Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Wings

Spring is finally arriving, I'm not used to it being this late but it's always a pleasure to see those first daffodils of the year exploding all over the place suddenly. This morning our Azalea bush has started to bloom and I've even seen some tulips out and about too....another week and there will be colour everywhere! Winter has not been too harsh this year, compared to a usual maritime winter. There was not much snow and a lot of sunny but cold days. Beats the rain any day! Saying that, the rain we've had the last couple of days seems to have been the push the grounds needed to start the bloom....Summer is gonna be epic.
The veggie patch is taking shape, PB and I made our raised beds a couple of weeks ago. They are made of pressure treated lumber so we have to put a lining inside them to stop any leaching from the wood. Cedar would have been the best choice but it runs at 3 x the cost.

Next we need to add some gravel to the bottom, fill in with soil and bring up the ground outside with wood chippings to close off any gaps. Oh, and we have to build a fence to keep the deer and other various wildlife out. The beds are 4x8 feet each. Should be able to fill them pretty quick. Already thinking we need more!

Seedlings are doing well, I noticed the pepper seeds are finally germinating and tomato and leeks are all going strong but I can tell they need to upsize to bigger pots. Most of the tomato seeds grew, I had 4 varieties. They are going to go on the deck in pots in a few weeks. The last frost date is mid May, so I'll wait until then. The leeks are at the far end, tomatoes in the middle and then basil in the front of the picture.

These are the broccoli seedlings, they seem to grow an inch a day and suck up lots of water. I really hope I can eat their fruit one day, although broccoli is well liked by lots of pests so who knows.
In other foodie news, last week I cooked lots with meat. This week I am working on reducing that, it's too expensive and although I love it, I think it's better for me to eat a little less. I do want to go meat free for a week or two but I'm going sugar free this week (no honey, alcohol, fruit juice, chocolate..sniff..., etc) and thought combining the two would end in some kind of chocolate covered blood bath rare steak fest followed by a hangover. So, I'm going no sugar (except 1 piece of fruit per day) until the end of the month (10 days in total) and reduced meat with a focus on soups, quinoa, kale and some fish. Before that started though, I made these wings for playoff of the 5 playoff nights the Canucks played. But we're not going to talk about that. I saw this recipe being made while I was on the treadmill one day, it was on one of my fave cooking shows called Best Ever Recipes on CBC. The wings are baked so that takes care of the health component. They do have a breadcrumb coating but wheat intolerant peeps can use spelt or other wheat free breadcrumbs. I did try making some without breadcrumbs and just using the wet mustard based coating and they were yummy too. Here is the link to the official recipe. Check out the rest of the site too. 
Here is my modified version:

2 lb chicken wings (you can buy them with the tips removed ready for you)
1/3 cup (75 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper
1 cup (125 mL) dry bread crumbs
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) dried oregano or basil
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp dehydrated onion or onion powder

Preheat oven to 400F.

Melt the butter and mix with dijon mustard, salt and cayenne pepper.
Mix wings into this until coated.
Prepare a baking tray. I used a cooling rack over a foil lined baking sheet.
Mix breadcrumbs with dried herbs, onion and garlic powders.
(I added garlic powder, dehydration onion and  omitted the parmesan from the original recipe due to my dairy intolerance)
Dip wings in breadcrumb mix and place on baking rack.
Cook for about 45 mins until wings cooked through.

PB* and I planned to eat about 10 each and save the rest for lunch the next day. Wishful thinking. They all got devoured. They were delicious and very crunchy with a rich, satisfying taste. The mustard added a depth but not hotness, and you could not tell there was mustard there, it really complimented the chicken and the coating.
Will definitely make these again and use mustard as a base for other coatings. I am allergic to eggs and many coatings call for egg to make it stick so mustard will be my substitute from now on.

 *In case you are wondering, PB stands for Polar Bear. It is the nickname of my partner in love, life, gardening, Prison Break marathons and all things foodie :-)

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