New Ways to Top Your Hot Dogs This Summer

Here’s how to make the best hot dog toppings happen:

1. Spice up classic condiments

Old Bay Mayo: Stir 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice and 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning into 1/2 cup mayonnaise; adjust to taste.

Harissa Ketchup: Stir 1 tsp. harissa paste into 1/2 cup ketchup; adjust to taste.

Maple Mustard: Stir 1/4 cup maple syrup into 1/4 cup Dijon mustard; adjust to taste.

Chipotle BBQ Sauce: De-seed and mince 1 canned chipotle in adobo, stir into 1/2 cup barbecue sauce; adjust to taste.

2. Grill your toppings

Onions: Slice 2 red or yellow (or a mix of both) medium onions into thick rounds and grill until charred and soft.

Peppers: Quarter 2 peppers (a mix of bell and/or poblano) and remove seeds. Grill until charred and softened, then thinly slice.

Corn: Grill 2 husked ears of corn until charred, then slice kernels off.

Tomatoes: Thread 1 pint cherry tomatoes on skewers (or use a grill basket) and grill until charred and softened.

3. Add crunch with pickles

Make your own quick pickles—or just jazz up the store-bought kind.

Pickled Carrots: Shave 2 medium carrots into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler and combine with 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1 tsp. toasted cumin seeds in a medium bowl. Let sit at least 10 minutes and strain before serving.

Pickled Cabbage: Place 1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage in a large heatproof container or bowl. Toast 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds in a small pot over medium heat, then add 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 Tbsp. salt and bring to a boil. Pour over cabbage and let sit at least 10 minutes. Strain before serving.

Dill Pickle Relish: Combine 1 cup diced bread and butter pickles and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill.

Scallion Kimchi: Combine 1/2 cup thinly sliced kimchi and 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions.

4. Try a Combo

Of course, you can mix and match these toppings any way you like. But here are the combos we couldn’t stop eating in the Epi Test Kitchen.

“The German”: For a bratwurst-inspired dog, layer on Maple MustardPickled Cabbage, and Grilled Onions.

“The Sweet + Smoky”: For a dog that hits all the spicy sweet and smoky spots of your favorite backyard barbecue, layer on Chipotle BBQ SauceSweet Dill Pickle Relish, and Grilled Corn.

“The Garden Dog”: Old Bay Mayo provides a creamy base for tart Pickled Carrots and smoky Grilled Peppers.

“The Fire Starter”: If spice and brine are your beats, mix together Harissa KetchupScallion Kimchi, and Grilled Peppers.

“The Southern Belle”: For a combo that’s even better than your favorite summer succotash, top your dog with Old Bay MayoGrilled Tomatoes, and Grilled Corn.

 

Courtesy of epicurious

Garden Checkup: Treating “Blossom-End Rot”

Blossom-end rot can occur in tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, squash, and melons. Often times, the damage appears when the fruit is half-way grown. These soggy areas expand and turn dark brown and harden. The effected areas will begin to rot and the fruit should be cut-off and discarded.

Blossom End Rot is not a pest, parasite, or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low level of calcium in the fruit itself. There is no cure for blossom end rot, only prevention. This can occur when tomatoes are nutrient deprived or under erratic watering. Typically adding more nutrients will resolve the problem and tomato plants will recover.

How much nutrient are you giving your tomatoes? 

The nutrient level should be increased when growing tomatoes upon the third feeding and moving forward.  

Nutrient level for 6/7/9 pod gardens is 8 ml (2 capfuls) upon the first two feedings, and 11 – 12 ml (2 ½ to 3 capfuls) upon the third feeding and moving forward.

Nutrient level for a 3 pod garden is 4 ml (1 capful) for the first two feedings, and 6 ml (1 ½ capfuls) of nutrient upon the third feeding and moving forward.

Make sure that you are checking your water level every other day. Once the tomatoes are established, they will consume quite a bit of water daily, especially if you are running your furnace more often. Do not wait for your AeroGarden to alert you that your water level is low to add water. Your AeroGarden will alert you when the water level is very low. It is ideal to keep the water level in your garden to the “fill line”, and to be consistent in your watering habits.

Here is the solution. Start with a “rinse and refill”. Empty the contents of your water bowl, rinse it, and replace the water adding the appropriate level of nutrient (12 ml). This will restore the pH level in your AeroGarden. Add 1 Tablespoon of Epsom Salt to the water. Remove and discard the browning tomatoes.

In addition, make sure you are pruning your tomatoes. Go ahead and prune back the leaves that are shading out your tomatoes. This will encourage your plant to continue to produce tomatoes. Also, your green tomatoes will be exposed to more light, encouraging them to ripen.