Coney Islands

I realize I’ve been a little heavy on the commercial fake meat lately, and I feel bad about that. It’s really not all I’m eating! I was going to do a huge, beautiful Ethiopian post yesterday, in fact, but my injera turned out bad. Real bad. So bad Mark and I got sushi for dinner instead. (All the wots and wot-not (har har) went in the freezer until I can get to the Ethiopian grocery this weekend and buy injera because I’m feeling gun shy about making it. I will try again at some point, however.) Last week I was just playing around with the fake meats I found in the Vietnamese grocery store. This week I’ve been looking at more “old time” recipes in cookbooks borrowed from the library. I usually keep a stash of vegan ground “beef” or “hot dogs” on hand for nights when I don’t have time to make a real meal, although often I find that they pass their expiration date before I get around to needing them. So tonight’s meal uses up some such packages. The recipe is an adaptation of one in Rare Bits, a cookbook that explores the “forgotten” origins of popular recipes. According to the book (which is really pretty interesting), the vendors at Coney Island didn’t like the association to dog meat the term “hot dog” brought to mind and refered to their weiners in rolls as “Coney Islands” or “Red Hots”. This is my vegan version of the recipe found in the book, scaled to make two “dogs”.

Coney Islands

1/3 cup vegan “ground beef”
1 small or 1/2 large onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp chili powder
freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
3 Tbsp tomato sauce
2 Tbsp water
2 vegan “hot dogs”
2 vegan hot dog rolls

Set aside 3 tablespoons of the diced onions. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil. When hot, add the rest of the onions and the garlic.

Cook until onion is soft.

Add the “ground beef” and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, water, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the hot dogs according to package instructions. I cook them on the George Foreman grill. Here they are probably overcooked.

Place a cooked hot dog in a bun.

Top with half the chili.

Top with half the reserved onions.

I served with a tossed salad (not shown) and Boston baked beans.

I cheated on the beans, which also make me feel bad. Instead of using dried beans, I used a can of small white beans. I didn’t measure, but I added 1/4 onion, a pinch of cloves, dry mustard, 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce, some molasses and brown sugar, and salt and pepper, topped off with some water, and simmered for half an hour or so.

The Toonse helped me eat.

She loves books as much as I do, although her preference is more to rub her face on them than to read them.


  1. Josiane Said,

    June 3, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

    I hope you’ll have better luck with your injera next time you try it. Uh, I must admit that I’m saying that at least partly for selfish reasons… 😉

  2. Deleilan Said,

    June 4, 2009 @ 10:09 am

    Oh, that looks so good!

    My cat loves to sniff and rub his face on books, too. Is it the smell of ink that’s so attractive? That bottom photo is hilarious! “It’s MINE now.”

  3. Mo Said,

    June 4, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

    That looks seriously good. And I can’t wait for your Ethiopian post.

  4. Jes Said,

    June 4, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

    You don’t rub your face in your books?? 😉

    I could really really really go for one of those hot dogs right now! Easy food is my friend at the moment.

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