February is a month of fun! Other than being the “sweetest” month of the year, Super Bowl month, and sporting the famed groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, February holds many other surprises.
Pennsylvania’s official celebration of Groundhog Day began on Feb. 2, 1886 with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper’s editor, Clymer Freas: “Today is groundhog day and up to the time of going to press, the beast has not seen its shadow.” The groundhog was given the name “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary’’ and his hometown thus called the “Weather Capital of the World.’’ His debut performance: no shadow – early spring.
Also, I cannot, because of my Broncos-fan family, go without a Broncos Tailgating recipe. You’ll find it at the bottom.
Berry Fresh in the Sunshine State Month; National Snack Food Month; Canned Food Month; North Carolina Sweet Potato Month; Great American Pies Month; National Grapefruit Month; National Cherry Month; National Potato Month; Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month (I’m not sure what this one is about, but if you have one, I’d say return it!) and Super Bowl Month!
Crispy Chicken Wings
with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Non-Stick Cooking Spray
2-3 pounds chicken wings
1/3 cup grainy mustard
3 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup Apricot Preserves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Preheat oven 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray; set aside. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat just until sugar is melted, set aside.
Disjoint chicken wings, discard tips. Rinse; dry with a paper towel. In large bowl, combine mustard, oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne; add chicken wings and toss to coat. Place wings on prepared sheet. Spray each wing with No Stick Cooking Spray. Bake 25 minutes, turning once.
Remove from oven, increasing temperature to broil. Brush wings with Sweet and Sour Sauce; return to oven and broil about 2 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve with remaining Sweet and Sour Sauce for dipping.
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup flour
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup almond toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch square pan. In large bowl, stir together sugar and flour. Cut the cream cheese and butter into the sugar/flour mixture until crumbly. Press mixture into pan. Sprinkle pecans over top; bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool completely.
For topping, whip cream and sugar together until stiff. Fold in toffee bits; spread over cake. Cut into squares. Refrigerate.
Honey Nut White Fudge
1-1/2 cups sugar
5 ounce can Evaporated Milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups miniature marshmallows
12-ounce package White Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cups honey roasted peanuts divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Line 9-inch-square baking pan with foil. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in medium saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 4-1/2 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, morsels, 1 cup peanuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously until marshmallows are melted. Pour into prepared baking pan. Coarsely chop remaining peanuts. Sprinkle over fudge; press in. Refrigerate until firm. Remove foil; cut into squares.
Tacos el Broncos
Longtime Broncos fan, Greg Riker, makes this variation on the classic Tacos el Pastor when he tailgates at Mile High, which is pretty much every home game.
1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small can Dole pineapple tidbits
Shredded cheddar cheese
Corn or flour tortillas
Pat pork tenderloin dry and coat with a small amount of olive oil. Generously cover the tenderloin with the honey. Mix the paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder, cayenne and cinnamon together; sprinkle, completely covering the meat. Wrap tenderloin in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours. Two hours before serving remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it sit until it reaches room temperature.
Preheat oven or grill to 400 degrees. Put the tenderloin in and cook 10-15 minutes, then turn and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Once tenderloin reaches 135 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer, pull it out and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
With a sharp knife, chop or shred the tenderloin, then transfer to a serving dish. Pour entire can of pineapple in the serving dish. Sprinkle with additional garlic powder, cayenne, and cinnamon to taste. Mix well. Salt to taste and cover with aluminum foil. Place the pan on the grill or in a low oven just to keep warm. Be careful not to let the meat dry out.
Chop cilantro. Build the tacos by placing some of the pork and pineapple mix into the tortilla, garnishing with cilantro, cheese, and an avocado slice.
Take a bite and yell “Go Broncos!”
Kay Bona is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.