Pinot Noir Enchiladas Rojo

I know you’ve enjoyed staring at my pudding review for the last five days. See, I love you, I do these things for you. I know you. I watch you while you sleep, etc. Lately I’ve been on an easy food kick because I’m lazy, yo. But Foodette, you might complain, I’m not lazy and I want to cook something that will impress my bill collector/DH/sullen teenager/collection of cats/infant. While I still don’t know why I’m coming to a fey lesbian student for recipes versus a wholesome and tasteful blog, I am here and I need to eat. Well, well, well, have I got a treat for you, dear conflicted reader.
I made this last week. We ate the whole pan in less than 24 hours and I’m okay with that because I need to get ripped for BlogHer and this is crammed full of protein and real live vegetables that have had the ever-loving life blended out of them. Hot sauce and plenty of wine, too. Gotta look ‘n’ cook fly for the mommy bloggers if you catch my drift.
The next day I made another version with homemade salsa verde. That went pretty fast, too. I’m slowly eliminating the need for us to get Mexican take-out. If I could just figure out how to make perfectly smooth salsa we’d be all set to open up a cantina. So, pinot noir enchiladas rojo. It’s not conventional, but screw that because neither am I. You like it.
Pinot Noir Enchiladas Rojo
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large yellow onion
1 cup of water
2 chopped jalapenos
2 cans of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup of Pinot Noir
1/4 cup of chopped cooked bacon
1/4 chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
6 tablespoons of hot sauce
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of oil
12 yellow corn tortillas
1 cup of shredded pepper jack, cotija, or cheddar cheese (I topped mine with Merlot cheese and subbed cab sauvignon for the wine, so I guess this makes these Meritagenchiladas?)
1. Start by preparing your chicken and onions- boil water in a large pot on the stove with salt and pepper and place the chicken in, skimming the fat on top and lowering to a simmer after three minutes.

2.In a stainless steel pan, chop your onion into thin slices and cook over medium-high heat. As the onions stick and caramelize, they will leave a sticky glaze on the pan. Deglaze with water and repeat until the onions are soft and sweet. Shred the chicken once it has cooled and mix with the onions. You can make this mixture up to a day in advance and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

3. Combine jalapenos, tomatoes, wine, bacon, onion, tomato paste, and spices in a blender and blend until smooth. You will use half of this to cook with the enchiladas and the other half to top them as a cold salsa. Reserve half in the fridge.

4. In a shallow frying pan, heat your oil until bubbling and lightly fry the corn tortillas to make them soft and pliable, for no longer than seven to ten seconds per tortilla. Drain them on paper towels. In a casserole pan, pour half a cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom and dip the tortillas in before filling, saturating them with the sauce and letting them dry for a few minutes after they soak.
5. Fill with chicken mixture and cheese and roll tightly. After all the tortillas are stuffed and rolled, pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes and serve with cold enchilada sauce spooned over the top.

And yeah, I’m kind of into pan photos right now. Next time we might even include photos of the cooking process.

Blue Corn and Pistachio Chicken Tenders

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a chicken tender wizard. I have literally perfected my recipe for creating amazing, crispy nuggets and tenders to a science. While I could eat plain nuggets and sauces for the rest of my days and die happy, I decided to fool around with some of the ingredients Target sent over as part of our giveaway (details here) and review.
Although we don’t have a television at home, I love turning on the TV at the gym or at my dorm to watch Chopped. It’s my equivalent of Sunday night football or watching a particularly rousing game of Wheel of Fortune. Once I see a contestant fumbling around with a Buddha’s hand or staring blankly at a langoustine, my triggers are set off and I’m screaming at the television- “Are you freaking nuts?! Use the cumin! How effing hard is it to make a hibiscus foam? Jesus!” So I thought it would be fun to see how many components from the Target selection I could use in my nuggets.
Granted, it wasn’t too difficult- let’s be honest, I wasn’t working with whole branzino or gummy bears, but I still had a ton of fun with it. Taking a leaf from the pages of Dude Foods, who also received a similar selection of products and made cheese ball chicken tenders with it, I also went for a funky approach and ground up the blue corn and flax seed tortilla chips along with some pistachio nuts as a crust. I marinated the chicken in a mixture of the salsa as well as some orange zest and harissa for a little zing.
The verdict? Freaking awesome. Served with some of the orange harissa salsa, they made a great and easy meal. Using nuts in chicken feels like an underrated technique that I’ll definitely try again. It’s a healthy and unique twist on traditional football food and gave the tenders a tremendous burst of protein. Thanks again to Archer Farms and Target for providing the goods, and don’t forget to enter our contest so you can make these, too!
Blue Corn and Pistachio Chicken Tenders
Ingredients (makes twelve tenders)
2 large chicken breasts, pounded to roughly 3/4 inches thick
Orange zest
1/2 teaspoon of Moroccan harissa
1/4 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup pistachios
1 cups blue corn chips
Oil or cooking spray
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut your chicken breasts up into twelve strips, roughly the same size. Toss with salsa, orange zest, orange juice, and harissa and marinate for fifteen minutes.
2. Grind your tortilla chips and pistachios (shelled, of course) in a food processor until finely ground. Pour into a bowl and coat chicken strips in the crumbs.
3. Bake in the oven for ten minutes on 425 degrees, and then turn up the oven and let them crisp at 475 degrees for five more minutes. Let cool briefly and eat with salsa or dip of your choice!
Superbowl Sunday has never been so…fab!

Gross Food Week #1: The Original Hooters Medium Wing Sauce

HOOTERS WHHHYYYYYYY???

Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. With that exuberant commencement speech, let us begin Gross Week 2012. Today’s selection embodies all of the principles that I consider to be important for this theme week, namely, that it is a proudly licensed product aggressively marketed by its source and even touted as “secret”, that it is a disturbing shade of nuclear hazard orange, and that it was 99 cents at a grocery clearance store. The fact that it is not, like so many products at this store, past its sell date should give you a taste of its quality already.
Where to begin? There’s just so much to cover on the label alone. Let’s start with the lusty endorsement from the Hooters owl himself, “A thrill on the grill BBQ!” It doesn’t take a professor with a Ph.D in Lolology to figure out how Engrishy that is. Despite my suspicions that this was some sort of perverted and failed test item, it turns out that Hooters still makes this sauce, selling it for a mere $7 on the interwebz, and still employs this awful catch phrase. Reading further, I caught the official Hooters logo emblazoned no less than four times on the jar. Either they’re trying really, really hard to prevent copyright theft or they’re actually proud of this product.
The directions on the side (whose inaccuracies I’ll later explain) also provide a list of recommendations of foods with which you can drown in this sauce. Surprisingly, slathering the sauce on the breasts of an after-hours Hooters waitress is not one of them. There goes my bucket list. The cooking process sounded easy enough- fry up some wings, toss them in the sauce, enjoy with a side of classified ads to wipe away the tears and excess dribblings. Not so terrible, right?

AHHHHHHHH
AHHHHHHHHHHH
AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Oh my god, it’s like the bastard child of napalm and nacho cheese. My hatred for Robin Williams and Spy Kids has nothing on this one. I think you get the picture. Yep, nasty surprise number two- the sauce had the texture of cold margarine and the smell of gasoline, Tabasco, and melting plastic. This in no way felt like something I should have put near my face, much less ingest. And I haven’t a clue why the instructions said to shake the jar first- it’s about as productive as shaking a jar of peanut butter. But readers, like a dutiful serf, what I do, I do for you. And so I began the process of cooking my wings.
I decided to try this on both breaded and non-breaded wings to get an idea as to how it adhered to the chicken. Huge mistake on my part. On both applications, the sauce had the softness of warm yogurt and melted like butter on toast. On the pieces of unbreaded chicken, it left no more than a slick trail on the skin and clumped at the bottom of the plate, and on the breaded pieces, it melted into the nooks and crannies and separated almost immediately after sticking on. It felt like the sauce was too runny to handle any temperature above lukewarm, yet was so congealed in its original form that it was also unable to function as a dipping sauce.
Once the wings were no longer molten and ready to eat, the sauce returned to its original liquid consistency, that of a melted almond bark coating, and shellacked the wings to the plate, rendering them mere components in a disgusting and inedible art project and requiring the force of a fork and knife to remove them from their glued-on state. Taking this photo was easy as they remained preserved in their original positions on the plate, held upside down, for over two minutes.
It tasted rancid. This is exactly the kind of product that aspires to be a hot mess and fails miserably. There was literally no element of this that made it appear edible, much less palatable. The heat is warm, but no warmer than a hamburger sitting next to a bottle of mediocre hot sauce and certainly not at the level of any Buffalo wing you’ll find at a sports bar. It has an oily, thick consistency not unlike facial cream, were said facial cream purchased at a dollar store and had a slight numbing effect on the lips. It tastes predominantly of vinegar and Crisco with an aggressively salty bite and leaves a buttery slick all the way down the throat. The sauce had the unique ability to permeate through even the thickest flour breading on a wing, saturating the meat so with its liquid ass flavor and rendering every single wing I made inedible. Lest you worry that I went hungry, I thankfully deployed my backup wing supply with a hot honey and red pepper flake sauce and ate them with gusto.
Congratulations, Hooters. In the world of successful marketing vehicles, this sauce is the abandoned flaming Pinto on cinder blocks with a tarp and headless doll in the trunk.

Sweet Potato Currywurst

It’s snowing. I have Queen’s Greatest Hits (Vol. 1) on and I’m making an appropriately wintry dish for a god-awful day. I’m singing along to “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” like I was born to and am simply ecstatic (read: terrified) to start Gross Week tomorrow.
I figured I’d leave you all with an easy, healthy recipe before I spend a week face-deep in curdled sauces and creepy candies. Boy, are you in for a treat. Tonight’s recipe features my twist on the sweet and spicy flavors highlighted in the traditional German street food, currywurst. If you’ve never had currywurst, think of it as the German poutine. It’s hearty and healthy and, as a bonus, contains all of the best major food groups: meat, potatoes, and a rich sauce. This recipe swaps out the pork sausage for chicken, adds a little meat to the sauce to boost its protein content and make it a little thicker, and ditches the French fries for baked chipotle sweet potato fries. To save a little time, I used some of Alexia’s amazing new sweet potato fries, sent over by the company. Too delicious. Needless to say, not all of them made it to the dish. It’s a delicious evening indeed when fries and sausage are the stars of the dinner plate.
Sweet Potato Currywurst
Ingredients (serves 2)

Sweet Potato Fries
1 sweet potato
1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of oil

Currywurst

2 chicken sausages, pre-cooked
1 cup of shredded chicken
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 12 oz. can of tomato paste or sauce (alternative: 1 1/2 cups of curried or spicy ketchup. I happened to have some on hand and used it.)
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons of curry powder

1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of masa harina, mixed with a few tablespoons of water until blended

1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Hot sauce to taste
1. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and setting a medium-sized saucepan on the stove on low to medium heat.
2. Place your sausages in the pan, allowing them to brown and crisp. Cut your sweet potato into fry-sized strips and place in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes to remove excess starch.
3. Pat fries dry. Mix spices and oil together for the fries and toss with fries until evenly coated. Place fries on baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
4. Take sausages out when they are browned and put chicken, pepper, tomatoes (or ketchup), honey, cumin, and curry powder in the pan. Simmer for five to seven minutes or until bubbling gently and add masa and water to thicken and salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Cut the sausage pieces into slices when cool to the touch.
5. To serve, place fries on a plate or in a bowl with sausage pieces on top. Ladle sauce over the top and sprinkle a little cilantro or cumin on top as a garnish.
Is this the real life? Hell yes, and you can eat it.

Dunkin’ Donuts Chicken Salad Sandwich

New England is known for many things- polo shirts, PT Barnum’s freak show, and summer homes, to name a few. We’re not known for our selection of fast food. On a trip to Maryland a few years back, I made it my personal goal to visit no tourist attractions or interesting places, but to eat at every single new fast food restaurant within a five mile radius. The only real regional place New England can claim ownership to is Dunkin’ Donuts. Hardly fast food, but a delightful morning staple or afternoon snack. I personally ate at least sixty thousand buttered bagels and croissants on my morning commute to high school. We had a Dunkin’ next door. Brilliant marketing.

Had I not had a terrible aversion to mayonnaise at the time, I’m sure this sandwich would have seduced me out of my eighth period math class. My nostalgia for Dunkin’ and need for a quick snack before catching a train led to my eventual purchase of the sandwich. The press release for the new chicken salad sandwich tells me that it’s tasty and affordable. I should have known that the emphasis on cost would be its ultimate downfall as far as flavor goes, but with the influence of chicken salad in the fast food market lately, I figured I’d give it the old high school try and eat it while soaring through Connecticut.

Wuddup, Darien?

I was initially skeptical about eating the sandwich on a croissant. Greasy filling and buttery bread did not sound like a palatable combination. And chicken salad on a bagel just seemed inherently wrong, like something I’d make at home in a pathetic, mismatched attempt to avoid buying groceries. You know the type- hot dogs on tortillas, random condiments on Triscuits. The sandwich was average in all respects. You’d think that with the competition from Arby’s and Subway, they’d try to do something to jazz it up, but this salad’s provenance is clearly from the ever-generic ChickTron 92A. It is industrial and plain, a mere step above Elmer’s glue and three steps below school lunches.

The filling was loose and goopy with small pieces of chicken no larger than a penny. There were no vegetables, fruits, or nuts, and while I generally advocate for a meat and condiment only sandwich, chicken salad really needs that extra somethin’ somethin’ to break up the banality of shredded chicken and mayonnaise. Apparently, that somethin’ somethin’ was vinegar, and lots of it. It made the sandwich filling ooze in a gloppy paste out of the croissant, which, with its center hole, looked a lot like a pustulating wound. The vinegar was all I could taste in the sandwich filling. Combined with the butteriness of the croissant, a mediocre specimen yet guilty pleasure of mine, it was astringent and overly salted.

Keepitcoming Love now uses this photo and meticulous arrangement of its subject as evidence of my obsession and insanity. She calls it Exhibit C.

As a recent convert to chicken salad, I’m certain that if this had been my formal introduction to all things mayonnaise I’d have run screaming for the hills and not come back until I’d donned a paper SARS mask and latex gloves. Its blandness and oily, sour flavor doesn’t quite make it offensive, but if I hadn’t been incredibly hungry I’d have had no problem tossing it after a few bites.

BK Minis: Original, Cheeseburger, and Chicken

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you guys this, but I was diagnosed with Assburger’s Syndrome a few years back. My family recalls dismissing my odd childhood quirks, but now knowing this, has discovered that it all makes sense. My obsessive nature for cataloguing and researching the various breeding habits of the Wagyu cattle, the two-step burger flip technique I patented and published in Burgher Quarterly at the age of five, my valedictorian speech at high school- “Some may go on to eat burgers. Some, to make them. But you, as you stand here on this bright, sunny day, go forth, denizens of Branford High School, and hold that spatula aloft!”
After being booed off the stage that day, ground beef pelting my mortarboard and gown, it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t normal. Other kids were satisfied with the ordinary, with dry, tasteless burgers from chains. Burgers stamped out in perfectly circular forms from molds. Burgers that they could identify with. In college, I flourished. I found dry-aged Kobe burgers and regional specialties, but still, a persistent thought rang in the back of my head. What is it like to know and love a normal burger? This thought haunting my every move, I finally decided to go into my local Burger King and put this case to rest.
The BK Mini appeared to be the latest trend, along with commemorative Amy Winehouse steins and Justin Bieber skin masks. (Oh, the Google results we’ll get for that.) Offered in a pack of four, the faithful employees of Burger King misunderstood my request in asking for one of each burger. Twelve minis later, and I was out the door. BK has recently employed the usage of a special, plastic-lined burger carrying case, not unlike some of Prada’s recent wares or that of the White Castle Crave Case. Nice try, but unfortunately, it makes Burger King look like a Guitar Hero champ attempting to go up onstage and jam with Walter Becker of Steely Dan. Similar, but obviously and pathetically inferior.
Each burger variety comes in a pack of four, intentionally constructed (at least at my local chain) to annoy the fuck out of you with every step. The buns are stacked one way. These must be torn apart. And the burgers are layered in the opposite direction. These must also be torn. It ends up looking like something you’d want to feed through a catheter instead of eating, further propelling my theory that it would be much easier and a propos to eat the entire burger foursome out of its provided trough without using your hands.We’ll start with the hamburger. All of the burgers had this same level of haphazard placement, as though they’d all been through Hurricane Katrina while their makers were in the middle of watching Cats on PBS. Seriously, how hard is it to match shapes together? Preschoolers don’t even have trouble with that anymore. I requested this without cheese, and received it without cheese, but tasted the unmistakable tang of partially melted American in each bite. I cannot tell you how disturbing this is. Why would a simple burger taste like creamy, chalky cheese? It was creepy. When the cheese flavor faded away, I was left with a dry, chewy piece of beef and a slathering of ketchup and pickles. The two condiments were poorly chosen as each was acidic and sweet and thus doubled up on the saccharine flavor of the burger. A few raw onions would have been preferable, hell, a smear of their zesty sauce would have been better than these. The bread was strangely sweet and too soft for the burger. It would have been more appropriate for a breakfast sandwich or for usage as toilet paper for those with sensitive needs.
I figured the cheeseburger would be better as it would use that cheesy flavor to its advantage. Not really the case, unfortunately. Most of the cheese was painted all over the side of the box. In this burger, the beef was just as over-cooked and rubbery, but thankfully, the ketchup and pickle candy was tempered as a result of the blanket of cheese. These were extremely dry despite having a copious amount of condiments layered on top. The beef must have been soaking up all the moisture. What kind of hellspawn could create this?Oh yeah, that’s right. Burger King. There’s a reason the King’s eyes looked so dead. May he rest in peace. The last of the minis (thankfully, BK knew they’d be attacked by ninjas and Jersey Shore wannabes if they dare called them sliders) was the chicken mini, which I was hoping would be a facsimile of the chicken mini from Chick-Fil-A. Well, it wasn’t. Sadly, it was the best of the trio, which is like saying “Come Sail Away” is the best Styx song. Everybody loses. This particular sandwich brought back all of the painful memories and tense lunchtime trades of the 4th grade without field trips or Pizza Friday. You know the flavor like the back of your tongue. That thin, overcooked, spongy chicken patty glopped with mayonnaise. The sole mini I ate was cold and stringy in the middle with a texture like a rubber ball. The pickle was lost in the overall suckage of this sandwich, leaving behind a texture and nothing more. It was moist on the inside, though, that being its only saving grace. I was asked if I wanted cheese on these. Anything else on top of these would be adding fuel to the fire.I applaud Burger King for trying something new, though in the year 2011, the trend of “new” things seems to be more like rehashing old things that nobody liked in the first place, and remarketing them as new. In this dark time, I find myself missing the 2010 “new” items, where “new” was just an excuse to make weird-ass shit and sell it to people, daring them to consume it. These are just another product sealing the fate of mediocrity in fast food (what a surprise) with gluey cheese and sticky buns. Damn you, Burger King. Bring back the BK Baguette.
For now, these will live in The Freezer of Failed Expectations, on top of the Refrigerator of Truth and Condiments, where they will live out their days wishing they were frozen White Castle sliders before meeting their fate one drunken evening when I mistake them for actual burgers. They will be joining the ranks of similar eateries, like The Suburban. Thank god I’m not burgertypical.

Burger King’s “New” Chicken Tenders

The King has granted us, his lowly peons, the right to gnaw on chicken in a likeness outside of His Burgerness and has thrown away the crown for a non-denominational, constitutionalized monarchy of the holy poultry himself. Such poultritude! Okay, I’m done. I was mired in history papers and hankering for something easy, quick, and simple, so we headed to BK tonight to try out some of their new chicken tenders.While in some increments, these aren’t healthy, I chose to try a four piece of them with a dipping sauce to see how they were as a snack. I’ve never subscribed to the 100 calorie pack or No Pudge system of living. I’d rather do like the Italians do- indulge in smaller portions. Why skimp if all the “delicious” food you’re eating is really a compromise? Keepitcoming Love had clipped out a coupon for the new tenders in the mail for me, so I brought some home as a snack.Four of these will set you back 190 calories, or roughly 50 calories a nugget. An order of four has 11 grams of fat. This makes it easy to add together depending on how many nuggets you order if you want to estimate calories. The nuggets, which, by the way, are definitely nuggets and not tenders, come with your choice of dipping sauce. We chose buffalo and honey mustard. The nuggets are, regrettably, of the breaded ilk versus their crispy battered cousins from McDonald’s. This makes them look a little anemic and causes them to get mushier much faster. The chicken inside is spongy and predominantly salty. I was a little dismayed that despite their “makeover” of the previously crown shaped nuggets, Burger King couldn’t pull a Chick-Fil-A and use whole pieces of white meat chicken instead of this pressed particle board chicken mush. It really put a disingenuous slant on the whole redesign.They were pretty juicy for nuggets, and despite their bland, one-noted flavor, really came together with the sauces. The honey mustard was a standard sweet sauce, nothing to really write home about, but the buffalo sauce was surprisingly good. Instead of a standard butter (or oil) and vinegar based concoction, it was more of a thin cream-based sauce with a nice, spicy note. This was a sauce I’d actually put on other sandwiches or burgers. When the two sauces were combined, they made the nuggets almost palatable. Too bad they were better than the actual meal itself. Keepitcoming and I agreed that these didn’t quite cut it, not with delicious treats like Chicken Selects on the market. With fast food marketing teams engineering their products to elicit a specific reaction or comfort, these tread the line between middle school cafeteria fare and Kid Cuisine.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Nachos

Spring is officially in the air, but due do a cantankerous vehicle, I don’t have a car to enjoy it in. With the Toyota in the shop, I’ve been landlocked in an untimely fashion and have had no chance to drive around, walk to the beach, or do one of my favorite springtime passions- eat outside!That doesn’t mean I didn’t get creative, though. With a slew of ingredients in the house, I put together a healthy warm-weather plate of nachos that had even my famously fastidious sister asking for more! I present to you, lemon pepper chicken nachos, combining the best of grilled chicken and nachos with the best of summery flavors. Eat them outside with some peach juice and have a fantastic and easy picnic for one. It features a few brand-unique ingredients, but they can be swapped out if needed.Ingredients (serves 1)
9 yellow corn chip rounds- I used On The Border’s premium rounds
1/3 cup tomato and basil cheddar cheese- Cabot makes a really good one
1 chicken breast, pounded to an even thickness
1 tablespoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of dill
All the juice from half a lemon
1 tablespoon of flour for thickening
2 tablespoons of salsa1. Arrange your chips in a flat, even layer on your plate. Start heating up your grill pan or grill, depending on your patience and weather forecast. Make the marinade for your chicken with the salt, pepper, dill, lemon juice, and flour for thickening and be sure to cover all surfaces of the chicken with an even coating. It doesn’t yield a lot of liquid so it is easy to cover.
2. Lay your chicken on the grill and start grating your cheese. Once the chicken is fully cooked with grill marks on both sides and no pink in the middle, take it off and cut it into small chucks, covering each chip with one or two pieces of chicken.
3. Cover the surface with cheese and microwave for 30 seconds or until all cheese is melted. Top with salsa and consume while hot.Man, I loved these. I couldn’t get over how fresh and zesty the flavors were. It was a real deviation from my standard loaded nachos with more of an emphasis on spicy and savory ingredients. I’ll definitely be making more of these when the weather is nicer out!

Domino’s New Boneless Chicken Wings with Mango Habanero Dipping Sauce

Whew, talk about a blast from the past. I think it’s been at least a year since I’ve had Domino’s polygontastic boxes fill my dormitory. I like to order from these chains as a rare treat- when I’m not cooking my own food at home, it’s fun to see what kinds of expansion delivery places are offering. After seeing Grub Grade report the news about not only a new sauce, but new chicken, I knew I had to forgo the ‘zza for an order of wings. Boneless wings, that is. Domino’s has been making a lot of positive changes to their food, and after a relatively successful pizza reformulation, they’ve moved onto their chicken.
So how do they taste? Actually, I’m not sure. I have my timer set for exactly a half hour for delivery. If they tout that kind of service, I expect at least one high speed car chase down Route 9 to bring me my wings. So far, I’m a little wary. Domino’s says their new chicken wings are “new and tasty,” two modifiers, yet only one of which delivers a murky idea of what the flavor could be. New implies they’re not made from elderly chicken, which is good because I like them young, and tasty implies that they’re liberally applying Mrs. Dash with each winglet. Hell, at least they’re not spelled “wyngz.”They came early. Damn. An order of eight wings will set you back around $10 total if you’re a good tipper. Without the tip, it came to $8.36, a hair above what I like to pay for standard, fast food wings. Out of the box, they look pretty good. I always appreciate places that put dipping sauce on the side because twenty minutes in a car can mean the difference between stunning and slimy skin. There were eight pieces, but I don’t quite think it justifies being called eight wings as they are drastically differing in size, some of them looking to be at least twice as small as others. As far as value goes, I’m not sure if these were worth paying over $1 per wing.The chicken is crispy, with a thick coating of breading. I wouldn’t go as far as to call them crunchy like Popeye’s of KFC, but more on a Wendy’s scale of a softer crust. The chicken inside is a little chewy, but for the most part, tender. On their own, the chicken bites taste pretty good. They’re savory and taste like there’s some garlic and paprika in them, but I came for the sauce. Sauce masks all imperfections. Adding fruit to sauces can be daunting because you never know what you’ll get, but I’m pleased to report that the new mango habanero sauce is balanced and well-spiced, possibly one of the tastiest sauces on the fast food market today.
The sauce worried me at first. The container was filled only halfway up- would this cover eight smallish wings? But my fears were all for naught. The sauce is thick, but not gummy, with a nice orange color and obvious pieces of pepper throughout. It smells mainly of dried mango and assorted spices, and doesn’t hint to any obvious heat. However, upon tasting, it’s clear that Domino’s researched their peppers and researched them well. The heat from the sauce is persistent yet never burning hot, a combination that both satisfies my inner hot head and that of the general public, I’m guessing. It had a nice, smoky paprika flavor with a clean burn that definitely lingered, but kept me wanting more. The texture was a great peppery jamminess that adhered to the chicken and left me wishing I’d ordered more chicken to dip it in. I originally ordered two sauces, fearing I’d run out mid-way, but ended up only using one. Maybe I’ll slather the other on a sandwich.Overall, this might just become my new standard, assuming I try to order Domino’s more than once a year. They probably wouldn’t satiate the average college student, but they were enough for me. If they turned this into a specialty pizza, I’d definitely make an effort to make my way over there more often. If you love heat and fruit, this is something you should check out.

Arepas Reina Pepiada

In translation, “the chubby queen.” Reina Susana might have been the namesake for this sandwich, a fluffy arepa shell stuffed with avocado chicken salad, but god damn, if it doesn’t ring true. Hell, the chubby queen? Might have well just saved some time and called it “El Foodetta.”

Keepitcoming described these as having a mixture of seductive textures. She’s right. For street food, this is awfully complex and even a little sexy, like the voluptuous queen herself. The outer layer is crisp and buttery, with an inner fluffiness from the cornmeal, and then the filling hits the senses. It’s chicken salad, but more buttery, thicker, sticker, from the avocado. It’s spicy. It’s meaty. It’s cold and chewy and utterly delicious.
You will fall in love.

The best part about these Venezuelan vamps is that they take ten minutes to make. Less if you have your fillings handy. And they’re so versatile and taste so fresh. Try them out- the fillings can be swapped out for anything. We recommend the sexy- caviar and avocado. Grilled shrimp and brie. Cream cheese and smoked salmon. These might nudge out sesame chicken for our Valentine’s Day menu.

Arepas
Ingredients (makes ten four inch buns)
2 cups of harina- pre-cooked white cornmeal. We used the Goya one and it worked fine, though everyone on T3H INTARNETZ swears by Harina P.A.N. Pro-tip: any kind works.
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
Butter for the griddle.

1. Mix all the ingredients, except for the butter, together. Let them sit for five minutes.
2. Prepare a griddle pan with butter- roughly a teaspoon for every four cakes.
3. Make small cakes, roughly four inches in diameter, and a quarter inch thick. Smooth out any cracks and make sure they are of an even width.
4. Fry the cakes until they are golden brown on both sides and puffy. Split them with a fork and spread with a filling of your choice.Arepas Reina Pepiada Filling
Ingredients (serves four, makes enough to fill ten buns)
2 pounds of chicken tenders or skinless chicken breasts
2 avocados, ripe
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise- we used chipotle mayonnaise and it gave it a nice kick and a lot of extra flavor
Seasonings to taste- salt, pepper, smoky paprika, red pepper flakes

1. Set a pot of water on the stove. When the water starts to boil, place your chicken breasts in and let them cook, stirring occasionally.
2. While those are cooking, mash your remaining ingredients in a bowl. When the chicken is done, a process that shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes if they are thin chicken breasts, take them out of the water. When they are cool, shred them into small pieces and put them in the bowl. Mix thoroughly until combined and mushy. Spread on arepas.

God damn, these are tasty. And surprisingly, not too bad for you. They use about a quarter of the mayonnaise you would use in a regular chicken salad and are also gluten-free.