Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hot Diggity Dogs!

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The All American Dog

So I pondered this blog for awhile.  I mean really, hot dogs?  But in my little memory bank, hotdogs are as much a part of summer as swimming pools and fire flies.  We ate hotdogs at the lake.  I remember them grilled and my favorite way, boiled.  My Grandma had a red and white enameled saucepan, and I loved a boiled hotdog in that pan.

 Lunch was the only way my mom and her sisters could get all of us kids out of the lake for an hour or so. Lunch would usually lead to card games, a book in a hammock, a hike to the spring.  But never, ever, television.  I don't think it even worked.  So I had seen a few hot dog pics on Pinterest, and I was kind of in the mood.  As an adult, this forbidden food has been reserved for ball games.  However, in Memphis, we always pass over the ball park dog for BBQ Nachos.  Fodder for another blog, I promise.

So after much debate, we decided to make them 4 ways. Spiral and grilled,  stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, in a blanket and boiled with spagetti hair.  First spiral and grilled.

It took a little practice, but this is pretty cool.
There is a Chow video on You Tube found here.  Let me just say he makes it look easier than it is, but with a little practice, we got there.  We loved these spiral cut dogs.  Lots of char all over them and they stretch to fill the bun.  However, because they are not a solid chunk of meat (?!), if you put too many condiments, you can't really find the dog.  I will be cutting spiral dogs any time the opportunity arises for grilled hot dogs.  This is cool and delicious.

Delicious char everywhere!

Tastiest with little adornment.

The hot dogs of my childhood, but only if Pasquale was out of town!

Next was the cheese and bacon dogs.  When I was little and my dad was out of town, this is what we got for dinner.  My dad would not have hot dogs for dinner.  Period.  My mom would slice a long slit in the dog, fold over some American cheese and stick it in the dog and then wrap it in bacon, secured with a toothpick.  We didn't even bother with a bun, we loved these! Now I buy this thicker sliced bacon, and I admit it would be better made with a thinner sliced bacon, as it would have cooked crispier.  But we dove in.  A note here.  I preheated the oven to 400F with the cookie sheet in the oven.  This is an important step.  Then put the hot dogs and bacon onto the hot sheet.  Much more efficient cooking!

Yes, everything is better with bacon.

Not a fan of rolls in a tube.

Next was the Pigs In A Blanket.  I rolled them in the crescent rolls, and baked them.  They were okay.  I mean we ate them...but they were not our favorite.  I think if we doctored up the blanket with some spices, seeds, cheese...it might be better.

Not our favorite.

And lastly, was the shaggy haired hot dog.  We found this on Pinterest.  The original source is not obtainable, so you'll have to find them on my board called Play With Your Food.  Basically they are hot dogs with raw spagetti stuck in the ends.  After they are boiled you have these shaggy haired dogs.  The only pasta I buy is Bucatini and Orzo.  So Bucatini it was.  A little too thick, and they broke off pretty easily.  Next time we'll use angel hair and cut the dogs in 3 pieces and poke the pasta in both ends.  Hilarious.  I really did this in my kitchen.  My family wanted to send me to therapy!  So, what are you waiting for.  Life's too short.  Have a hot dog!

Epic fail.  We will buy real spagetti and try again!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Who The Heck Is Captain Rodney?

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It's good stuff!

About $13 a bottle.

Captain Rodney is very popular guy in my neighborhood.  Sweet and a little spicy, and brings a little something different to the neighborhood get togethers.  Captain Rodney's Boucan Pepper Glaze makes the most amazing hot dip.  There have been reports of neighbors begging for access to people's pantries while they are out of town.  The glaze has been a little difficult to find, and isn't cheap by any means.  Basically it's cane sugar, peppers and spices.  It comes in this cool bottle, which looks good, but is a pain once it has been opened and then chilled.  I find that as soon as I buy it it is best to decant to a wide mouth jar.  Otherwise the peppery goodness gets stuck in the bottom of the bottle stuck in the cold sugary mess.  You can find the very popular cheese bake recipe on the site with the sauce, but I think my tweaked version is better.  

My Captain Rod Dip

1/2 cup Hellman's Mayo
1 8oz block cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, colby any kind works)
1/4 cup grated onion (any color)
Crumbled bacon
Chopped green onions (optional)
Captain Rodney's Boucan Pepper Glaze

Mix the mayo, cream cheese, grated cheese and grated onion. The grated onion is key for me.

The small shards on onion are flavor packed and delicious!  And they are small enough that they cook in the short baking time.  Put into an oven safe dish and bake for about 15 minutes at 350.  When it is hot and bubbly, remove from oven.  Cover the top with crumbled bacon, green onions and Captain Rodney Glaze.  I use the already cooked bacon crumbles.  They are the perfect size and very convenient. I use enough glaze to cover the entire surface.  If you are using a 10" pie dish, there is obviously much more cheese to cover than if you're using an 8".  So adjust accordingly.  We like this with Wheat Thins.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Bet You Didn't Know...

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Me and My dad...Wisconsin 1966
I am so humbled when I open up my blog stats and see how many people pop their heads in.  Now I'm not like Parsley, Sage and Sweet (my amazing blogging friend Lisa),  or you know, Martha, but that's okay.  I don't mind a small crowd, it's a little more intimate.  I like to respond to comments and check out your blog if you link your name. That's how I have found a few new friends.  But how about some things about me, that you probably don't know.  Nothing too personal!  I promise!

I am the baby of my family.  And, I completely fit the spoiled kid thing.  I am embarrassed about some of my antics in my youth.  The oldest sibling is 11 years older than I, and the closest to me is 6 years older.  So yes, we're Catholic.  I was raised like an only child, as I was still in grade school when everyone was gone.  I loved that time at home, I had great individual experiences with my parents.  My dad and I built a sauna in our basement out of an old walk in meat cooler.  Really.  It was awesome, lined in cedar with a glass door.  You would toss water on the coals and sweat like a hooker in church.  My mom would take me to the theater and introduced me to writers and poets.  We even spent New Year's Eve in London one year.  She taught me to sew and bake, and today, I sew and bake, and like my mom, I am a playwright.  My first play to be produced in July! (mark off that New Year's Resolution!)

Sookie the one-eyed Bichon

I have a one eyed dog named Sookie. Named for my favorite character in the Gilmore Girls.  Now she's totally famous (Melissa McCarthy), but I was a fan when she was eating ramen noodles.  Sookie is one hilarious animal.  Our Golden Daisy and Sookie were buddies until the end.  If you haven't read Ode To Dog, grab a kleenex and head over.  It is one of my favorite blogs.  It was written from the bottom of my broken heart.

Daisy, the best dog in the world


I grew up in Iowa and now live in Tennessee.  I have a sign in my house that says "I'm not from the South, but I got here as fast as I could".  Truer words have not been spoken.  I love the South.  The food, the climate, the people, the history.  But I also love Iowa, more and more as I am away.  I love going home and walking the trails and seeing the flowers and weeds I grew up with in our woods.  The birds are familiar the accents are comforting.  I love endless miles of cornfields and the hollow, sad sound of a train horn in the country.  I have great memories of feeding calves, playing in haylofts, ice skating on the back water of the Mississippi, walking the bridge over the river from Iowa to Illinois.  A great childhood.  I hope my kids can feel that same nostalgia for Tennessee one day.

I love the Pops.  Yes, the music genre.  I listen to it on XM,  I love Eric Kunzel and Arthur Fiedler.  Eric Kunzel was with the Cincinnati Pops and his CDs have great themes like baseball, movie soundtracks, westerns etc.  He took everyday songs and made them Pops!  Arthur Fiedler has been gone a long time.  He lived next door to my cousins in Brookline, Mass.  We went over and knocked on the door one day and got a tour of his fire hat collection and free tickets to the Boston Symphony Pops.  We also got dessert and met the master after the show.  We felt pretty important!  I have no musical talent.  But I will listen to just about anything.  Movie soundtracks are a weakness of mine, and I watch the movie Invincible over and over because the music is my childhood.  Mark Wahlberg isn't terrible either!  Pops, country, 70's on 7.  No, however to metal, hip hop or anything with really bad words.  I used my son's iPod one day was alarmed at what I heard.  Apparently I bought it all.  Needless to say I no longer share my iTunes password.

I love salad.  Lettuce, vinegar and oil, salt and pepper.  I eat it virtually every day of my life.  I will occasionally eat one of those fancy composed salads, but I just don't need all that hoopla. Please, never serve it chilled, or before dinner.  I like it room temperature and after I have eaten my main meal.  And don't you dare call anything with Jello in it, a salad.  Blasphemy!

I love anything hot and spicy and hate anything made with cream cheese unless I am dipping a cracker in it.  I love pizza but not calzones, I love beer but not Guinness.  I love wine, but nothing sweet.  I prefer to eat my meat without sauce and don't make or eat casseroles of any kind.  I like my food separate and preferably not touching unless it's cottage cheese, hamburger and Heinz 57, then mix 'em up please!  I ran away when I was little because my mom put blue cheese in the salad, and now I order this pricey blue from Maytag, Iowa.

I blog because I love to write and talk, and now that there's no one around here, it feels good to get it out.  I am nostalgic, no doubt.  My most popular blog is Minny's Chocolate Pie.  And my favorite is Where I Come From.  There is no food, no recipes, but many people have Googled the town  or my name and we have connected via email and Facebook.  I have expanded my family tenfold.  I even met a man whose grandfather was my great grandfather's brother.  Amazing.  My adventures in the kitchen continue.  Lots of cookies, hopefully many travels and family events.  Thanks for coming along.  I am thrilled to have the company!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cookie Party!

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So many celebrations, so many cookies....so here's a peek at what I've been up to!  The first is a graduation/engagement!  How fun is that?!  I love that Furman's colors are purple and white.  I hope Joseph and Perrin have a bright future.

Then there was the volleyball party.  This is the same club Christina played for.  We still have lots of friends coaching and playing there.  Mary's team wanted to celebrate the end of the season, and one coach is preggers and the other getting hitched.  Lots to celebrate there, and we all know I love making those volleyballs!  I totally stole the onesie from Julie Costello from Lacie and Macie Cookie Designs!  She is my buddy from CookieCon, a trusted member of the Mexican Hookah Dance Club Cookie Decorators.  It's a secret organization.

And finally, an Alabama grad!  Paige and Nic took piano lessons for about 7 years when they were little.  They don't remember eachother, but us moms have been friends ever since.  If it ever warms up were are hitting the bike trail!  Congrats Paige!  Hopefully Nic isn't far behind.

And finally, with my kiddies heading home for even a short time, I am excited to get back in the kitchen and cook!  Something other than sugar cookies to post!  So, what are you waiting for?  Get in there and cook!