Sunday, 13 October 2013

Thanksgiving Wings & Mashed Potato Poutine

I'm on my own for Thanksgiving again this year - working over the weekend - which meant declining two Thanksgivings outside the city. But that's ok because it's also nice to spend some time solo, and cooking. A few years ago I did the same and I made a Turkey wing. I felt I would do something similar but I wanted actual wings . . . but what if I made them Thanksgiving style? What did that mean?

When I think of T-Day, I think turkey obviously, but the other flavour of this holiday for me is stuffing. Stove Top stuffing to be specific. So what if I combined that into a chicken wing breading?

Here are my ingredients:

  • 7 Chicken Wings (fresh, split)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 Egg
  • about 1/4 package of stuffing (Turkey flavour)
  • flour 

I prepared my breading station.

The stuffing mix is basically breadcrumbs and seasoning. Seemed like a natural breading. But would it work?

  1. Pack wings in flour/seasonings on wings to give egg wash something to stick to and give some underlying flavour.
  2. Dip dusted wing in beated egg.
  3. Roll said wing in dry stuffing mixture. Coat well.

Well that looked like it was going to be a big crunchy wings. If it works. PS: those are some jumbo wings even before the breading. I got them from St Lawrence Market. Awesome fresh jumbo wings.

I put the 7 wings on parchment paper and baked them in the oven at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, turning once. I baked them because a) I thought deep frying might burn the bread and b) You roast a turkey in the oven right? Well these should be roasted then.

I gotta say, the smell in the house was roasted poultry and stuffing good. They wings came out and they were lighter in colour than I expected, but the crispy coating looked good. The breading actually stuck on there too!

I like my wings with spice, or at the very least some sort of bold flavour - so I feared that the stuffing flavoured wing (even with some Cajun seasoning) might have been a bit boring. So I made a sauce.

Now I didn't have cranberry sauce, which I thought would be the best accompanyment for this wing. Instead I looked to a pepper jelly sauce, that I have experimented with before (but haven't yet logged on the blog). It's simple; those three ingredients boiled down. The bottle on the right is Third Degree Sauce.

This sauce is sweet, tangy, and zingy with heat. The pepper jelly is my secret ingredient for a wing sauce. Guess the secret is out. Dang.

I decided the wings should be drizzled with sauce and not tossed - partly as to not soggify the wings, but also to make sure the breading stayed on.

Guess what I found at the grocery store? EGG NOG!!!! I can't get enough of this stuff. And for my Egg Nog Project - the Irresistible brand is good - creamy and eggy. Mmmmm.

So at St Lawrence market I picked up some cheese curds. I bought some potatoes and decided I would make poutine. But I got lazy to make fries, and decided to experiment and make Mashed Potato Poutine.

The ingredients above are almost too similar in colour to tell apart.

I used a St Hubert poutine gravy packet - this was some good gravy! Poured over the hot mashed potatoes and the cold cheese.

Now that's a Feast for 1. I also forgot a salad I made and was in the fridge. Oh well, it will go over well with leftovers . . .

The colour palate of the meal was very autumn-like but without the salad, lacked and greenery. But dang it was a good meal.

The mashed potato poutine was a hit. Good potatos, warm soothing gravy. The only complaint was the curds weren't that squeeky, and not all of it melted because I put them on cold.

The Thanksgiving Wings worked out pretty well too.

Structurely they held up really well. The Stove-Top breading clung on well, and the drizzled stinger sauce was just right. Actually, more sauce would have been better. I expected a stronger flavour from the stuffing, but it was kind of mild. But the stinger sauce really kicked these wings up. Sweet and stingy.

These wings truly recreated the experience of a Thanksgiving Meal. 

And as I said the last time:

I am thankful for family
I am thankful for friends
I am thankful for my job and my coworkers
I am thankful for my health
I am thankful for chicken wings
I am thankful for the wing nation and for those of you that read the blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Abdominal and The Obliques - A Brief History of the Chicken Wing

You know what can be a hard thing to sing about? Chicken wings.

There are a lot of chicken wing songs out there, but they are not that great. But the group Abdominal and the Obliques sent me a link to their video " A Brief History of the Chicken Wing" and, well I think it's excellent. And informative!

The video is great as well!

Sriracha Wings @ St Louis

Having some Sriracha wings from St Louis Wings and Ribs at the Atrium. 

Crispy, tasty, and wet. So scandalous!

WWWWWW #75 ~ 'Ninja Wings' on Esquire

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:

Browsing the internet I came across Ninja Wings. A story on Esquire Malaysian. It's a fictional piece you can find HERE.

From the story: 

"A month ago, while channel surfing, Candice had caught a celebrity chef on TV who was demonstrating how to prepare spicy chicken wings. Her desperation compelled her to take note of the ingredients: chicken wings with wasabi powder, miso paste, soy sauce, salt and pepper. The combination of flavours gave the dish its name, “Ninja Wings”, and it became one of three dishes in Candice’s culinary repertoire. The other two were eggs, fried or charred. 

For the next three weeks, Candice woke up at six in the morning, oven-roasted the marinated wings and packed them in a Styrofoam box for Joseph to take to his clinic on Jalan Ipoh. Because he never complained about having the same dish for lunch everyday, Candice assumed he liked Ninja Wings."

I realize this is a work of fiction, but I had many issues with it; oh Esquire. But I do know that while the wings sounded interesting, sending cold chicken wings is not the way to go when trying to save a marriage. They need to be fresh. That's what will save it.

What did you think of the story? The wings? 

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Hong Shing General Tao Wings

Staying up late to get some work done, a late night dinner was in order. Off to Hong Shing.

Do I get wings? Do I get their General Tao Chicken?

What if I asked for chicken wings with General Tao sauce on them?

They put on so much sauce that the wings were very soggy, but very very tasty. If I do it again, I will get the sauce on the side.

Best $1 add on in my opinion. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

WWWWWW #74 - How Not To End A Hot Wing Eating Contest

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:

First, the dude on the left was way out of line with grabbing the guys face. Then he pants the champ. I don't blame the champ for bopping him.

Never bug a man trying to eat his wings.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

After a long day of work and days without having wings, this made my night:

From George's.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Burgernator ~ Toronto ON

MAY 2013

It was back in May when I decided to take a Saturday saunter over to Kensington Market to take in the sites, do some grocery shopping, and get lunch.

I wandered through the market trying to decide what to eat as there are so many cool little eateries. But then I came across this burger place that really caught my attention. Burgernator. It just sounded cool. And the colour scheme made me think of my own blog.

And they had a mission statement for burgers. That suggest the take their product seriously.

I went in and it was pretty dead for noon. There were the two seniors and a couple of individuals here and there. Eventually more people did come, but considering it was packed on the streets, it seemed a little strange. Like people were not joining the burger revolution.

More of their burger claims and manifestos were on the wall, extolling the virtues of their fresh, organic and pure burger aesthetic.

Prices are similar to other modern burger joints around, which means pricey in a fast food environment. I went with a Commander Burger $6, with a side of Burgernator Fries ($5.50).

Burgernator Fries are chili cheese fries served with sour cream on top. The fries were a medium fresh cut fry and deep fried to a nice crisp, so that there was a bit of a crunch when you bit into them. The chili was thick with meat and beans. It was not bad, but did not have anything bold or outstanding about it. Real shredded cheese melted over top, and the sour cream add a nice cool creamy component to the mix.

There were many BMD's (or burgers of mass destruction) to choose from with unique toppings from the The Resistance burger (a masala turkey burger with mango chutney and curry aioli) to the Captain Jerk (beef patty with grilled pineapple and jerk sauce) to the Burgernator challenge itself (triple patty between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, caramelized onions, mushrooms and Burgernator sauce). There are also veggie burgers (soy patties or crusted portabello mushrooms).  For me, I just wanted something a little more simple.

I went with a Commander Burger. The first thing I noticed was the Burgernator sauce all over. The second thing I noticed was it was a pretty small burger. The third thing I noticed was that they used two top buns for my burger, which I think is pretty awesome. What happened to the bottoms though?

The Commander Burger is a all beef 4oz patty (admittedly a smaller patty compared to the 6oz BMD's) with Burgernator Sauce (something a little more sophisticated than a fry sauce - ketchup and mayo - but more aioli like) lettuce, tomato, pickles and cheddar cheese.

I'll just cut to the chase, I found this burger really mediocre. The fresh ground meat was . . . just ok. I didn't get a nice meaty flavour from the meat. I didn't really taste it all. I won't lie, I'm also one of those people who prefer processed cheese slice to real cheese. The buns were actually really good - slightly toasted but still very fresh.

But when at a burger place the standout is the bun, there's something wrong. Don't get me wrong, this was not a bad burger, but for a joint crying for a burger revolution, Che Burgera would not be raising his bun. Also, none of the burgers have bacon on them, and to me that's kind of important on a great burger. Right?

I think the revolution needs some tweaking. The marketing and the message is there, but there are already a lot of bland burger out there.

269 Augusta Ave, Toronto ON

Wing Night @ Victoria College

APRIL 2013

It pays to have friends in the right places. My buddy, fellow wing lover and former staff member Chris B was working at Victoria College University back in April just before the end of the school term. They were having a wing night, and he invited me and Jasmik to come down and partake in the event.

Victoria College is one of the Federated Colleges at the University of Toronto. It's one of the oldest colleges formed back in 1836 and it's history and connection to UofT is long and complicated and I'll let you read about it on wikipedia. It's dinning hall, Burwash, was built in 1913 and is a beautiful example of neo-gothic architecture.

And they have wing nights. Actually, they only have 2 a year, so it's a big deal.

Burwash dining hall is run by Nathan Barratt seen in the above photo, who has revamped a cafeteria that was often noted as one of the worst on campus into a place students look forward to eat. And if he looks familiar, it's because he used to be one of the sous chef's in my building and was famous for his suicide sauce at our wing nights.

Above you can see the students grabbing the naked deep fried wing, and the 4 sauces available to toss them in: Honey Garlic, BBQ, Frank's Hot Sauce, and of course, Nathan's "Insane" hot sauce.

We grabbed our food and made our way to the Harry Potter-esque seating area. Chef Nathan cleared the High Table (usually reserved for Professors and College big wigs). What an honour.

Here's Chris on the left, Jasmik in the middle, and Chris' co-worker John - all of us enjoying the bounty of wings.

Here's my plate tray and the heaven I was about to partake in.

Above was real Coke. My dinning hall switched to some generic swill that I just cannot stand. This was great. And what is wings without some veggies and dip? And AYCE to boot.

The wings themselves were simple, but superb. Perfectly crisp, and the meat was tender. You could tell the meat was fresh. These were actually delicious just on their own.

They were a large wing - but not mutant large - just the right amount of meat and skin. They were deep fried and tossed with a light seasoning.

Of course, they were even better with Nathan`s Insane Hot Sauce. Its thick, its full of flavour, and it has a great kick. This is a real suicide sauce, but you still get the levels of chilies, spices and other flavours. It`s good, and it burns.

Chef Nathan came by to check on us and we mentioned we wanted to get more wings, but the lineups at that point went out the door. Moments later, Nathan came back with an entire serving tray for us. That is having friends in high places!

It was gluttonous, but it was soo good. Each bite as good as the last.

And then Nathan brought me a jar of the suicide sauce. This meal could not get any better!

In the end, we were full and had many bones. At the table, others that had joined us indulged me in the last wing night at Vic, where they made a bone tower.

Fortunately someone had a photo of it on their phone. Yes, that`s on a caf tray and yes, it had a flag.

Not to be left with nothing to show, we created out own tower. What it lacks in colossal-ism, it made up in beauty and determination. Or whatever, it's a tower of bones.

In the end, a great time was had be all, and there wasn't a hungry soul at the table. It truly was a feast that I won't soon forget. Thanks to Chris for having Jas and me, and for Nathan and all the preferential treatment.