Cooking With Zoogs!
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While visiting the land of dreams, one has the freedom to do most anything they can think of. While some may enjoy activities such as flying, exploring exotic locations, or searching unknown cities, those of us that love to cook have whole new doors opened up to us! While you probably won't encounter many natural denizens of the dreamlands by staying to the beaten path, if you're willing to put in the effort, you may come across quite the delicacy! Zoogs are small creatures, no bigger than a raccoon in the waking world, and at least five times as tasty if prepared right! Now, we know that preparing a meat that few men have ever had the opportunity to lay their eyes on is a daunting task, so we're here to help you through a basic recipe that will hopefully whet your appetite for experimentation on cooking in your dreams.

For this recipe, you'll need:

  • 1 Zoog, fully skinned and cleaned1
  • Three sweet dreams (chopped, child age group 3-10 are the best)
  • Butter from the horse of Nodens
  • One giant green/yellow onion
  • The brightest glowing mushrooms you can find, from the same forest you found your Zoog (This is important!)
  • Eggs from any bird or fish you can conjure up (For this recipe, we're using sturgeon caviar.)
  • Abstract emotions (For those who like it spicy, we'd recommend using anger or jealousy!)
  • Any spices that are to your taste
  • And of course, something that can be used for baking.2

Step 1: Getting Started on the Zoog!

Alright, now that we have all of our ingredients, it's time to get cooking! First, start up whatever you will be using to bake your Zoog. Here at our studio, we're using the fires of a Salamander. Then, it's time to start working on our Zoog! Laying it on its stomach, stretch out the tentacles that are connected to its face, and cut them off in one even slice. Set these aside in some cold water for later. Next, place the rest of the Zoog in a baking pan. If you haven't already cleaned it out, now's the time to do it! To keep your Zoog from tasting dry and too abstract, add a dollop or two of your Nodens butter inside the cavity. Rub it down with spices to your taste, using the rest of the Nodens butter to keep it all attached. When you're satisfied with the spice, chill the Zoog in a fridge, or local ice cave3

Step 2: Preparing the Stuffing!

Next, let's focus on making the stuffing for your Zoog! First, add a few glowing mushrooms and the giant green onion (chopped in a juliened style is preferable), as well as a little more spice, and a few of your eggs to a large bowl. Holding this bowl at an arms length, focus on a time in which you felt conflicted, helpless, or in turmoil. If you don't have any such memories, just scream into the bowl for around four minutes, and your mind should do the rest. Set that to the side to let it rest and set into your long term memory. This gives us the perfect opportunity to start on our appetizer!

Step 3: The Appetizer!

Zoog is a very sensitive meat, and can have any number of flavors depending on how long you cook it. But most of the true gourmets, myself included, tend to agree that the best way it can be cooked is starting at noon (or the closest approximation, depending on where you are in the dream cycle), and serving the whole Zoog as part of a three course meal4. So, for the appetizer, we're going to take the tentacles that we let sit aside in cold water earlier, and chop off the last two centimeters or so, as we'll need these later. If you cut these off at the beginning as you were supposed to, they probably won't be trying to strangle you by now.

In the largest tentacle, which was located around the Zoog's mouth while still attached, there is a pillar of grey on the outside, yellow on the inside meat, which is the first thing we're going to tackle. Isolate this tentacle, and slice only the skin, from top to bottom. Flatten out the skin, exposing the tender meat inside. Next, remove this meat (called the feeder brain by some,) and rinse it off to get rid of any waste that may have been clinging to it. Slice it into neat rings from top to bottom, around 3cm thick each. If you do, this will leave a nice little 2cm piece at the end, which we in the dream food preparation industry call 'the chef's appetizer', and I'm sure you can guess why! Shh, it'll be our secret!

Arrange the feeder brain rings around the edge of a plate, and place the remaining tentacles in the center after rinsing them off. Garnish with the rest of your eggs (this is why we prefer to use caviar), and send it out (or eat it yourself) with a side of raw, chopped mushrooms. If you got your mushrooms from the same location as your Zoog, then when you rub the tentacles and the mushrooms together, the tentacles will spring to life and dance in your mouth, which gave this appetizer its name of 'Dancing Zoog'.

Step 4: Roasting the Zoog!

While your guest (or you!) is eating the Dancing Zoog dish, take out your Zoog, and proceed to stuff it. Rub it down on the inside and out with another layer of spice, to your own taste. You can go for a Mellow Dreams Zoog, which uses minimal spice, leaning towards the concrete end, all the way to a Raging Nightmare Zoog, which goes all out on only the most abstract of spice and dreamspice! Once you're satisfied with the amount of spice, place it over the heat for a few hours. Baste it periodically with a few tears of youth, which even the most basic of dreamers can do easily. You'll know it's ready when the unsettling smell that inspires panic gives way to an aromatic, childhood wonder smell. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, we still need to make the gravy!

Step 5: The Gravy!

While your Zoog is roasting, take a pan, and toss in the tentacle trimmings, as well as your abstract emotions. The first few emotions that you add will shape how the rest of the gravy will taste, so be sure not to put in conflicting flavors early on5! Temper in the rest of the abstract emotions over the course of the next hour or so. When you have it all mixed in, spice to taste, and remove the solids from the liquids.

Step 6: Serve, and Enjoy!

After your Zoog is done roasting, baste it generously with the gravy, and line it with the leftover solids from your gravy, which are also both perfectly edible and tasty! The rest of the gravy can be served on the side, to allow yourself or your guest to apply it as they wish, or eat it with bread or another side item! This recipe is sure to bring a smile to even the most gloomy of dreamers, and we hope that you'll be able to enjoy this recipe for aeons to come! Be sure to stop by again sometime, and learn more about all sorts of classic recipes, from Gug Curry to Elder Abstraction! We're Dream Cycle Studios Cooking, and we'll see you… in your dreams!

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