Tonight amid duck confit and lamb kebabs preparations, I needed fuss-less, folky fare to balance my food equilibrium. Ta’da: P’Dogs!

P’Dogs (short for Panini dogs) are a close cousin of the Waffle Dog, specialty of a short-lived Chattanooga hot dog shop. In a way, P’Dogs are health food. Deep-fried hot dogs in cheesy cornbread batter too much for your diet? Then try these hot dogs in cheesy cornbread batter that are toasted—not deep fried—to chewy perfection on a hot Panini press. Not enough to soothe your health-conscious soul? Then dip them in veggie-rich, spicy remoulade, and, hot damn, you’re golden.


1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal (not self-rising)
1 ½ tsp. salt (less if you’re using a salty seasoning)
1 ½ tsp. cajun seasoning (preferably Alchemy Bayou Ya-Ya)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 ¾ cups buttermilk
8 all-beef hot dogs with natural casings (or veggie dogs, of course)
½ cup cornstarch
Wax paper
16 wooden skewers

· Preheat your Panini press; I set mine to medium-high to achieve a crunchy, chewy exterior.
Mix the first six ingredients (dry ingredients) thoroughly.
· Next, toss cheese in with the dry ingredients and, following, add buttermilk. Stir until just combined.
· Insert the skewers into the hot dogs (2 per dog, side by side), pushing them to within one inch of the tip.
· On a large piece of waxed
paper, spread the cornstarch and roll each skewered-dog in the cornstarch until thoroughly cover; tap off excess.
· Empty the batter onto another sheet of waxed paper and thoroughly cover each dog in its entirety.
· When press is fully preheated, introduce the dogs and cook for seven to eight minutes apiece.
· Yep, a bit of batter will puddle at the bottom, all toothsome and crusty and golden. Enjoy it dipped in rich, mustardy remoulade.

· Nota Bene: We order our hot dogs from Chicopee Provisions.


½ cup onion (one medium yellow), chopped
½ cup green onions, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
¼ cup, 2 T spicy mustard
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup fresh cilantro
2 T horseradish
2 T ketchup
2 T roasted red pepper
1 T sirachi or hot sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup olive, vegetable, or canola oil

· Add all ingredients except oil to food processor and process until moderately homogenized and smooth but with lovely specks of cilantro-green and pepper-red throughout.
· Add oil slowly—a thin, even drizzle—as if making mayonnaise.
· Serve immediately or store, refrigerated, in tightly-sealed container.



A hundred small choices.

1. Belgium beers
2. muddy espresso
3. good farmstead cheeses (from farmers that moonlight as academics)
4. tellicherry peppercorns
5. freshly-ground cinnamon
6. nutmeg grated on a rasp
7. rosemary that you snip just before you eat it
8. fresh basil
9. melted sweet onions
10. roasted garlic
11. Wagyu beef
12. heritage pork cooked low & slow over a fire
13. vinegary, homemade BBQ sauce
14. tomatoes with names like Old Ivory Egg
15. fish that your dad caught
16. spicy boiled peanuts
17. hot dogs with natural casing that pops
18. gelato
19. Jack Daniels
20. drunken mushrooms with dry red and fresh herbs
21. lamb from a farmer with whom you’ve shaken hands
22. muscadines
23. vegetables grilled on a fire
24. olive oil that tastes of green apples and warmth
25. twenty-five year old balsamic
25. tart, homemade yogurt
26. La Chouffe
27. lobster rolls in Narragansett
28. fried sage leaves
29. perfect salads
30. fresh lemonade with rosemary
31. homemade pierogies
32. warm chocolate chip cookies
33. chocolate pot de creme
34. raw tuna with avocado and spicy mayo
35. Royal Reds at the Gulf
36. baba ghanoush
37. flat bread made in unauthorized kitchens and hidden behind the grocery counter
38. briny dolmas (lamb/rice/hot/ cold)
39. coconut-milk curries
40. homemade paneer
41. avocado
42. chocolate ganache and fruit
43. crispy fish tacos
44. homemade birthday cake
45. dark rye bread with sweet butter
46. Mexican-style shrimp cocktail
47. chorizo and eggs
48. chip wagon poutine
49. buffalo burgers
50. hot baguettes
51. bacon fat
52. duck confit
53. just-mixed vinaigrettes
54. dijon
55. artichokes
56. crunchy slaws
57. maple syrup
58. red beans and rice in New Orleans
59. butter
60. a freezer full of bones for stock
61. lots and lots of cilantro
62. ribs at Dreamland (but only the one where the roof leaks)
63. sesame and walnut oils
64. vanilla powder
65. kielbasa
66. crispy apple fritters
67. wild rice from a reservation
68. sexy, sexy bulgur
69. homemade pasta
70. basil pesto on homemade pasta
71. remoulade
72. gouda that crunches with saltiness
73. pilaf
74. eggy tapioca
75. wood-fired pizza
76. tacos from a road-side trailer
77. crisp, juicy roasted chicken with mustard
78. perfect mashed potatoes
79. lamb stew
80. pork and sauerkraut with applesauce
81. lobster pot pie
82. cornmeal-dusted hot fish
83. risotto
84. homemade mayonnaise
85. crisp, tart apples eaten out-of-hand
86. filet with herbed compound butter
87. roasted asparagus
88. corned beef and cabbage
89. coconut cake
90. plantain chips
91. crispy carnitas
92. jasmine rice
93. ricotta
94. toast with butter
95. salsas made from market veggies
96. ‘nana pudding & chocolate mousse pie
97. roasted peppers and Asiago
98. funnel cakes
99. scrambled eggs with lots of black pepper and ketchup
100. a thick, medium-rare Kobe burger with onion rings

Chris adds:
101. salmon caught from the Kenai River, blackened, and eaten outdoors within four-hours of its final swim
102. sausage
103. fried chicken (beside velvet wallpaper) at Lamar's



Some quintessientially summer pictures that I had to share...
a lovely heirloom tomato BLAT with basil mayo
(bacon, lettuce, arugula, tomato)

kegs, cases, & cans

Driving home for lunch a few weeks ago, I saw this: an overturned tractor trailer of Coors Light. Do you think all of those made it to the trash heap?

farmer's market find

Quite possibly the best farmstead cheese I've tasted: Bonnie Blue's Cave-Aged Camembert--soft, 'shroomy, and silky. This ain't feta, folks.

And the cocktail...

Lem'onade Motlow-Style

These are certainly the dog days of summer--burning, bright, and drippingly humid. Lem'onade Motlow-Style will either cool you down or make you hazy enough to ignore your discomfort.

3/4 cup raw sugar

2--4"stalks of rosemary, washed

1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Jack Daniels

  • Add sugar and rosemary to a two-quart pitcher and muddle them with a wooden spoon to release the rosemary's oils.
  • Next, add the lemon juice and stir until the sugar dissolves fully.
  • Add water to the two-quart mark.
  • To each tumbler, add ice.
  • According to taste, add one to two shots of Jack Daniels per glass.
  • Fill with rosemary-lemonade and enjoy.



The Incomparable La Chouffe

Sweet Grass Dairy Holly Springs, Pecan Chevre, & Hopeful Tomme

We’ve had a couple weeks of ownership shifts and relaxation. To start, my iPod was stolen from our car. Now, we have two other iPods, but mine was a 60-gig. I have a strong instinct to narrate nearly every instant of my life with the exact song at an exact time. There is, of course, a moment when only Dylan’s Frankie & Albert will do (and another when only Taj Mahal’s will). In my life, there are many of these moments necessary to my creative stimulation and overall mental health, and only a big-gig Pod will meet these musical demands. Right now, I’m having severe Felice Brothers withdrawal, “My baby told me, Darling, if you don’t get a pardon better get a parole.” And I truly want to believe that some little brat is going to get a serious slap on the hand for stealing my muse.

Second to that in my lost-and-found theme, a puppy. Down-and-out-dogs are kind of our thing, as you may have gathered. Needless to say, our parents held their collective breath, for our newly-found-on-the-street Adelle (hard A, A-dell, as in “Put your titty up, Adelle,” Brad Pitt in Kalifornia) was possibly the cutest puppy ever: a brindle American-bulldog/pit/boxer mix. Our Gracie loved her; Stella abhored her; Jed was indifferent; and Chris and I were semi-smitten. But our little bungalow is simply too small for four big-wilds. Thankfully, a good forever-home presented itself with a fun dad and a Chihuahua named Whitten. And we were able to send her onward.

We spent last week on a cobbled together staycation (a vacation for the financially-challenged): camping at a kayak-in site on a North Carolina lake; two nights in Decatur, Georgia at one of our favorite bars; and lots of laughing and partying with our friend Mike in the interim. Which brings me to food.

Our days in the forest with freeze-dried dinners and instant oatmeal were a bit surreal. Chris assured me that Mountain House meals were the best on the market (synonymous, it turns out, with the only edible on the market), but, amid a torrential downpour in a 15-year-old tent and bear-proofing, a girl wants something not just substantial but substantially comforting and tasty and fresh. Rest assured, I am now terribly taken with the idea of homemade, pack-in camp food: light, compact, but fortifiably domestic and delicious.

Following the woods, we hit Atlanta, a jarring not unlike our transition from Death Valley to Vegas in 2002. Our mecca was Decatur’s Brick Store Pub—no neon; beautiful punk and Kings of Leon-looking staff; and an all-Belgium bar atop. Plus toothsome, vinegar-drenched fish and chips with house-made remoulade. Plus Sweet Grass Dairy cheese boards and warm baguette. As if that’s not enough, at the Brick Store, each beer is served in its own brewery-issued glass. Perfection.

When we needed a (brief) break from the rich Belgiums, we ventured outward for dinner at Cakes & Ale. Chris ordered the Cakes & Ale Burger with Fries. He often goes burger in upscale joints and judged this brisket-and-pork-belly version to be “good,” though not so good as our own St. John's Meeting Place kobe burger. My meal, however, was excellent: Sliced Wagyu Roast Beef with New Crop Potato Salad, Tomatoes, Horseradish Sauce, & Greens. The beef, at a ¼” thickness, was pink, soft, and buttery. The potatoes and lettuce were tender as only the freshest, small-garden vegetables are, and the horseradish sauce melted airily but distinctly with each element. I loved the meal and would order it again this evening. And tomorrow evening as well.

Following that, we enjoyed three courses at The Chocolate Bar across the street: Goat Cheese Mousse with Raisin Toast and Grape Confit, Chocolate Banana Ganache with Olive Oil Crumble and Banana Sorbet, and Chocolate Pot de Crème. Though I was stuffed and hesitant to lemming-along with the course idea at first, I loved the progression—light to rich, savory to intensely sweet, a patchwork of complexities—and scratched at each serving dish with my little spoon for sticky remnants.

One last note, a found staycation souvenir and something I’ve been searching for: a purse-sized pepper grinder. Yep, I’m an extremist, but I simply can’t endure the stale, tasteless pepper offered in restaurants and bars. Now, I won’t have to. And if you’d like to avoid the same torture, you can find the three-inch GSI Outdoors lexan beauty here (http://www.gsioutdoors.com/detail.aspx?s=7&c2=3&p=73490&lu=%2flist.aspx%3fs%3d7%26c2%3d3&).