There’s no doubt that winter brings a damp chill to the mainland, even here in not-very-sunny-at-the-moment California. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream about a tropical getaway. Adrienne Robillard’s “Ohana Grill Cookbook” (Ulysses Press, $25) lets you capture the flavors of the Hawaiian islands, no matter where you are.
Living in Kailua on the island of Oahu, Robillard grew up on those flavors. She eventually moved to San Francisco, but after years spent balancing a tech editor day job with indie-rock gigs, she moved back to Oahu with her husband in 2017.
“Hawai‘i has always been home, the only place I’d ever buy Spam musubi and sushi rolls from 7-Eleven,” she says in the book, which blends original, community and adapted recipes as it welcomes readers to the table.
No need to hit an Oahu 7-Eleven, though, or even board a plane (much as you may want to) to enjoy some classic Hawaiian fare. You’ll find more than 50 easy recipes here for everything from that Spam musubi to North Shore-style grilled garlic shrimp, soy ginger salmon and guava punch, all illustrated with photos by Dawn Sakamoto Paiva. Chapters are divided by protein, including one on tofu and vegetables, with sides, salads, desserts and drinks to round out the meal.
Most of the recipes call for familiar ingredients, but a helpful resources section — hit H Mart and 99 Ranch Market for some harder to find items, Robillard says — and substitution tips mean you can still make ‘Ulu and ‘Ulua Salad, for example, even if your neighborhood market is breadfruit-challenged.
No substitutions necessary for Robillard’s recipe for grilled pineapple chicken, though, which marinates in pineapple juice, barbecue sauce, shoyu or soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and fresh ginger for two hours before hitting the sizzling grill. Here’s just a taste.
Serves 4 to 6
20-ounce can sliced pineapple in its own juice (not heavy syrup)
1 cup barbecue sauce
1⁄4 cup low-sodium shoyu
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs
4 tablespoons chopped green onions
Remove the pineapple slices from the can and reserve ½ cup of the juice.
To make the marinade, combine the barbecue sauce, reserved pineapple juice, shoyu, sesame oil, minced
garlic and minced ginger in a small bowl. Reserve ½ cup of the marinade for later.
Brush the pineapple slices on both sides with the olive oil. Set aside.
Place the chicken in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Pour the marinade over it, zip the top and massage the bag to coat the chicken evenly with the marinade. Marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat a clean and oiled grill to medium heat.
Remove the chicken from the marinade — discard the used marinade — and place the chicken on the grill. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes, turn the chicken over, and baste with the ½ cup of reserved marinade. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more or until cooked through.
As the second side of the chicken cooks, grill the pineapple slices for about 2 minutes per side, or until grill marks appear.
Transfer the chicken and pineapple to a serving platter, garnish with chopped green onions and serve.
Excerpted from The Ohana Grill Cookbook by Adrienne Robillard and photographs by Dawn Sakamoto Paiva. Copyright © 2020 Ulysses Press. Reprinted with permission from Ulysses Press. New York, NY. All rights reserved.