Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11 Heroes with a Special Firehouse Recipe and #Giveaway from Cleo Coyle

"The most stirring symbol of man's 
humanity to man is in a fire truck." 

~ Kurt Vonnegut

September 11, 2001 was a devastating day of loss for this country and especially New York, the city my husband and I have called home for more than thirty years. Over 2,000 of our fellow citizens perished that day. More people lost their lives on the hijacked planes; in the wreckage at the Pentagon; and in a field in Pennsylvania.

Sixty of New York’s Finest (our police and port authority officers) sacrificed their lives, along with paramedics, bystanders, and office workers who died while trying to save others. But it was New York’s Bravest, our firemen, who suffered the most devastating losses of all. 

343 firefighters left for work that morning and never came home. 343 ran in while others rushed out. Many were senior members of the department. In one case, an entire company was nearly wiped out.

When the smoke finally cleared, hundreds of funerals were held all over New York for these heroes who answered their last alarms. At times, the grief seemed almost unbearable, but—as an example to us all—the New York City Fire Department worked to replenish its ranks and its spirits. 

A recipe might seem a trivial thing to post today, but below is a very special recipe. It appeared in a cookbook that was sold a few years ago to raise money for a firefighter's fund named in honor of Terry Farrell, one of those 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. Marc and I bought a number of copies, and we are happy to share one of the tasty recipes in that cookbook with you today.

If that book were still available, we would share a link for purchasing it and give one away this week. Unfortunately, it's no longer in print, but we do have another idea to help raise money in memory of those 343...


We are were happy to make a contribution in the form of a little comment giveaway on this post. The prize is the winner's choice of a Fire Department cap here).

Thanks to everyone for commenting on this post!
The winner of the hat-of-choice, by random draw,
was "servedogmom" - She selected the FDNY knit cap
and the purchase will benefit the FDNY Foundation. 

~ Cleo

And now for today's recipe...

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Baked Firehouse

Parmesan Wings

(No breading!)

Don’t let the word "firehouse" fool you. These are not "hot and spicy" wings. They are a fragrant herb-and-Parmesan-encrusted delight.

They'll make your kitchen smell as heavenly as a pizzeria, but there's no breading so they're gluten-free. They're a great finger-food dinner for a Friday or Saturday night and a wonderful nosh for parties.

Thanks to 
Police Officer Bill Havens of the Escondido Police Department for the inspiration. We slightly adapted his "Baked Hot Wings" recipe, which he contributed to The Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund California Firehouse Cookbook. 

The ingredients are unpretentious, the combination superb. You can serve these wings with a dipping sauce (we include a suggestion below), but it’s not necessary. As PO Havens says himself, they are amazing as is.
Click here for the recipe
in PDF form.
To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here

Makes about 20 wing pieces


3 pounds fresh chicken wings

1 cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese  (go for the real stuff, not a commercial brand with filler) 

1 Tablespoon dried parsley

2 Tablespoons dried minced garlic (not powdered)

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt, ground fine

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

6-7 Tablespoons butter (see note below on replacing with olive oil)


(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a shallow baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with nonstick spray or oil. Cut up the chicken wings into separate pieces, discarding tips. Wash the chicken and pat it very dry. Set aside. 

(2) In a large mixing bowl, blend the Parmesan, parsley, minced garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper and whisk with a fork until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

(3) Melt butter on stove or in microwave. One piece at a time, dip the clean and dry chicken wings in the melted butter, then roll in the cheese and herb mix, making sure to coat completely. Note that as butter cools it may become difficult to work with. In that case, simply warm it up again and continue coating the chicken.

 (4) Arrange the chicken pieces on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake for one hour. (Do remember to coat that foil with non-stick spray or oil.) Do not turn or disturb the chicken as it cooks. When finished, remove wings quickly while still warm. If chicken pieces cool too much, they may stick.

**Can I use a rack? It's not necessary, but sure, you can use one. The rack will lift the chicken slightly above the pan and allow fat to drip down. It will also give a slightly more crunchy and uniformly browned coating. Be sure to coat the rack with nonstick spray or lightly oil before using. Place rack over a shallow, foil-lined pan. Cooking time may be a little less than one hour.

***Olive oil instead of butter? You can do that, too. The results are not quite as amazing as butter, but they're pretty darn good nonetheless! To replace the butter, use about 1/3 cup olive oil instead, warming it first to reduce viscosity. Note: If you are using a rack, the oil may drip and smoke toward the end of cooking. (Our smoke alarm actually went off when we gave the oil a try. Then again, these are firehouse wings!)


Giveaway to Benefit FDNY Foundation...

This drawing is now over.
Congrats to "servedogmom" for
winning the random drawing.

Finally, for those men and women who continue to put on
a uniform every day and risk their lives to protect ours,
we send out a very big…

Thank you!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here.


  1. What a great way to remember! A big THANK YOU to all the firefighters and other folks in uniform!

  2. wonderful post Cleo--thanks for the wings and for helping us remember and appreciate! xo Lucy

  3. A moving tribute and reminder of why we should be thankful everyday to these wonderful officers and remember those who gave their all.

  4. A fine tribute.
    As to the recipe--a few quality ingredients can really produce wonderful results, can't they?!

  5. Thank you for this wonderful post. The recipe is appealing. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  6. Cleo, I knew that if there was anyone who could write eloquently about the 9/11 tragedy, it would be you. Thank you for your loving post, the recipe and the helpful information. You are the best!

  7. Thanks for this great looking recipe and your wonderful post on that devastating event.

  8. Thank you, Cleo, for wonderful post and lovely recipe. XO MJ

  9. A lovely tribute and yummy recipe, Cleo. I had forgotten all about those potatoes. Now I'm hungry for them!

  10. Thanks to everyone for your early comments. September 11 is such a difficult day for so many people who lost loved ones. If you're among them, our hearts go out to you. We will never forget those we lost that day...

    And we will never forget the bravery of so many, including office workers, bystanders, and first-responders who gave their lives attempting to save others. Their actions continue to inspire us. This world is sometimes a bad place, but it's clearly full of good people, and that makes all the difference.

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  11. The men, women and K-9 who get up and do this every day are real heros. Thank you all. I know a very special fireman in my life would love this. Thanks for the chance.

  12. I'll echo the tributes to the professionals and the public who acted in the interests of others on this day 10 years ago. Judy

  13. Thank you, Cleo for your heartfelt post. I hope you don't mind that I have copied it and shared it.

  14. What a great way to celebrate all our fallen hero's, and a way to celebrate the ones that are still here.

  15. God bless all the men and women of NYFD who proved what courage and honor mean. You are the real heroes. Heroes don't catch a ball, heroes run in when the rest of the city runs out.

  16. Such a sad day and one that we should never forget. Thank you for your tribute and reminder about those we lost and the bravery of so many.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing. We will never forget. God Bless the men and women who lost their lives in such a senseless tragedy.

  18. thank you for this. lost a good friend that day. so many losses for us all. thank goodness for those brave souls who ran and continue to run towards danger instead of away. thanks again.

  19. This is a Day of Remembrance for all of us. I'm sure we all remember where we were when we first heard. Thanks for the special recipe in honor of all firefighters

  20. God bless them everyone!

  21. Cleo, what a lovely tribute, and what a nice way to remember, sharing a recipe from the cookbook itself. Can't wait to try these goodies.

    Daryl / Avery

  22. It has been an emotional day. I knew of someone who perished on the plane from Boston and also someone working at the Pentagon who was injured, so to see this tribute is so wonderful. And the recipes are great too, Cleo. This column is normally terrific and today it is TREMENDOUS and thoughtful for the FDNY and its lost family and friends. Love to all of them. Our adult son would love a shirt if I were to win and would wear it proudly.


    Cynthia Blain
    Cynthia Blain

  23. I see chicken wings and potatoes in my future. Thanks for the recipe.

  24. What a nice tribute. And a recipe that I just must try.

  25. Great recipes and a great giveaway!

  26. What a lovely tribute, I'm originally from PA, when we went home for a visit we were able to visit the field where flight 93 went down, they were just starting to build the memorial, it ripped my heart out looking at the pictures of those who died there. My heart goes out to those of you who lost someone that day.

  27. Thank you for this tribute and recipe. The wings look awesome. We should all remember...

  28. Great recipes. Wings, dips and potatoes all sound delicious. So nice of you to remember 9/11 this way.

  29. We will never forget all the brave men and women of 9/11. Many thanks to those who are fire fighters now. My son worked as a fire fighter for a few years. I know the dangers and the risks involved. God bless you all, and GOD BLESS AMERICA¡!!!!!!!

    Helene (New Mexico-USA)

  30. Love all your recipes and books have read them all... Want to check out some of the other foodie writers... Thanks for listing their names.

  31. This is a wonderful tribute to our firemen. It is great the way you and Marc embrace New York and truly support it. I always wondered what the guys were buying when I would see the fire trucks in front of the grocery stores. Bet this is some of it !

  32. Ive enjoyed your books and now your newsletter.
    Very nice tribute,I keep those who perished and their families in my prayers. My son-in-law is a fire fighter here in Michigan.
    Thank you

  33. Thanks for posting this amazing tribute! We will never forget! (oh, and thanks so much for the g-free wings recipe) :)

  34. The bravery remains an unimaginable gift. I, too, have a firefighter son, and prayers to all the first responders. I'll be making the wings.

  35. Thank you for this great recipe that also honors our firefighters. Such heroes.

  36. What a wonderful tribute for the first responders especially the firefighters.