Ain’t No Thang but a Chicken Wing

Most of America is looking forward to this Sunday for one reason or another. Cooking sites, beer brands, restaurants, t-shirt companies, and even The Who are set to capitalize on the event, which is undoubtedly the most watched TV-broadcast in America.

And while I do enjoy a good NFL match (especially since our ACC favorite has given us little reason to follow NCAA games), I clearly have an ulterior motive when it comes to the Super Bowl. That motive, friends, is food. Did you have to ask?

February 7, 2010 is probably the only day of this year in which I will eat two heaping handfuls of chicken wings without a care in the world, as Jennifer will be whipping up some of her now-famous black pepper chicken wings and I’ll be making the ones you see here. It’s also the time of the year when Mark & Heather bring a couple of Tombstone pizzas (if his own new TV doesn’t sell us out), when Brook & Katherine bring that awesome buffalo chicken dip (yes, Katherine, I loooooove that stuff!), and when Hubs really works it in the kitchen by making either a huge vat of chili or this year, a ginormous Boston Butt, slow roasted and pulled into little shoestrings, sopped up with bbq sauce and washed down with beer. Oh, the choices.

In short, Super Bowl = Food Extravaganza.

Well, the exception to that would be Super Bowl XLI, when Devin Hester returned the kickoff punt for the Bears. The Bears didn’t quite win that game, but we sure did. The place where we watched the game that year decided to go balls to the wall and award a lump sum of money IF Hester returned the kick (since he was notorious for returning them, it was definitely possible, and this bar was clearly stupid) to anyone who signed up. Our winnings? 800 buckaroos, baby!  In that instance, Super Bowl = cha-ching!!

Bets & football sqaures aside, what about you? What are you doing for the big game?

need some easy recipes for Sunday? Check these out – they are quick, easy, cheap, and super versatile. You could even leave the fancy stuff behind and just lather them in hot sauce, if you please. Just make sure you prepare enough; you don’t want to miss the game (or the food) by making a grocery run.

Ginger-Honey Chicken Wings
From Food & Wine, February 2010; serves 2-4

printable version

ingredients
2 T all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t g Sichuan peppercorn
1/4 t five-spice powder
2 lbs chicken wingettes & drumettes
2 1/2 T red hot sauce (Franks)
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 T soy sauce
2 T honey
2 T fresh ginger, minced
2 T scallions, chopped finely

instructions
Preheat oven to 500 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with oil or cooking spray.

In a bowl, mix flour, salt, peppercorn, and five-spice. Add chicken to bowl and toss to coat. Spread chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer and spray with oil. Roast chicken for 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned and crispy.

In a bowl, toss chicken with remaining ingredients; serve.

Mango-Curry Chicken Wings
From Food & Wine, February 2010; serves 2-4

printable version

ingredients
2 T all-purpose flour
1 t salt
2 T hot Madras curry powder
2 lbs chicken wingettes & drumettes
2 1/2 T red hot sauce (Franks)
2 T unsalted butter, melted
2 T Major Grey mango chutney
chopped pistachios, for garnish

instructions
Preheat oven to 500 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with oil or cooking spray.

In a bowl, mix flour, salt, and curry powder. Add chicken to bowl and toss to coat. Spread chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer and spray with oil. Roast chicken for 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned and crispy.

In a bowl, toss chicken with remaining ingredients except pistachio; top plated wings with pistachio and serve.

Not diggin’ wings? try some other party grub:
Ham & Cheddar Pretzel Bites
Edamame Ravioli n’ Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce
Strawberry Pizza

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I Want My Baby Back Ribs

ginger baby back ribs

Okay. I know… before you even read, or scroll to the recipe, or whatever you do when you get to the chik n’ pastry blogsite, you are probably wondering what in the hell is wrong with me. Why would I ever ever ever say I don’t want BBQ sauce?! I mean, what else does a Southern girl eat her ribs with? Heck, anything with?

So let’s be clear here, before going any further. I adore barbeque sauce. I adore the way the sticky, gooey, molasses-and-ketchup-flavored-sauce-with-a-hint-of-apple-cider-vinegar-that-I-could-make-with-my-eyes-closed tastes on some baby back ribs, cooked low and slow on a sunny summer day to the point where they fall off the bone before they make it to your mouth or for that matter even in your hands because they. are. that. damn. tender. and. juicy. and. oh. so. perfect. in. every. way. I love the way you finish eating said ribs and the morsels of ooey goodness that is said bbq sauce remain all over your mouth, your face, your hair, your clothes, and all 10 of the Bounty tri-fold paper towels you used along the way. Make me choose what type of rib to take to my grave and hands down, I’d choose those in a heartbeat. Shoot, less than a heartbeat.

rib sauce


But, barring any unforseen accident or health malady, I do not plan to receive a visit from the Grim Reaper any time soon. That being said, I do feel that an occasional visit to the dark side is acceptable. If you are, like me, in the prime of your life and ready to try something different in the way of ribs, I suggest you consider a venture to Cambodia to try their style of bbq, complete with flavors of ginger and honey on a background of soy and fish sauces. If you’re not quite ready for that type of adventure, thank Bon Appetit magazine for having Steven Raichlen, bbq extraordinaire, tour the globe via a ‘barbeque trail’ and then write about it in the July 2009 issue.


Then, thank me for insisting that you try this recipe, as you will undoubtedly be wowed by the abundancy of flavor that’s packed into this marinade. Meanwhile, you’ll find yourself also feeling a bit sheepish by suggesting I’d lost my mind. I haven’t – not this time.


grilled ribs


Wow. Just wow. We made these this past weekend – we were long past due for a ‘Jennifer&Jon get-together’ (and getting the band back together for another gig on the Rock Band II World Tour). Plus, Chris & I both finished up Spring quarter of school the week before and were in need of an event reminiscent of summer break. And after our grilled meal in Hilton Head, Chris had quite the hankerin’ for the ol’ Weber. Ribs were the answer.


Marinated in a blend of ginger, honey, fish sauce, and soy sauce, these are not your typical ribs for sure. Why, they don’t even cook low n’ slow but instead cook ‘high n’ quick’. The marinating is the long part but surely worth the few hours to really layer the flavors. Be sure to baste during the marinating to allow the flavors to continuously work their way into the ribs. Oh baby – these are baby back ribs that you don’t wanna forget.


ribs and sides


Want to carry these tasty Asian flavors through the rest of your meal? I made a peanut-saucy Asian slaw and some gluten-free sesame noodles that were super easy and just as tasty.


Ginger & Honey Baby Back Ribs
Adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2009; serves 6



ingredients
Ribs & Marinade
2 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pound baby back pork ribs, cut into 6-7 rib sections
1/4 cup peeled ginger, cut into chunks
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T sugar
1 T kosher salt
1 T fresh ground black pepper
3 T honey
2 T soy sauce*
2 T fish sauce


Dipping sauce
6 t kosher salt, divided
6 t ground white pepper, divided
3 large limes, halved


*Gluten-free available if needed

instructions
For ribs & marinade:
Place rib racks on work surface. If not done already, use a small knife and carefully pry membrane from underside of each rib. Place ribs on rimmed baking sheet.


Combine ginger, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in processor and puree to blend. Add honey, soy sauce, and fish sauce and process to blend well. Adjust seasonings to taste. (Don’t be alarmed by the overwhelming smell of the fish sauce – it does NOT overpower once grilled!). Spread spiced marinade on both sides of ribs and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, basting occasionally with accumulated marinade on baking sheet.

For dipping sauce:

Place 6 small bowls on each of 6 plates. Place 1 t salt and 1 t pepper side by side, then place lime in plate beside. Have guests squeeze lime juice into mixture to taste.


Grillin’:
Spray rack with cooking spray. Prepared grill to medium heat. Spoon accumulated marinade back over ribs. Place rib racks, rounded side down, on grill rack. Grill, uncovered, 8 minutes per side, then cover grill and grill until cooked through, about another 8 minutes per side.

Transfer to cutting board. Cut into single rib pieces.