A cardiologist once told me that if you’ve eaten one hot dog in your life, you’ve eaten one too many.
Doctors are no fun.
I love hot dogs, but I love my vascular system more, so I try to avoid the real thing and substitute veggie dogs instead. For City Paper’s football issue, I put my spin on classic football fare (at least, it’s classic for we recluses who don’t leave the house and instead put on parties for one in a blanket fort).
This dish is called Gabby’s Veggie Piggy Blankies. (I know the name is utterly juvenile, but so is the chef who designed it.)
GABBY’S VEGGIE PIGGY BLANKIES
Start to finish: 25 minutes
1 bag Kraft cubed Colby jack cheese ($2.99/bag)
1 jalapeno pepper ($.20)
1 chili pepper ($.20)
2 cups chopped white onion ($.50)
1 can Giant Eagle-brand crescent rolls ($1.89)
1 package Lightlife Smart Dogs ($3.99)
1/2 cup olive oil (standard pantry item)
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (standard pantry item)
1/2 cup gochujang ($5.99)
1 cup orange marmalade ($2.49)
1 cup ketchup (standard pantry item)
1 pinch salt (standard pantry item)
1 pinch pepper (standard pantry item)
1 teaspoon paprika (standard pantry item)
1 orange ($1)
Approximate cost: $19.25 (Robinson Market District Giant Eagle)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Begin by chopping the peppers and onions. Next, sauté them in a pan with some olive oil. Remember to always season your veggies before cooking them.
Once cooked, set the veggies aside.
For the dipping sauce, put 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup of chopped onion, 1 cup of ketchup, 1/2 cup of gochujang, and 1/2 cup of orange marmalade in a small sauce pot. Begin to stir, and let it simmer at medium temperature. Think of it like making a barbecue sauce. Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Grate orange rind and squeeze some fresh orange juice to lift the freshness profile of the sauce. Once it’s bubbling, turn the heat to low and use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce.
By now, the oven should be heated. Begin to build the pigs in a blanket.
Spread out each crescent roll on a pre-sprayed, flat cookie sheet. On the widest part of the dough, place a teaspoon of orange marmalade, a teaspoon of cooked peppers/onions, and one cube of cheese. On the thinnest part of the dough, place a quarter of a veggie dog and begin rolling it into a fun-filled blanket. Repeat this same process for each.
Coat the top of the rolled blankets with melted butter or olive oil, then sprinkle sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper and orange rind on top. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes (depending on oven).
Once golden brown on top, remove from the oven and let cool for about five minutes. Serve on a platter with dipping sauce on the side. For an added touch, grate some orange rind on the top of the dipping sauce.
This dish should provide a perfect blend of spiciness and sweetness. If you really hate spicy food, substitute the jalapeño/chili peppers for poblano or banana peppers (or skip peppers all together).
If done correctly, no one should suspect the hot dogs are vegetarian.