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May 2014


Tangy Ginger Balsamic Carameled Chicken

Tangy Ginger Balsamic Carameled Chicken

Tangy Ginger Balsamic Carameled Chicken

Have you ever daydreamed of wrestling in an inflatable tub full of melted, oozy, tangy caramel in nothing but your underpants and one of those awful tourist t-shirts your aunt bought you on vacation?  (“Someone in Atlantic City loves me!”)

Yeah, neither have I…

…until now.

And I’m going to do it with my mouth wide open and my tongue hanging out.

I marinated this chicken while I was at work.  Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get home from work.

Balsamic vinegar makes it zippy, honey and brown sugar make it sweet and caramelized, and ginger gives it a great zing.

This would be great on bone-in wings, but I had boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Use what you’ve got…tofu, pork chops, steak tips, whatever.

Ginger Balsamic Carameled Chicken


For the marinade:
Equal parts each of balsamic vinegar, honey, and brown sugar (I used about 1/3 cup each)
3-4 Tbsp soy sauce
A few garlic cloves, crushed or minced
About an inch of fresh ginger, grated or minced
Black pepper to taste

1 1/2-2 lbs. chicken (or your choice of meat or non-meat)

Spices or garnish to taste – I used what I had on hand: crushed red pepper flakes for heat, black sesame seeds for crunch, and chopped celery leaves for color and a little fresh zinger.

What to do:

1. Mix the marinade.  Add the meat.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours.

2. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later.  Put a wire rack (I use a cooling rack) on the foiled pan.  Put chicken on rack.  Very important: Reserve marinade! 

"This is how we do it." - Montell Jordan

“This is how we do it.” – Montell Jordan

3. Stick pan in a 350F oven for 10 minutes for boneless chicken (15-20 for full breasts), 20-25 minutes for bone-in wings.

4. Meanwhile, boil the reserved marinade until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes (perfect timing with cooking the chicken).  To make the sauce thicker and more caramelized, boil the marinade longer until it thickens more for a sticky, slathered on treat.  If you prefer a thin sauce, don’t boil it as long.  Up to you.

This is what tangy caramel goodness looks like.

This is what tangy caramel goodness looks like.

5. Remove pan from oven and generously brush chicken with thickened marinade.  Return to oven for 5-10 minutes.

Happily enjoy spoonfuls of the caramely marinade goodness in the meantime.

6. Remove pan again and brush chicken again.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

7. Remove chicken from oven.  Brush with any remaining marinade. 

8. Garnish to your heart’s content.  I have a relationship with spicy, and it works perfectly with the tart and sweet of this chicken.  I sprinkled crushed red pepper flakes and black sesame seeds.  For a zap of fresh, I chopped up some celery leaves.

Garnishy goodness

Garnishy goodness

You have now experienced a fiery, tangy, sweet, delicious flavor explosion of finger-licking goodness.

Leftovers schmeftovers.

Leftovers schmeftovers.

Don’t worry…you’re going to eat it all, you piggy.


Tilapia with olives, capers, and lemon

Last summer, on one of my days off while I was working in Michigan for the U.S. Forest Service, it was exactly 90-something degrees and approximately 80% humidity.  It was my week to rove the campgrounds and cruise the forest roads, so I had already spent the majority of my week trudging through the humid continental jungle in a polyester-blend uniform, slapping mosquitoes the size of small children.  Needless to say, I tossed my hiking ambition into the pending box for just one more day and sulked in the A/C, flipping on the Food Network.

Being from a place with a population of 2,500, you can imagine that I didn’t grow up surrounded by a lot of outside culture.  Most residents had either Finnish, French-Canadian, or Native American ancestry, and 99% of the people were white.  Since we were a three-hour drive from a big city (Green Bay, Wisconsin), it cost quite a bit more to get food and supplies to our neck of the woods, let alone more ‘exotic’ tastes. Continue Reading