Cooking Caveman with Jeff Nimoy

THESE ARE THE COOKING ADVENTURES OF JEFF NIMOY, AN LA WRITER WHO, WHILE DOING RESEARCH FOR A SCRIPT, STUMBLED UPON WHAT’S CALLED THE CAVEMAN DIET, ALSO KNOWN AS THE PALEO DIET. BASICALLY, IT’S EATING WHAT THE CAVEMEN ATE. HE TRIED IT OUT, AND THE RESULTS HAVE BEEN STAGGERING! THIS BLOG SHOWS EXACTLY HOW AND WHAT JEFF EATS. IF YOU’RE NEW TO THE BLOG, PLEASE START WITH THE “ENTERING THE CAVE” PAGE TO GET A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT.

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From The Caveman Archives: Hot Wings-Two Ways!

Another visit to the Caveman Archives.  Jalapenos will be in season soon, so it’s time to get our spice on.  Enjoy:

October 23, 2010

Hot Wings-Two Ways!

I was watching “Throw Down with Bobby Flay” the other day, a Food Network show where Bobby challenges some super cook at their own specialty.  This time he challenged a Hot Wings specialist, who brought her native Caribbean flavors to Super Wings in Brooklyn, and won the “title” of “Best Wings In Brooklyn.”  I never knew Brooklyn to have such a title, and truthfully, not sure I had a hot wing until I went to upstate New York, where people know what they’re talking about when it comes to wings (They’re called Buffalo Wings for a reason folks, referring to Buffalo, New York, not the big furry animal gouging out Johnny Knocksville’s crotch in Jack Ass 3D).  Still, I’m sure her Crown Heights wings are wonderful.  But I used a combination of hers and Bobby’s recipes, and I decided to make my own.  I never attempted to make hot wings before, because the frying process intimidated me too much.  But now that I figured out how to work the deep fryer my friend Julie gave me, I’m looking for more and more deep fried recipes.  This one is a no-brainer.

I wanted to first make the classic Buffalo Wings, usually made with a hot sauce of the cook’s choice, like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.  I also had some of my famous Asian BBQ Plum Sauce in the freezer, so I figured I’d make half one way, and half the other.  But the process for both was the same, up until the end.  Turns out that hot wings consist of three main steps.

1. The marinade.
2. The glaze.
3. The dipping sauce.

The Super Wings woman used only fresh herbs, and spices, and marinated her wings overnight.  But Bobby used a dry rub, and it gave his wings such a nice crispy exterior, so I went that route.  First, I separated the wings into three sections, the drumette, the flat wing, and the tip.  I never did this before, either buying the parts pre-cut, or just baking the chicken wing whole, and pulling the wing apart as I ate it.  It was surprisingly easy to do, and I don’t know what I was so afraid of.  But the next time I’ll ask the butcher if he would do it for me, because frankly, handling raw chicken grosses me out, organic or not.

I wasn’t going to use the wing tips, so I threw them into a pot with water (yes, I do only use filtered water, stored in BPA safe plastic containers to keep in step with my chemical free lifestyle), and added (all ingredients, all organic, all the time):

Homemade Chicken Stock:
chicken wing tips
fresh sprigs of thyme
fresh sprigs of dill
fresh sprigs of parsley
1 clove of garlic
whole black peppercorns
half an onion
carrot (cut into chunks)
celery (cut into chunks)
turnip (cut into chunks)
water

I slow cooked it for 2 hours, strained the liquid into a container, and popped it in the freezer for chicken stock to be used in a future dish.  See, it’s easy to make your own stock.  Every canned soup stock I see in a store has added salt, even the low sodium stuff, so I’m forced to make my own, and this is a quick and easy way to do it, without too much work.  I’m getting freakin’ good at this shit! (EDIT FROM CAVEMAN OF THE FUTURE: My tumblr friend chefjessfl told me that when you make stock don’t season it at all, so I guess I made soup, not stock, but it was still delicious)

Okay, back to the wings!

Dry rub:
garlic powder
onion powder
thyme
nutmeg
cinnamon
dash of clove
black pepper
cayenne powder

I didn’t let the wings sit in them overnight, just because I didn’t have the time, but they were sitting in it all day long, for a good 6 to 8 hours or so.

Next I started deconstructing classic Buffalo style hot sauce, so I could recreate it caveman style.  Typically the ingredients are a tomato base (no problem, plenty of organic tomatoes around), hot peppers (organic, caveman friendly, check), salt (whoops, okay our first stumbling block), butter (we can rebound, knowing olive oil makes a great substitute) and vinegar (thanks for playing our game, we have some lovely parting gifts for you on your way out).

Let’s tackle the vinegar first.  When a recipe calls for vinegar I usually just use lemon juice to replace it.  But I didn’t think the lemon flavor would go well with Buffalo Wings.  So I tried lime juice and I think I have a new favorite replacement!  It tastes a lot more like vinegar than lemon juice.  I think the difference is lemon juice is tart, but lime juice is plain old sour!  Deliciously speaking, of course.  The sourness of the lime made me forget all about the vinegar, and because it’s not fermented, it’s incredibly more healthy for me as well.

Now the salt.  Since I had that Swiss Chard a few weeks ago, and realized it was so naturally salty, I’ve been doing more and more research on what foods had the highest amount of natural salt in it.  Turns out celery has some of the highest amounts of salt in it, which is actually one of the reasons it’s so healthy for you.  We all need salt to live, but when you add too much, you mess up the sodium/potassium ratio in your body, and too much sodium can lead to all those nasty health problems I’m always preaching about.  But celery has a perfect balance of sodium and potassium, so it’s safe to eat.  It’s kind of amazing what you taste once you only eat pure food, and eliminate salt from your diet.  Before I went caveman, I’d eat celery and reach for the salt shaker immediately.  Now, it tastes SO SALTY to me!  You taste every trace of a flavor when your taste buds come alive again after years of laying dormant.  I decided to use celery (or chard) in a lot of recipes that normally call for salt, if the celery flavor goes well with it, of course.  I took an empty jar the other day, filled it with lime juice, water, whole sprigs of dill, whole cloves of garlic, whole black peppercorns, caraway seeds, and 2 stalks of celery.  Then I filled the rest of the jar with cucumber spears, and hopefully in a week, I’ll have something resembling a caveman pickle!  Stay tuned! (Um, this is the caveman from the future with an edit.  This pickle idea sounds good in theory, but trust me, it don’t work!  So don’t bother trying it)

What was I talking about?  Oh yeah, Buffalo Hot Sauce!

Paleo Hot Sauce:
lime juice
red onion
garlic
celery
red (or green) jalapeno (any hot pepper will work)
olive oil
black pepper
strained tomatoes 

Into the food processor went some red onion, garlic, celery, and a gorgeous whole red jalapeno I got at the farmers market!  It’ll be perfect to add some good heat, and beautiful red color to the sauce.  Once it was all finely chopped, I threw it into a pan with olive oil and black pepper, and lightly sauteed it until it started to soften up (CAVEMAN FROM THE FUTURE: Now I don’t cook it at all and blend it all together to make a raw food sauce).  Then I added some of that jarred strained organic tomatoes I get from Whole Foods (see recipes page about making ketchup, and other condiments), and some water to thin it out.  Finally I just kept adding lime juice until I thought it tasted “vinegary” enough.  You know what?  Damn, it was GOOOOOOD!  My mouth was blissfully on fire.  Not the bad kind where you need a mouth fire extinguisher, but the kind where you want to keep eating more!  The lime gave it a nice vinegar flavor, and the celery made it wonderfully salty (to me anyway; to you I’m guessing it would taste bland).  I was gonna throw it into a blender, and then strain (This is the Caveman from the future again telling you not to bother straining it, but blending does make it nice and smooth!) it so that the sauce would be thin and smooth, but I was kinda digging the little bits of jalapeno, celery, garlic, and red onion.  I thought they’d even look good on the chicken wing, so I left it.  Plus, who the hell wants to work that hard?!  Blending, straining, Holy Jeez, give me a break people, I’m already making my own stock, my own hot sauce, my own ketchup, mayo, etc, CRAP, I NEED A BREAK!

Besides, it looked so pretty.  Take a look:

Yummy!  Look at that great read color! (Remember, Edit from the future: for best results, don’t strain, and don’t even cook it!  Just throw it all into the blender until smooth and eat!  You don’t really need the olive oil unless you like the flavor and consistency it’s adding)

The next step was the dipping sauce.  Classically, chunky bleu cheese dressing.  Hmm… no dairy allowed on the caveman diet.  This is going to be tough.  In fact, impossible, so let’s think of something else.  Some restaurants serve it with ranch dressing!  I can’t use buttermilk, but I do have a great paleo ranch dressing recipe I can use!  Okay, it’ll have to do, let’s go for it!

Paleo Ranch Dressing:
One cup of paleo mayo (all this crap’s on the recipe page)
tsp of garlic powder
tsp of black pepper
about 2 tsp of fresh chopped dill
about 2 tsp of fresh chopped chive (optional)
1 cup of coconut milk (coconut milk, really?)

Yes, really.  Trust me, you don’t taste the coconut or I wouldn’t be eating it.  Coconut has really been an intriguing find for this caveman.  Eaten alone, it tastes like coconut, but when cooking with the oil, or using the flour for a pie crust, or the milk for salad dressing, the taste disappears into the dish.  Occasionally you get a whiff of coconut, but that’s it, and it’s not unpleasant, it seems to just add another level to the dish.  Anyway, the difference between coconut milk, coconut butter, and coconut cream, is all water content.  The milk has the most water.  I couldn’t find organic coconut milk, but I did find coconut butter, so I just added water to it, and viola, coconut milk!  Then a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of black pepper, and about two tablespoons of fresh chopped dill.  Finally, lemon juice until it tastes like ranch dressing.  Taste it.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Pretty good, huh?  Not quite ranch dressing, but kinda close!  And the little clumps of coconut butter that I didn’t quite break down when mixing it into coconut milk, kind of gives the texture of chunky bleu cheese dressing!  This is gonna work out better than I had hoped!

Into the fryer went the wings!  Can’t use peanut oil because peanuts are actually not nuts, but legumes, and therefore toxic, so I used sunflower oil (EDIT: I’ve since found out sunflower oil is not paleo {see, our education never stops}, so use your favorite healthy oil, organic animal fat being the best).  If only I had some organic lard!  After all that talk for years about how bad lard is for you, turns out organic lard is better for you than most of the processed veggie oils on the market (duck fat is even healthier!).  The dry rub gave it a gorgeous crispy coating!  Fried it at 375 for 9 minutes, and then put half into the red hot sauce with olive oil, and half into my Asian BBQ Plum Sauce with olive oil, plus I added some sliced red jalapeno to spice it up even more.  Served them both up with Paleo Ranch Dressing.  Let’s taste the Buffalo Hot Wings first:

Ugga-Bugga!  Caveman Like!!!!!!!!  Delicious.  Although next time I should blend and strain*(EDIT: Ignore) the red sauce to get rid of all those little bits of jalapeno, celery, garlic, and red onion (I am such a lazy bastard).  Other than that, it REALLY tastes like Buffalo Wings!  Amazing, considering there’s no salt, butter, OR vinegar!  Dipping it into the Ranch Dressing tastes great, although I must say the occasional whiff of coconut is a little disarming, and doesn’t really go with Buffalo Wings.  Okay, let’s taste my Plum Loco Wings:

Holy Caveman, Batman, that’s the bomb!  I know I keep saying this, but I’m serious, this plum sauce is the best thing I’ve ever tasted!!!!!  I’ve got to figure out how to jar this stuff and sell it at Whole Foods for $20 bucks a pop!  It’s incredible!  The ginger, the jalapeno, the plums, the honey, the garlic, it all goes so perfectly with chicken wings!  I’ve baked them in this sauce before, but frying them, and then glazing them afterwards changes the whole dynamic and brings it to a new level of goodness!!  And the occasional whiff of coconut from the dipping sauce, goes PERFECTLY with this glaze!  I should enter this bad boy into the “Best Wings in Brooklyn” contest, dipping sauce and all, and I’ll blow that Super Wings back to the Caribbean!!!

I figured I’d eat one Buffalo Wing, then one Plum Loco Wing, and continue to alternate until I was full.  But the plum sauce is too good.  It keeps calling to you, like an entity.  As good as the Buffalo hot wings were, and they were great, it was unfair of me to put it next to the plum sauce.  So I put all the plum wings away for tomorrow’s meal, and enjoyed what I originally set out to make, Buffalo Hot Wings, with a Ranch Dressing dipping sauce.  All caveman friendly, no salt, no vinegar, no dairy, and no peanut oil.  And they were still Ugga-Bugga Good!  I can’t believe I actually made my own hot sauce!  My life is saved!  Before this diet, I put hot sauce on everything!  We’re gonna have to add this to the 10 Condiments God gave Moses when he opened the Mt. Sinai Delicatessen.  I’m gonna have to come up with recipes now that are old hot sauce favorites.  Give me some time.  By the way, I’m getting closer still to the ever elusive non-potato (or sweet potato) french fry.  Coming soon to a fat bastard near you.  Ugga-Bugga!

Filed under caveman paleo crossfit hot sauce hot wings ranch plum sauce

  1. msmajik said: Looks delish Jeff!
  2. lisaproject reblogged this from cookingcaveman and added:
    YUM! Must Try!
  3. cookingcaveman posted this