The Beloved and I hosted my best friend and her family this weekend. There are Four in that family. In addition, we hosted another friend and his daughter. That makes Six Altogether. The Beloved and I generally live alone with the kittens, making 2 human-sized and 3 kitten-sized bodies in our home. On Friday evening, our home contained five adult-sized bodies, two-teenage-sized bodies, one eleven-year-old body and three kitten-sized bodies. That's a very lot of bodies.
My other best friend, Lizzie of the Beautiful Plate, called last week when she heard. Not to chat, but to see if I had Lost My Mind. I assured her that I was as much in my Right Mind as I ever am. Hey, I see you in the back! No eye rolling.
So, maybe you are wondering why we had all these Bodies in our home? Yep, I thought so. Two words, folks: feis and beer.
Feis is Gaelic for festival. And in the world of Irish Dance, a feis is an Irish Dance competition. Think Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Julie's daughter has been dancing for nine years. Her brother is also competing these days. Shellie has a lot of wonderful friends whom she's met through Irish Dancing. Amelia is one of those friends.
Every year, there is a feis in Raleigh, and since we live close by, we invited our Feis Friends to stay with us. Of course, they took us up on it. I mean, have you seen our porch?!
If you've never been to a feis, let me describe it for you. There are a lot of girls (and some boys) in sparkly dresses with big bouncy wigs and glitter and sparkly makeup. (But not the boys. They just wear shirts, ties and vests. And pants). There are a lot of parents who look like they could use a drink. There is a lot of clomping about and bouncing of big hair to Irish tunes played by a dude on a fiddle or an accordion. If you think a dance is supposed to start at 1pm, it is best to add at least 2 hours. I speak from harsh experience. The feis parents call it "Irish time." With apologies to my lovely Irish readers, I am Not a Fan of Irish Time.
At any rate, we all had a perfectly lovely weekend. Amelia earned her Open Champion, which is a Great Thing, Shellie (also an Open Champion) placed second in one of her dances, and James William earned two first-place finishes on Saturday. Keen! And guess what? Amelia and Shellie have both qualified to go to Worlds in Glasgow, Scotland in March! Double keen!
While the feis was happening, the boys were brewing. You know--The Beloved and Julie's husband Scott and Amelia's dad Matt and our neighbors Chuck and Thomas. They ended up with about ten gallons of what will eventually be blackberry golden ale.
Needless to say, it was a Very Busy Weekend. Fun, but very busy. The kittens were at first horrified as the troops kept hauling accoutrement up the stairs. Then, when we began opening up sleeping areas, they were all, "Beds! We LOVE beds!"
Here are some Photographs from The Feis:
Everyone ended up leaving on Sunday morning around 10:00am. The Beloved and I promptly went back to bed for many hours. And then yesterday, I was overcome with Ennui. Perhaps it was the Post-Feis Let Down. Perhaps it was because the house was so quiet. Perhaps it was the Advil PM I took Sunday night. Whatever it was, it left me Unable to Do Anything. Very, very sad.
And so, here I am on Tuesday writing what I neglected to write on Sunday or Monday. Sorry about that, but better late than never, right? And it's a good one, too. Promise.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Will from Recipe Play wrote about the Best Chicken Wings in History. And a funny thing happened. I am not one to try and replicate someone else's recipe. I'm sure that doesn't come as a surprise to you. At any rate, this time, I was struck by the Need to Replicate These Wings.
I even did something that I (almost) never do: I bought a special ingredient that Will used: onion powder. I know, right?! I could've just gone with my own garlic powder, but I wanted to stay true to what Will made. I was Resolute.
Until I got home and began cooking. Then, I must admit I made a couple of changes to both the recipe and the technique. In the main, I think the wings were Pretty Close to the Original. And they were G.U.D. good. I mean it--they were fantastic. Sticky and messy and Succulent and spicy and sweet/sour and blue-cheesy. Will said they were redonkulous, and he Was Not Kidding.
I didn't measure anything. Honest. I tried to keep proportions fairly accurate (like 3 parts cider vinegar to 2 parts rice wine vinegar), but I just eyeballed everything. Go check out Will's Master Recipe, and then come see how I made my wee modifications. I shall wait for you.
So, here's what I did:
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- sm0ked paprika
- after my special shopping, I forgot to add the onion powder. Oops.
Then, I mixed up the wet stuff:
- apple cider vinegar
- rice wine vinegar w/garlic in it
- Thai chile-garlic paste--lots. Prolly 1/2 cup or a bit more.
- squirt of honey
- big splash of fish sauce
- big splash of soy sauce
- toasted sesame oil (just a touch)
- one small-ish bunch of green onions, mostly the white and light green parts, whirred up in the food processor.
I mixed all that stuff up together.
I dried off my wings (I had 30 drummettes). Drummettes is a word I Hate. Like Niblets. But that's a different story. Anyway, I dried the wings, and then here's how it goes:
Brown in peanut oil in batches in a cast iron skillet. Put back in big old bowl or pot.
- In the same skillet, reduce the wet stuff for a few minutes to turn it into a thin glaze.
- Pour over the browned wings and toss to coat.
- Place wings in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover w/foil and bake at 375F for 35-ish minutes.
- When the wings are done, take them out and put them on a large plate. Cover to keep warm.
- Carefully pour the glaze and chicken juices from the pan back into the skillet.
- Add a squirt or two more honey and reduce to a thick syrup.
Turn off the heat but leave the skillet on the burner. Add another touch of toasted sesame oil.
Dump all the wings back into the skillet and toss with tongs to coat the wings.
You can either eat them right away or put them under the broiler for just a couple of minutes before eating.
My blue cheese dressing was almost exactly like Will's. I did add a bit of celery seed to mine as a nod to "original" buffalo wings.
As the Goose from Charlotte's Web would say, "These were Incredibly-edibly-edibly good." Please make some at your earliest convenience. You will not be sorry. Will and I promise.