Sunday, February 5, 2012

A (Mostly) Local Superbowl Spread

I realized today, that I'm getting pretty good at this.  Granted, my year is just about up.  When I first started this project, everything was a question.  What am I going to eat?  Where can I find it?  What can I substitute for all these ingredients I don't have and can't get?

Two things have changed.  First, I'm getting better at finding stuff.  I'm not sure if the picking is getting better, or if I'm just noticing more.  Dairy, for example.  The Outpost, which I swear used to only have milk and occasionally buttermilk, now has the full Sassy Cow Creamery line.  I'm not sure if I missed it before or if it wasn't there.  And, joy of joys, I JUST found a place to order cream cheese online.  Cream cheese is one of those things I KEEP telling myself I'm going to make, but I just have never done it.  I should do it.  It looks pretty easy.  But I have to wonder if it's worth it.  I've been making my own mayonnaise, and from what I can tell it's not worth it.  It costs a lot more to make it myself, and I'm not sure it's better.  I know that when I substituted Olive Oil it definitely wasn't worth it.  The mayo turned a weird green color. 

Anyway, better at finding stuff, or maybe more stuff to find.  But I think I'm also just getting comfortable with the ingredients that are available to me.  The Superbowl is very much about food traditions, and I think that last year the hot wings would have broken me.  Not the wings themselves, but the celery.  It's February.  There's no celery.  Do I just skip that?  Carrots only?  That'd work.  But now, I know that I have a kohlrabi in the fridge, and that it's going to give me a watery crunch just like celery would.  It's not a question.  I know what I have, and I know how to use it, and that makes everything easier.  If nothing else, I feel like that's a huge success.  Yeah, I may want food I "can't" have, but I know more and more about how to get the best out of the ingredients I do have.  And more and more I'm turning to those ingredients first.  Instinctively.  Which is really what I was hoping to achieve over this past year.

Which isn't to say I didn't cheat.  Taco dip is another important tradition.  The dip part is under control, but I had to get some tomatoes to put on top.  It's not taco dip without tomatoes.

So we had taco dip with taco seasoning from Spice Hut (not the normal packet stuff I'm used to using.  It's better), local lettuce, and cheater tomatoes.  Chips and guacamole, homemade from a local Mexican restaurant.  I've already decided that counts!  And hot wings.  Delicious, delicious, honey and habenaro hot wings.  With just a splash of cheater Frank's Red Hot... because I love it on hot wings and I don't care.  Home made ranch and bleu cheese dressing, with carrots and kohlrabi.

I'm pleased.
If you know anything about me or Jeff, you're not surprised that the taco dip is already gone in this picture!

The only thing, I think, that could have made me happier, is if I would have thought to make CHERRY hot wings.  It didn't occur to me until I was setting the finished wings down to eat.  Oh well; I guess that means I'm going to have to make another batch of hot wings real soon.


Honey Habenaro Hot Wings

  • 12 chicken wings, separated at the joints, reserving that third part that no one eats for chicken stock.  Or, if you eat it, good for you.
  • About 2 bottles beer, preferably something a little sweet like a honey wheat.
  • Spicy dry rub (my recipe is top secret, because I made a big batch one time and have no clue what's in it.  Salt, garlic, onion, cayenne, white pepper, Chinese five spice, and some other stuff...  I don't know.  Google spicy dry rub and see what looks good to you.)
  • 1 stick butter, divided into thirds
  • 2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 minced habenaro (wear gloves.  Don't touch your eyes afterward!)
  • 1/4 cup franks red hot
  • 1/4 cup honey, or to taste.  I prefer to use a buckwheat honey, but it's not necessary. 
Soak chicken wing pieces in beer overnight.  Once you're ready to cook, drain the beer and allow the wings to dry. Toss with about 1/4 cup of the dry rub.

Heat a grill to medium high heat.  Once hot, grill the wings until cooked through and crispy on the outside.

Meanwhile, melt 1/3 stick of butter in a large frying pan with curved sides over medium heat.  Add the garlic, and saute for 3 minutes.  Add habenaro and saute an additional two minutes.  Reduce heat to low.  Add the red hot, and second 1/3 stick of butter.  Bring to a simmer, and allow to cook, covered, stirring occasionally while wings grill. 

Once the wings are done, remove to a plate and set aside.  Add honey to hot sauce, and taste.  If it is too spicy for you, add more butter and/or honey.  If it isn't spicy enough, add more Franks, or some Tabasco sauce.  Once the sauce is ready, toss the wings in the sauce, transfer to a large bowl or platter, and consume!

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