baseball, hot dogs and blogs

Nothing says summer like hot dogs on the grill. Summer vacation has officially begun. The guys were in the pool all day. Flip flops are left around. Summertime. The living isn’t exactly easy. But, it has slowed down a bit.

As a nod to the woman, who held the writing workshop, that got this blog started, we salute the all-American hot dog today. Take a look at the workshops offered here: http://www.cooknscribble.com/

Hot dogs two ways. One, with an easy-to-make homemade ketchup. The other hot dog version? What my guys call “baseball hot dogs.” The first time they ever saw a hot dog, piled high, with sweet caramelized onions, was at our local Staten Island Yankees Stadium. Here’s to Molly O’ Neill — an avid baseball fan.

Remember our roasted tomato method? Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of Kosher salt for some plum tomatoes? The tomatoes pick up a nice charred flavor from the grill. They can be a base for your homemade ketchup.

Look at the labels on commercial ketchups. There’s a good amount of sugar hiding inside ketchup bottles that kids squirt on their hot dogs. Buy organic or make your own. Using roasted tomatoes gives the ketchup a smoky flavor. The guys waved a white flag when they were presented with a homemade version using yellow tomatoes. They said yellow ketchup was “all wrong.”

Use 8 plum tomatoes for your ketchup. Slice the tomatoes and coat them with the olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt. Grill the tomatoes on each side. Allow to cool. Place in a blender and pulse a few seconds. In a saucepan, add tomatoes, 2 tablespoons each, of brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and molasses. Add 1 cup of water, and place pan on a low flame. Simmer for 1 hour. The ketchup will reduce and thicken. Let your ketchup cool.

Add some fresh herbs. Place in a squeeze bottle. This will make about 1 cup of ketchup. It will last in your refrigerator for up to a week.

The second method, for caramelized onions, is simple. Use a Sweet Yellow Onion and slice thin. We posted a few days ago how to stabilize the onion for easy slicing. Place the onion in a pan with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. The oil will keep the butter from burning. It takes time to draw out the natural sugars of the onion. This process should take about 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Get a more concentrated tomato flavor in your ketchup by making your own. The apple cider vinegar brightens the flavors. Or, enjoy the taste of your grilled hot dog with the sweetness of the caramelized onions.

Fire up the grill. Blogathon for June 2013 is done!

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