Ah, Christmas. A time for family and friends to gather together. A time for "crabbies" (as in FOOD, as in CRAB, get your mind out of the gutter). A time for antipasti platters piled so high they nearly fall over, a time for the Holy Christmas Chicken Wings, mussels and lobster. A time for salt-crusted beef tenderloin and absurdly cheesily delicious scalloped potatoes, a time for pumpkin pie and apple fig crostada with HAND-WHIPPED whipped cream. And loads and loads of drinks.What, that's not what you typically eat at Christmas? KFTF* and I celebrated with his Restaurant Family - when you manage an Irish pub it's not as if you just get to take vacation willy nilly, now can you? The people, they need their pints! We also celebrated a birthday this Christmas - I mean, an actual living person's birthday, not just that of Jebus. Oh that is going to get me into trouble (sorry, Mama Fierce), but really, it was a friend's birthday.
Anyway, The Restaurant Family, as restaurant families are wont to do, split up cooking duties. KFTF, who happens to be quite the chef himself, took on the Holy Christmas Chicken Wings and the salt-crusted beef tenderloin, along with a trio of sauces, at which point I was too stuffed with lobster to actually photograph ... oops. Just to tease you: a roasted red pepper tomato reduction, a horseradish sour cream sauce and a red wine mushroom reduction. Yes, the man CAN cook. There are no recipes for the sauces because he "doesn't USE recipes, that's for BAKERS" which is a total lie because where did you just come up with the Holy Christmas Chicken Wings in a dream? No, it was Holy Alton Brown, thankyouverymuch.
Check out the step-by-steps (look at me, I'm like ... Pioneer Woman ... except ... not).
Get out your stovetop smoker and pour an inch or so of water in the pan, let it come to a boil and then put your thawed-and-dried-off chicken wings on the tray. Steam, covered, for 30 minutes. You can use a steamer basket, like Alton Brown suggests, but we did this a few times and it was really hard to keep the wings from sticking together. Voila, the stovetop smoker! (Check out some of the fat already in the pan, yum, right? Sike - that's what you aren't eating - so these are totally healthy!)
Next, put the steamed wings on a plate or tray. Cover them with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Put the tray in the fridge for at least an hour. Trust me, it is worth waiting. And while you are waiting I'm sure you can find something else to do or eat. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
After the wings have gotten nice and chilled in the fridge, take them out. Blot off the remaining excess moisture with paper towels. Put the wings directly on baking sheets - make sure they don't touch. It's important to note that you do not need to use foil - you don't even need to grease the pans. The chicken skin will stick to the foil, and everyone knows that is the best part of wings. FRIED CHICKEN SKIN.
Roast the wings for about 20 minutes. Make up your favorite bbq sauce (we use a combination of hot sauce, Sriracha, garlic, honey, more hot sauce, and then a little dash of hot sauce to top it off) and get that nice and warm on the stove. Brush the wings generously, then pop them back in the oven to finish them off for about 15-20 more minutes.
And then, when you think you just can't take it anymore, because those wings smell so darn good (stop peeking in the oven!), take them out. Brush them with a little more sauce, put 'em on a nice pretty plate and devour.
Here's the original Alton Brown recipe (why yes, someone DID purchase the 27 DVD set while someone else was out of town! Hm, I wonder who that could be). Feel free to adjust to your tastes - if I am coming over for dinner, though, you better have some blue cheese dressing on hand if you know what's good for you.
I am not even going to go into the Saga of The Tenderloin because who gives up all their good material at once? Let's just say that it involved a 24-hour dough, a last minute request for flour -- thanks, Birthday Boy and Wife's neighbors! You were totally freaked out when I knocked on your door at ten pm on Christmas needing flour, because doesn't that only happen on tv? But really, thanks for the flour because without it we might not have even been able to get The Tenderloin into the oven and at that point we wouldn't have even noticed that the oven was actually off for half of the baking time but HEY. It was amazing, and you should totally try it. (Just ... be a little more ... together? Be more sober. Yes, that's it, just be more sober. Probably fully 100% sober would be best.)
Stay tuned this week for some Dispatches from The Road - watch out, Los Angeles, C Fierce and Grandma Fierce will be invading along with another trillion Buckeye fans. Follow me on Twitter to read all the crazy things Grandma Fierce says - www.twitter.com/fierce_pierce - as well as Things I Eat On Vacation.
*KFTF = K&#@ From The Future = The Poor Man Who Lives In My Apartment and Puts Up With My Shenanigans. There's a long story behind this name, one that has no time nor place on this blog.