Tender and Gooey Teriyaki Chicken Wings

Gooey Teriyaki Chicken WingsThis weekend I helped host a baby shower for my dear friend Clint and his wife Marisa, who is due at the end of February. The idea, thought up by our friend Heather, was to have a party focused on the father, sort of a bachelor party for a dad-to-be. Combining cutesy baby crap with men and beer… literally. Because we’re all starving artists, we couldn’t really swing a swanky bar or restaurant to host, so instead we used the game room in my building – free and cozy. Done. Heather took care of the invites and the decorations. She cleverly hung all sorts of male-oriented onesies (superheroes and such) and instructed all the guests to bring a six pack of beer and diapers. And because their baby is in fact a boy, he got to take home all of them to be used in the not-too-distant future. So resourceful.

As you might have guessed, my job was to provide food. To me, nothing says man party like chicken wings. I’m not gonna lie, I make some pretty damn good wings. Well, I should say my mom makes pretty damn good wings – I’ve just been making them for friends and parties for years. I use fresh chicken wings you find next to the breasts and thighs and such in the refrigerator section of your grocery story. Truth be told they are not cheap, particularly considering how many you have to make to feed a crowd. BUT this time of year with football season in full swing, they had huge family packs for 50% off. I was able to leave the grocery store with about 40 wings for less than $15. That is a steal. And remember these aren’t party wings or drummettes, these are full-on chicken wings, labeled “wings” on the package.

To make, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. One batch of sauce consists of: 1 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup of white sugar, and 1.5 cups of dark brown sugar. You need one batch of sauce per dozen wings. I had three dozen, so I tripled the recipe. I combined everything in a large sauce pan, mixed well, and put it over medium high heat, stirring frequently until it JUST comes to a boil. Be careful as the sauce boils over REALLY fast. While this was cooking I arranged my wings in three disposable aluminum pans. You definitely need disposable since this sauce is way sticky – you do not want to have to clean it off your pans. I put about a dozen wings in each pan – you want to make sure they fit in an even layer, so you may wind up with a few less or a few more depending on the size of your pan. Once the sauce came to a boil I killed the heat and poured it over all the wings, using tongs to make sure every wing was coated. There should be a good pool of sauce at the bottom of each pan. Place them in the bottom half of your oven and bake for 1 hour. After an hour they will be brown, bubbly, and fall apart tender. It doesn’t get any better. I usually plan for two wings per person, but use your best judgement for your own party.

In addition to the wings, I made Sherri’s potato wedges, which you might remember from an earlier post. They went SUPER fast. Both items were smash hits and made for perfect snacking at an early afternoon party. Yum.

I’ll have all of you know that because I’m doing bootcamp, I didn’t eat a SINGLE one. Bootcamp update tomorrow!

TIP: try making these hot by adding a squirt of Sriracha in the sauce – mmmmm!!!! Happy Sunday!!

Crispy Baked Panko Chicken

Well, friends, here it is, my first cooking show webisode. Crispy Baked Panko Chicken. Mmmm. As I say in the video, this is one of my favorite recipes, not only to make, but for everyone I cook for. It’s the kind of recipe that people get addicted to. Seriously. Before I filmed this back in November, I had the producer and director over for a demo meal and this chicken is what I fed to them (along with a couple other things). A few days later I get a call from the producer. I answer the phone and she says: “DAVE. I can’t stop thinking about that f*****g chicken!” I’m telling you, it’s the real deal.

As promised, here’s the recipe:
Crispy Baked Panko Chicken (Recipe PDF)

A few small notes from my video. First, since our budget was so low I used the aluminum pans I had sitting in my cabinet that I bought for Thanksgiving to mariante the chicken. It definitely works, but if you have a heavy duty plastic container with a lid, that will work even better and in fact is probably way easier to handle. Also, you should plan on 50-55 minutes for the chicken, not 45. This is all reflected in the recipe PDF.

Now you may be asking why I decided to make this. Well, first and foremost: because I wanted to. I found myself watching Food Network saying “I could totally do this”. Rather than just sitting around hoping Food Network would suddenly call me, I decided I needed to take action. Through friends of friends I found a producer/director team that was making cooking shows, so I pitched my idea and they went for it. We actually made a handful of episodes, so depending on how this one is received, I may be releasing more in the near future. It’s by no means a perfect product, but I think it’s a damn good start. Fingers crossed a big production company will take notice and scoop me up. Or perhaps just a nice tall man….

With that, hope you enjoy both the recipe and the video. Feedback is definitely welcome. Happy Friday!!

Sausage District

I’ve been passing by a place on Cahuenga and Selma for months called District 13. Their sign boats beer and sausages – how intriguing. On Tuesday my roommate had a hankering for some sausage, so I suggested we give it a shot. The restaurant is tucked into a hip corner strip mall that has a Big Wangs and a little froyo place called Frog. This whole stretch of Cahuenga  has some really fantastic little restaurants. You recall my post about Kitchen 24, yes? There is one right up the street, not to mention a slew of other little eateries and such that make it a really happening area. And only a short walk up from the Arclight cinema.

When we entered the place we immediately fell in love with the atmosphere. Totally open, lots of floor space, plenty of room to bring a big group of friends and mingle. The wide open windows and doors give ample opportunity to sit outside and flirt with the men from Big Wangs out smoking their cigarettes. Never a bad feature. It has kind of a sports bar meets gastropub meets lots of beer. And I do mean lots of beer. 50 bottled beers from around the world and 22 craft beers from California on tap. And I suppose that’s a good thing since their website bills themselves as a “punky gastropub” – obviously they are right. We were greeted by an incredibly friendly and lovely Australian lady (I didn’t get her name – shameful) who was both the bar tender and our waitress. Very nice.

Neither of us were in a place to be drinking beer, so we went right for sausages. We both ended up getting the smoked bratwurst, which comes on a brioche bun with your choice of two dipping sauces and two toppings. As you can see, I opted for the grilled mushrooms and onions. The brat was good…. my life was not changed, but it was good. I think the bun tripped me up a bit. Maybe if it were toasted or grilled it would have come off better. Or maybe brioche in general is just too much? I don’t know. But, it hit the spot nonetheless. I was pleased to see they have a full menu, including salads, burgers (which looked really good), apps, and even some vegan sausage options. Clearly they know they’re in SoCal.

We are very excited to return here on a Saturday night with a group of friends and see what this place can really get up to. But for now, I’m happy to recommend it as a quick and casual stop in for a weeknight dinner that is definitely starving artist friendly.

District 13
1566 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028