Honey Garlic Chicken Wings

The other day, He Who Must Be Fed brought home a surprise – a pound of honey from a local apiary.  He was all excited with his proffered gift.  “Look,” he said, as if I had never seen honey before. When he saw my puzzled expression, he added, “You can put it in your tea.”Honey

I was puzzled, because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all that honey. I don’t cook a lot with it. (And I don’t put it in my tea.) I could only think of two recipes that require honey: lemon cookies and baklava pie.

Then, I remembered I had found a recipe a week or so ago for sticky honey garlic chicken wings.

Bingo.

I’ve made these twice now. Once with the first batch of honey my honey brought home. Then with another darker, richer batch from the same beekeeper who said the darker honey was a result of his bees nibbling red bamboo. That richer flavor made these wings even more delicious than before.

Heat your oven to 450°. Line a baking pan with foil then place a rack on top. This prevents your wings from cooking in their own juice and getting soggy. You want them crispy, after all.
wingsOnTray

Place the wings in a large bowl and toss them with 1½ teaspoon each of sesame oil and sea salt  and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Put them in the oven for 35-40 minutes until they’re beautifully golden brown.

About 10 minutes before the wings are done, make the glaze. Add all the ingredients into a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Boil rapidly for about 5 minutes or until the glaze is reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat.Boiling

Remove the wings from the oven, put them in a bowl and toss them with the glaze. Put them on a plate and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.

Be careful! You’re going to want to let them cool before you try and eat them. The hot honey is like lava. Trust me on this one. I have the burns on my fingers and tongue to prove it.

Enjoy.

FinishedWings

Ingredients:

  • chicken wings
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

 For the glaze:

  • ⅓ cup plus 2 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

 

Bacon Hasselback Potatoes

Potatoes are big in our house. He Who Must Be Fed is the quintessential meat-and-potatoes guy, so I make them a lot. I’m always looking for new ways to make them so it doesn’t get boring. (After cooking for this man for 29 years, I gotta jazz it up sometimes, right? Sure don’t want him eating in another woman’s kitchen.)

I’ve been wanting to make these Bacon Hasselback Potatoes for some time but, for whatever reason, never got around to it. Until now.

These are delicious. Absolutely delicious. Just keep in mind that if you’re going to make these, you’re going to need some time. You won’t be able to make these on the fly. But, they’re worth the wait. Truly.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, each cut into 9 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Using a sharp knife, make crosswise cuts in each potato, about 1/8 inch apart, stopping about 1/4 inch from the bottom.

RawPotatoesAdd the potatoes to the boiling water and cook 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and carefully transfer to a baking sheet; let cool slightly. Pat the potatoes dry, then insert 3 pieces of the frozen bacon into the cuts of each potato, spacing the bacon evenly and letting it poke out of the top. Melt 5 tablespoons butter and brush generously over the potatoes and in the cuts. Reserve any excess butter for basting. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Transfer the potatoes to the oven and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp, about 2 hours, basting halfway through with the reserved melted butter.

When the potatoes are almost done, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and mix with the scallions, parsley and garlic. Spoon over the potatoes and roast 5 more minutes. Transfer to a platter and season with salt and pepper.

CookedPotatoes

Full-recipe disclosure: Since I was cooking for just the two of us, I made four potatoes, not 12. But, I used the same amount of everything else.  After all, you can’t have too much bacon.  🙂

 

Antipasto Pasta Salad

Have you ever noticed that side dishes at most cookouts are pretty – well, boring? I won’t cry if I never eat another spoonful of blah macaroni or potato salad again. A little while ago, I shared a recipe for Fresh Corn Salad, which is a delicious alternative to blah cookout side dishes.

Today, it’s Antipasto Pasta Salad. I got this recipe from my friend, Glenn, who made this wonderful pasta salad for some function I attended. I remembered tasting it and saying, “Holy cow, that’s pretty darn good.” OK. I cleaned up the language pretty significantly, but you get the idea.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound seashell or rotini pasta
  • ¼ pound Genoa salami, chopped
  • ¼ pound pepperoni, chopped
  • ½ pound mozzarella, chopped into cubes
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 package dry Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and cool under cold water.In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, peppers and tomatoes. Stir in the envelope of Good Seasonings. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. DressingForPastaSalad

Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.PouringDressing

This makes a lot, so if you’re not planning on having a big crew at your next cookout, you may want to half this recipe. However, we didn’t have a ton of people at our last event, but they pretty much chowed through all of this.FinishedPastaSalad

Fresh Corn Salad

This summer I wanted to break away from the typical summer side dishes – macaroni salad and potato salad – and make something different, something delicious, something my eaters will remember for summers to come.

Enter this Fresh Corn Salad from Ina Garten. This salad met my try-a-new-recipe criteria:

  • It was delicious.
  • It was easy and didn’t take long to make.
  • It was pretty.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

CornInIceBathIn a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.ChoppingCorn

The sweetness of the corn was a perfect match for the tartness of the vinegar. And it was such a delightful change from the typical summer salads. Try it. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it.

Full recipe disclosure: I didn’t add the fresh basil even though I have a flourishing pot of it growing on my windowsill. I couldn’t quite imagine basil in this time. Next time.

FinishedCornSalad

Kid-Tested Macaroni and Cheese

My granddaughter is an itty bitty scrap of a thing, who, for a long time, ate itty bitty bites of food that never really amounted to a meal. At nearly 4, she’s becoming a better eater, though I haven’t really seen her chow down on anything, that is, until I saw her eat macaroni and cheese. We were having lunch at Applebee’s and while I was working my way through a burger that was bigger than my head, she was going to town on some Kraft macaroni and cheese.

So, the next time she stayed overnight with us, I knew what I was making for dinner. With no disrespect intended to the folks at Kraft, I was going to make real macaroni and cheese. Although, just to hedge my bets, I bought a box of Kraft just in case she didn’t like this.

I have made this recipe before, which calls for lobster and is heavenly. by the way, but this time I left out the seafood.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups grated gruyere cheese (12 ounces)
  • 2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Add the oil to a large pot of boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain well.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t let it boil. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt and the pepper and stir until the cheese melts. Stir in the cooked pasta. Pour into a 9×13 pan.MacAndCheeseIntoOven

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine with the bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on top.BakedMacAndCheese
BriarEatingMacAndCheeseWas it a success? Well, take a look. She obviously loved the creaminess of the sauce-covered pasta, the nutty bite of the Gruyere, the buttery crunch of the bread crumbs on top.

So, this recipe is officially kid tested. If you have one or two of your own, why not try it out?

Greek Potatoes with Lemon Vinaigrette

The other day we were contemplating having lamb burgers for dinner. But I couldn’t think of what to have with them. So, I did what I usually did. I started trolling the Food Network and found this recipe for Greek potatoes with lemon vinaigrette from Chef Bobby Flay that sounded awesome and easy.

I wasn’t disappointed. Neither was you know who. The potatoes were a perfect complement to the lamb burgers, but they’d taste great with other main dishes, too. In fact, the second time I made them, I had some leftover vinaigrette, which I used to marinade pork chops on the grill. Yum.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large shallot, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sprigs oregano, leaves only (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, plus some 1 tablespoon chopped, for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds large russet potatoes, cut lengthwise into wedges (Keep the skins on.)

GreekPotatoSaucePreheat your oven to 425°. Put the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, oregano and parsley in a food processor; add 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Puree until mostly smooth.

Toss the potatoes with 1/2 cup of the prepared vinaigrette in a large bowl and spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Save the remaining vinaigrette. Roast the potatoes until tender and golden, turning occasionally, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Mine took 45 minutes.GreekPotatoesInOven

Transfer the potatoes to a platter and drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

GreekPotatoesFinished

If you make these for another main dish, let me know. As you know, I’m always on the prowl for cooking ideas.

Sweet corn muffins

I admit it; I’m a sucker for the word sweet in a recipe title. How ’bout you? So, when I saw this recipe  for prize-winning winning (that’s another modifier I can’t resist) sweet cornmeal muffins, I knew I had to try them.  This comes from the Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake blog.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup whole
  • sparkling sugar for the top, optional

Adjust your oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 400°ͦ degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray or use paper muffin cups.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl until well combined and light colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar to eggs and whisk vigorously until thick and homogeneous, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add 6 tablespoons sour cream and ¼ cup milk and whisk to combine, then whisk in remaining 6 tablespoons sour cream and remaining ¼ cup milk until combined.

CornMuffinBatterAdd your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Be careful not to over mix. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, dropping batter to form mounds. You don’t want to flatten the batter.

Bake until muffins are light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking. Let muffins cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack, let cool 5 minutes longer, and serve warm.

CornMuffinsDone

Full-recipe disclosure: I let my batter sit for a couple of minutes to let the baking powder work its magic a bit more. Also, I sprinkled some sparkling sugar on each to give them a deliciously sweet crunch on top.