Saturday, February 19, 2011

Flowers!!!

I am so excited.  I've been looking for something to give my bags a little bit more... something.  I love the idea of fabric flowers and I've found a few that I really enjoy creating.  It's been so nice to explore something a little more crafty and creative that doesn't take hours to make!
Joann's was having a really great sale this weekend.  50% off their clearance and I found a few, ok more than just a few fabrics to add to my already too much fabric.  But the deal was too good to pass up.  This flower above is made using a taffeta.  Stick a pin back on it and it's an instant lift to a handbag, shirt...glue on a bobby pin and a too cute hair accent!  Can you tell why I'm so excited!
Now this one I'm just ga-ga over.  I loved the color fabric as soon as I saw it not even thinking it would make an awesome poppy.  As a matter of fact I didn't even think about my design until I started playing around a few minutes before I had to put the kiddies to bed.  
So this one is not my favorite.  I used some fabric from my stash.  But I know with the right fabric and more practice it would look really cute.  

I made this little portfolio/booklet as a gift for my sister.  That little flower was my first and I handstitched it all...not the best way.  I just discovered Fabri-tac, which was used on the other flower above.  I have never used a fabric glue but this one really does the job!  This booklet was designed for Weight Watchers meeting info.  This one is kind of a modge-podge of some Amy Butler fabrics and upcycled linen from a pair of pants.  Sometimes I love the throw everything together look!  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Crispy Hot Wings

I love hot wings, like so many other people.  I LOVE Frank's Red Hot sauce.  I craved it when I was pregnant with my first child.  I easily would have been happy drinking it.  The absolute Best wings I ever tasted can be found at a little restaurant and tavern called the Old Forge in Lanesboro, MA.  (If you ever happen to be in the area.)

When I can't treat my family to the Forge's wings I like to cook up my own.  I get asked how I cook my wings whenever I mention them.  I think a wing lover likes them crisp.  Here's my crispy, not so secret.

It's really not a recipe but rather a method.

First I start usually with the cheapest wings I can find.  Today I happened to be cooking with Perdu wings from Price Rite bought at $1.78/lb.  Normally I will get 10lbs of Tyson Frozen wings from BJ's.  I wasn't able to get there so we will settle for unfrozen today.
I line a half sheet pan which is a large cookie sheet, with aluminum foil.  If I'm not cooking a lot I will just stick them on the foil.  If I have a lot then I take my cookie cooling racks and lay them on top of the pan.  They are a little bit bigger but they work fine.  Since I have so many tonight I'm doing a pan of each and comparing cooking methods.  The reason I use the cooling racks is because with so many wings on one pan the amount of fat that is released ends up preventing them from crisping up.



Now these wings all came as one big piece.  I like to have mine all separated.  So I get out my trusty and super sharp Buck shears.  They slice through these babies like butter.  Cut at each joint and throw out the little end wing pieces.  Why they include these I have no idea.  I guess just to make you pay more. 


Once they are all done I sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and slip them into a 400 degree oven.  Baking times are very forgiving.  Typically I cook for a minimum of 1 hr.  You will have to keep checking them to be sure exactly how long.  My tray that was just lined with foil ended up taking just over an hour.  The tray with the cooling racks actually took about 1 3/4 hr.  I take them out whenever they look deep golden.






The top photo shows the tray with just the foil.  This time I actually liked how those cooked better.  They were very golden and crispy.  I cooked them lower in the oven so that is probably why they came out so nice and crispy on the bottom.  The tray with the cooling racks however took much longer to cook and still didn't get that real crispness that I like.  Normally they do however but I'm chalking it up to sharing the oven with the other tray.

Oh, and for the Hot in these wings...pure Frank's Red Hot just sprinkled over as we eat them - maybe a little blue cheese dressing on the side.  These are also really good marinated prior to cooking in your favorite teriyaki or other sauce.