Do you like chicken wings? Of course you do.
Does your spouse/partner/significant other/roommate/pet let you deep fry chicken wings inside of your domicile? Of course they don’t.
Deep frying anything indoors is about as bad as smoking cigarettes with the windows closed. Your clothes stink. Everything gets a film of ick (technical term) on it. And it’s not as fun as doing it at your favorite bar.
Seriously, cooking your own wings is nowhere near as fun as someone else cooking them. If I were to rank the best way to consume wings, it would go like this:
- Eat them at a bar/restaurant alone (Sharing is terrible.).
- Eat them at a bar with others.
- Eat takeout wings at home.
- Eat takeout wings in the car on the way home from picking them up.
- Being run over by a car.
- Eat homemade chicken wings.
Continue reading Sunday Dinner: Grilled Chicken Wings
Planning for this dinner started two or three weeks ago during a visit at Side Hill Farmers in Manlius. (SIDE NOTE: If you haven’t visited this place yet, you really are missing something special. Yes, it’s in Manlius, but they are about 200 feet from Lune Chocolat and right behind Sno-Top, so you really have no excuse.) I had asked Kevin — the Culinary Institute of America-trained chef/butcher who patrols the joint with a holster of very sharp knives at the ready — if Side Hill stocked pork bellies. He said that they typically get thrown on salt for bacon since that moved quicker than a belly. But, he said, if I wanted one he would set it aside.
And I did.
So he did.
And that’s where this story begins.
Continue reading Pork Belly and Smoked Sausage Cassoulet
This is a story about grocery shopping.
My friend Phil once gave me a stunned look when I told him that I will shop at two to three different stores for groceries in a given week. It was not unheard of for me to buy meat at Nichols Supermarket in Liverpool, seafood at Price Chopper, and finish my shopping at Wegmans. Nichols has a far superior meat department when compared to other stores in this area, and Price Chopper’s fish selection is vast. Wegmans has everything else. Tops is terrible. Green Hills Farms is just too far away.
Continue reading Easter Dinner: Ham Steak with Charred Blood Oranges
It’s not what I would call and “ordinary” chicken stew, nor would I call it chicken casserole, as authors Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn did in their book, My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve. The story behind the dish is that Armstrong was cooking a chicken casserole on his off-day from helming the kitchen at D.C.’s Restaurant Eve. He got a call that President Obama was headed in for dinner. So, he stopped what he was doing, ran into work and cooked. He has included this story and recipe, which he calls President Obama Stew, in the aforementioned book.
This was a great Saturday evening dinner: there are a lot of ingredients, the recipe goes slowly and every flavor complements one another. It’s quite a thing.
Continue reading Sunday Dinner: Chicken Stew
I think corned beef and cabbage is a gigantic joke that the Irish play on Americans. I think that many years ago, a group of drunks gathered in a Boston pub and tried to come up with a way to trick millions of people. After hours of ideas and many pints later, one of them came up with an idea: make people eat garbage. Maybe not actual garbage, but something that smells like rotting trash. It had to sound ethnic and related to a dirt poor nation of people dodging famines. They chose the cheapest possible meat — a beef round that had been cured — and a vegetable that was plentiful but that no one wanted to eat. When tossed into a pot and left to cook all day, corned beef and cabbage would make homes around America smell like landfills in the name of being “authentically Irish.”
That’s what I’m going with. And while my conspiracy might be a tad off, according to Salon.com, corned beef is about as Irish as the pizza I ate for dinner on Friday night. Continue reading Saturday Dinner: Corned Beef Hash
Every culture has a fish stew attached to it and, for the most part, they are the same. The most famous comes from France: bouillabaisse, a combination of fish filets and shellfish with its origins in Provençe. The bouillabaisse is typically made with fennel and/or a shot of pernod, and served with the fish on the side and its broth topped with rouille (a type of aioli). The Spanish come in with the zarzuela, a Catalan dish of seasonal seafood caught off the Spanish coast that is cooked with tomatoes, saffron and almonds, the latter of which is pulverized until it resembles breadcrumbs. Cioppino is actually a California invention, but brodetto and cacciucco are the authentic Italian fish stews loaded with clams and shrimp.
When The Wife announced that she wanted fish on Saturday evening, I thought this would be the way to go. I thought about doing two or three different styles of steamed mussels, and I’m glad I didn’t. Less than half of what I purchased opened up when cooked and half of those that did were bloody inside, which didn’t seem right. So, I went with a Mediterranean fish stew. Continue reading Saturday Dinner: Mediterranean Fish Stew
I love my aunt.
The Aunt, who will turn 75 years old next month, is a force to be reckoned with in so, so many ways. She never married, because women don’t need a man to define them, and my sister, two cousins and I are her surrogate children. Traditional Italian families are matrilineal and ours was no different. During holiday gatherings at my aunt/grandmother’s house, she was the one who brought the largest gifts and had the loudest voice. During my childhood, she was the reason I went to Disney World every other summer.
The Aunt, in her elder years, has adopted a blissful ignorance about her. She refuses to watch the news, disconnects herself from most holidays (it comes as a shock to her that the banks are closed on Monday for President’s Day) and gets her information from friends and family. Fair enough. Continue reading Saturday Dinner: Giada’s Roasted Pork Loin with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
The In Laws came over for pizza on Friday night, so we did dinner solo on Saturday. Ideally, we were looking at something quick in order to finish, wash dishes and be on the couch for the Syracuse-Duke game at 6:30 p.m. Well, kinda. The Kid is going to bed around 7 p.m. right now, so the last half hour of her day is spent viewing a Doc McStuffins stored on the DVR. So, we lost the first 30 minutes of the game, but were back for the fireworks in the second half and overtime.
Ideally, I wanted to roast something during the day and beef is as good a choice as anything. While I enjoy a nice roast beef and haven’t done one recently, an all-day braised roast is just as good. Robyn Stone’s recipe at Add a Pinch was my guide for ingredients and heat. Rather than think for myself, I decided to let her do the heavy lifting. Typical Jared move…make the women do the work and I come in later to grab the glory at dinnertime. Ha! Continue reading Saturday Dinner: Oven-Braised Roast Beef