Sharon Thompson: Celebrating the chicken wing in time for Super Bowl XLVIII

Herald-Leader food writerJanuary 21, 2014 

Love chicken wings? After watching the documentary The Great Chicken Wing Hunt, you'll have plenty of trivia to share with football fans as they chow down on wings during Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

The documentary celebrates the chicken wing's rise from lowly bar food in western New York to one of America's most popular foods. The film follows a group of self-proclaimed wing enthusiasts on a journey through America's "wing belt" as they attempt to determine the world's best Buffalo wing. During their journey, the wing-hunters stop at 72 bars and restaurants, travel 2,627 miles and try 270 types of wings.

Along the way, they visit Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y., where the Buffalo wing was invented 50 years ago. The original sauce recipe was just two ingredients: Frank's RedHot sauce and melted butter, a pairing that created the flavor we now know as "Buffalo." To view the trailer, go to Chickenwinghunt.com or download the film on iTunes at Bit.ly/18zyIYy for $12.99.

Making a special meal

You don't have to make reservations at an upscale restaurant to celebrate Valentine's Day with a lovely romantic dinner. You can prepare a fabulous dinner to serve at home with help from Stuarto's Olive Oils and the chefs at The Club at Spindletop Hall.

The Valentine class will be offered twice, from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 12 and 13. The menu features country ham and pimento cheese risotto balls; Tuscan chicken stuffed with fresh basil, prosciutto and gorgonzola; asiago, shiitaki and white truffle bread pudding; haricots vert sautéed in oregano white balsamic; and strawberries frangelica.

The cost of a class is $41. Spindletop Hall is at 3414 Ironworks Pike. Call (859) 263-0088.

Upcoming classes at Wild Thyme

Here's the lineup for cooking classes this month at Wild Thyme, 1060 Chinoe Road. Topics and times are:

■ Classic steakhouse, 6 p.m. Saturday. Learn to make steak au poivre, Delmonico rib-eyes, and aged steak with toppings such as Béarnaise and cognac.

■ Super Bowl appetizers, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31. Chili, pizza bites, crunchy wings and ribs are on the menu.

Call (859) 523-2665 or go to Wildthymecooking.com.

Crisco's pie experts happy to help

If you'd like to make a great pie for Valentine's Day, pick up some tips from Crisco. Thursday is National Pie Day, and the pie-making experts will answer your questions on the Crisco pie hot line. They're available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (877) 367-7438. Recipes and tips also are at Crisco.com.

Just pop one in your mouth

And speaking of pie: Cake pops were hot last year. Now the mini dessert of choice is the pie pop. Bite-size portions of favorite pies are easy to make, and there are plenty of choices in Andrea Smetona's new cookbook, Easy as Pie Pops (Page Street Publishing, $19.99).

Smetona, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., is founder of Cakewalk Desserts; her creations have been featured in Town & Country Weddings, The Knot and on the cover of Ceremony magazine.

Pie pops are fast becoming a favorite dessert for parties and weddings. A trend in the wedding industry is the breakfast reception instead of an expensive dinner, Smetona said, so she includes waffle bars and pancake stacks for cake cutting. Her book includes a recipe for breakfast casserole pie pop, and this recipe for a Valentine pastry.

RECIPE

Cherry tart pop

4 unbaked store-bought or homemade 9-inch diameter pie crusts

3½ cups pitted fresh sour cherries

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided

1 cup granulated sugar

10 tablespoons cornstarch

1½ cups cold water or cherry juice

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon almond extract

6 drops red food coloring (optional)

1 large egg white, beaten, for brushing

Coarse sugar, for garnish

Cookie sticks

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour a large baking sheet.

To prepare filling: Bring ½ gallon water to a boil. Meanwhile, wash cherries under cold water in a colander, picking out any leaves or stems. Pit cherries and place in cold water until just covered, with 4 tablespoons lemon juice to prevent browning. Blanch cherries by placing them in the boiling water and bringing it back to a boil for 2 minutes. the cherries and keep them covered in a large bowl.

In a large pot, combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, cold water (or cherry juice), cinnamon, almond extract and food coloring. Stir mixture over medium heat until it thickens and begins to boil. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and, stirring, continue to boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and fold berries into hot mixture, stirring gently. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse for 4 to 5 seconds. Set aside.

To assemble pie pops: Flour both sides of the two pie crusts, then roll flat with a rolling pin. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut 24 rounds from the dough, 12 for the bottom crust and 12 for the top crust. If doing peek-a-boo, stamp out a heart peek-a-boo from each of the 12 top crusts using a heart-shaped Linzer cookie cutter.

Lay out bottom crusts on baking sheet. Brush each bottom crust with beaten egg white, using a silicone basting brush. Press an 8-inch-long cookie stick firmly on top of the center of each bottom crust. Put 1½ -inch dollop of cherry filling in center of each bottom crust. Place a top crust over each bottom crust and press firmly around sides only, sealing the filling inside.

Create a cookie stick dowel by cutting a 1-inch long piece off the end of an 8-inch cookie stick. Use this dowel to crimp the sealed edges of the pie pop by pressing firmly on each side of the stick first, then move counterclockwise around the edges. This will keep the stick from moving around once the pie pop is baked.

After each pop is sealed and pressed, carefully brush more egg white on each top crust, except over filling inside the peek-a-boo opening. Finally, sprinkle top crusts with coarse sugar.

Bake on center rack for 15 minutes, until crust is golden. Then place individual pops on a cooling rack and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 24 pops.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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