Monday, January 30, 2017

Twice Fried Buffalo Wings

The Super Bowl is less than a week away, which means we need to start seriously thinking about football appetizers and game day snacks!

I've recently had a hankering for classic Buffalo Wings - the type of wings that are hot, spicy and buttery, with a crunchy skin and fall-off-the-bone meat. I don't think that's too much to ask for, but there was the task of having to find really good buffalo wings in the greater Boston area. So, one thing led to another and I decided I should just make them myself.

With the big game around the corner, this past weekend seemed as good a time as any to give homemade buffalo wings a whirl. I enlisted the help of my friend, Lauren, who also proposed that we make homemade pretzels and mustard (and oops, we also made a cheese dip, wow what a great day).

Turns out, the talented J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats did quite a bit of buffalo wing research for us, so I used his post as guidance for what I assumed had to be a spectacular wing (considering they were twice fried!)

As for my method, it is essentially Kenji's, but generally at lower temperatures and with shorter cooking times on the second fry. I learned this weekend that I am very scared of big pots of a hot oil and Lauren had to coach me into just dropping the wings in for the second fry...hey, we all have our struggles!

So, how do we get perfect wings at home? First, we combine oil and lots of wings/drumettes into a big dutch oven. Over medium heat, we gradually bring the oil up to 225 degress farenheit, stirring the chicken occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and just beginning to have color on the outside.

After the initial fry, we remove the chicken from the oil to strain and rest it for at least an hour at room temperature. Next, more oil goes into the dutch oven and is heated to 375 degrees. Working in smaller batches, the wings are then deep fried until crispy, golden and ready to douse in sauce.

As for the sauce, it is nothing more than melted butter and Frank's Red Hot. Just before serving, the wings are tossed in the dip. Bleu cheese dressing is essential to have on hand for dipping, and some celery will calm your pallet between plate-fulls of wings. Jump to the recipe below for detailed instructions and tips on how to plan ahead for the Super Bowl Sunday!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Grilled Steak Greek Salad

I made you a big salad!

And this is one tasty salad, indeed. Whether you are an avid resolution-er or are just looking for a delicious and easy dinner, today's recipe has it all. 

Grilled Steak Greek Salad is one of our favorite meals. Since I made it for the first time a few weeks ago, we've had it at least 3 times! All you need is fresh veggies, salty feta cheese, a nice piece of steak and your favorite Greek dressing, and in 20 minutes dinner is served. That's a winning recipe in my book.

So, let's talk about the vegetables. When it comes to Greek salad, I like to keep it simple...the crunchier the better. For the base, we are going with classic romaine lettuce (though, of course, you could use any leafy green you want...spinach, kale, baby arugula, iceberg, et al). Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, tangy scallions and bitter radishes, sliced paper thin, are all a must. If olives are your thing, I'd throw a handful of those on top. If a red onion has found it's way into your produce drawer, swap in sliced onion for the scallions. So fresh!

All these crunchy veggies hold up well to a nice, strong protein. I love this perfectly grilled steak, just the right amount of golden brown crust to a juicy, medium center. I recently started sprinkling a bit of corn starch after patting my steak dry with a paper towel to help achieve the most beautiful golden brown grill marks. Be sure to give this a try, especially if you are working on an indoor grill pan. 

Oh my. I nearly forgot. The cheese! Feta cheese! A lot of it. It's necessary. Be generous.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Chocolate Waffles with Peanut Butter Chips

Apologies in advance for anyone who came here hoping for a salad today.

This...this is very much the opposite of salad.

But, also! It's probably the most delicious recipe you can ever imagine, especially if you are like me and are a chocolate and peanut butter FANATIC.

Look, I understand if you're mad because it's January and we are all supposed to be collectively "eating better and exercising more." I would like to argue, however, that this IS eating better. New England got it's first big snowstorm of the year and that always gives me an itch to cook and bake. And that is a very, very good thing, considering these Chocolate Waffles with Peanut Butter Chips were the result.

These waffles walk the line between breakfast and dessert and that is a wonderful thing. A bit of cocoa powder is all it takes to make a classic waffle a CHOCOLATE waffle, and honestly I'm kind of wondering why we haven't made chocolate waffles more often? Why have we been denying ourselves this magical combination for so long?

The batter for this recipe is rich and slightly sweet. When these waffles first come out of the waffle iron, they are a bit more tender, delicate and softer than a traditional waffle. The amazing thing, though, is that as the waffles cool on a wire rack, a crust begins to form developing that irresistible crunch we crave in our waffles. It's magic!

The melty, salty peanut butter chips are an extra special touch that take a simple recipe over the top. I know, I know.

Bonus! This recipe makes enough waffles for today plus a batch to freeze and reheat whenever you want an extra special breakfast! Just pop them in the toaster right out of the freezer and thy will be just as crispy and delicious as the day you made them. That's my kind of meal planning :-)