2018

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Hot Diggity Dog! Hot Dogs, Bratwursts and Sausages

By Kent Whitaker The Great American Grilled hotdog is all grown up! In fact, the classic weenie is not really all that American! Hot dogs, and other sausage style items eaten on a fluffy bun, have international roots! And, hot dogs vary as you travel across the country! Consumers have demanded specialized “dogs” for regional tastes. There’s the famous Chicago Dog, the Fenway Frank and even versions for West Virginia, Tennessee and more. Granted, a good amount of the difference is what toppings you put on your dog but don’t forget… you can have bratwursts, sausages, Chorizo’s and many other varieties. The options are endless as differences in consumer tastes change as you travel from the East coast to the South, the Midwest, Southwest on out to California. Even professional sports venues, such as tracks in NASCAR, baseball and football stadiums cater to their local cliental. Chefs and menu planners at these venues are always looking for ways to impress their customers with new takes on hot dogs, bratwursts, and sausages. Martinsville Speedway caused a stir in the world of NASCAR when news spread about a change in suppliers for their famous “Martinsville Hot Dog.” Fenway Park, a baseball stadium in Major League Baseball, has long been known for their “Fenway Frank.” Don’t forget the menu options when you start including food trucks, specialized restaurants, and of course on back yard grills. Some Dog Gone History! Before I start naming regional versions of links served up on a bun I think some information about the history of the hot dog is in order. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDASC) the history of the term “hot dog” is not clear. Legends about the name are far ranging. Here’s the official explanation from the pros! The name “hot dog” is often attributed to cartoonist who observed the carts selling “red hot dachshund dogs” on the New York Polo grounds and was unable to spell dachshund, so he printed “hot dogs” instead. However, this cartoon has not been found, prompting many historians to question the legend’s accuracy. The immigrant vendors of the time also brought their dachshund dogs, prompting their carts to be called dog wagons. Possessing good humor, these vendors were known to tease that their sausages were made from their dachshunds. Certainly, this was nothing more than a friendly joke, but this may be where the term “hot dog” was coined.  – Source: National Hot Dog and Sausage Council That’s fine for figuring out [...]

By |2019-03-13T23:03:06+00:00July 14th, 2018|BBQ, Bratwursts|0 Comments

Where are the Spring Flowers?

Where are the Spring Flowers? Some of what I know: SPRING is sprung, The grass is riz, I wonder where, The FLOWERS is. Well, if you didn’t plant them last fall, they ain’t around. Spring flowers, whether they come from bulbs, rhizomes, corms, or tubers need to be planted in the fall, for you to enjoy in the spring. Every month of the growing season new things are sprouting up. To determine what you want to come up in your yard at a certain time of year, just take a walk around the neighborhood, (or the next subdivision, or the next town) and see what is blooming. If you don’t know what it is just ask the neighbor, gardeners are always ready to talk about what they have growing in their yard. And if it is growing in their yard, it most likely will grow in your yard. If no one is around to ask, take a picture, and take it to a Master Gardener. You can find out where they are by googling Master Gardener in your state. Local nurseries are the best choice to buy plants and shrubs. They may be a little more expensive than big box stores, but their selections are usually home grown, which again, will help insure the survival of the plant, just ask to make sure. Also ask if the plants are pesticide free. There are many pesticides that are detrimental to bees. This is a huge concern word wide at this time. Native plants are at the top of my list. They are indigenous to your area, so their survival is virtually guaranteed, because they are highly adaptive to your region. Just googleaudoban.org/native-plants, and put in your zip code, and see what you like. Finding out where to get it is another story. One way is to google, GrandPrarieFriends.org, and click on your state. They are not always the showiest of flowers, but definitely the hardiest and many are very unusual, like jack-in-the-pulpit. Perennial plants come up every year. Annuals need to be planted every year, although some tend to reseed themselves, i.e. marigold and alyssum. Whatever you plant, be sure it’s in the right place in your yard. Take note of exactly where it is in your neighbors’ yard. Is it a shade plant or a sun plant? Is it under a tree, in the middle of the yard, along the side of the house? Which side of the house N, S, E, or W. How big [...]

By |2019-03-13T23:08:11+00:00March 22nd, 2018|Flowers, Garden, Spring|0 Comments

Three Spring & Summer Grilled Fruit Hacks!

By Kent Whitaker Nothing seems to beat the wide variety of fruit that comes into markets during Spring. Everything from fresh picked strawberries to apricots and even Kiwi! Then, the flavors keep coming as peaches, oranges and even bananas at their peak flood into grocery stores and produce stands. So, it stands to reason that grilling gurus across the land should add some of these tasty fruit flavors to our recipe collection! It could be a simple as a quick-and-easy fruit flavored infused sauce to grilling a couple of slices of your favorite fruit. Here’s three spring & summer grilled fruit hacks~   Grilled Coconut Rum Bananas I have a buddy that’s a rum expert!  He knows classic rums, white, dark, brands, history and even enjoys the new fruit flavored rums that are gaining in popularity. He suggested using some coconut flavored rum for a Caribbean inspired recipe! This recipe hack is inspired from Cuban and Caribbean style grilled plantains. Slice the banana lengthwise and keep them in their peals, brush with melted butter or use butter flavored non-stick spray. In a small bowl, combine some coconut rum, melted butter and little bit of honey. Grill the sliced banana – in their peels – over medium high heat. Fee free to use foil or a grilling griddle. The banana will start to cook and pull away from the peel around the edges. Baste evenly with your rum mixture. Remove from the peel and serve with your favorite ice cream topped with toasted coconut shavings.   Grilled Fruit Cobbler Chances are that you probably have a favorite cobbler recipe. Don’t worry if it’s a quick-and-easy recipe or one that requires more than just dumping a few ingredients in a baking dish. Both will work on a covered grill. Basically, all you’re doing is using your covered grill like an oven. You can use foil pans, cake pans or even cast iron – but, I would avoid using glass baking dishes! Make your recipe, cover with foil, cook on an upper rack in a covered grill, and rotate the pan as needed to ensure even cooking. The last few minutes you can uncover, baste the crust with butter and sprinkle with sugar and allow the edges to become golden brown.   Grilled Peaches and Cream I live in East Tennessee just a few feet away from Georgia, Alabama and a day drive through the mountains to South Carolina. Why am I telling you this? Because every summer regional fresh [...]

By |2019-01-31T20:37:38+00:00March 11th, 2018|Fruit, Fruits, Grilling|0 Comments

Consider Farming? Consider Chickens?

Farming, it may seem complicated at first, but is in fact a simple process, the only question is it right for you. Some may think of farming as sitting back and watching over plants or livestock, but unless you can afford to pay people to work your land you will have to participate in the harvest and up keep. Now you may be thinking how you will be able to afford the land and provide other needed items that you are not producing. Well that is quite simple, while you may not be able to mass produce food like the large companies, you can produce more than your family needs to survive. With your extra food you can sell it at a farmers market or to friends. Now with all of the logistics out of the way an interesting topic looms:  Will you farm livestock or fruits and vegetables? If your a vegetarian your answer is simple, you will grow fruits and vegetables, however if you are not you still have a difficult decision. While both livestock and fruits and vegetables can yield a profit - livestock can do this with less work for you. The kinds of livestock farming that you could participate in are raising them for sale or raising them and selling their meat and other products. Raising livestock for sale may be another solution for a person who does not want to consume animal products, but selling the meat and other products of the animals is potentially more profitable. The kinds of livestock that you could chose to farm are cattle, pigs, sheep, turkey, and chickens. Each of these animals have reasons both for and against farming them. The cattle can be butchered and milked, both of which could be sold. The sheep’s wool can be harvested as well as mutton. Chickens produce both eggs and meat. Pigs and turkeys however only produce meat. No matter what animal you choose to farm you need to be able to provide some basic necessities like a clean shelter, clean water, and nutritious feed. The shelter needs to be clean of mud and manure, as well as providing enough space for the livestock to be comfortable, this includes ventilation that does not create drafts and proper bedding material, which will need to be changed often to prevent sickness. The clean water is necessary as it helps regulate the body temperature of the animals, and clean water will help prevent disease. Nutritious food is as important to [...]

By |2019-03-13T23:12:30+00:00March 4th, 2018|Animals, Chickens, Farm, Poultry|0 Comments

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