Now that summer is finally here, I find myself plotting and planning weekends that my teenage boys will certainly whine and grumble over. Summer festivals and rodeos. Days spent at the beach and by the pool. Weekend jaunts to destinations yet unknown. Hours and hours and hours in the car exploring new places that we’ve never been. After all, we live in a huge province that is dotted with lakes and rivers and small towns just begging to be discovered.
However, I will probably end up doing most of these things without the kids in tow. They are now at the age where they’d rather be with their friends than their parents. Whaaaat? I know! I’m shocked. And if I’m being totally honest, I’m secretly a little relieved.
I’m sure it will be a total hardship to meander through a new town at my own pace or visit an independent lakeside gift shop without being rushed to leave. How will I ever manage to spend hours in the car alone with just my music and my own thoughts for company? And to stop at a neck of the woods family restaurant and not have to share my chicken wings with anyone? I’m not sure life is worth living.
For a little extra kick, whisk 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce directly to the egg/milk mixture.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons milk
35 - 40 chicken wings and drumettes
vegetable oil, for frying
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, black pepper, ground mustard, cayenne pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Set aside.
Begin by dipping the chicken pieces into the flour mixture, then into the egg mixture and then back into the flour mixture until coated. Shake off any excess flour. Set the chicken pieces on a baking sheet and continue until all the chicken pieces are coated.
Pour the vegetable oil into a high sided pot. For safety sake, you do not want your oil to be more than 2″ deep, and definitely not more than halfway up the side of the pot. Heat oil to 375 F. A candy thermometer comes in handy here, but if you don’t have one, heat the oil on medium-high heat for about 5 – 7 minutes. Test your oil temperature with one of the chicken pieces. If it browns too quickly, turn the heat down to medium and wait a minute or two to start frying.
Carefully drop the chicken pieces, 4 to 5 pieces at a time, into the hot oil and fry for 6 to 7 minutes until browned and cooked through, turning once. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken pieces from the hot oil and place the chicken on a paper towel to drain slightly before serving. Toss or dip the wings and drumettes into your favorite sauce, or eat them naked.
Mincemeat can be made with any assortment of dried fruits and raisins. If you don't have one ingredient, simply substitute it with something else. Try figs, currants, prunes, dried cherries, or dried blueberries, however, the fruit peel is what gives mincemeat a lot of its distinct flavor, so I wouldn't recommend swapping out that ingredient.
3 apples, peeled, cored, and diced to equal about 2-1/2 cups (I used Gala, but any cooking apple will do.)
1-1/2 cups apple juice
1/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup dates, pitted and finely diced
1/2 cup mixed candied fruit peel
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup Lexia raisins (or any other raisin variety)
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brandy or dark rum (optional)
Add all of the ingredients, except the brandy or rum, to a large pot with a lid. Stir well to combine. Heat to a slow boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for10 minutes, stirring often so that the sugars don't burn the fruit to the bottom of the pot.
Use a potato masher to gently mash the ingredients and break up some of the fruit. Stir in the brandy or rum if you are so inclined and replace the lid. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes, stirring often.
Remove from the heat. Can the mincemeat into jars for future use, or refrigerate until ready to use.
To Preserve The Mincemeat
Ladle the hot mincemeat into sterilized half pint jars, leaving 1/4″ head space. Wipe the jar rims and add the lids. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 - 7 minutes. Remove the jars and cool on wire racks.
To Make Mincemeat Tarts
Spoon mincemeat into uncooked tart shells. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.