Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Honorable Hibachi" & "The All-Color Cookbook"- Barbecued Chicken and an American Salad

Date I made these recipes: August 21, 2011

Honorable Hibachi by Kathryn Popper
Published by: Simon and Schuster
© 1965
Recipe: Barbecued Chicken – p. 123-124

The All-Color Cookbook – illustrated in full color – Edited by Eileen Turner
Published by: Octopus Books Limited, London
Recipe: American Salad – p. 22

Some people are very good at taking what seem to be disparate ingredients and turning them into an outstanding dish. (In fact, to see that in action, watch Food Network’s Chopped). I am not one of these people. But I am pretty good at tying together cookbooks and recipes that don’t seem like they work into an overall-themed dinner. Like tonight’s dinner. I will tie these two items together, just wait for it.

So first we are going to talk about hibachi grills and then we are going to switch gears to talk about a salad that I think is perfect for tonight’s The Glee Project finale.

Now, I can’t honestly say I’ve seen too many hibachis in modern-day cooking stores, but when I was a kid, this is the only grill we used in my household and my dad was famous for his hibachi barbecued chicken. So it was a no-brainer for me to make the Barbecued Chicken recipe from this book.

No doubt my dad got his inspiration to use the grill after spending time in Japan in WWII, first on Iwo Jima and later on Okinawa. Given how Japanese houses don’t have a lot of space, this thing is the ticket.

To me, the most fabulous feature about this grill, though, was its portability. It weighs about as much as a beverage cooler and that’s how our hibachi logged endless miles to a beach just down the hill from my house. We should have put an odometer on that thing as there was hardly a summer’s day that we didn’t go down to Sand Point Beach to have a picnic.

Once at the beach, Dad would fire up the little grill, mom would pull out a thermos of ice-cold lemonade and life was good.

At home, dad usually cooked on Sunday and he’d set the hibachi up on the step nearest our back door and cook away, slathering the chicken with his version of “doctored-up” BBQ sauce. Yum-my!

So when I found this book at an estate sale last year, I snapped it up, thinking that I might make something for dad out of this book as he would surely get a kick out of it. Alas, he died before I could do that and so today’s recipe is in his honor. I actually have my dad’s BBQ sauce recipe in my family cookbook but this one worked out just as well.

As to my The Glee Project tie-in, I will proudly admit that I was in Glee club in school (in actuality, it was a class rather than an extra-curricular activity). It was an all-girls glee club – guys did not join glee clubs back then - and we most certainly did not do anything close to show-choir performances made famous on the TV show, Glee. And maybe this was a good thing?

At any rate, I was also in an after-school group called Music Makers, and one December, both groups performed in a holiday concert along with the junior and senior high band and my dad came to see the production.

So I’m standing next to Florence (Flo) who was just a panic and we sang this song involving roses. (I don’t recall that we ever sang holiday music for the holiday concert—go figure). And during rehearsals, our instructor wanted us to over-enunciate the word “roses” to make it stand out more. And of course, Flo and I overdid the entire thing, causing everyone to laugh, including our instructor.

Anyway, we’re singing away, nailing every song we sing and we then came to the “roses” song and both Flo and I struggled to keep it together during this piece. And we made, it, just barely, and there was much rejoicing. But I could see my dad trying to keep from laughing as well (he sat up front) and afterwards he congratulated us for pulling it off. By the way, dad was no slouch in the singing department, either. In high school, he played Captain Corcoran in a production of the H.M.S. Pinafore and in college he was in the mixed chorus at Michigan State University.

And so anyway, not only am I a fan of Glee (well, this season was a little wonky but still fun) but also the new hit show that aired this summer on the Oxygen Network, The Glee Project, where contestants vie to land a seven-arc spot on Glee.

When I came up with this convoluted idea to make two disparate recipes for one themed meal, it was with the knowledge that I had The All-Color Cookbook in my collection. What cracks me up is this book was so named because all the photos in the book were in color. Well there’s an idea. At any rate, in my mind All-Color = True Colors = a song performed by both New Directions on Glee, and most recently by the contestants in The Glee Project. And since the finale of the show was yesterday, I decided this colorful salad would be the perfect accompaniment to my dad’s memorial hibachi chicken. And it was!

And that’s how I tied the Honorable Hibachi cookbook and my dad to The Glee Project, True Colors and The All-Color Cookbook. Ta da! “Hello? Ryan Murphy…?”

Before I get to the recipes, I have a few notes to pass on to you. First, in the interest of true confessions (not to be confused with True Colors), I have to admit I don’t own a hibachi and the one my father used is sadly long gone. But we made do with a gas grill and then just to make sure the chicken was done, we microwaved it for a couple of minutes. (To my father’s chagrin, when my mother was on chicken detail, she always overcooked the chicken, not wanting us all to die from salmonella poisoning.) I thought about making enough BBQ sauce to put on the chicken after the fact but didn’t but if I made this recipe again (and I would), I would reverse that decision.

As to the salad, it was pretty colorful as written but I decided it had too much red (peppers and tomatoes) and so cooked some carrots and threw those in.

Barbecued Chicken – serves 8 (Note: allow 2-3 hours to marinate the chicken)
1, 3-pound broiler-fryer, cut into 8 pieces
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lime or lemon juice
1 tsp grated lime rind
½ clove pressed garlic
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
3 drops Tabasco sauce
1 small onion, grated (Has anybody figured out how to grate an onion without making a supreme mess because I sure haven’t.)
¼ tsp black pepper
3 Tbsps catsup

Mix marinade ingredients well and pour over chicken pieces in a non-metal bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, turning pieces occasionally. (Oops. I guess I forgot that part!) Remove bowl to room temperature ½ hour before cooking. (And apparently forgot this step as well—not that it mattered).

To use a hibachi: oil hibachi grill and adjust to highest level over high bed of glowing coals. Drain excess marinade from chicken pieces and place them on grill. Baste often with marinade and turn frequently to brown evenly. Grill until tender and thoroughly cooked. This will take from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on size and tenderness of chicken and variation in bed of coals. As coals burn down, adjust grill to lower level.

To use a gas grill: We skipped all of the above and grilled the chicken for about 30 minutes (despite the fact that the breasts were gargantuan) and then microwaved them for about 4 minutes to make sure they were cooked through.

American Salad – serves 4 (a/k/a True Colors Salad)
(Note: since this book was published in England, they listed both Metric/Imperial and American measurements. Nice touch.)
1 cup cooked sliced green beans
½ cup cooked or canned and drained sweet corn (Note: I used two cobs of fresh sweet corn, took off the kernels and boiled the kernels for about a minute. Fabulous!)
½ red pepper, diced
½ cup sliced raw mushrooms
2 tomatoes, sliced
½ cup cooked sliced carrots (my addition)
French dressing
1 small onion, if desired, for garnish
Black olives, if desired, for garnish

Ann’s Note: I had a friend over for dinner and since I wasn’t sure she would like raw onions, I thinly sliced the onions and boiled them for about 2 minutes. The flavor wasn’t as strong as a raw onion and they still kept their crunch.

Mix all the ingredients in a dish and toss in the French dressing. Garnish with black olives and thin slices of raw onions. Serve with cold chicken (or in my case, hot chicken) or turkey.

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