I’m a glutton for punishment. Okay, maybe I’m just a glutton, but after hours of hardcore Ultimate frisbee in the morning (I have 2 – TWO bruises!) I really only wanted to eat what I was craving. When I want something bad I want to make it at home. More punishment. This way, though, I get to be part of the process, I get to save money (sometimes), and the tweaking – oh, the tweaking! I love it. Sometimes I need to have a dinner that screams immaturity and irresponsibility. In this instance I’m talkin’ ’bout hot wings. A whole dinner of hot wings. Screw salad, screw even cole slaw. I mean a whole dinner of wings and wet naps and beer.
Making chicken wings at home is seriously cheap and makes for wicked deliciousness.
1.5 – 2 lbs Chicken Wings, about about 14 wings (which when cut up equals 14 drumettes and 14 wind segments)
1 cup Franks Hot Sauce
2 TBSP melted butter
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 TBSP flour
First step: cut up yo’ wings into three segments, the drumette, the middle wing part (the less favorable non-drumette), and that end pointy bit that has no meat and it just a waste all around.
Find the joint in each area, line your knife edge in the joint, and slip through. It’s not hard. Chuck the lame little pointy ends, the farthest left in the above picture. Then rinse the remaining pieces, dry them really well, and set them aside in a bowl.
Pour about 3 inches of oil in a stock pot or deep dutch oven and heat to about 325 degrees. I used a pasta pot. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cayenne, peppers, and salt. Then toss the dried wings in the mixture. Once your oil is up to heat, gently -gently -drop the flour coated wing pieces into the oil and let fry for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. If you’re oil doesn’t look like the below picture when the wings are dropped in then it’s not hot enough.
And after 12 minutes they’re all beautifully golden brown like this…
Now, I’m not going to lie: These are awesome just as they are and you’re going to want to eat them, but don’t do it. Don’t give in. I mean, I guess if you have kids that can’t handle the extra spice or you don’t want sauce finger prints everywhere – and I do mean everywhere – then serve them like this. But if you sauce them, it’ll be like Dorthy stepping out of Kansas into Oz. I mean freaking amazing. So don’t be a coward: Stay strong, wait 4-5 minutes to allow them to cool, and sauce ’em.
In a big bowl mix together your Frank’s, the melted butter and any other flavors you’re craving. Extra cayenne? Sure. Chili paste? Go for it. Then throw in your slightly cooled chicken and toss away, either literally toss if you have the kitchen skills or toss with your hands – but then immediately wash them. And definitely don’t touch your eyes or lick your finger tips for the duration of this recipe. Then open a beer and eat away. I recommend in front of the TV. Notice I didn’t say “sports”. I don’t care for sports.
I’m hardcore: I have my wings with a beer in front of Antiques Roadshow. Ahhh, yeah.
Okay, so I have to be honest with you: These are not health food. Are they good for your soul? Fo’ shizzle. Are they good for your heart? Absolutely not. Enough of these will be the direct reason you go into cardiac arrest while on the treadmill one day. So, in an effort to just be plain bad rather than ridiculously bad, I also made a grilled wing that honestly was just as tasty as the above Buffalo wings.
Alternative sticky, spicy Asian grilled hot wing:
1 cup La Choy Orange Ginger sauce
1/2 TBSP srirachi
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup Spicy citrus sauce, cooled (from my chicken tender recipe)
Combine the La Choy sauce, srirachi, and black pepper. Toss the rinsed and dried chicken, and let soak in the coating for about 20 minutes. Heat your grill to medium – high. Once you grill is ready to go and the chicken has marinated a bit, grill with the lid closed for 12-15 minutes or until an internal temperature of 160 has been reached, turning once half way through. Let cool about five minutes once you remove them from the grill. Once they’ve cooled a bit coat them in the spicy citrus sauce. These are messy, but very delicious, and a welcomed healthier twist on traditional fried Buffalo wings.
I’m hosting a few friends for dinner to watch the Oscars this year. While I except the award show to be filled with mediocrity, my dinner will not. I wanted something bright, filling, delicious, and cheap. Feeding a lot of people adds up fast, so I like to keep costs down where possible.
Normally, I would not choose Pasta Primavera as an exciting meal, per se. More of a pathetic meal would sound more apt to its usual description. America’s Test Kitchen, however, inspired me, as the always do, to look at the usual in a different light. Cook the pasta like risotto and -BAM – awesomeness in every bite. Use the pasta’s own starch as a thickening agent – BOOM – creaminess without the heaviness.
It’s like Alfredo and Primavera had a baby. A delicious, delicious baby.
Now, most of this is directly from America’s Test Kitchen, so I don’t really deserve any credit. I made tweaks here and there to make it even more delicious, but I couldn’t have done it without ATK. I love this recipe because you can really plan ahead and do many of the steps far in advance to make serving a group of people even easier.
1 bunch Asparagus
1 cup frozen peas
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed in a garlic press
1/2 TBSP red pepper flakes
1 TBSP ginger
4 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cup water
1 TBSP mint
2 TBSP chives
1/2 TBSP rosemary
zest of 1 lemon
5 TBSP olive oil
1 box pasta, penne, cavatelli, or campanelle recommended. This won’t really work with spaghetti or a strand style pasta.
1 cup white wine. I used a pinot grigio and it was fantastic.
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 TBSP heavy cream (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
Leeks! Leeks are the sandiest thing ever next to a beach. Chop off the top two inches of outer leek area and cut off the bottom inch. Then roughly chop the top half, the darkest green area, and rinse 3 cups of it in a bowl and set aside. Then cut the remaining light green parts into 1/2 inch pieces, throw in a separate bowl, and rinse. So much easier to rinse once the leeks are in chunks.
Saute the light colored leeks over medium heat in 2 TBSP of oil for about five minutes or until the leeks brown a little, stirring periodically.
While the leeks are sauteing, snap off the ends of the asparagus. Take a stalk of asparagus and start bending from the end; it will snap naturally at the freshest point. You want to eat from the natural break to the tip. Chop the ends that you would normally discard into 1/2 inch pieces and dump into the bowl of darker leek slices. Cut the edible pieces of asparagus into 1 inch bites.
Once the leeks have cooked a bit, let go of some of their moisture, and browned a little, add the i inch asparagus pieces and crushed garlic, and stir. Continue to cook until asparagus is just tender, 2-3 minutes. Add the frozen peas and saute for an additional minute until the peas are just warmed, 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and set the cooked veggies aside.
In a deep stock pot or sauce pan, heat up the veggie stock, water, dark leeks, asparagus, red pepper, and ginger. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
While you’re doctoring the stock, chop up the chives, mint, and rosemary, and combine with the zest of a lemon in a bowl. Set aside. Once the stock has simmered for 10 minutes, strain into a bowl. Discard the strained vegetable remnants. This step and the vegetable cooking step can be completed a couple of hours in advance if necessary. You want there to be 5 cups of rich, doctored and strained stock left. If you’re going to immediately cook the pasta, place the strained stock back into the saucepan and set over medium heat. Keep the stock warm, as it will be added to the pasta in a few minutes.
Once you’re ready to cook the pasta, heat 2 TBSP oil in a pasta pot over medium heat. Toss in your pasta of choice and brown a bit. This is similar to cooking a risotto, which gives each bite tons of flavor. This only takes about 5 minutes, but you want to stir the pasta regularly to get each piece to brown a little. once the pasta is showing signs of golden deliciousness, add the cup of white wine to the pot and stir until the pasta has completely absorbed it, about 1-2 minutes. At this point the pasta is still raw, but tastes like magic, richly buttered bread. It’s amazing.
When the wine has been absorbed, add the stock and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook for an additional 8- 10 minutes or until the pasta is done stirring every . I used Simply Smart pasta, which takes closer to 12 minutes to reach the correct texture.
At that point, turn off the heat and add the juice of one lemon. Stir. Add the 3 TBSP of heavy cream, 1/2 of the herb mixture, and grated parm, and stir well. Once the sauce has reached your desire consistency, dump in the cooked veggie mixture. I like my sauce a little thicker so I put the pot back over heat to stir for an additional 4 minutes, just until it was rich and creamy. Add the cherry tomatoes and – you guessed it – stir. You want the heat of the sauce & pasta to just warm and wilt the tomatoes. Plate each serving and sprinkle on a little of the remaining herb mixture. It’s a beautiful thing.
I topped mine with shaved parm and had a side of steamed broccolini with lemon juice as a side, because one can never have enough veggies. It. Was. INCREDIBLE. It can serve 6 reasonable people or 4 hungry ones.
I’m not a fan of football. I’m more of a super fan of eating.
And that’s exactly what Super Bowl Parties are for.
I generally enjoy entertaining, but football is just not my thing. I let other people get this one. Besides, since the world is apparently forgoing winter with exception to areas that normally rarely get it (like Rome), my lawn is entirely too long to have guests to the house and our lawn mower takes forever and is easily distracted.
As the New England Whatsits are playing in today’s little game against Madonna or whoever hell the opposing team is, I have decided to make Clam Chowder. To clarify: New England Clam Chowder. Because Manhattan Clam Chowder is like choosing to have a grilled cheese with Kraft singles when you have the option of Gruyere. It’s a joke.
I’ve offended my husband.
Chip likes Kraft singles. Oh, well.
After the last year or so of warm to deadly hot temperatures, Austin is finally experiencing a day of pseudo winter: the high temperature is expected to be a low 54 degrees with skies overcast and a wee bit rainy. Yeah, it’s not “winter” per se, but when seasons have been phased out due to global warming you learn take what you can get. What I’m saying is that today is as close to a perfect Austin day for Chowdah as one could ask for.
The Cliff House in Maine serves incredible clam chowder and has since 1872. My father, inspired by their famous dish, worked to create a simple, but truly delicious version of creamy clam chowder to make at home. And Dad likes good food. While I strive to make things lighter just as my preference, sometimes I like to play after dinner and don’t want to feel weighed down, I know I can always depend on Dad for something rich, something perfect for winter, something to induce a completely content food coma. So…the plus side: this recipe, which feeds 8-10 hungry people, contains only a single tablespoon of butter. The not-so-plus side? It also calls for 3 cups of heavy cream. You heard me.
NOTE: The spice blend is very important and use chopped clams from a fish monger, as opposed to canned, if at all possible. You will have extra spice blend left once you mix it all together, but you can put it in a ziploc baggie and freeze it – yes, freeze the spices, until the next time you want to make clam chowder. All in all, this recipe costs about $30 to make and when you consider the amount of people it feeds, we’re talking peanuts in terms of cost.
4 tsp dried oregano 2 tsp dill weed 1 tsp sage
4 tsp dried parsley 4 tsp thyme 4 tsp rosemary
2 tsp marjoram 4 tsp basil 2 tsp tarragon
1 TBSP flour
If possible, blend everything in a mortar & pestle. If not, mix everything in a bowl and mash together with the back of a metal spoon (wood would absorb some of the oils you want to go into the chowder).
The actual Chowder Recipe:
9 Slices bacon, minced
1 TBSP butter
3 yellow onions, minced
3 medium to large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium to large shallot, minced
4 teaspoons of the above spice blend (Seriously, freeze the remainder. It’s tasty.)
6 TBSP all-pupose flour
3 – 4 cans clams (6.5 oz.) or 1.5 – 2 lbs previously frozen chopped clams
3 cups clams juice
3 cups heavy cream
1 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1.5 lbs potatoes, diced and boiled. You can peel your potatoes, too. I’m using smallish buttercreams, so I’m leaving the skins on. Mash 1/2 of the potatoes for a richer Chowder consistency.
Over low heat in a stock pot, soup kettle, or – in my case – a wide pasta pot, saute the bacon and butter, allowing some of the fat to render from the fatty pork. Once a good bit of fat has eeked out, but the bacon is still a bit uncooked, add the onion, shallot, and garlic. Add the spice mix and don’t allow anything to brown. Continue sauteing over low heat, stirring periodically, for about 10 minutes or so, until the onions have softened a bit, but aren’t quite translucent.
Add the flour and clam juice. I whisked the flour and clam juice together in a bowl so I wouldn’t have to worry about flour clumps and added it to the pot. Once everything is mixed well, bring the temperature up to a boil. When a boil is reached, turn everything down to a simmer and throw in the heavy cream and milk. After that’s been simmering for 20 minutes or so, add the pre-boiled potatoes.
Do not add the clams until just a few minutes before serving.
If you are making this at your home to be served in right then and there then:
Toss in the clams after the potatoes, sprinkle in the white pepper, and turn heat up to reach desired serving temperature, but do not bring to a boil. Over cooking the clams or cooking them at too hot a temperature, say a boil, makes them tough and chewy rather than tender and flavorful. I like to top mine with a little sprinkling of the greens from the tips of fennel. I love the color and look, and it’s not as strong as dill would be (similar in look) and adds a delicate new flavor that’s only just noticeable, but very delicious.
As I will be bringing this dish to a friend’s home, ideally I would bring the chowder mixture to their house, covered and on a towel on the floor of the backseat, commandeer a burner on their stove top, reheat, and throw in the clams and white pepper, and bring to serving temperature at that point.
My recommendation: Don’t travel with hot clam chowder. Just eat it at your house.
And don’t share.
I wish I had a better picture to share, but once the food hit the table everyone dug in. The chowder was rich and flavorful, the clam chunks abundant. It was excellent on a cold, wet day to celebrate New England! Go sports!
This all started because I woke up wanting waffles. We have no waffle iron and I find most experiences of getting waffles out at a restaurant ultimately disappointing. Be that as it may, I crave waffles no less than 164 times a year. I eat them maybe once a year. And, generally, only in the lobby breakfast area of a Holiday Hotel Inn “continental” breakfast nook.
Inevitably, I wind up making pancakes for myself at home approximately bi-monthly. It soothes the rage of Waffle-Want, but only for a brief period. So, low and behold, before long I wake up wanting waffles.
“I want waffles!” I demanded, sitting straight up in bed.
“Make pancakes…” moaned my ever patient husband, used to the tumultuous need for waffles ever present in our marriage.
I padded down the hall to the kitchen, threw open the cupboards and found – NO Bisquik.
I stomped back to bed and crawled under the blankets, defeated.
“Why don’t you just make pancakes from scratch?” My smart ass husband interjected into my moody undercover bitching.
“What am I : a lumberjack?!” I snarled back.
“My father used to make pancakes from scratch all the time,” Chip defended.
“YOUR FATHER WAS A LUMBERJACK!” I roared. His dad really was a lumberjack, I wasn’t kidding.
“So? It can still be done,” answered my husband quietly smiling, like the personification of The Little Book of Calm.
Well, since he put it that way, I thought maybe it can be done. And so that’s what I did: I bucked up and made some pancakes from scratch.
Fluffy Honey Butter Pancakes
The trick to fluffy, light pancakes to to leave your batter void of any eggs. You want thin, dense pancakes? Good for you; add an egg or two. Me? I like my pancakes about as dense as I like people, i.e. not at all.
- 1 cup milk
- 2 TBSP white vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 3 TBSP honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 1 TBSP Almond butter, if you got it/want it. It’s totally optional.
- 2 TBSP butter, melted
Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder & soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then whisk in the milk and vinegar mixture, butter, honey, extract, and almond butter if using. If the mixture seems to dry, add milk at a tablespoon at a time, up to an additional 1/4 cup. It should be relatively thick, but smooth, and pour slowly, but smoothly off the whisk. Heat a pan, skillet, whatevs, over medium-medium high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray even if the pan is non-stick. Once bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake and the first few pop, check the underside with a spatula. If the bottom is golden brown, flip and continue cooking an additional 1 minute to 1.5 minutes.
This will feed two ridiculously hungry adults, but they will have to take a serious nap in order to digest it. I recommend making this for 3-4 people.
Then keep your breakfast classy by serving with bacon and Aunt Jemima, but only if you’re out of Mrs. Buttersworth.
Please excuse the poor quality of this photo. As I was setting it up, I noticed my super chubbs kitty (Polly) suddenly hiding behind our mini plant in an attempt to score some bacon and maple syrup.
“Combine brownie mix, 2 tablespoons water, and melted butter until smooth.”
Every once in while I like to bake on Sunday afternoons. It’s a nice way to wind down before the start of another week, it makes the house smell good without having to clean, and when I’m done I get a cookie. It was during one of those baking sessions that I saw Betty Crocker’s rage right out in the open, in plain English.
I was making brownie-cookie bars from a box mix when I received a stern talking to from the queen of quick cooking.
Resentment in print form.
I type up internal communications, descriptions of ensembles, write directions for auditions, and other informative notes for a website at work. So, when I saw “…melted butter…” twice in italics on Betty’s box I didn’t read it simple as melted butter. What I saw was the following:
“Combine brownie mix, 2 tablespoons of water, and MELTED butter. That’s right, people: MELTED. Because if we here at Betty Crocker receive one more phone call or pissed off email about your brownie-cookie bars not coming out right just because YOU used butter that wasn’t melted, we’re going to be pissed. And we’re probably going to tell you exactly where you can shove those brownie-cookie bars.”
I immediately picked up on it because it’s how I wish individuals would read the informative sites I create. Yet the important bits always manage to be missed. What Betty used is attitude in language. There are different ways to use this attitude. For example there’s a shop near my home that uses the most pretentious punctuation that I’ve ever seen and it annoys me every time my eyes are accosted by the billboard:
Come. And get it.
Read: “Come shop here. And see why rich people are cooler then you. Buy something you don’t need. And get why we’re awesome. Shop here. Stupid.”
For crap’s sake. I just can’t stand it. I’ve never wanted to punch fragmented sentences in the face so badly before.
Advertisements are a whole other animal these days. In fact, I ditched cable just to purge our house from commercial demons, even though some ads can be so great. But it’s attitude in type face and punctuation that can either work for you or back fire.
I’m never going to Come. And get it. Until you Come to my house. And clean it.
But Betty Crocker’s message? I felt instant sympathy for the Lady and her staff. I not only read that message loud and clear, but I felt for her, and learned something. Next time I’m editing informational explanations and procedures on our website I’m going to use italics on the important and often repeated bits.Maybe then somebody will get it.
After all, using italics seems to be much more effective than, say,
“Combine mix, water, and melted butter, Ass.”