Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Going to the Dogs: The Westminster Dog Show and the Perfect Hot Dog by Cleo Coyle

When I was a singleton, I felt left out of Valentine’s Day. As part of a couple, it sometimes feels a little forced. On the other hand, the celebration of love need not be limited to couples. Sweethearts come in many forms, including the furry and feathered kind.

Rebel, Bobo, and Cleocatra,
3 of my many New York strays,
rescued from the city streets.
Today happens to mark the second and final day of the annual Westminster Dog Show here in New York City. I always enjoy this show, as well as the Cat Show. (Pictured right are three of my furry Valentines.) 

Both the Cat and Dog shows celebrate the love and appreciation we have for our furry friends, which is a heartwarming sight to see. When "Best in Show" is announced at the end of these events, naming the single cat or pup who captures everyone's heart, it brings tears to many eyes (mine included). 

I especially enjoy watching the wonderful Westsminster Dog Show judging. To wit...


The "Best of Group" judging is both entertaining and informative. 
As each dog is presented, the announcer explains the basic characteristics of each breed. And each dog presented is already a winner of his or her "Best of Breed" category for the Show, so you're seeing a superior example of the breed. It's a wonderful way to learn more about the world of dogs...

Finn is a Tibetan Terrier, a type of dog first raised and bred in Tibetan monasteries over 2,000 years ago. They first got out of the country when an English physician was given the dog as a gift after caring for a Tibetan woman. 

Finn's win in Best of Breed allowed him to advance to Best of Group. In the video below, you can watch Finn compete in his "Non-Sporting" Group event. 

Best of Group Judging
"Non-Sporting Group"

Click here to view this video
at the Westminster website.

To watch all of the 
"Best of Group" judging 
videos including the 
"Best of Breed" winners in: 

Herding, Hound, Sporting,
Non-Sporting, Terrier, Toy and
Working group categories,

Congrats to the


Sky, the ginger
Wire Fox Terrier!

To watch Sky compete in the
Best in Show judging,
with the seven other
"Best in Group" winners, 

click here 

Sky won First Place
out of over 2,800 entries!


Cleo Coyle, fan of furry 
creatures large and small, 
is author of The Coffeehouse
. Click here to
learn more.
As for today's recipe, in keeping with the theme, I'm going to the dogs...hot dogs! Below I share my tips for cooking the perfect one.

Living in New York, space is limited, especially space in our little kitchen. My husband (and partner in crime-writing) and I often look for ways to make one kitchen gadget serve two or more purposes. 

Case in point: Our pizza pan with holes. Scroll down to see how we make use of it when we cook hot dogs...

Cleo's Tips for Cooking the
Perfect Hot Dog...

Into a saucepan of water toss 3 or 4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon of yellow mustard powder, and some ground black pepper. When the water begins to boil, add the hot dogs. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes.

The garlic, mustard powder, and pepper add nice flavor to your average dog. The boiling will plump them up and you can eat them right away. You can also throw them on a grill for a few minutes. In fact, this method is a great way to prepare hot dogs for an outdoor grill. It plumps them up with moisture so you won't get dry, shriveled hot dogs. Instead, they'll stay moist and delicious.

And here's that pizza pan trick: 

During the last minute or two of boiling the dogs, set your pizza pan with holes over the saucepan's top. 

Place your open hot dog buns face down on the pizza pan, and in just one or two minutes you'll have nice, warm steamed buns to go with your flavorful dogs. 

Just slap on a little mustard, relish, onions, and...eat with tail-wagging joy!

Valentine's Day

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Now a National
Bestseller in Hardcover

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

*Starred Review* -Kirkus

"Top Pick"  -RT Book Reviews

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
-Publishers Weekly

See the book's
Recipe Guide
by clicking here.

* * * 

Coffeehouse Mystery
Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
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  1. It's almost lunch time, and boy do those dogs look good! What a great idea to boil them and then just finish them on the grill. My husband's favorite meal is hot dogs, beans and cole slaw so I will be trying your technique soon!

    1. Peg - Don’t get me started on the subject of beans! We’ve been experimenting with a few different varieties lately (a good subject for a future blog).

      Another trick Marc especially likes is to boil the dogs first, and then roll them on a hot skillet with a light touch of butter—oh, incredibly good!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. What a fun post, Cleo! I love hot dogs and this is a great technique for them. I just shared an article about the 'other' hot dogs being discriminated against. A theme, of sorts.

    MJ (now craving a hot dog!)

    1. MJ - I found the article on your FB page—interesting. And good thing I included two “Wiener dogs” in my post. I wouldn't want to be accused of dog breed bias. :)

      All kidding aside, I really do love Dachshunds, and I know you do, too. But then all dog owners love their breeds--as well they should!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

    2. Yes. good save! Just kidding, Cleo. I think the article was written tongue in cheek. I laughed at the dog and the owner being so upset.

      And I didn't tell the princesses that you put wiener dogs in a bum.



  3. Yeah, me too, a hot dog! I had strawberries and cottage cheese for lunch--just not the same oomph:). We love watching the dog show, especially when the Aussies come on!

    1. Lucy/Roberta - I sympathize. I ate a yogurt with walnuts while I put this post up. It was torment. Fun note on the Aussies...

      Marc and I are very much looking forward to the Best in Show event later today. I'll update this post with the winner for a nice record of it, too. Enjoy the Show, everyone!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Love the Westminster show. Saw herding dogs last night and was amazed at the variety of sizes!

    Daryl / Avery

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Daryl/Avery. Great Show, loved the Best in Show finale, too.

      ~ Cleo

  5. We always boil the water, then turn it off and put the hot dogs in, or brats...and then wait about 20 mins, and then grill them....frying them with a little butter too is an old trick .....being German, I grew up with this....I was wondering..to boil them constantly for 20 mins...would'nt they be a little rubbery? depends on the type hot dog used too I suppose...I was thinking you were going to use the pizza pan to steam the hot dogs...that would work too....I miss NY hot dogs...from the street sellers....

    1. SueAnn - The pizza pan trick works great for those buns. We love it, and we do the butter trick all the time! It's delicious. FYI for those who haven't and would like to try it...

      THE BUTTER TRICK - Simply boil the hot dogs first then drain them. Melt a bit of butter in a skillet and roll the dogs. Very tasty and a good trick for adding even more flavor when you can't use your grill.

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter