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

Bye, bye brunch

OK now, ACC. I have tried my best to accept that you have added teams who can’t see the Atlantic Coast from their houses. And that the tournament will now last  longer than a midseason replacement series.

But this is too much. What in the world am I supposed to serve for a Saturday night final?

All of my ACC Tournament recipes are for brunch. For years, I had a civilized gathering of like-minded sports fans, a time to sip of morning nectars and enjoy quiche and seven-layer salad before the battle began. Something that a dowager countess might not be embarrassed to attend, provided she was wearing the correct shade of light blue.

Now what? I can’t possibly serve bloody marys after 5 p.m.

Blazing chicken wings, tubs of salsa, cold beers, these are the foods of nighttime game viewing. Less elegant, but welcome to the new ACC.

However, I refuse to give up without a fight. This recipe from my cookbook “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” published by Harvard Common Press, will bring a touch of a Southern brunch to a munchie-central experience.

Marylynn’s Okra Roll-Ups

1 (16-ounce) jar pickled okra, well drained

10 ounces thinly sliced deli ham

1 (9-ounce) tub soft spreadable cream cheese

Pat the okra pods dry. Trim the stems and tips from the pods.

On a cutting board, spread 1 ham slice flat without tearing it. Gently spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the ham. Place 1 trimmed okra pod at one end of the slice and roll the ham up around it, pressing gently to make a tight roll. Trim any overhanging ham to fit the pod, the slice the roll into approximately 1/2-inch slices. Repeat with remaining okra pods. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Note: These can be made the night before and refrigerated. Store in airtight containers in a single layer or in multiple layers separated by waxed paper to prevent sticking.

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.

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.

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

Germs, germs everywhere. Bwahahaha! Banish the baddies with advice from the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer on how to get a kitchen really clean. And you don’t need a flamethrower, but it does make cleaning more fun. Read more here. It’s in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) as well, where Andrea Weigl admits her failure at dining primarily from her pantry. Gee, thanks for reminding me about all that corn in my freezer.

Wine and basketball? Whoa, is the universe off its axis? The Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) seriously posits the theory that the fruit of the vine can accompany hoops as well as the mash of the hops. Read more here.

The Zenchilada, an eclectic online magazine based in New Mexico, ranges around the country. The new issue has an article by Chapel Hill baker April McGreger on using wild greens.

We have tiger’s blood, tiger mothers and now, “A Tiger in the Kitchen.” The book is about Cheryl Tan’s rediscovery of her family history and cooking of Singapore. Read more in the Sacramento Bee, here.

Another way in which the Chinese are eating our lunch: They can actually carry eggs in a bag, instead of padded and pouched in cartons, as we soft Americans do. Read about that phenomenon and more in TheChinaRogect, a former Raleighite’s adventures in China.

Sure, anyone can tailgate for NASCAR or football in a plain, old car. But it takes someone special to tailgate in a tricked-out garbage truck. See it and other rigs at TailgatingIdeas.

Deviled egg days

You know you’re really in the South when deviled eggs are on the menu at three out of four meals. Even besides the deviled eggs (which y’all know I have an affection for), I was well fed during the 22nd Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration in Natchez, MS. The theme was sports in the South, so I was asked to talk about tailgating and my book “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home.”

Yes, North Carolina is the South, but not in the same way as Natchez, which is nestled by the Mississippi River and covered with antebellum homes that would make Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood look like a trailer park. The bed-and-breakfast where I stayed, Pleasant Hill, was built in the 1830s. It was moved about a block down the street in the 1850s, using large logs as rollers. It took nearly two years to move the house, completely furnished, and the owners lived in it the whole time (a baby was even born in it, in the middle of the street).

Yes, this is a different place. If you ask for water during cocktail hour, a genial host always asks, “Don’t you want a li’l vodka in that water?”

After my talk, the chef of the Carriage House, which is on the grounds of Stanton Hall mansion, prepared a lunch inspired by tailgate food. Chef Bingo Starr – he mispronounced Ringo as a child – has cooked with Emeril Lagasse and John Besh in New Orleans. I had crispy fried chicken, a burger slider with pimiento cheese and house bacon, then pecan tart. And deviled eggs.

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.