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Monday, November 30, 2009

Sweet & Spicy Asian Chicken Wings

Paddy & I recently had over our good friends Reba & Andy for dinner. They love Asian cuisine and Andy makes fried dumplings that are out of this world! I need to get that recipe... Anyway, I went a little overboard with the food and made a ridiculous spread of Asian delights. I tried this recipe for sweet and spicy chicken and it was delicious. You can use either small drumsticks or chicken wings and this dish makes a great appetizer or part of a dinner buffet. Also good with full sized drumsticks.

2 cups orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1 cup sugar
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 dozen small chicken wings or drumsticks
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cilantro

1. Place the first 11 ingredients (through the red pepper) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Bring down to medium and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved and liquid has reduced to a thick syrup (about 20 minutes).

2. Take the marinade off the heat and let cool almost completely.

3. Put the chicken in a large ziplock bag. Sprinkle with salt and pour all but about 1/4 cup of the cooled marinade into the bag with the chicken. Let the chicken marinate at least an hour but no more than a day. Put the unused marinade aside or in the fridge if you're not going to use it for more than an hour or'll need it later.

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Pull the chicken out of the bag with tongs and place the wings on the baking sheet. Discard the rest of the marinade from the bag.

5. Bake about 40-45 minutes or until the chicken is done. When done, remove from oven and drizzle the chicken lightly with the marinade that you had set aside earlier (not the marinade that was in the bag with the chicken!).

6. Sprinkle the chicken with the chopped cilantro and sesame seeds if you have them.

Pumpkin Spice Tea Cake

I love the holidays, mostly because everything sweet is made with pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spices...just opening the jar of nutmeg conjures elaborate images of pumpkin custard pies, turkeys, potatoes. My mom passed along this recipe for pumpkin cake and I make it at least 5-6 times a year - for myself, my colleagues, as Christmas gifts, thank you's, you name it. Everyone loves it and it's one of my favorites.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 can pumpkin
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, and eggs. Add pumpkin and mix well.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (sift to avoid lumps).

4. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the water until the batter is well mixed.

5. Pour into a lightly buttered loaf pan and bake about an hour or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.