Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Mango Mojito and a Mango Mojito Sorbet by Lucy Mercer: Of Lucy's post, in which she met Top Chef Master Marcus Samuelsson and talked with him about his heritage, scoring his mango mojito recipe, Jessica said: "Lucy Mercer managed to capture not only the rum's past and its brutal history, but also added a look at the contemporary possibilities of the beverage. Her sugar mill charm and related references also reminded me of the many hours that I spent exploring old mills on St. Croix and multiple other Caribbean islands. Besides, I know Marcus and everything he does is wonderful, so this is going to be a great drink."
THIS WEEK'S CATEGORY WINNERS:
In the Connoisseur of History category:
Citrus, Rum, and Soda by Felisa Rogers: Felisa's beautifully written and nuanced history of rum -- "dark and complex," like the best versions of the liquor -- caught Jessica's attention: "I couldn't help but love a history maven like the author of this piece. She's not only an aficionado of the beverage, but knew her stuff. Her drink was simple, but her rum selection indicated a rum sophisticate."
In the Sweet Boozy Treats category:
Chocolate Rum Balls by Lisa Kuebler: Lisa's hilarious story of old church ladies playing cards, drinking a little too much, and putting away these liquor-soaked cookies had Jessica "just howling with laughter and then smile knowingly and remember my first experience with rum balls at a work holiday party."
In the Colonial Drinks category:
Planter's Punch and Rum Raisin Cake by Linda Shiue: While her first visit to Jamaica was working in the part of the country tourists don't usually see, her second was, by chance, in much more colonial style, and she came back with a recipe for the classic refresher, Planter's Punch. Jessica remarks: "Linda Shuie's piece reminded me of the time that I spent at the Jamaica Inn and her variant on the classic Caribbean rhyme -- One of sour/ two of sweet/ three of strong/ and four of weak -- reminded me of the island-to-island and often bar-to-bar confusion about rum punches and Planter's Punches."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
With July 4 approaching steadily, thoughts turn to summertime and the American-ness of the hot dog. Most cookouts, of course, feature the tube steak plainly -- a bun, a squirt of something yellow or red or maybe pickle-green. But the hot dog never needs to be relegated to such severe austerity, and, since it's one of America's all-time culinary ambassadors, other nations have certainly had a little fun.
Brazilians like to cook their hot dogs in tomato sauce and top them with potato sticks, cheese and corn kernels. Chileans have a taste for toppings of mayonnaise and avocado purée. In Hong Kong, most hot dogs find themselves baked directly into soft, sweet rolls.
These international hot dogs are fantastic (Purists, don't knock them 'til you've tried them!), and, of course, we have our own home-grown regional dogs, like the Coney Islands (onions and chili-like sauce) of Detroit, cole slaw dogs in the South, and the masterpiece Chicago Dog, topped with tomatoes, pickles, onions, sport peppers, neon relish, mustard and celery salt.
This week's challenge is to come up with your own signature hot dog style. Maybe you'll be inspired by the interpretations of faraway friends, maybe you'll start reaching for the bacon and start wrapping, or maybe you'll really go for the gold and start to make your own sausages.
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC Hot Dogs (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and the good sense not to title your entry "Hot Doggin'!" unless absolutely necessary.