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Cephalopods in a Blanket

This recipe uses a variation of the old pigs-'n-a-blanket theme in order to make edible cephalopods. Cephalopods were squid-like animals that lived in shells. They were very common in Paleozoic-era seas. They would probably have tasted like calamari (a fancy name for squid to trick people into eating it), but what are your chances of getting a child to eat squid?

You'll need:

Preparation time: 30 to 45 minutes


1. To prepare the tentacles of the squid-like cephalopod animal, make two or three vertical slices in the end of a hot dog. Don't cut pieces off, just cut into the hot dog, along its length. The slices should be made as if you were cutting the top of the hot dog into equal slices. For appetizer dogs, make two slices, ½ to ¾ inches deep. For regular-sized dogs make three cuts, each 1 to 1 ½ inches deep. The hot dog will curl back from these cuts during cooking to form the "tentacles."

2. Now unroll the precut crescent batter dough. The dough will form the "shell" of each hot dog/cephalopod. For small appetizer dogs, start wrapping the dough at the base of the cuts. For larger dogs, leave ½ inch for the eye before starting your wrap. You can wrap the dough in a spiral around the dogs, and leave it coiled, or smooth the dough with your hand. Try to make the dough come to a cone shape at the end of the hot dog (pointed end opposite the side of the hot dog that you cut). For regular-sized hot dogs, you may want to cut off an inch of hot dog so it fits the precut dough sheets. Also, cutting the end of the dog into a cone, can help in keeping a conical shape to the dough. For appetizer-hot dogs, you can cut the precut triangles into smaller triangles to make more shells. When finished, the side of the hot dog with the cuts should be sticking out of the dough, and the other side should be covered in the dough, with the dough coming to a point just beyond where the hot dog ends.

3. Bake in the oven according to the directions on the batter roll, usually until the dough is slightly golden.

4. Remove from the oven. If the "tentacles" haven't opened, open them up with a knife.

5. You can use your imagination for putting eyes on the cephalopod. The easiest way to do this is to place a drop of mustard on the side of the cephalopod first, and then put a dab of ketchup on a toothpick or the end of a fork, so as to place a smaller spot of red ketchup within the larger yellow circle of mustard. For regular-sized hot dogs, place the eye on the hot dog between the "tentacles" and the crescent-dough shell. For appetizer hot dogs there isn't enough room for the eye on the hot dog, so just put it on the crescent-dough shell. You can also slice an olive and pimento and attach with a dab of ketchup.

6. Eat and enjoy!