Let me tell you a little story of a restaurant far far away: Bahama Breeze. I enjoyed some of my favorite memories from my high school days at this sizable chain restaurant by the bay. Its shabby-chic environment made for some great special occasions overlooking the water. We used to go there a lot for a fun girls' dinner or anything really. We even went to Bahama Breeze for dinner decked out in ball gowns before the junior prom. My dress was blue and my date was Kia; he used to say things like "FO SHO!".
My favorite Bahama Breeze story is the great six-way date of 2002.
I went to a small high school so there was a lot of what I like to refer to as "relationship recycling". This simply meant that it was perfectly acceptable for two best friends to end up dating the same person over the course of a year simply due to limited resources. I will say that the while the quantity of eligible bachelors at my school lacked, the quality standard was high. Not to call anybody out, but two young ladies in my social circle that come to mind include Anna and Becky (Yes, that Becky) who each dated the same guy (at different times of course).
Anyway, at one point all of the boys my friends were dating at the time secretly got together to plan one huge date. Each boy would pick up his girlfriend and take her to a "surprise destination". It didn't take long for us girls to compare notes and figure out we were all being given a surprise on the same day at the same time. We just did not know what and where. My date was very late picking me up. As we raced in his car towards the bay, I knew where we were headed. Bahama Breeze is off to the side and sort of tough to spot when you are driving by along the bridge. Judging by the speed of the car and the subtlety of the restaurant sign, I knew he would miss it since he had never been there. In anticipation I casually said, "Oh I love that place, Bahama-Breeze-right-over-there-you-see-it-don't-you?" His eyes lit up as he made a sharp right which brought us to the restaurant just under 45 minutes late.
We joined the group of five other high school couples (a waiter's nightmare). Good thing I knew what to order without even looking at the menu: Jerk Chicken Pasta (without the Jerk). This was essentially chicken fettuccine Alfredo. All I knew was Jerk was spicy, and I wanted nothing to do with it.
We finished the evening off with a boom box on the dock overlooking the bay, slow dancing to Unchained Melody . All I want is to have the chance to walk by a group of six high school couples slow dancing on a dock to Unchained Melody just to see how funny it looks.
There is one surviving couple from that evening's group: Amandike. Mikey and Amanda will be celebrating their 9th anniversary in about a month or so. Applause.
Back to Tasty:
The jerk chicken pasta (minus the jerk) sure was tasty, but you know hat would have made it even tastier? Jerk. I have always been afraid of spicy food up until recently. I still try to avoid burning my taste buds off, but I am trying to be more adventurous by trying new flavors. Jerk is a Jamaican spice and is traditionally very hot. These jerk chicken skewers were bursting with taste and light on calories. I would consider them more flavorful than spicy. More importantly, they were easy and even fun to make.
Easy Bahama Breezy Jerk Chicken Skewers...Fo Sho.
(marinade recipe from The Spice House and kabob recipe from Betty Crocker)
Makes 8 skewers for 4 servings
4 boneless chicken breasts (cut into about 1 1/2 inch cubes, kabob size)
1/2 cup Jamaican Jerk Spice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup mango nectar (original recipe calls for orange juice)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 skewers (if you are using bamboo skewers, do not forget to soak them in water for 2 hours beforehand)
2 purple onions, chopped in 1 1/2 inch squares (should make about 12 wedges)
2 red bell peppers, chopped in 1 inch squares (should make about 12 wedges)
1 can of pineapple rings, each ring should be cut into 4ths
For marinade, mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl and then pour 2/3rds of the mixture into a ziploc plastic bag with the chicken chunks (reserve the rest for later). Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours (I left it overnight), turning at least once.
Heat a charcoal or gas grill.
Load up the skewers by alternating the onion pieces, red pepper chunks, pineapple and chicken, making sure not to crowd the ingredient too tightly. Drizzle the remaining marinade mixture over the skewers to lightly coat the vegetables.
Grill the skewers over medium/high heat until the chicken is cooked all the way through and vegetables are tender (about 12 minutes).
Serve over rice or with some fried plantains (recipe coming soon).