K Cooks….Wings and a Sort of Cheese

Can you believe that this Special K has NEVER cooked wings, and rarely EATS them? Nope! It’s a first for me. So, to celebrate the season of FINGER FOOD, the club decided to take on WINGS…serving them up in different styles, with different sauces. We met on a Sunday, and one of my current passions is baking Sunday morning while listening to NPR’s Intelligence Squared. Ruby and I bond as the winter light announces itself. I particularly am fond of kneading yeast breads. This lovely lady contains a light layer of sugared poppy seed swirled inside
A Sample of our Cooking Club Manual, February 2012 (Big Pink Style!)Wings, from a Buffalo? How did Buffalo wings become, well, Buffalo wings?  Do bison, apparent marvels of evolution, hide feathered appendages under their hide (wow…did I really just use ‘hide’ twice in one sentence…yes, you may touch me now)?  Are these Darwin-defying giants of the plains taking wing in some clandestine night flight, only to be shot down by a hunter in a Hooters outfit, shorn of their top secret wings so that we might enjoy them on a platter, served to us by these scantily clad huntresses-waitresses adorned in orange shorts and hefting cleavage to the heavens as if to say, “thank you Mr. Bison”?!!

Breaded BAKED wings

That must be it?  Right?! Nope. There are a lot of stories floating about that explain the genesis of this culinary oddity.  Most center on the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY and its owners, the Bellissimo family. The ‘real’ story can be found at http://www.anchorbar.com on their menu.  I’ll leave it to you to research and decide for yourselves the truth among the other stories.  As for me, I say, “who cares?!” The only fact I truly know is that Buffalo wings deserve the capitalization in their title, and not just because they’re named for the city from which they first took flight (oh, rimshot!).

Sous Vide Wings

There have been so very many establishments that have, upon this one seed idea, sprung up to surround us with so many choices that involve preparation of the lowly chicken wing as a delicacy.  Here are but a few (and you bet your sweet bippy I’ve eaten at them all!): http://www.hooters.com http://www.winghouse.com http://www.zaxbys.com/menu_nutrition/the_menu.aspx?section=6 http://quakersteakandlube.com/qsl/food.html http://www.buffalowildwings.com/ Speaking corporately, Buffalo wings are a great investment as a primary menu item.  And yes, each of the above establishments offer fantastic fare, though I’d highly advise against ordering the hottest sauce from Zaxby’s…wow…my stomach just cramped thinking of that.  So, what’s missing from this equation?  Friends.

Baked, Naked Wings (better for dipping, but less flavorful without that crunch)

And it’s here that the title “Buffalo” drops from further discussion.  From here, they’re simply called ‘wings’.  While Buffalo wings might be a suitable means for a business to turn a respectable profit, ‘wings’ aren’t.  Wings are what you serve in your kitchen, rec room, home bar, backyard.  Wings aren’t just a lazy prep to serve your friends.  Wings

Big Pink's Favorite Beer, English Lancer (and beer and wings are the perfect couple!)

are a lazy prep to serve your friends and enjoy their company.  They are the perfect complement to any informal gathering, especially if a sporting event and cold beer are included!  Wings are messy and delicious.  Wings can be served with a vast variety of sticky, staining sauces.  Wings require that all pretenses be dropped and fingers licked.  If you eat your wings with a knife and fork, you might end up on the nightly news.  Paper towels are the only ‘proper’ napkin.  Laughter, embellished stories of exploits, and fellowship are the perfect side dishes to wings, though most folks also prefer celery, carrots and bleu cheese or ranch dressing. Wings have a deeper flavor if they are accompanied by laughter or frenzied cheering for whatever event is playing out on the big screen.  In the absence of a sporting event, a well chosen musical background enhances their flavor. Wings are social.

Wings, 5 Ways!

Wings are the anonymous center of the event that bring like-minded people together to sit at the same table and have entertaining intercourse (yep, I said it, so what?).  Wings are among the only true soul food.  And that’s why I’ve chosen this dish to share with you, my friends and family.  So, without further….(wait for it…..almost there…..)_….clucking, I give you our menu.

Homemade Mozzarella Recipe

The Whey is separating!

Squeezed into a ball

We’re going to prepare wings and sauces. Complex flavors, simple prep. Wings sous vide, then grilled Wings, baked naked (the wings, not us) Wings, baked breaded Wings fried naked Wings fried breaded Homemade mozzarella Wings!!! There are a lot of ways to cut the wings.  We will be preparing only the drummets and the flats.  The plan is for 2 wings of each of the five styles per person, but we’ll do enough to have extra for anyone that wants them.  I would think that we’ll need between 100 and 150 wings total.  This gives total prep of between 20 and 30 per style.  This really sounds like a lot, but for 7 people, not so much. Wings sous vide -Toss wings with salt and pepper -Place wings in vacuum bag, suck-n-seal -Place wings in bath of water at 180 degrees and soak for at least one hour (I will demo this on Sunday’s pre-CC CC meeting) -Remove wings and place on very hot grill long enough to mark and crisp the skin -Serve with sauce or naked (trend here?) Wings, baked naked This site will outline the general method for preparing the wings this way.  The only difference is, obviously, one set we won’t bread. salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 3 tbsp Frank’s hot sauce (or Tabasco for spicier fare) 2 tbsp veg oil -Toss wings with salt and pepper and hot sauce -Spray both sides of the wing with oil -Spray foiled baking sheet with oil -Bake at 400F for 30 minutes on each side -Serve with sauce or naked Wings, baked breaded 3 tbsp Frank’s hot sauce (or Tabasco for spicier fare) 2 tbsp veg oil (grape seed preferred) ½ cup flour, seasoned to taste\ ½ cup bread crumbs ¼ cup instant mashed potato flakes -Toss wings with salt, pepper, oil and hot sauce -Add wings, flour, bread crumbs, and potato flakes to garbage bag, twist and shake (the bag) -Spray both sides of the wing with oil -Spray foiled baking sheet with oil -Bake at 400F for 30 minutes on each side -Serve with sauce or naked Wings, fried naked Salt and pepper to taste Oil for frying -Heat oil to 375F -Toss wings with salt and pepper -Fry 8-10 pieces at a time for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown, turning at least once -Remove with spider and place on wire cooling rack -Serve with sauce or naked Wings, fried breaded Oil for frying 1/3 cup flour 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs 1/3 cup instant mashed potatoes ¼ cup corn starch 1 teaspoon onion powder 2 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1 teaspoon paprika Salt and pepper to taste 3 eggs -Heat oil to 375F -Combine all dry ingredients in a bag and shake well -Coat and toss wings with egg -Place wings in bag and shake it up until wings are fully coated -Fry 8-10 pieces at a time for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown, turning at least once -Remove with spider and place on wire cooling rack -Serve with sauce or naked Sauces ‘Traditional’ Buffalo Sauce NOTE: It’s best if you can find aged, dried cayenne peppers, but if not available, fresh will do fine. At least20 cayenne peppers, stems cut off 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2 cups White vinegar ½ teaspoon Sea Salt 3 tablespoons (Homemade) butter -Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and bring to a

Homemade Buffalo Sauce

boil. -Reduce heat to simmer until the peppers are soft and tender. -Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend thoroughly (no chunks left).

-Strain and serve or refrigerate. Tip: If you’re bold, add some habanero pepper to the recipe, but be careful!!  Habaneros will burn you if you seed them with your fingernails and you will get some pepper spray reactions is you stand over the boiling sauce!! Ginger Garlic Sauce 6 crushed garlic cloves 4 tbsp grated ginger 2 tbsp Sambal chili sauce (or 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes) 1 cup rice vinegar 1 cup packed brown sugar 2 tsp soy sauce Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes or until you’re happy with the taste.  Serve or refrigerate. Tip: If you want a smoother sauce, you can process it in a blender. Peach Sweet and Sour Sauce ½ cup sherry vinegar 1 cup peach preserves 1.5 cups chicken broth or other liquid (wine, fruit juice, etc.) pinch of Chinese 5-Spice pinch of cayenne salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes Peanut (K’s favorite!) Butter and Spicy Pepper Jelly Sauce 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter 1/4 cup pepper jelly 2 tbsp soy sauce 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar 2 tbsp fish sauce sriracha (or sambal) hot sauce to taste 4 cloves crushed garlic 1/2 tsp red chili flakes 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil Heat to bubbling, and then turn off.  Serve or refrigerate. Tip:  You can coat breaded wings and place in a 400F oven for 5 minutes for a glazed prep. Cheese 2 gallons whole milk (not ultra pasteurized, raw is preferred) 3 teaspoons citric acid (or lemon juice) ½ teaspoon of rennet (or ½ tablet dissolved in cool water) ½ teaspoon cheese salt (if desired) -Add citric acid to cool milk and stir -Bring milk up to 88F and remove from heat -Add rennet and stir vertically (top to bottom) for 30 seconds -Cover and let sit for 5 minutes -Check to ensure a custard like curd (leave sit another 5 minutes if not firm) -Cut curd in 1” checkerboard fashion, then cut on a vertical angle, ensuring knife reaches bottom of pan -Reheat to 105F -Remove from heat and stir for 3-4 minutes -Remove curd from whey with slotted spoon and place in colander (add cheese salt now, if desired) -Drain as much whey as possible, then heat in microwave for 1 minute on high, then knead -Drain whey -Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then knead -Drain whey -Repeat microwaving, kneading, and draining until cheese reaches 135F -Knead like bread until cheese begins to stretch -Roll ‘under’ into a ball until shiny Use the cheese as you would any store bought cheese.  We’re going to try to make cheese sticks. Tip: If you want softer cheese, stop the kneading process at the consistency you desire.  Conversely, if you want firmer cheese, keep kneading until it’s where you want it.
To MAKE Cheese Sticks Oil for frying Mozzarella Cheese Sticks 2 eggs ½ cup bread crumbs ½ cup flour -Dip cheese stick in flour -Dip in egg -Dip in bread crumbs -Fry until the cheese just starts to peak out of the crust Serve with marinara or ranch dipping sauce

3 thoughts on “K Cooks….Wings and a Sort of Cheese

  1. Hahaha, I loved on the Buffalo stories! I actually wondered about this as well, because I came across this for the first time due to the Super Bowl (which I don’t watch, but which elicits a cascade of Super Bowl recipes and food porn across the blog sphere), and I wondered, “wait – that’s *chicken*, no?” 😀

    It’s been a while since I’ve had wings for the last time. Drumstick yes, but I eat those with knife and fork (lalala). The reason is that I have an aversion against greasy food, and even worse is when I have to touch it. Call it a purity issue. I also have washing compulsion with my hands. I can’t even eat an apple or a bread roll (earlier in my life) without having the possibility to wash my hands afterwards, in case I had touched it. Craaaaaazy. 😛

    Your sauces sound amazing! I haven’t entered the land of condiments so much yet, but I want to try some of those! 🙂

  2. So no wings for me, but definitely YES to homemade cheese. It’s on me and Ryan’s list for from scratch foods. Actually the idea was to make homemade cheese for a homemade pizza. One of these days we will get to this.

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