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

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

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.

Menu madness

Be prepared with the right kind of fuel for the long month of madness that is March. It’s been a long season, basketball fans – longer for some than for others, if you get my meaning; and, yes, I’m feeling…blue… But my secondary favorite from my hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C. Wake Forest University, is still alive. All of us must maintain our strength.

The traditional food that stokes basketball fans is wings. Usually, hot wings, obtained greasily from some dubious take-out emporium. People, you can do so much better. And your favorite team deserves better. It is so easy (and less expensive) to prepare your own wings. Whether fried, roasted or grilled, there’s a world of flavor in this little package. Save even more by purchasing whole wings and cutting them into parts yourself. It’s easy: Cut at each of the three joints with a sharp knife. Discard the pointy flapper.

Here’s one of my favorite easy recipes for mild-but-flavorful wings that will please the crowd around the TV. Just don’t let them throw the bones at the set to protest bad calls. The recipe is from my cookbook “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). Add more cayenne if you like heat or remove it if you don’t, although this recipe is not hot.

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 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.

From “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” by Debbie Moose (John Wiley & Sons, 2009)

Fly high for game time

The Super Bowl isn’t far away. Some recipes from my cookbook “Wings: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” are featured on the Reader’s Digest web site! See them and some great photos here.

Wings up for the playoffs!

The home-state team isn’t in the NFL playoffs, but I’m thrilled to see the New Orleans Saints as one of the final four still playing for a Super Bowl spot. (I was pulling for the San Diego Chargers and quarterback Phillip Rivers, formerly of N.C. State University, but no luck there.)

Why New Orleans? It feels good for the city to have something to cheer about after all it has been through and is still struggling with. And my real interest: Food. If the Saints make to to the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, that will mean a great theme for party menus. Jambalaya, gumbo, bread pudding, and the wonderful food goes on and on.

But the team has to get there first. And viewers need to be well fed for the marathon of football-watching on Jan. 24. Wings are the classic choice of hungry sports fans everywhere. They’re easy to make, whether fiery hot or mild-but-flavorful.

As I found out when writing my cookbook, “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) the weeks coming up to the Super Bowl is the biggest time of year for wings sales, so shop before your supermarket runs out. It’s easy to save a little money by cutting up the wings yourself. Simply cut at the two joints with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Put the little pointy ends – technically called the flappers – in a bag in the freezer for making chicken broth later on.

This wing recipe from my book is plenty hot, but if you want more flame, increase the amount of the Thai chili-garlic sauce. Look for the sauce in Asian markets or in well-stocked supermarkets.

Tangy Thai Wings

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons Thai chili-garlic sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 teaspoons honey

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

Combine the oil, lime juice, garlic sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and honey in a bowl and stir until the honey is dissolved.

Place the wings in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the giner mixture over the wings and shake to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours or as long as overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 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. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

Recipe from “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” by Debbie Moose (John Wiley & Sons, 2009)