Category Archives: I’m tasty!

Sticky Chicky Wings

Shopping at the grocery store this past weekend for a Super Bowl party inspired me to make some wings for dinner one night this week. Now you’re probably thinking, but aren’t wings really unhealthy? Not if you marinate them overnight in a yummy sauce and then bake them. I realize that the wing is a decently fatty part of the chicken, but it has a lot of flavor. At least the baked type are more healthy than their fried counterparts!

Craving wings? Craving Asian flavors? Make these!

I had some sake and mirin sitting around that I’d bought a while back in a lame attempt to recreate these wings served at David Chang’s Momufuku restaurant in New York City. Last spring, I’d taken a cooking class called “Great Restaurants of New York” and that particular recipe was one that our chefs had us prepare, with a few modifications–for example, we used a sous vide cooker to cook them rather than cook them in the 5 cups of duck fat the original recipe calls for. The flavor of the finished wings was indescribable, but one I knew I’d want to eat over and over again.

So this week, I decided to make sticky chicken wings with a marinade that I’d cobbled together and that turned out to have a similar flavor to the wings we’d made in class minus the smokiness that David Chang’s recipe has. I served ours alongside a quickie fried rice I threw together with frozen veggies and steamed rice. No eggs or scallions, of course. 🙂

Here’s how I did it. You will need:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder (if you don’t have this, you can use a blend of ground anise, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground fennel and black pepper. A good guideline for how to mix this is here.)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin**
  • 1 tablespoon dry sake**
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 12 chicken wings, tips removed and reserved for another use (make a stock! don’t let these guys go to waste!)

*Mirin is sweet rice wine. You can substitute sake plus a bit of sugar for it. You can also substitute sweet sherry for the mirin and sake if you don’t have either in your pantry. White wine would also work here.

In a small bowl, add the first 6 ingredients and whisk together until they are thoroughly mixed. In a gallon-sized ziplock bag, add the chicken wings and pour the marinade over the wings. Zip the bag closed, and lay it in a baking dish in your refrigerator so that it sits overnight.

The next day, when you’re ready to cook them, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and remove the wings from the bag, laying them on the paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on how meaty your wings are (ours were quite meaty, so they required more time), and then turn the wings over, cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes. They will develop a gorgeous smell as they cook, and their color is as rich as the flavor.

This recipe made 2 servings of 6 drummettes each. I think I’ll use this marinade for larger cuts of chicken as well in the future. It really had a great flavor, and SB inhaled his plate. I deem dinner a success based on that alone.


Stufffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

This past week, I’d been craving pasta like nobody’s business.  I think it was because the previous week, we’d gone out with a friend to Olive Garden for the endless pasta dinner special, where I ate some whole wheat linguine with roast chicken and marinara (which was good, but I won’t do it again).  I think having that gave me an Italian food jones something awful, and so I thought about things I could make at home with the ingredients I had access to.  The week before, I’d bought two large zucchini squash and had picked up some hot Italian sausage at Central Market.  I decided to make stuffed zucchini–it was easy, filling and really tasty.

Stuffed zucchini: easy to make, delicious to eat and full of antioxidants and fiber! The meat used can be changed to ground chicken or turkey sausage as well; pork was what I happened to have on hand. Serve with a salad and crusty bread, and you've got a filling dinner.

You will need:

  • 2 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise and cut in halves
  • 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage*
  • 1 cup instant brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 1/4 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 28 ounce can tomato puree

*certainly, ground chicken or turkey sausage could also be used here as well; pork sausage was what I had access to.  For vegetarians, I think I’d probably mince up 3 cups of Portobellos sautéed with onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat until completely done. While the sausage is cooking, cut the zucchini in half vertically, then slice them lengthwise.  Take a grapefruit spoon or melon baller (or something that scoops that has a sharp edge to it) to scoop out the pulpy middle of the squash.  Reserve this pulpy goodness in a bowl.  Lay the hollowed zucchini quarters in a 13 x 9 baking dish.  You do not need to grease the dish, as there will be plenty of liquid to prevent the zucchini from sticking to the bottom of the dish.

Once the sausage is done, drain it and return to the pan, and add the garlic, stirring to distribute it evenly throughout, cooking at medium-high heat.  Add in the zucchini pulp, again, stirring to evenly distribute it throughout the meat, cooking for about 10 minutes until the pulp really isn’t so visible.  You are adding the pulp back in to add moisture to help the rice cook and to add a bit more fiber.  Add in the half cup of water and then stir in the instant rice until it is well-distributed.  Stir in 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese until it melts throughout the mixture.  Turn off the heat to the skillet, and stuff the zucchini quarters, mounding the filling into each quarter.  Pour the can of tomato puree over all the zucchini quarters, and sprinkle the top of the baking dish with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely browned.

This recipe serves 4, or two really hungry adults, as it did the night I made it.  It is lovely with a bit of garlic bread and a salad.  You could serve it over pasta if you wanted.

Bright Mango Salsa

SB and I were invited to a friend’s house for dinner tonight, and like the good guest I am, I asked if there was anything I could bring to accompany our meal.  My friend said that we were having fajitas, so I should bring something that could be eaten with that.  I got to thinking, hmmm, what should I bring to eat with fajitas?  Could bring guacamole, but that’s easy and she’ll probably have that already…hmm…aha, salsa!  I’ll make salsa.

But I wasn’t going to make the traditional tomato-based salsas that you think of when you think of fajitas.  No, no, dear readers.  I decided to do something a bit different and go with a fruit based salsa (yes, I know tomatoes are technically fruits but hear me out here).  I wanted something sweet and spicy all at once, so I began thinking of what things I could combine to create that flavor profile.  Et voila:

An alternative to tomato-based salsas, this mango salsa is sweet and as spicy as you want to make it--whatever peppers you choose will amp up the heat.

I went with a mango-based salsa, to which I added 3 types of peppers, avocado and cilantro.  Normally, I would add in a purple onion which would make a good addition here, but I left it out of this one so that SB could partake as well.  Mind you, there is a lot of chopping and dicing that goes into this recipe, but trust me, one bite of this salsa and you’ll know it was all worth it.  I think this would be excellent on seafood and grilled chicken, which is how I plan to serve it the next time I make it.

Here’s how I did it.  You will need:

  • 2 mangoes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large Poblano pepper
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 ripe avocado (not too ripe, you want the flesh to be a bit firm)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • salt to taste

You will need a medium size glass mixing bowl.

Wash the mangoes, and cut the fruit into small dice.  If you don’t know how to dice a mango, here is an excellent instructional video that demonstrates how to do this:

Add the mango to the mixing bowl.  Next, cut the red pepper into large pieces so that you can remove the seed cluster in the center of the fruit.  You will also want to trim down the inner membrane of the fruit (called the placenta), as it is bitter tasting.  Julienne each of the pieces of pepper, then cut into small dice.  You will want to do this with the Poblano pepper as well.  Repeat this process with the jalapeno, except you want to mince the jalapeno, unless you want large pieces of really hot pepper.  In that case, go for it!  Remember, when buying jalapenos, if there are more cracks on the outside of the fruit, that is an indication that the flesh is hot!

Slice the avocado in half, and remove the pit by carefully sticking the knife into the surface and gently turning it to loosen the pit from the flesh.  The pit should come right out.  To dice the avocado, remove the skin by slicing off a little bit of each end.  The skin should come off easily in one piece.  Cut the avocado into 1/4″ slices, and then turn the stack of slices on its side to cut them in half horizontally.  To dice the avocado, then cut down the stack vertically to create small cubes.  Repeat this process with the other half of the avocado and place the cubes into the mixing bowl.  Mince your cilantro and add it to the bowl.

Finally, add the lime juice, pouring it over the entire bowl of fruit, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold all the ingredients together.  You may or may not need to add salt; it is up to your preference.  I did not add salt to mine, as the flavors of all the ingredients together simply did not need it.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  I stored mine with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface (to prevent too much contact with the air), and then covered the bowl in another sheet of plastic wrap.

Because of the avocado, this is best if made and consumed the same day.  The lime juice will keep the avocado from oxidizing too much, but really, avocadoes once skinned are best eaten that same day.

This recipe made 4 cups of salsa.