Monthly Archives: October 2012

Buffalo Chicken Rangoons Brings Game Day to the Living Room

Buffalo Chicken Rangoons

Football season means games on Saturdays & Sundays and sometimes Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays.  When you get together for a college or NFL game with friends, appetizers are the key to the game. The problem is trying to make something that’s no one else is going to bring. In my crowd, buffalo chicken dip is the Ford Taurus of game day appetizers. There is a 50% chance that someone else is going to make it for the game and you just have to hope that your version is better than the one they made.

I was with some friends down at Woody’s @ City Market in Raleigh when we decided to order the Buffalo Chicken Rangoon appetizer. If you head down there, you should get an order of them and a cheese steak while you are at it. They are both deliciously unhealthy. Their hot sauce is the bee’s knees with both a hint of sweet and spicy.

I was gearing up for the ECU @ South Carolina game a few weeks ago at a friend’s house and I decided to try and recreate Woody’s buffalo rangoons to take over there. I searched the Interwebz for recipes and came across one that was a hybrid between a crab rangoon and buffalo chicken dip.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1 cup chicken meat, ¼ inch dice (cooked)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (about 2 large scallions)
  • ¼ cup shredded carrot (optional)
  • 1-2 TB hot sauce (or more) of your favorite NC hot sauce
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 48 wonton wrappers (get more because they can occasionally tear during production)
  • Canola Oil (for cooking)
  • Blue Cheese Dressing or Ranch (for dipping)
  • Buffalo sauce to dip in (hot sauce combined with butter)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Marinate chicken breasts in your favorite hot sauce and then pan sear it on medium-high for 2-3 minutes per side or until and then bake it in the oven at 350 degrees until cooked thoroughly. Cut the chicken into 1/4 inch pieces.
  2. Add the chicken and cream cheese together in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Stir in the scallions, carrot, hot sauce, and black pepper.
  3. Place the bowl of chicken next to a cutting board or work surface and set out the wontons. Place a small bowl of water alongside the cutting board.
  4. Take a wonton, and place a teaspoon of the chicken mixture in the center. Dip your finger in the water, and moisten two adjacent sides of the wonton wrapper. Fold the opposing sides of the wrapper over the filling and press to seal with the moistened sides to create a triangle.
  5. Place wontons as you finish them on a plate or tray next to the stove-top.
  6. Pour oil into a wok or saucepan and heat over medium heat to about 330F. Add wontons to the hot oil individually. Cook for about 2 minutes per side or until tan and crisp, and remove to paper towels to drain.
  7. Cook the rest in the same fashion.
  8. The rangoons can be reheated in the oven if they are covered in aluminum foil. To maintain crispiness and not burn them, reheat at a low temperature around 250 degrees.

The rangoons were a huge hit with my friends. I enjoyed leaving their place with an empty dish because people liked them so much. I have been thinking about other ideas like North Carolina pulled pork rangoons or breakfast rangoons. The possibilities seem endless. Anybody have any other ideas for other types of rangoons or better versions of this recipe?

Random Asian Dishes from My Old Phone

I got a new phone a few weeks ago and finally sat down and pulled all the old pictures off my phone onto my computer. It had a decent camera but a lot of the pictures that I took at restaurants were out-of-focus or weirdly colored or just plain bad. It seemed that only one picture from all of the pictures I took of a meal turned out so I figured I would share the best of them with you.

I am definitely going to be writing a full post about David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh but I figured that I would go ahead and share one of the old pictures that I took with my old phone when I ate there a while back. I have been there a few times and tried a bunch of the dumplings plus the moo shu pork and a few other dishes including the Hunan Beef, pictured above. It had a large kick of spice in it and came with rice. The portion was huge and I’d go for it again although there are quite a few more items that I want to try on the menu.

David's Dumpling and Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

 

I went to Sushi O on a random night with friends for some sake and sushi a few weeks ago. It is also in Raleigh and located in the Glenwood South neighborhood. I ordered two of the special rolls that night and some warm sake. One was a shrimp tempura roll with green onions and the other was the spider roll which has soft shell crab, eel sauce and a few other things. Both were great but I need to start ordering with more simplicity. I feel like I always end up getting ordered stuff that is either way too deep fried or just covered in tons of sauces.

BTW, Sushi O has buy one get one free sushi every night and also during certain hours around lunch. Check it out.
Sushi O on Urbanspoon

I went to Pho Far East in Raleigh off of Capital Boulevard a few weeks ago with my buddy, Ben, and ordered a beef and vermicelli noodle dish that came with a spring roll and julienned vegetables. I know…I know…I should have ordered the pho. It was warm and I wasn’t really feeling a soup. Next time. This place is definitely worth checking out. It is a medium-sized restaurant and gets kind of busy so be prepared.
Pho Far East on Urbanspoon

NEWS: Taqueria del Sol coming to North Carolina

I try not to post anything about chain restaurants but I thought that the first Taqueria del Sol coming to North Carolina was newsworthy to all of you foodies. Taqueria del Sol will be opening on November 12th in the Cary Crossroads Shopping Center at 204 Crossroads Blvd., Suite 212, Cary N.C. 27518. The restaurant will be open Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

This is one in the first wave of  franchised restaurants Taqueria del Sol locations although there are multiple company owned stores in Georgia. The Calloway Consolidated Group, a Jacksonville, FL-based restaurant group, opened 14 Five Guys restaurants throughout Florida in recent years plan to bring seven to 10 Taqueria del Sol locations to North Carolina over the next several years with the Cary location being the first in our state.

Taqueria del Sol has been getting excellent reviews as well as back-to-back James Beard nominations. Owners Mike Klank and Chef Eddie Hernandez have been nominated twice for the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurateurs in 2011 and 2012. John T. Edge, the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance & columnist for multiple top tier pubs including The New York Times, said “the result [of Taqueria del Sol’s food] violates all the rules and, in turn, sets a new standard.” Their side of turnip greens was even included as one of Garden & Gun‘s “100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before You Die”.

The menu is simple with just six tacos (Memphis, Brisket, Fried Chicken, Carnita, Fish and Veggie) and four enchiladas (Cheese, Brisket, Refried Bean and Roasted Chicken) plus some sides, soups and starters. They also have daily specials from the chefs which will add much more to the menu and hopefully some local dishes. All of the tacos are served on flour tortillas although I’d like the option for a traditional corn tortilla.

 

NEWS: Pride & Joy – A Film About the Heart & Soul of Southern Food

Pride & Joy is a Southern Foodways Alliance film project that is coming to public television across the southeast this fall. The film is directed by Joe York and presented by the Southern Foodways Alliance and the University of Mississippi’s Media & Documentary Projects Center.

Left-handed hot dogs. Boiled peanuts. Pig ear sandwiches. Caviar. All of these are covered and more. I don’t know where they went in North Carolina but there is a lot of history and heritage of southern food throughout this documentary that I imagine that it is worth watching even.

REVIEW: The Smoking Pot – Folly Beach, SC

The Smoking Pot is a two-man operation bringing low country boils, oyster steams, shrimp boils and blue crab boils to houses and events in Folly Beach, SC and surrounding areas.  Andrew Postlewaite and Andrew Krasny started The Smoking Pot a few years ago as a side operation but the demand for their service has led to them turning it into a full time business.

A trip to the beach isn’t complete for me without consuming a large amount of fresh seafood. Eating out at beach restaurants can get expensive especially if you are with a group and partaking in a few cocktails. The cost for The Smoking Pot to cater our dinner was approximately $30/person which sounds a little pricey. However, everything is relative and I feel that we ended up saving hundreds of dollars by not going out to eat. Plus, not having to set up or clean up anything was great.

Postlewaite told me that the dinners that they cook range from a small dinner for around six to eight people up to a medium sized party of 30 to 40 people. They will only work one event per night in an effort to provide the absolute best service that they are able without having to rush anyone so that the customer experience with The Smoking Pot is as relaxed as possible.

My group consisted of ten guys…all of whom were pretty loose from a couple of pre-dinner cocktails. We sat around chatting up the Andrews as the guys from The Smoking Pot became known to our group while they prepped the boil. We chatted about their business and where they were getting all of the local ingredients and all the different type of parties that they had catered.

Everything is cooked on site using a large boiling pot and propane powered burners. The corn was bought from a local farmer and shucked & cut just minutes before it went into the boil. The shrimp are purchased from a local shrimper and Postlewaite even pointed out to the bay to the area that they normally catch them. The sausage we had was locally processed and cased although I was told the type of sausage can vary especially if someone makes a request for a spicier sausage. I believe that the potatoes were local but I can’t remember where they said that they got it.

The low country boil consists of local Folly Beach shrimp, local corn, red potatoes and local sausage. The Smoking Pot also makes cole slaw and cocktail sauce to go along with the boil. They provide real butter for the corn on the cob and bowls to place the shrimp hulls in so they don’t clutter up your plate. In addition to the low country boil, The Smoking Pot also includes a delicious fruit pie to finish up the meal which were fantastic.

If you are down in the Charleston or Folly Beach areas and looking for a relaxed night at the house, make sure that you call up the Andrews at The Smoking Pot and set up a time for them to come out. The meal that they prepared was one of the highlights of our weekend and I imagine that you will probably think the same.

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