GCC: Menu 1 - Baked BBQ Wings and Potato Skins with Cheddar and Bacon

And the inaugural post for Gutsy Cooks Club has finally arrived!

A couple of months back I decided that I needed a kick in the butt with my savory cooking.  I was finding myself baking more and more, but my savory cooking was taking a back seat.  I needed an incentive, and thus the Gutsy Cooks Club was born.  As of today, we have a total of nine Gutsy Cooks and that talent pool is awesome, I can not wait to see what we cook up.

Some have been blogging for a bit, some started their blog when they joined us, but all of us have the same goal, to cook, learn and to share our experiences.  You can too, by going here and seeing the roll call and visiting each of their blogs.

The month of October menu was decided by yours truly, and I got to come clean.With over 1,000 recipes in The Illustrated Kitchen Bible Cookbook to choose from, it was HARD, very, very hard to narrow them down.  So I did the next best thing.  I simply closed my eyes, open a random page and picked by placing my finger in the page.  Where ever it landed, that was the recipe of the week.

See Internet how well organized I’m over here? Its ridiculous!

So for this weeks choice we had Baked BBQ Wings with Blue Cheese Dip and Potato Skins with Cheddar and Bacon.

A side note, I would love to include the full recipe here, but, I’m still awaiting confirmation from the publisher about sharing it with you without getting into trouble with the copyright police. So, until then, this will be a simple recap.

Let’s start with the wings.  The wings are marinated with a mixture of olive oil, tomato paste, dry oregano, light brown sugar, shallot, garlic and hot red pepper sauce (I used Sriracha Chili Sauce).  This gets placed in a blender and whipped up and used to coat the wings, which are then placed in a plastic bag and into the refrigerator they go for up to 6 hours.  (You can also do this the same day, by letting the whole thing stand at room temperature for no more than 90 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 375F and when ready, spread the wings on a baking sheet and into the oven they go to bake for 35 minutes.  For me they were done at the 45 minutes mark, my wings were a bit on the “large” size, and I think this is why they took longer to cook than the book’s time frame.  What I did do differently was to use the broiler in the oven to get them a bit more caramelized. I cranked up the broiler to “high” and keeping an eagle eye on them, let them get nice and toasty for about 2-3 minutes.

Out of the oven they came and I let them rest for a bit.  They look good don’t they?

Next up the Blue Cheese Dip, which came together in less than 5 minutes with 4 ingredients.  Sour cream, blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola), chives and a bit of lemon juice.  The results, a tangy, cool sauce - perfect for the spicy wings.

The verdict for these were nicely put by Tom “you only made 10 wings? I could eat all 10 of them! Even the little man ate them, I was afraid they were going to be on the spicy end for him, but remarkably they were not and he fought with his dad for the last piece.  

The other recipe was the Potato Skins.  Would you believe me if I told you that after living in the US for over 20 years I never, ever cooked twice bake potato.  Yep, never.  I guess I always been a bake potato purist and I like them the way they were meant to be, simple - with butter, salt, pepper and a big dollop of sour cream.

Done and done!

Well hold on to your hats for this version.  It has shallots, bacon, milk, butter (of course!), Cheddar cheese, parsley and salt and pepper.

The book calls to bake the potatoes the old fashion way, in a 400F degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  I did it the new way, into the microwave they went for 15 minutes - easy! Then in a saute pan, you cook the bacon until golden and add the shallot until they are soft, put aside and back to the potato you go.

Take out of oven microwave the potatoes and slice off the top third of each.  Scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl.  Reserved the hollowed out skin and put in a baking sheet/dish.  

Mash the flesh with a fork or potato masher, add the milk (which needs to be hot) and butter and mix until smooth, then dump the Cheddar cheese and bacon/shallot mixture and mix again .  Season with salt and pepper to taste and the add the chopped parley.

Place the potato mixture back into the potato and bake in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.  Take out, sprinkle with more chopped parsley and serve.

Then stand back for the major praises.

We all loved this recipe.  Even my mother, who ate her portion 2 days later by simply warming them up in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  The book gives you other variations as well adding crab meat, cilantro, and creme fraiche and red chile.  Or you can go the Spanish way and add chorizo, use mozzarella, oregano and chopped tomatoes.

At the end it all comes down to your sense of adventure and imagination.
And there you have it, our first menu of the club.  If you would like to join us, head over here for the rules, get the book and send me an email so we can add you to our roll call.  If you want to know what our next menu will be you, can also check out our schedule to get your culinary juices going.

Get the recipes: