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Gourmet hot dogs, part one

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Independence Day is just around the corner and, for most people, is a time for family to gather for fireworks and feasts. Not only do we celebrate the birth of our nation, but also the diversity of our people, who make up our identity. In keeping with those themes, my family blends a traditional American food with some creative twists - the gourmet hot dog. Gone are the ho hum toppings of ketchup and mustard, which are replaced by foods like tasty and unique variations. The next two weeks will features several different toppings to make your hot dogs stand out at this year's Independence Day celebration. Offer as many variations as you like.

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Banh Mi Hot Dog

Makes four servings

• 4 hot dogs, any brand

• ¼ c. mayonnaise

• 1 Tbl. Sriracha sauce (or your favorite hot pepper sauce)

• ½ teas. sugar

• 4 hot dog buns

• 1 large carrot, shredded

• 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced

• ¼ c. fresh cilantro leaves

Grill hot dogs on grill until done. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, and sugar. Place a hot dog in each bun and, dividing evenly, top with the mayonnaise mixture, cucumber, carrot, and cilantro.

Peach Salsa Dog

Makes four servings

• 2 fresh peaches, chopped

• 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

• ¼ c. fresh cilantro leaves

• 1 Tbl. lemon juice

• 4 hot dogs, any brand

• 4 hot dog buns

Grill hot dogs on grill until done. In a medium bowl, mix together the peaches, jalapeno, cilantro, and lemon juice. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Place one on each bun and, dividing evenly, top with the peach salsa.

Pizza Hot Dog

Makes four servings

• 4 hot dogs, any brand

• 4 hot dog buns

• ½ c. marinara sauce

• 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced

• ¼ c. fresh basil leaves

Cook the hot dogs on grill until done. Place a hot dog in each bun and, dividing evenly, top with the marinara and mozzarella. Grill, covered, or broil until the mozzarella has melted, one to two minutes. Dividing evenly, top with the basil.

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