Texas Dogs

Please understand that I have no interest in discrediting the standard summer hot dog served up on that doughy white bread bun and weighed down in yellow mustard or store-bought ketchup.  Plant one of those babies in front of me right now and I dare you to predict how long it lasts!

The whole experience of the low-brow, shiny stadium-style dogs clumsily wrapped in cheap wax paper and dripping with salty juices will never get old. Forget that they’re considered traditionally American, family-oriented, and best of all, cheap.  They just taste good!

But a simple, inexpensive hot dog can go so much further.  And right now is the perfect time of the year to take this standard summer staple out for a test drive, and see what it can really do for you.

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Frank Sinatra: “It Was a Very Good Year”

“And now I think of my life as vintage wine… From fine old kegs… From the brim to the dregs… It poured sweet and clear… It was a very good year”

Arguably the most famous Frank Sinatra song of them all, the 1965 recording of “It Was a Very Good Year” was filmed by CBS Television and used for a Walter Cronkite news special celebrating Sinatra’s 50th birthday, broadcast on November 16th of that year.

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Habanero Pizza Sauce – The Sauce that Bites Back!


If you want to ruin delivery pizza for yourself forever, start fooling around with making your own crusts and sauces.  New York Pizza and Pasta at 7123 Sunset Boulevard used to send at least two pies my way every week.  The delivery guy once saw my face so often he’d chat me up at my door like I’d been best man at his wedding.  Well, New York Pizza and Pasta’s delivery menu has been replaced on my refrigerator door with my recipes for homemade pizza dough and this habanero pizza sauce.  That’s how often I’m making them both these days.

This is a pretty standard sauce recipe with the exception of the habanero which kicks things up a notch.  But not too much.  Those who like to avoid foods that make their eyes water will not be put off, though they will receive a subtle indication with each bite that there’s something sneaky going on.  It’s just a pinch of heat that won’t linger on the tongue but will definitely make its inclusion known.

Homemade mozzarella is next!

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Season of the Cookie: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been up for 12 minutes and I already want a chocolate chip cookie. Thankfully, I have 80 of them.

It’s the kind of week that begs, “Sit under blankets all day watching The Price is Right and eating baked goods while wearing colored socks.  Every few hours, take a picture of yourself hanging upside down off the bed.” Continue reading “Season of the Cookie: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies” »

Your Sunday Sinatra: “Come Fly With Me” – Frank Sinatra and Billy May

“If you can use some exotic booze… there’s a bar in far Bombay.
Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away.”

Show of hands, please.

Who’s not looking forward to their upcoming annual December encounter with the airport?

Sure, it’s gonna be great to see the faces of distant loved ones and family members again. But is it really worth the humiliation of standing in line for thirty minutes for the esteemed pleasure of showing off your current sock choice to complete strangers?  Do you miss Grandma so much you’re willing to say nothing to the guy next to you in the track suit, chowing down on McDonalds straight out of the grease-stained sack as he screams into his phone at the divorce attorney who seems incapable of preventing “that vindictive bitch from taking it all!”

MG is much better at handling airport happenings than I am.  He actually chit-chats with the people he finds sitting next to him at the gate.  HE ACTUALLY PURPOSELY ENGAGES IN CONVERSATION WITH THESE PEOPLE!  Apparently, he enjoys finding things out about them. Meanwhile, I’m sitting on the other side of him, slumped down, repeatedly muttering under my breath “Stop… talking to them” while debating whether or not to extend my leg and purposely trip the unattended child who’s running in circles with a drool-soaked Red Vine hanging out of its mouth.

I always walk into the airport with the best of intentions.  But I always walk out with an upset stomach, a snarling lip, and for some reason the latest issue of Macworld, a magazine that holds absolutely no interest for me whatsoever.

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Your Sunday Sinatra: “It Happened in Monterey” – Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle

“Stars and steel guitars… Luscious lips as red as wine… Broke somebody’s heart… and I’m afraid that it was mine”

“It Happened in Monterey” was written by lyricist Billy Rose and composer Mabel Wayne for the 1930 film revue King of Jazz starring Bing Crosby, John Boles, and Jeanette Loff.

The… shall we politely call it “dated”… version, as performed by Boles and Loff, is included below.  Clear the dance floor for great-gradma.  When she hears this coming out of your speakers, she’s gonna jump up, pop a rose between her teeth and bolero herself from one end of the living room to the other!

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Your Sunday Sinatra: “Baubles Bangles and Beads” – Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim

Some day… he may… buy you a ring, ringa-linga. I’ve heard that’s where it leads. Wearin’ baubles, bangles, and beads…

There’s no one bigger than The Chariman of the Board.  Hop on over to the local bar where people know your name and ask just about anyone:

 

“Baubles, Bangles and Beads” is my third Sinatra post in a row from the 1967 Bossa Nova album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, definitely one of Frank’s best. The song is from the 1953 American musical Kismet, set in Baghdad in the times of The Arabian Nights.

The show won the 1954 Tony for Best Musical and was made into a film by MGM in 1955, starring Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, and Dolores Gray who has her own tribute post right here at Tv Food and Drink.

Take a listen to Frank’s charmingly woozy version below:

Click to listen to Frank Sinatra’s “Baubles, Bangles and Beads”

Prosciutto Pepper Puffs


Here’s a simple twist on the recipe for crab puffs I posted a while back to accomodate those heathens who dislike crab. There were more of them out there then I originally realized – my mother and father being two of them – so out with the crustacea and in with a hot and zesty one-two punch of prosciutto and serrano pepper that’ll keep these babies flying into your mouth faster than you can keep count. And being as light and mouth-watering as they are, you won’t want to keep count.

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I Love Lucy: Rare Color Footage from 1951

Color footage secretly shot on the set of the original I Love Lucy!

Even in the early fifties, television producers routinely banned studio audience members from bringing cameras of any kind onto the set.  Luckily, every so often there are one or two attendees who are smarter than their “schmuck off the street” appearance might suggest.  If you’ve ever wondered what the Ricardo apartment looked like in color, you’re curiosity is about the be satisfied.

Click below to see the vid.

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Your Sunday Sinatra: “Dindi” – Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim

“Like a river that can’t find the sea… that would be me… without you, my Dindi.” 

“Dindi” is the second track off the 1967 album Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim.  The song was composed by Jobim especially for Brazilian jazz samba and bossa nova singer Silvia Telles, nicknamed “Dindi.”

Click through to listen to Frank Sinatra’s “Dindi”