Tag Archives: spicy

Can’t Stop Eating Hot Wings!

It’s been a fairly healthy week of eating for me.  Rainbow chard, roasted beets, veggies and hummus.  And after all that…I’ll admit it.  I needed some hot wings.

Spicy, messy, sauce on your face, make your nose run wings!  There is no substitute for hot wings that will give one the same satisfaction.  I don’t make them very often, but when I do, holy cow they are yummy.  Afterward, I sit, looking at the pile of bones stacked on my plate, with my lips still stinging, and feel sticky, blissful happiness.

I make my wings slightly healthier by baking them, but I don’t delude myself into thinking this is health food by any means.  Still, in moderation, I think it’s okay to eat just about anything once in a while.  That being said, make more than you think you’ll need because I guarantee you will want some more!

Independence Day is coming up, and I promise these will be a perfect addition to any barbecue, potluck or picnic.  Bring extra napkins.

Can't Stop Eating Hot Wings!

Can’t Stop Eating Hot Wings!

Can’t Stop Eating Hot Wings!

2 pounds chicken wings (split into wing and drum sections if they aren’t already)
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce (not the wing sauce, just the original kind) plus more for drizzling
1 tbsp. honey
Red Hot and olive oil for drizzling
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400˚. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Spread out wings in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Shake some Red Hot on the wings.  Bake 20 minutes, turn wings, shake some hot sauce on the other side, bake another 20 minutes.

As if the sauce wasn't enough, I drizzle with hot sauce to bake some of the flavor right into the wings before they take their saucy dip.

As if the sauce wasn’t enough, I drizzle with hot sauce to bake some of the flavor right into the wings before they take their saucy dip.

In a large pan over low heat, combine butter, barbecue sauce, Red Hot and honey.  Stir to combine.  When butter is melted and sauce is hot you can turn off the heat.  Remove wings from the oven and toss in the sauce.  Serve hot!

These paired beautifully with my Italian-ish Pasta Salad on the side.  Cool and refreshing to contrast with hot and sticky.  Mmmm.

Wings with a side of pasta salad.  Yum.

Wings with a side of pasta salad. Yum.

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Going Green…Chili Style!

Just when I thought I had used up all my shredded pork, a gift came in the form of a gallon bag of shredded smoked pork from my uncle.  Not one to look a gift pig in the mouth, I divided it into a few containers and stuck it in the freezer to be doled out to my family at a later date.  Of course I had to cook some of it right away.  And it tastes amazing!  If you aren’t lucky enough to have people giving you pork, you can use leftovers from my basic pork roast recipe, or simply throw in a small pork roast or some chops.  Since this is a crock pot recipe they will cook up just fine over the course of the day.

When I went to school in Denver, I discovered the best Mexican food I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.  The general thinking there is to smother just about everything in green chili.  And I am okay with that!  And if you don’t feel like eating it over the top of a burrito, a nice bowl of it works just fine.  As opposed to most other places I’ve lived, in that style of cooking the green sauce is more spicy; the red sauce is the mild stuff.  I didn’t have a recipe for green chili, so I just winged it and was very pleased with the results!  Since we were planning to eat this as a soup/stew, I made this version chunkier than I remember, and added some black beans.  Not that that will stop me from using the leftovers to smother something – like a breakfast burrito!  Serve with rice and warm tortillas.

That's what I'm talkin' about!

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Pork Green Chili

5-6 Anaheim Chiles
3-4 Poblano or Padilla Peppers
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
3-4 cups shredded or chopped pork*
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and quartered
4 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt to taste
2-3 tsp. ground cumin
Rice & tortillas for serving if desired

Looking yummy already!  Tomatillos and peppers.

Looking yummy already! Tomatillos and peppers.

Seed peppers.  You can do this to the small ones by cutting of the top, turning upside down and rolling between your hands or shaking out the seeds.  Or you can cut them in half and remove the seeds that way.

All ready to roast.

All ready to roast.

Lay out on a baking sheet and broil for 4-5 minutes per side until skin is blackened.

Leave them in there until the skin is nice and black.  It will peel right off once it is cool.

Leave them in there until the skin is nice and black. It will peel right off once it is cool.

Place in a paper or plastic bag to steam and cool.  When cool enough to handle, remove skins and coarsely chop peppers.

Add all ingredients to crock pot.  Turn on high for a 2-3 hours, then turn down to low and cook until dinner time.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

* If you don’t have a bunch of leftover shredded pork in your freezer, feel free to use a small pork roast, or pork chops.  Just put the meat on the bottom of the crock pot and pile everything else on top.  At the end of the day, take a couple of forks and pull the meat apart into shreds or chunks and remove any bones before serving.

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Jambalaya Night

A friend asked me recently if I knew how to make jambalaya and I honestly couldn’t even remember.  I’ve EATEN jambalaya.  Does that count?  I seem to recall making it many years ago, but if it’s been that long, obviously it was high time to make it again.

Searching for recipes for this little project, I realized something:  there are about a million variations of jambalaya.  I chose one that was fairly basic for the test drive.  This particular variation has a lot of tomato, which I personally liked.  The Creole spices (which appear to be a mixture mostly of pepper and garlic) give the dish a real kick and the combination of ingredients lead to a wonderful smelling house!

Luckily this recipe also serves 6-8 people, so invite a few friends and have a jambalaya night!

Jambalaya with a side of fresh green beans.

Jambalaya

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. Creole seasoning
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 green onions, chopped

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove sausage with a slotted spoon; set aside.  Add onion, pepper, celery, garlic and seasonings.  Saute 5 minutes or so until veggies are tender.

Veggies and seasonings. Smells so good, but don’t breathe too deep right over the pan, those peppers will get you!

Stir in reserved sausage, tomatoes, broth and rice.

This is what it looks like before the rice sucks up all the liquid. Looks pretty good to me! Is there a jambalaya soup experiment in my future? I think so!

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Stir in shrimp, cover and cook 5 minutes or until done.  Sprinkle each serving with green onions.

**If you are making this for a group that includes vegetarians (which I was), you can saute the meat first and set it aside to serve on top of the rice dish, rather than cooking it with it.  I sauteed the sausage and then added the shrimp for a few minutes at the end and sprinkled it all with a bit of Creole seasoning for some extra flavor.  Vegetable broth can also be substituted for the chicken broth.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Fire Pot Soup

Tofu is one of those things I have been trying to enjoy more.  It’s a great source of plant-based protein, and since we are eating a lot less meat these days, it just seems like a good idea to expand our horizons.  I started out really hating it.  But, being a little stubborn about things like this, I’ve continued trying.  After cooking and eating it many different ways, believe it or not, I have come up with a few ways I actually like it.  In my opinion, the key to enjoying tofu is to not think of it as a substitute for meat.  It’s not.  There is no way I have ever eaten it where it reminded me even a little bit of meat.  Trying to pull this off is futile, and in many cases, really disgusting, not to mention disappointing.  Accept tofu for what it is, a food unto itself, and enjoy the unique qualities it has to offer.

One of those unique qualities is that rather than having much of a taste of its own, it tends to take on the flavors of whatever you cook with it.  This is one of the qualities that makes it terrific in soup.  It adds a little texture (I like the extra firm tofu that actually holds its shape), and soaks up all the flavors in the pot.

For this soup, you don’t have to use tofu if you’re dead set against it.  Make it with just shrimp, or just tofu, or neither, or both.  It would also be excellent with chicken.  And though the name might lead you to expect something excessively spicy, I found it to be rather mild.  You can make it more or less spicy by adding or subtracting chile peppers (or chopping them up instead of just stabbing them), and/or adding or subtracting curry paste, which does have a kick.  This is the recipe I used, and I would rate it a medium on the spicy scale – enough to make my nose run, but not to make my eyes water.

Fire Pot Soup

Fire Pot Soup
(adapted from Eat, Live, Run)

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
8 oz. extra firm tofu, cute into small cubes
3 tbsp. thai red curry paste
Canola oil
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn (thai basil is preferred, but regular basil works fine too)
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 – 14 oz. can coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
Lemongrass – 1-2 small stalks, smash with flat of knife
Juice from 1/2 lime
2-3 red or green Thai chiles (or you can use serrano peppers), pierced a couple of times with a knife
Cooked rice

Heat a drizzle of oil in dutch oven or soup pot.  Add shrimp and saute less than a minute, just until it’s turning pink and curling.  Remove shrimp and set aside along with the cubed tofu. Heat another drizzle of oil over medium high heat.  Add curry paste and stir and mash together with oil until combined.  Whisk in coconut milk and broth.  Add fish sauce, brown sugar, salt, basil, lime juice, lemongrass and chiles.  Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Coarsely chop the cooked shrimp and add both that and the tofu to the pot.  Heat through and serve over rice.  Be sure to remove the chiles and lemongrass before eating!

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Project Veggie: Day 20 – Corn Curry

I have a very scientific way of deciding what to make for dinner.  I look and see what I’ve got on hand and I give the kids two or three choices and let them pick.  I do generally plan my menu for the week, make a shopping list and buy most of the stuff to make those things, so there are usually at least a couple of options to choose from at any given time.  Since I haven’t had time to go to the store this week, we were down to the options that use mostly pantry items.  Last night I told the kids we had ingredients to make spaghetti or corn curry, something we hadn’t tried yet.  I left them to mull it over, went to do a few things and then walked into the kitchen.  Sitting on the counter were a package of frozen corn and a box of frozen samosas (impulse buy when we were out the other day).  I couldn’t help but laugh.  Luke had spoken, without ever saying a word.

I’m not sure why this is called a curry.  My cookbook said it’s inspired by Gujarati-style curries in Bombay.  There is no curry paste or powder in it.  However, when I did some research on curry not long ago (because I was curious about where curry leaves came from), I found that curry is just a combination of different spices.  Depending on the type it could be 5 spices, or it could be 20.  Curry leaves are not in curry powder or paste.  They come from a curry tree and can be used in recipes, although I have yet to find them in a store.  (Note to self: look for curry leaves at the Asian market).  Curry trees also have berries, but they are poisonous.  My point is, this recipe was delicious, but didn’t taste like any curry I’ve had in the past. It was quite spicy, in a really good way, with a wonderful creamy base.  What sounded at first like a somewhat simple – maybe even boring – recipe actually turned out to be nicely complex in flavor and texture, with a lovely sauce that soaked into the rice beneath.  We loved it.  Because it’s the middle of winter, we used frozen sweet corn, but I can’t wait to try this one again in the summer, with freshly picked corn from the farmer’s market.

I don’t normally use a lot of packaged foods, but we had a box of veggie samosas (vegetable filled pastry things) in our freezer, and they were a perfect accompaniment for this dish, along with rice. Some day I will have to make my own samosas, but that is a project for another day.

Corn curry and samosas.

Corn Curry (Makayee Noo Curry)
(from Indian Home Cooking, by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness)

Green Paste Ingredients:

1 fresh hot green chile, stemmed & cut in half
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks (or you could use ginger paste, which I usually keep in my fridge for ginger emergencies)
12 fresh or 16 frozen curry leaves (optional – I didn’t use these)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. water

Other Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black mustard seeds (optional – I used these)
3 whole dried red chiles
1/4 tsp. turmeric
6 fresh or 10 frozen curry leaves (optional – I didn’t use these)
1/8 tsp. asafetida (optional – I used this)
1 tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears) or frozen corn

This lovely sauce soaks right into the rice. Yum.

For the green paste, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process to a paste.  Set aside.  Combine the milk and half & half in a bowl or measuring cup.  In a large sauce pan, combine the oil, cumin and mustard seeds over medium high heat.  Cover if using mustard seeds, they tend to pop around.  Cook until the cumin turns golden brown and you hear the mustard seeds crackle, 1-2 minutes.  Add the chiles, turmeric and curry leaves and asafetida and stir.  Immediately add the green paste and turn the heat down to low.  Cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 more minute, scraping the bottom of the pan to keep the flour from sticking.  Gradually add the milk mixture, a little at a time, to make a smooth paste.  Stir in the salt and the corn, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the corn is tender, about 4 minutes.  Serve hot over rice.

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