Thursday, November 3, 2011

How Hot Dogs Got into My Gumbo

Let me be clear, I haven’t eaten a reeeal hot dog in over 20 years. I’m ascared of the processing and chemicals. I’ve enjoyed a meditation hall’s-worth of tofu pups and veggie dogs because I miss hot dogs so much… gracing many fakies with yellow mustard as I stare off and recall the magic of my first ballpark dog; the revelation of placing the dog in the bun before wrapping it in foil, dropping it into a steamy box and allowing it to attain perfection as it finds its way to me.

Well, I’ve denied myself until now. What ‘now’ has brought me is something that I’ve chosen to trust simply because I’ve been told it was housemade and has been delivered by a friend from my college town of Pittsburgh. Ok, so that’s all ‘I got.’ I don’t actually know the butcher/ sausage maker, and I barely know the guy who bought these from the unknown sausage maker, but I do know my neighbor and new friend Bj, and her brother visits occasionally from Pittsburgh bearing wonderful tubular meats like those I used to enjoy from the Strip District.

So it went like this… my studmuffin husband was excited to pull saved shrimp shells out of the freezer and start a stock so he could get me to make gumbo. He had gumbo on the brain big time. gumbo gumbo gumbo… then running through my sleepy brain as I wake up Sunday morning the smell of what I’d explained when he asked me ‘how do you make shrimp stock?’ Shrimp shells, other shells, onions, celery. I think he forgot the bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns, but I have a solution for that. Next time I’ll store them by the frozen hot dogs.

I can’t say it was my pick for that day to stand and work on a ‘healthy (lower fat/ more burnable)’ dark roux, but my honey’s exuberance drew me to the galley and I rooted through the fridge for ham scraps. I knew I had prosciutto, bacon and worst-case-scenario, cold cut ham…. well I guess we’re eating too carefully because I’d let all of those go bad. jeeez

Hey! My man says.

How about these hot dogs from Pittsburgh?

He pulls them out of the freezer and the part of me that’s been crazy to have them says ‘Great idea. Gimme those : )’

So I cut them up, browned them, got them crispy and crack-like and used the cooking oil as the base for my roux, later adding scallops, shrimp and a little crabmeat. We’ve enjoyed it all week. Thank you Bj and Bj’s brother for setting me free!! xoxo and go Tartans!

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