Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sriracha Buffalo Wings - Hoowee!

I had a tenacious craving for buffalo wings the other day and if I didn’t get it satiated within a few hours I was going to pour butter and Sriracha on myself and start nibbling away. There’s something about that crispy skin, tangy and rich sauce and walloping chickeny flavor that allows me to consume them in mass quantities. I’m talkin’ fifty or more.

A long time ago in Buffalo, NY, a small bar owner was closing up shop and getting ready to go home for the night when her son and his football team walked in and demanded a hearty meal that would satisfy their beastly appetites. The woman combined equal parts butter and bottled hot sauce, put it over deep fried chicken wings and added an important page to the history book of American cuisine. Now on every bar and grill menu from Buffalo to the Bay Area, these nuclear missiles of flavor have inspired eating contests galore and I’m prepared to reveal their secrets.

Most restaurants and fancy places like that deep fry their drumettes and then toss them in a 50/50 solution of melted butter and the hot sauce of their choice. They also serve you celery and bleu cheese dressing on the side. If I wanted a salad I would make a salad. No room for any veggies on this plate, sister. I’ve augmented the standard recipe for home ease and my personal taste. Make these and devour with your boys over cold beers and the NBA playoffs.

You will need:

2 lbs chicken wings (you can buy these in party packs at the supermarket)

3 tablespoons butter

Quarter cup Sriracha hot sauce or any of your choosing

2 tablespoons honey

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and line them up in one layer on a roasting rack on an aluminum foil line sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes. Flip the wings over with a pair of tongs and roast for another 40 minutes. In the mean time, melt butter over a low flame in a small saucepan. Once butter is melted, add honey and hot sauce and stir to combine. Once the wings are done, immediately toss them in a large bowl with the prepared sauce and devour. An hour and twenty minutes seems like a long time to roast such small pieces of meat but to achieve crispy wing nirvana, you must resist the urge to pull the wings earlier. Go crazy with sauce options. Like jalapenos? Chop a fresh jalapeno into rounds and cook it with the sauce. Add some ginger and soy for a little bit of an Asian flair, or cumin and chile powder for South of the Border wings.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Taste of Tribeca

Last weekend I stuffed my face at the Taste of Tribeca food festival. It was intensely delicious. Six samples from neighborhood restaurants and an American Lamb cook-off with Leah and Gail from Top Chef. Here's some pics I took.

Memorial Day Nachos

Ultimate truths are very simple: children are the future, all you need is love, nachos are fraking AWESOME! If you’re the guy who brings the nachos, you’re the guy who everybody likes. Take these to a Memorial Day barbecue and upstage the host with this yummy hors d'oeuvre. Or just eat the whole thing in one sitting like I did. Ugh…

For the guacamole:

1 ripe avocado

2 Roma tomatoes

1/4 of an onion

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon minced cilantro

1/2 lemon for juice

Salt and pepper

For the beans:

1 can pinto beans

1 tablespoon hot sauce

Salt and pepper

For the meat:

1/2 lb ground beef

2 teaspoons each ground cumin, chile powder, paprika, and dried oregano

Salt and pepper

1 pound bag of tortilla chips

1 cup each shredded Monterrey jack and sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Drain and rinse the beans and heat them with the hot sauce in a small sauce pan over a small flame. Brown the meat with the spices over medium heat and drain the fat off. Should take about five minutes. Combine cilantro, lemon juice, chopped 1/4 of an onion, rough chopped tomatoes, minced garlic clove, and flesh of avocado and smash with a fork until fully incorporated.

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Place half the chips on the foil scattered evenly. Taste and season the beans and spread half of them over the chips. Same thing with the beef and half the cheese. Put a layer of chips on top of the cheese and repeat. Heat under broiler for five to seven minutes. Dollop with sour cream and guacamole.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Prickly Pear Caramel Sauce

I was in the grocery store the other day and I saw an awesome deal on prickly pears. Five for a dollar, so I stuffed a few in a bag, threw some change at the drooler behind the counter and ran home fruit in hand. Prickly pears are one of my favorite exotic fruits. They taste like a kiwi, only more acidic and grassy. They grow all over Texas and are an excellent addition to margaritas. Unfortunately, I was sans-tequila so margs were out of the question but luckily for me, I am brilliantly creative. I peeled and mashed the flesh of the fruit through a strainer to get about a cup and a half of prickly pear juice, made a caramel sauce and enjoyed it over ice cream. Here’s the recipe.

You will need:

1.5 cups prickly pear juice, fresh

Quarter cup sugar

Quarter cup butter

Melt the sugar and butter together over low heat until you have a nice caramel color. Add the prickly pear juice and stir until incorporated. Serve over hot vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Slap Swine Flu in the Snout with these Carnitas

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo this Tuesday by taking off that face mask and embracing that other white meat.

You will need:

1 5-6lb bone-in pork shoulder

1 carrot

1 stalk of celery

1 onion

1 jalapeno

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon each cumin, chile powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper

1 bay leaf

½ cup water

Chop the carrot, celery, onion, and jalapeno into small chunks. Smash the garlic and throw all of it into a shallow baking pan. Rub the pork shoulder on the outside with all the spices. Put the pork on top of the vegetables, pour in the water and drop in the bay leaf. Cover the pan with foil tightly and braise in a 200 degree oven for 6-8 hours. While the pork is doing its magic make up a batch of margaritas, some guacamole, salsa, or just take yourself a little siesta until dinner time.

After the pork is done you should be able to pull out the bone without any trouble and the meat should come off easily. Let cool for fifteen minutes and shred the meat with a few forks or your biggest, baddest meat cleaver incorporating the cooked vegetables and drippings from the bottom of the pan. Serve on tortillas with guacamole, cheese, sour cream and salsa. Impress your friends by telling them it took all day to make this dish when really you were watching Food Network letting the oven do all the work.