Hot Doggin’ it to La Cocina’s SF Street Food Festival
As much as I love to cook I also love to eat. Yesterday I ventured out of the kitchen and into the heart of the colorful, vibrant Mission District of San Francisco with a friend to walk the street sampling food from a variety of vendors. It was a beautiful, sunny and mildly warm day – a rarity in San Francisco and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was nice to get out and do something, especially after the funk I’d been in Friday, and food festival? I’m so there. The La Cocina San Francisco Food Festival has been going on now for four years. I first became aware of it two summers ago and had been wanting to go ever since. I love the idea of food trucks and the festival proceeds / donations went to benefit an entrepreneurship fund for newly immigrated women. Food AND a good cause? Not only am I there, I’m inventing a teleporter as we speak. Plenty of food photos follow from the festival but don’t worry, if you scroll to the bottom I also have a recipe for some good hot dog buns and a fun play on pigs in a blanket. I figured that fits in with the spirit of street food no?
Of course I didn’t photograph my favorite dish. That was devoured in about 5 seconds. I’d been wanting to try Zare at Fly Trap for a while and so, lacking any direction with how to begin this Dionysian affair, I sought out their booth and devoured an amazing Persian lamb wrap. Along the way to their booth, which was at the end of the street, I stopped at Azalina’s for a quick drink. I was actually HOT in San Francisco. Oh. My. God. This is probably my other favorite from the day. It was a coconut basil rose water with chunks of raw coconut flesh. DL commented that it was rather tentacley and surprisingly we kept the anime jokes at bay. Still I absolutely loved the combination. Sadly it seems Azalina only sells a line of sauces through a website and has no location to speak of. I want the recipe for this drink! I may have to use the flavor profile in something of my own….
DL wisely chose next to stop off at The Boxing Room which was another restaurant in the city I’ve been wanting to try. Creole soul food out of Louisiana. DL bought a bag of their boiled peanuts and holy frakking toasters. These were AMAZING. I actually looked up recipes last night and sadly discovered that to make these I need to find out a way to locate green peanuts. Green peanuts are a raw version that you don’t find in stores because they don’t have a very long shelf life. The traditional peanuts in the shell you buy are much older than those and don’t boil well. Damn it. I need to make these. They were soft, warm, spicy and delicious. The more I ate the more I wanted to eat.
We wandered a bit, tried a few interesting bites but nothing yet blew me away like the peanuts or persian food. One Vietnamese coffee pushed me over the edge of caffeination and I began to feel a bit spastic in the brainpan. I’m going to blame that for my lack of paparazzing the event. That and I’m still getting used to taking photos when I’m out places. It’s not my default setting yet to shutterbug but I’m getting there. I used to avoid taking photos like the plague when I was younger. I hated the way I looked and found that taking photos usually meant people wanting to take photos with you. Since I didn’t want my soul stolen away or a reminder that I felt fat and ugly all the time, I just avoided cameras in general. Thankfully I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I’m more willing to have a good time than worry about how I look. So here’s a candid shot I wasn’t even aware my companion had taken and tweeted of me spinning “The Wheel of Hummus.” Sadly I didn’t win anything. What a waste of hours logged watching The Price is Right when I was home sick as a kid!
The last dish of note, that I immortalized for you anyway, was a Chicken Mole Croissant sandwich from L’s Cafe. The chicken was a little cold but I blame that on the overwhelming popularity of this dish…we were waiting for them to fetch more from the restaurant beacuse they ran out of supplies on site. I’m guessing transit chilled them a little. I felt that the sauce could have had just a smidge more spice to it. I had just the faintest tease of heat in the back of my throat and wanted a tiny bit more. It was beautiful though and quite the decadent treat to indulge in. I could definitely see serving something like this as messy finger food for a good dinner party. Plus as a bonus this business claims to use only organic materials and recycles/composts 90% of their waste. I love supporting businesses that I can feel ecologically supportive of as well. The waste produced by the big food industry is depressing.
Anyway if I were to be serving up some fun food at La Cocina next year I’d probably do something like this hot dog below…that or another idea that is under wraps as a SECRET PROJECT with some friends of mine. Still these hot dogs would probably be a big seller and it’s really just a stupid simple recipe for dough that I played around with. I think it could be even better if I spiked the dough with some toppings or cheese. Mmmmmm yeah definitely some cheese.
From Peter Reinhart The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Makes two 1-pound loaves, 18 dinner rolls, or 12 burger or hot dog buns or about 8 “Caterpillar” Hot Dogs
- 4¼ cups (19 ounces) unbleached bread flour
- 1½ teaspoons (.38 ounces) salt
- 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (.22 ounce) instant yeast
- 1 large (1.65 ounces) egg, slightly beaten, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) butter, margarine, or shortening, at room temperature,
- 1½ cups (12 ounces) buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water until frothy, for egg wash
- sesame or poppy seeds for garnish (optional)
1. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Pour in the egg, butter, and milk and mix with a large metal spoon (or on low speed of the electric mixer with the paddle attachment) until all the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems very stiff and dry, trickle in more milk until the dough is soft and supple.
2. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook), adding more flour, if necessary, to create a dough that is soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky. Continue kneading (or mixing) for 6 to 8 minutes. (In the electric mixer, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick ever to slightly to the bottom.) The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 80° F. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
3. Ferment at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size (the length of time will depend on the room temperature).
4. Remove the fermented dough from the bowl and divide it in half for sandwich loaves, into eighteen 2-ounce pieces for dinner rolls, or twelve 3-ounce pieces for burger or hot dog buns. Shape the pieces into boules for loaves or tight rounds for dinner rolls or buns. Mist the dough lightly with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
5. For loaves, shape as shown on page 81. Lightly oil two 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pans and place the loaves in the pans. For rolls and buns, line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment. Rolls require no further shaping. For hamburger buns, gently press down on the rolls to form the desired shape. For hot dog buns, shape as shown on page 80, although without tapering the ends. Transfer the rolls or buns to the sheet pans. Or to make “Caterpillar Buns” roll out your hot dog buns in ovals as I show here. Wrap one long side over your hot dog, fold the short ends over and then wrap the other long side but be sure to have about 1/2 of overhang. Think of it like “bundling”. Then gently make slits through the dough and hot dogs but leaving some of the overhang in tact. This is so you can pick up the pieces and twist them alternating sides to make the caterpillar shape.
6. Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until it nearly doubles in size. Let your hot dogs sit in the dough and proof for an hour. Don’t worry, hot dogs are pre-cooked and you are fine letting them sit on the counter for an hour. Your dough will get soft and poofy though it won’t rise as much as it would were it a typical hot dog. Follow the rest of the instructions as they are written.
7. Preheat the oven to 350° F for loaves or 400° F for roll and buns. Brush the rolls or buns with the egg wash and garnish with poppy or sesame seeds. Sandwich loaves also may be washed and garnished, or score them down the center and rub a little vegetable oil in the slit.
8. Bake the rolls or buns for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and register just above 180° F in the center. Bake loaves for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through for even baking, if needed. The tops should be golden brown and the sides, when removed from the pan, should also be golden. The internal temperature of the loaves should be close to 190° F, and the loaves should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
9. When the loaves have finished baking, remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving. Rolls should cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before serving.