Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blog Party #21: Currying Favour - or - Hold On, I'm Cumin

Bite-sized beauties and Turtle Punch, too!
When I saw the post announcing this Blog Party event, I was excited because this gave me a chance to try out a couple of things I'd been considering lately. Namely, Chicken Wings and specifically, some spicy spicy sauce I've been working on. Plus, it gave me an excuse to mess around with my standard potato salad recipe that was becoming a bit tired. The theme of this month's event is: Picnic Food!

I was originally planning to make a bunch of different stuff for this event, but due to time and budget constraints, I settled on two dishes and one cocktail. Nothing says 'Picnic Food' to me like potato salad and cold chicken, so I made Spicy Chicken Drumettes and Devilled Potato Salad with Turtle Punch (it's much like Rabbit Punch, but not quite as fast :-{>).

You would think that it would be easy to find raw chicken wings at any grocery store, but NOOOOOO.... I had to go to three different places before I found a single tray of about a dozen chicken drumettes. Of course, it was the Grocery Palace, where I should have gone in the first place. Oh, well. Maybe it was the fact that it was a Sunday night and the meat counters were all half-empty. Or maybe.... maybe it was an evil conspiracy to prevent me from cooking tasty food for this event. Or maybe I've just been drinking too much Turtle Punch.

Over the last little while I have developed a taste for cumin, and have been putting it in pretty much everything I cook. For the wings, I wanted to make a really good coating, so I decided to make a masala from cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, asafoetida and kosher salt. Here's how I did it:

Killer Curry Masala

1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp asafoetida powder
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp kosher salt

In a dry skillet, over high heat, dry-roast all ingredients for 30 seconds to a minute until the coriander seeds start to darken, and the cumin seeds start to pop. You will really be able to smell the fantastic aroma.
Remove from skillet and whiz to a powder in a spice grinder.

*NOTE: Dry-roasting the spices is very important. You COULD just mix everything together and grind them up, but you wouldn't get the same depth of flavour, or great aroma.


OK, back to the chicken.

To make these drumettes easier to handle, I cut off the knobby end of the bone and pressed the rest of the meat down, leaving a ball of chicken meat with the bone sticking out. Then, flour, egg wash, then tossed in the masala and breadcrumbs and baked in the oven at 400F for about 45 minutes. They may look blackened, but the meat was still moist, and the coating was nice and crispy (and darn tasty).

Ah, potatoes. I love potatoes. I could eat potatoes at every meal. For this meal, I wanted to combine two of my favourite party/picnic foods: potato salad and devilled eggs. I started off by hard-boiling some eggs, and boiling and mashing a medium-sized Yukon Gold potato. While the eggs were cooling, I fried up a couple of pieces of crispy peppered bacon, cut them into square pieces and set them aside. To the potatoes, I added some fearsome sriracha chili sauce (ah yeah, that's good lovin'), then some of the masala, a chopped green onion, some grainy mustard, a little mayo, a little butter, some crushed garlic, and a splash of Worchestershire Sauce. Mix until smoooooth. I peeled the hard-boiled eggs, and cut them in half. I removed the yolks and added them to the potato mixture, and roughly mixed them in.

So. The egg halves made a perfect little serving vessel for the mashed potato salad, and with a piece of bacon added in, and a slice of cocktail olive to top it all off, there you have Devilled Potato Salad.

What's that? The punch? I haven't explained the punch, you say? Alright, alright, I'm getting to it.

I find it more difficult to invent cocktails than food recipes. I don't know why. Maybe it's the fact that while I was in university, I would concoct various libations that only I seemed to find tasty. I mean, really. Homemade red wine mixed with Diet Pepsi should work, shouldn't it? It certainly worked for me at New Year's Eve 1989.... people tell me. But I digress. Here's the formula.
Turtle Punch
Makes one pitcher of punch

1 pot of tea, cooled (I think it's Orange Pekoe)
2 C citrus drink
2 C peach drink
2 C rye whiskey
1 C sherry (I ran out of rye)
1/2 C sugar (trust me on this one)

Stir to combine, and chill in fridge.
Serve in frosty glass, and top with chunks of Turtles ice cream bar on a toothpick.

A big thank you to Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness for doing such a great job organizing this event.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I love the sound of that punch!