It’s time for another food confession. You’ve already been with me as I’ve bared my soul about rhubarb, Twizzlers, and candy corn.

Today I’m adding hot dogs to the list. The Fourth of July weekend seems the perfect opportunity, since millions of hot dogs are likely to be purchased, cooked and eaten over the next few days.

Hot dogs are summer food.

Some of my sweetest childhood memories are of camping trips and picnics, skewering a hot dog on a long metal fork and holding it over the campfire flame until it was cooked to perfection. As a kid, that meant almost burnt black. These days, I’ve come to appreciate hot dogs that aren’t charred into oblivion.

Side note: The hot dog forks of my youth were passed down to me. They’re a work of art and so much more sturdy and functional than the flimsy ones available today. The act of writing this makes me want to rummage around in the attic and our camping gear to locate those amazing hot dog/marshmallow-roasting forks. I need to use those babies this summer!

Once you get past the obvious issue of whether or not you actually eat hot dogs, two camps take shape: mustard or ketchup. I’m in  the mustard and sauerkraut camp. My husband, on the other hand falls squarely in the group of ketchup lovers. In this regard, and a few others, we are a strongly “mixed marriage.”

And I suppose as in any dichotomy, there are those who bridge the gap and use both ketchup and mustard on their franks.

Call them hot dog peacemakers.

Gap bridgers.

Lovers of sweet and sour.

So I was paging through the June/July issue of Rachael Ray’s magazine when I came upon this recipe: Pigs in Ponchos (Tortilla-Wrapped Franks and Beans.) I gave the recipe a quick scan and liked what I read. I loved the name. I mean seriously, isn’t it fun to say?

And it was a way to combine several of my favorite foods. Not to worry, there is absolutely no rhubarb, licorice or candy corn on the ingredient list. But there is salsa, cheese and refried beans.

To quote Rachel, “Yum-o.”

We had these the other night and loved them. I grew up, as I think many in my generation did, with beans and wienies as a fairly regular dinner main dish. Rachel’s take on this felt very familiar to my taste buds. And my memories.

Here’s the recipe. I didn’t change much, but can see some variations that could be fun. These were easy and quite filling. One was plenty.

Pigs in Ponchos (Tortilla-Wrapped Franks and Beans)

From Rachel Ray Magazine

Makes 8 Ponchos

Ingredient List:

  • 8 good quality hot dogs
  • 1 can (16-ounce) vegetarian lard –free spicy refried beans
  • 1 large poblano chile pepper
  • 16 large whole-wheat tortillas (heated to soften slightly)
  • 1.5 cups homemade or store bought salsa verde (I used a lovely chipolte salsa)
  • 2.5 cups shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
Get Going:
  1. Preheat an outdoor grill, indoor griddle or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Parboil the hot dogs for a few minutes to heat through (we threw them on the grill for a few minutes)
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the beans over medium heat, or cover and heat in the microwave on high for three minutes. Add a little water to thin slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, grill the poblano until evenly charred. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool. Then peel and slice.
  5. Make the ponchos: Top each of 4 tortillas with a thin layer of salsa verde, a swirl of mustard (if you like that sort of thing), a few slices of the charred poblano, and lots of cheese.
  6. Cover with a second tortilla. Spread it with refried beans and set a dog at one end. (don’t get carried away because the beans and salsa will ooze out and make these hard to eat. Just sayin’.) Wrap and roll the tortillas around the hot dog. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Put the ponchos on the grill for a few minutes to brown and crisp the tortillas.

Make these over the weekend.

You’ll love them!

This could become a new Fourth of July tradition…

What are you eating this weekend?

An important P.S.

Happy Birthday Anne!!

Happy Birthday Kaia!!

Happy Birthday U.S. A.!!

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