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~ Frank's-Style Buffalo-Style Chicken Wing Sauce ~

IMG_2234Wander into a bar -- any bar, anywhere in America.  Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. No description is necessary.  You know you're getting unbreaded, deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and melted butter sauce.  They'll arrive with celery and carrot sticks, and either blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping or drizzling.  You will most likely be asked to specify if you want your wings coated in a mild, medium or hot version of the sauce.  Buffalo wing sauce is a classic concoction.  Read on:

IMG_2317Frank's RedHot is synonymous with Buffalo chicken wings.  Why? Frank's was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce recipe created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY in 1964 by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo.  

There are three stories regarding the invention of Buffalo wings and all three come directly from members of the family, their closest friends and loyal bar patrons:  

1)  Their son Dominic arrived late at night with a few hungry college buddies.  Teresa needed a fast snack and threw some chicken wings (which would normally be used to make chicken stock) in the deep-fryer and tossed them with some hot sauce and melted butter.  

2)  There was a mis-delivery of wings instead of backs and necks (which Teresa used to make the bar's spaghetti sauce.  Faced with tossing them out or taking up freezer space, Frank asked Theresa to come up with a use for them.  

3)  Dominic was working late in the kitchen on a Friday night and folks were still ordering a lot of drinks.  He wanted to do something nice for the patrons (who were mostly Catholic) and Teresa came up with the idea of wings, as it was after midnight and they were able to eat meat again.

In 1977, Buffalo officially declared July 29th, Chicken Wing Day.

By the 1980's, Buffalo wing sauce was being applied to a list of other food creations too: "Buffalo" chicken dip, "Buffalo" chicken quesadillas, "Buffalo" chicken salad (one of my personal favorites), "Buffalo" chicken pizza, "Buffalo" popcorn chicken and shrimp, and, "Buffalo" chicken fingers, nuggets and fries.  If it's got "Buffalo" in the name, it's got Buffalo sauce in it, on it, or alongside it.  There's even "Buffalo"-flavored potato chips (sorry -- not one of my favorites).

20110202-wing-sauce-primaryIt was inevitable that Frank's would start bottling and mass marketing their wing sauce.  Several other brands followed suit too.  For my taste, Frank's is #1.  That said, my husband likes a brand called Texas Pete.  Crystal is popular with a lot of folks, and, of course, there's an Anchor Bar wing sauce too.

< I borrowed this photo from the Serious Eats website.  They conducted a taste test of seven brands and wrote an interesting, in-depth article about it.  Read it.

What's the difference between hot pepper sauce and wing sauce?

IMG_2324The four bottles pictured above, from left to right, were the top four in the Serious Eats wing sauce taste test.  Aside from their #1, Anchor Bar, (which I've not tasted), I have tried the other three (and their cayenne pepper sauces too).  I'm using Frank's brand because it is my favorite (and it's worth noting the winner of Serious Eats best hot pepper sauce taste test).  So, what is the difference between bottled hot pepper sauces and wing sauces?  Wing sauces simply have butter flavoring added to them.

While bottled wing sauce is convenient, you're getting butter flavoring rather than real butter.  If it is convenience you need, go for it -- bottled wing sauces taste just fine unless your tasting them side-by-side one made with real-deal melted butter.  Interestingly enough, if you take the time to read the back label on any bottle of cayenne pepper sauce, you'll find instructions for making wing sauce -- and it simply says to mix their hot sauce with some amount of melted butter.

IMG_2227For my Frank's Style Buffalo-Style Wing Sauce:

In a 2-cup measuring container, in the microwave, melt:

4  ounces salted butter (1 stick)

whisk in:

1  cup Frank's RedHot

2  tablespoons white vinegar

1  tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

Note:  To make your wing sauce hot, or extra-hot, add cayenne pepper (ground red pepper) in 1/4 teaspoon increments until you achieve the desired heat.  If you like your wing sauce sweeter, whisk in 1 tablespoon honey.  For a smoky flavor, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika will do the trick.  I occasionally add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, because I love onion flavor, and, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder is another option that my son enjoys. 

IMG_2230Frank's-Style Buffalo-Style Chicken Wing Sauce:  Recipe yields 1 generous cup wing sauce, enough to coat 4 dozen chicken wings (taken from 6 total pounds of whole chicken wings that have been separated into three pieces each).

Special Equipment List:  1 cup measuring container; whisk

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09436912970d 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8a58213970bCook's Note & Tip from Mel: Chicken wings have 3 parts, the meatier drumette, the wingette and, the skinny wing tip.  Once separated (via a pair of poultry shears), I only serve the drumettes and wingettes.  I freeze the tips to make chicken stock.  To learn how I cut, cook and sauce chicken wings, read ~ JoePa's Chicken Wings: Deep-Fried to Perfection ~ in Categories 1, 2 or 17.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)


~ My Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo-Style Chicken Dip ~

IMG_2298The first recipe for Buffalo-style chicken dip I came across was published by Frank's RedHot. This makes sense as Frank's was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce recipe created in Buffalo, NY in 1964 by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo.  Their easy-to-make dip contained just five ingredients (shredded cooked chicken, softened cream cheese, Frank's Redhot, Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing, and crumbled blue cheese). Speaking frankly about Frank's recipe, it was and is very good.  During the 1980's, the recipe was passed around to everyone in our tailgate group and it showed up regularly at early morning tailgates -- it went great with bloody Mary's for breakfast.  Those were good times.

IMG_2311I, of course, tweaked the original recipe to suit myself and so did a lot of us.  That said, in my version, I did stay true to the original flavors of Buffalo chicken wings.  You'll not find any bell peppers or sharp cheddar cheese in my recipe because they are out of place.  Those are Tex-Mex-style ingredients and this is a Buffalo-style recipe.  In my opinion, if you "go there" with the peppers and cheddar, you might as well use Velveeta and throw in a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes too.  I'm not saying that wouldn't be good (because it would) -- it's simply missing the point.    

IMG_2198There's more: I used my Buffalo chicken dip as the inspiration to create a second recipe:  ~ Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas ~, but even then, except for the rather tasteless flour tortilla used as the casing for my creation, I did nothing to infuse any Tex-Mex flavor.  Just click on the Related Article link below to read it. In it you'll find a great recipe for my ~ Buffalo Bill's Blue Cheese Slaw ~ which is great served with or on bacon and blue cheese 'burgers.

All the flavors of Buffalo wings in one easy-to-make dip:

IMG_22381 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or tenders, simmered gently in salted water (1 quart cold water and 1 tablespoon sea salt in a 4-quart saucepan)  for 30 minutes, drained and chopped or pulled into bite-sized pieces, 4 cups chopped chicken

1  cup very-thinly sliced scallions, white and green part only, (about 4 ounces) save tops for garnish

8  ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, about 2 cups (1 cup stirred into chicken mixture and 1 cup used as topping)

1  cup crumbled blue cheese 

8  ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, very soft

3/4  cup prepared Frank's Buffalo wing sauce, or your favorite brand, not cayenne pepper sauce (Note:  To make Frank's-style wing sauce at home, read my Cook's Note below.)

1/2  cup chunky-style blue cheese or ranch dressing, your choice

Chicken in a Biskit crackers, for serving

celery and carrot sticks, for serving

IMG_2241 IMG_2243 IMG_2246 IMG_2247~Step 1.  Place the chopped chicken, blue cheese crumbles and sliced scallions in a large bowl. Using a large spatula, thoroughly combine.  Add and fold in half of the Jack cheese.  Set aside.

IMG_2249 IMG_2252 IMG_2256 IMG_2257~Step 2.  Place the softened cream cheese, wing sauce and blue cheese dressing in a medium bowl.  On medium speed of hand-held electric mixer, combine until smooth about 1 minute.  Add and fold the sauce mixture into the chicken mixture and thoroughly combine.

Transfer dip mixture to a 12" oval au gratin or 10" pie dish:

IMG_2259Sprinkle reserved Jack cheese over the top:

IMG_2264Bake in 350º oven until bubbly, 20-25 minutes:

IMG_2268Allow to cool about 15-20 minutes before dipping in:

IMG_2276My Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo-Style Chicken Dip:  Recipe yields dip as an appetizer for 6-8-10 people, depending upon what other appetizers are getting served with it.

Special Equipment List:  4-quart saucepan (for poaching chicken); colander; cutting board; chef's knife; hand-held cheese grater; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 12" oval gratin or 10" quiche dish

IMG_2230Cook's Note:  Don't have a bottle of Frank's Buffalo-wing sauce on-hand in your pantry?  Not a problem.  To make your own, just whisk together 1/2 cup melted salted butter, 1/2 cup Frank's RedHot sauce, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016) 


~ Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas ~

IMG_2198My public opinion of Buffalo chicken wings is the popular and safe one:  everyone loves Buffalo wings.  My private opinion is:  serving them needs to be better regulated.  Just so there are no misunderstandings, I like wings, but, a finger food drenched in a vivid orangish-red sauce guaranteed to stain my pretty French manicure or ruin my silk blouse ticks me off.  There's more: To those who serve wings in a sauce so hot it forces tears to my eyes that causes my mascara run:  Extremism is a dish best saved for yourself, not served to your unsuspecting guests.

"Primum non Nocere." -- Latin for "First, do no harm."

IMG_2188Know your crowd.  In my cooking classes, I preach this all the time.  If you've taken one of my classes, I have speechified this to you and you have paid me good money to do it.  If you have ever been entertained in my home as a guest, my kitchen has many faces and you only get to see the one that is appropriate for that given occasion.  I'm proud to say it's a smart and skillful art that has earned me a broad base of very diverse friends which I have learned a lot from.  

At risk of sounding sexist:  Buffalo wings per se are man food.   To state it another way, if I'm inviting a group of women to my home for lunch, serving chicken wings is "off the table".  If I'm inviting men, chicken wings are "on the table".  That said, for a casual gathering for men and women, there are ways we can all work together to bridge the gender gap to include user-friendly buffalo-style snacks and appetizers for all to enjoy that "do no harm" to anyone.

The Buffalo-style Chicken Quesadilla:  All the classic flavors present & accounted for & sandwiched together in a safe-to-eat sandwich.

IMG_2162When put to a vote of family and friends, the vast majority would rather eat these quesadillas than Buffalo wings.  They deliver on all of the classic wing flavors (and textures) too:  chunks of tender white-meat chicken in every bite mixed with the vinegary heat of Buffalo-style hot sauce and some sliced scallions, blue cheese combined with a bit of Monterey Jack for some ooey-gooey meltiness, and, in the case of my recipe, store-bought slaw mix tossed together with blue cheese or Ranch dressing to mimic the crunch of the celery and carrot sticks too.  Once all things are sandwiched together between a slightly-crispy hot-out-of-grill-pan quesadilla, not one person who has ever tried them has ever said, "I wish you would have made wings instead."

IMG_20691 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders, about 8 tenders

3/4  cup prepared Buffalo wing sauce, your favorite brand, not cayenne pepper sauce

1  quart cold water, for poaching chicken tenders

1  tablespoon sea salt, for poaching chicken tenders 

1/2  cup very-thinly sliced scallions, white and green part only, save tops for garnish (about 2 ounces)

16  ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, about 4 cups, total throughout recipe (Note: 1/2 cup gets stirred into the chicken mixture and 7 tablespoons -- 1 tablespoon shy of 1/2 cup -- gets sprinkled onto each of 8 flour tortillas.

3  cups store-bought coleslaw mix (about 8 ounces)

3/4 cup chunky-style blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing, your choice

1  cup crumbled blue cheese

8, 8" round flour tortillas

vegetable oil, for cooking quesadillas

IMG_2072 IMG_2075 IMG_2083 IMG_2084 IMG_2078 IMG_2090 IMG_2092 IMG_2094~Step 1.  Place tenders in a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan, then add the water and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Adjust heat to a gentle simmer, partially cover pan and cook until soft and tender, 30 minutes.  While chicken is simmering, slice the scallions, grate the Jack cheese, and set both aside.  Remove chicken from heat, drain into a colander, and allow to cool until you can handle them with your hands, about 15 minutes.  Using your fingertips break chicken in chunks, then pull it into small bite-sized bits and pieces, placing it in a medium bowl as you work.

IMG_2096 IMG_2098 IMG_2103 IMG_2106~Step 2.  Add the 1/2 cup of scallions and 1/2 cup of the Jack cheese to the pulled chicken. Using two forks or two spoons, toss like you would a salad, to thoroughly combine.  Add the Buffalo wing sauce and toss again, making sure that everything is completely coated in sauce. Speaking privately, my favorite store-bought wing sauce is Frank's -- use what you like best.

IMG_2107 IMG_2108 IMG_2111 IMG_2114 IMG_2118 IMG_2120~Step 3.  Add the slaw mix to a medium bowl. Add the blue cheese dressing, and using two forks or two spoons, toss like you would a salad, to completely coat.  Crumble and add the blue cheese and toss again.  Go ahead, take a taste, that's some kinda kick-ass blue cheese slaw.  For the public record, it's great on 'burgers too.

IMG_2122 IMG_2133 IMG_2136 IMG_2139 IMG_2142 IMG_2144~Step 4.  Spray a 12"-round grill pan with no-stick cooking spray and place it over medium heat (medium-heat on my gas stove is medium-high heat on an electric range).  Place a tortilla on the grids and sprinkle 7 tablespoons grated cheese (1 tablespoon shy of 1/2 cup) over the entire surface of the tortilla to within 1/2" of the perimeter all around.  Place a generous 1/2 cup of chicken filling atop the cheese on half of the tortilla, followed by 1/3 cup of the slaw mixture.  When the bottom layer of cheese has melted, which takes about 45-60 seconds, use a spatula to lift and fold the cheesy half of the tortilla over the chicken-filled half and allow to sit on the heat about 15 more seconds.  Remove from heat and transfer quesadilla to a cutting board.  Repeat with the remaining seven tortillas.

Smile for the camera & have a bit of patience...

IMG_2146... you gotta wait 1 minute before slicing it into three wedges.

IMG_2159Buck up, I get 1/3 of that -- I wrote this recipe for success. 

IMG_2220Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas:  Recipe yields 5 cups chicken mixture, 3 cups slaw and 8, 8" quesadillas and 2 dozen appetizers. 

Special Equipment List: 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid; colander; cutting board; chef's knife;  hand-held box grater; 12"-round grill pan or nonstick skillet; wide spatula

IMG_1979Cook's Note:  I have quite a few recipes for quesadillas. Sometimes, I combine them to serve a quesadilla buffet.  ~ Cheesey Roast-Beef Pepper 'n Onion Quesadillas ~ is one you might want to check out in Categories 1, 2, 13 or 27.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)


~ Cheesy Roast-Beef Pepper 'n Onion Quesadillas ~

IMG_1979Real-deal oven-roasted beef, a chunk of habanero cheddar cheese, my homemade Baja-spice mix, colorful bell peppers, a sweet onion and a package of flour tortillas.  The ingredients are all at my fingertips and the clock is ticking.  The only question is, how fast can I slice the beef, grate the cheese, sauté the veggies and assemble them all together between some flour tortillas, grill-pan them all up, get 'em sliced, plated and placed on the TGIF cocktails-are-served table.

Topped w/Sriracha-infused crema & fresh salsa too?

IMG_1996Making the beef, vegetable & spicy-cheddar quesadilla filling:

IMG_2027 IMG_2000~ Step 1.  I roast an eye-of-round every other week. I alternate it with turkey breast.  I do it to have weekday sandwich meat. Place an 8 pound roast on a rack in a roasting pan in a 350º oven for 1 1/2 hours.  You can find the detailed recipe ~ Eye-of-Round Roast = Back-to-School Sandwiches ~ in Category 2, 10, 17 or 20.

IMG_1879For the beef you'll need:

3  cups 1/2"-diced lean, roasted beef, preferably rare

I like to make my own spice blends too and I love my "Baja Spice Blend".  I use it to season fish tacos and chicken quesadillas and today I'm using it to season the bell pepper and onion sauté.  I won't call the food police if you use store-bought fajita seasoning, just use it judiciously -- it's a lot saltier than homemade.  To get the details about ~ The Spice is Right:  Baja & Carnitas Blends/Rubs ~, click into Categories 8, 13 or 20.  

IMG_4581For my dry Baja spice rub/blend:

4  tablespoons chili powder

1  tablespoon sea salt

2  teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2  teaspoons ground coriander

1  teaspoon garlic powder

1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper

~ Step 2.  In a small bowl, stir together all of the spices, and, if you have one on hand, transfer to an empty shaker-type spice container.

IMG_1885For the bell pepper & onion sauté:

2  tablespoons vegetable oil

3  cups 1/2"-diced bell peppers, preferably a colorful combination of green, red, orange and yellow

1 1/2  cups 1/2"-diced onion

3  tablespoons Baja spice blend, total throughout recipe

3  cups diced roasted beef, from above recipe

IMG_1887 IMG_1888 IMG_1893 IMG_1894 IMG_1900~Step 3.  Place 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and 1 tablespoon of the spice blend.  Using a large spoon, stir constantly until onion just beings to soften, about 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Add the bell peppers and season with a second tablespoon of the spice blend. Stir constantly until the peppers are beginning to soften, about 2-2 1/2 minutes.  Add the diced beef and the third and last tablespoon of spice blend. Stir until the meat is just heated through, about 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Do not cook the meat, just warm it.  Remove skillet from heat, partially cover  skillet and set aside.

IMG_1908 IMG_1902~ Step 4. Using a hand-held box grater, grate:

12  ounces habanero cheddar cheese, about 3 cups grated cheddar cheese 

Feel free to use your favorite white or yellow cheddar, Monterey Jack or Monterey Jack jalapeño cheese. Grate it yourself or purchase store-bought grated cheese.  They'll all work great and taste great and  the choice is yours.

Grilling the quesadillas on the stovetop in a grill pan:

IMG_4574Quesadilla (keh-sah-DEE-yah):  A round, flat, cooked-until-soft corn or flour tortilla, folded in half to form a half-moon with a savory filling sandwiched in the center.  It is fried on a well-seasoned cast-iron comal (a flat, round griddle), using no or very little oil, although in many modern kitchens, mine included, a grill pan is a great substitution.  

IMG_1912Almost any cooked and chopped or shredded meats and/or vegetables can be used as a filling for a quesadilla (fish and seafood are not typically used) -- the meats and vegetables must always be cooked first because a quesadilla cooks in a few short minutes.  That said, since "queso (KAY-soh)" is the Spanish word for "cheese":  a quesadilla is a container for ooey, gooey melted cheese.  For today's quesadillas, you'll need:

8, 8" round flour tortillas

IMG_1914 IMG_1915 IMG_1918 IMG_1921 IMG_1923 IMG_1925~Step 5.  Spray a 12"-round grill pan with no-stick cooking spray and place it over medium heat (medium-heat on my gas stove is medium-high heat on an electric range).  Place a tortilla on the grids and place 1/3 cup of grated cheese over half of the surface of the tortilla to within 1/2" of the edge.  Place 1/3 cup of the meat filling over the cheese, then, sprinkle another 2 tablespoons of cheese over the top of the meat and the unfilled half of the tortilla.  Using a spatula, lift and fold the empty half of the tortilla over the meat filled half and allow to cook until the cheese is just melted, about 45-60 seconds.  Remove from heat and transfer quesadilla to a cutting board.  Repeat with the remaining seven tortillas.

IMG_1944Wait 1 minute prior to slicing each quesadilla into 3 triangles:  

IMG_1956Crispy on the outside, cheesy & beefy on the inside:

IMG_1976Read below to learn about my Sriracha-Infused Crema:

IMG_1989Cheesy Roast-Beef Pepper 'n Onion Quesadillas:  Recipe yields 8, 8"-round quesadillas and 24 appetizers.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 12" skillet w/lid; large skillet; hand-held box grater; 12"-round grill pan or nonstick skillet; paper towel; wide spatula

IMG_4369Cook's Note:  For the toppings, I use tomato-based salsa (homemade or store-bought) and  an easy to make Sriracha-infused crema:

1/2  cup Mexican crema, or American sour cream

1/4  cup Sriracha hot sauce, more or less to taste

In a small bowl combine crema and Sriracha.  If you have a squirt bottle, the kind used to dispense salad dressings, transfer the mixture to it. It will make topping the quesadillas easy & mess free.

IMG_2052Extra Cook's Note Bonus Recipe: Spray a 13" x 9" casserole with no-stick spray.  On each of 6, 6" flour tortillas, place 1/3 cup shredded cheddar and 1/3-1/2 cup prepared meat mixture.  Lift up the left and right side of each tortilla and fasten with two toothpicks.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups additional shredded cheddar over the top centers of all.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 6-8 minutes, until cheese is melted.

IMG_2007 IMG_2011 IMG_2014 IMG_2026"We are all in this food world together."  ~Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)