Sticky BBQ Chicken

I’ve had the good fortune of living near an ocean all of my life, first the Atlantic and now the Pacific.  My parents loved the beach, and growing up in the Bronx we spent every weekend on hot crowded buses just to get to Orchard Beach, a beach populated by immigrants and locals.  Once we arrived, my parents always sat in the same grassy area with the same group of people.  My mother would bring certain foods along,  blueberry buns, tuna sandwiches made with generously sliced challah, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, and cold beer for my father.  While the adults played cards and discussed politics, we would go off and play by ourselves for hours.  We played in the ocean or on the sand and sometimes we would keep busy by collecting starfish that we dried in the sun.   Our parents didn’t worry because our older siblings would be nearby laying on their blankets listening to music on transistor radios while spending hours sunbathing.  Not only are the memories embedded but so are the foods associated with those memories, and to this day when I bite into a blueberry bun, it tastes like summer.

Yesterday my daughter, Norm and I went to the beach, something we don’t do often enough.  We didn’t bring food, just some cherries for a snack, we didn’t meet up with friends and we didn’t play cards or discuss politics.  We relaxed, read the paper, took naps on the warm blanket, and eventually packed up the car and came home.  By then we were hungry, raided the fridge and ate cold, leftover BBQ chicken.  Sitting at the kitchen table my daughter took a bite, turned to me and said, “it tastes like summer.”

Sticky BBQ Chicken

2 chickens cut in eighths

Sauce

4 cloves garlic

4 Tb ketchup

4 Tb red wine vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 cup honey

1 tsp red chili flakes

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill over medium heat till done.  This took about 45 minutes on a gas grill that was about 350 degrees.  Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Using a brush, thickly coat chicken pieces on the grill with sauce.  Cook for five minutes, turn over and baste again.  Remove and pour any remaining sauce on top of chicken and it is ready to serve.  You will need plenty of napkins.

Enjoy,

Irene

Soba Salad

I look back on my childhood and wonder how I felt as a young girl walking through the front door of our home knowing that the language would shift from English to Yiddish.  My recollection is that I always liked Yiddish, having positive associations with the language and understanding that the words were so much more expressive than their English counterparts.  To this day there are certain words that I have never found an English equivalent for.  One of my favorite words is fagin, a word my mother often used.  Loosely translated it expresses the act of denying oneself the pleasure of an indulgence.  It takes several English words to capture that one word in Yiddish and the sentiment is still lacking.

This week I heard an interview with Professor Udea who published the first Japanese-Yiddish dictionary after spending twenty years of his life dedicated to producing this scholarly work.  The NPR interview made me smile, especially when hearing Professor Udea’s Japanese-accented Yiddish.  My father used to insist that Yiddish was a dying language and when I find evidence to the contrary, I am delighted.  One of my mother’s favorite expressions was that it was a lebidikeh velt,  and she was right.  Guess what we are having for Shabbat dinner tonight?  Japanese inspired Soba Salad.  Gut Shabbos.

For those of you who might be interested in learning some Yiddish, take a look at yiddishwordoftheweek.tumblr.com   

Soba Salad

12 oz. Soba noodles, cooked in boiling water for about 6-8 minutes.  Drain and rinse very well, actually washing the noodles in cold water to remove all excess starch.  Set aside.

1 red pepper

1 scallion

1 avocado, thinly sliced

1 block firm tofu, cut in cubes

6 oz. shiitake mushrooms sliced

1 bunch of greens of your choice, chard, spinach, steamed

2 Tb olive oil

1 tsp sesame oil

Thinly slice red pepper, scallion and avocado and set aside.  Slice mushrooms and sauté over high heat for about 5 minutes.  Add sesame oil and set aside.  Steam spinach.

Dressing
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tb rice vinegar
2 Tb maple syrup
3 Tb Agave Nectar
5 Tb peanut butter
1/4 cup water
Whisk all ingredients together till smooth.   Adjust sweetness to your taste.  Assemble salad ingredients in shallow dish and dress.  Serves 4-6
Enjoy,
Irene