Backyard BBQ and California Fusion Article and Recipes

Chef Donna delights readers with her Backyard BBQ and California Fusion recipes. See pages 15, 16, and 27 for recipes.

After 23 years of working as a teacher and administrator at a very large school district, I decided to change careers and become a Personal Chef. I wanted to say goodbye to my long-time co-workers and friends by having a fun get-together outside of the office. My boss and her husband offered their beautiful home – with a fantastic, roomy kitchen and gorgeous backyard with a poolside grill – and because it was June in the very sunny San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, a backyard barbeque would be perfect. One of my co-workers was from Hawaii and talked about her days and nights working as a sous chef in four and five-star restaurants on the Island and in Los Angeles and she inspired me to go with a Hawaiian-themed menu. She even offered to be my sous chef for the day!

The guests were treated to the following Hawaiian Backyard Barbeque Menu:

  • Arugula Salad with Pears and Candied Pecans
  • Kona-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salsa
  • Kahlua Pork served on Sweet Hawaiian Rolls
  • Hawaiian Curry Fried Rice
  • Homemade Coconut Ice Cream

The entire menu was a huge success but the fan favs were the Kona-Spiced Grilled Chicken and the Hawaiian Curry Rice, which I prepared using the spice blends of a popular Hawaiian chef whose amazing dishes I tasted at a cooking demonstration. Here are my adaptations of her recipes:
(Kaiulani Spices and Recipes can be found at http://kaiulanispices.com/default.asp)

Source – PC Magazine July 2010

Kona-Spiced Grilled Chicken
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Serves: 4
  • 1 – 1 ½ pounds of chicken breast strips
  • 1 – 1 ½ tablespoons of your favorite coffee and seasoning blend (I used Kaiulani’s Coffee Rub and Seasonings) plus extra for dipping sauce 2 teaspoons seasoned salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 bunch green onion (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon water, plus extra for dipping sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  1. Mix together coffee and seasoning blend with salt to taste (if using), oil and water to form a paste. Rub over rinsed and dried chicken strips and let marinade for 30 minutes or more.
  2. While chicken is marinating, make a dipping sauce by mixing coffee and seasoning blend, sugar, and as much water as needed to dissolve in a small pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, lower heat, and cook until begins to thicken. Add more water (or other liquid such as orange or pineapple juice) until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Grill chicken strips on hot grill with green onions until cooked through. Be careful not to overcook!

Click here to see the Hawaiian Curry Rice recipe.