cheffed up

The Name Game

Move over Taco Tuesday, a new day has come

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I love the idea of attaching themes to days of the week and even dates. This phenomenon has been around for a while, but I really don't pay much attention to other people or the world around me. In fact, if it weren't for Instagram, I'd have no clue at all. For example, I missed Star Wars Day, "May the Fourth be with you," this year (probably because it doesn't involve food). Other favorites include Taco Tuesday, Pi Day and, most definitely, Meatball Monday. Anyone surprised that my version is NOT Meatless Monday? Probably not.

Here's another idea and, noooo, it's not Tofu Thursday, wise guy. How about Skewered Saturday? The skewers could consist of any item cooked on a stick, ranging from satays to shish kabobs. Cooking food over fire on a stick is a method that warm weather societies share. There's just something primal about the smell of meat caramelizing as it sizzles and browns over an open fire. Yum, cave-man food.

With Kilauea blowing up the news, we're all thinking of Hawaii. With Hawaii, three things usually come to mind: volcanos, giant waves and luaus. Since I don't surf—why would I own a board that I don't cut meat on?—and there aren't any volcanos around the 904, the magnificent Hawaiian version of open-fire cooking comes to my hungry mind. That's right, luau-style cuisine.

The Hawaiian Islands have a great culinary tradition. First, a man named Cook discovered them for the West. That should be enough to warm foodies' little hearts, but that's not all. Captain Cook originally named the Hawaiian Islands-are you ready for this!?—The Sandwich Islands! The story goes that, when captain and crew first landed, they stumbled upon the natives eating a lunch of their traditional submarine sandwich. How about that?

OK, that's only half-true. Captain Cook really did name Hawaii the Sandwich Islands, but that was because one of his backers was the Earl of Sandwich-the same Earl of Sandwich responsible for creating sandwiches, but that's another story.

For Skewered Saturday, I combined flavors of island fusion cuisine to create delectable chicken skewers. Thanks to some butchering I did for a class, I just happened to have a few (20) chicken tenders lying around, so I put together a marinade based on Huli Huli chicken.

After marinating them overnight, I threaded the little beauties onto skewers with a chunk of pineapple at each end. While the skewers grilled, I made a wok of Cheffed-Up fried rice using dried Spanish chorizo (didn't have any Spam), assorted vegetables, more pineapple and eggs. And how was it? Well, let's just say the flavors ERUPTED in my mouth!

Chef Bill's Hawaiian Chicken Marinade

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup tamari sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
  • 6 scallions, sliced; use white parts for marinade and green tops for garnish
  • 20 chicken tenders, or any chicken parts you like

Directions

1.        Whisk all ingredients except the chicken in a large bowl.

2.        Reserve 1/2 cup of marinade for basting.

3.        Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over top. Marinate overnight.

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Email Chef Bill Thompson, owner of Fernandina’s Amelia Island Culinary Academy for inspiration and to get Cheffed-Up!

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