winging it… again

The most highly anticipated day of any football lovers year is right around the corner. Frankly, I don’t like football. Nope, not at all. Sure I’ve been to Giants games. Sure I’ve drunk beer, eaten pretzels and cheered for big blue. Sure I’ve asked “Who’s winning?” on many a Sunday afternoon. But in all honesty, there’s nothing about the sport that appeals to me. However I realize I’m in the minority (particularly at this time of year) and so I make an effort to pretend to care.

I had planned on this years effort manifesting itself as some out of the box delicious Super Bowl Sunday treat. I would tell you a long-winded story about it, give you the recipe and close the book on yet another football season. But karma got in the way. You see last week I was busy bragging to anyone that would listen about how my entire family was sick but me. And how I fully attributed my reigning health to the super green smoothies I drink everyday. The universe is a funny thing. Don’t let it see you getting too full of yourself or before you know it… playing fields will be evened. (Did you catch that little hook back into football? I know, I’m good.) Anyway, the universe is now having a nice little chuckle at my expense because this week I’m living on Jakeman’s cough drops and sound like Harvey Fierstein. Yeah, karma really is a bitch. Instead of giving you something new and fabulous, I’m reposting last years Super Bowl entry along with my recipe for Grilled Asian Wings— and I’m going to make myself a cup of tea.

So until next season… May your teams be tough and your balls fully inflated!”

PREVIOUSLY POSTED ENTRY: It seems to me that Super Bowl Sunday has very little to actually do with football and a lot to do with Clydesdale commercials, half-time wardrobe malfunctions and trashy food you would never ordinarily consider eating. You know the kind I’m talking about— bowls of melted velveeta and salsa served with Fritos (hmm, who knew they still made Fritos?) piping hot pizza bites and mini hot dogs (I’m sure there’s not that much MSG in them, right?) and of course deep-fried wings with a side of bottled blue cheese dressing (limp celery stalks optional). But before you get the wrong impression here’s the thing… I happen to like wings. In fact there’s a coal-fired pizza joint nearby that makes the most delicious caramelized onion and rosemary wings that I like to order with a side salad. So you see it’s not the wing itself I take issue with, it’s the prepackaged, deep-fried, preservative laden aspect of your typical trashy wings I dislike. If I’m going to eat a wing I want some thought to have gone into it, some consideration for the flavors in combination with the cooking method. I want someone to have given that wing a little love long before it ever hits my plate.

While I don’t have a coal-fired pizza oven, I do have a gas grill and a Weber cookbook, which as it turns out is all I really need. A few pounds of wings, some Asian ingredients, a little grill time and voilà… Delicious without apology wings. I realize as I type this that the temperature outside is only 18°F, not exactly standing at the grill weather. I have but one thing to say about that—

Toughen up buttercup. This is football!

Grilled Asian Wings
These are delicious and far less guilt inducing than your typical wings.

wings6

1 medium leek, halved and sliced thin
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup tamari soy sauce
5 tbsp. dark brown sugar, packed
4 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
4 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp. fish sauce
3 tbsp. peeled, grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings, tips removed

  1. Add all the ingredients (except the wings) to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Pour all the marinade except for 3 tablespoons into a large ziploc bag, place the wings in the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to insure all the wings are coated and allow to marinate for an hour.
  2. Prepare your grill by brushing the cooking grates clean and heating the grill to 350°F.
  3. Carefully oil the grates and grill the wings over medium heat, with the lid closed, until they are well browned and cooked through (turning them several times), 15 to 25 minutes.
  4. Transfer the cooked wings to the large bowl and drizzle with the reserved marinade. Serve warm and… Go team!.

*adapted from weber

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Holy-peño Peppers!

One Saturday this past Spring my husband and son went to Home Depot for lumber and came home with herbs and jalapeño peppers. My son apparently took a little side trip into the gardening department and knowing how much his mother enjoys spicy food, decided to buy me a jalapeño pepper plant. He’s right I do love spicy, but I don’t have much experience cooking with jalapeño peppers and I didn’t really know what I would do if the plants grew and produced fruit. But since my sweet boy bought it for me, you know it got the utmost love and attention. Well my one small plant not only grew, it sprouted into a jalapeño tree laden with enormous peppers!

I really wanted to use the peppers whole, to make the most of their tremendous size, rather than dicing them up and adding them to a dish. Naturally the first thing that came to mind was stuffing them; jalapeño popper style. But instead of your traditional deep-fried disaster with gloppy cream cheese oozing out when you attempted to eat it, my poppers would be civilized. Mine would be knife and fork poppers, not beers and football poppers. I stuffed each one with aged cheddar cheese, wrapped it in real turkey bacon and grilled it for a few minutes on each side. The results were crazy good, with such a subtle amount of heat that even my “we don’t like spicy food children” enjoyed them. And they actually turned out attractive enough that you could serve them to guests, even if it’s not Super Bowl Sunday.

Grilled Jalapeño Poppers
These would also be tasty stuffed with Monterey Jack (or a Jack/Cheddar blend) and wrapped in real bacon.

4 large jalapeño peppers
4 slices turkey bacon
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Make a slit from stem to tip on the top side of each jalapeno pepper and scrape out the seeds. Fill each pepper with the shredded cheese, pressing it in well with your thumb. Wrap a piece of bacon around each pepper and secure it with several toothpicks.
  2. Place the peppers onto the preheated grill and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the peppers begin to soften and the bacon is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

*adapted from the food network