Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hot Damn Wings

While wings are not the most complicated of meals to prepare, they are time and labor intensive, but the end result is worth every bite!  On recent batches I was told by Mandy that they were not hot enough, so knowing what her limit is, I have slowly cranked them up a notch the last to times.  The last batch had her sweating, this one, well, she didn't cry but I think I found the sweet spot for her "hot" range.

These are triple dipped oven baked hot wings with an added kick of habanero sauce. To start I separated the parts into three sections, drumlets, wing, and tips.  Most people toss the wing tips. but that is my favorite part.

I placed the pieces on pans, coated them in garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper, the placed them in a preheated 475 degree oven for 25 minutes.  While they were cooking I mixed up my sauce using Franks Original mixed with butter and a few splashes of  habanero sauce.

First Dip:

After the first 25 minutes I dipped the wings in the hot sauce mix and placed them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Second Dip:

Same as the first, using more of the same mixture of sauces and butter. Back in for another 15 minutes.

Third Dip:

Same as the last, except I turn off the heat in the oven and place them back in for 5 minutes just to let the sauce cook into the wings.  We don't like overly wet wings.

Finally, I plated these bad boys up and we devoured them in a quarter of the time it took to prepare the feast. But that is ok, it was well worth the wait!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Dinner at Casa de Crews

So this afternoon has been an amazing trip through several bottles of Prosecco, some with an extra kick of Amaretto.... so to put a bow on the end of the day I cooked us a pork rib roast that I picked up at Sprouts Market.  This is my first pork rib roast, I did a beef standing rib roast for Thanksgiving, but never a bone in pork rib roast.

If I had to compare this to any cut of pork, I would say it is like a center cut pork chop.  Juicy, tender, just enough fat to make it tender, but not enough to make it too fatty.  Pork is one of those meats that alone is good, but when paired with a sauce or other topping, is pretty fabulous.

In the case of my rib roast, I paired it with apple, and made it awesome.  This was a 3lb rib roast so I preheated the oven to 350 degrees while I prepped the meat.  I coated the roast in a light coating of flour, caraway seeds, ground mustard, salt, and pepper.  I wrapped the ends of the bones in foil to keep them from burning (more of a personal preference for aesthetics).

I put the roast in a lightly greased pan and placed it in the oven for an hour.  While the roast was cooking I mixed up the coating by chopping up 2 granny smith apples and combining them with 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of mace, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

After the first hour, I added the apple mix to the top of the roast and stuck it back in the oven for another hour.  Once the roast reached an internal temp of 160 I pulled it out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking I started the potatoes and green beans.  For the green beans, I let them cook for about 15 minutes. I sauteed mushrooms, bacon, savory, and lemon juice in a pan with some butter and added the green beans at the end and mixed it all together.

I sliced the pork roast into 1/2 inch thick portions and plated it up with the potatoes and savory green beans for an amazing Christmas dinner.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Breakfast!

Merry Christmas to all! Today started out with a couple of cups of coffee to get the engine going, but it didn't take long to get the party started.  Since we have a day of Prosecco and relaxation planned I decided to start the day off with a Crews family traditional breakfast of Sausage Gravy with biscuits.

Growing up there was one day of the week I always looked forward to for breakfast and that was Sunday.  My dad and mom would get up early and make sausage gravy which was a surefire way of getting two growing boys through a morning of church without gnawing our arms off.

So to carry on the tradition I have occasionally made sausage gravy for Mandy and I on Sundays (or whenever...) to get the day started off right.  Only, I do it a little differently.... Traditionally it is made with breakfast sausage, but I prefer hot Italian sausage to add a little kick to the mix.

I start off by browning the sausage in a pan.  I used a pound, but only use 1/2 for the gravy, the other will go on a pizza, YEAH!!  I also preheated the oven to 450 degrees for the biscuits.  Once the sausage was cooked I removed it from the pan while the biscuits (can be made with any mix or, God forbid, from a tube...) were cooking.

While the biscuits were cooking I made a simple rue of 2 TBS flour and a cup of milk (Organic) to use as a base for the gravy.  I added it to the pan with the leftover bits of sausage and juices.  Now the rest of the process really depends on how thick you want your gravy, or how much sausage you want to add. I like my gravy to be thick enough to stick to the biscuits, but not too thick.

The last step is to butter the biscuits and pour on the gravy!! If you have never tried it, I hope you will.  This is no ordinary Shit On a Shingle (SOS)...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Morgan's in the Desert

Last night we drove out to the Coachella Valley  to have dinner with my aunt and uncle at Morgan's in the Desert.  We have eaten here before on a previous trip and it was as amazing this time as it was last year.  Morgan's is a Fine Dining restaurant located on the grounds of the historic La Quinta Resort.  This diamond in the desert is a mission style resort with casitas spread across the property connected by sidewalks, swimming pools, tennis courts, and quiet seating areas spread across the grounds.

We started off with cocktails in the bar area of the restaurant, I had a Speakeasy which contains what has become one of my favorite Rye Whiskeys, Templeton Rye.  The drink was extremely tasty, I am not usually one for mixed drinks, but the lemon and honey were nice accents to the whiskey.

Once we were seated the hard decisions had to be made... Do I want lamb, duck, pasta, or even steak.   But even before that, what do I want to start with, soup, salad, or some other amazing treat..  SO MANY DECISIONS!  I have found over the years that if I narrow my selection down to a couple of choices, then whatever rolls out of my mouth when it is my turn to order, is what I will go with for dinner.

I ordered the Farmers Market soup for a starter, which was made up of delicious roasted red peppers, onion, and corn in an amazing broth.  I followed it up with Apple Cider Cured Duck Breast over an apple ginger salad.  We also ordered a bottle of Lange Estate Pinot Noir to  complement our meal.  Mandy and Jennie ordered the seasonal lamb, and Phil ordered the Artisan Linguine.

This duck was unlike any that I have ever had before, if I hadn't known that I was eating meat, I would have never guessed, cause this was melt in your mouth amazing!  The apples and ginger added a depth of flavor that was both sweet and fresh, the crunch of the skin was just right and paired with the wine, this was an amazing dinner.

If you make a trip to the area, this is the place to eat!