Thursday, November 29, 2012

Baby NOT-opus in Chili Paste

If you look closely at this beady-eyed brood, they are not as they seem.

Octopi are considered to be intelligent creatures, so for some their consumption as food is controversial. As our global climate changes, the fear of hunting them into extinction is quite real. It makes it ever more difficult that baby octopi are particularly delicious. A popular Asian seafood dish is stir-fried baby octopus (ojinguh bokkeum), marinated in Korean chili paste (gochuchang) and garlic overnight. It’s a dish that can serve to make a guilty conscience grow heavier.

A clever kitchen gadget gone for good?
I found a solution to the matter with a clever kitchen gadget known as the OctoDog Frankfurter Converter. But alas, I’ve since found that this handy kitchen gadget is no longer in production—yet another victim has fallen to extinction in this unstable economy. I was advised to bid on eBay if I really wanted one but the competition seems fierce. I couldn’t bare to see the OctoDog go the way of the Dodo and Hostess Brands Snowballs, so instead I came up with my own home-spun solution.

The solution at hand
Make a Baby Not-opus
First I cut the dog in half to make two pieces. I plunge a knife about an inch from the end and make lengthwise slice towards the cut end, then roll it 90° over make another lengthwise slice to create four legs. I stand the dog upwards with all four legs evenly splayed out, then cut each leg lengthwise again to make a total of eight legs. And there we have it, a baby Not-opus.

Marinate for 30 minutes in Korean chili paste, crushed garlic, liquid smoke and a little rice wine vinegar. Fry them up on medium flame in a non-stsick frying pan. The legs curl upwards as they cook. Stir them around gently until they slightly caramelize, remove from the pan and serve on a seasoned rice cake or a bed of mac ‘n’ cheese. Note, I’ve never grilled one of these critters. I hear this works equally well with tofu dogs, but one has never strayed through this kitchen. Yet frankurters themselves remain a bit controversial to some—made from parts of the cow that have never seen a kitchen table. We’re advised to buy the eat the better brands in moderation or exclude them completely from our diets. But as my freinds Lisa and Scott say about their daughter Ivy, “Look, she’s actually eating something!”

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