A Love Affair: Buffalo Wings

My love affair with buffalo wings began my freshman year of college. Off campus, there was a little spot called Cosmos Pizza, a popular hangout for students and townies. During my first weekend at school, a few of the girls from my floor invited me out for a bite to eat. We ended up at Cosmos, stuffed into a small booth, laughing and sharing first impressions. One of the girls ordered hot wings and promptly passed them around. Curious, I decided to give it a try. Until then, I had never had hot wings. I know, I know, how is that even possible?? Sure, I’d had fried wings and wings with Spanish rice, but that was pretty much the end of it. The moment I bit into that Cosmos wing, I couldn’t believe what I had been missing. The flavor was unbelievable, the heat just right. I had never even tasted hot sauce before! Was this what is was like?? I devoured the wing and eagerly grabbed another. There was no going back.

From that point on, I never passed up the opportunity for hot wings. Luckily, I got my fix at least once a week, courtesy of the dining hall. Thursdays were wing night at Brockway Dining Hall, with enough chicken wings to feed an army. My girlfriends always knew to call my room on Thursday evenings, just in case I had fallen asleep after class. Heaven forbid I should miss out on my wings! More than a decade later, I still love hot wings. There’s nothing like that first bite into crispy skin, the taste of the sauce on your tongue, the heat that starts to creep up on you, licking your fingers after devouring each wing. The sign of a successful wing fest are the sniffles you get from the cayenne sauce. Yeaaah. Make sure to keep a cold glass of milk nearby. It helps put out the fire party in your mouth.

No wing joint nearby? Make your own! They’re super easy.

Buffalo Chicken Wings

What You’ll Need:

3 lbs small chicken wings, drumette and wing separated, tips cut
1 cup cayenne pepper sauce (I LOVE Frank’s Original RedHot!)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Canola oil, for frying
blue cheese sauce, for dipping (Recommended: Marie’s Premium Super Blue Cheese

Using a deep fryer or large pot, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry the wings until golden and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place wings on a wire rack over a sheet tray lined with paper towels.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the hot sauce and stir until well combined and heated through. Pour the sauce into a large bowl, then add the wings. Toss until well combined and the wings are completely coated. Serve with blue cheese sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Korean Chicken Wings

Need a wing fix? Looking for something other than traditional Buffalo Wings? These spicy babies pack sweet heat that will have you licking your fingers and asking for more. My husband, who purposely seeks out all that is fiery, couldn’t get enough of these.

Korean Chicken Wings

Adapted from Not Quite Nigella

What You’ll Need:

For the Marinade:

4 lbs chicken wings, drumette and wing separated, tips cut off
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped

For the Coating:

4 tablespoons Korean curry powder (I used Ottogi)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch

For the Sauce:

3 medium onions, finely diced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup sweet chili sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups water
6 teaspoons red chili flakes
3 tablespoons Canola oil
sliced green onion (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients, then add the chicken. Place in the refrigerator for one hour.

While the chicken marinades, prepare the sauce. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the tomato sauce, sweet chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, water and chili flakes. Let simmer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens and becomes a rich red. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the fridge. Drain and discard the marinade.

Heat the oil in a fryer or large pot to 325 degrees. While the oil heats, coat the chicken.

Combine the curry, flour and corn starch in a large bowl. Working in batches, toss the chicken wings in the mixture until well coated. Set aside on a large tray until all the wings are prepped. Fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure not to crown the fryer. Work in batches, if necessary. Once all the wings have been fried, heat the fryer to 350 degrees. Fry the wings a second time for another 3 to 4 minutes until golden.

Once the second frying has been completed, transfer the wings to the pan and coat them thoroughly with sauce. Serve topped with green onions. This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so you can serve the remainder on the side for dipping. Enjoy!

Game Day Favorites

Procrastinated all week and still don’t know what you’re serving for tonight’s game? Hey, it happens to the best of us! There’s still time to make some of my game day favorites.

Feeling cheesy? Try some Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy Quesadillas with Tangy Dipping Sauce:

Or how about some Five Layer Dip?

Or maybe some Game Day Chili? (Here’s a secret…you don’t even have to serve the chili in a bowl! It tastes great on burgers and hot dogs, too!)

Perhaps you’re craving a juicy burger? Try these Green Chile Chicken Cheeseburgers:

And finally, my Pulled Pork and Habanero Cheese Panini:

Enjoy today’s game!

Five Layer Dip

Nothing says “party” like chips and dip! This five layer dip has a combination of all the essentials, guaranteed to be a hit with everyone. I had eaten about half the plate before my husband even got to try it!

Five Layer Dip

What You’ll Need:

1 15 ounce can refried beans (recommended: Goya Ranchero Style Refried Pinto Beans)
1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup guacamole (for killer guacamole, try the New York Times recipe for Traditional Guacamole)
tortilla chips, for serving

Using a small pan or skillet over low to medium heat, cook the refried beans until heated through. Spread the beans on the bottom of a plate or platter. Top with half of the shredded cheese mixture. Spread the sour cream over the layer of cheese, being careful not to disturb the layers. Spread the guacamole over the layer of sour cream. Sprinkle the remainder of the shredded cheese over the guacamole. Serve immediately with a side of tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy Quesadillas with Tangy Dipping Sauce

Believe it or not, I don’t like meat in my quesadillas. No chicken. No beef. Just cheese. Ooey, gooey, stringy cheese. Quesadillas are the perfect anytime snack. Heck, you can even make it a meal. They’re definitely perfect for game day, like today. I like a combination of different cheeses in mine – extra sharp cheddar for some bite, mozzarella for that smooth taste and cheesy stringiness (see above), and habanero cheese, for that essential kick in the taste buds.

Before I go forward, I need to write some more about Cabot’s Hot Habanero Cheddar Cheese, my new-found love. I came across it in the imported cheese section of my local supermarket, while I was searching for Cabot’s Chipotle Cheddar. The chipotle cheese was nowhere to be found, and I stood there for a moment, contemplating if I was bold enough to give the habanero cheese a try. I decided to buy it.

Later that evening, I cracked open a bottle of wine (Cannonball, the hubby’s favorite), and placed a few slices of cheese onto a plate. Immediately after my first bite, my tongue was on fire. I felt an insane amount of heat permeating my taste buds. My eyes watered a bit. I drank a sip of wine and waited for the heat to die down. Then, I went back for more cheese. I was obviously insane. This cheese brought a five alarm fire to my mouth, yet I wanted more. I was hooked.

Cabot’s Hot Habanero Cheddar is now a regular in my fridge. I shred a little to top my mac and cheese, slice it for my burgers, and pair it with crackers for a simple snack. Yum.

Back the quesadilla. Even though my sister isn’t a fan of habanero cheese (or anything too spicy, for that matter), this recipe is for her. As a kid, my sister ate two things: pizza and quesadillas. When we had a family night out, if one of these two things was on the restaurant menu, she’d order it. If it wasn’t – watch out! So, Arelis, lover of ooey, gooey, cheesy quesadillas, this one’s for you!

Cheesy Yumminess

Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy Quesadillas

The Butcher’s Daughter original recipe

What You’ll Need:

For the quesadillas:

5 large flour tortillas (preferably Mission brand)
1 cup shredded extra sharp yellow cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ habanero cheese (preferably Cabot brand)
pico de gallo (optional)

For the sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise
6 slices jalapeño, minced (the kind in the jar)
10 teaspoons jalapeño juice (from the jar of jalapenos)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
First, make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients and mix well. If making the sauce ahead of time, be sure to refrigerate.

Before you assemble the quesadillas, heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. I prefer my Cusinart Grill Pan, because it gives the quesadillas nice grill marks. If you don’t have a grill pan, a large skillet will work just fine.

Combine all the cheeses into a bowl. Spread some of the sauce onto a flour tortilla. Make sure to keep it within about an inch of the edge of the tortilla. You don’t want the sauce to ooze out when your press down on your quesadillas. On one side of the tortilla, sprinkle some of your cheese blend. Make sure it’s spread out evenly. You want each bite to be filled with some cheesy goodness. Fold the tortilla over. Place the quesadilla on the grill pan (or skillet, if that’s what you’re using) and let sit for 3 to 4 minutes before flipping. When you flip over the quesadilla, press on it lightly with a spatula to ensure the cheese “glues” the tortilla shell in place. While the quesadilla is achieving that spectacular level of cheesiness, assemble the remainder of your quesadillas.

Once all the quesadillas are cooked, allow to cool for about one minute before cutting into triangles. Serve with the remainder of the sauce on the side and some pico de gallo (optional). Enjoy!