Holiday (scratch that) Super Bowl party!

Sweet and Sour Glazed Chicken Wings

Ginger red wine spritzer

Tequila cranberry cooler

Didn't try the glaze on the Rolos, but it would probably be good

Didn’t try the glaze on the Rolos, but it would probably be good

(What should have been a holiday cocktail party post has conveniently become a Super Bowl party post.  *wipes hands in a self-satisfied fashion*)

So here’s the deal with these three.  We did actually serve them all together.  We also put out mixed nuts.  And we made those lovely cookies.  It was a good day.

The wings were tasty, but kind of a hassle.  I mean, wings are always kind of a hassle, but the hassle of the glaze bears some mention.  When you do the baking step, you should grease the sheet at least a little and/or put down foil to keep them from sticking.  I lost a lot of skin and, frankly, quite a bit of meat just from trying to turn the wings.  The glaze was the real troublemaker, though.  I burned it on the first try.  Badly.  Like black ooze at the bottom of the pan, doors and windows open to clear the smoke and avoid waking the baby with the fire alarm bad.  I think the key is to just be sure you can keep an eye on it.  It goes from way too thin to burned really quickly, especially if you halve the recipe like I did.  Once it’s done and not burned, the glaze is really tasty.  The chili powder adds a lot.  The cayenne mostly just adds heat, but that’s welcome here.  We started rolling some roasted nuts in this glaze.  That was extremely good.  The glaze thickens a bit when it sits, so don’t get upset if it isn’t super goopy right off the range.

Sweet, spicy, sour, hot, awesome

Sweet, spicy, sour, hot, awesome

As for the cocktails, the spritzer was nice, but maybe a little forgettable.  I would rather just have a glass of wine, really.  I couldn’t taste the ginger ale and didn’t really even get a sense of the bubbles.  The kirsch or maraschino does add a little bit of cherry flavor and sweetness.  The maraschino adds a LOT of sweetness, really.  I preferred the drier taste of the kirsch.  We did a taste test with our guests, and we were evenly split between the kirsch kamp and the maraschino maniacs.  (groan…)  If you like something sweeter, pick maraschino. 

Red wine spritzer with those amazing palmiers and the macadamia nut bars.

Red wine spritzer with those amazing palmiers and the macadamia nut bars.

Now, the tequila cran cooler was an unqualified success.  I loved it.  The Campari cut the sweetness of the juices and the sharpness of the tequila.  Frankly, I might consider putting a little campari in margaritas next summer.  Also, the sugared rim was definitely welcome because the other tastes in the drink started to lean toward sour and bitter once the Campari was in there.  I think this would be some good training wheels for Campari.  In other words, B, try this one.  You’ll like it.

Coming to a BBQ near you: Summer 2014

Coming to a BBQ near you: Summer 2014

Go….let’s say Broncos. 

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Winter (citrus) Wonderland

Roasted chicken with tangerines and olives

Sweet potatoes and pineapple

B is right, we do need to work on our photography.

B is right, we do need to work on our photography.

D made the chicken and I made the side.  He bought a whole chicken and cut it up for this purpose.  I’m always hesitant to do that.  I cut off the legs and wings, start feeling confident, then look at the football-shaped thing in front of me and start panicking.  What’s a breast look like?  Is that the chicken’s back?  Part of my worry stems from a long-running joke between D and his uncle about yella hammers (let’s just say “hillbillies”) liking to eat chicken backs.  I’ve always been worried I would serve D a chicken back, and he would die laughing and go call his uncle.  Alton Brown once had a show where he explained how to cut up a bird.  He said it was like a dinosaur.  That’s all I remember.  I don’t remember anything why being like a dinosaur is meaningful or helpful in any way.  So it’s a good thing D took care of it.  He said the only other prep was destuffing the green olives.  Also, “pro tip” from D: use the blunt end of a skewer to push the olive stuffing out.  He noted that if someone had a bird already cut up and pitted green olives, this would be an extremely easy recipe to prep.  It would just be cutting up those tangerines and tossing it.  Then you’d have thirty minutes of roast time to get a couple tablespoons of tangerine juice and some honey together.

The chicken was very tasty and moist.  The warm tangerines were very nice and sweet.  The olives were a little spicy, but that’s definitely because the former stuffing was spicy.  What kind of olives did we buy that had spicy stuffing?  Nowhere on the label does it say anything but “stuffed green olives.”  The whole thing is very nice leftover.  So when tangerines and other interesting citrus goes on sale in the winter, give this one a try.

The sweet potatoes and pineapple were good, but perhaps not as transcendent as I hoped.  You see, I love pineapple.  I love it the best of the best.  Sweet potatoes aren’t far down the list.  I think what actually kept this from being insanely good was the cayenne.  It was only 1/4 t for the entire pan, but it seemed like a little much.  It was a sharp spiciness and heat that I didn’t really want on my roasty pineapple and sweet potato, thank you.  I think a deeper, smokier taste like maybe cumin would have been better.  Or maybe chili powder, even.  Or just nothing.  Nothing would be good too.  My expectations may have been just a little high.  Or maybe I’m still obsessed with those twice-baked beauties…