Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hot Dog Art

I think some backstory is required here, lest you think I just came up with the idea to be creative with hot dogs all on my own (hey, minds out of the gutter...these are kids activities I am talking about!)

A few days ago, a friend from high school sent me this link and suggested that we might like to try making Spaghetti Dogs. I guess I have to pirate the picture so you can see what that here...

I kind of thought the the kids would be into this. I suggested that they could be in charge of sticking the dry spaghetti through the hot dog pieces...but Tater was utterly horrified by the prospect of this. Why would you do that to hot dogs? Why would you do that to spaghetti? Would he have to eat it?? Unnatural...wrong...I couldn't interest either of them. Bummer.

So there I was all disappointed that we couldn't do Spaghetti Dogs...and my mind started running through what other interesting food "art" could be entertaining. And I thought about how if you cook a cut hot dog, the ends curl up...and I dog octopus...that could work.

So I started experimenting.

Materials required: Hot dogs (I found that Oscar Meyer Light worked best...Ball Park Light got strangely swollen...), sharp knife, microwave-safe plate, and microwave.

Take a hot dog - cut it lengthwise about 2/3 of the way through, then turn it 1/4 turn and slice lengthwise again 1 to 3 times to make the "legs". Skinnier legs curl up more, and clearly, to be an anatomically correct "Hoctopus" (Hot Dog + Octopus) it should have 8 legs...but 4-6 legs were working better for me. And the cooked "legs" get a little jerky-ish if they are too skinny.

Then cut across the hot dog (a shallow cut) to make the mouth and poke out two little holes for eyes. You won't be able to see them well before cooking, that's OK.

Prop the Hoctopus up on the microwave-safe plate so he is sitting on his "legs" - pull them out and spread them around him so they will curl up evenly.

Put the whole deal in the microwave for 35-45 seconds. The kids liked watching them sizzle and curl.

It might take some experimentation to get the cook time, cutting technique, etc to work out. But the kids enjoyed watching the various attempts. They wanted to do the cutting, but I am too much of a chicken/control freak to let them. Maybe with plastic knives or close supervision that would be OK for your kids. Maybe I will lighten up and let them try it next time.

We served these perched on the edge of a plate of Mac & Cheese and broccoli. Which looked weird and science-experimenty. So of course, the kids ate every bite!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Serve over Velvetta Shells and Cheese for a Sea Food type meal. You can throw in some fish crackers for special effects.