As I sit down to write this recipe I am having the realization that these Maple Bourbon Glazed Chicken Wings in a nutshell are basically a food representation of my marriage and just 9 days before our 10 year wedding anniversary, at that. I would love to act as if this was 100% purposeful in it’s intent, but nope, kinda just a happy accident. But you guys, chicken wings inspired by the Kentucky Derby – it’s like Buffalo meets Louisville. I a Buffalo girl, my husband Mark from Louisville. Nifty. Totally planned (not really).
Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby and while I could care less about horse racing, in fact I actually have some inherent issues with it from a moral and ethical standpoint, I do have a husband that grew up in Louisville, surrounded by the culture of this 2-minute long historic sport. They party for 2 weeks prior to the Derby in Louisville, there are boat races, fireworks, fancy hats and a plethora of foods and cocktails exclusively served for the Derby. They don’t mess around.
If you follow me on social media at all, you may know that I am currently in London. We have 10 days of travel between London, Paris, Leeds and back to London before we head back to LA. A for-real vacation, just the hubby and I.
So far, it’s been an adventurous trip. Unfortunately the adventures started off on a truly sad note for us. Here’s a strange and very somber story for you, it’s affected me greatly and it’s been weighing so heavy on my mind, even amidst this exciting time of international travel with my guy.
We had a direct flight from Los Angeles to London, on Thursday evening. It was meant to be approximately an 11 hour flight. A few hours in, somewhere over the middle of the country I drifted off to that strange, blurry-headed, plane-induced half-sleep, when there was a call over the loud speaker for any doctors or nurses. A short time later, another call.
Suddenly several hours later, with about 3.5 hours left of our 11 hour flight, the bright lights turned on, a jarring way to wake. We received the pre-recorded notice that we were close to our arrival and that we should prepare for landing. ‘Trays and seat backs to the upright positions.’ ‘Bags stowed.’ It didn’t make sense. The map showed we were in the middle of the Atlantic, somewhere near Greenland. In the fog of sleep and slight confusion and with the pull of an extremely abrupt direction change, I opened up the digital map on the glowing screen in front of me. The flight path showed a very abrupt u-turn in the middle of the blue sea. Mark said “we’re turning back around, we’re going back.” Our plane was headed back in the very direction we had just come from and the arrival time now showed as just over an hour.
With winter upon us, one of my favorites of the citrus season are blood oranges. They are slightly sweeter, a little tart and have the most beautiful color to them. They are absolutely my favorite of all citrus and I truly didn’t know this love, until I moved to Southern California.
For my money, I find that out of all citrus fruits a blood orange lends itself the best to juices, cocktails and other drinks. And the beautiful vibrant hue present in any cocktail crafted with it, makes it that much more appealing and special.
I know it’s been a while since I have shared a Tutorial Tuesday post with you guys, but it’s been a busy few weeks. So, I thought an easy, no frills tutorial would be perfect. No need for step-by-step photos on this one, just one quick step and then we wait.
Making homemade vanilla extract is so easy. You literally need just two ingredients, alcohol and vanilla beans and just a few minutes of prep time. You do need a little patience while the flavor of the vanilla beans is extracted, which takes several weeks. But, it is all more than worth it when you end up with the tastiest, most incredible flavor – perfect for all of your baking needs. Plus, this delicious homemade vanilla extract makes an amazing thoughtful gift.
To start, for a standard vanilla extract, I recommend an inexpensive vodka, at least 70 proof. Cheaper, many times, is better since there are no distinguishing flavors from the vodka, as it can be with a pricer spirit, which can interfere with the vanilla flavor. If you are sensitive to certain grain-based vodkas, I do recommend selecting a certified gluten-free vodka, I like and use Tito’s.
The recommended ratio of vanilla beans to vodka that I have found works best is 1 quart vodka to 1/4 pound of dry vanilla beans. This makes things very easy as I divide this amount among four 8-ounce containers, and it’s very easy to divide the 1/4 pound of beans amongst them. Simple, no crazy math, no crazy precise measuring.
Thankfully it has since broke, but this past week, we had the most insane heat wave here in Southern California. After living here just over a year, I haven’t felt anything quite like this. Several days of right around 100ºF and many days even a few degrees more. Now, we don’t get any of that nasty humidity I am used to from my days on the East Coast, but mugginess or not, 100 degrees is DAMN hot.
Early in the week, we had been in the desert, in Palm Springs, on a much needed anniversary getaway and we came home ready to work our butts off on the various projects we have going on in our cooler beach breeze town of Long Beach. Instead, without any air conditioning and not a breeze to be found, we found ourselves doing a lot of laying around in undergarments, drinking tons of water and we planned lots of meals at restaurants in air conditioning. Seriously guys, I sweat in places this week, that I didn’t even know was possible.
After our lovely organic farmer, Tony, dropped off our CSA box on Wednesday afternoon, I took a peek inside at the goodies and saw some beautiful freshly picked apricots and I instantly thought that they would be perfect for some boozy popsicles for the next day, that might help take my mind off of the furnace we were living in.
OK, so I might be wayyy too insanely excited about today’s guest blogger, my girl Gina from So…Let’s Hang Out. Lovely Miss Gina is just about the most magical, polar bear loving, super sweet lady you will ever meet. I am proud to have her as a friend and to bring her here to Tasty Yummies for the first time to share an incredible cocktail with you guys. I hope you enjoy.
Firstly, I want to thank and virtually chest bump my friend Beth for letting me come over to her really pretty corner of the interweb today and sully you all with booze and tomfoolery. I think we can both agree that this lady is pretty tops! Like, if we were texting right now and you asked me, “how do you feel about Beth from Tasty Yummies?” I wouldn’t have enough Emojis to properly respond. I’d have to use all of them. But, I think I’d probably use the one that looks like tap dancing twins more than once, because it just feels right. There would be exclamation marks and goings-on about how this lady is for reals one of the loveliest friends and one heck of an inspiring blogger. Since this is still my fantasy text to her, I think I’d end it with these Emojis in the following order: donut, ramen noodles, panda bear, thumbs up, jazz hands, tap dancing twins, donut, donut, guy with mustache, camel, tap dancing twins, donut.
It’s so like me to write an entire paragraph of arguable nonsense without introducing myself. Hi there! *Waves enthusiastically*My name is Gina and I write over at So…Let’s Hang Out. It’s a whole lot of gluten-free recipes, the occasional drawing of animals in human clothes, and spontaneous dance party encouragement all doused in copious amounts of oversharing about how I learned for the hundredth time that cooking bacon without wearing pants is just not a good idea. Splatter. Bare thighs. No. Just, no.
I know we’re just getting to know each other (even though I’ve already talked about my penchant for not wearing pants—too soon?) so, why don’t we just do this thing over cocktails? That would probably be best.