They’re better #naked

DSC_0001

Chicken wings.  What did you think I meant?  We’ve got ourselves a real marketing team now.  Her name is Ashley and she’s wicked smaht.  (She is the author of another great blog you should check out called, acuteredhead.)  Luckily for us, she is a marketing and research expert, that also happens to be my sister-in-law.   She has graciously offered to help us grow our little blog.  Otherwise, we would still be floundering in the sea of  “The Intranet” and “The Google”.  Among other things, she taught us the value of the hashtag.   Imagine what that title, #naked, has done for our readership.  Look for our next post, titled  “#blowjob:  Easter decorating starts here”.

egg07

Back to the chicken wings.  Again, while Catherine was here, (yes,we barely came up to breathe), we made chicken wings for the playoff game. (The outcome has left us with nothing to do on Sunday except to eat chicken wings, naked.)   We like Buffalo style wings but as much as we like butter, we are a little turned off by the amount of fat and calories this adds to food that comes prepackaged with it’s own source of delicious fat.  What we were after was a Thai curry chicken wing.  We  roasted the wings with nothing more than salt and pepper sprinkled over them at about 425° for 1 hour, or until they were golden brown and crispy.  Then we pulled them out and tossed them with Thai red curry paste that we had mixed with a little fish sauce and lime juice.  They were good, but not great.

WingSauces

What was great though, were the wings with nothing on them except for their golden brown salty and peppery flesh.  Naked is the way to go.  If you are still looking for extra flavor profiles, set up a series of dipping bowls that the wings can be dipped in.  You get the best of all worlds with no soggy skin.   Soggy skin isn’t sexy and as we all know, #sex sells.

-Andra

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings

4 pounds of chicken wings, drumettes, flats and wing tips, separated.  Save wing tips for another recipe.

Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425°.

Spread chicken wings on a metal, high sided baking sheet so that none of the wings are touching each other.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Bake for 1 hour or until the wings are golden brown and crispy.  Serve alone or with sauces to dip into.

Secret Sauce - I’m sorry.  I can’t give you a recipe for the Secret Sauce.  You can read why, here.

Thai Green Curry Sauce

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste

1 tablespoon grated ginger (we like a lot of ginger.  Adjust according to taste)

Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in curry paste and ginger and heat until curry paste is incorporated and the mixture smells fragrant.

Hoisin Sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar

a few drops of sesame oil

2-3 tablespoons of water

Combine all ingredients and adjust according to your taste.

Buffalo sauce 

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup Texas Pete

Mix until well combined.

Christmas dinner…almost

DSC_0162

It was just the four of us for Christmas this year.  We extended an invitation to both sets of grandparents but travel schedules and other social plans didn’t align.  So this Christmas had a whole different tempo.   We didn’t have a schedule.  For anything.  We woke up after the sun came up (the one and only rule of the day), opened presents, enjoyed cinnamon rolls, candy and hot chocolate all day.  We only took  a break to play with toys and video games.

I had big plans for our Christmas dinner that was supposed to be eaten in the dining room with the good china and a table cloth.  We were supposed to have roast ham, corn casserole, roasted vegetables, buttermilk biscuits and  bread pudding with bourbon sauce for dessert.   At some point during the day, I did manage to put the ham in the oven, make a corn casserole and a batch of buttermilk biscuits; but that was it.  Not only did I not set a table, roast vegetables or make bread pudding with bourbon sauce I actually forgot what time I put the ham in the oven.   It may have been in the oven somewhere between six and seven hours when it really only needed about five.  When we finally sat down to eat, the ham was falling off the bone and tasted like a pig roast.  It was cooked just the way I remember my mom making it who had learned the technique from my Great Uncle Paul.  This was lovingly known around our house as the “cook the shit out of it” technique.  It is the best way to cook a ham.   Great Uncle Paul was a true gentleman so I am sure that he didn’t come up with that name.  Mom and dad are too couth to use such coarse language.   I’m pretty sure it was Catherine that came up with that name.  (She has also said that if she were to get a boat, it would be called “Ship Faced”.)

We missed the company of our grandparents on Christmas morning, but still had a really fun day.  We all felt (and ate) like kids on Christmas morning.   We hope to have grandparents visit next Christmas.  Someone will need to make sure we don’t eat too much candy to spoil our dinner or play too many video games.

-Andra

So you say it’s your birthday?

DSC_0209

Our Thanksgiving was so much fun.  We spent four days with Catherine and her family and you know what they say about house guests after three days?  There are two possible reasons why we may have started to smell like fish.  1.  Our pet fish, Murphy, came with us.  2.  Catherine served shrimp on the third day.  My guess is that it was combination of both.   I don’t know that I can speak for Catherine and her family, but we had the most fun Thanksgiving break.  So did Murphy!

photo

Over the last few years, we have made it a habit to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my sister and her family which usually means I am there for my birthday.  This puts added pressure on Catherine to prepare a birthday celebration while still trying to put away the Thanksgiving dishes.  Her solution was brilliant; don’t use dishes!   She made a Charleston style shrimp boil.  All of the ingredients were layered into a pot with Old Bay seasoning; potatoes, onions, sausage, corn, and the shrimp going in last.

DSC_0168

Had we been in a balmier climate we might have sat outside where flying shrimp shells are not a big problem.  But New Jersey weather was bitter cold forcing us indoors into Catherine’s elegant dining room.  Never-mind, she  poured the whole pot onto her dining room table that had been covered in plastic and newspaper.  We didn’t use  plates or utensils.  All we needed was a roll of paper towels.  If you’re  a six-year-old boy,  you don’t even need paper towels; your napkin is built into your sleeve.   (So is your kleenex).

DSC_0187

This was so much fun and so delicious!   I can’t wait to see what Catherine makes for me next year! -Andra

Pardon the Interruption

So sorry for the absence (that’s for you Mom and Dad, our most loyal readers), but I assure you our lack of posts doesn’t mean we haven’t been eating dinner.  It just means that getting ready for Christmas is completely overwhelming, forget paying attention to/raising my 4-year-old and 2-year-old and documenting what we eat.

To bring us up to speed, Andra and her family came for Thanksgiving, and while I wish we had taken pictures of every part of the visit, we chose to drink and talk to each other instead.  So the only pictures I have of the event are this picture of the turkey coming out of the oven:

securedownload

Our table before the plates and food were introduced,

IMG_2133

Our buffet-style spread,

IMG_2134

Including the best cranberry sauce EVER, thanks to Andra.

IMG_2139

I don’t have pictures of our pre-Thanksgiving dinner, Andra’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, which was spectacular and so easy, our pies, the bourbon whipped cream we put on top of our pies, or the turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving.  While those would have been great photos, the one that got away is definitely the shot of our recycling bin after Andra and her family left.  THAT would have been prize-winning.

We used Bon Appétit’s Neo Traditionalist turkey recipe for the turkey and it was delicious, I would definitely do it again.  Andra made the pies with Bon Appétit recipes, Pumpkin with Maple and Chocolate Pecan.  While the pumpkin was delicious, that Chocolate Pecan was the star of the dessert table.  So good.

Expect amazing coverage of Christmas dinner.  Now back to our regular scheduled programming….

Catherine

Trick-or-treat

Do you remember coming home from trick-or-treating and sorting out your candy?  The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups got a pile, the PayDays got a pile, Heath and Skor bars-special pile, all those miniatures got a pile and then there were those weird things, loose Raisinetes, pennies, obviously last years Christmas mints, stickers and Bit-O-Honeys.  As a kid, I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to super sleuth where those lame treats came from.  I didn’t have to because Catherine would come up behind me and say “OOOOHHH, is that a Bit-O-Honey?  I’ll trade you my peanut butter cups for your Bit-O-Honeys and pennies!”  But, now that I’m the one buying the Halloween candy I wonder, who, besides my sister, is buying the Bit-O-Honey?

Here’s a treat for the few Skor and Heath bars that might make it home tonight.  (Tell your kids what I’ve told my kids about these candy bars.  That they are made with the leftover meat parts that can’t be put into hotdogs.)   These cupcakes are really good.  I made them fun sized, especially for Halloween, so that the adults would have a treat until the kids got home with the rest of the candy that we’ll pretend  not to eat while they’re at school.  -Andra

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting  Adapted from Ina Garten

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½  teaspoon baking soda

½  teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½  teaspoon ground ginger

½  teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling

½  cup granulated sugar

½  cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

½  cup vegetable oil

Maple Frosting (see recipe below)

½  cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of muffin tins with vegetable oil or  line them with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, for regular sized muffins tins or 10-12 minutes for miniature muffin tins until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set aside to cool completely.

Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.  Makes 10 regular sized cupcakes or 24 miniature cupcakes.

Maple Frosting

6  ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3  tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼  teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor

½  teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 82 other followers

%d bloggers like this: