Italian Sausage and Peppers

Recently I have eaten more hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausages than I normally would in the span of a few weeks, mainly because it’s summertime and everyone is busy grilling.  Typically I would try a bit of everything but as the weeks have gone by I realized that hamburgers (even the Brazilian style burger we made with a pan-fried egg on top) just can’t compete with a really good hot dog or sausage.  When I was growing up franks and sausages were part of the culinary scene among both Jewish and Italian immigrants.  Three preparations come to mind.

The salty scent of frankfurters remind me of Ben’s Kosher Deli which was located on the Concourse and 183rd Street.  The hot dogs were prepared in the front window where they shared center stage with salamis, large and small, suspended from the ceiling, drying.  The hot dog buns were the perfect texture, soft and fresh, the mustard was traditional yellow deli mustard, and the sauerkraut warmed to just the right temperature.  Of course the only suitable drink was a Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda.  The best part of the meal was undoubtedly the first bite, because nothing could compare to that immediate burst of flavor.

Another favorite was a dish my mother made using kosher knockwurst, a larger, plumper hot dog.  According to my sister it was called choucroute and my mother learned to make it in France.  The preparation was simple.  My mother would dice a large onion and brown it in a little vegetable oil in a large pot.  She would then take a jar of sauerkraut and rinse it, and add it to the caramelized onions, along with about 3 cups of water.  To this she would add a few meaty beef bones, season the dish with salt and pepper, cover and cook it for about an hour and a half.  She would then add a package of knockwurst and let simmer for another hour.  It was a hearty winter dish, served steaming hot on top of mashed potatoes.

Finally, if you went to the Bartolinis on a Sunday,  you would get a whiff of the Italian version of frankfurters, Italian Sausage and Peppers.  A simple dish that combined sausages, onions, and green bell peppers, all sautéed till golden brown and piled into a crusty Italian roll.

For those of you would never consider eating hot dogs and sausages, there are now vegetarian, chicken, turkey, tofu and “low-fat” versions.  Personally, I prefer mine fully leaded, with either a cold cream soda or a beer.

Italian Sausage and Peppers

6 Italian sausages, cut in large chunks  (try Jeff’s, Neshama or Jack’s )

2 large brown onions, cut in half and then thinly sliced

2 large green Bell peppers, sliced

3 Tb olive oil

Heat olive oil and over a high flame, browning  sausages.  Add onions and peppers, reduce flame and cook till onions are caramelized and peppers are tender.  Add some chili flakes if you like it hot.  Pile high in a crusty Italian roll.

Enjoy,

Irene

Passover Pogos

It has been a wonderful Passover so far.  In addition to having all of my children home, on Monday we received word of the birth of two baby boys.  My brother-in-law Jeff became a grandfather for the first time, and some very close friends of my older son (soon to be his family) had their first child.  When your children’s friends begin having children of their own, there is a renewed sense of hope and optimism.  Tonight another one of my son’s oldest friends came to visit us with his 4 year old daughter Avital.  Having this little girl run around the house, much like her father and David use to do, brought back all sorts of memories.  Aaron told Avital that when he was a little boy he often ate in our house and this evening we had the pleasure of having his daughter join us at our dining room table for the very first time.  In honor of our young guest, we decided to make a dish that my children loved when they were her age.  A Passover version of corn dogs that brings out the child in everyone.

Mazel Tov to the new parents, grandparents, and extended family members.

Passover Pogos

1/2 cup oil

1 cup water

2 cups cake meal

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs sugar

4 eggs

8 hot dogs, frozen

Combine oil and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Cook for about 5 minutes, till mixture is smooth.  Transfer to a food processor and add eggs one at a time, and process for about 30 seconds.  OIL HANDS and mold mixture around frozen hot dogs.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about one hour.  Flip hot dogs half way through to brown both sides.

Serves 8

Enjoy,

Irene