Monday, February 8, 2010

Down, but Not Out

Amanda had an eventful week…spreading her sore throat-sneezy-light headed-achy muscle scourge on to the masses. I didn’t take heed, and unfortunately my visits with her last week proved disastrous to my health. I spent the beautiful sunny weekend (that’s right, sun!) feeling crummy…but I didn’t let it stop me from good weekend eats!

I apologize ahead of time for possibly contaminating those of you that came to Bollywood Indian Buffet night on Friday… I didn’t yet know I was coming down with a nasty cold. Hopefully I didn’t pass my germs on to you via the awesome Indian food I cooked. I hope that I did, however, leave you full and satisfied and licking your chops all weekend.

For a spur of the moment dinner party, I finally ‘got my groove back.’ For the first time in months the sun was shining, giving me the inspiration I needed to put away the grilled cheese sandwich, roll up my sleeves, tie on my cute pink polka dot apron, and really get down and dirty (with my bad self) in the kitchen. And what better way to get down on a sunny Friday evening than with friends, beer, and a night full of flavorful Indian food!?

I love Indian food. I can’t think of another cuisine that has such depth, such bright, colorful, beautifully composed dishes, such a great use of creative ingredients, and such a big variety of creamy, sweet, spicy saucy recipes. I actually didn’t even try Indian food until college, and my first bite was of Aloo Gobi—the spicy, flavorful, comforting potato and cauliflower dish. It was history from there. Since then, I’ve fallen in love (madly and crazily) with the flavors of India. The spices…oh the red, orange, and yellow spices! Glorious!

Butter Chicken

On Friday night, when I still felt human-like, Evan and I had some friends over for an Indian buffet of homemade Aloo Gobi, Butter Chicken, Paneer Tikka Masala, cardamom basmati rice, cucumber salad, and storebought naan, samosas, and mango-ginger chutney. In my frantic cooking frenzy, I didn’t have time to write down the step by step how-to’s and whatsits of my recipes (a combination of a few recipes from the web, and my own taste, smell, touch, and sight). I did, however, have plenty of time to take pictures and make several trips down the buffet line!

Aloo Gobi

I awoke Saturday in a turmeric and garam masala coma, not to mention with a sore throat and stuffy head that persisted straight on through to Superbowl Sunday… rendering me *almost * helpless and incapacitated for the big game. Evan and I didn’t make it to any super bowl parties, and aside from the halftime show, we didn’t even watch the game. Party or no party, I wasn’t going to let my little cold stop us from enjoying Evan’s favorite part of Super bowl… hot wings.

I like me a good wing now and then, but Evan…now there’s a wingman. I live with a guy who loves his hot wings…good, bad, or otherwise, if it’s a wing, he’s eating it. I prefer the good (to the bad and otherwise) so I made Mel’s exceptional Red-Hot chicken, with a little twist (the twist being that Mel uses boneless chicken pieces, I used wings). I put together a small platter of both extra-spicy and mild wings, cucumber and celery sticks, and blue cheese dressing. Baked (not fried) these wings are seriously tender and good, without being soggy. The Franks hot sauce, melted butter, and brown sugar coating caramelizes on the wings, making them gooey, sweet, spicy, and chewy. Almost like chicken candy…is that weird? Well, if it is, then weird I shall be. Weird and extremely finger-lickin’ satisfied.

Mel’s RedHot Wings

I made about 16-18 wings, and this is what I did, alter accordingly:

For spicy wings, sprinkle cayenne or chili powder directly on uncooked wings, for mildly spicy, do not. Bake/roast wings, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45-55 min, until they're cooked through and golden brown. (My wings were frozen... and I just stuck them in frozen at 400 for about an hour and 10 min, it’s variable).

Mix together 1/2 cup Franks Redhot sauce (original), 1/3rd cup melted butter, and about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Pour over hot wings and coat evenly. Stick back in the 400 degree oven for 10 more minutes, turning often. About half way through, sprinkle a little more brown sugar on top, and mix in. Cook until the sauce gets gooey.

Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes, sauce will continue to goo up a little. Enjoy, preferably with celery, blue cheese dressing, beer, and not a trace of nasty contagious virus. And if all else fails, just eat the wings!
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