Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

Hot Diggity Designer Dogs 

What could be more fun-an outdoor grilling holiday, lively folks (young and old) and a sampling of great flame-kissed hot dogs with an array of toppings and rolls, breads? "Purists"-no worries, the tried and true basic hot dog can still be one of the offerings.

Although there are some great natural, all meat doggies out there, the number one choice when polled by the Huffington Post's Kitchen Daily  is Nathan's with natural casings. Although Hebrew National usually trends towards the top, surprisingly this judging described the dogs as strange mealy texture, visible fat globs, chewy and mushy-maybe a new formulation? With the collection of designer doggies below, I've taken a bit of a side route and employed some chicken dogs (even sausages) and other varieties that might be enhanced with herbs. The bottom line is choose your favorite or have a sampler with a selection and let folks build their own rendition.

My stomach is beginning to growl just putting this blog post together. All of the designer versions were delish, but I have to say that the Top O the Morning Dog seemed to be gobbled up first.



Top ‘O-The-Morn’ Dog

The hot dogs and the bacon were cooked on the grill although the bacon was placed on heavy aluminum foil to catch all of the drippings. Chopped hard boiled eggs, green onions and garlic chives, nitrate free bacon and relish were the toppers.




Caprese Dog 

Sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil or oregano, the sliced hot dog (or sausage) and tomato were alternately layered to create a vibrant pattern. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.




Get Your Haute Dog

First each slice of olive bread is spread with cream cheese. The 'split down the middle' hot dog or sausage is laid on and then smoked salmon, minced red onion, scallions and capers are sprinkle over the top. Add sliced fresh tomato if you like.




Party Dog

Precook the hot dogs and cool. Use a natural refrigerated croissant dough and cut into 1/2-inch wide strips. Press fresh chopped herbs of your choice into the outside of the dough; wrap diagonally around each hot dog. Secure each end of dough was  with a toothpick which will later be removed. Make sure the grill is on medium high heat. Insert the skewers which have been soaked in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Grill the dough-wrapped dogs, turning until all sides of the dough are golden. Serve with snazzy mustards and salsa.




Hot Diggity Healthy Dog 

Sauerkraut mixed with apple cubes and raisins and/or cranberries, thyme, caraway seeds on a whole wheat bun.




Greek Dog

The orzo topping (which can be made at least a day in advance) with capers, Feta cheese, oregano, lemon thyme is perfect for a grilled hot dog or sausage. Serve on warm whole grain pita bread.

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