Thursday, 8 February 2007

BRAMANDA Visit - Wings, Skins and Gator Tails

This past weekend I was visited by Amanda, who was down for the HRPAO Conference here in Toronto (apparently the second largest HR conference in the world!).

The first night she was down we went to Mr Green Jeans at the Eaton Centre. No wings were involved (I had terrible wings there many times before and stopped) and we both concurred to NEVER go to Green Jeans again. I have said this before when the waiter spilled sauce all over me the last time I was there, and we watched another waiter spill wine, beer and some cocktails on some guy this time.
Thursday we hit a food court, but by Friday night, Brad was down and I wanted to do a little cooking for my friends.

Step one was a lot of prep work. I had 5 things on the menu this night: breaded and unbreaded Buffalo wings, potato skins, pizza sticks, dill-mashed potatoes and Gator Tails.

For the Pizza Sticks, I used fresh pizza dough that I pulled out into rectangles, filled with mozzarella cheese and garlic powder, rolled them up, then tossed them in cornmeal and more garlic powder. Baked for 10-15 minutes and then dipped in pizza sauce, they were the faves of the guests.

For the breaded wings, I dipped them in egg then rolled them in Italian bread crumbs. Into the deep fryer and they were ready in no time. After which I sauced them with my traditional Buffalo wing sauce, but I also got a chance to try out a new hot sauce: WING-TIME
super hot.

It has a rich buttery flavour, but don't think it doesn't have a bite. There is a quick punch, almost a spike of heat that stays in the mouth.

Its made with, in order: "Hot Sauce (cayenne peppers, vinegar, salt) Soybean Oil, Tomato Paste, Water, Habanero Peppers, Spices [what that is, who knows?] Red Chile Peppers, Salt, Xanthan Gum (natural thickener) Natural Butter Flavour. I was surprised because the spice is not at the first of the ingredients, but the heat makes its way fast. Its a very thick sauce, as advent by the Tomato Paste before the water.

Its good, but it is not a sauce that I would want to eat a lot of wings in. Something about it doesn't sit right with me, and it is not the pain.

Brad and I agreed the traditional Buffalo wing sauce was much better. The breading on the wings turned out ok (they were lightly breaded, so it didn't overwhelm the wing).

Above, you can see Amanda digging in to the dilly mashed potatoes. I scooped out the potato from the skins, then added sour cream and dill weed all mashed together. I wanted it to be creamy smooth, but I didn't whip it long enough. I also didn't feel the dill was strong enough, but then again, I loved my dill.

The Potato Skins are one of my own favourite wing side dishes, and I'm quite happy with my version. Take some baking/russet potatoes, rub them in oil and kosher salt (I only every cook with kosher salt). Bake them for an hour (turning once). Remove and cut in half. The skins should be nice and crispy: scoop out the insides leaving a shell. Fill with cheese, onion and bacon (I cheated here and used bacon bits, but normally I prefer cook/chopped bacon). Bake again until cheese is melted. So good.

Finally, I attempted to make Deep Fried Pickles. Instead, they turned out to what Amanda branded as Gator Tails. I followed a recipe on the Internet roughly that said to used eggs and bread crumbs etc. into a paste, but the paste would not stick to the pickles that I had cut up into spears. I tried to coat them as best I could before dropping them in the deep fryer but it turned into a mess. The batter was all-right, the pickle was good, but if it had stuck together it would have been great. Or decent anyway. We will try again, hopefully with better results next time.

The rest of the evening was spent recovering from fullness, playing Halo 2 and just enjoying the company that Bramanda always bring with them.

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