Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Night's Dinner: Chicken Wings, Rice, Tomato Salad

I had a splurge of creativity last night. I'm not big of making up my own dishes most of the time, but I think I'm getting more and more into it! I had some left over chicken wings in the freezer, and I recently read a post on how to roast chicken with crispy skin - the secret is to dry the skin as much as you can and then oil it up before cooking. I dried it with a bunch of paper towels, but some even suggest drying it with a hair dryer on cool setting. My skin turned out pretty crispy with paper towels alone so that's good enough for me! But don't expect the same result as fried chicken or anything... the skin is still super thin, but it is definitely crispy and delish!

BTW, I apologize about the pictures being so yellow in this and the last post - super warm kitchen lighting and a phone camera combo. I'll try to use a different camera from now on.

Here are the results:

[Crispy garlic chicken wings]+[Tomato salad with goat cheese dressing]
Roasted carrots and beets with brown sugar]+[Onion rice]

Onion Rice
Serves 6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth (I used beef broth because I had those broth cubes handy)

1. Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender. Stir in the rice until it is coated with oil. When rice and onion start to lightly brown, season with salt and pepper and add broth.

2. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed.

Note: So I accidentally used 2 cups of rice, so what! I realized this once the 20 minutes were up and the rice still seems pretty crunchy, but all the broth has been absorbed. I just added around 1 cup more water and it was fine after a few more minutes. Afterwards I also added about 2 tbsp of butter into the rice because... well, it's butter, it needs no explanation. I didn't find this recipes amazing, but it may be because I doubled the rice - probably wasn't nearly as flavorful as it could have been.

Crispy Garlic Chicken Wings
I whipped this recipe up just last night, so my measurements may not be exact. I'll try to make them reasonable

8 whole chicken wings (Sorry, didn't weigh them at the time...)
4 large cloves of garlic, minced (Feel free to use lots more! I will next time)
1 1/2 - 2 tsp crushed coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (If you want spicier wings, add more - to taste!)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp Canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 375F with the rack in the middle of the oven. I used a Broil and Heat setting on my oven. Feel free to use whatever setting on your oven works best for chicken. Line a baking sheet with foil, and oil up with 1 tbsp of oil so the wings don't stick. Rinse and thoroughly dry the wings, and place on the baking sheet skin up, evenly spread out.

2. In a small bowl, mix garlic, coriander, cayenne pepper, and 2 tbsp oil to make a paste of sorts... Rub the paste onto the wings. It's kind of tricky to spread out, but bear with it. Make sure to add the paste on top as well as on the underside of the wings. You have a couple options here: you can either put salt and pepper into the paste prior to spreading it, OR you can salt and pepper the wings afterwards. I think I'll salt and pepper afterwards next time.

3. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven, and cook for around 45 minutes. You may want to check around 35 minute marker to make sure they're not burning.

Note:Since I never want to eat raw chicken, I always cut the biggest piece to see if it's cooked through before I serve the chicken. I know, not the most elegant way to check, but hey, I'm not a professional. I always end up eating the cut up piece myself just for presentation purposes.

Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Onion Dressing
Again, measurements may not be exact... Serves 2

2 medium tomatoes
2-3 tbsp goat cheese (choose whatever flavor you prefer - I used the roasted garlic and herb kind)
1-2+ tbsp olive oil
1/4 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
Dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place goat cheese in a small bowl, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and mix thoroughly. If the mixture seems too thick to be an easily spread on a piece of a piece of tomato, add a little bit more oil, and mix again. Keep adding olive oil, until the mixture feels smooth, but not too oily. Mix in the chopped onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Slice the tomatoes into 1/3" slices. Feel free to slice thiner, or thicker - up to you, really. For more slices, you may need more dressing. Place some dressing on each slice of tomato, and stack on the serving dish in the tomatoes original form (see picture, I'm probably terrible at describing this).

3. Splash a small amount of olive oil on top of each tomato and sprinkle with dried basil.

Note: You may want to discard the very top and the very bottom pieces of the tomato. Top - for presentation, bottom - for stability.

Roasted Carrots, Beets, and Garlic with Brown Sugar

4 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium beet, peeled
3 roughly chopped cloves of garlic (use more or less to taste)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut carrots into 3" long pieces (for me that meant in half or into thirds). Cut the beet into stick about the same thickness as the carrots. Toss the vegetables with 2-3 tbsp olive oil - use just enough so that everything is thoroughly coated. Toss with garlic, salt and pepper. Place on the baking sheet.

2. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the veggies are almost tender throughout. Take out of the oven and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, just so the sugar melts.

Notes: Make sure the veggies are tender throughout. If they're not, put them back in! Do the taste test :) Don't put the sugar on right away, it'll likely burn during the cooking time.

BF's Verdict: Awesome! After he tasted the wings, he said they might not even need ketchup! Yeah, may not sound like much to you, but it was an accomplishment for me! He also really liked the salad :)

Original Recipes: Onion Rice: All Recipes

Take care,

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