Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wing Wednesdays: Honey-Lime-Cilantro Wings!

I know last post I promised baked goods. Unfortunately, I'm currently having a little bit of a tough time getting in touch with the CEO of the company that runs the bakery tours, so I've decided not to post about them until I've gotten all of that straightened out. Plus, I had a new feature I wanted to share with you anyway!

To most people, wings = football season... fair enough. For me, though, wings = summertime. Summer is perfect for eating food with your hands (watermelon and corn-on-the-cob, anyone?), and eating food so spicy that it'll make you sweat, thus simultaneously cooling you off. So, I've decided to make this a weekly feature on the blog through the end of July, just because there are SO many fun things you can do with chicken wings. I know it's not technically summer yet, but there's a lot of ground to cover, so I'm starting a little early. Besides, if you want to be technical about it, football practice starts in August, so you'll have a little arsenal of wing recipes for the beginning of the season. :)

Honey-Lime-Cilantro Wings


4 tbsp. butter
1.5 - 2 lbs. chicken wings
Juice of 4 limes
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt + pepper (note: I use grinders for my salt and my pepper... therefore, that's how I measure things. If I need to be specific, I'll grab the Morton's and use a measuring spoon, and I'll have a specific amount listed. Otherwise, go with the flow.)

If you have a grill, feel free to use it! I live in a tiny apartment with no real space to call my own, therefore a grill really isn't something I've invested in... yet. I may be a rebel and get a little charcoal grill to use in the parking lot. We'll see. Until then, the way I do wings will (almost) always start the same way.

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. You'll want to grab a cookie sheet and line it with lightly greased foil... I use cooking spray to grease things, and I am not ashamed. Take a pack of separated chicken wings, give them a quick rinse under some cold water, pat dry with a paper towel, and lay them out on the cookie sheet. Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter and brush it on the wings, followed by a quick grinding of salt and pepper to help seal in the moisture and the flavor while your wings are in the oven.

*Helpful Hint: I haven't found pre-separated chicken wings at too many supermarkets. You can buy whole wings and separate them yourself at home by taking a sharp large butcher's knife and cutting off the tips first (the pointy section that doesn't look meaty), and then chopping directly next to the joint where the drumette and the flat section come together. Or, if you have a fairly friendly butcher counter, you can usually take a pack of whole wings to the counter and ask them to separate them for you. Don't be pushy, though: they have a bevy of sharp knives. Ya know.

Once you've finished with all of that, toss the wings into the oven for 20-ish minutes. Around the 20 minute mark, check on them; they'll be done when they are lightly golden and the skin looks a little crispy.

Boom! You have the most basic of chicken wings. But don't stop there... while your wings are in the oven, let's make the sauce!

Melt the remaining butter in a cereal bowl and squeeze in the lime juice. Stir them together until completely blended; this is no place for doing things halfway, as you'll have a harder time adding the honey later if the lime and butter are not totally man and wife. And stuff.

Add 2 grinds of salt to the butter mixture, and gradually stir in the honey. The end result should be a little on the thick side when you're done stirring, but not so thick that it looks like all you have in the bowl is straight honey. Feel free to give it a taste once you're done; depending on your preferences, you may want to add more lime juice.

I use this honey. It's made in the next town over, and it is unspeakably good.

You're welcome to use whatever kind of honey you'd like, but local stuff just makes me glow inside. I buy it at the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. The owner always bring a display of bees doin' their thing, too, so you can actually see a very generalized idea of how honey happens. Maybe sometime I'll get a picture of the bee farm. For now, another picture of the most delicious honey ever tasted. (And yes, they will mail you some! Link to their website at the end.)

Transfer the honey mixture to a re-usable plastic storage container (or any container you'd like, as long as it has a lid!). Right before tossing the wings in the mix, throw in the chopped cilantro. The reason this is done at the end is that despite cilantro's strong flavor profile, being a fresh herb and not a dried one, it will absorb other flavors fairly quickly, and we want to keep the zing alive! If you're one of the unlucky souls who find cilantro to taste of soap, you can easily leave it out of the recipe and it will still taste good... but not as good. ;)

I grow my own cilantro on my "Patio for Ants" (oh, Zoolander *sigh*), and it is such a joyous experience. I honestly love the process of watching my plant grow and caring for it. I even talk to it from time to time. Unfortunately, I've been using a TON of cilantro lately, so when I went to snip some for this recipe, all that was left was a tiny sprig that, when chopped up, amounted to only this:
So sad. I guess I'll have to go back to purchasing cilantro until my plant has time to recover. Anyway...

Showtime! Grab some tongs, remove the wings from the cookie sheet, set them on a paper towel for a minute to get rid of any excess oil, and plop them in the sauce. In most areas of cooking, I think doing things in small batches produces a much more flavorful and even result, so only do 5 or 6 wings (max) at a time. Put a lid on your container and give the wings a good shake for about 30 seconds. Remove them with the tongs and arrange prettily on a pretty plate. I just threw them on a dinner plate, willy-nilly, and now that I'm seeing the photos, I wish I hadn't. Oh well.

I'm an ENFP. We're all about the excitement, and well, arranging things on a plate isn't always exciting enough for us.

These are So. Stinkin. Good. I can't even think about them without getting all mouthwatery.

Let me know if there's anything in particular for which you're dying to see a recipe. Also, let me know if a recipe without step-by-step photos is something you'd be interested in. I have several photos in my stash of delicious completed dishes, but no step-by-step's for them, because I was ravenously hungry and didn't want to take the time to photograph them out.

Link to "my" honey farmer: Hometown Honey

Friday, May 21, 2010

Starting Somewhere

I have a dream...

One day, I want a series of restaurants/cafes. In the same big city. Restaurants that everyone loves. Hey, a girl's gotta dream big! Upon hearing this "dream", a friend told me that I can't do any of that without starting somewhere. So, I suppose, this is my somewhere.

I'm an active foodie around the fabulous city where I reside. Bakery crawls? Check. Tastings? Double check. Camera on me at all times? If it's possible to quintuple check, I'm doin' it. It's fairly likely that if there's a new food experience going on, chances are I'm going to be there, camera in hand, scarfing it down and asking questions. Lately, it has come to my attention that I'm not actually doing anything with all these beautiful pictures of food but letting them sit in a Facebook album and on my wall at home, psychoanalyzing me in all of their tasty sugary glory. It's like they're taunting me. For serious. Those cupcakes sure can be mean.

It's time to do something, you know? Taking pictures of food does me no good if I can't share it with people! So I'm sharing it with you :) I plan on posting recipes of things that I've made (along with, hopefully, pictures, if I can find settings that don't embarrass me), along with food I've made using recipes from other people. Also, like I said, I do a lot of eating... so it only makes sense to do restaurant reviews, too. I try my best to be open-minded about my food choices, though if someone's serving grass-fed anything, I'm 120% on board no matter what else is on the menu.

Anyway, enough. Here's to the start of something new and delicious! Next post will be on baked goods! (My personal favorite.)