Ok - these cute little suckers started popping up in my feed and I simply had to try them out. I was never a big hotdog fan to begin with, especially after I was told what was actually in hotdogs. Yikes, no gracias!! But kids love hot dogs (or ketchup and buns, lets be honest) and I was determined to make something that was just as good tasting but WAY better for you!!
I scoured the inter-webs and saw various methods and just decided to wing it. I used rainbow carrots, because thats what I had in my fridge and I'm glad that I did because I think that purple carrots came out the most "realistic" looking - for people used to eating sausage type hot dogs and orange carrots came out most realistic for people used to eating Oscar Meyer type hotdogs. The yellow / white carrots came out similarly to the orange due to the marinade but with perhaps a little more "weiss" tinge to them. That said, once they're in the bun, squirted with ketchup and lord knows what else, you can't really see them and no one seemed to care!
Decide how many hotdogs you want and how many buns you have and peel that amount of carrots and cut the ends down to the size of the hot dog you want.
Make a marinade - personally I find marinades to be pretty unique to each cook and everyone has their own preferred flavor profile. If you're at a loss - the basic formula for a good marinade is: Acid, Salty and/or Sweet, Fat and finally some Herbs and/or Spices.
For my dogs I mixed Tamari, Rice Vinegar, Sesame Oil, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder in a one cup pyrex measuring cup (maybe 1/2 to 3/4 full). Tamari being the most dominant ingredient followed by rice vinegar and the remaining in the the order above. You don't need much oil and spices are to your taste. As I say in nearly every recipe I post, I'm not much of a recipe follower and believe there are very few recipes (besides perhaps baking) where quanties need to be exact. Taste as you go, play around with the ingredients, use what you have, experiment, have fun. Don't have Rice Vinegar? Use apple cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar or lemon juice etc. Taste it. Do you like it? Yes? Great!! Not so much? Try adding a little mustard or something sweet or.....
Ok so.... once carrots are peeled, we're going to par-boil them. Place them into a saucepan with just enough water to fully cover, bring to a boil and let simmer for about 6-8 minutes (until just a bit tender). Remove from water, add to an airtight container, cover in the marinade, swish around and let cool on the counter* before covering and popping in the fridge to marinate. Ideally you'd marinate these over night but a few hours is ok too. I marinated mine for nearly 36 hours and they sure were tasty!!
Once ready to cook - pre-heat your oven to 350F, get you buns ready and any other accouterments you wish to bestow upon these carrot pups and lay the carrots out on a baking tray. Pop in the oven and let cook for about 10 minute. Feel free to add more marinade to the tray as you go.
That's it. If you like toasted/warmed buns. Pop those into the pre-heated oven for the final minute or two. Slide the pups into the buns, add ketchup, mustard, relish, whatever your heart desires and gobble up the goodness! I kept mine simple, with just ketchup, cut them in half and watched the kiddos and adults put them away with pleasure!
* I worked in the restaurant industry for years (front of house) and always knew you should let things cool before you put into the refrigerator but always thought it was due to bacteria or contamination. Which it is, but not for the reasons I thought. It's best to cool items down before putting into the fridge so as not to raise the temperature of the fridge which could result in contamination and/or bacteria growth in multiple items already in the fridge, not just the item you're putting in! Ideal fridge temp is between 38-40 degrees F. The more you know....