Super Easy Garlic Buns

Unless you are fortunate enough to have a son like one of our great nephews when he was young, you are going to end up with extra hot dog buns from time to time. When Nate was about nine, he stopped eating most things. Meat was especially out of the question and he had never liked vegetables anyway.

What he did like was hot dog buns covered with ketchup, and that’s what he ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He drank milk, so his diet included four of the five food groups: grain (flour), legumes (soybean oil), fruit (tomatoes) and milk. His parents took this dietary phase with equanimity, and after a year or two Nate one day decided to add white chicken to his list of acceptable foods which had already grown to include hamburger buns and plain white bread.

When I heard of this preference for white foods, I wondered if he had been mistakenly swapped with a Scandinavian baby when he was discharged from the nursery. If he had insisted on mayonnaise with the buns, that might have been the explanation, but his preference for ketchup ruled that out.

Anyway, Nate’s mother did not have to worry about what to do with leftover hot dog buns. With Nate around, there never were any leftover buns. He was a growing boy with a healthy appetite.

However, like many people we know, we often end up with extra hot dog buns. We usually buy three dogs at a meat market or one pound packages of hot dogs at the supermarket. The packages we buy today have two separate pouches with four dogs in each, so we can toss one in the freezer.

Buns, alas, are always sold in packages of eight or ten. One can freeze buns of course, but they take up lots of space in the freezer and are often forgotten by the husband who is sent out to buy hot dogs for supper. Contrary to what one might suppose, frozen hot dog buns do not last forever. They really are not very good even after only six or seven months.

Here is a quick way to turn those extra hot dog buns into a delicious appetizer that you and your friends will enjoy.


Hot dog buns
Powdered garlic
Dried basil
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Dried oregano


Preheat the oven to 350º and melt a tablespoon of butter.

Separate and brush the buns with the melted butter and put them on a plate or other work surface. Sprinkle them with garlic powder, basil, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with a little grated Parmesan cheese and finish with a light sprinkling of oregano.

Put the buns on a baking sheet and bake them for about twelve minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.

Serve the buns warm from the oven.

NOTES: You can substitute olive oil for the butter. There are of course other ways to use the extra buns. For instance, you can dry them and make bread crumbs to top your next casserole or add to the hamburger when you make a meatloaf, but you won’t have any leftovers if you make garlic buns.

Jerri’s Cherry Torte

Over four thousand years ago, a scribe in Sumeria (modern-day southern Iraq) wrote down the recipe for beer on a clay tablet. He composed it as a hymn to Ninkasi, the goddess of beer and brewing. The name means “The Lady who fills the mouth,” and the hymn may have been written to help apprentice brewers memorize the ingredients and method to make one of the staple foods of early civilizations.

About four hundred years later, the first known cookbook was written during the time of Hammurabi, famous for the Code of Hammurabi. Thus, this famous king of Babylon (also in Iraq) is responsible not only for giving us the first law book but also for a collection of twenty-five recipes probably enjoyed by him and his court. Twenty-one are meat stews and four are vegetable stews.

The recipe for Jerri’s Cherry Torte is not as old as those from ancient Iraq nor was it stamped in cuneiform on clay tablets, but nevertheless, it has an interesting history. I found the recipe while reading The Krehbiel Family Cookbook compiled by Lynne, Jerri’s oldest niece, to preserve recipes that she and her three sisters enjoyed while growing up near Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Concluding the recipe was a note that Jerri served this dessert when Jerri’s oldest brother, Lynne’s dad, brought his family to visit us in Murray, Kentucky.

When I asked Jerri where she got the recipe, she said it had to be from one of her older cookbooks, since I did not begin my cookbook buying binge until we had left Kentucky. We checked that small collection beginning with The Joy of Cooking, Liz Specials, and Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two. Nothing even close. Then she exclaimed, “I’ll bet it was from the cookbook I got from my Home Ec teacher in high school.”

Sure enough. It took some doing to find the old book since the spine is gone and it is hard to spot on the shelf, but on page 250 of Food From Famous Kitchens is the recipe for Cherry Torte. In Jerri’s neat handwriting is a note: “Very good.” That is true enough, but it is also very simple to make, which may help explain why Lynne included it in their family cookbook.

I value simple recipes that taste good too. If you feel the same way, give this easy recipe a try.


For the torte:
16 oz. can of red sour pitted cherries
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 T butter
1 tsp. almond extract
1/3 cup chopped nuts
6 oz. cream cheese
2 T milk

For the cherry sauce:

1/4 cup sugar
1 T corn starch
1/8 tsp. salt
Reserved cherry liquid
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. red food coloring


Preheat the oven to 350º and grease and line an 8 by 2-inch round cake pan with waxed paper.

Drain the cherries and reserve the liquid. Beat the egg until lemon colored, gradually add the sugar and beat thoroughly. Stir in the well-drained cherries.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon into the cherry mixture and mix well. Melt and stir in the butter and almond flavoring. Turn the batter into the cake pan and sprinkle the nuts evenly on top.

Bake at 350º for forty to forty-five minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes our clean, the torte is done. Invert the pan on a rack and cool the torte .

Make the cherry sauce while the torte is baking.

Mix the sugar, corn starch and salt together in a small saucepan. Add enough water to the reserved cherry juice to make one cup. Stir the liquid gradually into the sugar mixture and put the pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for one minute. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and food coloring.

To serve, cut the cooled torte into wedges. Blend together the cream cheese and milk. Put a spoonful on each wedge and and top with cherry sauce.