Thursday, February 6, 2014

SUPER BOWL APPETIZERS: OLD BAY CRISPY CHICKEN WINGS


I was introduced to Old Bay Chicken Wings in an Irish pub in Old Town Alexandria by friend and fellow blogger - Larry of PatentlyQueer. The wings were DELICIOUS! I asked our waitress a few questions about how they made them and then set out to find a recipe to recreate them. I only had them the one time so I can't be sure how this recipe compares to the Pub's but it doesn't matter as my entire family RAVED about them - myself included. I made them for the Super Bowl.



If you're not familiar with Old Bay Seasoning, it is mainly used in seafood dishes, Maryland Blue Crabs, shrimp and seafood stews, and it goes great on top of french fries or corn-on-the-cob! It's not a hot spice, it's just very robust and distinctive. It gives a nice kick and depth of flavor to breaded chicken cutlets too - just ask Oprah.





NOTES

  • Despite all these notes, this is a very quick and very easy recipe. Crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside!
  • I choose to bake them because it's less messy than frying and you can make many more at one time. Baking does have the added benefit of being a little lower in calories. If you choose to deep fry them, cook them plain and then toss the wings in the sauce.
  • Bringing the wings to room temp and then patting them dry with a paper towel will help the sauce stick better and you'll get a crispier skin.
  • Really let the sauce cool (stick it in the fridge for 2-3 mins). The cooler the sauce the thicker it is and the better it coats the wings. The recipe calls for the sauce to be lukewarm.
  • The recipe calls for flipping the wings and then broiling them to crisp up the bottom but my experience was that the bottoms were crispy and the tops needed 3-4 mins under the broiler.
  • I made the sauce increasing the Old Bay to 1.5 table spoons per serving and dusted them liberally. You can dust them according to your taste. Oh, I also made 9 lbs!
  • SERVE the cocktail sauce. Remember Mikey? Try it! You'll LUV IT! Everyone thought it was weird but once they tried it they became dipping machines. The Pub actually served theirs with blue cheese which now seems weird and not the best flavor profile.  Then next time I go to the Pub,  I'll be sure to strongly suggest they switch to cocktail sauce.

INGREDIENTS


  • 3 pounds chicken wings, separated tips from drummettes
  • 8 Tbsp (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning, plus more for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Cocktail sauce for dipping


DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Allow the wings to come to room temperature (or else the sauce will be more difficult to spread on them). Pat the chicken wings dry.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pot and whisk in the Old Bay and lemon juice. Let it cool enough to feel lukewarm. Mix it again and toss the chicken wings in half the sauce. Arrange in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat and bake for 25 minutes.
  3. Take the wings out of the oven and switch it to broil. Set a rack about 6 inches under the broiler. Flip the wings and broil for 3-4 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.
  4. To serve, toss in the remaining sauce and set on a plate. Dust with more Old Bay and serve with your favorite cocktail sauce.
The first image is from the internet. This is mine and I was lucky to get that!

Friday, December 20, 2013

MICROWAVE BROWNIES IN A COFFEE MUG



I remember back in college and grad school being able whip up a batch of microwave brownies in just 2-3 minutes during my all-nighters and any other time I wanted. And I wanted many times. The trick with them was timing. If you ate them too soon you burned your mouth but if you let them cool too much, even for just a few seconds, they became as hard as bricks. Not even close to being as good as baked brownies they were still addictive and when paired with an ice-cold glass of milk, were the perfect midnight snack - whether you were studying or just hungry. 

They don't sell packaged microwave brownies anymore but this recipe is simple, fast and makes a better brownie. Plus its portion controlled.

SPECIAL NOTES:
There are 3 KEY STEPS to these turning out properly:
  1. Melt the butter before mixing it with the other ingredients. 
  2. You have to mix and whisk the ingredients in the order listed. 
  3. Use butter. It makes a big difference over using oil and if you're making these you're not truly worried about calories. 


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dash salt
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour


DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a 12 oz coffee mug MELT THE BUTTER! You can melt it right in the mug.
  2. Add water, vanilla and dash of salt to the melted butter. Whisk well.
  3. Add cocoa powder, whisk well. Add sugar, whisk well. Add flour, whisk well.
  4. Microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. Center should be slightly molten. **Since micros and coffee cups vary, start at 60 seconds - if it's not done enough you can put it in for a few seconds more but you can't go back once you go too far. Careful not to overcook.
  5. Enjoy with a spoon. Careful brownie will be hot.
  6. Top with whipped cream or spoon over ice-cream.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

TMI ANSWERS: KISS THE COOK!

KISS THE COOK!
1. How good of a cook are you?
I could be a much better good cook but I have a big handicap - I'm a very picky eater so I rarely like to eat the food I make and since I don't eat it, I have no clue as to how it should taste. I rely on the people I cook for to tell me how it tastes. I just follow the recipe - exactly!
2. Who taught you how to cook?
Mostly my mom. I always helped her when I was younger and she always believed that I (as a boy) should know how to cook and clean and do laundry - basically, how to take care of myself. 
3. Who does the cooking in your home?
When I had partners that I lived with, they were usually the better cook and the one more interested in doing the cooking but I've come to really enjoy cooking and the satisfaction that comes when people enjoy my food.
4. Do you cook more or eat out more?
When it's just me that I'm cooking for, I mostly eat out.
5. Are you more of a cook or dessert maker?
It would make better sense for me to be a dessert maker, and I'm good at it, because I rarely meet a dessert I don't love and would rather eat dessert than almost any main course BUT cooking is FUN! I love wielding the knife and slicing and dicing and frying things up in the pan. Desserts usually need to be precisely measured (not my forte) and timed perfectly (also not my forte.) 
6. What was your worst/funniest cooking moment? 
I know I've had many moments but I'll be damned if I can think of one.
7. What's your best dish?
My most popular is BLACK PEPER CHICKEN but I would consider my signature dish to be HOLLYWOOD TWO TONE CHEESECAKE.
8. Is revenge a dish best served cold?
No, I like it warmed up a bit. Truthfully, while I do like it when karma bites someone in the ass, I'm not into revenge. I just move on.
9. Is the best way to a man's heart truly through his stomach?
Yes, how else are you gonna fill him with alcohol and drugs?  

BONUS
Have you made whoopee in the kitchen? Which foods have you used to spice up your love life?
I can't remember any significant sexual experience in a kitchen although I'm sure I've rolled into one for a few minutes or remained coupled while grabbing some sustenance. Food and sex together never interested me although I have experimented with a few cucumbers and bananas. 

TMI Questions 
Fun, slightly embarrassing questions designed to reveal Too Much Information between you and your significant other and among you and your friends and/or family.

POST YOUR TMI ANSWERS

Post and answer the questions on your blog or tumblr page and then post the link in the comments so that others can read your answers (directions here), visit your website and get to know you too.

Friday, November 1, 2013

SEARED STEAKS



Recipe
This recipe makes 4 servings
  1. At least 6 hours before and up to the day before you plan to cook the steaks place them on a cooling rack set over a tray with edges. You want to catch the drips.
  2. Season both sides of the steaks with salt. Put them back into the fridge uncovered until an hour before you want to cook them.
  3. Allow the butter to soften at room temperature. Meanwhile place the garlic, shallot and parsley into a mortar. Using the pestle bruise, crush, and pulverize the aromatics until they are mushy.
  4. Place the butter into a small mixing bowl and smear it around with a rubber spatula. Add the aromatics, a few drops of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of white pepper. Blend the butter until it is one shade of green with no streaks.
  5. You can either refrigerate the butter as is or you can roll it up in parchment pepper, then foil and twist the ends to form a round log. The foil allows the ends to stay sealed.
  6. When your are ready to cook the steaks, season both sides with fresh ground black pepper. Place a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot -- you don't want it too hot but you want it to start searing right away -- add the steak. Cook the steak on both sides until it is very brown and caramelized. Remove the steak from the pan when it has reached one temperature below where you like. If you want it cooked medium then cook the steak to medium rare and so on. Remove the steak to a sheet tray.
  7. Cook the second steak in the same fashion. Both steaks can be cooked up to an hour in advance and left to sit at room temperature. Do not refrigerate them.
  8. In your oven place the top rack so it is about 8 to 10 inches from the broiler. Heat the broiler.
  9. Using a filet knife cut the meat from each side of the bone then slice the meat into smaller bit size pieces. Re-assemble the steaks on the sheet tray. Smear each steak with some softened maitre d'butter then place a small glob on each steak.
  10. Place the steaks under the broiler just long enough to melt the butter and heat the steaks through. Serve.

ROASTED BROCCOLI


Recipe

This recipe serves two
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the broccoli florets on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a hefty sprinkling of kosher salt. Roast for 20 minutes.
  2. While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the vinaigrette. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until quite warm (about 2 minutes). Stir in the minced garlic and the smoked paprika and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Put the sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the paprika oil. Try to leave most of the solids (paprika and garlic) in the skillet, if possible.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove the broccoli from the oven and toss the marcona almonds on top. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette, toss, and serve immediately.

PERFECT SCRAMBLED EGGS


Recipe

This recipe serves 2
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, mascarpone, salt and pepper. Be thorough, but don't worry if there are little bits of mascarpone flecking the egg.
  2. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over a medium-low flame. Add the butter and wait until it melts before adding the egg. If the egg starts to cook right away, turn the heat as low as it will go. Using a wooden spatula or spoon, stir the eggs constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan all over in a long, continuous motion. Do this for about 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary (raise it a little if the egg touching the pan isn't cooking at all; lower it if it starts to cook quickly or look at all dry).
  3. Pull the eggs off the heat when they're still a little custardy-looking, but not runny -- they'll cook a bit more as you pile them onto your plate. Divide the eggs among two warm plates and serve immediately, with toast if you like, and more ground black pepper.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

S'MORES DIP


How to make a dip that includes all the goodness of S'mores without all the fuss and muss of a campfire. This is easy to make and is perfect for those of you who enjoy S'mores.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tbs of milk
  • 1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows
  • Graham crackers for dipping 


Directions:

  • In a medium sauce pan add chocolate chips, milk and 1 cup of your mallows. 
  • Mix continuously over medium heat until melted and smooth. 
  • Using a rubber spatula, scrape chocolate mixture into a small casserole dish. 
  • Top with remaining marshmallows and place dish under you oven broiler for approximately 60 seconds or until the top has started to brown. 
  • Dip your graham crackers and enjoy!!  


Thursday, October 10, 2013

PUMPKIN BLACK BEAN SOUP (THANKSGIVING)

*Soup


Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

I've been wanting to make this soup since I found the recipe last year. It was super easy and quick and like so many dishes, tastes even better the next day. If you don't have a food processor you can use a blender - it'll just make the soup more rustic and is how I'm going to make it next time.

Makes 9 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes


Shopping List:
  • 3 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken/veggi broth
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinger
    *Ingredients
    TO MAKE:
    1. Pour 2 cans of the black beans into a food processor or blender, along with the can of tomatoes.
    2. Puree until smooth.
    3. Set aside.
    4. Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat.
    5. Add the onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
    6. Cook and stir until the onion is softened.
    7. Stir in the bean puree, remaining can of beans, beef broth, pumpkin puree, and sherry vinegar.
    8. Mix until well blended, then simmer for about 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
    9. Stir in the ham, and heat through before serving.
    Note 1: If you don’t have sherry vinegar just use cider vinegar or a white wine vinegar. I used white wine vinegar.
    Note 2: The original recipe called for adding 1/2 lb. of cubed cooked ham and using beef broth. I omitted the ham and used chicken broth. This cut the calories and using low sodium broth allows you better control of the sodium - some broth have astoundingly high amounts of sodium.
    Note 3: This is a delicious soup that is even better reheated the next day. Easy to make too. Serve with a garnish of sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds if desired,  I used a few black beans.

    *Soup - I used this internet pic because my pic didn't turn out.
    **Ingredients - I forgot to include the can of diced tomatoes.

    Monday, September 2, 2013

    FLEXIBLE BUT EASY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

    FLEXIBLE AND EASY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

    Cubby, of Patently Queer, made this very easy and very flexible breakfast casserole, taught to him by his mom, when he hosted several bloggers recently. It was quite delicious and as we were starting on our 3rd helpings, we began thinking of other variations of this "perfect for and to impress guests" casserole.

    Ingredients

    1 lb pork sausage cooked and crumbled
    1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
    6 strips of bacon cooked and then chopped
    6 large eggs
    1 tsp salt (to taste - depends on meat added)
    2 slices of your favorite bread (stale) cubed
    2 cups milk
    1 tbs dry mustard



    Preparation

    Crumble the sausage and cook
    Cook the bacon and then chop into bits
    In a large bowl beat all the eggs and then add in all ingredients.
    Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight or at least 6-8 hours so the bread can soak up the eggs

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees
    Pour mixture into a greased approx. 9x13 baking dish (glass or ceramic is better)
    Bake for approx. 50 mins or until top begins to brown

    Serve with fresh fruit on the side and mimosas'
    Reheats beautifully

    Variations

    peppers, onions and diced tomato's
    any kind of meat and cheese combo (think favorite omelets)
    crabmeat and old bay
    mushrooms and swiss cheese



    CROSSPOST