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Crispy Oven Baked Buffalo Not Just Wings & Homemade Blue Cheese Dip & Kale Buffalo Chicken Salad

24 Feb

buffalo wings

so these are pretty fucking killer. i’m not sure what you do to procrastinate- but it’s a test kitchen over here. i first made this recipe for a super bowl party in andorra and i know i’m a few weeks late this year- but i’ve had wings on the brain. also– blue cheese- it’s my new thing- i used to hate it and now i’m all about it. So i made this recipe yesterday according to the original Bon Appetite – cooking the wings for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. totally fine. But as I said, it’s a test kitchen up in here. So i thought- why not thomas keller this bitch and treat them like the whole roast chicken recipe. This means- higher heat, no oil and less time. I did them for 450 degrees- 25 minutes. And what do we get? WAY crispier skin. I think next time i’d even check them at 20 minutes. before this recipe-  i never knew why wings tasted so good- but now i understand- it’s because buffalo sauce is essentially melted butter and hot sauce.

Now this need not only be applied to wings. Thighs, drumsticks, and fuck it, use it as a dipping sauce for your whole roast chicken.  I read an article the other day about how buffalo sauce is so hot right now. it had a recipe for buffalo skate. i’ve also recently seen in cambridge buffalo fried brussel sprouts (which are damn tasty) and buffalo cauliflower. So if you are a vegetarian this still feel free to play around with this sauce. The blue cheese recipe- i got from a random google search- i was into because i liked the greek yogurt base instead of being mayo and sour cream heavy. yum.

You by no means need to go this extra step but- when i was at ballymaloe i learned this little trick for the drumsticks where you basically turn them inside out- and make them look like lollipops. the ones in the picture are gigantic- but generally they are a lot tinier and cuter. this is great for serving at parties etc or nice with buffalo sauce- because the skin ends up on the inside- and the sauce sticks to outside meat. For the first time ever in snacko backo history- I made a demo video 

Buffalo Sauce – Bon Appetite

For 2.5 pounds of wings/drumsticks etc. Can scale up or down easily- if using more/ less chicken.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s) – [i’ve seen this brand listed in a lot of wings recipes and while i’m sure you can use another kind- i will say this tastes exactly like what you think a buffalo sauce would taste like]

Melt butter. Mix with salt, pepper and cayenne. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add in hot sauce. Rewarm just before using. Bon Appetite says can be made 5 days ahead.
Chicken- Preheat 450. take a wire rack, like a cookie cooling rack and place that over a rimmed baking sheet (aka jelly roll pan). wash chicken- pat very very dry. season generously with salt and pepper. spread on single layer on rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (how do you know they are done? same way regular chicken- stab one with a fork and see if juices run clean).

Blue cheese Dip – comes from How Sweet It Is 
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt / 2 tablespoons mayo / 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper / 1/4 tsp honey / 4 oz blue cheese
Use a fork to whisk together yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper and honey. crumble in most of the blue cheese- saving some to crumble on top. that’s it.

Buffalo Chicken Kale Salad- What to do with leftovers — Wings aren’t the best as leftovers because skin doesn’t stay as crispy (though i’m sure they’d taste great if drunk). and also how to bring it to work as leftovers for lunch. Rip off a bunch of chicken from the bones. Shred up some kale (rip off its stalk, stack leaves, roll up, and cut into thin ribbons) massage kale with some olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. My salad I added diced apple and avocado. If you want to get crazy add bacon. 

if you are prepping for lunch the next day- you can stick up in your mason jar (ha!) or tupperware. Blue cheese at bottom. then chicken. then apple (give a a little lemon juice) and kale on top. But the best part about a kale salad- is that you actually benefits from getting that time to soften- so if you mix the whole thing up in the morning- and eat it 4 hours later (like i did today) you’re set.

Also- shout out to mrs. weiner who gave me that super cute chicken cutting board. it came in a set of four- fish, chicken, beef and veg- so you keep each separate. similar to my carved out cutting board. 

Spanish Chorizo, Kale & Poached Eggs

1 Mar

kale chorizo eggI love when you google three terms—Kale, Chorizo, Egg— and find exactly what you are looking for. Ah, the internet. I bought this amazing Spanish chorizo from Formaggio- my favorite South End over-priced yet insanely delicious provisions/cheese shop.

Recipe found on serious eats- adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe. I found it to be a high chorizo-kale ratio- so it is ok if you have a bit more kale/bit less chorizo.

12 oz curly kale, stems removed, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil [I used olive]

8 oz dried Spanish chorizo, halves lengthwise and slice ¼ inch thick [I peeled off casing, though not sure that is entirely necessary]

2 eggs

2 tablespoons white vinegar [I used a little less and white wine vinegar]

salt & pepper

bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add Kale and cook until tender but not completely soft, 5-7 mins. Drain in colander. Rinse in cool water. Squeeze out excess water.

Pour oil into large skillet. Add chorizo and cook until some of the fat renders out, 3-4 mins. [i looking in the pan- thinking it seemed like a lot of oil- ended up pouring some off– then adding it all back in. wasn’t greasy at all- was extra tasty.] Add kale. Season w. salt and pepper. Toss until kale is fully coated.

For eggs, pour water in med/small saucepan- 2-4 inches of water. Bring to a bare simmer. Crack each egg into a separate shallow dish. Once tiny little bubbles start to rise from the saucepan, add vinegar. Gently slide egg into the water. Cook until whites set [this says 3-4 mins… but I think I did mine a little less]

Scallion Pancakes!

17 Jan

scallion pancakes

These are too amazing! Now generally, I am  more of a sweet than a salty/fry person. But scallion pancakes hold a special place. Growing up, Sam & I used to order them like whoa. First from Hunan Spring then LingLings. Why bother making your own as opposed to take out? Seriously, you made your own scallion pancakes- that should be cool enough of an idea. Plus, they are surprisingly easy to make. But also- they are lighter, crispier, flakier and less greasy than the delivery  kind. I have been told– by a savvy group of young gentlemen living in Circle Square, Somerville, that these also make amazing beds for sushi pizza- a spicy tuna/avocado extravaganza.

Made it w. Sydnie’s Taiwanese stew– still my Favorite winter dish. And sautéed the daikon greens in miso butter. mmmm…

This scallion pancake recipe- comes from here. Click on link for some photo diagrams for rolling the dough.

For the Pancakes:

Makes 4 pancakes [I did ¼ of the recipe for 1 pancake]

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface

1 cup boiling water

Up to 1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil

2 cups thinly sliced scallion greens

For the Dipping Sauce:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinkiang or rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon finely sliced scallion greens

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons sugar

To Cook:

1/4 cup vegetable oil [I used grapeseed oil]

Kosher salt

Place flour in bowl of food processor With processor running, slowly drizzle in about 3/4 of boiling water. Process for 15 seconds. If dough does not come together and ride around the blade, drizzle in more water a tablespoon at a time until it just comes together. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to overnight in the fridge.

[I did not use a food processor. Instead I just put flour in a bowl, and stirred w. a wooden spoon while adding water, 1/4 recipe so used 1/4 cup water. After kneaded dough for about 5 minutes until smooth. Allow to rest as above]

Divide dough into four even pieces and roll each into a smooth ball. Working one ball at a time, roll out into a disk roughly 8-inches in diameter on a lightly floured surface. Using a pastry brush, paint a very thin layer of sesame oil over the top of the disk. Roll disk up like a jelly roll, then twist roll into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten gently with your hand, then re-roll into an 8-inch disk.

Paint with another layer or sesame oil, sprinkle with 1/2 cup scallions, and roll up like a jelly roll again. Twist into a spiral, flatten gently, and re-roll into a 7-inch disk. Repeat steps two and three with remaining pancakes.

Combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside at room temperature.

Heat oil in an 8-inch nonstick or cast-iron over medium-high heat until shimmering and carefully slip pancake into the hot oil. Cook, shaking the pan gently until first side is an even golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula or tongs (be careful not to splash the oil), and continue to cook, shaking pan gently, until second side is even golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with salt, cut into 6 wedges. Serve immediately with sauce for dipping. Repeat with remaining 3 pancakes.

QuickPost: Peppadew Peppers w. Goat Cheese

18 Nov

Easily the easiest and tastiest thing you can bring to a cocktail party. Can buy these peppadew peppers from the whole foods antipasto bar. Stuff them w. goat cheese. Snip some fresh chives over and voila. Maybe 5 minutes work. Maybe. Never had a peppadew? me neither- before E peeples brought this tasty treat to a party at Jess P.’s house a while back. The fun part is- some are sweet, some are hot– it is a mixed bag- and kind of a surprise when you bite in. If you don’t have chives- i think any other green herb would work swell- but the color is pretty key to the presentation. Btws this gorgeous plate came from my former boss at the Brooklyn Museum- it is from the Tomaselli exhibition.

Confiture d’Oignons (onion jam)

30 Oct

This is a great way to jazz up a cheese board. Perfect for dinner parties because you can make- and it keeps- so you will have on hand for a long time. I also have in my Ireland class notes that it is good with duck, steak and lamb chops. I’ve been eating it with leftover roast chicken etc. Pardon the wonky amounts- that’s conversion for you. The thing about this recipe though- is I took some major liberties- guessing on how many onions- I didn’t have sherry vinegar or cassis. And it really didn’t matter- jam is a pretty loosey goosey thing- I fudged it- and it was all OK.

Works very well w. a nice cheddar. I know you say- cheddar? nice? but there is cheddar and there is cheddar- as I learned from a recent trip to Formaggio. I asked for something that would blow my mind/tastebuds. The guy gave me a cheddar- and i was doubtful. But man, did it.

I made the crackers in this pic too- will have to retry the recipe w. US measurements and post.

A Ballymaloe/Darina Allen recipe

1 1/2 pounds onions

3/4 stick of butter (6 tablespoons)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

5 oz (150g) ~ 2/3 cup caster sugar (i pulsed regular granulated sugar in a coffee grinder but i think it would be fine without doing that)

8 tablespoons plus 3 teaspoons sherry vinegar (i had no sherry vinegar or red wine- which would have been the first substitute. I used white wine vinegar and then used actual sherry instead of cassis- to get in some sherry flavor)

9 oz (250ml/ 1 1/8 cups) full bodied red wine

2 tablespoons + 2 tsp cassis

Peel and slice the onions thinly (i actually brought my mandolin out- after the gingerale finger slicing incident). Melt the butter in the saucepan on med heat until it becomes a deep nut brown- be careful not to let it burn- but this gives it tons of flavor. Toss in the onions and sugar, add salt and pepper and stir well. Cover the saucepan and cook for 30 minutes over a gentle heat, keeping an eye on the onions and stirring from time to time with a wooden spatula.

Add the sherry vinegar, wine and cassis. Cook for a further 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring regularly. the onion jam must cook gently and don’t let it reduce too much. (i wasn’t sure i used enough onions so kept cooking for an extra 15 mins. still looked pretty thin liquidy in the end- but turns out it doesn’t matter). Put in jar, cover overnight in fridge- and it comes into the right consistency. Skim the butter that collects at top and discard.

Keeps for months. good w. pâtes, terrines of meat, game and poultry.


23 Apr

I like the whole spicy, sweet & sour idea of eggplant caponata- which is a Sicilian eggplant relish that is often eaten as appetizer on crostini (toasted bread rounds) or alongside a main . I chased many a recipes and ended up– lost in the internets– on this Batali recipe. The combination of cinnamon, sugar and cocoa plus lots of red chili flakes, currants, pine nuts- intrigued me. I have to say that actually all Batali recipes I have tried are very heavy on the chili flake- so keep that in mind and reduce if you feel- it can be a bit overpowering. Anyway, for some bizarre reason this Caponata involves making a basic tomato sauce– which although sounds like too much extra work– felt like a good idea at the time. What happened was I spent many weeks not cooking at all– then finally I just went nuts and made like 5 things in a night (including orange sherbet- post to come, damn that shit was good. like creamsicles). I wouldn’t say that Batali’s basic tomato sauce is my favorite (i prefer the hazan) but in attempts to use some of the leftovers I made this bacon/pancetta tomato sauce– and boom! takes it up a level (perhaps I should be riffing Emeril-like phrases to describe a Batali recipe) but all in all– a wholly worthwhile exercise.

Let me also add that I made this sauce too b/c some lady on the cooking channel comments said the caponata is much better when using Batali’s sauce. Which isn’t to say- if you have some jarred stuff (heaven forbid) in your pantry that it wouldn’t work. Also, when consuming the rest of your jar, I think it would be safe to say that it would be bumped up a notch by giving it the bacon/pancetta treatment.

Batali’s Eggplant Caponata

1/2 cup virgin olive oil [i definitely skimped on this amount]
1 large Spanish onion, chopped in 1/2-inch dice [used regular onion]
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish
2 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups) [i used one large eggplant]
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 sprigs mint, chopped [didn’t have so left out]
1 baguette, sliced into 3/4-inch rounds and toasted on grill or in oven

I added a first step. Chopped eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Generously toss w. kosher salt. Let sit in a colander, over a bowl, for an hour to drain bitter liquid. Rinse well. Squeeze dry (thoroughly) w. paper towels. This gets out excess moisture so it doesn’t suck up all your oil.
In a large 12-14 in saute pan, over med heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, pine nuts, currants and chili flakes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until softened.
Add the eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add the thyme, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil. [well I wouldn’t say there is quite enough liquid to consider boil, but it bubbles aggressively?]
Lower heat and simmer for 5 mins. [some reviewers say it takes longer– so keep cooking until the eggplant is soft enough to your liking. I was surprised this didn’t take that long, perhaps b/c i salted first, maybe 10 mins?]
Remove from heat, cool to room temp. Garnish w. more red chili flakes and mint [i skipped that step.]
Cut baguette into slices. Drizzle w. olive oil and toast in the over for a few minutes.  Serve together. I also served w. Ricotta Salata (a salty cheese pictured above) but this is not really necessary.

Batali’s basic tomato sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice [used regular]
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is softened. Add the tomatoes and juice [can liquid] and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Makes 4 cups.

Pasta all’Amatriciana [w. bacon, pancetta or guanciale]
I would say this recipe- as I made it- was quite different than as Batali wrote it because I cut the bacon etc. to 1/4 of a pound- and used half bacon/half unsmoked pancetta (as that is what I had on hand). This gave a great subtle bacon flavor to the whole pasta- but wasn’t so overwhelming so that all you could taste was bacon. I would recommend doing as I did. This pasta also recommended w. Bucatini- a hose-shaped pasta. I didn’t have but used fresh pasta from Russo’s– long spaghetti-length spirals. Delish.
3/4 pound guanciale, thinly sliced, or substitute smoked pancetta or bacon [i used 1/4 pound combo of bacon and unsmoked pancetta- which is a few slices of each)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 red onion, halved and sliced
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes [I think I cut this down to 1 tsp]
2 cups basic tomato sauce [see above]
1 pound bucatini or other pasta
Parm, pecorino romano or caciocavallo (?) cheese for grating [didn’t have but did have some extra ricotta salata on hand]
salt and pepper

Bring water to a boil and add a generous tablespoon of salt for pasta.

In a 12 to 14 in saute pan, spread your pork product of choice in a single layer- cooking over med-low heat until most of the fat has been rendered out. Remove bacon etc from pan and put on a plate lined w. paper towels.

Depending on how much fat you have, discard some leaving enough to coat and cook the garlic, onion and pepper flakes. Because I didn’t use all the bacon recipe called for- I only had just enough fat left and didn’t pour out any. Place above 3 ingredients in pan and add bacon/pancetta and cook over med-high heat for 5 mins until the onion, garlic and pancetta etc are a light golden brown. Season w. salt and pepper. You can add a little extra virgin olive oil if necessary to keep these aromatics from burning. Add the tomato sauce, reduce heat, and allow to simmer for 10-15 mins.

Cook pasta in water until al dente. Drain pasta and add to simmering sauce. Increase heat to high and toss to coat. Divide among 4 bowls and top w. fresh grated cheese if you please.

Andorra/ Barcelona

12 Mar

I fly into barcelona– take a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Andoora– a tiny country you probably never heard of (unless you went to camp evergreen- then cue to burst into song). i arrive totally bleary eyed- and justin takes me to this tapas place- orders a bunch of things in spanish- and i have no idea what’s going on. but out arrives these amazing little green peppers- fire roasted and covered w. this epic sea salt. A few days later in Barcelona, i went to this restaurant–Paco Merlago thanks to Judy’s friend– and became obsessed with it for the 4 days I was in town. Mark my words- if anyone wants to join me next December– birthday dinner, 30yr old- will be there. i ate some blow-your-tastebuds dishes and still thinking about it a month later- decided to try to recreate some of them. I didn’t exactly have the recipes to guide me so I invited Reed and Rach over for dinner and got to experimenting. Surprisingly, it was a really easy and quick meal to throw together. By the way- if anyone is on their way to Barcelona I have a little googlemap of places I tried. If anyone has these for other cities too– would love to see!

Tomato Bread
When you get tapas in Barcelona- you most often get an accompaniment tomato bread- Pan con Tomate- to lap up all your tapas with. It is generally on a bread- a bit wider and a bit less crusty than a baguette.  To make, toast bread (i used ciabatta pannini loaf.) Drizzle olive oil on bread and toast in oven or face down in pan. Take a clove of fresh garlic in hand, rub on toasty bread. Cut the top off a fresh tomato and rub that on bread. Sprinkle w. sea salt.

Chorizo and Egg
I ordered this sausage and egg dish at Paco and it arrives at the table bubbling hot sausage in a little clay pot– then they crack an egg in it table-side and mix up for egg to cook. The sausage in this dish was more of an italian style- but I thought i’d make what we think of as chorizo flavored. I was surprised that i didn’t come across chorizo as we think of it in spain–  there, it is just the word for pork sausage- and I believe generally refers to a cured, hard more salami like. Also, in my research- I learned that mexican chorizo has a wholely different ingredient list.

This is adapted from Emeril recipe. Original calls for 3 pounds pork, cut into 1-in cubes and 1/2 pound pork fat, cubed and involves a meat grinder and cases. But as I didn’t have such- I decided just to make it uncased and start w. 1 pound of ground pork– and the adjusting the spices accordingly. I didn’t have a little ovenproof clay dish for serving- so used a frying pan.

3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons paprika [used 1.5 tablespoon smoked paprika, half table sweet paprika- bought some new paprika- the spanish kind in those little yellow tins- so into it]
1 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Put all spices in bottom of a bowl. Take a fork and mix in pork and wine. Let sit for a day or two for flavors to meld. I ate at 12 hours and again 36. Probably a difference- but still super delicious at 12- so don’t sweat it either way. I’m sure if you had to use some immediately would be good too. I just cooked a portion– then left the rest raw to continue to blend- instead of having cooked leftovers.
To serve- cook chorizo on stovetop in oven proof pan. Throw in very hot over for a few minutes (450 or 500 should be fine). Using an oven mitt! bring to table to show your friends. Crack a raw egg or two in- depending on how much you are serving- I used 2 eggs for half the meat. Mix up immediately and egg will cook. Eat w. tomato bread.

Roasted Peppers w. salt
There is actually a recipe for this in an Alice Waters cookbook. And it calls those small green peppers I had in Andorra Padron pimentos- also says Nardello or Lipstick peppers would work. I bought what I could find- which worked very well- labeled red and yellow sweet peppers. I used this amazing salt i bought in barcelona- at this awesome store- called Gispert.

To make. Heat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet with a thin layer of olive oil- medium-high heat. Lay peppers on. They will scorch and sizzle. Using tons, flip over periodically. Cook until start to blacken and blister- 5-10 minutes. Put on serving dish sprinkle w. the biggest coarse salt you have. Maldon sea salt flakes would work. Or fleur de sel.

Calamari w. white beans

This was an experiment. I more or less used the chorizo spice list. It was not quite the same flavor I had in Barcelona. But still super tasty. Serve w. tomato bread. The technique for making it was loosely inspired by a warm seafood salad recipe in the Union Sq Cafe cookbook.

1/2 pound cleaned calamari, cut into 1/2 in rings and tentacles
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp red chili flakes
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 15 oz great northern beans or 1 1/2 cups beans– reconstituted and cooked dried beans. cannellini could also work
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced [optional]

In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium. Add garlic, spices and tomato paste and let cook to release flavor- about a minute (do not let garlic burn.) Turn up heat to high and add calamari. Cook for 2 minutes- mixing around. Lower heat back to medium. add beans, white wine, cook a little further for wine to cook off and beans to heat. Take off heat. Finish w. salt, pepper and the juice of one lemon and parsley.


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