Greetings, world. I feel like I’ve neglected posting for a while, but I haven’t been feeling so hot this week and I couldn’t even gather the energy to post words on the Internet. How’s that for sick? I started feeling crappy on Sunday night and into Monday morning, and today I’m finally feeling somewhat human, although I’m not quite able to eat my favorite foods yet. Not being able to eat delicious lunches and dinners is a form of cruel torture as far as I’m concerned. For example, on Wednesday night, I ate some toast around lunch and that was it. On Thursday, I had some watermelon and a spoonful of peanut butter. It honestly makes me hate myself. I watched Kramer eat Indian food on Wednesday night, and I didn’t make it easy. He sat there, feeling guilty, saying, “Just have some!” while I declined but still watched him eat. The bright side is that I feel really skinny now – all the better to treat myself to some kind of overindulgent meal whenever I’m 100% again. I’m just glad to be back at work and trying to feel normal again. I was getting really sick of sitting on the couch. I had run out of television to watch, sleeping during the day loses its appeal pretty quickly and all in all I feel like a slacker when I can’t get out of bed. And while the temptation was great to eat avocado and Sriracha or something similarly good for breakfast this morning, I resisted and stuck with my ginger ale. Let’s hope I can keep it up. I’ll definitely have to get matzo ball soup from Eisenberg’s for lunch today, though.
So, to lift my spirits a bit, I’m finally sharing my photos from our Montauk trip with you. My father-in-law generously rents out a house every year in some beachy location, and it is so refreshing to get out of the city. It really gives you the recharge that you need after schlepping around to work or restaurants or the store or whatever it is you’re doing and whatever it is you have to lug there. Maybe my body is telling me that I need to go back? Either way, even though I could only stay for one day, I had a blast. We laid out on the beach, drank some beers and ate junk food, then headed back to the house for grilling, eating and relaxing. The house was beautiful and the company was fantastic. I even got some gravlax started for Kramer and his family to remember me by after I had left. Kramer told me that he had some on a bagel with cream cheese the morning that they went fishing. I’m a little jealous that I missed the fishing expedition, but there’s always next year! Hint hint, nudge nudge.
Aside from our lovely trip to Montauk, Kramer and I have been trying to get out of our comfort zones a bit and wander around other parts of Brooklyn. It’s really easy to just stay in Williamsburg or Bushwick. I don’t have to get on the subway, all of the food and drink I could possibly want is within walking distance, and most of my friends live in the neighborhood. However, we ventured downtown a few weekends ago and after a long, hard day of eating, drinking and general merriment (that’s right), we realized we were 10 minutes away from Pok Pok NY, a restaurant that I have been dying to go to since it opened over a year ago. Undeterred by the long line, we grabbed a beer nearby as we waited for our names to be called. Our dining companions were unconvinced of Pok Pok’s greatness, but Kramer and I knew that we would be impressed. That confidence faded a bit as we were seated; the place has a tent for a roof, plastic tables and chairs, and no air conditioning. Okay, I thought…this is just a schtick. The food will be good. It has to be good. Thankfully, I am rarely wrong, as was the case with Pok Pok. All of the food was incredible, from the spicy papaya salad to the pork neck and mustard greens to the crepe with mussels. The star of the show, though, were the fish sauce wings. Sweet lord, they were good. Incredibly crispy, bursting with flavor, and with just the right amount of heat, these are my new favorite wings. I originally made this post for a feature on Business Insider, but their deliciousness needs to be shared as much as possible. My homemade version isn’t quite what you’ll get at the restaurant, but it’ll be close enough to make your mouths and stomachs happy. Don’t be frightened by the fish sauce! I’ve made Momofuku’s Fish Sauce Brussels Sprouts before to rave reviews, and I promise these will go over the same with your friends and family. The sweet, sticky sauce and the savory, almost umami flavor of the fish sauce is unexpected and beyond tasty. I love barbecue wings as much as the next guy, but do like Kramer and me, step outside of your comfort zone, and fry up some crispy Thai style Pok Pok wings.
Making sure my father-in-law has a nice, cold beer.
Later at the house, we made a big tomato, cucumber, pepper and basil salad.
Grilled up some hot dogs and sausages.
And grilled some bread for bruschetta.
Then I made some more gravlax for everyone before bed.
Alright, so – here we go. Make your marinade and toss your wings with it. Allow them to sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
When you’re ready, remove your wings from the marinade. Put the marinade in a small sauce pot to reduce, then dredge your wings in your flour mixture.
Also, fry your garlic. Try not to eat it all while you cook. It’s pungent, but it’s good!
Fry your wings in oil heated to 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or so, working in batches, until you’ve worked through all of your wings. Allow them to drain briefly on a paper towel lined baking sheet, then place in a large bowl and toss with the reduced marinade.
Serve with your fried garlic, fresh herbs and napkins!
- 5 pounds chicken wings
- 1 cup fish sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 9 garlic cloves, separated (5 smashed and 4 minced)
- 1 cup Wondra flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 7-8 cups vegetable oil (plus an additional 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
- You can leave your wings whole or halve them at the joint, it’s up to you. If you decide to leave them whole, I recommend scoring the piece of fat between the joints with a knife to make them easier to eat.
- Combine the fish sauce, granulated sugar, lime juice, red pepper flakes, and 4 mashed garlic cloves together in a medium sized bowl and whisk until the sugar has mostly dissolved in the fish sauce and lime juice. Place your wings in a sealable container or bag, then pour the marinade over them. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (as always, overnight is best).
- When you are almost ready to fry your wings, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a small pot. When hot, add in the minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Remove the fried garlic from the oil and set aside on paper towels to drain. Wipe out the small pot.
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add in 7-8 cups of vegetable oil (enough to go up at least 4-5 inches in the side of your pot - you want to be able to mostly cover the wings) and heat to 350 degrees F. Combine your Wondra flour and all-purpose flour in a pie dish. Remove the wings from the marinade, but be sure to reserve the marinade and place it in the same small pot in which you fried your garlic. Simmer the marinade over medium-high heat, stirring frequently and watching carefully so that it doesn’t boil over, until slightly thickened. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- When your oil is hot, dredge the wings in the flour mixture, shake off any excess flour, and fry your wings in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry the wings for 8 minutes or so, until cooked through and golden brown. Place each batch on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels to drain and continue frying the rest of your wings (they will stay hot and have the sauce poured over them, so don’t worry about them cooling too much). Once you’ve fried all of your wings, place them on a large platter or in a bowl, pour your reduced marinade over the top, and sprinkle with the fresh cilantro, mint and fried garlic. Serve alongside a big salad or pickled vegetables.