Friday, 27 March 2015
Is there anyone out there than can translate this?
KFC Lord of the Wings from Saatchi&Saatchi Bulgaria on Vimeo.
And no I am not seeking a copywrite infringement case. But I'm glad I could inspire what looks like the most epic wings KFC has ever produced.
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
I don't like to back down from a challenge, so trying to get more green vegetables into wings with Sobeys "Power Up With Greens" was going to test my creativity and culinary abilities. I wanted to do something that was not just making a green hot sauce, but making some unconventional wings that successfully incorporated vegetables. Let's push the limits on this one I said. Sometimes that experiementation doesn't pan out. But once in a while, you hit something that becomes a game changer.
For me, that was Taco Pepper Powder Wings.
I went with a loosely Asian/Thai wing with my Green Infused Thai Chili Wing. This time, I decided to go for a Tex-Mex theme. I was like, 'guacamole is green, and you can throw in a ton of green veggies in there that won't over power the dish.' I also knew I wanted to get more veggies into the wings. Oh I could have been content with the side dip, but the plan was to push the envelope.
I knew I wanted a crunchier, spicier wing than last time. Doritos chips as a breading seemed like a natural solution. But what about the greens?
What if I dehydrated a bunch of veggies and turned that into a powder to coat the wings? How hard could that be?
TACO PEPPER POWDER WINGS
1. 20 wings
2. 1 pkg taco seasoning
3. 2-3 Dashes hot sauce
4. 2/3 of 245g Bag of Jalapeno Cheddar Doritos
5. 1 jalapeno sliced
6. 1 poblano pepper julienned
7. 1 spicy green pepper julienned
8. handful of Thai Chilies sliced
9. 1 cup peas
10. 1 cup shelled edamame
11. 4 green onions sliced
12. 2.5 cups kale
This is easy, but also time consuming process, but it was also a learning process for me. My buddy Jason was on hand and was a super help in my prep process and thinking things through. He also took most of the photos for me - thank you for your help!
First step was to assemble some of the basic ingredients. Missing is the pepper powder.
In a big freezer bag I added wings (split, fresh) and added a few healthy dashes of hot sauce. What was the amount? I don't know - I don't work in measurements. But I'd say 2-3 good dashes to make the wings wet. Then I added a taco seasoning packet. Mix mix mix, and into the fridge to marinate.
Next step - DEHYDRATION.
So I've never dehydrated before. I wanted to be honest and up front about that, because I don't really know what I'm doing. But it worked out. I read a bunch of websites and blogs to figure out how to dehydrate in an oven. I found no consistancy in drying times and what not, so I just took a stab at it but here are my general tips for the oven:
- Cut the veggies as small as possible to help with the process
- I put them on baking sheets with tin foil
- temperature on my oven was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with the door left open with a balled up tinfoil wedge to keep it from closing
- The tinfoil ring in the above photos was there to act as a platform to put another tray on top so I could get 3 trays in my oven. I put it on another platter when I actually put them in the oven.
- The pepper tray and the kale/green onion tray took about 2 hours of dehydrating time. Not shown is edamame and peas which took about 3 hours from a frozen state.I did not use them in the recipe just so you know.
- Kale does not shrink, but it got crispy and was an interesting snack on it's own. At least to me.
- It worked. It actually worked.
Here are the peppers after 2 hours. Shrivelled and crispy. I have to be honest again, I didn't think this would work and it would take like 6 hours to achieve this like many blogs said it would. Whew!
I mashed a bunch of the veggies in a bowl to fit it in my spice grinder (aka coffee grinder) which was on it's maiden use. I blended in batches because there was too much to fit in the device. It was great because in 1, 2, 3 pulses I had this vibrant green powder.
I did not take a picture of the powder because, well that would just make sense. But with so much going on in the kitchen, things like that happen. Just thing green.
SAFETY TIP: I used several peppers, and with the Thai chili pepper, and the jalapeno, this dust became a biting heat. Opening the canister let off a puff of spice into the air and into my lungs. I don't do drugs, but there was a moment when I got a tiny crazy high from spiking Scoville goodness.
Next step, get your green flavoured Doritos. I was looking for Guac, we saw Dill (dill just wouldn't be right for this recipe) when Jason spotted Jalapeno & Cheddar. Brilliant.
About 2/3rds of the bag went into a freezer bag, crush crush crush with the rolling pin and you have Dorito dust.
The Pepper Powder was added to the Dorito Dust and an amazing smelling breading was created. Now I know what it is to be a god and to create. Ok that might be a bit much, but this was exciting.
I rolled the slightly wet wings into the breading mixture. I was taken aback by the creation; what was this before me - it was like no wing I had ever seen before. This was different. I felt like Victor Frankenstein standing over his creature, Tesla coils shooting lighting in the background, yelling "It's alive! It's alive!" Only I knew this was no monster, and this would not end in tragedy.
Just bask in all the pre-baked wing glory.
The oven was at 450 degrees on a wire rack for about 45 minutes, flipping once halfway through. In the meantime, I decided to make some guac sauce.
TACO PEPPER POWDER WINGS
- 1.5 Cup of Mayo
- Spoonful of Wasabi Horseradish
- 1 Cup of Peas
- 1 Cup of shelled Edamame
- 1/4 of a Red Onion
- 1 Diced Jalapeno
- 3 Avocados
- 1 spoonful Garlic, Chili, Ginger
- Juice of 1 Lime
- Salt & Pepper
This was a riff on my standard guacamole sauce, but designed to add more greens and be more of a thinner sauce than a thick dip.
Now - how to prep an avocado in 6 easy steps.
- Slice into the ripe avocado ( it will be slightly squishy) lengthwise until you reach the pit. Then spin around the pit until you've gone all the way around.
- Holding the bottom in one hand, use your other hand to spin the top half on the pit.
- Pull apart. That was easy.
- Carefully hack the pit with your knife and it will just pop out.
- Do 2 more times. KEEP THE PIT!!! I don't understand the science or the witchcraft, but keeping the pit embedded into your guac will help prevent it from browning.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh of the avocado. The riper the 'cado, the easier it is.
What else went in? Some boiled edamame and peas, some red onion, some jalapenos.
After a failed attempt at mashing peas & edamame (I don't want to talk about it, but I will say that if you try to mash these things, hold the bowl, otherwise you will have a big mess and a lot less veggies to work with) I put them in a food processor and wizzed them up. I also added some mayo early on just to give some liquid.
Then mash mash mash the avocado. For normal guac I would keep it kinda chunky, but this sauce needed to be smooth.
Everything into the bowl. We tasted it and realized it needed more salt and pepper and some extra lime juice.
Final product: Muy Verde (very green) Guac Sauce. Popped that into the fridge to meld and chill until the wings were ready.
May I present, Taco Pepper Powder Wings with Muy Verde Guac Sauce.
So the smell of the wings was mouth watering in my apartment. When they came out, they were definitely not green anymore, but they looked amazing. I think anyway.
Flavour was great. We were working on many different levels: you've got that Taco seasoning base, then you've got that classic Dorito chip taste, but then the Pepper Powder sneaks up and hits you from the side.
This was the definition of texture. Look above; it's like the earth was exploding and the mantle was breaking away.
That Pepper Powder got your mouth burning? Muy Verde Gauc Sauce to the rescue.
Mild, but refreshing, this sauce made it easy to have your heat and cool down too. And look how green it is! The peas and the edamame blended into this recipe pretty easily. There was a texture addition of the soy beans, but nothing that was detrimental to the sauce. What a sneaky way to get even more greens into a dish!
Here's what Jason had to say, paraphrased by me:
- Intensely spicy. Surprisingly spicy.
- Deceivingly spicy because they don't look like they will be - people assume if there is a sauce it will be spicy, but the powdered spices had such a big impact, but tasted good. A good balance of heat and flavour.
- loved them - small heart attack from the heat, that led me to go unconscious, then wake up and want more wings.
- I prefer dry wings so I liked these
On the Guac Sauce
- did not think I would like guacamole but I liked this
- cool - light dip, not heavy or filling. Complimented the spicy wings with the cool dip, but you`ve still got that natural avocado sweetness.
I learned so much from this particular project. These were great wings and there is not much I would change.
I fell in love with the Pepper Powder. It`s such a strong flavour and heat that can easily be incorporated with sauces. I can`t wait to experiment with more peppers and other veggies. It was a long process but it was well worth it.
My Taco Pepper Powder wings are going to give you a crunch, a bite, and a flavour journey. These are NEXT LEVEL.
Bueno. Muy bueno.
POWER UP WITH GREENS:
The author has received consideration from Sobeys or Sobeys’ media partners in exchange for this content. Sobeys has not reviewed these claims and is not responsible for the content.
Friday, 20 March 2015
Is March chicken wing month? Because it seems everyone is doing some sort of wing-vertising lately. Take Kelsey's:
So this is a "ALL YEAR LONG" event and not just March, but who can complain about that?
Let me know if you've gone to Kelsey's lately and tried their 1/2 price wings down in the comments!
Thursday, 19 March 2015
FYI it seems like it's wing season all around town. St Louis is back with it's AYCE wings that they call Wingsanity.
Just like last year, it's $19.99 for AYCE, which is pricey in my opinion. But the best part is the contest:
Have you gone? How many wings can you eat? How many did you eat?
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
The great experiment of whether I could add greens into chicken wings started off with a bang. See this is a difficult challenge because of the vegetable world, I don't like a lot of greens. Or so I thought anyway. So my goal was to not make this gross. Turns out, you can add lots of vegetables to wings and elevate the flavour.
My first thought on making green wings is that the blender can be my friend by whizzing up a bunch of veggies. The key is to make sure the dominant flavours are tasty. And when I first thought green wings, my mind went to St Patty's Day, but then I didn't know how to make that happen. So what else is tasty that is green? What about Thai Green curry? Sounds good, but I'm not a huge curry fan, but the basic idea was born.
GREEN INFUSED THAI GREEN CHILI WINGS
- about 20 wings
- 1 3oz bag of Wasabi Pea crisps*
- 6 Spicy Beans (Extreme Beans)*
- 1 Banana Pepper*
- 1 Pablano Pepper*
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper*
- 1 Hot Green Pepper*
- 1 handful Thai Peppers (use double for more heat)*
- 2 Green Onion*
- 1/4 Red Onion
- Seaweed Salad (seaweed, wheat, soy & sesame, may contain fish, crustaceans, egg. mustard, sulphite & milk)*
- 1 spoonful Ginger Garlic & Chili
- 2-3 cups of Kale*
- 3/4 cup Edamame (shelled)*
- 1.5 spoonful Wasabi Horseradish*
- juice from 2 limes*
- teaspoon of Sesame Oil
- 2-3 dashes of Vinegar
- 2/3 can of Coconut Milk
* indicates some green I incorporated!
I was surprised and happy how much green I got in there!
The base for my marinade were Thai Green Chilis. These suckers are hot - generally the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is. These did not disappoint. I only put a handful in because I was afraid of the heat for people who are not me, but I really think you can get a lot more in.
I also cut the stems off all the peppers. Cut them up, but what's great about this is that everything only needs a rough chop to get it in . . . the blender is going to do all the work, so you save time!
Everything whizzed up and the marinade is ready. I also added a little water to just help the blender along. It was fresh and fragrant - the lime, garlic, and peppers tasted pretty good.
Now if you wanted to make this more 'Thai' like, you could go ahead and add cilantro to this. I hate cilantro, so there is none in mine.
Then, pour it all over the wings.
There are two things I should have done that I can tell you to do now:
- Score the wings - take a sharp knife and just slice up the wings to allow the marinade to really get in there.
- Marinating length: I only marinaded these for 1.5 hours because I ran out of time, but I recommend sticking these in the fridge for like 3 hours.
When I was first conceptualizing this recipe, I thought about having them in like a Thai curry soup, but while the flavour would be good, the texture of soaked wings is not my thing. You want a crunch or crackle when you bite into them, especially since I wasn't deep frying these wings.
So I thought about taking Wasabi pees and crushing them up. I couldn't find at the store regular Wasabi peas, but I found something even better: green pea crisps (wasabi & ranch flavoured).
So I poured the bag into a ziplock and used a mallet to crush them up.
After I did this I asked myself, why didn't you just do this in the original bag? I then transferred them to a bowl to dip the wings.
After marinading the wings, I tried to shake the sauce off the wings, which were starting to turn green. I then rolled them around in the Wasabi pea breading. It looked really cool. The only problem was by the time the last wings went into the breading, the pea mixture got wet from the wing marinade and it started to clump up.
I put the wings on wire baking rack and put them into the oven at 425. Now I don't have access to one, but this would be AWESOME over a fire grill. But for now, bake for 30 mins, then flip and keep cooking.
While that's baking, I made up a greened Coconut Milk Ranch Dip
COCONUT MILK RANCH DIP
- 1 cup mayo
- 1/3 can of Coconut Milk
- 1 spoonful of Garlic Powder
- 1 spoonful of Onion Powder
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste (few pinches each)
- 1-2 dashes of Cider Vinegar
- 1-2 Dashes of Wasabi Horseradish Sauce*
- 5-6 Chives diced*
- 2-3 springs of Dill diced*
To make a connection to the Thai wings, I used coconut milk to add to the mayo. Also wasabi horseradish, but this is clearly an Asian connection as wasabi is Japanese, and I don't think exists in Thai cooking usually.
Whisk it all together and then I put it in the fridge until the wings were ready.
So after an hour the wings were ready. Out they came and I was like, this isn't like anything I've seen before.
I had 2 taste-testers come over and act as guinea pigs. I asked for their honest opinions of the wings. Abbas showed up first and he was hungry and ready to try. He sampled them and was expecting some heat after my original description of the Thai chilies. He said they were not hot and that he could eat a ton of these. Overall, they were mild, and if you added the dipping sauce, it dominated the flavour.
Max showed up next and dove in. His first comment was that he too would have prefered more heat, but he was digging all the layers of the wings; The fact that the wings were baked, but still crispy from the coating, while delivering degrees of flavour from the marinade and the coating. He happily finished off the last of the wings.
Personally I found the wings not as strong in flavour as I expected. On its own, it was a very savoury, earthy wing that seemed like it would fit well on chilly evening. The dip was creamy and the fresh dill and chives really made it pop. I was worried the coconut milk would dominate and possibly taint this ranch, but it was a background player. If the wings had been hotter, this would have been a great cool down accessory.
There are 3 things that I think would really improve this recipe:
- Used way more Thai Chili Peppers
- Scored the wings/marinaded longer
- Squirted some lime over the wings before serving.
I would definitely say that this experiment was a success. Using the right balance of powerful flavours and mild greens meant that vegetables could be successfully incorporated into what is generally considered unhealthy bar food.
These wings were crispy, savory, and were working on multiple levels. The dip was tasty. I can't wait to see how my other experiments go.