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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Pineapple salsa cools off jerk skewers

I have had one hell of a day. After an eventful day at school, to say the least, during which students argued and then studied and cooked foods of Florida, it was time to spend an hour on the phone with my cousin who wants to move to Ocean City from Wisconsin.
Getting a restaurant job in the wintertime. I had to let him down gently that this might not, in fact, actually happen as planned. I mean; after all, I have colleagues who are looking for work in the winter, and they’re locals. When the city makes money a hundred days a year, it’s hard for anyone to find off-season gigs, but I digress.
After a quick sprucing-up after going home for all of two minutes, it was off to a friend’s ribbon cutting ceremony in West Ocean City. Dana Bartholomew and Kyle Hughes opened their new studio in Teal Marsh Shopping Center, and what a great time that was. We love Dana’s photography, and meeting Kyle for the first time was great and their studio looks awesome. Who doesn’t love supporting local business, especially when there’s such talent as is found in one space?
Then, it was time for the ride home; that magical 12-minute drive from West-O to Ocean Pines during which I listened to the local classic rock station not only play The Who’s “My Generation” and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” but then the all-too-good Rush wonder-song “Tom Sawyer.” It was like a Ferris wheel of musical adventure as I made my way back to the Pines, but my night was not over. No, it was not quite over yet.
After enduring what I consider my personal duty to watch the GOP debate recently, it was also my painful duty to watch the Democratic debates this evening on CNN. Both forums were struggles for me, as I have a hard time believing any politician, but yes, this was proving to be an entertaining day, after all. It was the perfect way to end a very, very long day.
At least it was entertaining and informative. I will not go into specifics, nor should you try to ascertain the party with which I may affiliate (or run from this season), but suffice it to say that I learned a great deal about the three candidates who really didn’t matter in the debate and the two who are the obvious front-runners on the Democratic side. Mayhap this presidential election will be the most fantastic one in my voting years. One can only hope.
And as the night is coming to a close, I relish in the fact that I have grub in the icebox left over from class. I left for work 17 hours ago, and I’m feeling hunger pangs that will soon be quelled by Jen’s jerk chicken skewers, which were off the charts. A quick heat-up in the toaster oven will set the tone, and topping them off with the cooling pineapple salsa will ensure a good night’s sleep. Yes, I’m convinced that this will work.
Elections aside, it was a great day; one on which my patience was tested, my mettle was measured and my food was properly cooled and reheated according to HACCP principles. And after this late-night snack, I will be able to put this day in the books. That works for me.
Jerk Chicken Skewers
Makes 4 entrees    
1.5 pounds chicken breast, cut into 2- inch cubes
1/2 cup sour orange juice
3 thyme springs, picked
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground Allspice
1/2 head garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup finely minced fresh ginger
1 Scotch Bonnet or Habanero pepper, finely minced
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of 2 limes
4 scallions, finely sliced
2 red bell peppers, cut into 2-inch squares
Pineapple salsa (recipe follows)

Place the chicken in a bowl and toss in the rest of the ingredients (except for the salsa)
Marinate for two hours
Soak your wooden skewers (if you’re using wood) in water for at least an hour
Remove from the marinade and preheat the grill
Skewer the chicken and red pepper on the skewers, disbursing the ingredients evenly so that all of the skewers have similar cooking times
Grill the skewers until done. If the grill is too hot, start them here and then move them to an oven to finish. No one will ever know the difference!
Serve hot with your nice, cooling pineapple salsa on top.
This dish goes great with rice and beans (morianos y cristianos is an old standby) or as a standalone if you’re all paleo or something like that
Pineapple Salsa
Makes about 2 cups
1 golden pineapple, fine dice without the core
1/4 cup cilantro, chiffonade
juice & zest of 1 lime
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 jalapeno, finely minced
1 cup Cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry. You can increase the heat of this by adding habanero/ Scotch Bonnets or by adding more jalapenos.
Refrigerate until ready to use