Category Archives: Sauce

Hot Dog Sauce Redux

Two years ago, I posted a recipe probably given to me by my sister-in-law for hot dog sauce, supposedly similar to that at a Greenville, PA bar and grill. We’ve had the original many times, including recently, and thought this recipe was pretty close, at least in basic ingredients. But if you look at the post comments, you’ll see two recent comments from former Greenville residents that suggest one significant problem with my sauce, a problem I agree with—too much cloves. One generous informant, Mr. McDonald, even provided a recipe from one of his former Greenville neighbors “of the original Majestic restaurant.” Here’s the recipe I have been using, followed by the better one:

I decided to make the better recipe in a slow cooker, instead of hovering around a pot on the stove, and that turned out to be a good choice, although the beef didn’t break down like I thought it might, even after 8 hours, so I pulsed it in a blender for a few seconds for a much better texture. Both cooking methods are below.

Greenville Hot Dog Sauce

  • Servings: makes about 8-10 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 “handfuls chopped onion” (I used 2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg (Mr. McDonald used 2 teaspoons; I used the tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons paprika (I only had smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 14 oz bottle ketchup
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I added 2 more at the end)
  • 1 cup flour (Mr. McDonald says “3/4 c. seems enough”; I used the full cup in the slow cooker)

On stove:

  1. Brown beef, drain, and set aside, reserving about 3 tablespoons fat in pot.
  2. Sweat onions in the reserved fat until translucent.
  3. Return beef to pot with spices and ketchup.
  4. Beat together water, salt, and flour until all the flour is combined. Add to sauce mixture. “Simmer 2 hours. The sauce will thicken and the beef will break down. The beef is supposed to be in small particles, like Cincinnati chili. If you simmer the sauce uncovered then the water evaporates down,” if needed.

In slow cooker:

  1. Brown beef in large skillet, drain, and place in slow cooker. Reserve about 3 tablespoons fat in skillet.
  2. Sweat onions in the reserved fat until translucent, then transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Add spices and ketchup to slow cooker.
  4. Beat together water, salt, and flour until all the flour is combined. Add to slow cooker, stirring until all is combined.
  5. Cook at HIGH for 4 hours. Stir, then set at LOW for another 3-4 hours. You shouldn’t have any sticking, unless you have an older cooker with the heating element on the bottom, in which case you might want to use an all-day LOW setting.
  6. If the texture of the ground beef is still chunky at the end of the cooking (like mine was) you can use an immersion blender or a regular blender or food processor to make it more finely textured, which is best for a hot dog sauce. Just don’t turn it into a paste!

*About the amount of flour in the sauce. One cup of flour has 16 tablespoons, enough to thicken 8 cups of liquid to a medium sauce, like white sauce or cheese sauce. Combined here with 6 cups of water, you can see why the first cooking method on the stovetop suggests using less. In the slow cooker, however, there is little to no evaporation and the sauce is not too thick. That said, you have to decide how thick you want the final sauce. We like a kind of loose sauce with fine textured meat, and thought this one was just right

Cooking Up the Summer Harvest—Tomatoes

I still have a lot of tomatoes coming for more of the following recipes

I think I already have enough roasted tomatoes in the freezer (about 8 containers, small and medium in size), which I made as the tomatoes began to ripen in small batches. I saved them in small containers so they could be added to dishes—sauces, pizza, salads—or just eaten like candy. These are the kind of  tomatoes roasted with lots of olive oil, salt, and thyme until they shrivel up into little red gems that are slightly caramelized on the bottoms and edges. I pretty much follow this recipe from Rachael Ray for “Roasted Tomatoes.”


With the rest of the tomatoes—the ones I didn’t put in the salsa of the last post—I made lots of sauce and puree. I don’t have one of those food mills that separates out seeds and skin, and now I’m not sure I want one. I found two terrific recipes that use all of the tomato by putting the cooked ingredients into the blender, not the food processor, the blender. Neither recipe requires peeling and only one requires seeding. If you’re thinking that leaving the skin and some seeds in the sauces might be bitter, you’re wrong.

The sauce is thick yet mild, not that deep red, highly-acidic kind you find in jars. It retains a little of the roasted tomato taste and it must be the onions and carrots that make it a little milder—yes, onions and carrots. One change I made in the process is not roasting peeled garlic with the veggies; I just added garlic paste to the mixture in the blender. The other change is not picking off the roasted tomato skins—they add a great caramelized flavor to the sauce and you don’t notice any pieces at all.

We have 5 quarts of sauce in the freezer, having already eaten two others with pasta.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: makes 1 quart
  • Difficulty: easy
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The original recipe can be found here: Martha Stewart’s “Roasted Tomato Sauce.”

Preheat oven to 425°; line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  • 3 pounds Roma tomatoes (you can use beefsteak or a combination, but big round tomatoes take up more room on the sheet)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • olive oil to drizzle over vegetables
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste, commercial or homemade from roasted garlic
  1. Core tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise, and place cut side down on baking sheet. You do not have to seed tomatoes for this recipe. Yay 😊
  2. Place cut onions and carrots on baking sheet. As you can see in the photo, it all fits on one sheet if you have weighed your tomatoes.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over all. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  4. Roast vegetables for about 45 mins or until caramelized.
  5. Scoop all the vegetables into a blender, then pour in any juices from the pan and add the garlic. Blend to puree to a thick even consistency.
  6. Store in freezer in 1 quart container.

I often double the recipe when I have a lot of tomatoes.

Tomato Purée

I currently have 11 pints of tomato puree in the freezer, stored flat in zip-top freezer bags. The pint (2 cups) size is good for adding flavor to other sauces and soups, etc. Follow the easy directions here: The Kitchn: “How to Make Tomato Purée




Cooking Up the Summer Harvest—Salsa

No, I haven’t been on vacation, I’ve been cooking up all the tomatoes and peppers from the garden, and while I’m not done, I will probably just be doing more of the same to what’s left. The green beans are about done, and I will likely French the last batch today as a side for dinner. You can see how I did that in this recent post.

Two years ago—wow, this blog is getting old—I wondered What to Bring to the Summer Get Together and we went to that gathering again last night. Two years ago, it was a bacon-ranch macaroni salad. Last year, it was my favorite Sparkling Molasses Ginger Cookies. This year, I decided to let the garden dictate, making two kinds of salsa—Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa and Roasted Poblano Salsa. I think I got the most favorable comments this year, and I saw just about everyone with some salsa and chips on their plates. I bought some of those single-serving plastic cups (2 oz) to make it easy for guests to add salsa to their plates. In this photo, you can see the chipotle salsa on the left and the poblano salsa on the right; the tomatoes in the poblano salsa were raw, so it is more of a fresh salsa:


Roasted Tomato Chipotle (left) Roasted Poblano (right)

Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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I doubled the following recipe.

  • 1-1.5 lbs Roma tomatoes, cored, halved, and roasted
  • 4-5 small to medium beefsteak tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, plus 2 tsp of the adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

The roasted garlic was from my brother-in-law’s garden. I roasted it and put the resulting mash in ice cube trays for freezing.


  1. Roast tomatoes by halving and roasting cut side down so that the skins char a little. Roast on parchment paper at 425° for 45 minutes. Remove all to a food processor, including juices.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined into a uniform consistency. You can do it in two batches if necessary, and then just combine it all in a large bowl.
  3. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Find the recipe for the Roasted Poblano Salsa here. This is a mild, fresh salsa with few seasonings, so that the poblano and tomato flavors stand out.



Orange Jalapeño Salsa and Marinade

We’re beginning to get a lot of jalapeños in the garden, so I have to come up with ways to use them, and I don’t really want to do the fried cheese-stuffed poppers. Using them in their fresh state is a nice change from roasting them; fresh jalapeños have a bright, slightly bitter taste, and they are not so hot that you suffer with each bite.

This salsa, which I’m also using to marinate chicken breasts before grilling, also uses bell pepper and raw onion, orange and lime juices, and a few spices. It has a clean, bright flavor in which you can taste all the notes of the ingredients. Made in the blender, the pulp of the onion and peppers gives the salsa enough body to work on its own, even with tortilla chips, but you could add chunky veggies to it afterwards for even more texture.

There are no oils or added sugar in this salsa, and all the vegetables are raw. You could achieve a different, milder result by roasting the vegetables first. Instead, I roasted some extra peppers and onions to serve with chicken marinated in the salsa and to echo the raw versions in the sauce.

Orange Jalapeño Salsa and Marinade

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 jalapeños, about 4″ long, each, seeded
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded—I think a red pepper would muddy the color of the salsa; a green one would be good but would add more bitterness
  • 1 small yellow onion, about 2.5″ diameter
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic or garlic paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon Jamaican allspice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro paste—fresh cilantro if you can stand the smell and the annoyance of chopping herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Add all ingredients to a blender jar. Blend on low, then move to highest speed to create a smooth sauce. There will still be plenty of texture from the vegetable pulp and skins that won’t completely emulsify. I don’t have one of those high-dollar new blenders, so maybe you need to adjust the instructions for those so you don’t over-blend the sauce.

I used less than a cup to marinate chicken breasts that had been sliced horizontally to make 4 pieces. The rest was refrigerated for serving later as a dressing on the chicken.