hot dogs

Food fact: Hot Dogs are among the safest meat products consumers can buy. They are pre-cooked and cured and are far less susceptible to spoilage and contamination than other meat products.

Memorial Day is upon us. For many, it’s a three-day weekend, and for others, the unofficial kickoff to summer.

There are many ways to spend the day. Since it is recognized as a time to remember our servicemen and women who gave their lives for our country, an idea would be to place flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. It also is a time to visit memorials scheduled in your area. Another is to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon, along with flying the POW/MIA flag.

One easy, inexpensive way is to have a picnic.

Food Network’s Web site, www.foodnetwork.com, has some great tips for having a perfect picnic.

•Freeze drinks the night before. Not only will your drinks stay cold the next day, they’ll help keep your food chilled.

•To keep your picnic festive, bring a colorful and comfortable blanket. Extra towels can serve as pillows when sunbathing or napping.

•Set up your picnic in the shade.

•Although baskets can be quite stylish, a cooler packed with ice is safer.

•Make sure foods that are meant to be served cold are thoroughly cooled before packing.

•If you’re driving, transport your cooler in the air-conditioned car, not in the trunk.

•Throw away any food that’s been out of the cooler for more than an hour.

When packing a picnic, don’t forget these essentials:

•Blanket

•Insect repellent

•Napkins

•Plates

•Silverware

•Serving utensils

•Cups and wine glasses

•Corkscrew or bottle opener

•Paring knife

•Cutting Board

•Condiments

•Damp wipes or cloths for washing up

•Garbage bag

Have fun and enjoy the weather!





Appetizer:

4-Pepper Deviled Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled

1 tsp. whole pink peppercorns, divided

1/2 tsp. whole white peppercorns

1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

1/2 tsp. whole green peppercorns

1/2 tsp. caper liquid

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Pinch sugar

Slice the eggs in half from top to bottom. Scoop the yolks into a medium mixing bowl and lay the whites aside. Place all of the peppercorns, except 1/2 teaspoon of the pink peppercorns, into a spice grinder and process until ground well. Add the ground peppers, caper liquid, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and sugar to the egg yolks and using a fork, stir to thoroughly combine. Place the mixture into a zip-top plastic bag and cut a small hole at one of the corners. Pipe the mixture into each of the white halves. Coarsely grind the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pink peppercorns and use to garnish the top of each egg.

Chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving.

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Beverage:

Italian Lemonade

2 cups lemon juice, about 12 to 15 lemons

2 cups Basil Simple Syrup, recipe follows

2 cups cold or sparkling water

Ice

Lemon twists, for garnish

Mix lemon juice, Basil Simple Syrup, and water together in a pitcher. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Pour over ice filled glasses and garnish with a lemon twist.

Basil Simple Syrup:

1 bunch fresh basil, washed and stemmed

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

In a saucepan combine basil, sugar, and water and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 5 minutes. Cool, strain the simple syrup, and store in the refrigerator.

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Side dish:

Macaroni Salad

Dressing:

3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Black pepper to taste

Salad:

3 cups cooked elbow macaroni

1 pound lean, cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 ribs celery, chopped

1/2 cup peas

1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 scallions, chopped

Garnish:

Cherry tomatoes

To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl; cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the salad, toss macaroni in a large bowl with ham, celery, peas, pickles, red pepper and scallions; add dressing and toss again. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

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Main Dish:

Lucky Dogs

6 hot dogs

3 smoked sausages links

3 chorizo sausage links

4 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, julienned

1 medium green pepper, julienned

2 cups chili

1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup minced onions

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1/4 cup Creole mustard

1 cup pickled relish

1 dozen hot dog buns

Preheat the grill. Season the hot dogs, smoked sausage, and chorizo with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the dogs on the hot grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. In a saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the julienne onions and pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes or until wilted. Remove from the heat. Remove the dogs from the grill and place in the buns. Garnish the chorizo dogs with the sautéed onions and pepper. Garnish half of the hot dogs with chili, cheese, onions and mustard. Garnish the remaining hot dogs with mustard and relish. Garnish the smoked sausages with Creole mustard. Place all the dogs on a platter and serve with potato chips.

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Main Dish:

Miss Leslie's Ham Salad on Biscuits

Two tubes, six pieces each, large bake-off biscuits

1 pound cooked ham from the deli, 1/4-inch thick slices, diced

3 ribs celery, from the heart, finely chopped

1/2 cup salad olives with pimento, drained, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped

4 scallions, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley — a couple of handfuls of leaves

1/3 cup mayonnaise, just enough to bind salad

3 tbsp prepared yellow mustard

3 tbsp dill pickle relish

Salt and black pepper

Prepare bake-off biscuits to package directions, 8 to 10 minutes in the oven. Cool biscuits on wire rack.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl and adjust seasonings, to taste.

Split cool biscuits and fill with Leslie's ham salad.

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Dessert:

Bittersweet Double Chocolate Coconut S'mores

12 large marshmallows

12 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into 3-ounce pieces

8 whole chocolate graham crackers

1/4 cup toasted coconut

Heat grill to high. Place marshmallows on skewers or sticks, 3 to a stick, and hold over the grates of the grill until golden brown on all sides and melted in the center. Place chocolate on 4 of the graham crackers. On each graham cracker, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the coconut over the chocolate and then place 3 of the toasted marshmallows on the coconut. Place the remaining graham crackers on top of the marshmallows and wrap each s'more in foil. Place each s'more on the grill for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.

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