Sunday, January 13, 2013

Movie Night Menu

There's an underlying idea that when college students want to get together with friends, they throw a violent alcohol-fueled rager with Popov and Diet Coke. Or, if they're over 21, they storm the bars until they can barely balance in their 5-inch heels anymore.
While I believe we've all had those nights, there are some days where you're just not in the mood, and snuggling up with a blanket and a warm drink sounds better than stumbling across the blurry pavement. Fortunately, you don't have to choose between raging and sitting at home by yourself. Plan a small menu and invite some friends over for a movie night! Low-key and simple, but fun.
For my movie night, I invited Matt and Maria, some of my old high-school friends over for dinner and drinks.

Say hello to Matt and Maria.
I love having Maria over when I cook, because she grabs my camera and snaps more shots than the paparazzi. Hence, the numerous number of pictures for my recipes.
Which brings me to the menu: 

For my movie night, I went with simple, filling, and delicious. Cherry cola-glazed chicken wings, 4-bean relish, cheese and crackers, and a mulled red wine with brownies for dessert.
And now, the recipe breakdown:

The 4-bean relish is a simple dish that involves throwing the following ingredients together into a bowl:

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1/4 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons honey
1 12-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 12-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 12-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 12-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

This Guy Fieri recipe is super easy and reliably delicious - just BE SURE TO DRAIN AND RINSE THE BEANS. It takes extra time, but if you don't, you'll end up with a soupy mess.

Next up, the chicken wings:

These cola-glazed wings are a Virginia Willis' recipe I stumbled upon a couple years ago. Her method of crisping wings under the broiler makes them extra-juicy and super-quick to make.

For the wings, grab these ingredients:
1 cup cola
Juice of 2 limes1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugarjalapeño, finely minced (discard the seeds)2 pounds chicken wings1/4 teaspoon coarse saltFreshly ground black pepper

Start by cutting up your wings. Slice the tips off, then break them at the joint. Place on a foil-covered baking sheet as you finish.

For your glaze, place the cola, lime juice, brown sugar, and jalapeño into a pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until the mixture becomes syrupy.

Next, salt and pepper your wings. Drizzle the glaze over them.

Turn on your broiler and place the wings 4 inches underneath it. Cook for 10 minutes. Then, turn the wings and coat with more glaze. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with brown sugar.

After gorging ourselves on wings, cheese, crackers, and relish, my friends and I settled down to watch a movie while I put together our dessert drink - mulled wine. This super-easy drink came from the Food Network magazine, and it's the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.

To make the mulled wine, grab:
4 wide strips orange zest
1/2 cup sugar
1 bottle red wine
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

3 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf

Let the orange zest sit in the sugar for 1 hour before making the wine. Then, combine he wine, sugar, zest, cloves, anise, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf into a large pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the wine is warm and fragrant. Ladle into cups and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

The perfect wind-down drink to enjoy while watching Marvel's The Avengers.
If your plan on having a movie night yourself, I highly recommend these recipes! Even one or two of them can spice up the night a bit. 

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