Top That Dog And You're On A Roll

Posted: July 13, 1994

Although there are more healthful foods for summer grilling, hot dogs, along with burgers, top the hit parade.

According to the National Pork Producers Council, Americans consume 350 million hot dogs in an average week.

Philadelphia-based ARA Services, which has the food concession at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium, expected to serve 12,000 hot dogs and sausages at last night's baseball All-Star Game.

Mile High Stadium in Denver holds the record for the most hot dogs sold at a single location. Visitors to Mile High consumed 2.3 million dogs and bratwurst in 1993, 1.8 million during baseball season alone.

Baseball-trivia lovers may already know that Babe Ruth once downed 12 hot dogs and eight bottles of soda between games of a doubleheader.

Although hot dogs are the simplest food to prepare, here are some ideas for quick toppings:

PINEAPPLE SALSA: In a small bowl, combine 1 8-ounce can well-drained crushed pineapple and 1/2 cup prepared salsa. Place hot dog in bun; top each with 4 halved, very thin cucumber slices and 2 tablespoons pineapple mixture.

REUBEN TOPPING: Spread bun with 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared Thousand Island dressing. Place frankfurter on bun; top each with 2 tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese and 2 tablespoons drained sauerkraut. Garnish with green pepper slices.

MUFFULETTA TOPPING: In medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery, 1/2 cup drained, sliced pimiento-stuffed olives, 3 tablespoons drained chopped pepperoncini (available in the pickle section), 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 clove garlic, crushed. Toss to blend. Place frankfurter in bun; top each with an equal amount of vegetable mixture.

Meanwhile, the following recipes will give your hot dogs a real bite.

HOT! Dog Topping, a blend of horseradish, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, Dijon mustard and shallots, is ready to serve hot after only five minutes of simmering.

Barbecue Mustard, a recipe from "Burning Desires" by W. Park Kerr, is made with honey-smoked barbecue sauce and honey-Dijon mustard. For added character, stir in a teaspoon of chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, available in cans at Mexican markets.

Fast and Furious Ketchup, another Kerr recipe, is a hot and chunky condiment that's good with burgers, french fries, hot dogs, onion rings and meat loaf. Salsa, chili powder and Tabasco sauce provide the fireworks.

Garlicky Peppers and Mushrooms, from "Cooking for the Weekend" by Michael McLaughlin, can be served hot, warm or cold on either hot dogs or hamburgers.

Kahlua Baked Beans - flavored with the coffee liqueur, strong brewed coffee, bacon, mustard, molasses, chili sauce, steak sauce and hot sauce - serves 10 to 12 hungry eaters.

HOT! DOG TOPPING

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons creamy horseradish

2 medium shallots, peeled and sliced paper thin

In a small saucepan, combine the ketchup, relish, mustard, horseradish and shallots. Simmer over medium-low heat 5 minutes. Serve hot. Makes about 3/4 cup.

BARBECUE MUSTARD

1/2 cup honey-smoked barbecue sauce (or other favorite barbecue sauce)

1/3 cup honey-Dijon mustard

Optional: 1 teaspoon chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

Whisk together the barbecue sauce, mustard and chilies in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with hot dogs or hamburgers. Makes 1 cup.

NOTE: The chilies can be found in Mexican markets; freeze the extras. The sauce will also be flavorful without the chilies; if a hotter sauce is desired, add a little cayenne or Tabasco to taste.

For more flavorful meat, stir a couple of tablespoons of the mustard into a pound of hamburger.

FAST AND FURIOUS KETCHUP

1/2 cup tomato ketchup

1/2 cup salsa (in hotness of choice)

1 tablespoon chili powder

Optional: 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

In bowl, combine ketchup, salsa, chili powder and Tabasco if using. Let stand 30 minutes. Refrigerate, covered, for longer storage. Serve with hot dogs or hamburgers. Makes 1 cup.

GARLICKY PEPPERS AND MUSHROOMS

6 teaspoons olive oil

3/4 pound mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced

2 large red bell peppers (or combination of peppers), seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

In a large, heavy skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the mushrooms and saute until softened. Remove from the pan and heat another 2 teaspoons olive oil; saute the remaining mushrooms. Remove

from the pan.

Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and saute 4 minutes. Put the mushrooms back into the pan with the garlic; continue to saute until the liquid has almost evaporated and the vegetables are very thick.

Add the vinegar, salt and pepper; cook until the vinegar has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Transfer to a bowl. The vegetables can be served hot, warm or cold, on top of hot dogs or hamburgers. Makes 3 1/2 cups.

KAHLUA BAKED BEANS

1 pound dried navy beans, rinsed and picked over

1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into pieces with scissors

2 cups finely chopped onions

1 12-ounce bottle chili sauce

1/2 cup tomato-based barbecue sauce, preferably smoked

1/2 cup Kahlua liqueur

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

2 tablespoons thick, spicy steak sauce (such as Heinz 57)

2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

Soak the beans in lots of water to cover overnight. Drain.

In a large pot, cover beans generously with fresh cold water. Set the pot over medium heat and bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring once or twice, for 1 hour or more, until the beans are very soft but still holding their shape. The beans should not be salted at the initial cooking stage, as salt will toughen them. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the bean cooking liquid.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Combine the beans with 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid, bacon, onions, chili sauce, barbecue sauce, Kahlua, coffee, mustard, molasses, steak sauce, hot pepper sauce and salt. Transfer to a heavy 4 1/2 to 5-quart nonreactive casserole or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes.

Remove the lid, stir the beans and continue baking, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Stir and continue baking 40 minutes, until bean liquid is very thick. Stir occasionally.

The beans can be cooled, covered and refrigerated; reheat the next day on a medium-low burner. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

NOTE: The Kahlua can be omitted from this recipe if desired. Substitute an additional 1/4 cup each of barbecue sauce and coffee.

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