Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peanut Butter Softies

1 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar - firmly packed
1/2 cup KARO Syrup
1/2 + cup peanut butter
1 egg - well beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder - set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter. Add sugar and cream until fluffy. Add KARO and peanut butter, beating until smooth. Add beaten egg and vanilla. Add sifted dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Shape dough into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Place on an un-greased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork. Dot each with about a half tsp of peanut butter. Bake 10-15 minutes.

**Allergy-free substitutions:
flour - all purpose gluten free flour
egg - egg replacer equal to one egg

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chinese Style Ribs and Rice Pilaf

Enjoyed even by those non-rice-lovers out there.


For the marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
4 TBSP rice vinegar
2 tsp grated ginger
4 garlic cloves - minced
2/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 - 2 tsp five-spice powder
3 TBSP sugar or honey
4 lb pork spare ribs - trimmed and cut into separate ribs

Combine all ingredients in a shallow, glass dish. Add the ribs and turn to coat. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 375. Place ribs with marinade in a foil lined baking dish, cover loosely. Roast in the oven for 1 hour. Uncover and increase oven temp to 400. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until ribs are sticky and glazed.

For the rice:
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 - 1 cup water
2 TBSP + 1 TBSP butter or oil
1 cup wild rice
1 cup basmati or Arborio rice
1/2 onion - finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried
1/3 cup currants or dried cranberries
3 TBSP pine nuts
*1 cup sauteed chopped mushrooms (optional)
salt and pepper

~If you cannot cook rices separately, then follow instructions using only 1 pot.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups of the broth, 1 TBSP butter and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add the wild rice and reduce heat to low. Let simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, adding more water if needed to cook rice to desired done-ness.
In another saucepan, heat oil or butter over medium heat. Saute the onion about 3 minutes. Add the basmati/arborio rice and stir until all the grains are evenly coated. Stir in Thyme, add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add cranberries/currants and bay leaf. Simmer until rice is tender.
When the wild rice is done cooking, add to white rice and stir in pine nuts and mushrooms.

Easy Biscuits

Perfect easy biscuits for biscuits and gravy!

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup cooking oil
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450.

In a large bowl - sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Combine cooking oil and milk and add all at once to dry ingredients. Mix with a fork to form a soft dough. Shape into a ball and kneed about 10 times or until smooth. Place between two pieces of wax paper and roll to 1/2 inch thickness.
With a round cookie cutter, cut into biscuits and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until slightly golden.
~Don't have a cookie cutter? Use the rim of a wine glass or plastic drinking cup. Or increase milk to 3/4 cup and drop dough by the spoonful onto baking sheet.

Orange Biscuits:
Add 2 tsp orange zest and 2 TBSP sugar to dry ingredients. Combine oil with 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup orange juice. Drop by spoonful onto baking sheet.

Taco Wings

For all you taco lovers out there! So quick and easy.

2 1/2 lbs chicken drummettes or sliced chicken breast
1/2 - 1 cup butter - melted
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup taco seasoning mix (or 1 pouch)
2 cups crushed corn chips

Preheat oven to 350.
In three separate bowls place 1) melted butter, 2) flour mixed with taco seasoning and  3) crushed chips. Coat each piece of chicken in flour mixture, then butter, then corn chips. Place on a greased baking pan and cook uncovered, until cooked through - about 20-30 minutes.
Serve with refried beans!

**Allergy-free substitutions
Flour - gluten free all purpose flour
Butter - Smart Balance

Homey Refried Beans

Canned refried beans just aren't the same as those creamy, delicious sides that come with your enchiladas in Mexican restaurants. This recipe is the closest i've found to eat-out style beans.

1 large yellow onion - finely chopped
4 TBSP bacon grease (no substitute - this is important)
4 garlic cloves - minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1- 2 tsp cumin
3 cans pinto beans - drained and rinsed
1 cup water
1 - 1 1/2 cups milk
4 tsp lime juice

In a large pan saute the onion in bacon grease over medium heat until tender. Stir in garlic, salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp cumin; cook and stir 1-2 minutes. Add beans and water. Mash with a spatula or potato masher. Add milk to desired consistency and continue to season with cayenne and cumin ( and onion powder) to suit your taste. Heat through, remove from stove and stir in lime juice.
Great as a side, with chips or in burritos!

**Allergy-free substitutions
Milk - So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut milk
Garlic - omit

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Bisque

3 TBSP butter
1 large onion - peeled and medium chopped
1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored and chopped
2 medium butternut squash - cut in half lengthwise
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
8 fresh sage leaves or 1 tsp dried sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cream
*1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange squash on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes to an hour - until tender.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the apple, onion and sage and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and remove from heat.

When squash is ready, scoop out the soft flesh (seeds removed) into the pot with the apple and onion - discard skins. Add broth and water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add cream. Using a submersion blender or food processor, puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

**Allergy-free substitutions
Butter - smart balance or coconut oil
Cream - Canned coconut milk

Pumpkin Pancakes

Festive, moist and not too pumpkiny!

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup + canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 TBSP oil
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups flour (or 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup oatmeal)
3 TBSP brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Combine milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients. Combine with pumpkin mixture. Cook small cakes over medium heat and finish off in the microwave for 1 minute.
If you are a pumpkin lover, combine 1/2 cup pumpkin puree with a little milk and cinnamon and spread on pancakes with a little honey.

**Allergy-free substitutions
Milk - dairy-free milk of choice
Egg - egg replacer equal to one egg or 1 TBSP ground chia seed mixed with 3TBSP water
Flour - All purpose gluten free flour

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wing Snob

At the suggestion of my mother, I am going to put my snobbish Hot Wing opinions in a Blog to keep everyone informed about the good, bad and horrible Hot Wings available around the N.W. Because my opinion is the only one that matters.

#1 The Lower Tavern - Orcas Island, Washington
Order of 6 or 12. $6.99-$12.99
*Original Frank Sauce, *Extra Hot Frank Sauce, *Thai Chili, BBQ
Comes with cucumber, carrot, celery & ranch or blue cheese
-Saucy, spicy, tender. My favorite to date! EXCELLENT! 5 stars

#2 Beachcombers Tavern - Florence, Oregon
Order of 6 or 12.
*Original Buffalo, Teriyaki, Honey Citrus Pepper, Smokey BBQ
Comes with celery & blue cheese
-A little dry, great taste, VERY GOOD! 4 stars

#3 Bigfoot Food & Spirits - Seatac Airport, Seattle, Washington
Order of 13. $9.29
*Buffalo style wings
Comes with celery, blue cheese or ranch
-Super spicy! Lots of sauce. EXCELLENT! 5 stars

#4 Oasis Grill & Sky Lounge - John Wayne airport, Santa Ana, California
Order of 13.
Can't remember much about the menu details, but they were REAL GOOD! 4 stars.

#5 Hooters - Tacoma, Washington
Order of 10, 20 or 50. $6.99 - $28.99
6 different sauces, I had *Medium
Comes with blue cheese or ranch, celery or carrots
-Dry, small, medium wasn't spicy at all, not enough sauce. BAD! 1 star

#6 3 Finger Jacks Saloon - Winthrop, Washington
Order of 6. $10.95
*Hot whiskied or non-spicy BBQ
No sides
-Over cooked, dry, over priced. HORRIBLE! 1/2 star
I normally wouldn't give an establishment a second chance on horrible wings - but 3 years later I braved the wings at 3 Fingered Jacks and am happy to say they got their shit together and made some awesome wings! 8 wings for $10.99, came with celery, blue cheese and ranch! AWESOME! 4 stars

#7 Paradise Lanes bowling alley - Friday Harbor, Washington
Order of 6 or 12. $5.95 - $8.95
*Franks sauce or Asian style.
-Pretty spicy, side of celery. NOT BAD. 3 stars

#8 Old Schoolhouse Brewery - Winthrop, Washington
Order of 10 wings. $13.00
*Spicy Detention sauce or Chipotle Honey BBQ
Comes with celery & blue cheese
-Not too spicy, saucy. GOOD! 3.5 stars

#9 Fox Sports Bar - Seattle, Washington
Order by the pound. $9.95/$17.95/$24.95
*BBQ, *Chipotle BBQ, *Buffalo Style
Pick any flavor for each pound! Comes with celery & blue cheese
-Large drummette style wings, lots of sauce. VERY GOOD! 4.5 stars

#10 Bob's Burgers & Brew - Burlington, Washington
Order of 7 large wings. $8.99
Regular or *Spicy
Comes with Celery and blue cheese dressing
-Big wings, lots of meat. A good spicy! EXCELLENT! 4 stars out of 5 because of the price vs # of wings.

#11 Haley's Bait Shop & Grill - Friday Harbor, Washington
Order of wings (undetermined amount, 2 of mine looked like nuggets..?) $8.95
*Franks hot sauce
Comes with Blue Cheese, celery and carrots. 
-Crispy breading. Sauce on the side makes for uneven coating/taste and there wasn't enough for every bite. NOT EXTRAORDINARY, but I would order them again. 3 stars

#12 Billy McHale's - Bellingham, Washington
1 pound of Billy Wings. $7.95
*Hot sauce, mild sauce or Robo's Garlic BBQ sauce
Comes with potato chips, blue cheese and BBQ sauce.
-Quite spicy, very greasy, strange grainy texture to the breading. NOT VERY GOOD. 1.5 stars
#13 New York Pizza & Bar - Bellingham, Washington
9 smallish boneless or bone in wings $8.99
Honey mustard, BBQ, *Buffalo, Teriyaki or Inferno
Comes with blue cheese and celery.
Good flavor, plenty of sauce, wings are on the small side. Had them for lunch on a Wednesday and the service was VERY slow. PRETTY GOOD. 3.5 stars
#14 Cafe Bellagio, Bellagio - Las Vegas, Nevada
10 Buffalo Wings $11.00
Comes with celery, carrots and blue cheese.
Ok flavor, pretty dry, greasy. NOT VERY GOOD. 2 stars
#15 Todd English P.U.B. Crystals- Las Vegas, Nevada
10 wings with TE hot sauce $12.00 or $1 apiece at happy hour. 
Comes with carrots, celery and blue cheese.
Different, saucy and delicious! VERY GOOD! 4 stars
#16 PBR Rockbar & Grill. Miracle Mile - Las Vegas, Nevada
*Hot, *mild or house BBQ. 6 pc $7.95, 9 pc $10.95, 12 pc $12.95
Bucket of 24 wings (mix and match sauce) $20.00
Comes with celery and blue cheese.
The hot were pretty spicy! Mild also had great flavor. Plenty of sauce, decent sized wings.
AWESOME! 4 stars
#17 Planet Dailies. Planet Hollywood - Las Vegas, Nevada
10 wings in Buffalo sauce. Around $12
Comes with celery and blue cheese.
Unoriginal but good flavor. Fast service. GOOD. 3.5 stars

#18 The Fire - Orcas Island, Washington
8 varied sized, unbreaded wings $10.00
You choose from house BBQ sauces:
Texas, Pineapple Habanero, Chipotle, XXX, *Honey Bourbon.
I suppose it's all personal preference of BBQ sauces - I didn't like any of them but chose the Bourbon. Some of the wings were big, some small, some overcooked and crusty. NOT VERY GOOD. 1.5 stars
#19 Antlers - Twisp, Washington
6 wings $8.99
*Hot and Spicy or regular
Comes with nothing, but you can request ranch or blue cheese.
If I wanted fried chicken I would have ordered fried chicken - not hot wings. Overly crispy outside - no sauce. No wing/buffalo sauce available. Disappointing. 1 Star
#20 The Outback Steak House - Burlington, Washington
Small order $6.99, Regular order $9.99
Mild, Medium or *Hot
Comes with blue cheese and celery.
Interesting dry rub flavor (house seasonings). I ordered the hot - they weren't in the least bit spicy but VERY delicious! With and without BBQ sauce. Wish I had ordered more! SUPER YUMMY! 3 Stars because of price vs quantity. 
#21 Iguana Joes - Aruba
Order of 8 wings $8.95
Original Mild BBQ sauce or *Buffalo Wing Sauce
No sides.
A little watery, not horrible but not exciting either. SO SO. 2 Stars
#22 The Pelican Pier - Aruba
Order of 5 wings $9.91
*Thai chile glazed with sesame-ginger sauce or Buffalo style with blue cheese
Comes on a bed of shredded veggies.
Super crispy, unusual and delicious coconut breading! Amazing sauce. A small order however for the price. Not my usual spicy favorite but FANTASTIC! 3.5 Stars

#23 The Terrace, Westin Resort - Aruba
Order of 7 wings $13.00
Comes with fries and blue cheese dressing.
A bit dry, no sauce. Had a little spice but unsatisfying altogether. MEH. 1.5 Stars
#24 In room dining, New York New York Hotel - Las Vegas
Order of 9 wings $13.00
Comes with celery, carrots and ranch dressing.
So I don't know if it was due to the excessive consumption of alcohol and the fact that it was 1:30 in the morning, but these wings were friggin' AWESOME! Juicy, spicy and just plain scrumptious!! I devoured them! AWESOME!! 4.5 Stars
#25 Gonzalez Y Gonzalez, New York New York Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada
Order of 7 wings $9.95
Served with jicama, cucumber and pasilla ranch dressing.
Just the right amount of bite! Sticky, sweet, salty and spicy! Unlike any wings I've ever had. FANTASTIC! 5 stars
#26 America Restaurant, New York New York Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada
Order of 8 wings $8.95
*Buffalo style.
Comes with celery and blue cheese.
Greasy (in a good way), smothered in a red pepper flake buffalo type sauce. Meaty, tender and exactly hit the spot for a wing craving. DELICIOUS! 4 Stars

#27 Island Cafe, Anacortes - Washington
Order of 9 wings $8.69
Comes with celery and Franks Sauce on the side.
Although the wings came dry with the sauce on the side (which usually irritates the heck out of me), these were pretty excellent - and they provided plenty of sauce in a dipping friendly bowl. SCRUMPTIOUS! 3 Stars.

#28 Blue Water Bar & Grill, Friday Harbor - Washington
Order of 8 wings $9.95
Plain, BBQ or *Spicy.
Comes with celery and blue cheese.
A good heat, super tender and not in the least bit dry! Smothered in sauce and tastiness! REAL GOOD!! 3.5 Stars.

#29 Twisp River Pub, Twisp - Washington
Taster (3) $4.50, Small order (6) $7.95, Large order (11) $10.95
Mild, Medium, *Hot or Wings of Fire! (made with Haberneros)
Comes with celery and blue cheese.
A grilled style wing. Just a tiny bit dry - no sauce, more of a rub- but a great flavor. The hot actually had some heat! I'd order them again (along with any dish there! All the food was AMAZING!) 3 Stars.
#30 Quil Ceda Creek Cansino Buffett, Tulalip - Washington
$16.95 for an AWESOME buffet! Fruits, salad, Mongolian, Chinese, prime rib, pork, fish, countless desserts and extensive ice cream selection, onion rings, potatoes, chicken cooked every way and HOT WINGS! I have been to many disappointing, gross and boring buffets but this time I was pleasantly surprised. Even for someone with food allergies, there is plenty to eat! The wings were amazing, not uncommon or original but DELICIOUS! 3.5 Stars.
#31 B.C. McDonalds, Chelan - Washington
Order of 8 wings $9.95
Comes with blue cheese.
They are called "hot wings" on the menu, but they are basically just fried chicken wings. No sauce, just BBQ to dip in. Seasoned well and not dry in the least. However, they do not fall into the "hot wing" category at all. GOOD, but not hot wings. 2.5 Stars.
#32 Antonio's Cucina Italiana, Alturas - California 
Order of 8 wings $5. 29
BBQ or *Red Hot.
Comes with Ranch dressing.
Very unusual - suspicious there was some sort of cheese (perhaps Velveta) in the sauce. Super saucy, a good (but mellow) heat and awesomely priced!! I almost got a second order! VERY GOOD! 4 Stars.
#33 Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Lacey - Washington
Personal order (at least 5) $6.99 or Shareable order (at least 10) $10.99
*Sweet Chili Garlic, Cider BBQ, Kalbi Savory Rub, 5 Spice Rub
Comes with blue cheese and celery.
Not too dry, the Sweet Chili Garlic wasn't too sweet. I was a little sad they didn't have a "hot" option however. UNIQUE! 3 Stars.
#34 San Juan Lanes, Anacortes - Washington
Order of 7 wings $8.00
BBQ, *Hot Buffalo or Sweet Chili Sauce (for an extra 50 cents)
Tossed in sauce and comes with an extra side of sauce for dipping.
Not dry in the least, a little better than typical buffalo sauce. PRETTY GOOD! 3 Stars.
#35 BJ's, Tacoma - Washington
Order of 9 traditional or boneless wings $9.50
Traditional only comes in Spicy Buffalo. Boneless wings choice of Hot & Spicy Buffalo, Brewhouse BBQ, Maui Sweet Teriyaki Glaze, Garlic Parmesan, Exxxxxtra hot 5 pepper Buffalo
Comes with ranch and celery sticks.
I got the traditional wings because I like eating off the bone. I was a little disappointed that there was only Buffalo to choose from - which ended up being a side bowl of straight Frank's Hot Sauce. No breading and not even tossed in sauce first. We know how much I hate to have to dip my wings to get the flavor. OK. 2.5 Stars.
#36 Johnny Carino's, Burlington - Washington
Order of 7-8 wings $9.95
Thai, Balsamico, Teriyaki or *Cajun Hot
Cajun Hot came with blue cheese dressing, scallions and blue cheese crumbles. 
Smothered in sauce and actually had quite a kick! Very spicy, very Cajun, very AWESOME! 4.75 Stars. 

#37 Duck Brand Hotel & Cantina, Winthrop - Washington
Order of 6 wings $7.00
Comes with fries, carrot sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing.
I'm pretty sure the sauce was just Frank's Original Hot Sauce, but they were still pretty darn good and a very reasonable price considering they came with fries. PRETTY GOOD. 3 stars.
#38 Ginger Palace - Ramada Hotel, Seattle - Washington
Order of 5 wings $5.95
Hawaii style garlic wings. Sweet and mildly spicy.
A little dry - the sauce was darn good and original. DIFFERENT 2.5 stars.
#39 Pub & Grub, Old town Temecula - California
Order of 6 $6.95, order of 12 $11.95
BBQ, Tangy gold BBQ, Mild, Hot, Sriracha or *Sweet Thai Chili. Comes with carrot, celery sticks and your choice of dressing. 
The Sweet Thai Chili sauce was amazing but most of it was on the plate :(  VERY GOOD. 3.5 stars. 
#40 Wingers Roadhouse Grill, Klamath - Oregon
Order of 5 $7.99 up to order of 16 $19.99
Original Amazing, Sweet Red Chili Pepper, Bootleg BBQ, Classic Buffalo, Island Teriyaki, *Rebel, Atomic Buffalo. Comes with celery and blue cheese.
I had the Rebel sauce, good heat, a fair amount of sauce, not too dry - would definitely try the other flavors. There was a huge size variance and I actually sent my entree back because it was so horrible. GOOD wings/BAD food. 3 stars.
#41 Dave's Diner & Brew, SeaTac - Washington
Snack size (at least 5) $4.99, Enough for 2 (at least 10) $9.99.
Homemade wing sauce. Said it comes with celery, carrot sticks and dip. 
Mine did not come with carrot but I got a choice of ranch or blue cheese. They were really over cooked and the sauce was kind of burnt tasting, more BBQ than buffalo/spicy and too vinegary-i only ate 2. NOT GOOD. 1 star.
#42 Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse, Federal Way - Washington
Order of 7 $10.50
Traditional or Spicy Ginger Sauce. Comes with fries and ranch dressing.
I got the traditional. Very greasy/oily, not very much sauce, good spiciness. Not very meaty wings. MEH-especially for the price. 2 stars.
#43 The Hanger Inn Restaurant, Puyallup - Washington
Order of 8 $7.99
Traditional buffalo. Comes with celery and ranch dressing. 
Surprisingly good considering the horrible service and really rundown appearance of the whole restaurant. Good amount of sauce, a nice crispy breading. GOOD! 3.5 stars. The restaurant looks over an airport so I recommend going in the summer so you can sit outside on the deck.