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Monday, July 26, 2010

Buffalo Wing Sauce

Being a born and bred western New Yorker is a huge responsibility. When you tell the world that you are from Buffalo, they assume you are guru of all things food, sports and weather. Perhaps you have moved away from the WNY and are enduring a tough winter in your new home state. While trapped at work, the roads impassable, your coworkers simply say “Well, you’re from Buffalo, this is nothing for you.” Because we all know, Buffalo is covered in at least six feet of snow for the entirety of winter. Our Buffalo cars laugh at six feet of snow and ask for more. Buffalo plows are magical and snow flees from their paths as they careen down the highway.

Western New Yorkers are also HUGE sports fans. Home to the world famous Buffalo Bills, we know the glory of victory, and the disappointment of defeat. Let’s not forget our beloved Buffalo Sabres. They are also aware of difficult glory/disappointment cycle. You mention “Wide Right” or “No Goal” to any WNYer and they know, they have a story, they were there.

Buffalo is also world famous for its food. Well, perhaps not world famous, but you can’t go to any Americana restaurant without seeing “Buffalo wings” on the menu. Buffalo loves food. If you love food you should head to Buffalo in the summer, where you can find a food festival every single weekend. Italian, Hellenic, Allentown, German, Scottish, Polish and Canal fests are just the start to the summer festival season. The main event is always the Taste of Buffalo. Touted as the largest two-day food festival in the United States, the Taste of Buffalo is a great place to find your new favorite restaurant.

Now, I’m not sure if I can call myself a true western New Yorker. I can muster very little enthusiasm for the Bills or Sabres, even when the tickets are free, and there is free food. While I can handle a 2WD car in a snowstorm, I would be much happier on a beach. However, I do love to eat. I figure I don’t need to watch sports or live in a snowglobe, but I do need to eat. And why not eat good food?

As a kid, my dad would make the best wing sauce. It could be a hot, humid summer day or a cold blustery winter night. The chicken made with this sauce was perfect. It was never the same, but had the same notes of flavor every time. The sauce came together so quickly, and it was always a mystery. My dad is not a chef, he’s an engineer. He is very good with cooking fish, making a mean PB&J and this sauce. My brother and I would constantly ask for chicken and wing sauce, fortunately my dad wouldn’t always make it, otherwise we’d likely be 400 lbs.

While visiting home I decided that I must know how to make this sauce. If I can’t make a good Buffalo wing sauce, then I might as well renounce my WNYer card, without the love of football and snow I really would have nothing else. We decided to balance out the heavy sauce with healthy chicken tenders, which my mom breaded and baked. The sauce was a little harder to nail down. Other than the very specific one stick of butter, everything else was a squirt of this a dash of that. I’ve done my best to eyeball measurements to help you get the desired result. The quantities of every ingredient can be changed to suit your particular tastes. Play around and enjoy a little bit of Buffalo flavor!

Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 stick butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup ketchup
2-3 tbsp hot sauce
Dash of chili powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp BBQ sauce or Mustard (for a sweet, or tangy sauce)
Dash garlic powder
Dash onion powder
Salt to taste

- Slowly melt 1 stick of butter in a pan over low heat. Add lemon juice. Whisk until butter is no longer transparent and slightly thickened.
- Add ketchup and stir until the sauce changes to a bright orange color.
- Add hot sauce to your desired heat level. This is best tested by smelling the sauce. Determine how much you would like your mouth to burn by how much it burns your nose!
- Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Continue to whisk for an additional 2 minutes over low heat.
This sauce will break after a few minutes, so be sure to stir often to maintain a smooth sauce.

Healthy Chicken tenders

1 lb chicken tenders
2 cups bread crumbs (we went with a mixture of crushed whole grain crackers, wheat crackers and panko breadcrumbs)
Dash of onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper
Egg Beaters (or buttermilk for a slightly tangier tender)

- Mix breadcrumbs with spices in a shallow dish or pie pan
- Soak chicken tenders in egg beaters for a minute (30 minutes if using buttermilk)
- Coat tenders with bread crumbs and line on a cooking-sprayed foil-lined cookie sheet.
- Lightly spray tenders with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes.

Enjoy your chicken with some carrots, celery and blue cheese!
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