Tag Archives: hot sauce

WEEKEND CHEF! Hot Wings With Festive Rice (serves 4)

 I married a man who can’t cook but always wished he had learned the basics early on. Everything is so much harder to grasp when you are older (you know, like learning Japanese or ice skating!). Well, I am determined that this doesn’t happen to my kids, at least when it comes to cooking. It would be sinful not to teach them a little of what I have learned over the years, and keeping children out of the kitchen because they make a mess is a poor excuse when you think that one day they could make a dinner like the one my 14-year-old son made for us all this weekend!

Chef Special

Chef Special

Granted he needed a nudge to get going, and he thought because he had watched me for so long he would magically be able to dice an onion into minute uniform squares. He soon realized the only way to learn is by doing it over and over again. My two children have always helped doing “jobs” in the kitchen (my son’s favorite being to chop herbs to a fine powder!), but the other night when I looked at my son as he towered above me I had this vision of him four short years from now in some college wondering how to make good basic dishes to sustain him – panic!

The inspiration

The inspiration (The Sriracha Cookbook)

The two of them certainly know a lot about food and they know how most basic dishes are made (stews, curries, noodle dishes, sauces, stocks, soups etc), but this year I want my son to be our Weekend Chef. This past Saturday his job was to grab any cookbook magazine or food idea, tell me what it was and I would give him free reign in the kitchen (with me of course hovering to impart any wisdom I might want to force upon him). He loves Asian flavors (and sriracha hot sauce) and decided on Hot Wings from a new cookbook (present for my husband which he will probably never open!) and a rice dish I make variations on quite a bit.


Squeezing lime juice into his sauce (He told me it was “harder than it looked” – “isn’t everything!” was my reply.

He did an amazing job and from watching him I am pretty confident that in the next few months he will be slicing and dicing better than me. He was very specific about his rice and when he tasted it, he only added a little mirin to the end result because he wanted a little “sweetness to balance the fire from the Hot Wings Sauce” We didn’t fry the wings as in the recipe. I think it is a tad dangerous and the risk of crisping them up too much was a factor. He argued that cooking them in the oven would not get the same effect but then seeing the result was happy enough with the crisp skin. I also told him the quantity of sauce was way too much for the amount of wings so he halved the recipe (again arguing with me) and it turned out to be an ample amount of sauce for everyone. He’s already learning that cookbooks should be a guide-book not a Bible.

Last night (as I cooked dinner) he came by to help - see, it's working already!

Last night (as I cooked dinner) he came by to help – see, it’s working already!

He tried to be cool about the whole “making dinner” thing but when we all thanked and complimented him he got to feel the pride and satisfaction that comes with doing something for someone besides yourself. There will be star meals and bombs made over the next year of Saturdays, but I can’t wait for each and every one.


Hassle-Free Wings:

3 lbs chicken wings – tips removed (demo picture below)

2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp salt


Preheat oven 400*

1 – Prep wings (see picture below) and place in big bowl with oil and salt. Mix everything together to coat the wings with oil.


Take a wing, chop off the tip (discard or keep to use in a homemade stock). Cut the rest of the wing in two. you’ll get the hang of it after a couple of tries.

2 – Place a cooling rack or some sort of oven rack into a baking tray (it will keep the wings separated from the dripping fat) and add the wings in an even layer. Place in oven for between 40 to 50 minutes, or until the wings look nice and crispy.

place wings on rack

place wings on rack

Remove to a bowl and coat with half of the hot sauce (recipe follows)

Coat crispy wings with hot sauce

Coat crispy wings with hot sauce

Hot Sauce for Wings:

1 stick unsalted butter

1/3 cup sriracha sauce

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp salt

1/2 lime – juiced


Add butter to a pot set on low heat and dd the sauce

Add butter to a pot set on low heat and add the sriracha sauce

Add the honey, lime juice and salt

Add the honey, lime juice and salt

serve warm beside wings or coat wings with sauce

serve warm beside wings or coat wings with sauce

Festive rice Just For You (serves 4-6)

This recipe should be tailored to veggies you like and what you have available in your kitchen. In other words, treat everything as optional, except for the rice!

You will need:

Basmati Rice – stove top made rice: 2 cups (16oz) and follow package instructions and for Rice Cooker: 3 cups in rice cooker measuring cup and follow rice cooker instructions (my ratio is 1 cup rice to 1 cup water)

2 to 3 tbs olive oil

Pick up to three or four of the following:

1 onion – diced (can be sweet, yellow, white or purple)

2 ribs celery – diced (optional)

1 cup diced or Julienned carrots (optional)

8 oz mushrooms – thinly sliced (can be any kind of mushroom)(optional)

2 small yellow squash or zucchini or 1 of each – diced (optional)

4 cups spinach or kale – chopped (optional)

2 large cloves garlic – roughly chopped (optional)

1 to 2 tbs various chopped fresh herbs (optional)

1 to 2 tsp spice (curry powder, mix of cumin, ginger and coriander or anything else you like when it comes to spice flavors) (optional)


1 – Put rice on to cook and then set aside.

Pari Basmati Rice

Pari Basmati Rice

2 – Put a big saute pan on medium heat and add 2 tbs of oil. When it has heated up a little add the veggies that will take the longest to cook, ending with the veggies that cook quickly. So, add things like onions and garlic first for 3 minutes, next the mushrooms, and then the carrots and squash, and ending with quick cooking things like the chopped greens.  Add more oil if necessary.

Add long-cooking ingredients forst

Add long-cooking ingredients first

2 – So, add things like onions and garlic first for 3 minutes, next the mushrooms, and then the carrots and squash, and ending with quick cooking things like the chopped greens.  Add more oil if necessary. Everything should be cooked within 10 minutes. 

keep adding veggies

keep adding veggies

3 – If going to use herbs and spices, add after the base ingredients like the onions and garlic.

Add rice

Add rice

4 – Add cooked rice and stir. Keep warm until ready to serve.

My son served this to us this past Saturday night!

My son served this to us this past Saturday night!

Chipotle Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice (serves 6)

A new recipe at last and it’s a really great one! It is fast and a wonderful summer dish and even better if you decide to invite the neighbors over (if you happen to have good ones that is!)


chipotle laced chicken stir-fry: The BEST!

Right now the supermarkets are over-flowing with avocados and they seem to be on sale everywhere I go. This is what prompted me to make this. I love to combine the cool creaminess of avocado with something spicy and crunchy.

I also served this with avocado slices, which gave everything a lovely creaminess

Having a couple of avocados on hand was also incentive for this dish

I used peppers and zucchini because it what was in my fridge when I went rummaging for dinner the other night. But this does not mean that you have to go running off to the shop to make this dish exactly the same. Use whatever you have on hand: any color pepper, onions (diced), shredded carrot, yellow squash (diced), the list goes on…

Make it up as you go along and it will be luscious!


You will need:

1 to 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

2 to 3 chipotle peppers with a tbs of adobo sauce, chopped (press HERE for more information on this ingredient)

4 tbs olive oil

1 bunch scallions (between 6-10), chopped

1 red pepper, small dice

1 large (not enormous!) zucchini, diced

1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

2 or 3 Haas avocado, pitted and sliced

Cooked basmati rice  – *if using a rice cooker, use 3 cups of raw rice in your rice cooker cup measure. If using stove-top, use 2 regular cup measures of rice. Cook both according to instructions.


1 – Cook rice. when cooked set aside. No need to keep warm.

cool basmati rice or take leftover rice from frige adn mix to seperate

Cook Rice

1 – Put chopped chicken, 2 tbs olive oil, chipotle peppers and sauce, garlic and lime juice into bowl and combine. Set aside for about 20 minutes. Can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge.

Chicken with Rock Creek Marinade

Marinade Chicken

3 – Put big saute pan on medium to high (more towards the high side but not all the way up), heat and add the last 2 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add the chopped veggies and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Stir-fry veggies first

Stir-fry veggies first

4 – Turn the heat up to high and immediately add  1/2 of the chicken mixture. *If you add all of  the chicken in one batch it will end up getting too moist and will steam more than stir-fry* Cook in an even layer for between 4 to 6 minutes. Taste a little to be sure it is cooked.

A smokey spicy stir-fry

A smokey spicy stir-fry

5 – Add the veggies back to the pan and turn heat off.


Great Dinner! (chipotle chicken stir-fry)

Divide rice and chicken mixture between warmed plates or bowls and add a “fan” of avocado slices to each plate. I like to add some tapatio hot sauce (press here for more info on this hot sauce), and a cooling spoonful of sour cream to each serving, but each to his own!

Hot Wings & Fries!! (serves 4)

The chicken wing has always been my favorite part of the chicken, which is why there is nothing better than a big basket of wings drenched in hot sauce for dinner. It is funny how everyone has their favorite part when it comes to chicken (“leg or breast?”). I was always a wing-man, and there is a reason for this that stems back to my dinners at home growing up.

Sometimes that's all I need

One of my cravings: crispy chicken wings with hot sauce

My mother couldn’t stand chicken but very frequently she roasted a whole chicken for dinner. Since there was six of us (kids) we had to use a system when doling out food, or when we did anything that required us to file into a place, and this system was called “ages honorable” It was a rule that was impossible to argue with. We would be served food, or stand in line according to our age, from oldest to youngest.

This meant by the time I was served dinner, I got the wing (I think it went from leg to breast to wings, followed by everything else!). I began to regard the wing as the ultimate and most prized part of the chicken. Maybe it was my way of feeling better about being gypped out of the leg. Anyway, whatever it was seemed to stick with me, and the wing is still the thing I covet.

French Fries..

great with Fries..

I was very happy when I came to the United States and made the discovery that the chicken wing had its own place on the menu, and it was sometimes all I would order for dinner.

It is hard for me to believe but I had never attempted to make “hot wings” until my son requested them (again) the other night. We had been to a restaurant with my brother who told my son he just had to try them. When he did, he couldn’t get enough and had been begging me try my hand at making them ever since. It must be in the genes!

So, I made them the other night and we all ate until there was nothing but bones left –  a very satisfying evening.


for wings:

3lbs whole chicken wings, cut as instructed in method (below)

2 tbs oil (olive or vegetable)

freshly ground black pepper (about 1/4 tsp)

2 tsp sea-salt

For hot sauce:

1 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 tsp madras curry powder (or whatever curry powder you have on hand)

1/4 tsp sea-salt

several grinds black pepper

2 to 3 tbs tabasco sauce


Preheat oven 400*

1 – Cut tips off of chicken wings, and cut the wing in half (cut where the drum meets the flat part – refer to picture below). Discard the tip or freeze for another use (chicken stock) and put the other parts in a big bowl. Add the seasonings and mix until everything is coated.


Cut the chicken wings like this

2 – Place a wire rack (I used a cooling rack) in the base of a baking sheet and spread out the wing parts in a single layer.

place wings on rack

place wings on rack.

3 – Place in oven and cook until crispy (between 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool on rack before removing to a bowl and coating with the hot sauce (recipe blow))



Method for Hot sauce

1 – Melt the butter with the curry powder, salt and pepper.

melt butter wiht spices adn seasonings

Melt butter with spices and seasonings

2 – Add the hot sauce and stir until smooth. Keep warm until ready to mix with the cooked wings.


Add the Tabasco and mix

Eat the wings alone or with fries and some leafy greens.

Delectable Shrimp Burritos (makes 8)

Dinner was late as usual, mostly because I had forgotten to defrost some sort of meat, and I made a phone call to a dear friend who I hadn’t talked to in forever.  I consequently became more interesting in my conversation with her than in my pursuing dinner!

Delicious AND Delectable Shrimp Burritos

Because it was late I defrosted some shrimp and while I was on the phone I made some lovely flour tortillas. It is a mindless task, so was not much of a problem to hold the phone in one hand and roll out dough with the other. 

Fresh veggies..

It was only while I was doing this that I had the idea of making burritos. I had a drawerful of peppers, and quick frying was a great way to use a good portion of them up!

Lovely juicy tomato from my garden

This dinner was all about freshness and it certainly delivered. It was light and crunchy, and of course the home-made tortilla reigned supreme.


If you are going to make your own flour tortillas (and I recommend that you do!), type flour tortilla in the search box to the right of my blog and you will find a great recipe to make 8 mouth-watering tortillas! You should make the tortillas before you do anything else. (Of course you can always save time and buy them)

Making your own flour tortilla is key.

You will need: 1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined (use the 31-40 count size), 2 small red onions, halved & sliced thinly into half moons, 4 – 6 tbs extra-virgin olive oil,  1 red peppers, 1 green pepper, 1 yellow or orange pepper, all thinly sliced lengthways, 1 hot, or 2 mild jalapeno peppers, 1/2 lb white mushrooms, sliced, juice of 1 lime, 1 head romaine lettuce, finely chopped, 2 good quality, ripe medium tomatoes, chopped, 1 cup sour cream, hot sauce (I use Tapatio),

prep shrimp

1 – Prep shrimp and place in bowl with a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper.

2 – Prep all vegetables as instructed above.

3 – Put big saute pan or wok on high heat. When it is hot, add 3 tbs of oil. When it is very hot, add the peppers and mushrooms. When the peppers start to get soft and a little charred on the edges, transfer to a bowl.

saute peppers & mushrooms

4 – Add more oil to the pan and add the onions. Cook for 2 minutes before adding the shrimp. Cook until shrimp are done (about 4 to 5 minutes)

Saute shrimp with red onion half moons

 5 – Put the peppers and mushrooms back into pan and give everything a stir. Turn off heat.

Ready to be stuffed into a tortilla!

To serve: place warm tortilla on your plate and add a portion of the shrimp mixture. Next add some romaine leaves, sour cream, followed by some hot sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. Fold up and devour!

Freshly chopped romaine and sour cream, with a squeeze of lime juice add tons of flavor.

Chicken Fajitas (serves 4)

If my man Dave had his way, we would be eating these every night for the rest of our lives! They are so burstingly (yeah – I make up words!) fresh tasting and can have plenty of variation (depending on what’s in the fridge). One thing I have to say right now is that I serve them with homemade flour tortillas. Yes, this does sound a bit extreme but once you go “homemade tortilla” you never go back! I am sort of stuck now because nothing compares to that lovely floury bite.

any interest in cooking this tonight?

The tortilla recipe is posted separately in case you need to find it again OR you can completely ignore it and use a store-bought brand (plenty of good ones out there – usually in the section with dairy products like cheese etc.). You can certainly prep all of this dinner ahead of time and then it goes really fast. I tend not to be that organized and  besides, the whole point of this for me is to make the cooking time part and parcel of dinner together. It is incidentally when more chat and fun happens – maybe someone is trying their hand at slicing peppers while someone else has actual chicken hands ( I say that when the phone rings while I am handling poultry  –  I shout out “chicken hands” and someone else has to get it!) So, the tortillas (8 count) take about 40 minutes to make and the fajitas take around the same. It’s all in the prep because the actually cooking time is brief. Hopefully that will help you make a decision as to what you want to do.

wow! - is that a homemade flour tortilla?

They are really fun to make when you have a bit of a crowd. I think it lends itself to drinking a margarita or two and getting everyone to chop something!

List: 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,  2 or 3 peppers (red & Green, yellow?),  1 red onion (optional), 1 jalapeno pepper,  1 lime,  3 or 4 chipotle peppers (see method for more info.),  3 cloves garlic,  olive oil, 1 to 2 cups fresh spinach, 2 tomatoes (optional)  1 cup sour cream or plain whole yogurt,  1 cup grated cheese (cheddar),  1 can refried beans or 2 cups cooked, mashed salted pinto beans, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional),  hot sauce, 4 to 8 flour tortillas (8″) depending on if you want one or two.

If you do everything in this order, things should go smoothly: Get out the board you use to prepare poultry on and thinly slice 3  skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4 if they are small or you are starving). A trick to slicing wobbly chicken is to stick it in the freezer for a 1/2 hour or so (if you remember to throw it in while you are gearing up to making dinner) and then you can slice with more precision and more efficiently. Put the sliced chicken into a bowl and get rid of the chicken board (I hate having it lying around so I stick it straight into the dishwasher or wash in the sink). Juice 1 lime and pour over chicken. Chop 3/4 cloves of garlic finely and add to chicken. Chop about 3 to 4 chipotle peppers and add to chicken, along with 1 or so tbs chipotle sauce from the can (a note on chipotle; this is a smoke-dried jalapeno pepper and is sold in cans.

you'll need these!

It comes in a smoky sauce. When I open a can I store what I don’t use in a Pyrex dish with a tight lid. It lasts for ages). Add 3 tbs olive oil to chicken and stir everything together with a metal or plastic spoon. Cover with a plate or lid and set aside while you prep everything else (or refresh your cocktail).

Marinating chicken

You can also do this step earlier and keep in fridge until needed. Slice 3 peppers (green, red, yellow or whatever you have – all green, all red??) and 1 jalapeno pepper. You may opt to leave this out because of the chipotle peppers in the chicken OR you


may not want any heat (in which case refrain from adding the chipotle to the chicken also). 1 red onion, thinly sliced and put it  into a bowl along with the peppers until ready to fry. Note about the onion: the red onion is really great in this dish but I invariably don’t have one when I need one and am not one for running out to get one little thing. So, what am I saying…..well I didn’t use one tonight! Before you launch into making that pan of yours sizzle up a storm, get your condiments out and ready to go: Grate the cheese (hard, strong cheddar perhaps) into a bowl, stick a spoon in a sour cream container,

this is obvious - a sliced tomato!

chop a tomato or 2 (only if you have it), chop cilantro, wash & dry spinach (or be lazy like me sometimes, and buy the pre-washed stuff) and put it all on the counter along with some hot sauce (I LOVE the Tapatio brand) somewhere out-of-the-way until you are ready to fill your tortilla. Big pan time! – put pan on high heat, let it sit for a minute or  two before adding about 2 tbs oil. I always use olive oil, but any high smoking oil will do the job (veg. oil, peanut oil?). Let the oil get hot.  Have patience and wait 2 minutes before tipping in peppers (& onion) – it will sizzle loudly  – no fear, that’s what should happen. Leave it alone for about 3 minutes,  toss about and then leave alone again. Do this until some of the pepper’s edges display a lovely charred look. Take out of pan and reserve and immediately add chicken big sizzle!

getting close!

Same method as before, leave it alone, turn, leave alone. Should be cooked in about 8 to 10 minutes. Re add peppers, stir in and turn off pan – Done! Note: the chicken combined with the smokey chipotle may make you cough because of the spicy heat but don’t be a baby and stick it out – well worth it!

Time to assemble:  Warm beans in small pan or pot. Warm tortilla – there are a few different way to do this: lay on top of food in pan right when you turn it off, turn oven to 350* and stick directly on rack, in a minute or two it is ready, lastly if you make them fresh (recipe below) they are warm already (or if you make them earlier warm in oven as above).

would you like that wrapped?

Put warm tortilla on plate and start building your fajita.  Down the middle : layer of beans, layer of chicken & peppers, sprinkle of spinach, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro and hot sauce. Wrap and eat with your hands (some people are experts at not even getting a drip

eat up!

on their plate) or the baby way (my option) – with a knife and fork!

Note: plates and bowl by Shawn Ireland.

Hot Sauce for my Tex-Mex food!

When it comes to dousing my fajita in hot sauce nothing can beat Tapatio Salsa Picante – lovely smokey grainy warmth.

everybody salsa!

I will be posting my Chicken Fajita recipe tomorrow so you better get to the shop and buy it now!

Flour Tortillas (makes 8)

I am not really the type to make a pastry crust for every pie I’ve ever attempted, nor am one for making fresh pasta (although I did get a nice little machine not so long ago so maybe pasta making is in my future). Do you feel a big however coming?? However, this is something you have got to try. A fresh homemade tortilla is simply one of the best surprises my taste buds have ever had.

This is all you need: 2 & 1/2 cups unbleached white flour, 1 tsp kosher salt, 4 tbs vegetable lard (I use Crisco), 1 cup warm water (more or less), extra flour for rolling. You will also need a rolling-pin and if you have a tortilla press – all the better. I didn’t have one for years and just pounded the disc out with my hand (I’ve heard that some people put it under their arm and flatten it into a nice 8″ round??? – so…whatever works I suppose!)

Method: Put flour in bowl and add salt and stir in with a hand whisk. Add lard and knead in with fingertips until it looks like flour with crumbles in it. Make a well in the center and add the cup of warm water. Stir in with a small wooden spoon until the mixture is one big dough ball – should take only a minute.

mix that dough gently!

Flour your countertop or a board (I myself don’t have room for a board) and knead dough for about 2 minutes. What is kneading??  –  just sort of push it forward with your palms,  turn it to a different side and repeat. Keep flouring as you need it (if the dough feels tacky on your hands).

fat log..

Shape into a kind of fat log and cut in the middle with a sharp knife. In turn cut those pieces in the middle (now you have 4!). Now cut each of those pieces in half – now you have 8 pieces.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8 pieces!

Pick each one up and roll in between palms until you have a rough ball. Place all 8 pieces on a floured board and cover for about 20 minutes or so (you can busy yourself with chopping wobbly chicken!).

8 resting balls, oops - cover with cloth!

After 20 minutes make a clean space on your countertop and put flour on your rolling-pin. Throw 2 or 3 dough balls into your flour bag and toss about. Put a nice heavy pan on medium to low heat and take a floured piece of dough from the bag and pound with your palm until you have a flat roundish disc.

sorry, can't hear you, I'm pounding my dough ball!

It makes a bit of noise but just warn everybody that there will be a little pounding going on in the kitchen for awhile…When it is flat take your rolling-pin and working from the middle, roll to the edge. Lean lightly as you go. Keep switching directions and repeating the same action until your dough is about an 8″ disc.

rollin' rollin' rollin'

Remember to keep adding the dough to the bag of flour as you proceed. Being exact about the roundness is not something you should worry about.  The ones I make look like anything from a sort of roundish square to an odd-shaped circus animal. Place dough in pan, wait for it to start to bubble and bulge and then flip and do the same (about 1 minute per side, although the first one may take longer as the pan might not have warmed up enough). Keep throwing dough into the bag and work continually.

the fun bit!

As the dough on the pan is cooking you are busy rolling out the next one. When the one in the pan is cooked place on a dinner plate that has a teacloth laid over it. This is an amazing little discovery of mine. Right before the next one is done fold the teacloth over the last cooked tortilla and then put the next one onto the new teacloth fold. Keep doing this until all 8 are ready. As I run out of teacloth folds I just add another teacloth. It eventually turns into a stack of swaddled floury tortillas.

the magic tortilla baby blanket!

OK – I know this sounds like a job but watching the bubbling dough is very satisfying. Don’t the pictures make you a little curious?? They stay warm in their blanket while you prepare the filling (be it chicken fajitas, scrambled eggs, cheese w/ scallion and bacon and on and on…)You can also store them in a sealed plastic bag in your fridge for 2 weeks or more.

the delicious payoff 🙂