You’ve just gotta  love chicken wings.  Whether served with a pitcher of beer or a glass of milk, there’s something very satisfying about sucking tasty, tender meat off of a tiny bone.  But, the best part of chicken wings are, of course, the crispy batter and finger-licking flavors.  Rather than break out the deep fryer, why not add your crunchy crust from a bag of chips?  I’ve found that Popchips, with their hearty crunch and all-natural ingredients, are a great choice.  The beauty of this recipe, though, is that you can make wings of all flavors (barbecue, sour cream and onion, cheddar, parmesan garlic, etc.) just by using a different flavor of chips!

Makes: 8 crispy wings (or 4 big drumsticks, or 2 breaded chicken breasts)
Total kitchen time: 25 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 8 all-natural chicken drumettes (you can substitute 4 regular drumsticks, 2 small chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 bags Popchips (you choose the flavor!)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the skin from your chicken pieces and discard it.  As you de-skin-ify the chicken, drop it in the buttermilk to soak. 
  4. Arrange the skinless, buttermilk-basted chicken pieces on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.  (If using larger drumsticks or chicken breasts, check for doneness by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.  It should read 160°F.)
  5. Crush the Popchips onto a large plate and spread in an even layer.  You can either crush them by hand, or pulse them a few times in the food processor.  Drizzle the cooked chicken with honey, coating all sides.  Roll each chicken piece in the crumbled Popchips until fully coated.

Of course, we can’t talk about chicken wings without mentioning sauce.  This is a highly personal topic – some people swear by ranch, blue cheese, ketchup, hot sauce… whatever.  For me, a slow-cooked red onion marmalade hit the spot!

Full Disclosure: I got free stuff, but that doesn’t pay for my opinion.

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Today I had the pleasure of attending a food photography workshop held by local pro Lara Ferroni.  We learned about composition, lighting and natural (read: edible) food styling.  The shot above is my favorite from the day – a few morsels of sous vide sirloin finished with the blowtorch.  If you’d like to see my best shots from the day, check out my Flickr set.  And, check back next week to see what I learn at another upcoming food styling workshop.

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I’ve recently been fascinated by the idea of sous vide cooking – a method of slowly cooking vacu-sealed foods in a precisely controlled water bath to achieve the optimal doneness.  Last year, Sur La Table started carrying the world’s first “home” sous vide cooker, the SousVide Supreme.  This was fantastic, since commercial sous vide cooking machines cost north of $2000.  However, the home model (priced at $450) is still a steep investment for something that essentially just keeps water warm.  I was determined that I could build a better device on-the-cheap.

Behold, the $75 DIY sous vide heating immersion circulator!  By scrapping together parts that are readily available on eBay and Amazon, I was able to build a self-contained device that heats and circulates water while maintaining a temperature accurate to .1 degree Celsius (yes, point one degrees!).  And unlike the SousVide Supreme, my device can be mounted onto any container (up to a reasonable size, perhaps 15 gallons) allowing you more room to cook, if needed.

To build your own device, you’ll need some basic soldering skills, the list of stuff below, about 6 hours of free time (plus time for glue to dry) and the can-do attitude of a geek who doesn’t want to pay $450 for a water heater.  Click the “more” link for complete step-by-step instructions.

If these instructions have helped you build you own machine, I hope you’ll consider donating.  My goal is to mass-produce the world’s first sous vide heating immersion circulator for under $100, and every donation helps!

Update: Along with my business partners, I’ve finally commercialized a home sous vide machine!  It’s called the Sansaire, and it’s available for pre-order now!
Sansaire $199 Sous Vide Machine

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