Saturday, April 28, 2012

Traditional Buffalo Chicken Wings

These are wings. Notice I didn't say Buffalo chicken wings. Or chicken wings.

I'm in Buffalo. It's a Buffalo thing. Please, just call them wings.

This recipe is as simple as it gets. But in a home kitchen it's probably one of the more complicated things you could choose to make. 

First you'll want to melt two sticks of butter and then mix in 1 1/4 cup of Frank's Red Hot. Just Franks and butter. If you add anything else, then they will not be traditional wings. They'll probably be really tasty but with this you'll want to stick with the original recipe.

These 40 wings are organic, locally sourced and well trimmed. They should be rinsed and pat dry before fried.

The organic canola was heated to about 350 degrees.
Because of the size of my wok and the size of the wings, I only fried five at a time. 

They went in for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the internal temp. read 170 to 180 degrees, at which time they're pulled from the oil and drained well.

These are absolutely perfect and are ready to be tossed in the sauce.

The sauce needs to be reheated on the stove for just a moment to keep the butter melted and well blended in between batches.
When you fry in batches, use a bowl to cover the wings to keep them warm before they're served. Serve with Blue Cheese dressing, a big lush salad and stacks of napkins.

Do not save the sauce or the oil when you are done, and please dispose of the oil in a container, rather than down the drain.

The Cheesy Chick Truck

Earlier this morning, I passed the 464 Gallery located on Amherst Street, on the edge of the Black Rock District and saw the Cheesy Chick pull up front as I headed back home from Wegmans. After lazing on the couch and watching Everything Must Go, I decided to head back and check out the grilled sandwich truck that was making quite the splash here in the city.
The tidy truck has the cutest menu ever! I had a hard time choosing for no other reason than wanting one of each.
Angie Bernier was slicing apples and prepping food in the front of the truck while Catherine Frandina manned the window taking orders and Alexis Andrzejak, the food truck's owner, zipped between the two prepping sandwiches and chatting with the girls and customers.
They had the most cheerful smiles and easy going attitude.

Truck license number 3. In my opinion the requirements and related fees are outrageous. I lived in Albany during my adolescence and one of my favorite things to do was come down to the Capital and eat with my Mom at the park outside of the State Legislature. Ten or so trucks would line up around the edges of the park and they would be mobbed for three hours every day the weather was clear.
From what I understand the Capital Region plays it loosey goosey with the food vendor rules and everyone seems to be pretty happy about it after all this time. Speaking of eating with parents, Catherine's Dad stopped by to have lunch too.

The gallery was having a sale in the side yard. The place was packed with people, dragging unwilling children and dogs to and fro, admiring the whimsical pieces in the window and sitting on the concrete steps munching down sandwiches.

On Alexis' suggestion, I had the ABC sans onion mayo. She and Angie built such a pretty sandwich with wafer thin slices of apple, cheddar, and bacon in between very crunchy slices of sourdough bread.

For a treat I picked the Nutella panini with slivered bananas. This I took home to share. It was rich, sweet, nutty and reminded me of mischieveous childhood moments of sneaking spoonfuls of Nutella out of the kitchen pantry.

The menu is very accessible, making even the pickiest eater happy. The prices were very reasonable and I was so happy not to see a single fried potato option! These sandwiches didn't need any accompaniment. They were perfect just on their own! Congrats to the Cheesy Chick for going after their dreams and making others happy with their playful and ingenuous food creations.

Cheesy Chick (Mobile Food Truck) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waste, dumpster diving, composting and the color orange

I abhor waste. 
I feel shame every time I pull a vegetable out of my crisper that has tipped beyond the edge of just being trimmed down to now it must be tossed. 

I feel shame not having a yard in which I could have a compost pile or bin. 

I feel helpless when I see situations like I saw last night. 

While driving home after picking out this couch from Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, we passed Potter's Pantry. This pantry serves my neighbors and at one time, my family. I'm not ashamed to say it. There are times when a hand out is a hand up not to be hidden, lied about, or embarrassed by. But what I saw made me feel a little angry, a little self-righteous, a whole lot determined.

My family was slightly stunned when I suddenly turned the car around and pulled into the drive near the pantry, popped open the trunk door and proceeded to dumpster dive what turned out to be approximately 144 pounds of carrots out of one of their garbage cans. Carrots that were just beginning to rot. My husband was perplexed. What the hell is Annie doing piling rotting carrots in the back of the car? He of course leapt out and helped me pile them in, but I can only imagine what he thought I was up to. I volunteered to take them to the Michigan & Riley Farmer Pirate's compost pile, where months before they had received pallet upon pallet of slightly frozen rotting carrots from the Food Bank of WNY, and broke them down for their garden.

Samantha and I - Green Nerd Power!
My eldest daughter and I drove them over to the farm and stacked them next to the last two bags of wood shavings Bob had donated last weekend with the intention of breaking them down during the next work day on that farm. The super sweet smell of carrots lingered in the car during the drive home. Samantha turned to me with her stunning smile and said,

"Go Green Nerd Team!"

Fist Bump!

Over the last few months I've been running into all kinds of orange things. This year's color is supposedly orange. Do you know anything about the associations linked with the color orange? I knew a few but I didn't know how many there were till I looked them up last night.

In color therapy and healing orange is used for energising and revitalizing. It acts as a pick me up and aids recuperation after a bout of illness. For mental and emotional ailments orange is used to aid depressive states, melancholy and grief. Aspects associated with this color are career success, creativity, motivation and inspiration. Using orange for clothing, decorating your home or just enjoying this color within nature will help you embrace and explore new and exciting things in your life. Orange is thought to be incredibly sociable and you should wear something in this color when wanting to meet new people and expand your circle of friends. If you are craving a need for some excitement or freedom to pursue new ideas then include more of the color orange into your life. Choosing orange as a favourite color indicates that you are a fun person, young at heart and very adaptable. You could be in need of some fun, joy and laughter right now! Orange is a very joyous and vibrant color. It is said to free and release emotions and it is a great anti-depressant and will lift your spirits. Creativity and optimism are key words for this choice of color.

These are things I'm looking for in my life, or have been surrounding myself with since January. And in particular carrots and oranges and sweet peppers. Eat the rainbow - be the rainbow - sound like crazy rainbow man...I know how this can all roll down hill for me. "Oh she was such a nice lady until she got on that orange kick and started advocating dumpster diving!" 
Eat It or Give It Away or Compost It!
But seriously, perhaps I can preempt that line of thinking by saying, "Does that need to go in the garbage? Is there any way that can be repurposed?" Go Green Nerd Team!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Farmers & Builders in the East and Gardens on Grant in the West

The cooling temperatures and soft rain kept all but diehard gardeners from the Michigan St. garden, where Bob and I stopped to drop off his donation of seven contractor bags full of pine and maple sawdust for composting and shavings to keep walkways from turning to muck and mire.

We ran into Dan who oversees much of the movement of materials and such and he was happy to give us a tour of the Farmers & Builders gardens and coop.

Young chickens and laying hens were all making the quietest of coos and check-check-checks when we climbed up into the coop.
Some came running to see us, while others walked away in a manner quite cool.

Peas waiting to leap up out of the soil and spiral! Lemony and bitter, this sorrel was cork- screwing out of the ground in wild green tufts.
Peckham Street Farm in the Broadway-Fillmore area is on it's way.
When we went to visit today they were churning up the soil and the plot of already tilled soil lay patiently waiting for seedlings.
 Can you imagine the "Watering Hole" as a cafe with an open courtyard. I'm as idealistic as Dan looking at this.
Bob too doesn't see a mess, but rather an opportunity for something to get behind and become passionate about. Seeing how it can be, not how it is.
 The light pours in and so does the admiration. It's a long road yet but one I wouldn't mind traveling along.

Interested in getting involved? Contact Farmers & Builders and see where your talents can do the most good.

Then we went to Gardens on Grant to cover our baby plants as we're expecting a slight accumulation of snow this coming Monday. Bob made these ingenious covers to protect them from snow and the cold. Think of them as miniature greenhouses.
I raked the plots clear of sticks and leaves so that Vince can layer in the compost on each of the plots. They look so fresh, sparkling green and earthy!

Elderberry Chipotle Sauce Pork Chops with Wild Spring Salad and Steamed Asparagus

These chops were marinated for two days in a whole jar of Hill 'n Hollow's Elderberry Chipotle Sauce and then grilled until they reached 165 degrees.
They came out tender and moist! The asparagus was steamed until a brilliant green and it still snapped. Served with a wild spring greens salad and toasted ciabatta, this dinner was perfect!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bumbleberry Pie and Hill n' Hollow Farmstead

Last Friday, I went to M&T Bank's Second Friday at the Birchfield Penny Art Center. While there I got to taste and talk and network with other food and art lovers and it was the Hill n'Hollow Farmstead table that stopped me in my tracks. I spoke with the farm's owner Pat LaPoint about her products and how I'd like to blog about them if they might be interested, and she and her sister Mary Ann started telling me about their Blueberry vinegar and Elderberry Chipotle Sauce and made certain I had one of each before I left. Their farm sits not far from the Trappist Monks of the Genesee Abbey who are known locally for their Monk's Bread.

I came home with these two jars and faint idea of what to do with them. Then I remembered that I promised to make Bumbleberry pies for an event I am catering this coming Thursday for the Women's Society of UUCB.

Bumbleberry pie is a sweet tart of a fruit pie and usually has rhubarb, but as it's too early in the season for it, I substituted red pears it's place.

For the two pie recipe you'll need:
2 pie shells
3 tablespoon Blueberry vinegar
4 cups apples - peeled, cored and chopped

2 cups fresh rhubarb (or red pears)
2 cups fresh strawberries
2 cups fresh blueberries

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice (keeps the apples from browning)
2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tapioca

When the apples and pears were cut up, I turned them over in a large bowl with 1/2 cup ice cold water and the lemon juice. I then drained it well. All of the berries were washed well and the strawberries were cut into bite sized pieces.

I stacked them into a large container and poured the Blueberry vinegar on top.

I then added this to the bowl of fruit and stired it gently to mix together.

Then I mixed the flour, sugar, and granulated (not pearled) tapioca in a mixing bowl and pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees.

I stirred the dry ingredients in with the fruit.

Dished the fruit mix evenly between the pie shells.

Baked them for 50 minutes, turning the pans around at the 25 minute mark for even baking.

I tossed the leaves and skins in the compost pile and admired the flurry of butterflies.

The pie jelled beautifully and I'm certain it'll be a hit at the luncheon!