Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Top of Ol' Frankie! (All Covered with *Stuff*!)

There was a time, when I was a kid, when I had two choices when it came to topping a hot dog: ketchup or mustard. And you had to be careful where you were because some people were adamant (okay, I didn't know that word back then, but they "insisted -- a lot!") that mustard goes on franks and ketchup (or catsup back then) goes on burgers.

Now let's not get into which kind of mustard: yellow stuff, which looked icky the first time I saw it; Gulden's, the brown stuff in the jar; or Kozi-- Kazi-- Czoski-- the other spicy brown mustard that my father bought sometimes for his pastrami sandwiches. (You could wash the jar out when you were done and it was a drinking glass, with a handle.)

No, let's not get into that. There are only two things that are important now:
First, I know more people who prefer ketchup and wouldn't even consider mustard.
Second, I'm bored of just plain ketchup.

That means finding other toppings.

Disclaimer: I don't eat beans, so chili is right out. Don't even suggest it.

I like sauerkraut, when we have it. And if it's hot. Be careful not to stain your pots. (DO NOT cover it! I am NOT kidding.) And I'll skip the ketchup. Maybe try mustard.

Onions are good, if someone else made them.

So what else is there?

That's the beauty of eating three hot dogs in one sitting. You can try things out.

Frank #1 got a folded slice of American cheese in the bun, under the dog, and a quarter wedge of crunchy kosher dill on top. And ketchup.
My wife had a problem with the combo, as has her sister on a past occasion.
"Pickle on a hot dog?"

What do you think relish is?
"Big difference between relish and kosher dill pickles."

True. Relish is generally too sweet. My mother used to buy India Relish (IIRC) instead of Pickle Relish. And I avoid the overly bright green kind.

Can someone tell me if it was an old Popeye cartoon or maybe an Abbott and Costello bit, which included the phrase "with a pickle for a nickel and the mustard on top" when someone was buying a hot dog? Really, I am not the weird one here. (At least, not with regards to this.)

Frank #2 grossed my daughter out because I tried some salsa, which is good on everything else. She had a point. I won't be doing that again.

Frank #3 had one of the more filling options for toppings you can have: veggies. Now, I'm not talking strange stuff like Californians with their Pineapple-topped pizzas. There was some leftover broccoli-rabe, which my wife heated up. Okay, it was her idea, but it was a good one, so I copied it.

Other Vegetables to try:
Swiss chard

I like them. They're leafy. Problem is, they aren't likely to be in the house any time soon unless I go get them with one specific purpose in mind. (Mwu-ha-ha!)

Any other suggestions? (Do you like how I'm assuming that someone is not only reading this blog, but reading this far, and still planning on responding?)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No Ice? Use Ice Cream.

I bought a 20-oz soda when I went out for lunch but didn't get a chance to drink it right away. Figured I'd drink it at home. But there weren't any ice cube trays in the freezer. (They're probably in the other freezer because we needed space.) I could check the other freezer ....

Or I could use a scoop or two of ice cream.

The nice thing: it's kind of hot and sticky out right now.
The nicer thing: it's vanilla bean ice cream and it was already a vanilla coke. Double the vanilla. Whoop whoop!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baking Breakfast on the Grill

Sunday morning I decided to cook my breakfast outdoors. It was a last-minute idea, so I had to raid the fridge for ingredients.

Years ago, I had a recipe that I used with the kids on Mothers Day morning, which was basically a couple slices of bread, the top slice with a hole cut out, and an egg was dropped in. Then it was put into the oven to bake for a while. Unfortunately, I have to find that recipe because I don't remember the temperature or the amount of time and I'm not experimenting.

Anyway, it was too hot to use the oven, and I was too lazy to empty it of all the trays and pans (and restock them later). So I went to the grill and used my trusty cast-iron pan.

Ingredients: one oversized bagel with almost no hole to speak of,
one egg,
shredded cheddar cheese,
jalapenos (one of my go to items, keep a jar in the fridge for the summer)

What I didn't add, but should have:
bacon -- none in the house, and I would've had to clean up
salsa -- didn't think of it, and I couldn't use very much anyway.
ham -- there was a slice in the fridge, but I didn't notice it
salt -- this I just forget. When the ham or bacon, it isn't necessary. I added it later, but it wasn't the same.

Preheat the grill. When it's hot turn off the middle burner.
Put the pan on the middle burner. Add a little butter.
Carefully, cut a cone-shaped hole in the middle of the top of the bagel into the center. After that you can make it a cup-shaped hole.
If you can see out the bottom of the bagel, stuff some bread into the hole and press it down.
(If the bagel had any appreciable hole whatsoever, you can't do this. Get a nice-sized roll, or use two slices of bread.)

Put the bagel in the pan. Drop some butter into the top of the bagel.
Slice up a couple pieces of jalapenos and drop it in.
Crack an egg and plop it in. It's up to you whether you want to scramble it first, or just drop it in, or to crack the yolk afterward.
Cover with shredded cheese.

I let it bake on the center burner with the other two on high for 10-15 minutes.
Just to be sure, at the end, I put the center burner on low for about 3 minutes, to make sure the egg was cooked.

I enjoyed this, but it could've used salt.
Also, I should have gotten out a little earlier so I wouldn't have had the sun right on my back as I was cooking. If I do this again, get an earlier start.

Live and learn. But that's the point of this blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer is Coming

To steal a phrase from A Game of Thrones, Summer is Coming.

Time for me to get back to work. Not that I stopped, I just didn't have the time for experimenting like I did last year. I still cooked when I wanted to and when the opportunities presented themselves. I just didn't write about it. Kind of like the six or seven posts I meant to write last August.

I've already made one creation, which was as much a mess as anything else. I'll talk about it next time.

Right now is a reminder to get those simple tools you need or buy those few ingredients that you like to use.

I generally use a small cast-iron frying pan because it's the only one I own. The rest belong to my wife, and I don't like to use them if I think I'm going to mess them up. Well, now I know that I either have to use them or buy a bigger pan for myself. I'll make less of a mess that way.

I've also noticed that cooking for one isn't cheap if you don't want a lot of leftovers. But it can be fun.