Ginger, Soy and Whiskey Grilled Chicken

Ginger, Soy and Whiskey Grilled Chicken

Today is Saturday, May whatever. This morning I woke up and FINALLY gave myself permission to be sick. After uttering those words to my bedside lamp, the already straining cork that had been clinging on for dear life where head meets nose the past 4 days, holding back the gush of mucus (gross), finally popped.

I am sick.

Which, in all honesty, just being sick actually feels better than my mind knowing that my body is sick but demanding, “Man up, soldier! YOU ARE NOT SICK.” Yesterday was a big day, when Holly, my editor, flew all the way down from Vermont (brrr) to Florida (aaaahhh) and spent the day with me in the kitchen. It just would have sucked to be snottin’ and sneezing all over the food. It was an absolute must that I was healthy – er- at least functioning fairly well for that day.

Our plan was to spend the day cooking, testing/writing recipes, photographing, eating and editing. Ok, really, my agenda was to distract her as much as possible in the kitchen, get her drunk so that we could forget about editing. Cuz me no likey editing. You could threaten to take a hammer to my cherished kiwi Le Creuset baby dutch oven and I still would choose THAT over picking apart words and trying to come up with a suitable phrases to replace my babbling, wandering musings and cussing. <– that sentence was a run-on and probably didn’t make much sense.

But, I’m totally stoned on Nyquil right now. So back the hell off.

I wanted to show Holly what a “day in the life of a deranged, disorganized food blogger, cookbook-author wannabe” would be like. And boy, did I work her ass off. We created 4 new recipes, photographed them for the book and fed the dinner party for that evening. I had scribbled down recipes for 4 dishes that I had created in my SICK BUT NOT SICK head and when she arrived, I thrusted my notes to Holly and said, “here are my recipe notes!”

They really shouldn’t be classified as “recipes,” because they looked like this:

hoisin, honey, ginger but maybe garlic or maybe just omit both, how about orange marmalade? could use palm sugar too, 5sp, S+P, ribs, slow+low and glaze.

Holly looked at me with the “this is a recipe? are you fucking serious, lady?” look and then muffled into her sleeve, “bluejay calling mother hen…red alert..I REPEAT…red alert…operation steamykitchen is a no go….requesting permission to abort mission.”

But it worked out well – I would add this ingredient, add that ingredient, taste, adjust and Holly would be right there next to me documenting my every glug, pinch, pour and stir on a piece of paper. She wrote legibly, weighed ingredients and even timed my cooking! I think I am in love and need to just stuff her in my pantry and keep her here in my kitchen until this cookbook is done.

The most time consuming part was photographing. It took about an hour for each shot – partly because I still fumble with my camera settings. Ok, I admit I just use 1 setting and turn the wheely dialy thing a little to the left or a little to the right until I get what I want. BUT – I hope you’ll be proud of me – I graduated from the “P” setting on my Canon Rebel XT and am now on the “Av” setting, because 2 weeks ago when I went to my local camera shop, this nice camera salesman told me I should be using “Av” as it’s what professionals use. So I switched to “Av” but I still don’t know why or what the hell it stands for. All I know is that AUTO is for noobs. “P” is for semi-noobs. And “Av” is a setting that if I wave my camera in front of a real photographer pro, he’ll be like, “OMG. she’s so hot, I want to dry hump her Rebel XT” Plus, if I was still using “AUTO” or “P” then I would be a total dork for writing “Food Photographer” on my new business cards.

Yeah. I’m sooooo “Av.”

Oh and the “M” setting???? “M” is PURE EVIL. If you ever think it’s funny to play a joke on me and switch my camera to “M”, I will KICK YOUR ASK.

Here’s one of the dishes that was translated from:

herb, fish, no fish sauce, wrap in wrapper for diff tex? crispy! deep or pan? salmon or white? mince. need filler like potato, egg to bind, pretty to tie with chive.

Which translates to this:

Coriander Fish Cakes with Thai Dipping Sauce

Coriander Fish Cakes with Thai Dipping Sauce

Pretty nice, eh? Actually, if I think about it, the transformation is kinda like me when I first wake up in the morning before any coffee…incomplete thoughts, totally nonsensical and um…not pleasant to look at. Then I have coffee, shower, slather on concealer, pluck brows and get dressed and cha-ching! A nice, pretty package emerges.


Alright, now back to the original reason why I am posting – to give you this insanely kick-ass recipe for Ginger, Soy and Whiskey Grilled Chicken that I tweaked from this dude, who I think has the same warped sense of humor that I have.This was a dish I cooked last weekend and was declared a family fav.

Props to J-Vo for the original inspiration and recipe. [Me love you long time, J-Vo!!!!]

chkn, mar in gr ginger, soy, glug whiskey or bourbon? garlic, sugar. grill


Ginger, Soy and Whiskey Grilled Chicken

serves 4-6 as part of multicourse meal

3-lb whole chicken, carved (or if you prefer, your choice of already cut-up chicken parts)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbl soy sauce
3 tbl brown sugar
1/2 lime, juiced (or 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar)
1 ounce whiskey/bourbon/scotch
freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a zip-lock freezer back. Squeeze all the air out of bag and let the chicken marinate, preferably overnight, but even 1 hour is fine. If marinating overnight, 15 min prior to grilling, drain the marinade into a small pot and reserve. Let chicken sit on the counter so that it can come to room temperature. Boil the reserved marinade and keep at a steady simmer for 5 minutes to cook and thicken.

Heat BBQ grill on high. Grill chicken skin side down for 3 minutes until skin is nice and golden brown. Flip chicken, reduce heat to medium, brush with cooked marinade and close cover. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, until cooked through.

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Comments 44

  1. Cakebrain

    BTW, take it from an English teacher: that wasn’t a Run-On-Sentence. The only grammatical mistake I saw there was the additional article (“a”) in “a suitable phrases”. You’ll realize all this once the fog lifts!
    I find your musings amusing. Your ability to churn out amazing pics, food and entertainment in one fell swoop is quite impressive considering you’re ill!

  2. courtney

    Hope you feel better. All the rush of the past few weeks is catching up. I love the guy you tweaked this recipe from almost as much as you! You both have great senses of humor that are a delight yet turn out amazing food.Non pretensious good ole fun!

  3. Sig

    Ah the whiskey in the title caught my attention ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks delicious! Both the chicken and fish cakes… guess I have to buy the book for the recipe for the fish cakes, huh? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Hope you feel better soon Jaden, being sick is no fun… ๐Ÿ™

  4. noobcook

    Your food photography is already so good, I think you qualify to be a professional, hee. The pic of the Coriander Fish Cakes is stunning!

    Feel better soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Bkhuna

    Wrap a hot towel round your head. Make some soup, then get a nap.

    Oh yeah, don’t forget to have a few Nyquil Juleps.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  6. The Big Guy

    Feel better, Steamy…

    I’m so making the chicken this week!
    (Nice touch to heat/reduce/use the marinade, all that good liquid love!)
    I really want the recipe for the fish cakes too!

    See ya-


  7. argus

    Drink chamomile tea (with honey if you like). It’s anti-inflammation and calming.

    Great recipe, Mrs S. May I sub the whisky with Chinese wine?

  8. christey

    BAHAHAHAH yeah for AV setting ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s my fav and I use it constantly while doing the ‘journalism’ part of my shooting, but have to use the M for the final platings.

    easy explanation – AV is for aperture priority. which is basically what controls your depth of field while letting in or blocking out light (dependent upon how wide open you go). but yeah you want shallow depth of field (small focus area as opposed as sharp from foreground to background) then keep your av numbers low (2.8-4.0) and the camera will automatically pick the right shutter speed to go with it.
    Manual is actually easy too. put it on M, pick a shutter speed you want, or pick an f stop. say you want shallow, so example: you put the fstop on 3.0, look at the light meter in your camera view, and point it to what you are going take. turn the dial on the shutter number until the light meter goes to zero, and there ya go. that way you have control if you want to do by speed or by aperture and you can also bring in more or less light for mood etc either by changing shutter speed or aperture.

    does that help? ๐Ÿ™‚

    anyhow, those two pictures are soooo pretty, that as long as it isn’t difficult to do, i would do just what you are doing and just spout off words like DOF and aperture and manual mode when someone impressive is around, but not worry about it otherwise ๐Ÿ˜‰ hehehe (and if someone does play a mean trick on you and change that dial to manual, you will know just what to do with it that doesn’t involve shoving things up people’s dairy-air ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  9. LunaPierCook

    There is never enough whiskey in a recipe, ‘specially if’n yer a sicko. Drink lots of it, and get better soon!

  10. Deborah

    You are super woman – I would have run into the bedroom, locked the door and hid under the covers. Instead, you come up with these 2 amazing looking dishes – I’m amazed!

  11. joanne

    I look at a camera and it goes wonky on me. Sheesh the things you go through to give us fantastic food! Sorry to hear the plug has been removed. I hope you get better soon. Please don’t tell me your spouse is like mine. Get sick, he drags you out of the house to the store and has you pick a can of soup to eat. Good lord, if you can’t make it into the kitchen to drag out a container of stock from the freezer, the world goes to hell in a hand basket!

  12. Ann

    Oh, Jaden – so glad you’re finally allowing your body to be sick! Take a load off, pop some dayquil, and just plant it in front of a good movie.

    As for the shooting – ya know – you’re pretty much in M already (or, close to) when you’re shooting in Aperture Priority (which is where you are). It appears you’re shooting in wide f’s like f1.4-3.0 or so, then the AV chooses the shutter speed accordingly. BUT, sometimes – it’d be better if you just chose it – so, you could go M – set your f stop and then choose your shutter speed according to the light meter (erring on the side of letting too much light in). Also, you could increase ISO speed too – that can be nice and lends to “lighter” pictures (per se).

    Oh hell – you’re on NYQUIL – this ain’t makin’ any sense anywho!!! LOL! Feel better!

  13. Vitor Hugo

    I know, I know the recipe is more important, but the AV thing… oh my geez! Huahuahuahauhau So hilarious! So ZOMFG-LOL! You’re funny! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Deb on the Rocks

    You need your OWN setting. “H” for “Hawt.” I will be making that chicken! If you ever need a someone to weigh ingredient-take notes-take orders-get drunk in you kitchen again, I’m sure you could have a l-o-n-g line of volunteers, but I’m first.

  15. Alex

    Those fish cakes look just charming. Between you and David Lebowitz I am happy to know that some people are appreciating the fickle art of photographing things! Christey is right in saying that Av is aperture priority, and essentially you have around 10 stops to work with on any given 35mm lens. So, if you are using the fabled 50mm 1.8, f/1.8 will open your aperture alllll the way up and let you take super-select focus images whereas f/22 will let you take everything in, even the dog outside the window twenty meters away.

    M/Manual is a breeze, you just need to get yourself figuring out the ISO settings and how fast you want your camera to fiiiire.
    You can always drop a line if you have a camera/photography/lighting question to this humble, foodie-on-the-side photographer.

  16. barry

    Thanks for the two-fer on the photos! Will definitely give the chicken a spin next weekend (just did a Mexican spiced beer can chicken on the grill yesterday – Feliz Cinco de Mayo!).

    Now stay thee in bed and sip hot water, whiskey (I know you have more), honey and lemon.

  17. Diana

    Hey J,

    Hope you’ll have plenty of rest and get well soon. Have you tried ???? Supposed to be good for flu/cold.

    Btw, the way you cook, totally reminds me of myself, although you are a much much better cook than I am. I’ll usually think of something to cook and the end product is always different because I get ‘inspirations’ and changes and add stuffs. But it also means that most often, whatever I cook is a one-off experience because I haven’t been good with documenting what I did ๐Ÿ˜›

  18. Coffee and Vanilla

    Nice pictures ๐Ÿ˜‰
    And what is wrong with using “P” ??? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Many times when I don’t have time, I want to take a shot and eat, I use programed settings….

    Have a nice day, Margot

  19. Mike

    That sounds like a hilarious experience. I can’t imagine the effort that must go into making the cook book–doing the blog thing is enough work!

    As for the camera stuff, I think I know just as much. Spin a knob one way or the other. If its not doing what I want, I’ll go running to my (photographer) wife and tell her its broken, fix it fix it…and see if she’ll just take my photos. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ lol

  20. Lynn

    You’re sick and yet you invent dishes, cook them, and photograph them? Do you run marathons, too? There are no boundaries to your amazingness, Jaden!

  21. Natalie

    Jaden, you are so my girl crush. You are hilarious! I need to get your ghetto light set up. My pics have been looking bad lately, esp. since I have been using the Av setting. There are two prof. photographers in my family and neither one ever use the M mode FYI. Maybe we should take their business cards away too! haha Best wishes- I am excited about the book- if they edit out your personality I will be mad!

  22. lifeinrecipes

    Whatever your method is to writing your recipes, don’t stop! They are always wonderful, as are your photos. It’s almost unfathomable what you have achieved while sick. feel better soon.

  23. Cate O'Malley

    Mmm, I have an OMG recipe for Soy, Garlic and Ginger Burgers; this chicken looks like it’s going to be right up there. Hope you’re feeling better!

  24. radish

    mmm… anything with bourbon in it has got to be GOOD. I’ll make this once the weather here proves to me that’s it’s playing for keeps and we pull out the grill. Right now, it’s pretty nice, but i’m not holding my breath….

  25. Barbara

    So….the AV setting on the camera is the way to go…..hmmm (toddles off to get her camera and take a look). I’l have to experiement with mine.

    Hope you are feeling better. Nyquil, the coma-inducing wonder drug.

  26. Dwiana

    Jaden, I think better forget it about “P” or “AV” or “M”, all I know your photographs are amazing!! I do really enjoy them.
    btw, thanks a lot for sharing this yummy chicken recipe. I am a chicken lover, a ha… I got stuck with no idea how I am going to cook chicken this time. and thanks w/ your recipe:)

  27. Jeremy

    I love it when your sick! I also got a rebel because you said it was good, still learning how to use it, even found a site from Canon on how to use it!
    Get better soon, if your not already!

  28. Emily

    Sorry you’re sick – but we made the chicken tonight and it was delicious! Certainly worth de-lurking for.

  29. Melissa

    Oh Jaden, I hope you’re feeling better! At least sickness doesn’t seem to affect your sense of humor – this was hilarious! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Nate 2.0

    Dammit, I want the recipe for the coriander fish cakes with thai dipping sauce! Give me the semi-legible version at least!

  31. Zak

    I made this a couple nights ago with chicken thighs and done under the broiler (until the grill gets here). It was awesome! I ended up eating it all, even the extra I wanted to save for lunch.

  32. Sammy Mah

    Hey Jaden,
    Great grilled chicken, except I ended up marinating myself with some of the whiskey. Good thing I didn’t end up on the grill.

    Keep up the great work.

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