Friday, May 22, 2009

What's in that...Friday cont.

So. I had this whole wonderful grilled ethnic meal planned (around Korean short ribs), written about, notated, linked, etc. when suddenly it hit me that...this is Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps not the best weekend to promote Korean food.

Yes, I'd love to think that we can reach across what divides us. And in fact, Memorial Day is more than we might think.

From wikipedia

According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic race track in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who had died while captive. The freed slaves reinterred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to individual graves, fenced in the graveyard & built an entry arch declaring it a Union graveyard; a very daring thing to do in the South shortly after North's victory. On May 30 1868 the freed slaves returned to the graveyard with flowers they'd picked from the countryside & decorated the individual gravesites, thereby creating the 1st Decoration Day. A parade with thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers was followed by patriotic singing and a picnic.

and from writer Bill Quigley:

"Memorial Day is not actually a day to pray for U.S. troops who died in action but rather a day set aside by Congress to pray for peace. The 1950 Joint Resolution of Congress which created Memorial Day says: "Requesting the President to issue a proclamation designating May 30, Memorial Day, as a day for a Nation-wide prayer for peace." (64 Stat.158)"

But unlike my younger, more idealistic self, I can understand a reluctance on this important day to embrace a culture that in a particular time and place was the enemy of the United States, to acknowlege in sorrow that the lives of American soldiers were lost, and that that sacrifice and loss should be honored, along with a prayer for peace.

Remembering and being thankful and praying for peace while hanging out with your family and friends can work up an appetite on what I hope is a beautiful sunny Memorial Day where ever you are.

Which means, feeding the hunger-wise on Memorial Day, we're talking good ol' American bbq (I doubt there would be a majority of kimchi lovers out there anyway, though I happen to be one of them).

American bbq doesn't have to mean routine. Along with those hamburgers and hot dogs, why not add some grilled chicken wings, too. These are a little different and in a really good way! This is my adaptation from a recipe on homecooking .about .com , They're are easy to make, and you also end up with some awesome chicken stock to freeze and use later in soups or sauces.

Prep time: 15 minutes, cook time: 45 minutes


  • 5 pounds large chicken wings, separated at the joint (add the wing tips to the pot if you have them)
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken broth (1 can or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 large cloves garlic, cut in fourths
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • Water
  • .
  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (canned) chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped (fresh are great if you can get them)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • salt
(Make sure to taste your sauce. Does it need more heat? More sweet? Check it BEFORE you toss the chicken in!)


Place chicken wings in a large stockpot along with chicken broth, onion, celery, garlic sage, thyme and bay leaf. Add water to just cover contents. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir and skim off any foam midway through cooking. Remove cover and let cool at least 10 minutes.

While the wings are cooking, make the sauce. Heat a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter and onion. Reduce heat to medium and saute until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and chipotle chiles. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with the balsamic vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom into the sauce. Add apricot jam and salt to taste. Stir until smooth. Let cool until chicken wings are done.

Strain wings (discard wing tips, if any) and keep strained stock for other purposes. Toss chicken wings with apricot chipotle sauce. This can be made the day before and marinated overnight for even better flavor.

These can be done in the oven, but hey, if the grill is going already, toss those babies on it. If they are still cold from the fridge, grill at least 35-40 minutes. If room temperature, 25 minutes should do it, turning half way through either cooking time. They should be golden brown when done and served hot.

A spring salad of mixed greens, peas (fresh if you can get them, or frozen, cooked and cooled in the fridge will work), steamed and cooled asparagus tips with a light dressing of sesame oil and vinegar is simple to make, but special for the holiday.

My favorite way of grilling potatoes is to take your baking potatoes and rub them generously with butter. Then make a mix of kosher salt and garlic powder (how much? depends how many potatoes!) in a bowl large enough to roll the potatoes in. After coating the potatoes with the mixture, wrap them in heavy duty foil. An hour on the grill should be long enough, but it is easy to check with a fork for doneness. You may want to fancify your potatoes with a grated or crumbled cheese of your choice, raw sunflower seeds, grilled veggies cut small, sour cream, etc.

Dessert? Ice cream, watermelon, fruit salad, strawberry shortcake. Any or all.

And even if you're tempted...skip the kimchi. We'll get back to it another time.

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