Crunchy Hot Sesame Wings & Cool Cucumber Salad

Crunchy Sesame Chicken Wings

I have fallen head over heels in love…with a cookbook!  Seriously my excitement for this cookbook is borderline insane.  I have cooked four meals from it since Sunday and am already dreaming about conquering the whole book!  I scored this masterful find at William Sonoma on sale for $7.00 which in itself was a treasure.  Chris called it out to me as the title smacked him over the head, MAD HUNGRY: Feeding Men & Boys – Recipes, Strategies & Survival Techniques by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

This cookbook is chock full of beautifully thought out and passion-driven recipes.  Classics with simple twists that make the difference between an Applebees and a fine dining establishment.  Tips of cast iron pans, good knives and meal servings.  Life knowledge that will change the way your family, your men and your kitchen operates.

My favorite cookbook introduction now goes as follows:

“Men eat differently from women — they eat more, they eat constantly, and they eat passionately.  They ransack a packed refrigerator and scrounge crumbs from an empty one.  They eat standing in front of the fridge, and they eat with their fingers.  They are all appetite and no pretense, “What’s for dinner?” is the most important, most burning question.  Food is everything to them and food is nothing until there is none.  And, if they’re “mad hungry” with no food in sight, life is a living hell.  But feeding them well is what many of us love to do and few jobs feel as satisfying.  It’s what keeps them healthy, keeps them happy, gives them some of their fondest memories, and teaches them to cook.” – Lucinda Scala Quinn

 

Mad Hungry: Feeding Med & Boys

So the first recipe I share with you from Mrs. Scala Quinn (trust me there will be plenty more) is one I never dare make at home — typically I can’t nor do I dare recreate the masterful wings of a local bar.  Buffalo wings are a delicacy you just don’t make at home.  Ahh…but Lucinda has clued me in on the secrets.  These wings not only look similar to the ones you dive into with a beer in hand but they taste that much better.  Try them out for a football Sunday and boys will go insane or serve them up on Super Bowl Sunday and (trust me) you will win girlfriend of the year!

Ingredients:

  • 20 chicken wings
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • vegetable oil, for coating the pan
  • 1/4 c sesame seeds
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • bottle of hot sauce or wing sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Place eggs in a large bowl and beat, add chicken wings and combine until wings are fully covered.  In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds, flour, salt, cayenne, panko, and garlic.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with baking parchment or coat the pan with oil.
Dip each wing into the flour mixture to fully coat.  Place the coated wings side by side on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375 F and then increase the temperature to 400 F.  Cook until the wings are golden brown and sizzling, 20 – 30 more minutes.  Immediately remove wings place in a bowl with hot sauce or wing sauce and toss to coat.

Crunchy Sesame Chicken Wings

Pickled Cucumber Salad

Cool Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c rice wine vinegar
  • 2 generous tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp siracha

Mix all ingredients together and place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Your Next Holiday Favorite: Dry-Aged Prime Rib Roast

prime rib roast

Looking for the perfect star entrée for a holiday meal can be a daunting task, especially if your going out on the limb to try something new.  Last year I stepped out of my turkey box and tested Guy Fieri’s Dry-Aged Prime Rib Roast and can safely say it was nothing short of EXCELLENT and easy!  My taste buds are going insane just thinking of this remarkably tender & juicy cut of meat.  Feeling adventurous this holiday season?  Try it!  I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!

What it Takes:

  • Total Time:  243 hr 20 min
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Inactive Time:  240 hrs
  • Cook Time:  3 hrs
  • 5 Yields:  5 – 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 rib beef roast, bone in, approximately 10 to 12 pounds
  • 1 package cheesecloth, cut in half (approximately 1 yard)
  • 1 sheet pan
  • 1 roasting rack to fit in sheet pan
  • Special equipment: Space in back of refrigerator for up to 10 days

Seasoning Mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons freshly cracked tri-color pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated onion
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, toasted and cracked
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, washed, ends trimmed and cut into large (3-inch) chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups water

Au Jus:

  • Pan drippings from roast, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Prime rib roast

Directions

For the roast:

Remove roast from packaging, rinse well. Pat completely dry, wrap with 3 layers cheesecloth. Place on a rack on a sheet pan in back of refrigerator, fat side up. After 24 hours, remove, unwrap, discard cheesecloth and wrap with a fresh piece. Place back in refrigerator for 6 to 9 days undisturbed.

Remove roast from refrigerator. Remove cheesecloth, cut away the fat and trim the ends and any discolored parts of roast.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place roast on a rack in a large, heavy roasting pan.

For the seasoning mixture:

In a medium bowl, combine spices and mix well. Be sure to crush the larger spices well for a uniform rub. (You can use mortar and pestle or large wooden end of a pounding mallet in non-glass bowl.) Rub roast with olive oil, then rub with seasoning. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Prepare vegetables, make a bed in the roasting pan with the vegetables and pour in the water. Be sure to check the liquid level in the pan occasionally and add additional water, if necessary. (You will need this liquid to make the au jus.) Place roast on top of vegetables and place in hot oven. Roast at 450 degrees F for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, reduce heat to 275 degrees F and continue to roast for approximately 2 hours, or until internal temperature (stay away from the bone while checking temp) reaches 135 degrees F. Remove from oven, remove from roasting pan, loosely tent and allow to rest for 15 minutes while making the au jus.

For the Au Jus:

Strain drippings from roasting pan, skim fat from drippings. Place roasting pan over 2 burners, heat on medium high and add in drippings, stir to deglaze, add in wine and stock, reduce by 1/3, about 5 minutes on steady boil, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, add in butter. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Strain once more into serving vessel.

prime rib roast

DIY Wonders, Great Gifts, & Holiday Themed Eats!

1.  Circular Cardboard Shadow Box, Instructables  2.  Ikea Kitchen Cart Re-Model, the kitchn  3.  Succulent Picture, Better Homes & Garden  4.  WIne Bottle Lights, tasteofhome

1.  Stache Glasses, Modern Madness  2.  Sugar. Salt. Pepper., Paulova  3. Lolie Envelope Clutch, Bagatelles and Co.  4.  Tasamine Osher Pedal Pod, Remodelista  5.  Footed Cutting Board, Grey Works Design

 

1.  Spinach Strawberry Salad with Candied Pecans, Yummy Life  2.  Reindeer Cupcakes, With Sprinkles on Top  3.  Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites, Yummy Mummy  4.  Eggplant & Goat Cheese Sandwiches, What Did You Eat?  5.  Cranberry Lime Vodka, Fancy Napkin  6.  Salad in a Jar, Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

I am not a baker.  Actually if I am being severely honest, I don’t think I even bake more than once every two years.  Seriously, not even from a box. The problem is measurements, I don’t do them very well.  When I cook from recipes I just glance at the measures and most of the time just eyeball it.  A recipe is simply guidelines to follow, I may add a little of this or a little of that, and it becomes my own creation.  Yet, baking requires a more scientific approach — one I often screw up.
Placing this daunting task of making Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread on my Twelve by 2012 was nothing short of terrifying.  All fears set aside the results were deliciously fantastic.
bread, pumpkin, pull-apart

Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar, Pull-Apart Bread

Pumpkin CInnamon Sugar, Pull-Apart Bread

Recipe From: Sunny Side Up in San Diego

Bread

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 c bread flour

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Buttered Rum Glaze 

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/8 c brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp rum

Directions

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, let it bubble and turn brown. Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through.

Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool. Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof after 8 -10 minutes it should begin to look cloudy.

Then add the the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.  Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20×12 inch rectangle.  Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over warm bread.

Last Year’s Bird, This Year’s Improvements

Thanksgiving's 2010 Bird

I have never been one of those people who feels as if there comes a time when a recipe is perfect and could not benefit from a tweek here or there.  I am of the nature that there is always something I could do or change that would make all the difference in the world to my masterpiece.

The question this year was what could I do to enhance the flavor of my bird?  Unfortunately the vision is not something I can take credit for, if it was — let’s just say I would have my own cooking show on the Food Network.

I know you are now just dying to know what I am doing to make my turkey meat full of juicy flavor.  Before I tell you — let’s start with the repeat steps.  I will without a doubt always brine my turkey.  The results I have had from brining the turkey have been too good to give in to the desire for one less thing to do in preparation for thanksgiving.  So brining it is.

Brine

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 lg turkey brining bag

To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a nonreactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, food grade plastic storage bag). Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary. Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.

Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.

Soak the turkey in the brine bag and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

After the brining is complete and the bird is brought to room temperature, I have in the past loosened the skin and stuffed little squares of butter underneath, however this year I am stuffing thin slices of half-cooked pancetta and sage leaves under the skin — then basting the turkey in the pancetta renderings!!!  Wow I am too excited for my 2011 turkey experiment.  I just keep imagining slicing into that turkey and seeing the juicy white meat butting up against pancetta topped with crispy skin.  Sound good? Why not give it a try?

Pancetta-Basted Turkey

Pancetta-Basted Aromatic Stuffed Turkey

  • 6 oz pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 oranges, cut into quarters
  • celery, chopped into 2 inch stalks
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of sage
  • 4 c chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels both inside and out. Place turkey, breast side up, in a large, heavy roasting pan.

Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.

In a large skillet, cook 6 oz. thinly sliced pancetta over medium heat until the fat is rendered but the pancetta is not crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Reserve the fat and let the pancetta cool. With your fingers, carefully loosen the turkey skin away from the meat, from the breast down over the legs and thighs. Insert the pancetta. Insert about 10 extra-large sage leaves on top of the pancetta. Brush the pancetta fat all over the bird. Season well with coarse salt and pepper.

Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with turkey drippings/chicken stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken stock/drippings.

Using tongs or a sturdy spatula and a two-pronged fork, tilt the turkey to pour any juices from the cavity into the pan.  Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Now that is a turkey plan!  I will be sure to fill you all in on the results.  What else is for Thanksgiving Dinner?  Check out my menu below…

This Thanksgiving Menu

  • Watercress, Apple, Bacon, Gorgonzola Salad
  • Brined Pancetta-Basted Aromatic Stuffed Turkey
  • Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds & Walnuts
  • Apple, Sausage, Herb Stuffing
  • Parmesan-Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Apple Berry Crumb Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie

Stay tuned for the verdict and HAPPY (GOBBLE GOBBLE) TURKEY DAY!

Homemade Easy Mac!

Homemade Easy Mac

Have you ever had a craving for some homemade mac and cheese but the thought of whisking together an intense cheese sauce and then baking it in the oven seems to overwhelm you — this is the recipe for you.  It’s easy, its delicious and most importantly it’s homemade!

Ingredients

Yields: 8 Servings

    • 1 pound macaroni shells
    • 6 bacon slices, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup water
    • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I use panko breadcrumbs)
    • flat-leaf italian parsley for garnish
    • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While the water is boiling heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until really crispy, about 15 minutes. Let bacon cool and chop into small pieces.

Clean out the bacon skillet and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and onions. Cook until the garlic is golden and the onions are translucent. Add 2 tablespoons bread crumbs to the mixture and toast. Cook until the bread crumbs are evenly browned. Set aside to use as a topping.

Add heavy cream and water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses until melted and sauce begins to thicken. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Then, fold the cheese sauce, egg mixture into the pasta, along with the remainder olive oil.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bacon bits. Top with parsley.

Simple!!  Good luck!

A Game Day Breakfast

It’s the first game day of the season and we woke up with memories and images of our previous life in San Diego.  Sunday’s meant off to our favorite bar to watch the Chargers game. Breakfast Pizza went hand in hand with morning games.  Today felt no different, except that there are no Chargers bars in Santa Monica and we have not found a place that makes breakfast pizza.  Instead we set out to create our own with fantastic success! Maybe we should make another…?

Ingredients

  • pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/4 lb of prosciutto
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 4 large eggs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 shallot, minced

Pizza Toppers

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 500F. Roll out pizza dough, about 1-1/2 or 2 inches beyond the size pizza pan you will use.  We prefer to cook ours on a metal perforated pizza pan.  Place rolled out dough centered on pan, begin to fold crust in until you work you way all the way around.

Pre-cook the crust for about 5 minutes before adding toppings.  Remove the crust from the oven and pop any large air pockets.  Add the shredded mozzarella, shallots, cracked eggs, salt and pepper.  Continue baking, rotating the pan half way through so that it cooks evenly, until crust is browned and egg whites are set, should take 10 – 12 minutes. About a minute before removing the pizza from the oven, top with prosciutto.

Remove the pizza from the oven and slide pizza out of cooking pan onto a cooling rack or cutting board.  Finish it off with shallots and scallions. Allow 5 minutes to cool be cutting or serving.  This step allows the crust to stay crisp while it cools and for the cheese to set.

Ta Da...Breakfast Pizza!

Serve and enjoy!  Our new game day tradition is born!

Yoke broken, time to eat!