A couple of weeks ago, I attended Camp Blogaway, a conference for food and recipe bloggers run by Patti Londre of Worth the Whisk. Special thanks to Christina Peters, of MDR Photography Classes, for telling me about the camp in the first place, and for graciously sponsoring me to attend. The camp, limited to about 100 bloggers, speakers, and sponsors, is held annually at Camp de Benneville Pines, located at about 6,800 feet in elevation in the picturesque San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California. All weekend long, we heard from top notch speakers who spoke about their careers in food, their experiences writing cookbooks and e-books, and their experiences working with PR agencies, literary agents, and brands.
Throughout the weekend, I met many accomplished, yet down-to-earth bloggers who exhibit the same excitement about food, photography, and blogging as I do. Our passion for food brought all of us together, and our experiences in such close quarters helped us bond. It’s amazing what you can learn about your cabin-mates while waiting in line for a bathroom. :-)
Aside from my fellow bloggers, I also met representatives from the camp’s sponsors. Huge thanks to all of them!! I was familiar with a few of the companies like Bob’s Red Mill, OXO, and Jarlsberg Cheese, which are brands whose products I regularly use at home. Some brands were new to me, like Duda Fresh Farms and CravOn Fries. I came away with a huge swag bag overflowing with goodies from all the sponsors, from bags of muesli and lots of coupons for free products courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill to awesome OXO products like the hand-held mandoline slicer, a push-top water bottle, and a water bottle cleaning set which includes a brush specifically made to clean straws like the one I have for my Starbucks tumbler. What a nifty tool! (Thanks for all the swag!) Unfortunately, I didn’t win one of the OXO Steel Chef Mandoline Slicers that were being raffled off, but it is definitely on my birthday/Christmas list. You will all know when I get it because there will be a proliferation of recipes that call for waffle-cuts.
So, what does all this have to do with today’s recipe for buffalo chicken wings and celery slaw? Well, on our first night, Duda Fresh Farms, fresh citrus and vegetables growers, hosted a friendly Bloody Mary-making competition. As I learned that evening, Duda Fresh Farms developed a type of celery that is naturally hollow in the middle, which makes a perfect straw for drinking Bloody Marys. Brilliant connection, right? Also, they also showed us a new product that the company recently developed, red celery. Its appearance is similar to rhubarb, but it tastes just like regular celery. How pretty would a red celery slaw look?
Having a newfound excitement for celery, I wanted to think outside the box and do something different with it. Buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing immediately come to mind when I think of celery, so here’s a little different take on the classic combination. The wings have just the right amount of heat and the celery and blue cheese slaw cooled my mouth enough to keep wanting more. If you didn’t notice the title, these wings are baked, not fried, which means no oil splattering all over the stove and it contains less calories than fried chicken wings. (I tried to say they were “healthier” but my husband just fell down laughing.) He did redeem himself a little while later by declaring, in his unbiased opinion, that this plate of wings and accompanying celery slaw was better than those at Buffalo Wild Wings. Cheaper, too!
Baked Buffalo Wings with Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw
Yields about 4 servings
2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 batch of Buffalo Sauce (recipe below)
Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw (recipe below)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Set aside.
Place the chicken, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat completely. Arrange chicken wings in a single layer on prepared rack. Bake wings until cooked through and skin is crispy, about 45 minutes. Toss hot wings in Buffalo sauce. Serve immediately with Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hot pepper sauce (I used Louisiana Hot Sauce)
Combine melted butter, cayenne, black pepper, and salt in a medium bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in hot sauce. Keep warm until service. Sauce may be made up to 1 week ahead. Let cool completely, cover, and chill. Rewarm before using.
Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw
Yields approximately 2 cups
Ingredients: 4 celery ribs, peeled and cut into 3-inch long matchsticks (julienned)
1 teaspoon Gulden’s spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese plus more for garnish
Place the celery strips in a bowl of ice water. Set aside while you make the vinaigrette.
Whisk together the mustard, honey, vinegar and water in a small bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil until vinaigrette emulsifies. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add blue cheese crumbles and mix well. Drain the celery strips and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss celery in vinaigrette, shaking off any excess.
- Asian Chicken Wings with Lime, Ginger, and Soy Sauce (daisysworld.net)
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