Monday, March 26, 2012

Hot Dog, Cheddar Cheese, & Chive Cake Salé with Tarragon Chive Butter for the Five Star Junk Food Makeover Challenge

When this posts Poppa Trix and I will be on holiday in Mexico City, sipping tequila at a cantina or enjoying a leisurely comida.  I look forward to catching up when we return!

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.


  1. I share your sentiments exactly on junk food! Love what you've come up with though. I could go for a piece of savory cake any time of day, especially if it's topped with that herbed butter!

  2. I, too, was stumped at first and expressed similar sentiment on my post. But, I love what you did here and just know it must have tasted really good. I'm a big fan of savory cakes and this looks really good. Plus the chive butter was good call.

    Hope you're enjoying Mexico.

  3. This does look like one great piece of savory cake-yum! All those wonderful goodies you packed in there sure makes it look enticing. While I would love to taste this on its own, you have offered a nice herby butter too. This challenge was a success-well done.

  4. You are just amazing look at this wonderful post another hit too! love it! miss ya GF hope your doing well!

  5. You are just amazing look at this wonderful post another hit too! love it! miss ya GF hope your doing well!

  6. Oh gosh - your Junk Food is a Hot Dog? I love it! I only eat a hot dog when I am in Chicago a couple times a year. Chicago girl at heart. Ha, don't think I've ever thought of tarragon and hot dog simultaneously, ever.

    Your salé is gorgeous.
    Say hi to Mexico D.F. for me. Some awesome restaurants there.
    Hope you have a new spring in your step after your trip. Safe travels.

  7. This is amazing! I love all the flavors.

  8. I hope you are having a mucho bueno time! I miss you but while you are gone I'm enjoying this wonderful, elegant cake salé. (And thanks for the shout out!) XXOO!

  9. Yum! You're kidding jalapeno hot dogs? I'm not a big hot dog fan but those I'd love to try. The cake might include a junky hot dog but there is nothing junk food about this cake.

    I hope you are having a blast in Mexico. Don't forget to eat for me ;)

  10. Who doesn't know Trevor? He brightens up our world with his unique sense of fact, he reminds me a lot of you! Lol. Trix, your 'junk' food is not even near unhealthy, I mean those free-range hot dogs?? :-o. This cake could be something that's served in a hotel (although I can't say how many stars).

    Enjoy Mexico!!! I expect colorful food posts when you return :)

  11. Now that is my kind of hot dog. Let's just say I've been watching one too many health documentaries lately...and I never want to eat meat again unless it's raised as it should be. eck. This looks fucking fantastic. This deserves a curse word.

  12. I love how you used the hot dogs - the sale looks incredible, and so perfect with the tarragon chive butter, nice! Hope you are having a blast in Mexico!

  13. you had me with the first 4 words of title.... cannot wait to make this... so sorry I am just not getting around to it as I could have been eating the hell out of it!!!

  14. I don't waste calories on junk food (except pizza - and not the junky kind) when there are cheese boards and cocktails that must be factored into the equation! But a cheesy savory bread with a salty, spicy kick sounds mighty fine - especially with a chilled microbrew! I know you'll return from Mexico City with renewed vigor :)

  15. That's GORGEOUS! The colors, flavors, and the tarragon chive butter!

  16. I love how many of us all hate junk food, but we came up with something anyway. That's what is so great about these challenges. Can't wait for restaurant wars.

  17. Interesting incorporation of your junk food. I'd like to give it a whirl.

    Be well

  18. What a great take on junk-food makeover. I could take a bite out of this with a smile on my face!! Although I never did like hot dogs!

  19. I do not do junk food either, and found this makeover a bit challenging. But I must say, the hot dog has never been showcased this wonderfully before! I don't eat meat, but I sure want to try this bread :)
    Hope you are having a great time on your vacation :)

  20. I am not a fan of hot dogs eaten the traditional way in a bun with condiments, but I would give this sale a try! Hope your vacation is/was fantastic! Just thinking about warm sun and sipping tequila has me convinced you enjoyed!

  21. Hey Trix, I hope you have a fabulous time in Mexico! I'm so jealous. I need vacation badly. Period. Well, I kinda want to make this cake for my breakfast muffins. I know it's junk food but oh my this looks too good.

  22. I know Trevor and he is a wealth of good ideas and well just plain good. GREG

  23. Very creative indeed. Enjoy Mexico!

  24. See, I love hot dogs too. I was just thinking about making them from scratch when I did a sausage. It's base was pureed in the cuisinart and I thought... mmm this would be like a hot dog!!! Well it's on my list and honestly, the only work would be stuffing the casings.
    You did a great job with your 'happy' dogs.

    Hope you had a great time in MCity... all the leads in the movie are from there and they've been RAVING about the food... wish I'd known you were going (this is my first checking with our group... a little late!)

  25. I love the idea for this bread and I can relate to your sentiments re: junk foods (just not worth it:) But I love savory, quick, no-yeast-breads, and this one speaks to me:) The doily, too (is it my mom's?)
    have a great time in Ciudad Mexico! I love that country and I know that you will not come back hungry:) Looking forward to the recap!

  26. Oh,!

    Don Cuevas