Danger Dogs and Mexican Hot Dogs

from: Jamey W. Bennett
to: Daniel Larkin
date: Mon, May 20, 2013 at 9:16 PM
subject: Danger Dogs and Mexican Hot Dogs

Dude,
I already gave you a sneak peek via text message, but I’ve gotta tell you—Mexican hot dogs are the shit. Which is funny, because they’re sometimes called Danger Dogs.

My first experience with Mexican hot dogs is with the variety known as Sonoran Dogs. Philly has the cheesesteak and Tucson has Sonoran Hot Dogs. Named after nearby Sonora, Mexico, these things are incredible, but unless you live in Tucson and have access to the amazing and famous El Guero Canelo or a street cart equivalent, these are tough to come by.

The exception is places like Los Angeles, where you can find little old ladies who have turned old metal trash cans into grills, and can be seen cooking these over a fire on cookie sheets at 2 am to sell to all the drunks coming out of the bars. I first enjoyed this completely unregulated health department Danger Dog nightmare with Pigeon John and King Charismatic after a Rootbeer show in the wee hours of the morning. The second time? Right before seeing LA Symphony and Wu-Tang tear it up. Let’s just say these dogs go well with good times.

My love was rekindled at a local cantina here in Philly. Their food is typically expensive, so when they added $3.50 Mexican hot dogs to the a la carte menu, I was getting them on the semi-regular with free chips and salsa. They recently doubled the price to $7 a dog, so I decided it was time to discover my own dogs.

So anyway, what makes these dogs special? Bacon. And peppers. And everything but the kitchen sink. The basic idea is that you wrap a hot dog wiener in bacon, and put it on a bun with a whole bunch of other stuff. The Danger Dogs in California (in my experience) are usually served with sauteed onions and peppers and whatever condiments you want. The Sonoran Dogs get crazier, usually dipping the dog deep in big buns, and slathering everything on top, including pinto beans. I’ve even heard that so-called Tijuana Dogs sometimes include pineapple and avocado.

In short, it’s a more-or-less a Chicago Dog, re-imagined south of the border style.

Here’s my easy approach to Mexican hot dogs. Gather up the following ingredients:

  • Hot Dog Wieners
  • Hot Dog Buns
  • Bacon
  • Fresh Tomato Salsa
  • Queso Blanco (I like real Mexican cheese crumbled, but shredded cheese is fine, too.)
  • Jar of Jalapenos
  • Onions and Oil (to sautee)
  • Fresh Peppers (serrano or jalapeno or something else)
  • Mayo
  • Hot Sauce of Choice

Now get a load of how easy this is.

1. Wrap hot dog wieners in bacon. Cook (preferably on a grill) until the bacon is the way you like bacon. Careful for flare ups, since bacon is so fatty.

2. Begin grilling the fresh peppers. Sautee the onions until carmelized. After the peppers have nice grill marks, throw them in with the onions to add a sauteed touch.

3. Grill the buns slightly.

4. Crumble the queso, and toss it up with some of the jalapenos. This makes the dressing of the dogs much easier.

5. When everything is done, assemble the buns like so: mayo first, then queso/jalapeno mixture, sauteed onions, and hot sauce. Then add the wiener/bacon and fill in the extra space with the fresh salsa.

6. Now what to do with your grilled/sauteed peppers? You can either add them to the bun for an extra kick, or what I like to do is grind sea salt lightly all over them, and nibble on them throughout the meal as a side. It’s absolutely wonderful. Picked this trick up from an old taco shack in Hawaii.

Finally, eat your Mexican hot dogs with luxurious, inexpensive abandon.

Oh, I almost forgot a very important part. Drink a beer. But you should do this before, during, and after the meal preparation. Also, before, during, and after the meal consumption.

¡Arriba!

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Thanksgiving Leftovers Texas-Inspired Kentucky Hot Brown

So dude I have got to tell you about this amazing sandwich I made! It’s a Texas inspired Kentucky hot brown openface sandwich’s mofo. If you’ve never had a Kentucky hot brown you need to remedy this immediately.

So this is perfect for a post Thanksgiving treat. You’re gonna need some leftover turkey, and you’ll want to make some thick turkey broth from the carcass or the neck and giblets.

You will also need some flour, butter, white cheddar, parmesan, pickled jalapeños, canned salsa, and salt-and-pepper for the gravy. I would also add some slices of tomato, a few pieces of bacon, and possibly parsley or cilantro for a garnish. Finally – garlic Texas toast! Texas toast is not hard to make but you can find it in the frozen food section of any grocery store and you can have it made in less than 10 minutes with little effort. (Any bread should work.)

So first the Mornay sauce or gravy. You just take a little bit of your thickened broth that you made from the turkey carcass, and add a little bit of hot water to kind of get it melted and stirred up. Add a pad of butter, some of the Parmesan cheese, and a few small chunks of the white cheddar. Stir that up real well with a little bit of salt and pepper and microwave it for a minute. Add flour to thicken it up, maybe a tablespoon at a time. Throw in some pickled jalapeños and a couple tablespoons of spicy canned salsa – you know the kind of salsa you can get for $.79 at Walmart in an 8 oz can. Stir well and microwave for another minute or minute and a half. If it’s too thick cut with a little hot water. Taste it and if it’s good you did it right – if it’s not good you didn’t do it right. That’s just the kind of f*ing precision my recipes entail.

Why you’ve been doing that hopefully you’ve been cooking bacon on the stove, have your Texas toast in the oven, and sliced up a tomato or two. Finally heat up some leftover turkey.

And here is how you get a homerun. Put the Texas toast on the damn plate. Top with turkey and bacon. Smother the shit out of that with your sauce. Lay the tomato slices on top, garnish with the green if you wish, and add a little freshly ground black pepper.

And thus you have a Texas inspired Kentucky hot brown.

I literally dictated this whole recipe using Siri.

Dictated, not read.

Shit just got out of hand! “Italian” Mac-n-Cheese

from Daniel Larkin
to Jamey

I know I had mentioned to you about a week ago that I was planning on making some Southern Mac ‘n Cheese. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask) things got a little out of hand, and my simple comfort food spiraled into a whole different genre of dairy-and-pasta. Here’s how it all started.

I’ve made good Mac ‘n Cheese in the past, so good in fact that Jenny and my mother in-law both requested it for their birthday meals. Personally, I like my recipe, but I’ve never been a fan of fact that it’s kind of bullshit in that it’s just pasta, a roux with milk, and Velveeta. It tastes good. Obviously it should, Velveeta is engineered to hit every one of my fat-man sensors, but it’s too processed to warrant any real pride.

Well I recently found a squash “souffle” recipe that caught my eye, and its gooey consistency was perfect for what I wanted. So that’s where this all began. I say “began” because things really did get out of hand; I ran out of things, let time lapse on a few occasions, and ended up generally winging it.

Now before I lay this all out, I want to express my disgust for food companies that think adding a tiny bit of olive oil and a smidgen of shitty parmesan cheese to an already substandard product makes it “Italian” and therefore “gourmet.” Bullshit!  Italian food starts from the beginning concept, and is always about freshness! That’s why I refuse to call this Italian Mac ‘n Cheese.  This was all a happy accident that ended up using a few “Italian” components. But it’s kind of Italian Mac ‘n Cheese.

Here’s the ingredient list:

  •     12 Ounces whole wheat pasta spirals – cooked al dente, cooled
  •     3/4 pint cherry tomatoes – halved
  •     Bunch fresh basil
  •     Extra virgin olive oil
  •     Good shaved parmesan
  •     Handful fresh parsley
  •     2 Eggs — separated

For the sauce:

  •     2 tbs Butter
  •     2 tbs All purpose flour
  •     8 oz. block of good cheddar – shredded
  •     One cup whole cottage cheese.  None of that low fat bullshit.
  •     1-1/2 cups whole milk
  •     1-1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste
  •     3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  •     Red pepper flakes to taste. (Late thought.  I didn’t try it, but it would certainly work wonders)

Toss your sliced grape tomatoes and chopped garlic in olive oil and roast them in the oven at 400º for 10 to 15 minutes — until they become fragrant.

Now, make the darkest roux you can with the butter and flour.  (Melt the butter over low heat, add the flour, and cook on LOW stirring often, until you get the color of cardboard.  If it smells like burning cardboard, you went too hot and need to start again.)

Add the milk to the roux and stir while you continue to simmer.  This will turn into a velvety rich cream.

Adding the cheese will cause the sauce to cool a bit.  That’s fine, because we want it a bit cool before we add the egg yolks.  After you’ve added the cheese and egg yolks, take the egg whites and whip them until they’re nice and frothy.

The rest is simple.  Just toss everything together in an oven safe dish; pasta, cheese sauce, roasted tomatoes and garlic, parsley and egg whites.  Top it all off with a sparse, but noticeable layer of parmesan and cover it.  Place the covered dish in an oven that has been preheated to 350º and bake for 30 minutes.

NOW!  Like I said, some of my personal timing was off.  Like an idiot, I tried to work out while this was cooking, and I let it go for close to an hour.  While that made for good burnt cheese sides (yumm!) it also dried everything out a bit.  I rolled with the punches and tried to moisten it up with late addition of cold, clean olive oil, which really breathed a breath of freshness that elevated everything to the next level.

So serve, scoop out a good portion, top with some chopped fresh basil and a good drizzle of fresh olive oil.

There you go, dude.  It may sound like a bit much for Mac ‘n Cheese, but it turned out wonderful.  Jenny and her mother both said it was better than the Velveeta version.  And that’s something I can actually be proud of.

from Jamey W. Bennett
to me

YUM! I do not believe one can go too far with mac n cheese. I always tell people when raving about Stone Brewing Company to drop the $18 on their mac n cheese, because it’s worth every penny. Sounds like you have $18-grade mac n cheese!

As far as the roux and burnt cardboard…I think that’s where I went wrong on my mac n cheese back at Easter. I knew immediately what you meant when you said that.

Kristin’s Spiced Pancakes

from Daniel Larkin
to Kristin Larkin

Did you have that whole-wheat pancake recipe you made when I visited a while back?  I tried to make some the other day with a 1-1-1 mix of whole-wheat flour, buckwheat flour and brown rice flour; and they kinda sucked.

If you could send me the recipe, I’d love to post it on TwoDudesFood.  I know a blog with a dozen followers isn’t any real incentive, but it would be fun to have a guest cook!

from Kristin Larkin
to Daniel Larkin

Ok so I found it! These pancakes are very tasty, and even my kids love them. Your grains can be switched around a bit, as long as your total going in equals one cup. For instance, I sometimes cut the oats or the cornflour in half and add 1/8 cup of freshly ground flax seed. See what you have around and use it to your advantage!

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons water

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet in another. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until it’s just moistened. Heat a skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking oil or butter (I like butter, almost always :). Pour about 1/3 cup of batter per pancake onto the skillet.

Cook until bubbles begin to form in the center, then flip and cook until browned on the other side. Top with fruit, syrup, honey or whatever floats your boat!

Bacon Cheese Spread

from Daniel Larkin
to jamey w. bennett

Next time you’re in Knoxville, I’m going to take you to my new favorite watering hole, Public House.  Beyond the fact that there is not a single television in the joint, one of the best things about Public House is their bar-food – everything from three shades of roasted nuts, to truffle popcorn, and everything is local and fairly priced.

For my money, the best item on the menu is their Bacon Cheese Spread.  It’s essentially the most awesome pimento cheese served with warm crusty bread.  It’ll make you weak in your knees.  I know a few people who have tried to recreate it at home, but have come up short.  Fortunately, I think I’ve got it.

Here’s all you need.

The process is so simple a four year old could do it.

Grate the cheese with a thick grater and mix in the mayo, sour cream and Worcestershire sauce.  Now, decide how much banana pepper and bacon you want in it – a handful of peppers and a few slices of bacon should be enough.  Chop these up into small pieces and fold them into the cheese mix.  Taste.

Is it bacony enough?  If you’ve got enough bacon in, but want more bacon flavor, just add a little splash of liquid smoke.  It’s not cheating, I swear.  (Vegetarians can also recreate the bacon flavor with just liquid smoke.  Fake bacon would just go limp in the mix.)

There you go, dude.  Spread it on some buttered Texas toast and make yourself the most delicious grilled cheese heart attack you’ve ever tasted.

Jerky Recipes

from Daniel Larkin
to Jamey Bennett

Jerky recipes are here!
Here are the recipes for the jerky snacks I’ll be bringing to my next hike. One is a spicy (slightly less than I had hoped) and one is a sweet Carolina-style bbq.

After trimming the fat from my 2-1/4 pound sirloin roast and cutting the meat into 1/4 inch strips (cut with the grain), I ended up with just under 2 pounds of jerkable beef. So each recipe is essentially for a pound of strips. Mix up the marinades and soak the meat overnight in a ziplock bag before dehydrating.

Most recipes I looked up online used garlic powder and onion powder. I went fresh and I think it paid off. I simmered and cooled each batch of marinade before adding the meat so that I wouldn’t end up with a bitter raw onion and garlic flavor.

First one is Carolina-style BBQ inspired.

1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 onion cut into strips
1-1/2 Tablespoons mustard seed
1/2 Teaspoon paprika
1 Teaspoon liquid smoke – Hickory. Next time I think I’ll use 2 teaspoons, maybe more. The smoke is there, but barely.

Bring all ingredients to a low boil, and simmer for 5 minutes on low heat. Add more soy and Worcestershire to reconstitute if it gets too tacky. Then add:

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons of honey

I suppose these could be added before the boil. It just worked out that I added them after the boil because I was writing the recipe as I went.

The second one is my Spicy Recipe; easily my favorite of the two. The spicy flavor is there, but most of the actual heat was left behind in the marinade. I might up the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper next time for more heat because the loose particles actually stick to the beef strips.

1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 onion cut into strips
2 Tablespoons of Sriracha hot sauce
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 Teaspoon chili powder
1/2 Teaspoon cumin
1/4 Teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Bring all ingredients to a low boil, and simmer for 5 minutes on low heat. Add more soy and Worcestershire to reconstitute if it gets too tacky.

My strips ended up needing between 7 and 9 hours in the dehydrator, depending on their thickness. After dehydration and a few lost bouts with self-control, I ended up with roughly 12 ounces of jerky – or one full sandwich-size ziplock bag of each flavor. I’m way into both of these recipes, so I hope you like them too.