Bachelorhood is the Mother of Invention
Having been married for almost three years now, I forgot how much of a mess my cooking was when I was flying solo.
More than anything, it was a matter of laziness. Laziness when it came to picking out and shopping for ingredients, and laziness when dinner time rolled around and I balked at the notion of busting my hump on a meal for one. So there were plenty of simple pasta dishes and takeout, accompanied by by an occasional flash of inspiration that foreshadowed the foodie I would become once I was cooking for an audience.
One such bit of creativity was the “Hot Dog Sandwich.” Typically, I’d stop at the Wawa on the ride home from work, pick up an eight inch Italian roll and fill it with a couple of boiled hot dogs and the usual condiments. If this doesn’t strike you as particularly creative, then you understand how dire the whole situation really was.
This all came back to me last month as Mrs. TVFF headed off for a press junket in New Orleans and I quickly regressed to my old self, relying on leftovers from earlier in the week and whatever mismatched ingredients happened to be sitting around the house. Arriving home after work and not having a plan, I noticed a couple of hot dogs in the freezer — Trader Joe’s Uncured Hot Dogs…good stuff. I quickly began scouring the kitchen for an appropriate delivery device.
As you can tell from the photo, the only available option was a couple of orphaned hamburger buns. Although aesthetics aren’t everything to me, I realized I needed to do something to overcome the problem posed by the round bun and the long sausage. This is where a little flash of improvisation came in.
The buns got a quick toast, some spicy brown mustard and a sandwich-slice pickle. To jazz things up a bit, I went with the face-meltingly hot cherry peppers on the side. But those frozen dogs needed to be boiled, so I filled up a non-stick frying pan with an inch of water, threw them in and simmered away. Once they had warmed through, it was time to kill two birds with one stone…make ’em wide and make ’em tasty.
I plucked them from the pan, put them on a cutting board and sliced them almost completely through lengthwise, essentially butterflying the hot dog. Then I dumped out the water and brought the pan back up to high heat. In went the hot dogs, searing them on both sides to get some nice browning and encouraging the skin to tighten up a little bit to provide a nice “snap.” What I was left with filled out the hamburger roll nicely and brought much more flavor to the table than the usual hot dog.
Will this innovation be the hot new food trend to seep the nation? Hardly. But every tired foodie out there can use a quick hint that makes even the simplest meal a little bit better.