Buffalo Wings for Football Sunday

It’s really fall. I’m sleeping with blankets, wearing boots to the grocery store, listening the college kids partying into the wee hours and making wings for a football Sunday.

a football classic

…At least the wings were successful.

I’m just going to chalk that Pats performance up to a show of solidarity for that smoking wreckage of a baseball team we have up here right now, and figure we’ll all be moving on next week.

***

Buffalo wings are delicious. And actually pretty easy to make. Ingredients are minimal: hot sauce, butter or margarine, and chicken. I like to add a little salt, pepper and cayenne also. You can technically bake these, and I have. They are fine, and they still taste like buffalo wings, but I’m not going to lie, deep-frying them is better. A bit more work, but not much, and worth it I think. Yep, they are more unhealthy, but we are talking about a recipe in which one of the primary ingredients is butter or margarine, so let’s go all in, shall we?

I have made these for years with butter, but I was just reading the most recent Saveur, and apparently, the original recipe – like the Anchor Bar in Buffalo original recipe – used margarine. Which makes sense, since these were invented in the 60′s. I used margarine today to see if it made a difference, and I am not sure if it does, and since margarine is pretty much poison, I will probably stick to butter in the future. But I did come up with another trick. I tossed the wings in just a little corn starch before I fried them. It doesn’t really make a huge difference in the crispiness, but it gives the sauce something to stick to, so it’s a win!

crisp fried and delicious

Wings are a crowd pleaser. They are messy as anything, but that is half the fun. Obviously, blue cheese dressing is a requirement, and it’s always nice to add celery and carrots for health. And just like that, you can skip the bars and strangers and have delicious wings at home! (If you are like me, this is a dream come true.)

Sunday Funday

Buffalo Wings (makes two dozen wings)

24 chicken wing pieces (from twelve wings, separated, tips removed)

1/4 cups corn starch

3/4 cups hot sauce, like Franks

3/4 cups (1.5 sticks) butter or margarine

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

salt and pepper

Peanut or canola oil (or a combination) for frying

Blue cheese dressing (recipe below) celery and carrots for serving

Heat several inches of oil in a dutch oven or other heavy pot to 350 degrees. Toss the wings with the corn starch and salt and pepper. When the oil reaches 350 degrees, shake off the extra corn starch and add half the wings and fry until crispy and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. When finished cooking, remove the first batch from the oil and drain on paper towels. Let the oil come back to 350 degrees and add the second batch of wings.

In the meantime, cook the hot sauce, butter, cayenne, salt and pepper over low heat until the butter melts. Keep mixture warm over low heat until the wings are finished cooking. Toss the wings in the hot sauce mixture and serve with blue cheese dressing and carrots and celery for dipping.

If you want to bake these, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and toss the wings in half the hot sauce mixture. Lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the wings the cooked through. Toss with the rest of the hot sauce mixture and serve.

Blue Cheese Dressing (makes about 1 1/4 cups)

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tbl white wine vinegar

Splash of red wine vinegar

4 oz blue cheese crumbles

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine sour cream, buttermilk, vinegars, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add blue cheese and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Weeknight Chicken: Chicken Thighs with Garlicky Crumbs

weeknight chicken (don’t mind the anchovies…)

Warning: This post contains anchovies. I hesitate to warn you because if you are anything like my mom, or if you are my mom, you have probably already stopped reading. And that would be a mistake! Because there is nothing to be scared of. But I was afraid if I didn’t warn you, you would get to the end and discover the tiny fish in the recipe and feel duped, and never trust me again. And after you took all that time to read this…

I hope you stay though, because these are not offensive anchovies. In fact, if you came over and I made this for you and you didn’t already know about the anchovies, I don’t think you’d be the wiser. It would be such a dirty trick (my dad totally does this to my mom – luckily for him she’d rather eat hidden anchovies than cook, so…) but that’s the thing about anchovies. Unless they are sitting there on top of a pizza staring at you, often times you’d never know they were there…

The strangest thing about this recipe is actually not the anchovies at all. It is the fact that you are asked to grill a piece of chicken that has been breaded with breadcrumbs. That is very strange. Until I did it, I couldn’t quite imagine how it was going to work. I suspect the next time I try this (and there will be a next time, because it is delicious) I will try just pan frying it because I did lose some crumbs and presumably they would stick a bit better that way. Or maybe not! There has to be a reason that grilling was suggested in the first place. I will keep you posted

Regardless of the cooking method (you could absolutely bake these too, methinks) these are great. The garlic (lots of it) packs a great punch, the anchovies add a ton of good salty-umaminess and the parsley adds an awesome freshness. It’s an excellent combo. And I would totally make these green beans (or snap peas as the original recipe suggested) by themselves. They were delicious on their own!

You don’t have to be afraid of these ‘chovies, I promise.

don’t fear the anchovies!

Chicken Thighs with Garlicky Crumbs and Green Beans (serves 2)

adapted from Food & Wine

3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and chopped

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

6 garlic cloves, smashed

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Salt

1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

In a food processor, combine 2 of the anchovy fillets with the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and 1/4 cup of the olive oil; process until evenly blended.

Season the chicken thighs with salt. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the bread crumb mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a pot of boiling, salted water, blanch the green beans until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and pat dry.

Grill the chicken thighs over moderate heat until they are lightly charred, crisp and cooked through, about 10 minutes per side. Transfer the thighs to a platter.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallots and the remaining anchovy fillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the green beans and cook, tossing a few times, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season the green beans with salt and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the chicken with the green beans.

A Soufflé for Julia

for one…

I am, as always, behind the eight ball on this one. Julia Child would have been 100 last month. She was remarkable and funny and talented and tall. And she seemed like a joy to be around. She came to the cooking game “late” in life, after spending time over seas as a SPY. That is awesome. I always wanted to be a spy. Or a fighter pilot, or an astronaut. I didn’t quite get there. I do real estate now though, so…close. But maybe I can still follow in Julia’s footsteps someday. Have a second career in food. That seems more manageable (says the girl that can’t even maintain a blog with any regularity. Or figure out how to add an accent to an “e” on a Mac.)

At any rate, I made a soufflé for Julia’s birthday. I also made one a couple days later, just for the hell of it, when Meredith and Baby M came to visit me on M’s first big city adventure, because they are delicious. The good thing about that is I made an individual one, AND a full size one, so I can share the recipes for both of them with you. So if you are chillin by yourself and craving soufflé, as one does, don’t despair! It can be done.

For the full-sized soufflé I turned, of course, to Mastering the Art of French Cooking because where else would you turn? That book is perfect. For the single serving, I turned to Judith Jones, and her book The Pleasure of Cooking for One. Judith, as you might know, was Julia’s editor for MTAOFC, so it was an appropriate birthday tribute.

The way people speak about soufflés, you would think they were these super sensitive explosive devices that detonate the moment you don’t fold egg whites correctly or look at them the wrong way while they are cooking. They are not. They are actually mostly hot air. Since air pressure increases when it is hot and decreases when it is cold (science!!!) soufflés love to puff up really beautifully when they are in the oven, and then deflate pretty much immediately when it is removed from the oven, so you want to make sure you get the most puff for your buck when it is cooking, and have the table set and your guests sitting down and ready to eat by the time it’s finished.

for a crowd

This is also the reason you will have to excuse the photographs, the more I took and the more time I took to set each one up, the more the soufflé deflated, so they are not looking super puffy. I also think in the case of the big one, I could have cooked it for 4-5 more minutes so it set up a little firmer, which would have helped it keep its puff, but since there was a 6-week old baby to hang out with, I got distracted and forgot how many minutes I had put on the timer and didn’t want to overcook it. (I would have made a really terrible spy. Foiled at every turn by babies and kitchen timers.)

But really, soufflés are actually pretty easy, especially after you’ve done it once or twice. And there is a good chance you have everything you need in the house at any given time. Eggs, milk, butter, flour, cheese. That’s it. A standing or hand held mixer is certainly helpful, but I whipped the egg whites by hand for one of these and it worked out just fine! Soufflés for everyone! Go forth and impress yourself and your guests!

So many thoughts…

It’s the fall guys! I love the fall! The cooking is so good, and the weather is so great. What should I make? And football! And new tv is back. Have you guys watched Homeland? It is so very good. You should watch it.

This is terrible news…Ry! How could you? No, jk jk. Good luck you crazy kids.

This made me inappropriately sad, considering I have never met them.

Bought my ticket to the west coast for Thanksgiving and I cannot wait. It’s been too long.

What I’m reading: Zone One by Colson Whitehead. It’s a post-apocalyptic zombie book. Post-apocalyptic books might actually be last on my list of genres I’m interested in but the writing is pretty much perfect. I am very glad I gave it a try.

What I am listening to: Miles Away from Sam McCarthy – Short and sweet, and fantastic; and The Wheeler Brothers – my sister studied in Spain with one of the guys in the group, and they are great.

Craftiness of the week: I’m working on pillow covers for my living room pillows. Pictures to follow.

If you get a minute, this is pretty amazing and heartbreaking.

Other things I’ve been eating:

zucchini linguine

You will see that one again, the recipe is a work in progress…I’ll keep you posted.

mexican corn

This you will be seeing again. Probably like tomorrow, because it is JUST SO GOOD. You need to make it. I will share post haste.

fideos with aioli

I just found my new comfort food people. Fideos are kind of like a pasta version of paella.

Be good to each other.

I am just going to go ahead and get to the recipes, because if I don’t this post might sit around another month and that would be the worst…

Cheese Soufflé according to Julia

For Four:

1 tbl butter, softened (for preparing the mold)

1-2 tbl grated parmesan cheese (for preparing the mold)

3 tbl butter

3 tbl flour

1 cup milk, brought to a boil

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

A pinch of cayenne pepper

5 eggs, separated (you will need four yolks and all five whites)

3/4 cup grated swiss cheese (or gruyere if you’re fancy)

For One:

1 tsp butter, softened for preparing the mold

1 tbl grated parmesan for preparing the mold

2 tsp butter

1 tbl flour

1/3 cup milk brought to a boil

pinch of salt

small pinch of cayenne

2 eggs, separated (you will need one yolk and both whites)

1/3 cup grated swiss cheese (another option is to use “an aged mountain cheese.” I…have no idea what that is, but if you find it, feel free to give it a whirl!)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. For the large soufflé, prepare a six or eight cup soufflé dish with the melted butter and sprinkle with the parmesan, for an individual soufflé, prepare a 1.5 cup ramekin with the butter and parmesan. (The butter keeps the soufflé from sticking, the cheese gives the batter something to climb as it rises.)

Set aside. Melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan, and stir in the flour. Stir for a minute or two until it foams. Remove from heat and whisk in the boiling milk. Return the pan to the heat and stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Season with the salt, pepper and cayenne. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks.

Beat the egg whites with a mixer or a wire whisk until stiff peaks form. Add about a quarter of the beaten egg whites to the egg yolk mixture with the grated cheese, and mix. Fold in the rest of the egg whites gently, and transfer the mixture to the prepared mold.

Put the soufflé in on the middle rack of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Bake the small soufflé for 18-20 minutes and large soufflé for 25-30 minutes until the soufflé has puffed up an inch or two over the top of the dish. The top will be golden brown. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the soufflé is firm, remove from the oven and serve immediately.