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Cooking with Elaine: Football season means football food favorites

Cooking with Elaine: Football season means football food favorites

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Cooking with Elaine

Elaine Fenner can be reached at

It’s football season! That means exciting games, foods and drinks. We enjoy watching our grandsons play the game and make a touchdown or two. My husband says I know very little about football. I think he’s right except I do know a “tight end” when I see one.

So with the new football year, you need some new recipes to help you enjoy the game. One of our favorites, especially for the grandkids to help with the making is ... pretzel dogs! I got the recipe in St. Augustine, Florida. My niece Jayme took us to her favorite cafe and she said “Aunt Elaine, try the pretzel dogs.” Well, I did and they were so good, the chef and owner of the cafe gave me the recipe. She invited me into the kitchen to watch. So I am sharing it with you. See the picture, they are as good as they look.

Pretzel dogs

Pretzel dogs.



2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

2 1/4 tsp of instant yeast

1 cup warm water (remember hot water will kill the yeast)

In a food processor with a steel blade, place the flour, salt and yeast. Process for 5 seconds. Add the water and process 7 to 10 seconds more until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process for an additional 45 seconds. Remove from the processor, add flour as needed and shape into a ball and place in a plastic bag, leaving at room temperature for the dough to expand. Let rest for 30 minutes.


Mix together and set aside the following ingredients:

1/2 cup warm water

2 Tbs baking soda

3 Tbs unsalted melted butter

coarse salt (kosher or pretzel)

Roll out small pieces of the dough, about the length of a medium banana. Roll it into a long strip, long enough to wrap around the hot dog. We use Nathan’s or Hebrew National (see photo). Submerge the wrapped dog in the topping and hold on to it in the topping mix for 6 seconds, so it does not unravel, place on a greased baking sheet, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake 5 to 6 minutes at 500 degrees. Remove from oven and cool on a baking rack for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with a variety of mustards.

Note: You can make the pretzel dogs during half time. If you have left over dough, refrigerate or freeze it. Your kids and grandkids can help you make these.

Make Ahead Muffelato

Make Ahead Muffelato.


(An Italian sandwich made famous in

New Orleans)

Purchase four hard rolls about the size of a large apple or orange. Slice the rolls but do NOT cut all the way through. Remove the bread inside the rolls. Reserve the bread pieces. Butter the inside of the rolls after you have removed the bread pieces. Put the reserved bread in the food processor, add about 3/4 cup black olives, 1 tsp dried basil (or 3 tsp of fresh basil). Pulse about five times, then while the processor is running, pulse about 1/4 cup olive oil. The mixture should hold together when you pinch it, but otherwise should be loose.

Now to the buttered roll halves. Add a slice of provolone cheese, a piece of salami. Then press the bread mixture on the salami. On top, of the bread mixture, add marinated artichokes and red roasted peppers (sold in jars in the grocery store). Continue with this until you have three layers of all ingredients and the roll is packed. Put the top on the packed roll and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for the next day and up to 48 hours. When ready to serve, remove from the plastic and cut into quarters. Serve.

And then there are buffalo wings, which are most enjoyable while watching football. You can order them from almost any fast food restaurant or tavern. Did you know buffalo wings originated in Buffalo, New York (my hometown)? They originated at the Anchor Bay in Buffalo. The owner of the bar received a huge quantity of chicken wings that he didn’t order.

So to use them, he created buffalo wings (this was in the 1970s). Today, the product is legend. The sauces change depending on the seller or chef or personal tastes, so you can make your own or buy your favorite. At half time (I do not know what half time is), you can make your own or order your favorite. The Buffalo tradition is to serve the wings along with carrots and celery sticks and a bowl of thick-style blue cheese salad dressing for dipping both the vegetables. I didn’t include a picture because I know that you know what they look like.

— Elaine Fenner can be reached at

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