Portlandia Chicken Wings

Theme cookbooks from movies and/or shows are generally considered a novelty item, but I would encourage anyone who receive such gifts to actually take the time to cook from them. It’s entertaining and you’d be surprised how good most of the recipes are.

That has been the case for me when it comes to the Portlandia cookbook and I’ve had rewarding experiences with other themed cookbooks as well.  In the case of Portlandia, I have to say this is my favorite so far. So pay attention and try this one out!

What you’ll need.

For the wings

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper (feel free to add more if you’re a spice freak like me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (I used McCormick Asian powder myself if you can’t find Chinese 5-spice)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 large chicken wings (about 3 pounds) split into wingettes and drumettes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • sliced scallions, for garnish
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

For the duck sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of apricot preserves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of minced and peeled fresh ginger

Our first step is to pre-heat the oven to 425, so go ahead and do that. You just turn the knob on your oven to the number that says 425.

While the oven is pre-heating, in a large bowel combine cumin, red pepper flakes, powder, salt, and flour. Not much else to say here, just mix it around until everything looks even.

Next prepare a space where you can coat the chicken with the oil without causing a mess. Be sure to rub the oil evenly so that when we mix it with our spice mix it does the same. When the oil looks even, add the chicken to the spice mix and toss until every piece is coated evenly.

We are now ready to place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do so and brush lightly with more oil before placing in the center of the oven.

Once in the oven, allow to cook for about 50 minutes with one or two breaks to turn the meat over for even cooking.

Even is word of the day for this recipe as it is for most. Cooking is kinda socialist like that what can I say?

While the chicken is roasting, go ahead and make your duck sauce. To do so, combine all duck sauce ingredients in a food processor with a 1/4 cup of water. Blend until it’s smooth and then heat it up in a saucepan over low heat.

The goal is to reduce the sauce to about a 1/2 cup size. Once we reach that goal, you can remove from the heat and display the sauce however you wish.  I displayed by placing in a small white bowl as you can see below.

If your wings happen to be done by now, remove them from the oven, garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve with your duck sauce for dipping on the side.

If you enjoy that, of course. No pressure from me to actually eat them that way, but I like both garnished items myself and the dipping sauce is easy to make, delicious, and can be stored up to a month in your fridge.

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Look at this colorful, appetizing display of chicken wings! Trust me, it’s as good as it looks. I cannot recommend you try this recipe more.

You read the earlier passages, you can suss out how easy this is to make. It’s been Rachel tested and approved with the easy meal stamp.

If you do, I highly recommend you go all the way and make that duck sauce too. It’s so easy. This whole thing is easy. Don’t be lazy! You’ve got this.

If you don’t, though, I won’t judge. I follow the philosophy of the dude and the dude abides.

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Frita de Tita

Frita de Tita is a tomato and bell pepper salad from The Scent of Orange Blossoms. If you’re wondering where the term Tita comes from well that just means auntie and I’m pretty sure frita means salad but I couldn’t get a fact check on that one.

I love that the authors of this book include family recipes. Who doesn’t love a revered dish from a relative? Personally I have many loved dishes from my aunties and uncles, but my all time favorite dish comes from an uncle who makes a chicken and noodle dish from scratch.

I loved those noodles so much that during Thanksgiving, as a child, when it was time for round 2 I’d come back with a giant plate of just noodles. I was fine with one round of everything else you see. My family thought this was funny and teases me about it to this day.  That side of the family never forgets…

What you’ll need

  • 4 bell peppers, roasted and seeded (Feel free to use a variety of bell peppers)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika

The first step is to roast your peppers. Do so by pre-heating your oven to broil and lining a baking pan with foil. Place each pepper in the pan and boil for 10-12 minutes. turn them over about half way to make sure they blister evenly.

Once the boiling process is over, place the peppers in a bowl and wrap with plastic wrap. Let this cool for 15-20 minutes and then peel the skin and remove the core and seeds.

Once this is done you can cut the pepper into 1/2 inch strips. There will be a lot of juice as you cut so store them in a colander to drain until further notice.

This next step can be done while the peppers cool and/or broil and that step is peeling and seeding your tomatoes.

The first step in this process is to cut each tomato lightly with an x on the base. Then place the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Once time is up, drain the water and allow the tomatoes to cool. Once they have cooled done enough to touch, peel off the skin and cut the tomatoes in half. Once halved, you can gently squeeze out the seeds and dice them up.

Once those tomatoes are ready we can combine them in our skillet along with olive oil, garlic, sugar, and tomato paste. Cook this mixture until the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates. This should take 12-15 minutes.

By now the peppers should be ready to also be added. If not wait, waiting until they are is advised. Add them along with salt and paprika. Then cover this mixture and stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes. We want this mixture to thicken and once that goal has been attained remove the lid and cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

This should also take around 10 minutes.

Once everything looks good remove from the heat and allow the salad to cool to room temperature for serving!

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As you can see this pepper salad is quite the colorful beauty and the looks match up to the taste.

It is intended to be eaten as a side dish but the cookbook mentions it can be enjoyed with poached eggs as a light meal. I opted for light dinner with that in mind and it was quite good. I’d describe it as a bell pepper version of Huevos Rancheros without beans and tortillas.

Speaking of Latin American food fare, this would make an excellent fajita topping.

I’m getting ideas here folks. I’ve seen Indian and Mexican fusion as well as Korean and Mexican, but what about Jewish Moroccan and Mexican? Seems legit right?

Whether you decide to fusion it up or not, I recommend you try out this dish. Aunties everywhere will be pleased that you did.