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Fabulous And Easy Buffalo Chicken Wings

11 Jan

A dear, sweet, wonderful friend gave me a box of hot sauce recently – 4 big bottles – heavy on the garlic and heavy on the heat.

This is a good friend who knows me well!

“Garlic-o-holic”!! screams the label on the box.

I told her that I would share the hot sauce recipes that I came upon – so here we go with Hot Sauce Recipe # 1:

Fabulous And Easy Buffalo Chicken Wings.

I started with Alton Brown’s recipe, found here on the Food Network website.

But of course I played with his recipe a little bit.

I really like the way he steams the wings before baking them. This gets a good bit of fat out of the skin. But I wanted to try to infuse some more flavor in this step of the process, so I added cayenne pepper, a bay leaf, and some crushed ground pepper to the water before steaming.

I steamed the wings for 15 minutes. Then I laid them out on a paper towel plate and refrigerated them for about 20 minutes.

(Alton says 1 hour – but I was getting hungry.)

Then I placed them on a sheet in the toaster oven and I broiled them for 15 minutes each side.

In the mean time, I grated 4 cloves of garlic with my handy-dandy grating plate

which I bought at the San Gennaro Festival (I posted a blog about it here – I love this little plate! If you’re interested, go here to their website to learn more.)

In a small saucepan, I combined the garlic mush, 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 cup of garlic-habanero hot sauce. I let this bubble away while the chicken cooked, until the sauce got slightly thick and totally scrumptious.

I sliced up some celery, and made a little bit of blue cheese dip (crumbled up some blue cheese into some non-fat Greek yogurt along with some chopped garlic) – and I had restaurant-quality Buffalo Chicken Wings in about 1/2 hour – for the price of $3.00 worth of wings – everything else I had in the fridge.


Here’s my recipe:

6 wings, cut into pieces (wing tips saved for stock)

water in pot with steamer basket – add:

1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Steam the wings for 15 minutes, then plate on paper towels and refrigerate for up to 1 hour

Using heavy-duty aluminum foil, spread wings out on tray and broil for 15 minutes on one side, then 10 – 15 minutes on the other side. Watch so they do not burn.

While wings are cooking, combine in saucepan:

1 Tablespoon butter

1/2 cup hot sauce

several garlic cloves (to taste) minced or crushed

Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, longer to get thicker as desired.

For blue cheese dip:


1/4 cup blue cheese

1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

several garlic cloves (to taste) minced.

When wings are finished broiling, toss them in a bowl with the wing sauce, and enjoy with celery sticks and the blue cheese dip.

Absolutely fabulous!!

Thanks, my dear friend. You know who you are!!




What Is Your Holiday Dinner Tradition?

21 Dec

Do you have a traditional Christmas meal?

Or do you change it up every year?

My Mom always used to make egg nog.

Everyone liked it. Notice the EMPTY bowl.

For dinner, it was always turkey with all the  trimmings.

My Mom would cook and bake for days, then the luscious meal would be over in no time, leaving everyone stuffed and miserable.

It was wonderful!

Then, we’d visit the Grandparents, for more dessert.

Speaking of dessert, my Italian Mom-In-Law couldn’t imagine a Christmas without her beloved Struffoli.

Sammy – he just likes eating the paper.

What do you like to eat for your Holiday dinner?

I need to start planning…




Mouse Cookies Revisited

8 Dec

It’s about that time, when I pull out my favorite Christmas Cookie recipe book and fire up the oven!

This is the best cookie cookbook that I have:

You can get it at here.

Dede also has a blog that I follow.

I have made many of her cookies from the book, but these are my very favorite:

These darling Mouse Cookies always get a big laugh, and they really taste delicious, too.

I posted about them last year. But, maybe you didn’t see last year’s post, so go here for more pictures and the recipe.

Let me know if you make them. I promise that you’ll love them – and if you give out cookies for the holidays – your friends, coworkers and mailman will love them, too!




A Zingy Salad Dressing – Inspired By My Love For Garlic, Ginger, Scallions!

27 Nov

If you like only mild foods, this recipe won’t be for you.

But if you like your taste buds to say “WOW!!”, then this is calling your name!

I give everything a rough chop, and throw it all in the blender as I go.

In a nutshell, here’s what I use:

I start with a bunch of cilantro. I don’t have a true measurement – it’s just the amount of cilantro that comes when I buy it. You know – “a bunch”. Chop off any roots, but leave the stems – lots of flavor in those stems! Give it a good wash, and let it dry thoroughly.

8 scallions, washed & cleaned & chopped in 1-2″ pieces.

2 jalapeños, 10 garlic cloves, 2″ piece of fresh ginger (this is what I use – naturally, use more or less according to your taste)

5 limes, zest and juice – should be about 1/2 cup of fresh juice and all the zest

2/3 Cup soy sauce

1 Cup Olive Oil

6 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce (or use whatever hot sauce you like, but I LOVE Sriracha)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cumin

Blend this all together for some few minutes – enough to liquify the ingredients and emulsify the oil.

This fills a 4-cup Mason Jar – and if you have the basic ingredients on hand, and must only purchase the fresh items – it costs just a couple of dollars to make!

1 bunch of cilantro
8 scallions
2 jalapeños
10 garlic cloves
2″ piece of fresh ginger
5 limes, zest and juice
2/3 Cup soy sauce
1 Cup Olive Oil
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin

YUM! Let me know how you like it!



How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds

7 Nov

Well, Halloween is over, and something must be done with The Great Pumpkin.

No, we didn’t carve ours this year. It was such a pretty pumpkin, we just admired it as-is on the living room table.

But now, it’s time for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

I love the very simple and tasty recipe from Mark Bittman’s cookbook “How To Cook Everything“.

GREAT book. Get it.

You start by cutting open your pumpkin

and taking all that stuff out.

You can do something with the meat of the pumpkin if you’d like (puree, roast, soup, etc.) but often jack-o-lantern pumpkins are a different variety than eating pumpkins, so they are not always as delicious.

But, the seeds are!

Remove the seeds

rinse them well

and dry them on paper towels.

Add your oil and spices – Mark Bittman suggests:

2 cups (approximately) fresh pumpkin seeds

2 Tablespoons light vegetable or olive oil

About 1 teaspoon salt

About 1 teaspoon Cayenne, or more if you like

1/2 teaspoon cumin, optional

I use the mist olive oil, and I eyeballed the spices.

Some people like to use butter.

And other seasonings work just fine too – seasoned salt, garlic powder – all good!

Toss it all together on a cookie sheet.

Then roast in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Stir every 10 minutes or so.

Let the seeds cool before eating, if you can make yourself wait.


Makes me wish we had another pumpkin!



Soul Kitchen – Red Bank NJ

25 Oct

We’re stepping out of New York City for the day – heading to Red Bank, New Jersey.

Well, not literally, but figuratively.

Have you heard about the restaurant there that musician Jon Bon Jovi and his wife opened?

It’s called Soul Kitchen – and by all reports it is pretty special.

From a CBS news story:

Jon Bon Jovi is trying to get rid of the negative stigma of getting a charitable free meal with his experimental new restaurant, The Soul Kitchen.

 The rocker makes it clear that his wife and his new establishment is not a soup kitchen, but a place for people who need a meal to volunteer in lieu of payment. Customers who can afford to donate a few dollars can leave a donation for their meal.

The Red Bank, N.J.-based restaurant served crusted catfish with red beans and rice, grilled chicken breast with homemade basil mayo and rice pilaf, and grilled salmon with soul seasonings, sweet potato mash and sauteed greens during the Oct. 19 opening. “This is not a soup kitchen,” he said. “You can come here with the dignity of linens and silver, and you’re served a healthy, nutritious meal. This is not burgers and fries.”

For those who can’t afford to pay for a meal, The Soul Kitchen asks that you volunteer at the restaurant washing dishes, busing tables or working in the kitchen.

Envelopes are placed on the table for those who can afford to pay. Patrons are encouraged to leave what they can afford and feel is appropriate for the meal.”

The restaurant is open Thursday, Friday & Saturday
from 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Sundays from 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Reservations should be made in advance by calling 732-842-0900.

The location is:

207 Monmouth Street
Red Bank, NJ

 New Jersey Transit trains travel from New York City’s Penn Station to New Jersey’s Red Bank station – takes maybe 1-1/2 hours each way (anybody? Is this correct?).

Sounds like a fun outing – great food, great cause, a new (for me) town to explore.

Plus, the restaurant has cute tee shirts for sale (and other merchandise as well, through the JBJ Soul Foundation).

From the restaurant’s website, here’s what they say about their volunteer opportunities:

Our volunteer opportunities fall into two categories: 1) those that need to volunteer in order to provide a meal for themselves and/or their families; and 2) those that volunteer to help staff the kitchen to assist in providing the meals to those in need. So, if you are local or have the ability to visit the Kitchen, the best way you can help would be to patronize the kitchen as a paying customer or to spread the word of our community kitchen to your neighbors. By doing so you support the financial balance of this model, where our greatest need is for a large percentage of paying customers whose payment offsets the costs of the client population who need to volunteer in order to provide their family with a healthy, nutritious meal. By dining at Soul Kitchen, you are also providing fellowship and aiding us in bringing communities together. We understand that there are many who, in addition to paying, also want to provide some service and we encourage all to get involved in their communities. Please continue to visit our website for updates and information on specific volunteer opportunities or events.”

Kudos to Mr. & Mrs. Bongiovi!



For Foodies: A Couple Of Cool Things To Do This Weekend In NYC – On The High Line And On The Lower East Side!

21 Oct

There are a couple of very cool things for Food Lovers going on in our fair city this coming weekend.

Well, probably more than a couple – but I’m highlighting two of them here today.

On Saturday, 10/22/11 & Sunday, 10/23/11 the High Line is hosting a soup party.

They’re calling it A Social Soup Experiment. Note: advance tickets are sold out ($5.00), but go early and tickets should be available the morning of.

From their website:

High Line Food Presents a Social Soup Experiment

Advance purchase tickets for this event are sold out. A small quantity of tickets will be available for purchase on the day of the event, starting at 11:00 AM.

Join us for the first communal meal on the High Line.

The meal will be a culinary adventure: what happens when hundreds of people gather for a one-pot meal at a communal table in a restaurant without walls placed on the High Line?

Join us to find out. Come in groups of four with an appetite, and meet your neighbors.

Sit elbow to elbow at one long table and eat a simple, substantial, and economical lunch: a large bowl of nourishing soup with a hunk of hearty bread, for the small price of $5.

The meal is open to people of all ages, but space is limited. We hope to serve soup for parties of four people, but individual bowls of soup will be available as well. Purchase tickets in advance, or on the High Line at 14th Street on the day of the event.

There will be two 45-minute seatings, the first beginning at 1:00 PM and the second at 1:45 PM. Guests are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes in advance. Those who purchase tickets in advance must bring their confirmation to gain entry.

14th Street Passage
On the High Line at 14th Street

The ticket price includes servings of hearty bean and farro soup, prepared by chef Mona Talbott, using ingredients from New York State farms and served alla Romana with spicy olive oil. Local wines, beer, and apple cider will be available for purchase separately.

This sounds like so much fun! Hubby and I (along with about 8 million other New Yorkers, and a bazillion visitors) LOVE the High Line.

If you can’t get on the High Line  for their soup party, check out The Grub Street Festival on Sunday, 10/23/11.

This sounds AWESOME!

I haven’t done this food festival before, but you can bet that I’ll be checking it out on Sunday.

From this website, and this one:

We’ll be putting on the annual Grub Street Food Festival again this year and trust us when we say we are WAY bigger than ever before. We’ve taken over the adjacent tennis courts to Hester, creating 4x more space and we’ll have over 75 food vendors plus some of our very best goods vendors to round out what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest events in the city this weekend.

WHO:  Hester Street Fair and New York Magazine team up to bring you the annual Grub Street Food Festival

WHAT:  Over 75 food restaurants, trucks, purveyors and vendors PLUS over 30 shopping vendors will celebrate the Lower East Side’s biggest and baddest food fest.  Live music will be provided by the good folks of Santos Party House and even their DJs will be “food themed” Michael Laiskonis, head pasty chef at Le Bernadin and Alex Pasternak of the band Lemonade will be spinning all day, so go ahead and dance off those Grub Street bites.

WHEN:  Sunday, October 23 10a-6p FREE AND OPEN TO PUBLIC

WHERE:  Hester Street Fair (corner of Hester & Essex Streets) FJMZ Delancey and F to East Broadway

On Sunday, October 23, Grub Street will once again be taking over the Lower East Side’s Hester Street Fair. Just like last year, we’re hosting a street vendor get-together at the corner of Essex and Hester. Unlike last year, we’ve expanded the space greatly to accommodate the turnout, which means room for more people — and room for more food. Among the glorious eating options you can expect: a host of roll options from Luke’s Lobster; barbecue from Brooklyn’s Char No. 4Daisy Duke’s, and Georgia’s Eastside BBQ; Mexican from places like FondaMexicueDos Toros, and Cascabel; haute dogs from Bark; and plenty of sweets from the Kelvin Natural Slush Co., the Big Gay Ice Cream TeamMacaron Parlour, and more. 

It’s free to get in, and it all goes down between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.


Going to all of these websites to get the links, and seeing samples of the food vendors that will be there has just made me So Hungry.

I can not wait until Sunday!

I’ll bet there will be dumpling making – YUM!

It’s supposed to be another glorious Fall weekend here in NYC – perfect for soup eating and food festivals.

Come hungry!



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