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July 30, 2013

Hibachi Style?

The Thrill of the Grill
Of all the decades, and definitely not including Saturday Night Fever, the 70s were not my favorite. Don't even try to formulate an argument with me, because I survived wide-wale cords, feathered hair and cherry bomb lip gloss. Plus, I get bonus points for emerging the decade relatively unscathed even after consuming large quantities of Pop Rocks dumped recklessly into huge tumblers of Coca Cola.

Aside from being traumatized by clothing trends and neon-hued furniture, the 70s had some pretty interesting food trends going on. Who doesn't remember those Shamrock Shakes or boil in bag Salisbury steaks? There was also an influx of interestingly themed restaurants, like the Mexican eatery with the cliff diver and the pizza parlor with the player piano. But, what I really remember was a Japanese restaurant where everyone gathered around a communal island and watched the chef mince and slice every imaginable ingredient and then toss it onto a sizzling grill to the delight of the diners. Of course, the restaurants were marketed as Hibachi Style and quickly garnered a place in our gustatory hearts.

Interestingly enough, Hibachi has nothing to do with grilling--or even food, for that matter. A Hibachi was a heater, meant to keep people warm, not cook their food. The Japanese grill that we call a Hibachi is really called a Shichirin, but somewhere along the way of developing a good marketing campaign, it was decided that Shichirin would be too difficult for Americans to pronounce.

I'll give them that. Whenever Mr. B fires up the grill for a Japanese-styled grill session, it never starts out with him saying anything close to, "Hey, would you like to have some Shichirin tonight?" Come to think of it though, I don't think he uses Hibachi, either. Usually, he just requests chicken with an 'Asian' profile and then I decide which direction to venture.

This is my classic version of a Japanese flavored grilled chicken thigh. I like to serve it with as many green vegetables as I can fit in a stir fry pan and then drizzle them with toasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice and saki.

This is one trend from the 70s that's still worth enjoying, unlike those wide-wale cords and earth shoes.


'Hibachi-Style Grilled Chicken Thighs

3 tablespoons of miso paste
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of mirin
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of finely minced pickled ginger
2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves finely minced

1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
2. Place 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs into a zip bag.
3. Pour marinade over the chicken.
4. Let sit overnight.
5. When ready to cook, heat grill to high and allow to get hot. Grill chicken until cooked through.


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