Monday, July 11, 2011

Building a Chicago Hot Dog

The Other Half has a kind and generous spirit. (A good thing to balance out me and my cold, black heart. OK...not cold and black, but cranky as all get out in this heat.) He met a neighbor recently who needed a little help to get back on her feet. So, Other Half decided to step in and help. We set out some mass e-mails and invited folks over for a hot dog cookout. Free hot dogs and lemonade...hopefully in exchange for a donation to the cause.

Now the hot dogs we provided were quality, but simple. The basic toppings...mustard, ketchup and...if you were particularly generous...a spoonful of chopped onion. All went well...had some friends and neighbors over, yummy hot dogs eaten, and someone in need helped out.

But that's not the end of the story.

The whole hot dog experience reminded me of a page I had ripped out of a food magazine not too long ago. It described how to build that most quintessential hot dog...the Chicago Dog. (Insert accent here.) Using a few leftovers and fortified by a few pantry ingredients, we indulged.

And you should too.

The Chicago Hot Dog
This makes one...multiply to your heart's content.

Brush the outside of a hot dog bun with a bit of melted unsalted butter. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake split sides down at 350° about 5 minutes until warm.

Warm a hot dog (all-beef please) in boiling water for 5 minutes and place in your bun.

Place a dill pickle spear on one side of the hot dog and two tomato wedges on the other.

Zig-zag with yellow mustard and top with a dollop of sweet pickle relish.

Sprinkle a little chopped onion on top.

Final touch? Two, actually. A sport pepper. (A peperoncino makes a good substitute. And then a generous sprinkling of celery salt. (NO. You may not omit the celery salt.)

How's that, dawg?


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