“When you’re lustful when you’re lonely & the heat is rising slowly.”
Theme song by The The “Dog Of Lust” from Dusk
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The The makes a return to Music & Food with the theme for a potential I Wanna Be Your Hot Dog pop-up. This is one of my favorite Matt Johnson songs and albums. It’s a dark groover with the brilliant lyric quoted above. Honestly, that is one of the BEST ’90s rock lyrics. It’s also appropriate for a trio of hot dogs that bring a bit of heat.
I launched the More Recipes About Music & Food project in 2018. With a combination of my love of recipe writing, music, and puns, the project was basically planned to be a blog. Then I published the Cha Cha Hut BBQ Cookbook, saw some decent sales, and thought “Hey, why not make a Music & Food zine?” Which is precisely what I did. In 2019, I made a couple of home-printed recipe singles but had two issues of Music & Food professionally printed. I really thought the vegetarian recipe zine would be the winner, but it turns out people dig hot dogs. As I am a fan of Brooklyn & NYC bars, and hot dogs are kinda easy to pull off in a pop-up, I started thinking about how I could do some Music & Food events in 2020.
Which of course led me to the issue of the non-omnivore contingent of any event.
To be clear, I am a 90/10 Omnivore. 90% of my weekly cooking/eating is plant-based. I am currently on a #vegan4omnivores mission to create great plant-based recipes embracing the core ingredients and not trying to be “meat” that even omnivores will love. If I, as a former BBQ Meat Dealer, can dig them, I believe other non-vegans will as well. So, if I was going to do a hot dog pop-up, I’d need a vegan option in addition to the carnivore. The issue was most vegan hot dogs or sausages either sucked or were wicked expensive. That sent me into R&D mode to make a vegan dog.
Then something kinda crazy happened…
I started loving the seitan dogs I was making more than carnivore dogs. Sure, the taste and texture are different, more like a sausage than a “hot dog”, but that was a good thing. This led me to go back to my Hot Dog issue and look at how I could make the recipes vegan. To my surprise, most regional hot dog recipes are vegan except for the core tubular product in the bun. Sure, dogs with meat chili need tweaks (see below) and slaw dogs need a vinegar dressing or Aquifaba mayo tweak, but honestly, the real challenge is the actual dog itself.
To all of the Chicago Dog fans who will find the above photo a travesty, I know sport peppers are the only authentic peppers for a Chicago Dog. I actually made a batch as they are not readily available in Bushwick. They were way too wicked for my taste. As I wanted everything made from scratch, I chose to go with my Rock Candy Jalapeno recipe. No, it’s not authentic, but it is sincere. (I did, however, make my own dill pickles, so there’s that.)
DOGS OF LUST
Three regional hot dogs given the vegan treatment: Detroit Coney, Chicago, and New York
Makes about 6 sausages
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1 cup vital wheat gluten
In a small bowl, combine all of the spices (NOT the nutritional yeast). Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, sautée the chopped onion and garlic cloves until soft. Add the spice mix and cook, stirring constantly, until the spices are toasted.
In a food processor, add the chickpeas, onion-garlic-spices mixture, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and vegetable stock. Blend on low until it’s smooth and saucy. Then add the vital wheat gluten. Blend again until it comes together in a ball and let the processor knead the dough ball for about a minute seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and knead with your hands for 2-3 minutes. Divide the seitan into 3-ounce chunks. Roll and press the seitan into a sausage shape. Roll each sausage very tightly in aluminum foil. Twist the ends so that the seitan is completely closed off. Add the seitan sausages into the steamer basket and let them steam for about 50-55 minutes.
When done steaming, they should feel firm when lightly squeezed with tongs. Remove from the steamer basket, and let them cool in the foil on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. When cool enough to touch, unwrap the sausages and return them to the cool rack to cool completely. While they are ready to eat at this point, letting them rest in the fridge overnight will improve both the flavor and texture. Store them in an airtight container.
DETROIT SEITAN CONEY SAUCE
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
6 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne hot sauce (I prefer Red Devil)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 pound seitan sausage, shredded
In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Whisk in the flour to make a quick roux. Cook it, stirring frequently, until it turns amber, about 5-7 minutes. Then whisk in the vegetable stock, tomato paste, vinegar and hot sauce. Simmer it on low while assembling the seitan and vegetables.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Push everything aside and add the spices and cook in contact with the bottom of the pan for 2 minutes, stirring so the spices don’t stick to the bottom. Then mix in with the shredded seitan and cook until the seitan is lightly browned. Add the roux sauce and stir thoroughly. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, but an hour is better.
NY ONION SAUCE
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook for 1 minute. Add water, ketchup, and hot sauce then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened and the onions are very soft, adding more water if needed, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving.
CHICAGO NEON RELISH
2 cucumbers, seeded with skin on, minced fine
1/2 sweet onion, minced fine
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 tablespoon water & 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Green food coloring
Split the cucumbers lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Mince up the cukes and onions to relish-size bits. Cover with a brine made from the water and salt and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, drain and rinse the mixture in a colander lined with cheesecloth. Use the cheesecloth to wring out every last drop of liquid.
Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, and celery seed to a boil in a medium pan. Add the veg mix and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Pour off excess liquid from the relish pot and stir in the cornstarch slurry a little at a time till the mix achieves relish viscosity. Remember it’ll thicken up some more when it cools.
Add the food coloring drop by drop until you’ve got something resembling grass next to a sci-fi nuclear accident. Let cool to room temp, put in a jar, and refrigerate.
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