often end up with extra. Luckily they are pretty good cold or at room temperature the next day. For this salad I want some serious flavor so I used feta and pickled beets (my new favorite combination!) and a tart dressing. It was really good! If I was making this again, I think I might be tempted to make miniature crabcakes and have more than one per salad just for fun. Sort of like a crab crouton.

July 30, 2010

Grilled Italian Eggplant Rollatini with Herbed Goat Cheese



Ingredients:
3 Italian eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch thick vertical strips
1/2 cup softened mild goat cheese
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons minced basil
2 tablespoons minced oregano
zest one lemon
salt
pepper


brushing sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons minced oregano
1 tablespoons minced basil
salt
freshly grated black pepper

Directions:
Sprinkle sliced eggplants with salt. Allow to seep in a colander 20 minutes then rinse off. Prepare grill according to manufacture's instructions. In a small bowl, whisk together the brushing sauce. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the mixture. Grill for about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through or until soft. Meanwhile, mash the cheese, shallot and spices together until smooth. When the eggplant is ready, remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly on a tray until easily handled. Spread each strip with the goat cheese mixture (about 1 tablespoon each). Roll closed. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Notes: It can be tricky to roll the strips with a "bump" (the end pieces). Either slice the bump off before grilling or just spread them with goat cheese and leave them unrolled.

Eggplant can go from grilled to blackened very quickly. If a (normally a slightly too thin) piece is too dark on one side, take care not to over cook the other side. When you go to roll, spread the blackened side with goat cheese so the pretty grilled side is facing out. This will soften the crispier side slightly and no one will notice the difference.

Serves: 6 as an side dish, 4 as an entree


My thoughts:
I love this recipe because it looks impressive but is super easy. Grilled eggplant is awesome because it gets silky smooth without having to fry it or cook for a long time and it isn't bitter at all. Italian eggplants work best because they are a little sweeter and have less seeds but are still big enough to slice into planks but "regular" eggplants would work as well. Japanese eggplants are normally too small to slice and roll like this.

I think this dish could be an appetizer, side dish or if accompanied by a simple salad, an entree.

July 28, 2010

Hawaiian Inspired Spam & Beans


Ingredients:
1 can Spam, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1/2 mango, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb navy beans
1/2 cup cup chili sauce (like Heinz)
6 oz pineapple juice
1 tablespoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon rum
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon allspice
sea salt
freshly ground pepper


Directions:
The day before you want to serve: Place the beans in a pot and fill until the beans are under about 4 inches of water.

The next day: drain the beans and pour them into the slow cooker. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the spam. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until the beans are soft. Fry the Spam in a nonstick skillet until quite crisp and nearly caramelized around the 7 to 8 hour mark. Thoroughly drain the spam on paper towel lined plates. Stir into the Spam. If the beans are looking a little dry and are not quite done, add a little water or pineapple juice. Continue cooking at least 1/2 hour after adding the Spam. Stir before serving.

My thoughts:
Okay, I am normally not a Spam eater much less a Spam enthusiast but when I was trying to think of easy, won't heat up the house side dishes to serve with a vaguely Hawaiian themed meal I was making for friends, baked beans came to mind. I made these tropical baked beans in the slow cooker a few years back (and a version of them appears in my cookbook--which is shipping out now BTW--) and loved them. It is really easy but a little nerve-wracking because the beans go from being pale and not quite cooked to brown and soft and baked bean-y looking really late in the cooking process. But it always seems to work (as long as you keep an eye on how dry they look towards the end, some batches of beans absorb more liquid than others and you don't want them to burn) and the result is always tasty. Anyway, I was doing a pineapple pork thing (recipe to come) that seemed Hawaiian so I was thinking about Hawaiian foods. Now I've never been to Hawaii but it seems like they love the Spam. The popularity (the existence even) of Spam musubi is enough to convince me of this but the fact that there is an event called the Spam Jam in Waikiki clinched it. I had to make a dish with Spam. But what? I didn't want to serve meat with a side of meat so I had to incorporate the Spam into something to stretch it out a bit. Then I remembered my idea about making baked beans and thought if people can eat beanie weenies, then they can sure eat Spam & beans! And you know what? It was the surprise hit of the evening. The trick, I think, is to thoroughly fry the Spam (and a dry nonstick pan is fine for this, the fat in the Spam renders pretty quickly and you really don't want to add more) until it is really crispy and drain, drain, drain it on paper towels so it doesn't make the dish seem greasy. It added a salty-smoky flavor that is similar to what actual ham would have but the softer texture was really nice with the beans. It is a total fluke, novelty recipe but honestly, I am tempted to make it again.

July 26, 2010

Zydeco Beans


Ingredients:
3 lb French green beans, ends trimmed (also called haricots verts)
3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
1/3 cup pickling salt
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 head garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons dill seed
1 tablespoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Directions:
Prep 6 pint jars and lids. Whisk together the spices in a small bowl. Set aside. Bring the salt, vinegar and water to a boil. Meanwhile, stuff the warm jars with the green beans. The easiest way to do this is to lay them on their sides and fill them horizontally. Drop in one or two cloves of garlic. Evenly distribute the spices among each jar. Sprinkle with dill. Lightly shake the jars to help distribute the spices. Pour the boiling liquid into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 8 minutes. Allow to pickle for one week (at least!) before opening.


Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.



My thoughts:

I honestly had never had zydeco beans until I made these. I had first heard about them in a novel and they sounded great (Spicy pickled green beans? Yes, please!) but there aren't exactly a staple here in Baltimore. So of course I had to make my own. I am not 100% sure these are 100% authentic but they are so delicious. Seriously, the best pickle I have ever had. I may or might not have eaten 2 whole jars in less than a week. I'm working on my third and honestly, I was sort of hoping that my mom wouldn't like the jar I gave her so she'd give it back to me and I could eat them. Isn't that horrible? Next time I am doing two batches. Or three. Maybe more.

So, what are you waiting for? Go make these pickles! They will keep for a year on the shelf but I hardly think they will last that long. They are great as a snack or as a drink or salad garnish. You can even use the prepped French green beans that some supermarkets sell and save yourself the hassle of cutting off the ends.



July 24, 2010

Feta-Sopressata Pasta Salad


Ingredients:
6 cups cooked pasta
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz lemon, garlic & oregano feta crumbles
10 jarred pepperoncini, drained and chopped
1/3 cup grilled or boiled corn
8 thin slices sopressata, cut into strips
salt
freshly ground black pepper
white wine vinegar

Directions:
Toss together the pasta, tomatoes, peppers, sopressata, feta salt, pepper and corn. Drizzle with vinegar to taste.


My thoughts:
OMG, it is hot here in Baltimore. We have spent most of the summer hovering in the 90-100 degree area. Normally we'd get a few HOT days but we'd get some cool(ish) days in-between. However, it has been hot, hot, hot nearly every day and without the benefit of being a student (or teacher, I actually liked this policy more when I was teaching than as a kid) of getting out of school if it hits 90 before 11 AM. Now I just work at home and break a sweat as I wash the dishes. I've taken to doing tricks like the one I did with this salad and trying to cook once and eat twice. I boiled an extra amount of pasta for dinner so I could make this pasta salad without cooking at all the next day. Which, really, is more important than you'd think when living in a 1930s, non air conditioned house in the city. The summer is prime panini weather so I always have panini ingredients on hand and used them to create this Italian deli inspired salad. Easy + tasty. Win-win.

July 23, 2010

Grilled Chicken Adobo



Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 lb)
1/2 cup cane vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
10 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a resealable bag or marinating container. Marinate in the refrigerator up for 5 hours but at least 2. Prepare grill to manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, pour the chicken and marinade out into a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to reduce. Remove the chicken from the sauce and grill until cooked through and slightly caramelized, flipping once and periodically basting with the marinade.


My thoughts:
I have been sort of "off" chicken for a while but I always enjoy chicken adobo. Normally I make it the traditional way but it was great grilled, the smoky flavor added some depth and the outside caramelized nicely.

You could make it using chicken breasts but in my experience, thighs are much less likely to dry out on the grill even when they are boneless and skinless. Just take care to cook them all the way through, thighs can be thick and since they are darker, it can be tricky to tell then they are finished cooking.

July 21, 2010

Vibrant Corn Salad with Jalapeño Vinaigrette


Ingredients:
6 ears of corn worth of kernels (cooked and cooled)
6 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 1/2 large avocados, cubed

for the vinaigrette:
5 tablespoons avocado oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved
salt
freshly ground black pepper


Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Shake the vinaigrette ingredients in a dressing mixing container or closed jar. Strain over the salad. Discard the jalapenos. Toss to evenly distribute the dressing. Serve at room temperature.

My thoughts:
I love salads like these. I am honestly not the biggest traditional salad person but on hot days, a cool dish is needed. I especially love the vinaigrette I came up with for this salad, the oils of the peppers get shaken into the dressing adding just enough heat. It is a great way to get a spicy fix without actually having to bite down on a pepper. The trick to the perfect corn salad is to have a mixture of tastes and textures. A mix of sweet (corn, tomato), crisp (radish), creamy (avocado), spicy (radish, jalapeno), juicy (tomato) and crunchy (cucumber) is my favorite. I served this as an entree but I think it would also be great as a side dish to grilled seafood or portobello burgers.

July 19, 2010

Mint-Infused Blueberry-Lime Jam



Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh mint
8-10 cups whole, picked over blueberries*
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 box liquid pectin (6 oz., 2 little packets)
juice and zest of 2 limes


Directions:
Lightly bruise the mint and stuff as much as you can into a tea ball. Set aside. Pour the berries into a bowl. Mash with a potato masher. Measure it out. It should yield about 6 cups of mashed berries. Add the sugar and blueberries to a large pot. Prep jars/lids for canning. Bring the sugar and blueberries to a boil. Add the lime juice, zest and the tea ball. Clip the tea ball to the side of the pot if possible. Boil for about 10-15 minutes, it should start to look a little thick. Add the pectin (both packets!). Continue cooking at a low (rolling) boil for 5 minutes. Remove the tea ball. Fill the jars. Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: about 6 8-oz jars (I ended up with six and a teeny tiny bit left over but the other batch of jam I made using the same amount of berries yielded 7 8-oz jars)


*I made two batches of jam and one batch only needed 8 cups of fresh berries and the second batch needed about 10. I think it depends on the size of the berries.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.



My thoughts:
Jam! This was my first attempt at canning jam. I've made freezer jam in the past but never the fully cooked and jarred variety. I am happy to say it came out very well! I read up on the ratios needed for proper jam making and then just sort of winged it. Honestly, the hardest part was tracking down the liquid pectin. The jars all sealed and the jam set up into the perfect consistency. I think technically, you only need to boil it after the pectin is added for one minute but I did it for longer to try and get the most flavor out of the mint.

I love blueberry and lime together and the mint adds a herbal flavor that doesn't scream "MINT" but which adds savoriness and depth to the jam. Matt had some on a biscuit and nearly swooned. It is just that good. Not too sweet and the lime and mint keep it from being your typical blueberry jam.


Quick tip:
I put the mint in a tea ball because I didn't want bits of leaves in my jam. When it comes out of the pot the tea ball will be covered in jam. I just plopped the whole thing (closed, mint still inside) in a bowl of water and let it sit overnight. The next day, most of the jam had dissolved and it was easy to open and clean it.

July 16, 2010

Seven Spice Mahi-Mahi



Ingredients:
4 mahi-mahi fillets
2 1/2 tablespoons Japanese 7 spice powder
2 tablespoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
zest of one lemon

olive oil
lemon juice
pepper sherry

Directions:
Prepare your grill according to manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, stir together the salt, pepper, seven spice and zest. Pat into all four sides of the fish. Brush with olive oil. Grill, for about 5 minutes on each side, until fully cooked. Sprinkle with lemon juice and pepper sherry prior to serving.



My thoughts:
When I asked people what type of grilling recipes they would most like to see this year, the response was overwhelmingly in favor of fish/seafood recipes. The trick with grilling fish is not to over cook it and if you would like to place the fish directly on the grill, make sure it is a firm, meaty variety. That's why I like Mahi-Mahi, I've never had a problem with it overcooking or breaking up on the grill. It can be on the bland side though so I dressed it up with some seven spice powder, lemon juice and my new favorite condiments, pepper sherry. Simple, slightly spicy and super tasty.

July 14, 2010

Fresh Blueberry Pulled Pork


Ingredients:
2 1/4 lb pork roast
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 cup blueberries
1/3 cup chili sauce (like Heinz)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper flakes
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a four quart slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Remove the pork to a plate and shred with two forks. Mash the contents in the slow cooker with a potato masher until fairly smooth. Add the pork back into the slow cooker and toss to coat in sauce.

My thoughts:
As you may have noticed, I love making pulled pork with fresh fruit. The long cooking time basically melts the fruit so it becomes part of the sauce, giving it a natural sweetness. It has been either incredibly hot here or there is torrential rain or it is incredibly humid (or all three) for weeks on end. This makes dinner planning daunting at best. Pulled pork is always welcomed (especially if one can escape into an air conditioned room to eat) and couldn't be easier to make. I prep everything the night before and just dump it in the slow cooker in the morning. A hot meal that doesn't heat up the house.

July 12, 2010

Blackberry and Black Pepper Ice Box Pie


Ingredients:
5 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
juice and zest of 1 lemon


1 9-inch graham cracker crust


Directions:
In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of the blackberries, pepper, lemon juice, zest and the sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and water, set aside. After the blackberries come to a boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook 2 additional minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining blackberries and the butter. Pour into the prepared pie shell. Refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours before serving.

My thoughts:
Our blackberry bush has been a strong producer this year! We have been getting berries steadily for about a month now. Last we got a lot but in mid-August which is the more typical blackberry season here. Not that I am complaining! Fresh berries are expensive even in season so to get some free is amazing. We have a thornless bush so the harvesting isn't too harrowing. But even freshly picked berries don't have the longest life so I came up with this pie to use up a bunch. The black pepper was my husband's idea and it was a good one. It added a spicy note that really played off the tart-sweetness.

July 11, 2010

Feta-Caper Potato Salad


Ingredients:
2 lb red potatoes, quartered
1 shallot, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon freeze dried chives
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the potatoes until fork tender. In a small bowl, whisk together the pepper, vinegar and mayo. Stir in the cheese and capers. Place the potatoes, celery and shallot in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture. Stir to evenly distribute the dressing.



My thoughts:
Oh, feta! I've been eating it every day for over a week now and I haven't had it the same way twice. This potato salad doesn't look light (it is so creamy!) but feta is lower in calories and fat than mayo and once it is stirred into the salad, it breaks down a bit and forms a smooth(ish) dressing that seems decadent despite being relatively light. Feta does have quite a presence in salads so you need strong ingredients to stand up to it. I've been finding that pickle-y ingredients like capers work extremely well, if the ingredients are too mild, they get lost. Plus I love capers so any excuse to use them is a good one.

July 09, 2010

Rosemary-Dijon Grilled Lamb Chops



4 lamb loin chops
1 lemon cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed

marinade:
1 large shallot
5 cloves garlic
2 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard


Directions:
Place the lamb, lemon slices and mustard seed into a smal marinating container or quart sized resealable bag. Set aside. Place all of the marinade ingredients into a blender (I used my Vita-Mix)and pulse until smooth. Pour into the bag. Refrigerate up to 4 hours. Prep your grill according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place the lamb chops on the grill and cook, turning once, until medium-rare, just a few minutes on each side.




My thoughts:
These diminutive lamb chops cook up like a dream on the grill; crisp outside and juicy and tender inside. The marinade gives the chops a lovely piquancy that complements the slight gamey "wild" flavor of the lamb. Truly one of my favorite ways to cook lamb; easy but incredibly delicious.

Since they are on the small side, I like to grill them alongside a side dish of some kind (corn, potato salad or wedges, grilled eggplant) because there is plenty of room left on the grill.

July 07, 2010

Savory Pickled Beets


Ingredients:
3 lbs peeled, cooked beets cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons dill seed
2 teaspoons peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon salt
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 onion, sliced thinly (about 3/4 cup)


Directions:
Place all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Prep your jars. Pack the beets into the warm jars and ladle the pickling solution over them. Leave a 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a water bath for 30 minutes.


Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.


My thoughts:
Last summer my goal was to teach myself how to can. I didn't get to it because I was unexpectedly busy developing recipes for my cookbook but I have read dozens of canning books just waiting for the growing season to begin here. It turns out canning is a lot easier than I thought. It is slightly trickier to develop a new canning recipe because I have to make sure that I use enough ingredients to actually fill the jars and acidic ingredients to keep it safe enough for water bath canning but it isn't terribly difficult. The ratio of brine to vegetable is pretty consistent in the recipes I've read so when I decided to make my canning debut, I had a good idea how much vinegar I needed to pickle my beets. I have always loved the idea of pickled beets but most commercial jars of beets and recipe call for a much sweeter and cinnamon-clove spice flavor profile than I'd want to eat. I really wanted pickled, pickled beets, if that makes sense. I wanted the flavors to be closer to that of a cucumber pickle. So I followed the basic ratios but used the ingredients and flavors that I would enjoy. I am happy to stay I succeeded! The flavors are savory and sharp but still complement the beet. Lovely directly out of the jar and in salads.

July 06, 2010

Summer Vegetable Green Salad with a Dill Vinagrette, Feta and Grilled Tuna


Ingredients:

for the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup minced dill
3 oz white wine vinegar
2 1/2 oz olive oil
1 teaspoon pepper sherry
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt
pepper

for the fish:
2 tuna steaks
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons minced oregano
2 tablespoons fresh or freeze dried chives
salt
pepper
olive oil

for the corn:
1 or 2 ears of corn
olive oil
salt
pepper
celery seed

for the salad:
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
4 radishes, sliced
4 button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
3 oz crumbled feta
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin

Directions:
Place the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar or salad dressing shaker. Shake until emulsified. Set aside.

Prep the grill according to manufactures' instructions. Prep the cedar plank according the package instructions. Meanwhile, rub the tuna with oil then pat on the zest and spices onto both sides. Place the tuna on the grill. Follow the instructions for grilling corn. Grill until the tuna is medium rare and the corn is done, covering briefly if needed, about 10 minutes. Strip the corn from the cob.


Meanwhile, toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Divide among two dishes. Top with tuna and the corn. Drizzle with dressing.



My thoughts:
I know this salad looks complicated with the long list of ingredients but it really isn't, I promise! The salad dressing is super easy, there is nothing fancy about the salad itself and the tuna and corn require pretty much the same prep and cooking time. I have been eating a tons of salads lately because of my feta challenge and I have found that my favorite salads with feta are the ones that have a lot of different ingredients and flavors. Feta is so robust tasting it can stand up to pretty much anything, even very herbal dressings and heartier ingredients like fish or meat so I've been experimenting. I wanted to make this salad my complete meal so I added tuna and a hard boiled egg to make it more substantial without feeling heavy.

I had room on the grill (even though I was making extra tuna for another recipe) so I tossed some corn on. It added a smoky-sweet flavor that was a wonderful contrast with the feta and all of the crisp vegetables I used. All in all, a very tasty, vegetable packed salad. Perfect for a hot July day!

July 05, 2010

Raspberry-Balsamic Crumble



Ingredients:
3 cups raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

topping:
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Toss the berries with the sugar and vinegar. Pour into a 28 oz baking dish or two 14 oz dishes. In small bowl, use a fork to combine the topping ingredients. When they start to stick together, sprinkle over the berries. Bake for 20 minutes or until the berries bubble and the topping is toasted.

My thoughts:
Not only is making crumble a good excuse to sing the crumble song and to use my super cute berry shaped baking dishes, it is a wonderful way to use up raspberries fairly quickly and effortlessly. Raspberries are so delicate, that any time I have more than a pint or so I panic that I won't be able to eat all of them before they spoil. Muffins are great for this but sometimes a bit of dessert is needed. I timed it so it could bake while we were outside eating dinner, our house heats up fast when the oven is on and while I take advantage of that in the winter, it can be pretty unbearable in the summer.

These raspberries were on the tart side so I mellowed them a bit with sweet-tangy balsamic vinegar. It was a great shortcut to flavor rather than having to mess around with measuring out spices when I had dinner to concentrate on. I hate anything that obscures the flavors of raspberries; their growing season is so short and I don't eat them out of season. When I do have them, I really want taste the berries, which makes this crumble the perfect berry dessert for me.

July 02, 2010

Grilled Mexican Hot Dogs


Ingredients:
1 large white onion, sliced
6-8 jalapenos, halved and seeded
4 hot dogs
4 strips thick cut bacon
1/2 avocado, sliced

mayo or salsa (optional)

Directions:
Prepare grill. Lightly oil a grilling pan and arrange the peppers and onions in a single layer. Wrap the hot dogs in bacon. Secure with toothpicks if needed. Place on grill. Grill the hot dogs until the bacon is fully cooked. Grill the onions and peppers until softened flipping occasionally. Place the hot dogs in buns or rolls and top with toppings.






My thoughts:
As soon as I heard about Mexican hot dogs (also called Tijuana hot dogs or Sonoran hot dogs_ I knew I had to make them. I read dozens of menus and reviews of hot dog joints online and anything else I could find out about these dogs. The base is always a hot dog wrapped in bacon and the toppings can vary (no ketchup, please!) from avocado to spicy mayo to guacamole to pickles to cheese to raw onions to pineapple salsas to pickled pepper and are served either on a hot dog bun or a bolillo.


The ones that appealed me the the most were the spicier versions. I thought the spice of the peppers would help cut the heaviness of the bacon wrapped hot dog. Since I love the smoky flavor that grilling gives jalapenos, I decided to grill the peppers along side the dogs. I grilled the onion too which not only made it easier to keep on the bun than raw but it added a sweet-smoky flavor that went so well with the bacon. YUM!