Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Coronado Concert in the Park: Fusion

It's hard to believe we're already into August, with just a handful of our summer concerts in the park remaining. Then what? I'm sure John is eager to start propping and planning for our annual Halloween party with this year's Cowboys & Aliens theme. I can't wait to see how our courtyard is transformed, after watching the production that went into last year's pirate ship. And I need to start thinking of an appropriate menu. I know what cowboys eat, but aliens?

Getting back to our latest concert, Spreckels Park welcomed Polyester Express after an apparent last minute cancellation of Liquid Blue. Everyone was so looking forward to Liquid Blue, but Polyester Express turned out a fabulous and dance-worthy performance. We had originally chosen Asian Fusion for our culinary theme, but then broadened it a bit to fusion. Regardless, Asian influence was prominent.

I went with easy preparation and bold flavors, resorting once again to Big Small Plates and Cindy Pawlcyn's Black Pepper and Garlic Wings. The wings marinate overnight in mushroom soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, and a generous amount of black pepper and garlic. They're then roasted in the oven until sticky and crispy and garnished with minced garlic, chives, or scallions. I used scallions, and added a few sesame seeds to the mix.

Black Pepper and Garlic Wings

John pushed on with his deviled eggs challenge and came up with what many said were "the best ones yet." The cooked yolk was pureed with small shrimp sauteed in spicy chili sauce and a bit of rice wine vinegar. The eggs were propped on a bed of fried mung bean threads, topped with asparagus tips and small shrimp, and garnished with drizzles of wasabi mayo and eel sauce, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Dragon's Breath Deviled Eggs

We missed a few of our regular crowd, but welcomed some new faces around the picnic tables. Here's the roundup of the evening's fusion dishes and candid shots.

Chicken & Waffles for the kids

Pammy's Japanese Fusion Guacamole

Kai's Philly Cheese Steak Egg Rolls

Hillari's Baked Brie with Mango Salsa

Fried Head-On Shrimp

Pork and Ginger-Fuji Apple Chutney Dumplings

Pad Thai Fusion Salad and Grapefruit Fusion Cocktails

Polyester Express

Polyester Express

Nina and Sonoma

Dancing Girls, Nina and Hillari

The Smitten Ones, Kellee and Patrick

Olivia and Sonoma, on stage with the band

Last song of the evening

This group doesn't need much of an excuse to play dress-up


Black Pepper & Garlic Chicken Wings
Slightly adapted from Big Small Plates
(Approximately 20 pieces)

For the marinade:
1/2 cup mushroom soy sauce (available at Asian markets - Ranch 99 in San Diego)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds chicken wingettes and/or drumettes
Minced garlic, chives, scallions, and/or sesame seeds for garnish

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Prepare the wings: A chicken wing consists of three parts: the drumette, the flat, and the tip. The wings may be sold whole, or the flats and drumettes sold separately. If the tips are still connected to the flats, it's a personal choice whether to cut off and discard the tips. For this recipe, you can use drumettes, flats or a combination thereof.

Photo Credit: Saveur

Place the drumettes and/or flats  in a sealable plastic bag or a large flat plastic container and add the marinade, making sure that all surfaces are coated well. Close the bag tightly, and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours, shaking or turning often to redistribute the marinade.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Arrange the chicken on a rack placed on top of a baking sheet or on a rack placed in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 12 to 18 minutes, until the skin is dark brown and crispy and the meat has begun to shrink away form the ends of the bones (I roasted mine for close to 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through; however, I did have two baking sheets in the oven together which extended the cooking time). The juices should run clear when the wings are pierced with a knife point. Sprinkle with the garnishes and serve.

I went a little bonkers with the green onion curls ;-)

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