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Comfort food and books for comfort

Christina Stock Photo Crispy wings and rosemary parmesan sweet potatoes are a delicious snack to go with the big game.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Rosemary parmesan sweet potatoes, wings and author Jaima Chevalier

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

It’s hard to believe but the big game is upon us next week. Who will be the winner? My folks on the American side come from the Kansas/Missouri area, and so I have an obligation to root for the Kansas City Chiefs, though Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in such good form it probably will be a tight outcome. As everything else, this game will be different with COVID-19 regulations in place. Most likely — unless you have a large family — there will be no big parties this year at your place either, but that doesn’t mean there will be no snacks and wings.

One of my pet-peeves are soggy wings. I got spoiled when I visited upstate New York with its little restaurants and bars that served the famous wings with hot sauce. Even the ones delivered were crunchy good and delivered in paper containers so they wouldn’t get soggy. Last year, I introduced you to the Washington wing sauce with wings made from scratch. However, this year you don’t need to impress anybody, so why not make it easy for yourself and order in, supporting at the same time our local restaurants. But, what to do, in case your wings arrive all soggy? I got inspired to find a way to crisp wings up by the original Buffalo wing recipe that my niece-by-marriage shared with me from Upstate New York. They actually deep-fry the wings first, toss them in hot sauce and bake them. At the very end, they toss them in a final coating of hot sauce and melted butter before they get served. I got to thinking how to recreate that without wasting energy and heating up my oven for only a few wings, and I found a solution. Also, I wanted to add some sweet potato fries to the wings, prepared in my air fryer.

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My first experiments with sweet potato fries vs. air fryer were horrid. The sweet potato fries shriveled to nothing, burned on the ends, until I found just the right way to prepare. The trick is to have even-sized thick wedges:

Rosemary/parmesan sweet potatoes air-fried

Serves 2-4


2 equally sized sweet potatoes

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

2 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp parmesan

Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them in evenly sized thick 1-inch wedges. Pour the olive oil together with the chopped rosemary leaves, garlic powder and salt into a plastic bag. Add the sweet potatoes and close the bag. Mix thoroughly until the sweet potato wedges are evenly coated with the oil mix.

Preheat the air fryer to 375F and set to 25 minutes. Put the sweet potatoes into the basket, making sure that each wedge has a little space around it. After 12 minutes, turn the sweet potato wedges, so it browns evenly. Remove the sweet potato wedges and grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top of them and they are ready to be served. Or keep them warm while crisping up chicken wings.

Crisping up soggy chicken wings:

1/4 cup of hot sauce or barbecue sauce

6-12 chicken wings

Preheat your air fryer to 400F. Spray the bottom of the air fryer with cooking spray, to help with the cleanup later. Put the wings in a single layer, if need be, do it in several batches. Set the time for 15 minutes. Turn the wings every five minutes. If the wings don’t have enough sauce for your taste, baste the top after each turn with sauce of your choice. Once the wings are crispy enough for your liking, remove and serve with your favorite dip, sweet potatoes and/or fresh carrots and celery.

By the way, this works as well if you prepared or ordered your wings a day ahead to beat the crowds. After all, according to the National Chicken Council — who knew there was a thing like that? — American’s consumed 1.4 billion chicken wings during the game in 2020.

Books for comfort:

Submitted Photo
Jaima Chevalier with her award-winning book “Fringe.”

Today, I want to introduce you to a true Santa Fe native. Jaima Chevalier is not only an award-winning author, but also a filmmaker. Her recently published book “Fringe” won the 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the biography category. Chevalier covers stories set in the heart and culture of New Mexico. Her fascination with New Mexico’s history plays a big role in the subjects she chooses to write and document about.

Her book “Fringe” is a tribute to flamenco legend Maria Benitez. Chevalier added to her book stunning and rare photos from locally famous to world-renowned photographers, who have all captured Benitez’s role in the history of flamenco and dance. Here is a short description of the book, “Benítez is an iconic figure in American flamenco. Her riveting story begins with the complexity of her mixed Native American and Puerto Rican heritage followed by her extraordinary journey as a young woman leaving her home on the outskirts of Taos Pueblo to study flamenco in Spain. From the inherent irony of her identity as a Native American woman striving to master the art of a culture that had colonized the Southwestern United States, she grew into an artist driven to forge her own way in the world, starting a business, a nonprofit institution, a school, and a professional touring company.

“Her illustrious career, from appearances in film and television to stages across the world, is an inspiration to artists, students of history, and seekers of core human truths. Her ability to overcome both racial and gender discrimination made her equally comfortable on the Metropolitan Opera stage as well as dancing around a gypsy campfire — all coalescing to make her story one that dances straight into the heart of what it means to be an American original.”

Chevalier is represented by Atomic City Lights Publishers and her book is available at atomicbooks.com and all book stores in hardcover.

If you are looking for past recipes, including the Washington wing sauce, or previous book recommendations, visit rdrnews.com and put in the search “Comfort food and books for comfort.”

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