You know you still want ‘em…

Wings. They’re the only things people are talking about more than Cam Newton’s pants. (Hey, he’s not the first football fashion plate. Anyone remember Broadway Joe?)

There are as many ways to make wings as there are feathers on a Rhode Island Red. Previously, I offered y’all a flavorful but not hot recipe for the Super Bowl spread. Today, it’s one of my favorites for medium heat. These wings have a rub, which means you don’t have to marinate them for hours. The Mexican-inspired flavors are definitely something different. This recipe is from my book “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack.”

Mole Ole

1/2 cup chili powder

2 teaspoons cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

12 wings, cut in half at joints, wing tips removed and discarded

1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, cumin and garlic powder. Place the wings in a resealable plastic bag. Pour in the olive oil and shake to coat the wings. Pour in the rub mixture and shake again to coat the wings. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place the wings on the baking sheet and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until done, turning the wings about halfway through the cooking time.

Makes 24 wing pieces

From “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” by Debbie Moose

It’s all about the food, of course

Some teams from somewhere are playing football someplace this Sunday. It doesn’t matter who or where – or how inflated their balls are – because Sunday actually is the Super Bowl of food.

A rainbow of chips and dips festoons supermarket aisles in a glowing display unseen since Christmas. The price of wings usually spikes like gas on Memorial Day weekend, and for the same reason: supply and demand.

If you do care about the game, you are aware that the quality of the food affects the outcome, right? In the course of writing my cookbook “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” (Harvard Common Press), I developed a couple of approaches to planning for the Super Bowl feed.

First of all, prepare for a marathon, not a sprint. Fans will be there for many hours (I think the pregame hoopla started this morning).

One approach is what I call Continuous Grazing. Think of your guests as ravenous animals prowling the African savannah. For this, put out a variety of finger foods and snacks. Chips and dips are OK, but you also need more hearty offerings. During the lengthy halftime, bring out some wings, baby quiches or roast beef sliders.

Another way to organize the food is Big Bowls. Chili is always a hit, especially since it’s usually cold in early February and spicy chili offers that obligatory macho component to the day. Set up a slow-cooker or two with chili or soup, and let fans help themselves. Provide crackers or cornbread on the side; a salad if you feel vegetables are really necessary.

Yes, you could resort to the prepared food cases at your megamart. But would your team take the easy way out? Do you want to take the risk that your inadequate party spread could doom your squad? Just asking….

This recipe from “Fan Fare” makes wings with lots of flavor but no fiery heat. I picked the name because I also serve them during basketball season.

Teriyaki Tip-Off Wings

8 whole chicken wings, split at joints and wing tips discarded

3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Place the wings in a large zipper-top plastic bag. In a medium-size bowl, combine the pomegranate juice, orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar and vegetable oil. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Pour the marinade into the bag. Seal and shake gently to coat. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Drain the wings well (discard the marinade) and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until done. Serve warm.

Makes 16 pieces

Note: These wings could also be grilled, but watch them carefully to avoid burning.

From “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” by Debbie Moose, published by Harvard Common Press.

Game? There’s a game?

When it comes to the American holiday that Super Bowl Sunday has become, the game itself is as necessary to the celebration as a Christmas tree is to Christmas:it might be nice, but isn’t really required. With all the food, parties and scoping for possible wardrobe malfunctions, who is wearing the uniforms on the field is almost secondary. Or perhaps that’s just the Panthers fan in me talking.

People who don’t know a tight end from a tackle can still have a great time at the party, which is a little over two weeks away. And the food is vitally important. It must fuel fans for quite a period of time, since I think the pregame shows are starting in about five minutes.

Whatever else you choose to serve, wings are the classic sporting event food. And making them yourself is better than ordering out, for so many reasons. You can save money and they’ll taste much better. You can tailor the heat level, or make wings that have lots of flavor without the fire. Save even more on your spread by purchasing whole wings and cutting them up yourself. It’s easy. Just use a sharp knife to cut at each of the three joints. Keep the drumette and the long piece (called the flat). The pointy part, called the flapper, throw those in a freezer bag and use them to make chicken soup.

Wings can be grilled, baked, fried, even cooked in a slow-cooker, as I wrote in my book “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” published by John Wiley & Sons. And they don’t have to be covered in hot sauce to have a lot of flavor.

I enjoy hot food, but I prepare these for the Super Bowl spread to entice those of more tender palates. And for more of my Super Bowl tips and recipes, come to my class at Southern Season in Chapel Hill on Jan. 25. More info on that here.

Hoisin Honeys

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

12 wings, cut in half at joints, wing tips removed and discarded

In a small bowl, stir together the hoisin sauce, orange juice, ginger, garlic, honey and cayenne, Set aside 3 tablespoons of the sauce.

Place the wings in a large reclosable plastic zipper bag. Pour the remaining sauce in over the wings and coat them well. Refrigerate the wings in the marinade for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the wings from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the wings on the baking sheet.

Roast the wings for 25 minutes. Brush the wings with the reserved sauce and bake another 5 minutes or until the wings are done.

Makes 24 pieces

Super Bowl snacking

Super Bowl spreads have your dips and cheese balls, but I know what you really want: Wings. According teriyaki tip-off wings from 'fan fare'to the National Chicken Council, the weekend of the big game is the biggest time of the year for wings – it says 1.25 billion “wing portions” will be eaten.

The chicken wing consists of the flat,  the flat part with two small bones; and the drummette, the mini-leg part. The third part, the pointy wing end called the flapper, is typically removed – but if you’re cutting up your own wings, don’t throw that part away. Save them in the freezer to make chicken broth.

I love a good hot wing, but I am aware that some do not share my love of flame. This recipe offers plenty of flavor without heat (although you could throw in a little Sriracha). It comes from my book “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” (Harvard Common Press, 2007). As you can tell from the title, they’re great for basketball games, too.

Teriyaki Tip-Off Wings

8 whole chicken wings, split at joints and wing tips discarded

3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press or crushed

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Place the wings in a large zipper-top plastic bag. In a medium bowl, combine the pomegranate juice, orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar and vegetable oil. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Pour the marinade into the bag. Seal and shake gently to coat. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Drain the wings well (discard the marinade) and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until done. Serve warm.

Note: The wings could also be cooked on a grill. Drain them very well first.

Time to get tough at the tailgate

We’re deep into football season. Now is the time for all good tailgaters to come to the aid of their teams. To bring out the big guns. To bring out the fried chicken.

Don’t even start with me about the stuff in boxes and buckets. That is not real fried chicken, and, frankly, offering it shows a lack of respect for your fellow fans and team. Don’t you want to feed folks better than soggy stuff encased in greasy cardboard? Making your own fried chicken is not difficult, and it will change your tailgating life. Homemade fried chicken is great hot or cold. Do what I do: Cook the chicken the night before the game and have it for dinner (make plenty, you’ll need it). Wrap the remainders and refrigerate for taking to the tailgate the next day. You can also select the pieces you prefer, whether it’s wings or thighs or breasts – no mystery chunks like you find with commercial fried chicken.

Here is my technique for fried chicken, Southern style. I can’t guarantee a win if you cook it, but I can say that you’ll be happy at the tailgate. This is from my cookbook “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” published by Harvard Common Press.

Better-than-the-Bucket Fried Chicken

1 cut-up chicken or 8 of your favorite chicken parts

1 quart buttermilk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tablespoon paprika (optional)

2 cups all-purpose flour

Oil or vegetable shortening for frying

1. Place the chicken parts in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them, making sure all the pieces are covered. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

2. When ready to cook, drain the chicken but do not rinse. Sprinkle the chicken lightly with salt and black pepper. Combine the cayenne pepper and paprika, if using, then sprinkle it on the chicken pieces.

3. Place the flour in a large plastic bag. Add 3 or 4 pieces of chicken at a time, toss to coat, then shake off as much excess flour as possible when removing pieces from the bag.

4. In an electric frying pan or a heavy frying pan on the stove, pour in enough oil to come to a depth of about 2 inches and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.

5. Gently place the chicken pieces in the pan, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pieces. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until the undersides of the pieces just begin to brown. Then, uncover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the undersides are completely brown. Turn the pieces over and repeat the process for the second side. (You can leave the pan uncovered for the entire process, using a splatter screen to keep down the mess. Do not cover for the entire cooking time or the crust will be soggy.) Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil temperature at 325 degrees to 350 degrees. Be sure that no pink juices run when the chicken is pricked with a fork and that the internal temperature is 180 degrees when checked with an instant-read thermometer.

6. Place the chicken on wire racks set over plates or newspapers to drain. Cool completely before refrigerating.

Food news roundup

It’s Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay  – at the table. The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) has foods native to the areas, suitable for game-day serving. If necessary, you could probably stop an opposing player with that Pittsburgh pepperoni roll. Read more here.

At the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, hear about a man who dedicated his photographic skills to documenting that crazed beast, the college football tailgater. “At LSU, I ate seven different kinds of animals,” he says. Read more here. (Wonder if one was groundhog; since that stinkin’ Sir Walter Wally saw his dern shadow today, I’m ready to make groundhog meatballs.)

There only thing less expensive than a good, cheap red wine is using up the last of the red wine left at your house by a Christmas party mob. But don’t take pot luck, look at the Independent Weekly’s (Durham, N.C.) picks.

There are more Super Bowl recipes at the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, but these state a concern for calories. The way I see it, it’s once a year, but if you’re worried, have at them here. Although the “wings” made from avocado slices seem a lit-tle strange.

The pork tacos and meaty chili at the Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) are more traditional for game day. Find the recipe here.

Is it girlie-man food or just a fresh approach to the Super Bowl menu? Decide for yourself at LeitesCulinaria. But at least he’s offering real wings.

Of course, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is full of ways to plan your (Steelers-oriented) Super Bowl party. Here’s something wild: Aunt Elvira’s Roethlisberger Braunschweiger Ball. It’s a cheese ball, in case you were wondering.

And because I don’t personally have a dog in this fight, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes about the chef who cooks at the Packers’ training camp. Plus other stuff, including beer-flavored potato chips that will help you save snacking time by eating and drinking at once.

If you really don’t care about anything but the food, go Tex-Mex in honor of the location. The Dallas Morning News has a ton of tasty recipes here.

Food news roundup

Clip and save (maybe not if you’re accessing it online; don’t whack your screen) the excellent roundup of Triangle microbreweries in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) Even more amazing than the number that are filling taps and kegs now is that four more are in the works. Read it here.

At the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, Kathleen Purvis writes about how the so-called improved and easier-to-read food labels are neither. It’s here. By the way, her recent poll on the one kind of food you could eat for the rest of your life didn’t include what I would pick: Seafood.

Vegetable lasagna is a great dish. It has all the thuddy satisfaction of conventional lasagna with the virtuous feeling that you’re really just eating vegetables. The Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal offers several recipes, including one with a dairy-free “cauliflower ricotta” made with tofu. See what you think here.

The Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) includes one eater’s attempt to follow the 10 Percent Campaign, a drive to encourage people to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on locally sourced food. Read about it here.

Oysters. See second paragraph above. Mmmm. The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) has recipes from a recent oyster contest. Anchovies are involved in one, for double the seafood. Read about them here.

Great googly moogly! There are buns at JanNorris.com today, and I don’t mean the ones surrounding two all-beef patties. She writes about Butlers in the Buff, the perfect assistants for the busy hostess. Start planning your party here.

The Tool of the Month at KitchenGadgetGals is something that may be useful for your Super Bowl party. Check it out here.

What’s for dinner at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette? Spicy Garlicky Cashew Chicken, and predictions of a Steelers victory. Read it all here.

And what’s for dinner at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel? Roasted Peanut Soup, and predictions for a Packers win. Look here.

With your dinner, at the Dallas Morning News, are suggestions for jug wines for Super Bowl parties, and hopes for better luck next year. See the picks here.

Tailgate controversy at Duke

Tailgate nation, what do you think of this:

From The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Duke’s Tailgate falls to school’s better judgment

Woo Woo for football

The proper libations are crucial to a successful tailgate, be it at home or on the road. Anyone can buy a six-pack, but it takes a truly dedicated tailgater to open the bar. Jan Odgers of Raleigh, N.C. (a former Ms. Wuf for North Carolina State University, so she’s really a fan) and her husband, Ted, enjoyed a beverage in New Orleans so much that they nagged the recipe out of the bartender. They now serve it at every tailgate. It’s even the right color, if you’re an N.C. State fan.

Obligatory disclaimer here: Don’t be stupid and drink at the wrong time, in the wrong place and to the wrong amount. Check the rules for your tailgate location, and pick a designated driver.

Here’s the Odgers’ recipe for their tailgate treat, the Woo Woo: Into a large glass full of ice, pour 1  1/2 ounces peach schnapps, 1  1/2 ounces vodka and  3  1/2 ounces cranberry juice. Squeeze a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then squeeze the wedge into your Woo Woo.

The real football battle

I’m surprised it took this long for the Food Network to latch onto a hugely popular thing like tailgating, but it finally has. And an indication of how big they think it is: The network is featuring its current fave host, the spikily coiffed Guy Fieri. The series, Tailgate Warriors, pits fans of two competing NFL teams against each other.

The first segment pitted top tailgaters for the Green Bay Packers against Seattle Seahawks fans. The next contest, Raiders vs. 49ers, was recorded in August. Check here for the rest of the schedule.

Even though desserts are not a big thing at most tailgates, the Food Network required the competitors to have one on their menus, showing a lack of appreciation for the free-form nature of most tailgates, in my opinion. Check it out and see what you think.