Out of the Archives 7: Tastes of Summer 1: AEB Superdawg Redux rev. ed.

 

The original version of this post first appeared in July 2013.  It appears here as part of an ongoing series that explores the back catalogue at "...an endless banquet" in search of timely classics.  Summertime is peak hot dog season at AEB.  We always have packs of our favourite hot dogs on-hand in case we need to prepare a simple lunch or dinner for a group--something that happens with some frequency at the Milk House in Vermont.  And since establishing a foothold in the Green Mountain State, our hot dog game has undergone a transformation.  Read all about it below...

That was then:

We'll take AEB Superdawgs pretty much any way we can get 'em.  But, let's face it, they're particularly good on a real hot dog bun, and if you happen to be passing through the Mid-Atlantic region sometime soon, you might want to keep your eyes open Martin's hot dog-style potato rolls.  They're easy to spot--they come in those distinctive neo-Fraktur Pennsylvania Dutch-style bags.

fig. a:  De Stijl

fig. a:  De Stijl

We swear by their classic potato rolls for hamburgers and chopped pork sandwiches, but their hot dog rolls are pretty choice, too.  I mean, just look at those dawgs!

fig. b:  double-dawgged

fig. b:  double-dawgged

Pictured:

Hebrew National kosher all-beef franks
finely chopped yellow onion (buried)
chopped cherry tomatoes
finely chopped half-sour pickles
pickled corn
Keen's hot mustard
Hellmann's mayonnaise
celery salt

Total prep time:  about 10-15 minutes.

And this is now:

Since we first ran this post a few years ago, lots has changed:  namely, we've been spending a lot more time in Vermont, and, consequently, our AEB Superdawgs have gotten Green Mountain-ized.  

Don't get me wrong, I still like good, old-fashioned hot dogs from Hebrew National, Vienna Beef, and other time-honoured producers in the East and Midwest, but I love some of the decidedly non-Kosher, humanely sourced, and artisanally produced hot dogs I can find in Vermont.  And the fact that potato rolls are abundant in Vermont is an added bonus.  Martin's potato rolls don't seem to travel east of Lake Champlain, but potato rolls from Vermont Bread Co. and others are a mainstay at local supermarkets, co-ops, and grocery stores.

Our two absolute favourite hot dogs these days are both bacon hot dogs:  Vermont Smoke & Cure's uncured bacon hot dogs and North Country Smokehouse's delicatessen franks.  North Country Smokehouse's home is in New Hampshire, but they're located just across the Connecticut River in Claremont, NH, and they're amazing line of bacons, hams, and sausages can be found widely in Vermont.  Vermont Smoke & Cure was founded in South Barre, VT in the early '60s, but moved to a larger, more modern production facility in Hinesburg, VT just a few years ago.  Both companies produce supremely good hot dogs.  Hot dogs that are juicy, snappy, and absolutely bursting with flavour (thank you, bacon!).  Hot dogs that'll bring a tear to a true hot dog lover's eye, as long as she or he can stand the thought of a bacon dog.

fig. c:  double bacon-dawgged

fig. c:  double bacon-dawgged

Pictured:

Vermont Smoke & Cure uncured bacon hot dogs
finely chopped vidalia onion (buried)
sauerkraut
relish
spicy mustard
Hellmann's mayonnaise

When it comes to preparing my AEB superdawgs, I go about doing so two different ways, depending on my mood and/or weather conditions.  I either fire up the Weber barbecue and grill them gently (both Vermont Smoke & Cure's bacon hot dogs and North Country's delicatessen franks are fully cooked, they just need to be heated before serving) over charcoal, or I put a pat of butter in a cast-iron skillet and sauté/roast them carefully.  

I also make sure to toast my potato rolls.  And I usually do so with a bit of butter in a skillet.

Either way, total prep time is short:  about 10-15 minutes, plus the time it takes to get your barbecue going, if you're using charcoal.

If you're passing through Vermont and you're looking to pick up some quality bacon hot dogs for yourself, good sources include Healthy Living (South Burlington), Onion River Co-op (Burlington), Hunger Mountain Co-op (Montpelier), Sterling Market (Johnson), and Hannaford Supermarkets (various locations).  While North Country's line of bacons, hams, and sausages are often in stock at these locations, their delicatessen franks are much harder to find--so you might have to pay them a visit in Claremont, or drop them a line.

Summer is definitely here, people (just feel that sun!).  Make the most of it.  Keep things simple, but, for the love of Dawg, keep 'em tasty.

aj

Apple Season, pt. 2: "apple pie"

 
fig. a:  papa's got a brand-new bag

fig. a:  papa's got a brand-new bag

If Vermont has an apple obsession--and it most certainly does--it's also a state that's seriously crazy about pizza, so it's perhaps no surprise that "apple pie" takes many forms here.  Sure, Vermonters love their traditional apple pies--with a top-crust and open-faced, with a slice of cheddar or without, deep-dish or otherwise--but they're also not averse to adding apples to their pizza.  In fact, one of Vermont's great pizzas, Parker Pie Company's Green Mountain Special, features apples prominently.

Inspired by the local scene, and in thrall to a pizza obsession of our very own--a home-baked one--we started making our own "apple pies" last year.  

I'd start by whipping up a batch of Jim Lahey's basic pizza dough from My Bread (2009) a day in advance.  

Jim Lahey's Basic Pizza Dough

500 grams bread flour

10 grams instant yeast

10 grams table salt

3/4 tsp + a pinch (roughly 3 grams) sugar

300 grams water

6 grams olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200 grams (about 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, approximately 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.

Knead rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)

To make pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into squares. Top and bake.

YIELD:  2 rectangular pizzas

If you need pointers, you can watch this video of Jim Lahey working his no-knead pizza magic in the Serious Eats test kitchen.

When the dough had been allowed for a full 18 hours or so, I'd shape it on an oiled 13" x 9" baking sheet.  And then I'd apply my toppings.

apple slices (thin!), preferably using something that bakes well like a Crispin

sautéed North Country Smokehouse bacon

sautéed onions

Cabot Creamery Alpine Cheddar

chopped flat-leaf parsley

freshly ground black pepper

Bake in the hottest oven conditions you can create, making sure to heat the oven a good 60-90 minutes in advance so that it's truly piping hot.  

And voilà!

fig. b:  apple pie

fig. b:  apple pie

If you can't find Cabot Creamery's Alpine Cheddar, I pity you, but any quality cheddar or Gruyère will do, although personally I don't think I'd go too sharp with the cheddar.  If you can't find North Country Smokehouse bacon, again, I feel sorry for you, but try to use the tastiest bacon you can get your hands on.

This pizza is a dream come true--a Green Mountain dream.  And it's even dreamier when you make it with the freshest apples you can find, right in the midst of the apple harvest.  In other words, right about now.

aj