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

Answer the growl

teriyaki tip-off wings from 'fan fare'The Panthers in the Super Bowl has meant a noticeable increase in interest in the game in these parts. But even without that happening, we all know that most people are only at Super Bowl parties for the food. A recent poll in Bon Appetit even confirms it – only 30 percent of the respondents say they would actually be paying attention to the action on the field, not the state of the salsa-and-chip bowl.

Because sports are all about statistics, here’s another: Super Bowl Sunday is the single biggest time for sales of wings. Supply and demand says that prices go up, too. But it’s easy to spend a little time and save a little money by cutting them up yourself. Don’t buy the precut pieces, which can cost as much as $1 a pound more than whole wings. It’s easy. Here’s what you do:

A wing has three joints. With a sharp knife or a good pair of kitchen shears, slice through each joint. Bending the joints and loosening them will help. You’ll end up with three pieces: the drumette, which looks like a miniature chicken leg; the flat, which has two small bones; and the flapper, the small pointy end. Collect the flappers in a reclosable plastic bag and freeze them to make chicken stock with later on. The remaining two pieces you may now prepare at will for eating.

I like my wings fiery, but I accept that others are more tender of tongue. This recipe from my cookbook “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” has plenty of flavor even without the heat. You can easily double it to feed a larger crowd.

Teriyaki Tip-Off Wings

Serves 4-6

8 whole chicken wings, split at joints and wing tips discarded or saved for later use (16 pieces)

3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup soy sauce, preferably reduced sodium

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Place the wings in a recloseable plastic bag. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the juices, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar and oil. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the wings in the bag. Seal and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easier cleanup and spray it with cooking spray. Remove the wings from the marinade and place on the sheet. Discard the marinade. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until they test done.

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

Green grows the guacamole

Don’t like football? Who cares! It’s the NFL playoffs with the Super Bowl looming. And it’s all about the food at this point.

My friend, author and food blogger Becca Gomez Farrell, recently moved from Durham to San Francisco. And since the 49ers are playing my state team, the Carolina Panthers, this Saturday, I asked her if she has heard of any interesting game-day food phenomenons.

“Having best-guacamole competitions is pretty common in California for Super Bowl Sunday parties,” she writes. “Everyone learns a different way to make guacamole, so people bring in their preferred blend, dips are sampled, and a winner is declared. Or they just eat a lot of chips and get too distracted by the game to bother declaring a winner.”

Becca says her mother adds sour cream to her guacamole to smooth out the flavor. Becca likes to include pico de gallo. But everyone has their own twist – like we do with barbecue sauces in North Carolina. But, she adds, “you don’t want to know about the new friend we have in this area who thinks adding a handful of habaneros is a good idea.”

I personally don’t see a thing wrong with that, Becca. But for those who prefer a mellower guacamole, here’s an excellent basic recipe from my cookbook “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home,” published by Harvard Common Press.

Goal-to-Go Guacamole

2 small, ripe avocados

1 small tomato, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 fresh green serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons canned chopped green chilies, drained

2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt to taste

Tortilla chips for serving

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits and scoop out the flesh into a medium-sze bowl. Mash coarsely. Stir in the tomato, serrano chile, green chilies, garlic, lime juice and cilantro. Taste, and add salt.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.

Note: You can make this a few hours ahead, but press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole to prevent it from browning, then cover and refrigerate.

Man does not cheer by wings alone

No matter how much other foods may try to horn in on the Super Bowl madness (Tacos? Seriously, Taco Bell?), wings are the nosh of the day. I won’t argue with that, since I have some expertise in the wings field. But you can’t fuel the multiple hours of pre-pregame, pregame, game, halftime, postgame and post-postgame solely on wings. There aren’t enough chickens in the world for that.

This salad is a favorite at every party I host, whether it’s sports related or not. It’s simple, and you can make it the day before the game. It will also lend an air of healthy eating to the proceedings, alleviating any possible guilt about having that 14th wing. It’s from my book, “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” published by Harvard Common Press.

Crowd-Pleasing Marinated Green Beans

1/2 of a large red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Italian herb-flavored wine vinegar, or your favorite wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the sliced onions in a colander over the sink. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper until combined. Stir in the garlic. Set aside.

When the water comes to a boil, add the green beans. Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, just until the beans are bright green. Do not overcook. Pour the beans and hot water over the onions in the colander. Rinse under cold running water to cool down. Drain well for a few minutes.

Place the beans and onions in a large bowl or large recloseable plastic bag. Pour in the dressing and mix with the vegetables. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, stirring or shaking occasionally. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serves 6-8

At least the food was good

Things didn’t go as my light blue heart had hoped on the basketball court Saturday night. But you can’t blame the food. Perhaps these sliders can redeem themselves on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3.

Turkey Sliders with Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno

1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 egg

About 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Dash of olive oil

Vegetable oil for frying

Small slices Monterey Jack cheese

16 small French rolls

1 cup mayonnaise

About 2 teaspoons lime juice

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Sliced avocado

In a bowl, combine the turkey, jalapeno, bell pepper, onion, mustard, chili powder, garlic powder and cumin. Stir in the beaten egg. Stir in a good dash of olive oil.

Combine the mayo, lime juice and cilantro in a small bowl. Add more or less lime juice to get the consistency your prefer.

Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Form small patties of the mixture, about the size of a large soup spoon or what will fit the size of your rolls. Fry the patties on each side until brown and done through. Place cheese on top after turning the patties, if you want cheese. Drain the patties on paper towels and keep warm as you continue cooking.

Cut the rolls lengthwise and spread a thin smear of the mayo on each side. Place the patties inside and top with avocado slices. Keep warm until serving.

Makes about 16 sliders

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.

What’s for dinner? What’s in the fridge

I was out of leftovers. No time to go to the store. No desire for takeout. So I stuck my head in the refrigerator to see what was there.

Sweet potatoes – well, one of the three I found was still good. Some fresh ginger from making a sample recipe. At the bottom of the crisper, gold: An entire bag of carrots. And there was still some homemade chicken stock in the freezer.

A well-stocked herb/spice pantry helps considerably with this kind of improvisational cooking. A jar of dried lemon peel and some ground cardamom emerged from mine, which is actually in a drawer. Yes, I alphabetize my seasoning drawer. So there.

What emerged from all this was soup. I gently cooked half of a large onion in olive oil until it was almost soft, then tossed in about a teaspoon each of cardamom and the lemon peel. Cooked that for a few minutes, then added 1-inch chunks of the peeled sweet potato and about four of the carrots, about two teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger, about 3 cups of chicken stock and a little salt. I think I threw in a little more cardamom, too. I brought it all to a boil, covered the pot, and simmered about 30 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots were soft. I got out my favorite kitchen power tool – the immersion (or hand) blender – and pureed it all.

Pretty darn good for “fridge soup.”

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION:  I’ll be on the My Carolina Today show on NBC-17 in Raleigh on Monday, Jan. 30, talking about that classic Super Bowl snack, wings. The hour-long show starts at 11 a.m., but I’m not sure when I’ll be on.

Big game, Super Bowl food

Not viewing at least a little of the Super Bowl, which will be on this Sunday, is like saying you hate fireworks on the Fourth of July. It’s not a football game, it’s a national eating holiday. Sort of like Thanksgiving, but without the family drama.

There are a couple of philosophies you can have about feeding the mob. One, provide a continuous stream of munchies. Two, offer some snacks early, then bring out the big food at halftime. There’s no need to look for more wardrobe malfunctions, so you might as well be eating. And the Hub and I can’t imitate the Black Eyes Peas. We did, I feel, a credible version of The Who last year, although I almost threw out my shoulder doing the Townsend Guitar Swing.

Chili is classic Super Bowl big food, and sometime you have to go with tradition. Here’s a recipe from my cookbook “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home.” It was inspired by the flavors of Mexican mole sauce. Add cornbread to the bowls for something different.

Marvelous Mole Chili

5 dried ancho chilies

4 dried pasilla chilies

5 dreed guajillo or New Mexico chilies

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

2 quarts chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

Place the chilies in a bowl, pour in enough boiling water to cover them and let soak for 30 minutes. Use a sauce to weigh down the chilies if they float to the surface. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Lightly brown the beef but do not overcook it. Remove the beef from the pan and drain out any liquid from the pan.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the same pan and cook the onion and garlic until soft but not browned. Remove the pan from the heat.

When 30 minutes are up, drain the chilies, remove stems and seeds by holding under running water, and pat dry. Puree the chilies to a smooth paste in a food processor.

Put the pan back over high heat, add tomato sauce and chicken broth, and bring ot a boil. then stir in the beef, chile paste, bay leaf and cinnamon. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook uncovered, for 1 hour. Then add the oregano, cumin and cayenne. Let simmer uncovered, for 1 hour. Add a little water or broth if the chili becomes dry or overly thick. Taste, then add salt.

Makes 6 servings.