Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stoner Cooking

Rice Krispies Dipper Treats

Prep Time: 20 minutes • Total Time: 40 minutes • Servings: 18

Dessert bars on ice cream sticks dipped in chocolate
Whipping up these summery goodies and popping them onto ice-cream sticks with your kids makes any summer day a little cooler.

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
- OR -
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal
- OR -
6 cups Kellogg's® Cocoa Krispies® cereal
18 wooden ice cream sticks
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- OR -
1 1/2 cups white chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Multi-colored sprinkles (optional)
Why use Kellogg's® Rice Krispies®?

As the first crisped rice cereal, Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® has been bringing families together in the kitchen for over 80 years.
To experience the timeless flavor, make your Rice Krispies Treats® squares with the original Rice Krispies® brand cereal.

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add KELLOGG’S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

2. Using buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into eighteen 3 x 2-inch bars. Push one stick into the bottom of each bar.

3. In small microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate morsels and oil. Microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip bars into chocolate and decorate as you like. Place on wax paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. Best if served the same day.

MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS: In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

For best results, use fresh marshmallows.

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.

Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended.


The Great, Incomparable, Classic Chicago Hot Dog
Meathead, Barbecue Whisperer, Hedonism Evangelist, Omnivore

In Chicago, where hot dog stands far out number hamburger joints, there is one and only one classic recipe, and very little variation from it. It is the perfect hot dog.

Ask foodies around the world what makes the great city in the middle of America famous and they will reply Alinea, Charlie Trotter's, Topolobampo, Everest, or one of the other temples of the table. Ask tourists what culinary wonder starts them salivating and they'll say deep dish pizza. But ask the "Grabowskis" as Da Coach Mike Ditka calls hard working lunch pail Chicagoans, and they will tell you it is the Chicago Hot Dog.

Here's proof. In 2005, The Chicago Tribune polled its readers to determine the "7 Wonders of Chicago." Predictably the top 10 were the magnificent Lake Michigan lakefront, Wrigley Field, the "El" elevated trains, the Sears Tower, the 1869 Water Tower, the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago River, Millennium Park, and Chicago Blues. In 11th place was the Chicago Hot Dog. Pizza didn't even make the list. The Chicago Hot Dog is so popular the newspaper estimates there are 1,800 hot dog stands in the area, far more than all the McDonald's, Burger Kings, and Wendy's combined.

What makes the Chicago Hot Dog special? Like Chicago's famous architecture, it is great design. It is a juicy, crunchy, sloppy combo that leaves your fingers fragrant for hours: A garlicy all-beef frankfurter, usually Vienna Beef brand, with a natural casing, simmered in hot water, on a Rosen's bun studded with poppy seeds and topped with solar yellow mustard, sweet kryptonite green pickle relish, pungent chopped onion, juicy tomato slices, spicy hot "sport" peppers, a salty crunchy kosher pickle spear, and a sprinkle of magic dust: celery salt. The result is a sandwich with so much vegetation that it is called a "garden on a bun". This is the recipe that is served at practically all hot dog stands in Chicago.

It makes sense. In the 1800s meat packers such as Armour, Swift, and Oscar Mayer grew up on the Southside. There were enough slaughterhouses that Chicago was dubbed "hog butcher for the world" by poet laureate Carl Sandburg. At the same time, Chicago is built on such rich black soil that if you spit on it a human being will sprout, hence the city's official motto "Urbs in Horto", City in a Garden.

Many of the immigrants who settled in Chicago and worked in the stockyards were farmers back home and they planted vegetable gardens behind their homes in Chicago. The Chicago Hot Dog was the inevitable confluence of flesh and verdure. Perhaps the city's motto should be changed to "Hortus in Pane."

Nobody knows for sure where the recipe started, but here's one credible story: Located in the great outdoor Jewish Maxwell Street Market, Fluky's was opened on the northwest corner of Maxwell and Halsted about the same time the stock market crashed in 1929 by Abe "Fluky" Drexler when he was only 18 years old. The rickety wooden shack with no refrigeration and a fire hydrant for water became known for its "Depression Sandwich," a complete meal for the laborer, a hot dog with mustard, relish, onion, pickles, pepper, lettuce, tomatoes, and fries for only a nickel.

The customary method for cooking dogs in Chicago is called the "dirty water" method. The dogs are simmered, not boiled, in water for 10 minutes. This makes them turgid and juicy, firm but not rubbery. After simmering scores of dogs in the same water all day the water is rich in flavor. The goal is to heat the meat through without cracking the skins.

Another technique is to steam them for 15 minutes. Steaming leaves the meat more piquant than simmering, with a nice snappy skin.

Some vendors roll them around on a hot dog rotisserie, hot stainless steel tubes that keep the dog rolling in its sleep on a perpetual motion conveyor belt to gustatory perfection. This makes a tastier dog than simmering or steaming, with a crisper skin, but they are not as moist and puffy. The problem is that sometimes they sit on these rollers all day and precious fluids begin to drip off.

Personally, I am among the minority who prefer what the locals call "char dogs," cooked over an open flame, to the dirty water dog. The dry heat keeps them crisp and keeps all the juices inside where they belong. It also browns the skins creating sweetness that chefs call "caramelization" or the "Maillard reaction." This also amps up the garlic and paprika. They don't plump up as much and they are a bit less juicy, but the added richness stands up better to all the condiments we pile onto a hot dog in Chicago. Voicing such a preference will guarantee that I am ostracized by the purists in Chicago. So be it.

Recipe: The Chicago Hot Dog
Yield. I serving
Preparation time. 10 minutes
Cooking time. 10 minutes
Assembly time. 2 minutes

1 bun length jumbo all beef frankfurter with a natural casing
1 poppy seed bun
1 long squirt of yellow mustard
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons onion, coarsely chopped fine
1/4 medium Roma tomatoes
2 pickled sport peppers
1 kosher pickle spear or fresh cucumber spear, about 5" long
1/4 teaspoon celery salt


The frankfurter. In Chicago, all beef hot dogs with natural beef casings are compulsory. No pork, no turkey, no chicken. No crap. Snap and squirt are the hallmarks of a good Chicago Hot Dog, and the snap comes from the casings and the toppings. Skinless hot dogs are best saved for infants and the toothless. Vienna Beef is the preferred brand.

The bun. Rosen's is the preferrred brand. Poppy seeds contribute a slightly nutty taste to the bun. These tiny blue-gray seeds come from an opium plant and they contain miniscule amounts of morphine and codeine. Not to fear, you would probably have to eat more than a dozen buns to lose your job.

The mustard. There are many different types of mustard, but the classic Chicago Hot Dog is made with yellow "ballpark" mustard. Most of them are made by grinding the seeds from white mustard plants and mixing the powder with vinegar, water, and spices.

The relish. In Chicago the pickle relish is brilliant kryptonite green. Sweet and tart, pickle relishes are typically made from chopped cucumbers, bell peppers, green tomatoes, onions, distilled vinegar, and sugar. For the kryptonite green stuff, Blue No. 1 food coloring is added. If you can't find it, and outside of Chicago it is pretty scarce, regular old olive drab pickle relish will do just fine.

The peppers. Skinny and about 1-2" long, pickled sport peppers are made by pickling fresh green cured in vinegar and a spiced brine. They are moderately hot but not too hot for wusses like me, and they allow Chicago Hot Dogs to bite you back. Yes, even if you are a feeb, you must have sports for it to be an authentic Chicago Hot Dog. But don't use too hot a pepper. Remember, the Chicago Hot Dog is all about balancing flavors.

The pickle. A kosher pickle spear is common, but the best Chicago Hot Dogs, IMHO, use crunchier new pickles. Try Chipco brand from The Chicago Pickle Company. Kosher pickles are made from a special breed of cucumber fermented in a brine, a bath of salt, garlic, black pepper, dill, and vinegar. They are Kosher when they are made in adherence with Jewish dietary law under the supervision of a rabbi. Kosher pickles are never sweet. If you can get fresh whole pickles from a barrel, spears are about 1/8 of a pickle. One of my favorite hot dog carts, Mary Ann's, uses fresh cucumber spears, skin removed, instead of pickles. It may border on heresy, but I love it.

The onions. White Spanish onions are typically used because they are both sweet and pungent. They must be chopped fresh or else they get acidic, stinky, and lose their sweetness.

The tomatoes. Most hot dog stands use regular round slicing tomatoes cut into two wedge shapes or slices, but I think fresh pear-shaped Roma tomatoes are best because they are meatier and not as runny. I like to dice the tomatoes into 1/4" chunks so each mouthful has tomato in it. Restaurants can't do this because diced tomatoes lose their juice when sitting around. And for goodness sake, when you make hot dogs at home, use ripe tomatoes. Alas, while researching this story, even in August, most hot dog stands used pink rocks rather than real tomatoes.

Do this

1) For the Classic Dirty Water Dog: Bring enough water to cover the dog to a boil, then cut back to a simmer. Simmer, never boil, the dog for 10 minutes.

For a Char Dog: This is a technique I learned from Gold Coast Dogs. Cut an X shape in the ends of the dog. When they cook they will curl up and get extra crispy (see photo above). Cook the dogs over a medium high grill until the skin darkens and there are nice grill marks all around.

2) Traditional Chicago Hot Dog buns are steamed.

3) Cut the stem off the end of the tomato and squeeze it over the trash can ejecting the seeds. Chop the tomato into 1/4" chunks.

4) Place the frankfurter on the bun. Squirt the mustard on the dog on one side between the meat and the bun. Spread the relish between the meat and the bun on the opposite side of the mustard. Sprinkle the chopped onions on top of the mustard. Distribute the tomato chunks all around. Place the peppers on top of the tomatoes. Place the spear on top of the onions and mustard. Sprinkle the celery salt on top of the vegetation.

5) Absolutely, positively, no ketchup. Fohgeddaboudit.


Pasta With Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
Katie Sweeney

After thoroughly enjoying a cold pasta salad doused in pesto and dotted with cherry tomatoes, I wondered how the pairing would be warm. Thus, I created this easy recipe that combines hot linguine with homemade pesto and roasted cherry tomatoes. It's flavorful, rustic, and decadent — without being heavy. It's a perfect quick and simple Summer dinner. The thing that makes this pasta so special is the addition of toasted breadcrumbs. Their rich crispiness provides an unexpected but welcome layer of texture. Be sure to top with lots of parmesan cheese and pair with a glass of full-bodied white wine. Here's the straightforward recipe.

For the tomatoes
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the pesto
6-ounces (1/3-1/2 pound) linguine
1 bunch fresh basil (about 1-1 1/2 cups), stems discarded
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil


1.Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the cherry tomatoes cut side up on a large baking sheet.
2.In a food processor, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined.
3.Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the tomatoes, making sure that each tomato is covered with a generous amount of crumbs.
4.Bake until tomatoes are soft and cooked through, and the breadcrumb mixture is starting to brown on top, about 20 minutes.
5.While the tomatoes cook, make the pesto. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the linguine one minute less than the instructions specify on the pasta's package. Do not drain.
6.Meanwhile, place the basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper in the food processor. (Since the flavors are the same as the breadcrumbs, don't worry about cleaning out the processor in between the steps.)
7.Pulse until chunky, add 1/4 cup olive oil. Pulse until a thick paste forms. Add more olive oil if necessary; take care, you do not want the pesto to be super liquidy.
8.Pour about 1/3 cup of the pesto into a large bowl. Transfer the cooked pasta to the bowl with a slotted spoon. Add a splash (about 2 tablespoons) of pasta water to the bowl. Stir the pasta with pesto. Add more pesto or pasta water, if necessary. You want the pasta to be coated with a nice, smooth layer of pesto. Add the cooked tomatoes and all the bread crumbs. Toss to combine. Serve immediately with more freshly grated parmesan and cracked black pepper.
Serves 2.


A Better Big Mac
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
May 13, 2011

Note: Store-bought ground beef can be substituted for the short rib. Mac Sauce can be used as soon as its made, but it gets mellower if you let it sit in the fridge at least overnight in a covered container.

makes 1 serving, active time 45 minutes, total time 45 minutes

3.2 ounces boneless beef short rib, well-chilled
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 teaspoon onion grated on a microplane grater
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon marmite, vegemite, or Maggi seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 egg white
1 whole Wonderbread brand hamburger bun, plus 1 bottom bun
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (about 600)
1/4 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
4 dill pickle slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 slice American cheese


1 Pass beef through meat grinder fitted with 1/4-inch plate twice. Form into two even balls and flatten into 4-inch patties using wet hands against a cutting board. Scrape patties up with thin spatula and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2 Place minced onion on a double layer of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 10 minutes on low power until mostly dehydrated but not browned. Set aside.

3 While onion is dehydrating, combine grated onion, mayonnaise, relish, mustard, sugar, Marmite, and turmeric. Stir to combine and refrigerate until ready to use.

4 Preheat toaster oven or broiler to high. Use one finger to spread a very thin layer of egg white over the top of the top bun. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place under broiler for 30 seconds until set. Set aside. Use a sharp, thin knife to cut off the very bottom of the bottom bun half, creating a single circular piece of bread with cut surfaces on both sides.

5 Toast cut side of top bun and bottom bun, and one side of center bun piece under broiler until light golden brown. Place bottom bun and center bun on cutting board toasted-side up. Spread half of sauce on each. Divide dehydrated onions evenly between bottom and center buns and top with lettuce. Place 2 pickle slices on each.

6 Season burger patties with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-bottomed 10-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over high heat until lightly smoking. Add patties and cook without moving until first side is crusty and browned, about 1 minute. Scrape up patties with a stiff spatula and flip. Top one patty with 1 slice cheese. Continue cooking until cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Transfer cheese-topped patty to bottom bun and cheeseless patty to middle bun. Place top bun on top of center, then stack center bun on top of bottom. Serve immediately.


Cookie S'Mores

6 (3-inches in diameter) vanilla or chocolate sugar cookies
1 (1.55 oz.) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Bar, broken into 12 pieces
3 marshmallows

1. Place 1 cookie flat side up on paper towel; place 1 marshmallow on cookie.
2. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) in 10 second intervals until marshmallow puffs. Immediately top with 4 pieces chocolate bar and flat side of second cookie; gently press together. Repeat for each serving; serve immediately. 3 servings.

Skill Level: Beginner
Prep Time: 12 min
Cook Time: 12 min

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