Wednesday, 15 February 2012

WWWWWW #58 - Valentines Day Chicken Wings

Yes, World Wide Web Wacky Wing Wednesday. WWWWWW. This is where I will surf the Web, and find other people talking about chicken wings. The world is full of chicken wing stories, wacky and otherwise. Recipes, restaurant reviews, eating contests or whatever. Today's Blog relating to wings in some shape or form:

Valentines Day Chicken Wings.

Yesterday was Valentines Day, and whether you celebrated it with a loved one or not, we all love chicken wings. So here is my quick valentine to the Wing Nation. I did a quick search for Valentines Day Chicken Wings, and here is what I found:

Happy belated wing Valentines Day.

Did you have wings with someone you love?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Pizza in a Skillet

I like trying new things. I had a pizza dough left from making a pizza, so I thought about making a mini-pizza. But I wanted to change things up a big. I thought about cooking my pizza in a cast-iron skillet. So I went for it.

Why cast iron? Normally I just use a pan and the crust works out well. But I wanted more of a pizzeria flare - because those pizza's are cooked at extremely high heat, and generally that can't be produced in a home kitchen. But using the pan, you can heat it up, then bake in the oven.

I had some conceptual ideas about how I was going to go about doing this. Then I decided that I'm not really a pioneer, so let me see what other people have done and go from there. I checked out a number of sites, but mainly referenced Kitchen Konfidence. Their advice would come to haunt me during the process: "Slide the pizza into the skillet.  This is the trickiest part of the recipe.  I would recommend using a floured spatula or have someone else help you hold the cutting board.  Practice is the key to getting this down.  Most likely, your first attempt will not be perfect." How true, how true.


Step 1: Some EVOO and garlic in the dough that sat and absorbed into each other. Also, flowering of my space to stretch the dough later. Also, I would start prep of your toppings - mine were already done in advance.

Step 2: My cast iron pan is on the heating element and the oven is turned on to broil (it was already on due to me cooking another pizza for another purpose).

Step 3: Dough has been rolled out, sauce applied (mine is pizza sauce and hot sauce mixed) and then some garlic powder. Then a layer of cheese (marble). Then pepperoni, some onion, some spicy havarti, pineapple, and taco beef. This was going to be awesome, but let me tell you, this pizza should have been much leaner on the toppings. Let's find out why.

Step 4: The skillet is hot by now. Transfer the pizza to the hot skillet.

What I did was add some cornmeal to the pan because that's what I normally do with my pizza to give it some texture. But as I rush around, the cornmeal immediately burns on the super hot pan. So I have to quickly wipe it out. Forget cornmeal.

Then I try to move the pizza. No deal. In fact several toppings drop into the pan and sizzle. I remove them and try again. This is not working. So I fold the pizza like a taco and try and carry it - this is problematic because I have loaded it with toppings. It goes in, I put it in the oven - whoops, forgot the oven mitt this time because I'm rushing,  and now my hand is in pain (but I didn't burn myself). But, the pizza is in.

Problem (a new one). I leave it for a few minutes, but not long, because I don't want it to burn. I go back - it's ok but not broiling. I leave it for longer. Come back - still not broiling. A little longer, same thing. So I didn't get the super hot heat from the top, but oh well.

The pizza from the oven. All the topping migrated to the middle during the taco-carrying process.

I used more dough than I expected too too. So it puffed up. The bottom crust (which stuck to the pan a bit) was nice and crispy, and the inside soft and fluffy - a little more thick than I would normally like, but it worked.

I carved it up with my pizza sissors (ya, special scissors for cutting pizza - they are awesome - and a gift from my Grandma several years ago - thanks!).

The pizza was really good. Good crust, good toppings. I can't wait to do it again, but with less dough and less toppings. And maybe someone to help me transfer the pizza. I don't know if i want to do this with my full sized cast-iron pan - I think the small is just right.

So a recap of what I learned:

  • Use less dough
  • Use small skillet
  • Always use oven mitt when touching hot hot skillet
  • Use less toppings
  • Have a better strategy to transfer dough
  • Make sure oven broiler is working
I think that's it.

Have you made a cast-iron skillet pizza? How did yours turn out?

Thursday, 9 February 2012


The Jersey Giant has lived down by St Lawrence Market for over 20 years. I've passed by them time after time but had never been in. I was down at St Lawrence Market to pick up some fresh wings for Superbowl Weekend from my favourite butcher (they were out, so I didn't get any fresh wings :( ). Hungry, I decided to stop in and see how JG's wings would hold up.

Do you know what a Jersey Giant is? It's a chicken breed that started in the US in the late 19th Century that was created to replace turkey as the poultry source of choice (thanks wikipedia). So a pub that is named after a chicken and has a chicken motif should have good wings, right?

photo from
Inside was pretty dark, but I was surprised how big it actually was, with an upper area, lower bar area, seating down a hallway and a pool room in the back.

The crowd was a mix of seniors, yuppies, young people, families - clearly this British style pub appeals to a wide audience.

photo from
My server was Amanda, who was friendly and able to answer and take my wing requests. She also would bring me refills without being asked, which was great. Before long she had my order.

Wing orders automatically come with fries. These were great fries - thin, crispy, a little bendy. Perfectly seasoned. And a ton came in an order, so much so I couldn't finish them all.

They also come with carrots and celery sticks. It does say on the menu that you can get blue cheese on request, but I got bogged down in ordering my wing flavours I forgot to ask. Oh well.

When the plate came out, it looked mighty mouth watering. Wings, fries, veggies. The smells were intoxicating. This was a large order, split between Hot and Chipotle BBQ with a side of suicide.

The wings were a medium in size, and a medium meaty level. The skin was crispy, but the meat was tender and juicy. The wings were nice and saucy. They melted in my mouth.


Hot was classic pub flavour - cayenne based sauce. Nothing original, but well done.

They were great when they first came out, but held up for most of the meal staying crisp.


This was a great BBQ sauce. It was a bit smokey, it had a kick of spiciness, but a hint of sweet.

The sauce was slightly thick and gooey in texture. I really liked the spicy/sweet combo for these wings.


This was a suicide sauce. It had a strong bite. Not the hottest sauce ever, but really this is what I expect from restaurants when they advertise suicide.

The sauce tasted like Pain sauce, which has a strong chili/garlic flavour. So there was heat and flavour.

THE SCORE: I liked the Jersey Giant. Friendly staff and great food. Good wings, with a variety of sauces, with good fries. It was all done just right. 7/10

Jersey Giant
71 Front Street East, Toronto ON

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

WWWWWW #57 Jim Ether's Robert Sternly Eating Chicken Wings

Yes, World Wide Web Wacky Wing Wednesday. WWWWWW. This is where I will surf the Web, and find other people talking about chicken wings. The world is full of chicken wing stories, wacky and otherwise. Recipes, restaurant reviews, eating contests or whatever. Today's Blog relating to wings in some shape or form:

I don't know much about Jim Ether; he's an artist, he lives in Ohio, and he does some pretty crazy cool art.

He did the above piece: "Robert Sternly Eating Chicken Wings". I thought at first that it was Robert Sternly, and I was like, who is Robert Sternly, but it's "So here's Robert eating some chicken wings, sternly." Anyways, love chicken wing art. 

Go check out Jim's other art - its freaky and fun.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Metro Wings

I am angry and I don't feel well.

I am angry at Metro grocery store wings, but I'm probably more angry with myself. Because I don't seem to learn. And so I write to you as a warning to learn from my mistakes. And maybe I will learn to.

You see it's Superbowl weekend, the most holy of wing days. I decided I was going to have wings. But  my favourite butcher didn't have any wings left. So I went to the grocery store, Metro, and I knew about their flyer - 30 wings and a case of pop for $20. Not an amazing deal, but I see a deal and get all excited. So I picked out some wings to spread out over the weekend.

Here is one of the containers of the chicken. The meat is partially frozen. The wings are 'cooked' but just need to be reheated. They are coated in sauce. Don't get me started on them being called Buffalo wings.

Above, they are basically frozen mush. The problem comes how to cook it. Usually it's just toss in the oven and reheat. I did this, and the results were not great, so I tried 2 other methods. Let's see what happened.


So I went the traditional baked route (but took no photos of the before). I took a baking sheet, put down parchment paper, and baked at high heat (400-430). I did this for a while, flipped part way. They were sitting in a lot of oil, so I transferred them to another tray with parchment paper. Still more oil.

They took a long time to be crispy. What's kinda funny is that the crispy factor came from the bottom on the pan, not the heat above. While the skin got kinda crispy, there was still a gelatin-y layer underneath. The wings actually had a good bite to them, but were very salty.

Overall, I did not enjoy the meal. I ate because I had them, but I did not enjoy them. The next night I was going to have to change things up.


Over the phone I was telling LJ how my wings sucked and she suggested trying something different, like cooking in a frying pan. So I took my small cast iron pan, turned it on medium high, then put in half of my last batch of wings.

They started to cook, things sounded good. They smelled good too. But then I went to flip them - trouble. The skin completely stuck to the pan (non stick). I flipped them again (basically removing the skin) and then put them into the oven (set at broil). After a few minutes they were ready . . . I guess.

I could not get over the amount of grease and oil that came off the wings. I didn't add anything to the pan, and well, you can see above.

These were the final product. Don't they look appetizing? No, no they do not. Don't try and be nice, they looked like they were taken straight off the bird. The meat retained a bit of the heat. Having the soggy breading/skin off took a bit of the ick factor away, but this was not a good cooking solution. I don't look forward to cleaning the pan either.


I scratched my head on how to cook the last batch. I couldn't deep fry because these mucky mess would gunk up the fryer. I wasn't going to bake again, nor pan fry. What was left? How about my George Foreman grill?

The Foreman grill has only one temperature, cooks unevenly, but is the closest thing I have to a BBQ (but is nowhere near a BBQ).

I kept them in for, I don't know, 5-10 minutes, flipping once. There was 2 pieces that were quite large, so I kept them in longer.

So this was a decent method of cooking. A lot of the oil and fat were 'knocked out', the hot grates seared the meat giving a crispy texture. I think I could have let them cook longer though. I think actually putting them on a BBQ grill would this kind of work out.

Overall, all three methods failed. These wings were a class 3 FAIL.

Ok, here's what worked for these wings. They are meaty, tender and actually have a spicy kick.
What didn't: sloppy, soggy, fatty, oily, un-reheat-able. I actually did not feel like eating them.

These wings made me feel unhealthy eating them (I'm glad I ate a salad along with them). I rarely feel like that after eating a wing.

So I am saying here, I will not eat Metro wings again. If you see me going to buy these, smack me. In general avoid in-store wings. I hope, hope, hope I have learned my lesson this time.

Can you think of anyways that these wings might have been re-heated to taste not too bad? How do you do it?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Chicken Wings and the Superbowl

So tomorrow is the Superbowl.

I won't lie, that means little to me because I don't care for sports. I don't even know what teams are playing.
But there is one thing that is significant about the Superbowl: chicken wings.

More wings are consumed in one day than any other time of year. And while I've been busy with work and not posting all week, I am making a super post (for the Superbowl) about all things wings related to tomorrow. News articles, posts, deals etc. Check it out:


The Globe & Mail
"The Perfect Match: Superbowl and Chicken Wings"

Toronto Sun
"Wing in the Super Bowl"

Toronto Star
"Delicious Chicken Wings Are Full of Fat & Loaded With Salt"
(sent by Teena In Toronto)

The Globe and Mail
"1.25 Billion Chicken Wings: Everything you need to know (or not) about the Super Bowl"

"New Record Set At Wing Bowl XX: Kobayashi wins with record-breaking 337 Wings"
(sent by The World of Gord)


"Eat a Chicken Wing with One Hand"
(Sent by Fuzzification)

View the Vibe (.com)
"Toronto Chicken Wing Battle Just in Time for the Superbowl"

The Toronto Chicken Wing Battle as Decided by Six Girls from View the Vibe on Vimeo.


"Buffalo Chicken Pizza"

METRO Grocery
"Weekend Meal Deal" & "Olymel Frozen Deal"

Loblaws Superstore

Pizza Pizza

I'm sure there are a lot more deals and info for wings and the Superbowl, but this should be enough to get you started! Here's hope your team wings wins :)