I almost didn't show up for this month's Five Star Makeover Challenge, hosted as ever by the talented Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! It's not that I don't like the theme - using your favorite junk food and elevating it in a new dish - it's just that, as I've said here before, I am feeling rather "meh" lately. I expect that my trip to Mexico City will breathe some new life into me!
Plus, I don't really eat what most people would consider junk food. It's not that I don't love me a bag of chips, but the fact is, generally speaking I'm not going to waste my calories on that. It takes too long to work it off. Butter? Yes. Cheese? Definitely. A slice of pizza? Oh, hell yeah.
But fast food? Bags of snacks? No. Not gonna happen. So I was feeling rather stumped. That is, until I bounced some ideas off of my good friend Trevor of Sis Boom Blog. Do you know him? If you don't, you really should acquaint yourself with him. Stat. It's okay - I'll wait. ...
... Are you back? Isn't he just fabulous? In fact, our conversation led to several good ideas, none of which I will share because I may do them in the future. Suffice it to say one of his hilarious suggestions reminded me of a little vice I have: hot dogs.
Not the mass-produced tubes of misery that you get at the grocery store, mind you. No, these babies are made by a local farm with meat from fat and happy free ranging piggies. And they're stuffed with jalapeno and cheese. So good. But good for you? I doubt it. Let's face it: A hot dog by any other name is still essentially junk food, right?
And so my mind wandered to French savory cakes - cakes salés - which are often made with ham and Gruyere. Well, sub in hot dog for ham and Cracker Barrel cheddar cheese (keepin' it junky, people) - et voila! And the tarragon chive butter just keeps the whole thing classy.
I had my dish.
(Note: I used the basic proportions for the savory cake that you can find all over the Internet - I followed the one I found here. )
Jalapeno and Cheese-Stuffed Hot Dog, Cheddar Cheese, & Chive Cake Salé
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
several grinds of black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil
3 hot dogs of your choice, chopped
6 ounces Cracker Barrel extra sharp cheddar
1 bunch chives, chopped
Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk, then add the oil. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just barely mixed. Fold in the hot dogs, cheese, and chives. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 40 - 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully invert onto a plate. Wait at least a half hour to slice. Serve with tarragon chive butter (see below)
To make tarragon chive butter: combine 1 stick softened unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon, 2 tablespoons chopped chives, and a pinch of salt. Roll into a tube in waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
The funny thing is, this didn't taste junky at all! In fact, if you didn't know any better (and if it weren't for those jalapenos) you might even think this dish was downright French. Served with a salad of butter lettuce with a Dijon vinaigrette, it made for a very satisfying dinner, with leftovers for lunch the next day.
Check out what everyone else made in the round up this Friday by following the link below. I'll check out all of the lovely creations when I return from Mexico City next week.