Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hot Dogs Both Ways (Sober and Drunk)

I and, I think I'd be right in assuming, a lot of other Irish people have a complicated relationship with hot dogs. They don't offend me, I like them, but I eat them quite rarely in comparison to the other fast food staples. Put this down to their lack of availability, comparatively speaking to other countries where they're on every corner and in every shop, or the fact that most chippers make an absolute hames of them by thinking lettuce and red sauce are appropriate combination of toppings and by burning the absolute bollox out of the dog in the deep fat fryer, if you'll excuse the imagery.
Personally I want something more substantial and a burger is always going to fill that void over a hot dog anyday.... But I do like the occasional hot dog... and I think they can be something better so this is where that journey begins.
Unknown hours (likely in the region of 2) of research were spent running videos past my eyes and reading recipes and tutorials about 'The Perfect Hot Dog' before I landed at this, my main event of Hot Dogs (we'll get to my other, drunken, variety later on), a combination of a few of the best ways of eating hot dogs out there which I rolled into one super dog and proceeded to double in size and package in a common as muck roll.
I guarantee if you eat one of these you'll never go back to a simple dog again.

At first glance some of the techniques in this operation may seem a little excessive, but trust me, they all serve a purpose, so stick with me...

Round 1: Sober.
Let's address exactly what this beast is right from the start: 2 hot dogs stuffed with processed cheese, wrapped in bacon, fried in a load of onions and green peppers, laid down on a bed of the aforementioned bacon infused vegetables along with some mayonnaise, topped off with the traditional red sauce and mustard all encased in a freshly baked baguette.

The ingredients are very straight forward; your sauces, onion and pepper, streaky rashers, hot dogs of your choosing, a standard aul par baked baguette (the stuff of bread purists horrors) and shit cheese... I say 'shit' cheese, firstly because that's a fact but more so because I've recently come to realise for functions such as this, where quick and consistent melting is paramount, the cheaper and lesser known the brand name the better. The brand name I'm using escapes me but I'm picking up slices regularly from a German dealer in town for a unit cost of 7.5cent when bought in 10's. You'll also need some cocktail sticks to hold the rashers in place.

Carefully slicing a hot dog length-ways and shoving bits of, what can doubtfully be legally considered, cheese into it is not the most satisfying or glamorous thing you're ever going to do in a kitchen but persevere with it.

Wrap a rasher around it and stick a cocktail stick through both ends to hold it in place.
(A sentence I never envisioned typing) 

Set those lads off with a bit of oil in a hot pan. Now is also a good time to tell you that you should have put that baguette in the oven before even touching the hot dogs.

Chop up about half an onion and half a pepper per double hot dog roll.

Fire them into the pan along with the hot dogs. Don't be concerned about cheese leakage (another sentence I never thought I'd type), it'll either burn and crisp into the rashers or get lost in the mix of peppers, onions and rasher grease that's all going to end up in your roll anyway.

One of these baguettes takes about 10 minutes in the oven to hit optimal breadness, leaving it to chill out for at least 5 minutes afterwards ensures you won't get severely burned and more importantly the roll won't disintegrate in your hand when you go to cut into it. I suggest cracking a bottle of Finkbrau from the aforementioned German dealer (from which I received no commercial incentive to mention) while you wait. Slice it open and get very generous with the mayonnaise.

When the rashers look cooked and nice 'n' crispy you're ready to roll, if you'll pardon the pun. Get them out of the pan and remove all the cocktail sticks, you'll have a bad day otherwise. 

When the peppers and onions are tender and a little brown you know you're good to go.

Load them into the roll.

Hold that gloriously bacon and cheese infused veg in place with the 2 hot dogs laid end to end on top.

Top with the traditional combo of American mustard and red sauce. Serve with a freezing cold beer and thank me for the next 5 to 7 minutes of Heaven that you're about to experience....

Round 2: Drunk.
And then, unsurprisingly, after my evenings business was attended to and a few pints were consumed down my local, I arrived home with the urge for a bit of grub pestering me...

Now I have it ingrained in myself not to operate any more kitchen equipment than is absolutely necessary while mildly, or otherwise, intoxicated. If you can get away with just operating an oven and leaving the hot frying pan out of your life then I thoroughly recommend it for the well being of yourself and the fellow occupants of your home.

It's highly unlikely, at the stage of the night, that you'll be arsed with all that stuffing cheese into the hot dog carry on. The drunken gut wants strong flavours, hot spices, cheese and none of your fancy stuff. Quickly and with as little hassle as is drunkenly or humanly possible bake a roll and then put a few slices of cheese into it arranged like above...

You can be sure I still wanted fried onions though so I compromised and chopped some up onto a plate and poured a little olive oil and black pepper over them then threw them into the oven along with the cheesed up roll for a few minutes to heat and melt all that stuff nicely.

Then as I put the onions on top of the cheese I remembered I had Tabasco Sauce. Ace.

After I destroyed the onions with Tabasco I lashed on a load of mayo and threw in 2 hot dogs that I microwaved to perfection, and topped it all off with the obligatory mustard and red sauce. This was an utter success, I'd be only delighted to eat it sober. The only problem I had was I still wasn't full and I was out of baguettes.... And there was only one measly slice of bread left...

The Bonus Round: Desperation.

I think you see where this is going. One slice of bread, toasted, cut in half, topped with a folded over slice of cheese on each side, onions, pepper and olive oil and into the oven....

Then topped it off in the now familiar manner....

And if my memory serves me correctly, there wasn't a damn thing on Earth wrong with this effort either... 

Hot dogs are great, we just need to, as a nation, put a little bit more effort and imagination into what we do with them, it's not that hard at all to make them feel a little more special... They're back on the menu in my world...

Boozey Swine

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rasher Sandwich - An Exercise in Hangover Obliteration.

This post was originally written for, and published on, 'The Thread' in June 2014. It is an update/extra strength version of  My Favourite Rasher Sandwich...

Streaky Bacon
White Cheddar Cheese, sliced.
Red Cheddar Cheese, grated.
Cream Cheese.
1 bread roll with plenty of backbone.

I'm fond of a rasher sandwich. Quite fond indeed.
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon, in my less than humble opinion,  the perfect combination of ingredients to make the best rasher sandwich you will ever eat. It's very simple; White cheddar (not melted), rocket and a bit of mayo on a soft, white, lightly toasted roll.
I'm not changing my stance on that one inch but today I've taken a slightly different angle on that sandwich and stepped it up a notch. A fairly unhealthy notch. 
I, from time to time, suffer from a brand of hangover that can only be described as 'hollow', both in the physical and psychological sense and I need something all encapsulating to fill that void. Grease and cheese tends to work. 
Rasher sandwiches form an all too significant part of my diet. They're by no means reserved for the aftermaths of heavy sessions, but on occasions such as this they need to be persuaded to go the extra mile by adding just a little more propellant. Propellant in this instance being more cheese, more types of cheese and much more of the staple known as bacon...

The first step on this journey is to get those rashers into the grill. As this calls for a lot of them I've gone with the streaky ones. 7 of them. With a less weapons grade sandwich I'd tend to go with a lesser amount of regular rashers but that's not what I'm dealing with here.

Picking the right roll is important. I went with a crustier roll than I normally would just because I knew anything less would disintegrate with the amount of shite that'll be going into this. 

I normally wouldn't put any sauce on one of these sandwiches, I usually use mayonnaise but its purpose is purely for lubrication and not for any added flavour. I've left the mayo in the fridge altogether this time and left the lubricating side of things to something that kinda looks like coleslaw. But it ain't coleslaw. I decided to mix half a tub of cream cheese with a shit load of grated cheddar. I don't know if this is a thing people do but I can certainly live with my decision.

When the rashers were nearing the top of their game I threw the roll in to give it a bit of a warm....

...then took a lot of pleasure in lashing on that creamy cheese mess.

Then the real fun begins...

A good solid underlay of rashers followed by a carpet of sliced white cheddar cheese.

 And repeat. I can attest that cold, i.e not melted, white cheddar on top of rashers is just about the nicest flavour sensation there is.

A load of rocket goes on the top half of the cheesed up roll and the work is over...

 Just serve it up with a well iced fizzy drink of choice, I recommend a nice rock shandy for this trip...

The point of a hangover cure is to provide complete distraction from all of its symptoms. If you've made this right you're entire being should be consumed by the cheese and rasher overload. If you can count backwards from 10 you haven't put enough of something on there. This should hopefully get you to the place you want be before you get that all important nights sleep (the cheese will work wonders in that department too) that with any luck will have you back to your old self the following morning/afternoon.

Boozey Swine.

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