Sunday, January 10, 2016

"Far West" Chicken Wings


This recipe was published as my monthly column for the January 7th edition of The Hinton Voice, my local newspaper. 


[Back in October I went on the road trip of a lifetime, spending just under two weeks driving across Canada.  I had a conference in Montréal for work and since most of my husband’s family lives in a small French community nearby, we decided to extend the trip and visit everyone while we were there.  For a portion of the trip we stayed with his Mémère (grandmother) in the 1800’s farmhouse that she and Pépère had saved up all of their hard earned money to purchase in their early days of marriage.  Walking into the house is like stepping back in time.  Not only is the antique wood stove in the kitchen used for cooking all of the meals, it also heats the entire house, acts as an incinerator (nothing gets thrown out – everything is either recycled or burned), and even has a spot to hang laundry to dry.   To say that this visit was one of the most enriching experiences of my entire life would truly not do it justice. 


We spent a lot of time exploring the old barn, which was filled to the brim with antique treasures.  One of the rooms even boasts an original spinning jenny and some of the items date back as far as the 1600’s.  Some of these treasures included cookbooks with pages so brittle they crackled beneath my fingertips, and instructions that required cooking over the cooled down coals from the morning fire.  Needless to say, I spent a good portion of my trip pouring over cookbooks with Mémère, bringing many, many recipes home with me.


One morning after exploring the barn and chatting over recipes, Mémère disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a cast iron pan filled with these chicken wings.  They were literally the best thing ever, and I knew it was a recipe that I would have to re-create once I arrived home.  When I asked how she had made the sauce, she responded with “oh, a little of this and a little of that” and I thought that was the end of it.  Mémère had other ideas though, because just before we left she came over and placed a handwritten copy of this recipe in my hands.  I couldn’t help but smile at the title of her recipe, written specifically for her visitors from “The Far West”.]


Ingredients
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 kg chicken wings (or any cut of chicken, skin on)


Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine sauce ingredients.

Heat an oven safe frying pan over medium heat.  If you don’t have an oven safe frying pan (cast iron works great for this recipe!), you can use your usual frying pan, transferring the chicken to an oven safe dish for the next step.

Dip the wings in the sauce, and then fry for 5-7 minutes, until wings are slightly crisp.  Turn chicken wings over with tongs, then coat with the remaining sauce.

Transfer chicken wings to a well pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, turning them midway through and covering them with the sauce. 

The wings should be crispy but well glazed with the sauce.
  
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Friday, January 8, 2016

Winter Citrus Salad with Poppyseed Dressing


This recipe is the brainchild of my friend Kate and I.  We love to get together to cook and bake, and this time was no exception.  Not only do we get to have an awesome visit, we get to create great food together too!  

I really love New Year's Resolutions, because in a way they feel like new beginnings.  I'm the kind of girl that always has to start diets lifestyle changes on a Monday, and every single week feels like a fresh start.  I successfully quit smoking thanks to a New Year's Resolution,  and I even lost 40 lbs thanks to better eating habits I adopted back in 2009.  I'm incredibly happy to be leaving 2015 behind me, and in it's place, a shiny new year to start fresh. 

 I have some pretty important events coming up 2016  that need me to be more focused on health.  For one, I signed up to hike the Berg Lake Trail this summer. This will be my first overnight backpacking trip, and it will span the course of a few days.  A few short weeks after that I get to watch two of my best friend's get married, and for the first time in my life, be a part of a wedding party.

Photo credit to my friend Sarah Burns over at Stop Nothing But Time. She hiked this trail last year and is organizing a group of friends to go again this summer.  You can find more pictures of her adventures on her Instagram page. 
Needless to say, this year decided to focus on myself.  Instead of one specific resolution for 2016, my resolution is just to be better.  Be better with my health, pay more attention to the food I put into my body, and improve my overall eating and fitness habits in general. 
As with anything life changing the first few weeks are always the hardest.  Incorporating fun and interesting ideas and flavours into meals are essential for staying on track.  This salad is bursting with so much flavour you'll almost forget you ever liked Big Macs.

Recipe makes 4 salads + 1 cup of dressing

Ingredients

Salad: 
- 1 clamshell of baby greens
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 cara cara orange
- 1 blood orange
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- 1/2 english cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup cooked quinoa

Dressing: 
- 3 tbsp citrus juice (see directions below)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil 
- 1 tbsp poppyseeds

Directions

Start by slicing and segmenting the citrus fruit. Squeeze the citrus juice (from the remaining pulp) into a separate bowl (this will be used for the salad dressing).
Combine the ingredients for the salad dressing, mixing well. 
Divide lettuce between 4 plates, then top with remaining ingredients and drizzle lightly with dressing. 
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