Sunday, December 02, 2007

He wanted spicy... could I deliver?

We ended up with just about 6 or 7 inches of snow by the time the storm was finished - unfortunately it ended with just enough freezing rain that everything is now a big sheet of ice! We had a hard time trying to drive up the hill to the house after we went to the market this morning and we barely made it this time... this winter should be quite interesting if this keeps up! The big MNDot snow truck even got stuck trying to drive up the hill to clear the street early this morning and since there is a bedroom window that faces that street, we got an unfortunate 5 am wake up call.

We went through 11 new recipes this week - our favorites this round were the Roasted Winter Vegetables with Cheesy Polenta, Hungarian Meatball Stew and just because they were so fun to make and share with the pups... the Holiday Doggie Bagels.

We started off dinner tonight with a sweet Mixed Greens Salad with Pears, Goat Cheese, and Fig Vinaigrette. Dried figs are one of my favorite dried fruits, but for some reason I don't use them often enough! Tender salad greens are coated in a thick, sweet and tangy dressing that is a mixture of dried black mission figs, balsamic vinegar, water to loosen the mixture up, bright lemon juice, minced shallots, thyme, garlic and a drizzle of extravirgin olive oil. The tossed greens are served over sliced Bosc pears and topped with a sprinkling of creamy crumbled goat cheese. The combination of the racy vinaigrette on the greens with the crisp pears and pungent cheese was simple, yet had a sophisticated flare that had my taste buds in a tailspin. The one thing I would think about adding is some candied walnuts or pecans for a nutty crunch.

The main portion of tonight's dinner was intended to be more in the line of an appetizer and doesn't really fit in with the above salad, but Jeff was asking for something spicy enough to challenge his heat tolerance and I think we found just the dish. Thankfully, the dip in this recipe for Boneless Buffalo Wings with Veggies and Spicy Blue Cheese Dip kept our mouth cooled off just enough that we could actually enjoy the food!

If you don't want to bother slicing your chicken into strips, you could just as well buy those packaged chicken tender meat. The sliced chicken is marinated in buttermilk that has been spiked with hot pepper sauce (we always use Frank's Red Hot) and white vinegar. You can let the chicken sit for as little as ten minutes, but I suggest letting it go as long as you can (around an hour is preferred) so the marinade has time to work. To coat the chicken, we dredged them through a mixture of white whole-wheat flour, crunchy yellow cornmeal and a few shakes of cayenne pepper. The chicken is then browned and crisped up in two batches - the cooked chicken is then dressed in more hot pepper sauce and vinegar.

Did I mention this was quite spicy yet? To counter act some of that heat, a cool combination of sour cream, crumbled blue cheese and a splash of vinegar makes a tangy dipping sauce for the spicy chicken. Since I was being a little evil and Jeff did say he wanted to be challenged, I sprinkled the dip with a little more cayenne pepper - hee hee! I did serve some crisp celery and carrots sticks along side so our mouths could take a break in between the boneless "wings". Jeff's face was beet red by the time he finished his plate, but he was a very happy camper and was completely satisfied by the heat level. He says it was not too hot, but notes it did leave a little afterburn in his throat! You could leave out the cayenne in the dip and flour coating and it would be more tolerable if you want some heat, but don't want to blow your top off.


  1. Joe, I really love your, this year I went and nominated you over at for photograpy and writing...

  2. The ice was not a welcome finish to the snow storm, I agree! I had a hard time de-icing my car on Sunday and spent much longer than I would have liked chipping away at it!

    Your photos and your meal look and sound great!


  3. I LOVE boneless buffalo wings so I really appreciate this recipe to make them at home! As a spicy food lover myself, I think you did a pretty good job!

  4. Joe, I have a question, you see how artistically you presented the plate with the salad for the pic? When serving it at home, do you usually do that too? I'm just asking because often I don't, it's only if it's like a Sunday meal then I'd fuss about presenting it a particular way. Just curious. :)

  5. I just bought some Frank's Red Hot, for the first time, so I'll have to make those.
    I also like the title of this blog. It's amusing.

  6. Sara - Wow! Thank you!

    Courtney - And here we go again with another storm tomorrow... yeesh!

    Hillary - These are spicy, I hope you try them!

    Cynthia - Yes, I do try to do a nice presentation for all of the plates. However, I don't always get a chance and it gets on the plate however it wants to! hee hee!

    Emilie - for the first time? Well, get busy!