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


Plate so easy board member could make it

(Reprinted from Bayside Gazette May 1, 2014 issue)
Yesterday at the club, I had the opportunity to discuss life, liberty and the pursuit of bigger and better things in Ocean Pines with one of the directors on the board. While we may not have agreed on everything (disagreement and discourse being some of the great blessings of a community within a democracy), the conversation quickly turned to the topics of the military and food. They were not subsequent topics; we were merely bouncing around.
In the midst of our friendly tête-à-tête, he told me that he read my column regularly but that he didn’t, or rather couldn’t, cook what I had to offer up in my weekly ramblings. I assured him that I would find something for him to master before long.
Getting home from work, it was hard to believe that it was time to cook dinner. In my mind I start reeling that maybe I need to invest in that Jetsons-style self-cooking system that I saw so often as a child. Maybe that could be a project for my kids and me someday, but I don’t see any good reason to go off on that tangent right now.
It was time to turn to the bookshelf. My wife recently purchased me a new cookbook from Amazon from L&L Barbecue in Hawaii, my stomping grounds on the Big Island when we visited there. The food at L&L is ono — broke mouth and nothing short of it.
I believe I wrote about food being broke mouth last year. “Broke Mouth” is pidgin for “damned good!” If something you fed to a guest “Broke da mouth,” you can rest assured that if it was a Hawaiian dish they are not talking about cracked teeth or anything damaging. It’s a compliment, and I fondly remember the first time that an islander had my fish tacos at The Reel Inn last summer. He told me they “broke da mouth” and I was afraid my days were numbered at the Inn.
And that is exactly why I love etymology.
The more I travel, the more I realize that I know next to nothing, reflecting one of Voltaire’s most famous maxims.
So despite the fact that I am cooking dinner after cooking at the club after grading papers on food and ingredients after writing tests on food, I at least am happy to be thinking about the islands again. Hawaii brought me great peace, and still does.
Nothing takes me back to Kona or Ocean View like a simple plate lunch, the ubiquitous midday meal of the island. Rice, chicken, vegetables and sweet and salty Hawaiian barbecue sauce. Nothing about it is expensive and nothing is difficult. It very well could be the perfect daily meal. It’s delicious, it’s mostly healthy and it’s simple.
Hey, it’s a lunch so easy that even a board member can cook it.
Hawaiian plate lunch
serves 6
1 whole chicken, split and broken down
1 cup Hawaiian barbecue sauce (recipe follows)
3 cups cooked brown Basmati with Kombu (recipe follows)
4 cups vegetable medley (recipe follows)
sesame oil, as needed
salt and pepper as needed
Step 1: Brush the chicken with the barbecue sauce and either grill or cook in a hot pan
Step 2: Make sure that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving
Step 3: Serve with hot rice and vegetables, topping with a touch more Hawaiian barbecue sauce as desired
Brown rice
1 cup brown Basmati rice
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/2-inch by 1/2-inch square kombu
Small piece of roasted nori, shaved

Step 1: Let’s keep it easy. Throw everything in the rice cooker and set for 35-40 minutes
Step 2: When done, fluff the rice and check for doneness
Step 3: Discard kombu and serve rice with sesame seeds and shaved nori
Hawaiian barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
3/4 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
Pepper, as needed

Step 1: Combine the flour with just enough soy to make a paste
Step 2: Slowly add more soy and water until fully incorporated and smooth
Step 3: Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil
Step 4: Skim the scum off of the top and let the sauce simmer to develop in flavor; maybe 15 minutes tops
Step 5: Strain through a fine mesh sieve and cool
Step 6: Use as needed. Will keep in a sealed container in the icebox for weeks and weeks, bordering on months. I’ll leave that one up to you

Vegetable medley
3 cups assorted vegetables
2 Tbsp. light sesame oil
Soy sauce, as needed

Step 1: If you cut the vegetables small enough, just cook them in a small amount of water until tender
Step 2: Drain and add the oil and soy (optional) as your salt. In this instance, easier is better