Monday, May 11, 2009

Chili Dogs and Potato Salad

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. OK, it's not quite summertime, but warm spring weather has us hungry for summer favorites. I rarely get chili dogs at restaurants or ball games, but I make them at home fairly often - in part because I can control the level of sheer grease-o-mania. I have been known to make my own chili for chili dogs, but it's so much easier, probably healthier, and possibly more delicious to use Amy's Vegetarian Chili (I get the "spicy" variety) - look in the "canned chili" section of the grocery store (I usually add a little salt, but find the rest of the flavors to be well-balanced).

This potato salad recipe comes from our long-time neighbor and dear friend Joan Alger. It's my favorite recipe for potato salad ever - mild, velvety sauce that has a bit of tang via the use of sour cream, plus big slices of potatoes and eggs. Again, don't do this the night before a cholesterol check.

But hey, we gotta worry about the arteries of our souls clogging, too, and this combo evokes sunshine, kids tearing around at picnics, parents enjoying conversation in brief respite from life's duties, and grandparents fanning themselves in the shade. Ahhhhh, summer!

If you're feeling particularly in need of spiritual renewal, throw in a rootbeer float. Doctor's orders.

Chili Dogs
Potato Salad
Radishes and Pickles

Chili Dogs
(serves 4)
4 all-beef wieners
4 large hotdog or bratwurst buns (whole wheat if you like)
1 c. chili (vegetarian or meat), heated
small bowl minced onion
1/2 c. or more shredded mild cheddar cheese

Grill the wieners, or simmer them in water, or microwave them. Toast the buns on the grill (if you like). Place a cooked wiener in each bun. Scoop a couple generous tablespoons of chili over each wiener. Sprinkle with onions, then with cheese, and serve.

Potato Salad
(serves 6-8)
6 medium potatoes (I use Yukon Golds), peeled and gently boiled until just soft but not falling apart, cooled and cut into pieces 1-2" large and 1/4" thick (roughly)
6 eggs (I use one or two extra), hard-boiled (see my March 27th posting for tips), peeled and sliced
3/4 c. mayonnaise (I use Hellman's)
3/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. cider vinegar
3 T sugar
1 T prepared mustard

Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce in a medium bowl. Drizzle a little in the bottom of a large bowl (to provide a base). Working in layers, add potatoes, egg slices, and sauce, ending with sauce on top. Try to assemble such that very little stirring is needed to mix, so the potatoes and eggs don't break up too much.

Serve immediately (I prefer this recipe when it's fresh and not ice-cold). (It will keep in the fridge for a few days, though.)

Timing this meal is all about the potato salad. The potatoes always take longer than you'd think, and they have to cool down after they're cooked and before you slice them. Leave 90 minutes or more for this process. The eggs are easier because you bathe them in ice-cold water after cooking.

Nothing too technically challenging in this meal.


  1. What, in your opinion, is the best Dog? I have a favorite, but i am honestly curious about your choice...

  2. I don't really have a favorite dog - lots that I like. But forced to choose, I prefer locally-made, and my favorite meat counter is Clancy's Meats on 38th and Cedar in Mpls. They make their own hot dogs, brats, polish and other sausages. They also dry-age beef...their porterhouse steaks are other-worldly.

  3. Chuck, in LA and its overcast -- not very summery. So, to bring the joy of summer back into our lives, Blaire and I are going to make this meal tonight!

    With Stella.