Saturday, August 29, 2009

Whine & Wang's 8/28/09

What a week! The business was average this week, so this allowed me time to play with some different foods this week. It makes it pretty easy when she is up there and I am still here. I decided to experiment with one of my favorite foods. Chicken Wang's! I have been working on perfecting my perfect wing for many years. I think my perfect wing would be naked! You know no clothes on! I would prefer it fried and tossed in a sauce of some kind, along with some heat. I am so tired of ordering wings at restaurants. No one does it right. Some come close, but most have soggy skins and I want a crispy skin. I will admit that I give in when someone wants to go to Hooters. Who can pass up a naked Bentley's in the presence of orange shorts. When it comes close to finding a wing to my likings, it is at Plucker's. This Texas wing establishment even has Dr Pepper wings. While that is pretty cool, I prefer the wings that have enough heat to make you sweat and Plucker's delivers that with the "Fire in the Hole" wings. I can taste them now! They will make you burn inside and out. So what I decided to do was play with my wings. I can fry them, I can grill them, but can I bake them and get the same effect as fried. Being in new in the travel business you do a lot of research and a ton of reading. This way you become an expert. So this is where my mission would start. Research! What is it that the others are doing? After reading and researching, I came to the conclusion that if you want to achieve the same effect as fried wings while baking them you must do the craziest thing. Do you have a steamer? If you do, you can do this. I know this is strange, but trust me. Get your steamer fired up. Don't laugh at me. I know you are. I promise I am leading you down the wing heaven path! I use nothing but drumettes. Do they really have miniature chickens? How do we get drumettes? I am not sure, but I am very thankful that we have been introduced. My seasonings consist of cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, adobo spice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Make sure you massage those guys from top to bottom. Once the steamer is ready I place them in their steam bath for 18 to 20 minutes. Once the bathing is accomplished I take them out, place them on a plate to cool. Then we head to the fridge for a cool down of at least an hour. Are you still with me? I know this is very weird, but the results will wang you. Heat your oven to 425 with your rack in the center and get ready. It’s a process I know, but well worth it. Get your pan and you have to use parchment paper. Who, what, paper? No foil? I am a true believer in parchment paper. No more foil and spray cans for me. This stuff is non stick heaven. Take our chilled steamed drumettes and line them up on the pan. I place mine in opposite directions to make them look manly! Once you hit 425, place these guys in the oven for 22 1/2 minutes. Take them out and turn them over and repeat this process for 21 1/2 minutes. Hang with me on these times as they do work. During the cooking process take your favorite hot sauce and heat up with a half stick of butter. I am a huge fan of anything with habaneros and I they go well with my wing sauce. Once these guys are done, toss them with your homemade sauce and you have the perfect baked, fried tasting wang's you have ever tasted. I promise! Blue cheese dressing is my dipping sauce of choice. The coolness helps cut some of the heat. Make sure you have you favorite beverage on hand. My beverage of choice is red wine. It has a nice balance to the hot sauce. Plus wine is good for you. The doctors tell us so! I have to say thanks to my buddies for hanging with Pop's (me) during his crazy cooking weirdness. They already know that I am crazy when it comes to food! I hope you too will one day get to make Whine & Wang's! Find something you enjoy and just do it! Have fun and smile! Until next time, "Cookin' with John" will be playing with some more food ideas to share with you!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Silly String Pizza 8/22/09

For those of you who know me, you know I love to cook. I like taking what you have and try to make something unique out of it. I call this playing with food! When you are on a limited budget, trying to sell your home and start a new travel business, you have to get creative. She is up there and I am down here. Let me explain! I currently live in our home in Cibolo, TX while we are trying to sell it. My wife is in Dallas working full time. My oldest son "Pea" lives in San Marcos, TX and my youngest son "Pod" is playing football at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, LA. This gives me more opportunities to play with food. I am currently on a low carb diet and have been since May. You only have so many choices and by mixing things up, you can come up with some pretty unique recipe's. As I start my life with Cookin' with John I hope I can share with you some of my crazy ideas with food. You are probably wondering if he is on a low carb diet, then what in the world is he doing making pizza! As I told you, I love to play with food. My brain goes way too far outside the box sometimes. It does not matter to me if you eat dinner for breakfast or breakfast for dinner. Life is to short to do things normal. I keep frozen pizza dough balls in the freezer for those times when the kids come home. I said what the hay! Let's get the pizza stone out and make some pizza. I did not say I was going to eat it. I just felt like making it. Playing with food keeps my mind young while I dream up these wild things. Ok, let's see. I have thawed dough and I can make some of my mom's famous sauce recipe. I don't have any pepperoni, but some sausage will do. I know I have an onion that I can use to. What I don't have is cheese. How is this going to work? Nope, I am not going to the store. Maybe I will use American cheese slices. Then I remembered that I have like 24 packets of string cheese. This is mozzarella right? Everything is good! I can now make pizza. So I thought! I go to get the flour so I can roll out three pizzas and I am flour less. I guess I could of gone to the neighbours and borrowed some flour. I am going to make this work. I have corn meal and that will have to do. The pizza stone goes into the oven at 475. I get the ole pizza peel out along with the other ingredients. I still can not believe I am going to use string cheese. How many will it take? What is the best way to do this? I got 12 string cheese packages out. I will use 4 packages per pizza. I spread the corn meal on the counter and take my rolling pin and commence to roll some dough. It is not working very well, but eventually I come up with a 14 inch circle. What will this taste like with corn meal in the dough? I use corn meal on the pizza peel to keep the dough from sticking, but not in place of flour. I take a couple of spoonfuls of my mom's pizza sauce and spread it out on the dough. I open my four packets of string cheese and start pulling the little strings off. This is pretty wild looking. I don't know how to explain what this looks like. I guess it looks like spaghetti piled up. I am not even sure if this will melt right since I am not covering all of the sauce. I throw some sausage and onions on. Sprinkle it with some oregano and slide it onto the pizza stone. I have cooked pizza's on this stone hundred's of times, so I know that in 8 minutes that we should have our first look at my Silly String Pizza. I was shocked to all get out! I am staring at something that looks like real pizza. I can't believe it! I get the pizza peel under it and lay it on the counter. I had to stare in amazement. How could something that started out so funny looking now look like the perfect pizza pie? I must of sniffed the pizza for two minutes. I had to make sure it was really real. I cut the pizza in slices and moved them on to a pizza pan. Now it was time to duplicate this two more times with the remaining two dough balls. I never knew playing with food could be so much fun. Maybe it was the two glasses of wine that helped me be a believer in this crazy idea! I cut the other two pizza's up and put them all in freezer bags. This way Janet, Pea and Pod could try them the next time they come home. I did sneak two pieces. I did feel like I had committed the diet sin, but it tasted so good. I will ask for forgiveness in the morning. I had such a blast making it. These slices of pizza are now sharing freezer space with the other frozen dough balls. They now know there fate one day. I hope you too will one day get to make Silly String Pizza! Find something you enjoy and just do it! Until next time, "Cookin' with John" will be playing with some more food ideas to share with you!