Jun 30, 2010

*Hawt* diggity Dog

Tonight, SA is off doing SA type things and I was feeling delightfully lazy after an afternoon spent drinking blended coffee and hanging out by the river. Consequently, I was not in the mood to make anything delicious, nutritious or good for us for dinner, plus I wanted something fast! Hot dogs it was!
OK so I'm coming out with it... Hi, my name is Faith, and I'm a...a...a...HOTDOG snob!(Hi, Faith!)
Yup, I was never one of those kids satisfied with an Oscar Meyer pulled out of the fridge and thrown in the microwave, or even more disgusting an Oscar Meyer pulled out of the fridge and eaten without heating it in some fashion. AND don't even get me started on hot dogs that cost less than a dollar. I know they have to use up the skin, beaks, ears, ahem, weenies, and other unappetizing pieces. Gross. EPIC GROSS.
There are only three acceptable ways to eat a hot dog, one being fried in a cast iron skillet until slightly crisp and thus, delicious, two, broiled in the broiler and three, my most favorite of all, grilled. Mmmm. Being that the fourth of July is approaching at the speed of a northbound train, I thought I would do a little dog schooling on here.
First of all, there is only one brand of hot dogs in my book, the hot dogs that i have been eating since childhood, the best of all hot dogs, the kosherist of all hot dogs, Hebrew Brand National! According to their website, Hebrew Brand has no fillers, no artificial flavors, colors, or the all important by products.
One of my co-workers had told me that I had to try a hot dog wrapped in bacon. Now as I'm sure this blog will end up documenting, I'm a huge bacon fan, however I was equal parts skeeved and intrigued by a bacon wrapped hot dog. I had to try it though, so I prepped my hot dogs, well, actually I prepped one of my hot dogs, because I'm going to be honest, after I wrapped that first dog in bacon, I felt dirty, and slightly seedy. I mean there is something just not OK about hot dogs in the first place, but wrap a piece of bacon around it and I would swear I could hear my arteries crying out in agony: "Noooo!"
So I put the 'dogs on the grill, chatted for a bit with the bestie and then proceeded to fix them up. In my book there is a precise way to make a hot dog and tonight I couldn't make them exactly how I like but I came super close.
Once the 'dogs and the bacon dog (I shudder even writing that) were done, I took them off the grill and surveyed the results. This my friends, is a bacon wrapped hot dog in all its glory:

I'm not even going to comment. There are so many things I could say, but I will leave it. So now I am guessing you want a report on how it tasted? Well here is where it gets super lame, Yup, I tasted it, and I will say that it was interesting..and very greasy. Ugh, so greasy in fact I dropped it, and guess who gobbled it up?
The Great Hot Dog Bandit:

Doesn't he look happy with himself?
He is a sucker for bacon, when we rescued him his former owner told us his favorite snack was bacon, guess they weren't kidding.
At any rate, I still thankfully had regular hot dogs. Now as I said before there is but one way to dress a dog in my book and it goes like this.
1. Toast your bun.

2. Spread a little miracle whip on the bun.

3. Add some sweet pickle relish. The sweet part is key here, people.

4. Then add cheese. mmmm. We are getting somewhere now.

5. Add gently charred hot dog. Now, while we are on this step, lets talk for a moment about darkness of your hot dog. There is a fine line here. The 'dog should be on the verge of blackness, a dark, I've been using too much Hawaiian tropics sun oil shade. Mmmm perfect.

6. Cover hot dog with a generous helping of Wolf Brand Chili, no beans. Revel for a moment in the lovely orangeness of it's coloring, and remind yourself that its ok since your hot dogs were dye free. Mmmmmm.

7. Add a few onions, and dig in!!!

*Author's Note: Quite obiviously, both for its addition of beans and lack of lovely orange hue, this is not Wolf Brand Chili. I am out of the three cans I brought back on my last trip to Texas. (HINT HINT!)

Jun 28, 2010

(E)SCAPE---Meatless Monday(and its a two-fer!)

Yesterday, while at Sundance, SA and I perused the vegetables and couldn't pass up one of the beautiful eggplants and some garlic scapes.
what is a garlic scape you ask?
"While many people are aware of the many uses for the garlic bulbs, not as many persons are aware that the stalk of the garlic plant is also edible. Often referred to as the garlic scape, the stalk also contains flavor and can be used in a number of different recipes."
I had read about these bad boys on another blog and in honor of Eclipse coming out this week errrr I mean... since we love all things garlic I wanted to try them, and jumped at the chance to buy some.
The Scape in all its glory:

Aren't they pretty little things?
These scapes were bound for glory... the glory of:

Fresh Pea, Scape, and Lemon Risotto
1/4 c. Onion finely chopped
1/4 tsp. Lemon Rind
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 C. Arborio Rice
3 C. Chicken Stock
1/4 c. Garlic scapes cut on a diagonal
1/3 c. fresh peas (or frozen)
2 TBSP salted butter
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese (Please use some quality here, folks, none of the fake stuff in the green container!)

Heat chicken stock in a pot on stove on medium heat. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for five or so minutes until the onions are no longer crunchy. Add rice into pan and stir for a minute, coating in olive oil. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
Keep the burner just high enough to barely simmer the stock and risotto. You must pay attention, and stir it more than occasionally, but you don't have to be a slave to the stove top.
When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add garlic scapes, peas, and lemon zest. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm. Once it is done, take it off the burner and stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Salt to taste.

Maybe it's just that newly birthed blog high, but I have the urge to also share what we had with the risotto! Remember that beautiful eggplant I got at Sundance? Yeah that baby was calling my name, and I knew just what I wanted to do with it.
Last week a coworker had recommended the Farmers' Market Cookbook presented by Vegetarian Times, so I picked that up this weekend, and boy was I glad I did! It's absolutely chocked full on awesome vegetarian recipes with seasonal ingredients, stuff that I'm practically drooling to make and fits quite nicely into our three meatless meals a week plan. One recipe that really stood out to me, though was:

Seared Baby Eggplant with Mozzarella and Basil Oil
adapted from Vegetarian Times, Farmers' Market Cookbook

Basil Oil:
1 c. tightly packed Basil leaves
1/4 c good quality olive oil

1 Large Eggplant sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 TBS. Olive Oil
2 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar
1 6oz ball of mozzarella, sliced
salt and pepper

1. To make Basil oil, Blanch basil 5 seconds in pot of boiling, salted water. Drain; plunge into ice water, pat dry and puree in blender with olive oil. Set aside.

2. To make Eggplant: Place in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 45 minutes. Rinse, pat dry.

3. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant and cook five minutes or until browned, using a spatula to move slices often to prevent sticking. Flip eggplant and add Balsamic vinegar, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook 5 to 7 minutes more or until vinegar has evaporated, and second side of eggplant is brown.

4. To serve, place mozzarella slices on serving plates. Top each cheese slice with eggplant and basil oil. Salt and Pepper if desired.

SA and I really really enjoyed the eggplant and risotto. The garlic scapes are definitely something that I will want to get again, as they tasted completely different then I expected. I bit into one of the raw scapes and it had a very strong taste that was between raw garlic and onion, however once cooked in the risotto they were quite mild, and delightfully crunchy, almost like asparagus. The eggplant was delicious and I think that it will translate to a great summer appetizer. It reminded me of a caprese salad, and I actually preferred it to the normal tomato caprese. (But ask me again in a couple of weeks when tomatoes are in season which I prefer :))

PWC(Playing While cooking): Vampire Weekend, Contra

Jun 27, 2010

Any Perfect Sunday

Today was an amazing day! The sun was shining and it was actually over 80 degrees, which seems to be a rare and splendid surprise for this neck of the woods! The sexy artist(SA)(aka my husband!) and I had a driving adventure and even checked out one of the "health food" stores in the neighborhood. I would strongly recommend Sundance foods to anyone in the greater Eugene area! We bought a new product we are excited to try out, and I will blog about it when I do!!! We also picked up some garlic scape's, a BEAUTIFUL eggplant and a new beeswax candle, which I am pretty much convinced smells like heaven. We took a great detour and let Curry (the eighty pound golden retriever) play in the McKenzie river, and once we got home were both kind of tired and hot, yet dinner HAD to be made!!!
*Fair warning* This will probably be the LAMEST blog post EVER because I took no pictures, but cut me some slack... I hadn't even decided to make a cooking blog at that point!
So I had some organic ground beef that I had been wanting to use and quickly decided to make hamburgers. And what is better than STUFFED BURGERS!!!!

Stuffed Burgers (this makes two good size patties!)
1/2 pound of quality ground beef
2 slices of bacon chopped and fried until very crispy
2 TBSP onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed and finely chopped
cheese finely grated (We used tilamook GARLIC CHEDDAR because it is the bomb, and one can never have enough garlic in their life!)
1 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of grill seasoning (we used the grill mates garlic burger seasoning) (are we sending a garlic trend here?)

1. Mix together the Worcestershire sauce, grill seasoning and meat.

2. In a bowl mix the other ingredients (onion, bacon, garlic and cheese)

3. Divide your meat into four same size patties and flatten.Once you have the stuffing ready, place it in the center of one patty. Spread it out, leaving plenty of room all around the edges. Place the second patty on top and press the edges together. Make sure that you have a good solid patty that isn't too thick, or it will never cook on the grill!

4. Grill it up!!! Be sure to be careful, or you will end up like me with a blob of cheese that needs to be cleaned off her grill!

We decided that these burgers didn't really need buns, but just some sauce on the side. I used mayo because I love it so and SA covered his in some of the Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce.

Since both of us were being lazy and didn't want to heat the kitchen up as much as possible we decided to try a new recipe I saw on one of the other blogs I follow, Angel in the Kitchen.
It was delicious and I would HIGHLY recommend it. But be careful and make sure you soak your corn a full twenty minutes, or you WILL catch it on fire :)
Also we added crushed peppercorns and left of the Parmesan since our burgers were so cheese heavy ;) Moderation, RIGHT?!

Grilled Corn with Garlic Butter and Parmesan(modified from
Makes 8 servings

8 ears sweet corn, husks on
1/3 c. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. cracked peppercorn

1. Soak corn in cold water for 20 minutes. This is a crucial step toward not turning your corn into a burnt pile.

2. In a small saucepan, combine butter, garlic, and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Set aside 2 Tbsp.

3. Peel back corn husks to within 1" of the bottom. Remove the silk.

4. Brush with the garlic butter.

5. Re wrap the corn in the husks, and secure the husks with kitchen twine.(we didn't do this part but it probably would of made it easier)

6.Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally.

7. Cut the strings and peel back or remove the husks. Drizzle with the reserved butter, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

So how is that for a first post?! Since I didn't take any pics of the actual food we ate tonight, I will try and leave a pic...

These are some of the "perfect peas" SA harvested from the garden tonight... tomorrow they will become a masterpiece :)