Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Game Day Wings 2-Ways

Sticky Balsamic Wings

When I think of any televised sporting event, I immediately think of food. Why? Because I’m not that interested in any particular game, but I have a food correlation for each of them. For example, baseball goes with beer and hotdogs. Hockey goes with beer and hot dogs. Basketball, I think beer and hot dogs. But football goes with beer and hot wings. Being from the Philly area, I should throw a soft pretzel in there too. With the Super Bowl fast approaching and lots of party planning upon us, I think football and hot wings are a perfect pair.

I was looking for a new twist to traditional buffalo wings and concocted these sticky balsamic wings. Although most wing recipes call for deep-frying, I’ve found that baking them in the oven works nicely and eliminates the fat laden calories of the deep-fryer. Whether you’re a Giants fan or rooting for the Patriots, making hot wings a part of your buffet will spread happiness, even if the game isn’t going your way. I’ve whipped-up wings two ways below. If you’re not looking to be creative with the sticky wings, just make the baked Buffalo wings and keep with tradition.

STICKY BALSAMIC WINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 30-40 wingettes, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 1/4 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp Jack Daniels Whiskey
  • 2 good pinches red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • Thinly sliced fresh small green chilies
  • Sprinkle of sesame seeds

Rinse the chicken, pat dry and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients from above EXCEPT the green chilies and sesame seeds. Whisk together, making sure the brown sugar and honey loosens and properly blends through the marinade. You can make this marinade the day before and refrigerate, but do not combine with the wings until the day you’re making them. Put the wings in a large Ziploc bag and pour over half the marinade. Seal the bag and shake it around to make sure the wings are coated. Place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours, turning the bag periodically.

Pour the remaining half of the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reduces by about half and thickens. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and store covered in the refrigerator until it’s time to bake the wings.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan(s) with aluminum foil (to help with clean-up). Remove the wings from the marinade using tongs, and lay them in a single layer on the sheet pan. Discard the marinade in the Ziploc. Place in the oven for about 40 minutes, basting with the reduced marinade a total of 3 times (every 12 minutes or so), until the wings become a dark golden color all over.  Place on a platter and sprinkle the sliced green chilies and sesame seeds over the top. Enjoy!

* When I say wingette, I’m referring to the individual wings when they are separated into two pieces. Officially they’re called the drumettes and wingettes… who knew?

Traditional Baked Buffalo Wings

TRADITIONAL BAKED BUFFALO WINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 30-40 wingettes, rinsed and patted dry
  • About 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 drops of Tabasco (more or less depending if you like it spicy)
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Franks Red Hot Original Sauce (or your hot sauce of choice)
  • 2 tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the wings in a large bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Tabasco, as much as you’d like, or omit if you prefer. Toss the wings in the bowl, ensuring they are all evenly coated. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up). Lay the wings in a single layer and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until they look golden and crisp.

While the wings are baking, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the hot sauce and stir to combine. If you like your wings super spicy, you can add additional Tabasco to this sauce mixture.

Here’s my secret… if you have any brown paper bags from the grocery store, cut a couple open so they lay flat on your counter. When the wings are done, remove them from the sheet pan using tongs and lay them on the brown paper bags to absorb any grease (only do this for the traditional buffalo wings, not the sticky wings). Transfer them to a large bowl and pour over the hot sauce mixture. Toss to combine. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

* Since both kinds of wings roast at 450 degrees, you can bake them at the same time. If you have multiple trays in the oven, I suggest switching them around to help them cook evenly. 

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January 29, 2012

Spicy Peperonata

Spicy Peperonata

I get together with my college girlfriends once a year for a weekend of belly laughing, binge eating and drinking. I know they’re reading this, so let’s be honest ladies – our days of being able to drink all night, dance like Beyoncé’s back-up dancers and eat as much as we’d like are long over. They were viciously taken away from us with the birth of our children, turning 40 and as my 13-year-old reminds me, our lack of present day coolness.

What we lack in coolness is compensated for by our collective chefness. I don’t think that’s a word, but I’m going with “chefness.” We are all brilliant cooks, and when you put us together we make a killer spread that would make Gordon Ramsay proud. And if he’s not proud, one of our other talents is being able to curse like truck drivers, so we can give it right back to him! I guess I had too many glasses of wine when I gave this recipe to my friend during our last weekend together. She called me with questions over the holidays and I had no idea what she was talking about, and had no written recipe here to help her. I think I just threw a little of this, and a little of that together to make this spicy peperonata. Thanks to Kristin, for helping me pull this together.

Peperonata can be served on crostini as an appetizer, as a topping for sandwiches, or even as a side with grilled meats. You can control how spicy you make this – we like it hot.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2-1 cup jarred sliced hot cherry peppers, packed in vinegar, drained and stems removed (more or less, you decide)
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Rub the outsides of the whole peppers with a little olive oil and kosher salt. Set the peppers on a sheet tray covered with foil (helps with clean-up). Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the peppers begin to slump and brown, turning them periodically as they roast.

Remove the peppers from the oven, place them immediately in a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes. This will make removing their skins really easy. Once cool enough to touch, peel off the skins and remove the seeds. Slice the peppers in long, thin strips and place them in a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients to the peppers and stir. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

This can be made a day in advance. The longer it sits, the better the flavors come together. If making in advance, wait to add the chopped fresh basil until right before serving.

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