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My turn…Sweet and Spicy Buffalo Wings


 

So, I decided it was a good idea to give these babies a try since I offered the recipe in my last post. Can’t know if they are good if I don’t at least try them.

So, tonight was my trial run…(see recipe from last post) . I donned my cute apron (yes I made it!), a sassy smile and got to work. (That may have actually been a pinched smile….threw my back out this morning and was feeling the pain!)

I took an awesome picture of all the ingredients, but it didn’t save on my phone…so here’s the run down of what I used: 2.3lbs of chicken wings, Louisiana hot sauce (didn’t even know they sold it but thanks to Fresh and Easy, I was educated), butter, honey, pinch of cayenne pepper, ground pepper and garlic salt. The recipe calls for 6 pounds of chicken wings but since I was just making these for myself I figured 2 lbs was plenty. I decided to half the recipe for the sauce but I could have halved that as well and had plenty. Here’s a run down of how it all went.

Step 1: Seasoning the wings…I decided to season the wings with a little salt and pepper…mostly because that’s what I feel you’re suppose to do. I don’t actually know if this helped or hindered the flavor. The recipe suggests that you grill the wings, but I don’t have a grill, so deep frying was the easier solution for me.

Step 2: Making the Sauce….I decided to do 3/4 butter, 3/4 cup hot sauce, and 1/2 cup honey and vegetable oil for the frying…these were all added together in my sauce pan along with the pinches of seasoning. They simmered together for 10 min while I began deep frying the wings.

 

Step 3: Frying the Wings…I set my temperature at 6 on the stove since that’s the warmest it could get. I figured the hotter the better! So I dropped the wings in and heard them cracking and popping. Before I knew it they were golden brown and I was proud of myself for how they were coming out.

HOWEVER, I was getting ready to take a bite into one and a little voice in my head sounding a lot like Alton Brown said something like…”Check the temperature of your oil. You want to make sure that it cooks the chicken all the way through which can be the toughest part of making fried chicken.” THANK GOODNESS that voice of Alton Brown…or the Holy Spirit…chimed into my cooking. I cut it the wing close to the bone and sure enough it was golden brown, but pinky pink on the inside. Fail for Jessica. I pulled the other wing out of the oil and decided to check that one as well…strike two. Bummer.

I decided to do a little research on the internet to get a better idea of cooking temperature and how long I should expect it to take to cook and crisp the wing. Thanks to OC Chef.com I did a quick 101 course on deep frying chicken wings. This site said it should take 8 to 10 minutes to cook up and that the oil should be at 375 degrees. I don’t have a thermometer anymore so I decided to crank my heat down from a 6 to a 4 and see how it went. The next wings cooked up in the 8 to 10 min time frame and were cooked all the way through…praise the Lord! I was back in business!

 I put them in batches of 4 or 5 and that seemed to be just the right amount for the pot I chose to use. Too many more and they would have been crowded. I found that a few of them stuck together in my first batch so after I dropped in the second batch I made sure to put the tongs in there to separate them a bit.

It took me a while to get my 2lbs of wings cooked up because it did take 8 to 10 min a batch. If I had any more then the 2lbs I would have been frustrated. Eventually they were done…this picture demonstrates my “MMMMM yummy” face :)

Step 4: TOSSING THE WINGS…. I decided to toss them in the sauce but then finish them up in the oven since it had taken so long for them to finish frying and the first batch was getting cooler. The oven ideas was not in the recipe because they grilled them, but remember, I’m an experimental cook and SOMETIMES I have success! I used a bowl and tongs to get the tossing going. SIDE NOTE…I really wanted to be like one of those amazing chefs who can toss things in a bowl instead of stirring….but I was pretty sure I was going to look like I had killed someone when wing sauce splattered all over me during a incredibly dumb tossing move that landed the wings all over me and the floor. Sometimes my desire to be a professional chef is outweighed by my God given intelligence and common sense. I can just see my room mates walking in  to me flat on the floor because I had REALLY thrown out my back when I attempted to execute the tossing mix move…ugh. All that to say, the tongs worked beautifully!!
I used only part of the sauce on them since I was putting them in oven. I figured I would take them out and toss them in the rest of the sauce before digging in. Once the wings were coated, I put them on a foil lined baking sheet and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 5 min. That ended up being not quite enough time for them to look the way I was hoping, so I left them in for another 5 min….total of 10 min. Here’s what they looked like when I took them out! Golden delicious :) I had extra sauce which I used to pour over them. I plated them and added my little cup of blue cheese dressing and dug in. TA DA!!!
So, how did they turn out?!?!
AWESOME! I was so very proud of the way that they looked and tasted. They definitely smelled and had the typical buffalo wing taste yet, the honey gave them a whole new flavor that I really wasn’t expecting. When you first taste the sauce you’ll get the sweet of the honey on the front, but as it sits on your tongue you get the kick of the hot sauce. It was a very tasty balance and the blue cheese dressing complemented everything very well. You’ll notice my glass of water in the picture, which is definitely recommended.  I assume most wing eaters would prefer a beer with their wings and IF I liked beer (I know….weird palate again..) I would have indulged.
Now that I can highly recommend this recipe, here’s what I would do differently next time.
1. I would probably use a bigger pan. It took a long time for all those wings to cook when I was doing 5 at a time. I could have also used my deep fryer to get the job done easier.
2. I would have waited to start the sauce when I was dropping my last wings. It was done way too early and though this didn’t seem to affect the taste or consistency of the sauce, the timing was off. I’m still trying to learn timing in cooking so it’s good that I make notes of these things :)
FAILURES:
1. I messed up the oil temperature…if you have a thermometor, use it. That would keep me from playing the guessing game. The above mentioned website gave a tip you can try to use to make sure the temperature is just right…they say to drop in a small piece of bread. If it takes the bread 60 seconds to get golden brown, then your oil is the right temperature! I didn’t try this because I had no bread on hand, but I will in the future.
SUCESSES
1. Sauce turned out great! Very happy with the Louisiana hot sauce I found at Fresh and Easy. In this case the cheaper brand served me well!
2. Deep frying was a good idea! I don’t think I would have appreciated them as much if they had not gotten the crispy coating on them. I’ll do it this way every time, though I would also like to try baking them and see if the results are similar.
2. Halving the recipe for the wing sauce was great for 2.3lbs of wings. There was plenty for everything I wanted to use it for. I had extra when I was all done, but it’s always easier to have more sauce then not enough. I saved the little bit I had left and thought it might be good next time I grill up shrimp or chicken. We’ll see if it sits in my fridge or if I use it!

3. Checking the wings for pinkness! Can’t say enough about how I’m glad I checked it. Life is too busy for me to be giving myself food poisoning!
4. Had good tunes playing to keep me company!  Thanks to Spotify to keep me entertained. I had some fun singing along to songs while I waited for the wings to finish frying up. If you don’t have a cooking buddy, I recommend bringing in some tunes :)
In conclusion…I highly recommend these to you and encourage you to tell me how your version of these go! I would say this is a perfect recipe for a novice cook and you’ll be guaranteed tasty results. If you have any more tips and tricks, I’ll happily hear them! Thanks for reading and happy buffalo winging :)
THE END
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Buffalo Wings Exploration


Preparation of these saucy wings traditionally includes melted butter and cayenne pepper hot sauce…which means as much heat as you can handle. The wings are first deep fried before coated in the sauce and everyone says the crispier the better. They are of course served with celery and blue cheese dressing, definitely to cut the kick that they are sure to provide.

Tasty looking, yes! However, I am sad to say that I’m not a fan. You’ll find that I say that a lot to the foods that everyone is “suppose” to like …spaghetti, lasagna, bananas. Hold your gasps and harsh words…my palate frustrates me too! I’m a sweet BBQ girl all the way so I’ve always sought out the sweeter version of these little guys!

Buffalo Wild Wings has been Hannah and my new favorite restaurant. Go on Tuesday and Thursdays and you’ll be there on deal days! (55 cent wings Tuesdays and 65 cent boneless Thursdays)!!  They have way more sauces then you can possibly try but my favorite with them has been their Honey BBQ.

I went with an old roommate Sarah to Chili’s last night (our usual dive) and I got some of their Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers…(starting to get my idea of a yummy sauce for wings?!) To echo RR, yummo! Pretty sure that will always be my favorite item on their menu. If anyone has tips or tricks on how to make that honey chipotle sauce, I’ll happily take it!

I just went to Buffalo in September while visiting NY for my friend Rachel’s wedding and thought it very important that I embrace their native cuisine…the Buffalo Wing! I did a little research before I left and found that The Anchor Bar was the place to visit if I wanted the home of Buffalo Wings. Sadly, I missed visiting them but was able to grab some wings at Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill (pictured on the left) at the Walden Galleria. Jack Astor's Buffalo Fingers 3a I was super impressed with their menu and decided to try their chicken finger equivalent with their sweet chipotle sauce as well as a cup of beer cheddar soup. Holy cow, that meal was absolutely the best way to end my trip there! Calories galore and worth every bite. I wish Jack Astor’s B and G moved out of Canada and the NE and over our way! Anyways, they served the chicken with blue cheese dressing. I love the dressing on a wedge salad any day, but I have never been a fan of it with chicken. I am so glad that I decided to comply with their generosity because I have found my new dipping love for bbq chicken fingers/wings/nuggets…This is an amazing combination of flavors…sweet, spicy, creamy, cheesy, savory. Super Delightful! If you’ve never tried this, PLEASE DO, and then tell me what you think! I do believe you will join this blue cheese train and never go back to ranch ever again!

So here is a recipe I found that gives me the best of what I love in a buffalo wing and my love affair with BBQ flavored chicken.Best of both worlds! I am going to try these this weekend and report back on how they turn out. …THANKS to allrecipes.com:

SWEET AND SPICY BUFFALO WINGS

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded
  • 1 1/2 cups Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 pinch garlic salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
  2. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the chicken 8 to 12 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. (You can deep fry or bake the chicken instead if you want to, but it is best when grilled.) Remove chicken to a large roasting pan.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the hot sauce, butter, honey, garlic salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Simmer about 10 minutes, until blended and heated through. Pour the sauce over the grilled chicken wings and stir to coat.
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Chef Pals(TM) Meat Thermometers


So I’m a member of the Cooking Club of America. If you don’t know me already, let me tell you, I’m a sucker for free things that are sent to me in the mail. I get sucked into all those advertisements that tell me I’m the exclusive invite of their new program! The Cooking Club of America sounded plenty glamours to me so I signed up!

I got a free knife out of it and a pretty great cookbook…I have yet to crack open. Oh well..

One perk of this silly club is the email I get of exclusive products available only to Cooking Club members. I though that was one of the “lines” they tell you, but turns out it’s true. I got this email the other day from them selling these little guys and I just tried to click back on the link and they are SOLD OUT! Popular little suckers :)

Here’s their pitch…

“Beep, beep, beep. The classic alarm: One of the most annoying sounds in the universe. Why bring that kind of stress into the kitchen? For a little bit of fun, choose the Chef Pals Meat Thermometer + Timerinstead. No stressful sounds here—only a moo, oink or gobble when meat reaches the proper USDA-designated internal temperature, depending on which thermometer you’re using. (Each one is designed for a different protein: beef, pork or poultry. To hear them, click on the link above, and then click on the sound clips.) A red LED light also flashes when the meat is done. Each thermometer has a steel probe that goes in the meat and a heat resistant-cable that extends outside the oven or pan. Place the unit on the counter or attach it to the oven with the magnetized feet. Adding fun to your kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive. Through Thursday, these cute tools are available for only $15 each—so you can buy all three!”

Anyone out there try these little guys? I kind of like the idea of them as a fun kitchen gadget…but will these be doomed to the back of your utensils drawer only to be forgotten until it’s too late?! Feedback on these little gems please!!

For further reading on the release of these gadgets read an excerpt from a market press release on  Yahoo! Finance 

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Oreo Truffles


OREO TRUFFLES

So, my sister Elizabeth had her bridal shower last year in July and we had a bunch of her friends down for a “little black dress” themed personal shower. Lots of fun and a great way to combine a bachelorette and bridal shower. We had lots of appetizers and ended up with a really impressive table of desserts. One of the hits of show were these Oreo truffles that Elizabeth’s friend Elma put together. Hers looked a lot prettier then mine did, but here is my attempt at the same result. I put these together for fun but ended up serving them for my life group when they came over to my house. They were a big hit, no matter how messy they may have turned out. They were simple because of the ingredients, but tough because of melting chocolate! I got the recipe from food.com.

Ingredients

STEP ONE:

This was the toughest part for me since I don’t own a double broiler. I have always had the worst luck trying to melt chocolate in the microwave so I rigged up this contraption! I filled my pot with water and turned one of our veggie steamers in the water upside down. The bottom has three prongs that the glass bowl rested perfectly in. It took a little longer for the chocolate to melt, but it did happen!

STEP TWO:

You combine the Oreos, cream cheese, and vanilla in a food processor to make up the centers for these lovely treats. It ends up being like a chocolate dough which was a very easy consistency to work with. I went ahead and rolled them into their serving size rounds and stuck them in the fridge to harden up a bit. I think it helped them hold their shape through the dipping process. When the milk chocolate gets smooth enough I “forked” the round Oreo balls and dipped them in the chocolate. You can see how they turned out… a little messy, but tasty-looking, none the less!

STEP 3

The last step for me was melting the white chocolate. You would think…piece of cake! If I can melt milk chocolate, then white chocolate shouldn’t be much different. WRONG! It was a crazy messy process that I wasn’t prepared for.  For a reason unknown to me (feel free to enlighten me), the white chocolate did not like the melting process I used on the milk chocolate. I decided since I was going to be piping this across the top of the

completed truffles I would go for the microwave. If you remember I said my failure rate is 100% for melting chocolate in the microwave….this failure rate did not change one bit. It was a globby mess that was not even sort of a good piping consistency. Ugh!

No worries, this spontaneous, lets-give-it-a-try cook did something on a whim,

that ended up looking pretty amazing!
The white chocolate globs on the top of my truffles annoyed me so much and I wanted to take them off, but they become a swirly mess on the tops….that actually looked kind of cool. I decided to play around with the swirling idea and you can see that it was not a bad look for an alternative! I had to be careful when swirling because it started to take off some of the milk chocolate.


All this chocolate work makes me just appreciate the impressive work I see on the Food Network Shows all the more! I would love some tips and trick for working with chcolate so please feel free to give me some ideas of what works better/best for you!Hope you give these a try!

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Hello cooking world!


I may not have much to contribute to the great world of cooking and food lovers, but it’s something I do enjoy to discuss and dabble in! This is going to be a blog of my food journeys…what I’ve been eating, where I’ve been eating,  what I’ve been cooking and what my friends are cooking. I hope you find it helpful and get inspired to do a little of the same! Enjoy!

~Jessica