Cathie Campbell

Summertime hot dogs

Load up a hot dog and bun with all of your favorite toppings, such as chili, sauerkraut, caramelized onions, relish or whatever you desire.
Load up a hot dog and bun with all of your favorite toppings, such as chili, sauerkraut, caramelized onions, relish or whatever you desire.

I recently ate some hot dogs that were made at CSU Fresno’s meat department. It was my first time to visit the university’s farm market. I really liked the hot dogs (and had to share with my cat, as she thought they were pretty good, too). My favorite way to fix hot dogs is to grill them outdoors, over coals from a mixture of oak and manzanita wood. There are times when I don’t put anything on the hot dog except for a bun. And there are other times when I load it up with all sorts of things, such as baked beans, chili, caramelized onions, relish and on and on. Makes a big mess, but oh, so good. I also like to cook hot dogs in a Dutch oven along with Bavarian style sauerkraut and canned new potatoes. That dinner was born decades ago during a time when the power was out for a week and we used a Coleman camp stove to get by. Sort of like indoor camping. If you are feeling like serving family or friends some hot dogs this summer, here are some recipes to check out. If you do grill, use extra caution, what with this horrible and scary fire season.

San Francisco hot dogs

I have had this recipe since 1986.

Frozen bread dough, white or wheat

Hot dogs

Ketchup

Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Bacon, fried and crumbled

1. Thaw dough. One loaf will cover about 6 hot dogs. Cut dough into equal pieces, according to how many hot dogs you wish to prepare. (You will have to “eyeball” this, as it not only depends on how many hot dogs you use, but their size, as well.)

2. Flatten and stretch dough to approximate shape of hot dogs and place one hot dog on each piece of dough Gather dough to enclose the hot dogs, pinching and sealing all seams. Let rise about 30 minutes (less if you use Rapid-Rise yeast).

3. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven until rolls are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

4. Split rolls lengthwise, add about 1 tablespoon of ketchup to each one, followed by desired amount of Mozzarella cheese. Top each roll with bacon crumbles. Return them to the oven and heat until the cheese melts. Serve at once.

Cajun bacon dogs

From Coleman Natural Foods, but you can substitute any brand you wish.

8 Coleman Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs

5 slices cooked Coleman Natural Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon, crumbled

1  1/2 teaspoons olive oil

 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped

 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 can (12-oz.) diced tomatoes

 1/8 teaspoon pressed fresh garlic

 1/8 chopped cilantro

 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or more if you dare)

 1/4 teaspoon paprika

 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

 1/4 teaspoon salt

 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

8 hot dog buns, split and toasted

1. In 1  1/2 teaspoons olive oil, saute the onion and red bell pepper until soft. Stir in diced tomatoes, spices, herbs and seasonings. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Grill the hot dogs for 10 to 12 minutes. Toast the buns during the last 3 to 4 minutes of cooking the dogs. Put the hot dogs in the buns and smother in the sauce. Sprinkle bacon on top and serve. Makes 8 servings.

Corn dogs

2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

8 candy-apple craft sticks

8 (2-ounce) hot dogs

1 cup fine- or medium-ground yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Ketchup or your favorite mustard, for dipping

1. Heat oven to 250 and arrange a rack in the middle. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet; set aside.

2. Pour the oil into a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil temperature reaches 360 on a deep-frying/candy thermometer.

3. Meanwhile, insert a craft stick lengthwise into each hot dog, leaving about 2 inches of the stick exposed at the bottom; set aside.

4.When the oil is almost ready (about 325), whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk the milk, eggs, honey and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Add the cornmeal mixture to the milk mixture and stir with a rubber spatula just until a smooth batter forms. Pour some of the batter into a tall, narrow container or drinking glass, leaving 1 inch of room at the top.

5.When the oil is ready, evenly dip a hot dog into the glass of batter by holding the stick and rotating the hot dog as needed until it’s completely covered with batter. Immediately place into the hot oil. Repeat with a second hot dog. Fry, turning occasionally, until light golden brown all over, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the corn dogs to the wire rack on the baking sheet and place in the oven.

6. Repeat with the remaining hot dogs, working with 2 at a time, refilling the glass with batter as needed, and letting the oil return to 360 between batches. (When you reach the last 2 hot dogs, you may need to tilt the glass sideways while rotating the dogs to coat them evenly with batter.) Serve immediately with ketchup and mustard for dipping. Makes 8 servings.

Hot dog and potato packs

Of course, you can prepare your own potato wedges.

1 package (20 ounces) refrigerated red potato wedges

4 hot dogs

1 small onion, cut into wedges

 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

 1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1. Divide potato wedges among four pieces of heavy-duty foil (about 18 inches square). Top each with a hot dog, onion wedges and cheese. Drizzle with barbecue sauce. Fold foil around mixture, sealing tightly.

2. Grill, covered, over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. Makes 4 servings.

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