Monday, January 31, 2011

Veggie Detox Juice

The other half and I are trying to be a bit healthier (and hopefully a bit thinner as a result) this year. One strategy is Meatless many fruits and vegetables and as few carbs and dairy as possible. And, of course, no meat.

One way to kick start it is this juice. We stock up on the ingredients on our Sunday produce run and then make some on Monday (and if we're feeling particularly virtuous Tuesday too) for breakfast.

(One drawback though...the other half's coworkers wanted to know if he was drinking blood.)

Veggie Detox Juice
Makes two servings.
From Bon Appetit.

2 firm bosc pears, stemmed, cut into wedges
1 3/4-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
5 medium carrots, scrubbed (about 1/2 pound), cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, trimmed, cut into 2-to 3-inch pieces
1 baby beet, trimmed, scrubbed
1/2 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley (stems and leaves)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Push pears and ginger through juice extractor. Working in batches, push carrots, celery, beet, and parsley through juice extractor. Stir in lemon juice. Divide between two 8-ounce glasses and serve.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Easy Chicken Curry

Here's a quick delicious way to use up that frozen chicken breast or leftover rotisserie chicken. You could also use shrimp or turkey. (Hello...Thanksgiving leftovers.)

Turkey Curry
From Cooking Light.
Makes four servings.

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add flour and curry powder; sauté 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth; bring to a boil. Stir in turkey and salt. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened.

Serve over cooked rice. Garnish with cilantro.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake

It's all to easy to dismiss Mexican chocolate as "just" chocolate cake with cinnamon added. While true, that simple addition is more than 1+1=2. More like 1+1=457. And add the glazes this recipe calls for? The final result is too delicious to try and enumerate...

Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake
Makes 12 servings.

1 (18.25-ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 cup semisweet mini morsels, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon shortening
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate morsels. Pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan.

Bake at 350°F for 33 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove cake from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.

Cook butter, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually stir in powdered sugar; if glaze seems thick, add remaining 1 tablespoon milk, stirring to desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

Microwave remaining 1/2 cup chocolate morsels and shortening in a small microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. Pour melted chocolate into a small zip-top freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag, and drizzle over brown sugar glaze. Sprinkle almonds on cake.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Easy Braised Brisket

I think that winter is all about low and slow. Crock Pots. Soups and stews. Braises. A little (a VERY little in this case) prep work leads to a rich and rewarding meal. (And the extra heat in the kitchen helps keep your house toasty, no?)

I'm giving you a little lead time with this recipe so you can buy your brisket this week and then cook it this weekend. Enjoy!

Easy Braised Brisket
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

3 to 4 pound brisket, trimmed of most fat
1 bottlke Heinz chili sauce
1 large onion, sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Place the brisket in a cast iron dutch oven with lid. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter the onion slices over the brisket. Stir the chili sauce and brown sugar together and pour over top of bricket and onions.

Bake for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is meltingly fork tender.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Tips: No Buttermilk? No Problem....Two Buttermilk Substitutes.

I confess that I don't keep buttermilk around. But every now and then it's needed for baking or tenderizing. (OK...OK...usually it's for Ranch dressing.)

Here are a couple of ways to whip up something oh-so-close to the real thing.
  • Whisk together 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt and 1/4 cup low fat milk.
  • OR...Stir one teaspoon cider or white vinegar into 1 cup low-fat milk. Let stand at room temp for a few minutes to curdle and thicken before using.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Turkey Tetrazzini

This is comfort food at it's best. Fix it for a great cold night meal. And then hang on to the recipe. It can be put to great use when you have leftover turkey at Thanksgiving. (And, of course, you could substitute chicken.)

Turkey Tetrazzini
Makes 8-10 servings.

12 ounces cooked spaghetti (Don't will cook more while baking.)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (Make turkey stock with the carcass if you're doing this post-Thanksgiving.)
3/4 cup milk (or half and half or cream)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (or 1/2 T dried)
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme (or 1 T fresh)
(In a dish like this, I prefer fresh rosemary, but dried thyme for some reason. Just use whatever you have on hand.)
Generous grating of fresh nutmeg.
Salt and pepper.
2 cups (or more) turkey diced in 1/2 inch or so pieces
12 ounces frozen green peas
3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir, cooking until just barely colored, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in stock and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the milk and add the rosemary, thyme and nutmeg. Remove from the hear and stir in the turkey and peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the turkey mixture with the cooked pasta and turn into a 9 by 13 casserole that you've sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure that the turkey and peas are evenly distributed throughout the spaghetti.

Bake for 20 minutes until heated through. (Watch carefully...if tips of spaghetti are browning too much, cover the casserole with foil.)

Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over casserole and return to oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes until breadcrumbs are lightly browned.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Turkey Vegetable Soup with Dressing Dumplings

Here's my contribution to today's "Soup Swap." I had a turkey breast that I roasted last week and pulled this recipe out to test for a post-Thanksgiving post in November. No reason to wait though. This is a great soup for a cold winter night. And while I bet you don't have leftover dressing just lying around, you certainly can whip up a batch of Stove Top to use for the dumplings. (Or just use your favorite dumplings recipe.)

Turkey Vegetable Soup with Dressing Dumplings
Makes 8 servings.

Carcass from one 12-14 pound roasted turkey, picked clean, plus 2 cups shredded cooked turkey meat (divided use)
2 large onions, 1 quartered and 1 chopped (divided use)
4 peeled carrots, 2 coarsely chopped and 2 sliced (divided use)
4 stalks celery, 2 coarsely chopped and 2 sliced (divided use)
6 garlic cloves, 4 smashed and 2 chopped (divided use)
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons flour, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups leftover dressing
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme

Put the turkey carcass, quartered onions, coarsely chopped carrots and celery, smashed garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to just cover, about 2 quarts. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour.

Remove from the heat and strain the solids from the broth. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve; you should have about 10 to 12 cups broth.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper together until smooth. Add the leftover dressing and mix until well-combined; cover and reserve.

Wipe the stockpot clean with a paper towel. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the sliced carrots and celery, thyme and reserved broth and bring to a simmer; cook until vegetables are just soft, about 10 minutes.

Roll level tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into balls with wet hands (see Note) and drop into the simmering soup; cook until dumplings float, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently stir in the turkey meat and corn and season with salt and pepper, then simmer until heated through. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Note: Moistness of dressing can vary; if the dumpling dough is too soft to roll, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it is firm enough to hold its shape while rolling.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cold Weather Prep: Stocking Your Winter Coat Pockets

When Mother Nature socks North Texas with cold weather, I know which coat is coming out of my closet. My 20 year old London Fog trench coat. It's also the coat I pack if travel takes me to someplace like Chicago or New York in the frigid months. So cold weather definitely equals trench coat.

So I stock said coat with the other supplies I know I'm going to need:
  • Gloves
  • Lip balm for the effects the cold and wind have on my kisser
  • And a mini-package of Kleenex for the unavoidable runny nose

If I lived someplace truly cold (and you might), I'd stock ALL of my coats with these necessaries. Sure keeps you from scrambling looking for gloves. And even better...from being caught by Jack Frost without them.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Herb Rub for Turkey (Or Chicken or Pork)

I had an extra turkey breast that I bought during Thanksgiving sales at the grocery that I had frozen. Pulled it out last week and brined it (More on that in a later post.) then rubbed this delicious rub on it and roasted it. Added a great flavor to wonderfully crisp browned skin. I'm using it next time I roast a chicken and might even try it on pork's wonderfully versatile.

Herb Rub

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (You could use dried herbs....just use a little less of each.)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and rub on the outside of your turkey, chicken or pork. Roast according to your recipe.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Dryer Sheets

We don't use dryer sheets regularly, but I still have a box of them in the laundry room. Here are some additional ways they (and even lightly used ones) can be redeployed:

Stick a couple in those smelly shoes overnight.

Wipe the surface of your TV screen or computer screen to remove static. (Makes sense, no?)

Use it in a sachet in your clothing drawers to keep socks and underwear smelling "out of the dryer" fresh. (A similar strategy it to put a sheet in the bag of your vacuum cleaner or under the seats in your car.)

I haven't tried this one yet, but sounds promising. Place a fresh sheet in the bottom of a pan with caked-on food. Fill the pan with lukewarm water and let sit overnight. It's supposed to be easier to clean in the morning. (If it doesn't work, I'll be sticking with this...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quinoa with Mushrooms

This is a recipe that I received from Andrea Immer Robinson with a wine shipment. The pairing was a South African blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. The wine had some peppery as well as gamey notes with just enough fruit. I'd suggest a good quality Sangiovese (preferably Italian) as an alternate idea.

And it paired/pairs beautifully with this healthy earthy dish. Its first life was as a side dish to some roast pork. I added some cooked shrimp and a drizzle of olive oil to the leftovers for a yummy and good for me lunch.

Quinoa with Mushrooms
Makes 4-6 servings.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely minced
6 ounces mushrooms (shiitake are suggested, but I used button mushrooms with no ill effects.)
Salt and pepper
1 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme)

In a medium skillet, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper to taste. Raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in cold water and drain. Bring the stock to a boil and add the quinoa. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Combine with the mushrooms and stir with a fork to fluff the quinoa. Sprinkle the thyme on top and serve.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Turkey Cobb...Sandwich

I've been brown bagging it quite a bit lately. For a couple of's cheaper. And usually a lot healthier. Sometimes it's leftovers from dinner the night before. Sometimes a salad of some sort. And other times a sandwich.

But I am not a plain 'ol sandwich kind of guy. It takes more than just white bread and cold cuts to keep me happy. Usually it's as easy as high-quality bread or some unusual vegetables. I ran across some inspiration the other day...a sandwich which combines the best of a Cobb salad and puts it between bread. It's fantastic.

Turkey Cobb Sandwich
Makes one sandwich.

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
Bread (sourdough, sandwich roll or even whole-grain. Toast it if you'd like.)
3 slices bacon
1 small avocado, sliced
2 slices tomato
1 egg (hard boiled and sliced if you're packing ahead, fried if you're eating immediately after construction)
4 slices turkey

Blend the mayo and blue cheese. (This is your dressing.) Spread it on your bread and stack remaining ingredients.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Healthy Snacks....

More no carrot snack options to stick with those New Years resolutions...

Kick a handful of almonds up a notch with a few dried cherries or dried blueberries.

How about four tablespoons of hummus with a few radishes and celery sticks?

A cup of shelled edamame. (Yum.)

If you're a cereal guy, snack on a cupful of healthy cereal like bran flakes or Wheat Chex.

And, yes, low-fat yogurt is all right (just avoid the ones with loads of added sugar). And if you HAVE to hit the vending machine, grab the small bag of pretzels rather than the Snickers.

You have any snack ideas to share? The Comments are below...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Olive Oil

I keep a pretty blue jug of olive oil on the kitchen counter. I use it all the time to cook, make a dressing, finish a dish. But I ran across these additional uses recently...

Haven't tried this one yet (almost seems like a waste of good olive oil!), but supposedly it provides an oh-so-close shave when used in place of shaving cream.

This one I HAVE tried and it seems to work...add a quarter teaspoon to your cat's food to help prevent hairballs.

Out of furniture polish? Apply a drop or two of olive oil to a cloth and use it to buff your wooden furniture.

This is desperate, but perhaps in the middle of the can use a drop or two olive oil to the top of squeaky door hinges.

Any tips you can share?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Chicken

Snowmageddon 2011 has come and gone here in North Texas. We got about 2 inches of the fluffy white stuff here just north of Big D, but no ill effects like lots of ice or broken trees.

That said, I wasn't setting foot outside in the frigidity. So a dinner fo which we already had the ingredients on hand was necessary. And since nothing is better on a cold winter day than a braise, the slow cooker was in order.

Inspired by a recipe in Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever, here's what I came up with. It was delicious over steamed rice. And I'm betting will be even better when I take it for lunch at the office tomorrow.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Chicken
Makes 6-8 servings.

6 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
8-12 pieces chicken*
Salt and pepper (or garlic pepper)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (Don't waste the good stuff. A decent quality brand from the grocery is fine.)
2 shallots, peeled (A small onion, sliced would work also.)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I actually used vegetable broth since that was the first can I grabbed out of the pantry.)

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve bacon drippings in the pan.

Sprinkle the chicken pieces evenly with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in batches until browned, about 12 minutes. Set aside and keep warm while you cook the remaining chicken pieces. When completed, place the chicken in a slow cooker.

Add the rosemary, garlic and shallots to the pan. Cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, making sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of that yummy goodness. Pour contents of sauté pan over chicken in slow cooker.

Add broth to slow cooker and cover. Cook at low for 6 hours (high for 3 if you're in a hurry).

Serve with rice, potatoes or polenta. If you're feeling particularly decadent, sprinkle some of the reserved bacon on top.

*I used a bag of mixed pieces we had leftover from a chicken frying night. A few legs, couple of thighs and a breast. Use whatever is your favorite. If you're worried about fat, take the skin off. I don't like doing that...the skin adds to much flavor and texture. I just defat the dish after it's been in the fridge overnight. Braises are always better the second day.

Wine Pairing:This calls for a dusky, earthy, almost primitive red. We opened a delicious Sangiovese.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Happy Birthday, Elvis. Honey-Glazed Bacon

If Elvis hadn't already left the building, he'd turn 81 today. And it's likely that he'd order up one of his favorites...a fried peanut butter-banana-bacon sandwich. We're Elvis fans, but not a fan of that monstrosity.

We ARE a fan of bacon though, so just might whip up a batch of this deliciousness. You could use the final product on a salad, as a burger topper or on some veggies. Or just eat it out of's like candy.

Honey-Glazed Bacon

1 pound thick-cut bacon (You can only do a few slices at a time if you'd like. It's best straight out of the oven.)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the paper in a single layer.

In a small skillet, combine the honey, coriander and cayenne and cook over high heat until melted, about 1 minute. Brush the spiced honey on one side of the bacon and bake for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, depending on the thickness and fattiness of the bacon, until sizzling and browned. Transfer the bacon to paper towels, glazed side up, to drain and cool slightly. Serve right away.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Healthy Snacks

If you're like me (and countless others in this first week of 2011), you've made a resolution to eat healthier and maybe shed a few pounds. A key to that for me is lots of (healthy) snacks to keep my metabolism revved. But no carrot sticks for me. Here are some tasty snack ideas I ran across the other day.

A one-inch cube of hard cheese (smoked Gouda, anyone?) and 4 dried apricot halves.

Cucumber slices and a wedge or two of Laughing Cow cheese.

Apple slices with a spoonful of peanut butter (or even better...almond butter).

Melba toast with a light spread of cream cheese.

A couple of slices of deli turkey and a handful of grapes.

More next week....

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Roasted Beets and Celery Root with Goat Butter

This dish paired beautifully with a Sauvignon Blanc at last week's wine dinner. ("Who knew celery root could be so SWEET?" was a repeated comment...) I'm betting it would be almost as delicious omitting the goat butter (use a little olive oil instead)..and would make a great healthy side dish.

Roasted Beets and Celery Root with Goat Butter
From Food and Wine magazine.
Makes 4 servings.

1 1/4 pounds trimmed baby beets, preferably golden, scrubbed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons goat butter
1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 2-by- 1/2-inch batons
2 thyme sprigs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a baking dish, toss the beets with the oil. Cover with foil and roast for about 1 hour, until the beets are tender when pierced. Let cool slightly, then peel the beets and cut them into small wedges.

In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the goat butter. Add the celery root and thyme sprigs and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of the stock and simmer over moderate heat until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining stock, 1/4 cup at a time, and cook until the celery root is tender, 8 to 10 minutes total. Stir in the beets and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.

Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon of goat butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve right away.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Tuesday Tips: The Lemony Fresh Edition

A new year means a resolution to return to our regular Tuesday Tips feature. This week...a few unusual uses for the humble lemon.

Sanitize that chopping block or cutting board. Rub a lemon half over. For some additional abrasive power, sprinkle the lemon with a little kosher salt first.

We all know this one, right? Use lemon juice to keep foods from turning brown. Toss apple or pear slices in a little lemon juice or dunk them in a bowl of water with some lemon juice added. Give a generous squeeze over the top of your guacamole to keep it from acquiring that unappetizing brownish hue.

Make removing soft cheese or sticky foods from a grater a lot easier by rubbing both sides with the pulp side of a cut lemon.

And a decorating tip. A big bowl of lemons make a great centerpiece or spot of color on your kitchen counter.

Do you have any other lemony tips? Post them in the comments section below...

Monday, January 03, 2011

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

It's not too late to start planning for your Super Bowl or Academy Awards party, is it? No way. Besides, you need to have a good hot spinach dip recipe in your arsenal anyway.

This one fits the bill nicely. Mind you, it makes a BIG batch (almost 6 cups) so you might want to put it into two smaller dishes so you can replace the first one with a hot successor...

Spinach-Artichoke Dip
From Cooking Light magazine.

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (through spinach) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Kung Pao-Style Drumsticks

This was one of the "nibbles" I served to kick off last week's seven course wine dinner. (Although it looks like a huge monster in the close-up photo to the left...)

Tangy, spicy and crunchy...they were a real hit. Enough of a success that the other half and I made up another batch for our New Year's Eve celebration. Both at the dinner and on New Year's Eve they were delicious with bubbly. The fizz and acidity cut through the sauce and spice for a perfect pairing.

The original recipe called for turkey drumsticks. That was too much meat for what I wanted to do, so I substituted chicken drumettes. Made for a messy, but perfectly sized hors d'oeuvre. Next time, I might substitute a little fried chicken tender or nugget. And the sauce by itself would be a great toss-in with soba noodles. Make sure and toss the peanuts and green onions on top...

Kung Pao-Style Drumsticks
Adapted from Food & Wine magazine.
Makes 8 appetizer portions.

1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 quart canola oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sambal oelek
1 cup flour
8 chicken wings/drumettes
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
2 scallions, minced

In a small saucepan, bring the honey and 1 tablespoon of the ginger to a simmer. Let cool, then strain the honey into a bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallot and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining 3 tablespoons of ginger and cook over low heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mirin and vinegar and simmer until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Add both soy sauces and the hoisin and simmer just until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the sambal oelek.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the 1 quart of canola oil to 350° on a deep-fry thermometer. (Or use a deep-fryer.) Toss the drumettes in the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Add the drumettes and fry over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden, 7-10 minutes; be sure to maintain the oil temperature at 350°. Drain the drumsticks and blot with paper towels.

Transfer the drumettes to a large bowl and toss to coat with the sauce. In a pie plate, combine the peanuts and scallions. Roll the drumettes in the peanut-scallion mixture, drizzle with the ginger honey and serve.