Monday, May 30, 2011

Applewood Grilled Whole Copper River Sockeye Salmon Stuffed with Fennel and Vidalia Onions

I can't make up my mind on the whole Copper River salmon hoopla.  Is it really that much better than the regular Alaskan salmon?  Is it worth the price?  I am normally reluctant to pull the trigger on the purchase, but today I found it on sale for a relative steal at $6.99 per pound for fresh whole sockeye.  Sold. 


In the end, I have to say, the salmon was excellent.  Super fresh, firm, rich in flavor and moist.  Cooked to perfection by Chris and brining the salmon was the way to go to impart flavor without being overpowering.  Wonderful.


1 3.5 to 4 lb whole sockeye salmon
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 dried bay leaf, crushed in your hand
1 tsp mixed peppercorns, smashed
2 cups water


1 fennel bulb, core removed and thinly sliced
1 small vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
honey
Debone the salmon using a sharp filet knife, keeping the filets in tact.  It is easiest to just work your knife along the bone, starting from the belly side of the fish.  Then just make short cuts pressing your knife against the bones slowly working towards the back. 
Mix together the sugar, salt, bay leaf, peppercorns and water.  I used 1/2 cup hot water to dissolve the sugar and salt and then the rest in cold water and ice cubes.  Place the salmon in a zip lock bag and pour the brine over top.  Seal and place in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours.  
Soak 2 handfuls of applewod in water for several hours.
In a medium saute pan, heat a little oil over medium high heat, add onions and saute until just softened.  Add in the fennel and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Continue to saute until fennel is softened.  Remove salmon from brine and dry on paper towels.  Make a little tray with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Place salmon in the try, lay half of the lemon slices on one side of the salmon, then place the fennel and onion mixture on top, followed by the rest of the lemon slices. Flip the other half of the salmon filet on top.  Drizzle generously with honey.
Light your charcoal and prep your grill for indirect heat cooking.  Lay the charcoal to one side of the grill and place the salmon on the other side.  Place one handful of applewood on the coals.  Maintain grill at a temperature of 325f.  Put a second handful of applewood once the first stops smoking.  Grill salmon for about 35-40 minutes or until meat comes apart easily when pierced with a knife.


For the corn:
5 ears of white corn
grana parmesan
Grill the corn drizzled with a little oil until charred.  Cut corn off the cob, place in a shallow dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grate some grana parmesan on top.  Broil for 6 minutes until parmesan is browned.  Sweet and just a bit of cheesiness with a slight smoky flavor from the grill.   Yum!


And for dessert... s'mores fireside.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shaved Asparagus Salad, Grilled Grissoni and Salumi Guanciciale

Another Evening of Entertainment at the girls' school tonight starts the countdown to the end of another school year.  The end of school is met with mixed emotions.  It means my gals are another year older and getting ever further away from being my little babies.  But it also means summer is just around the corner... woohoo!  Limited by time, I opted for a simple light dinner and a nice glass of red wine.  It is one of our favorite meals, too often overlooked.
Some good bread and a couple of nice pates go well with a clean shaved asparagus salad.  
On the plate were a wild boar country pate, duck mousse pate with port wine, cornichon, Panzella Grissoni and Essential Bakery's Rustic Baguette (Chris' favorite).


For the salad (serves 2):
8 Thick asparagus spears
1/4 cup grape seed oil
2 tsp champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


shaved parmigiano reggiano
2 pieces of Grissoni bread
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fig  condiment
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 thin slices of Salumi Guanciciale


Shave the asparagus using a vegetable peeler.  I have one that peels a thicker peel and it works perfectly for the asparagus.  Peelers are different and you'll need one that peels a thicker slice.  Mix the grape seed oil, vinegar and honey together.  


Mix together olive oil, fig condiment, and balsamic vinegar.  Brush bread with the dressing and grill the bread for just a couple of minutes on a very hot grill.  Just a bit of char but not too crispy.


Toss asparagus with enough of the dressing just to coat.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Top with grilled bread and a couple slices of the Salumi Guanciciale and finish with shaved parmigiano reggiano.    The Guanciciale is made from the jowels of the pig and cured.  Delish.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Clay Pot Chicken, Chinese Sausage and Rice

This is a slight variation of an earlier posting of this same dish.  A great one pot meal if you are happy to forego the greens.  But if you're like me, leafy greens are an essential item in a Chinese meal.  So, while the chicken and rice is cooking, wok fry any number of excellent Asian green vegetables.  Tonight it's going to be pea vines flash cooked with a little oil and salt.  They are ready as soon as they wilt.  Do not overcook or you'll lose all of the wonderful fresh, green, tender flavor of the vine.


For he clay pot chicken and rice, you will need a clay pot.  If you don't have one, you could do it in a regular pot, like a enamel covered cast iron pot or other braising pot.  But, traditionally, this dish is cooked in small individual clay pots.  I am using one large one.


4 Chicken thighs - deboned, but skin left on
8 Small dried shiitake mushrooms (or 4 large, or 6 medium)
3 Chinese sausages (Lap Cheong), sliced diagonally into 1/4" pieces
2 Cups long grain rice
1 Tbsp finely julienned peeled ginger
1 Garlic clove, minced
Approx 3 Cups chicken stock


Rinse, then soak the mushrooms in hot water until softened.  Do this ahead of time as it takes a bit.  I put them in a tupperware container, put the water in, and put the lid on.  When softened, cut off the stems and slice the mushrooms.


Rinse the rice and drain well.  I put the rice in a sieve and ran cold water over it.  Put the rice in the clay pot and add the sausages and shiitake mushrooms.  


Salt the chicken thighs.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Place the thighs skin side down and cook until skin is crispy and golden brown.  Flip to sear the other side.  The chicken does not need to be and should not be fully cooked.  Remove to drain on paper towels.  Once cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized pieces.  I decided to do the chicken this way for the crispy skin and the flavor it will add to the rice.  


In the same skillet you just cooked the chicken in, add the ginger and garlic clove.  I tossed it in as soon as I took the chicken out and turned the heat off.  Just a quick fry on it to release the aroma of the garlic and ginger.  Add to the rice mixture and stir to combine well.  Then add the chicken stock.  The stock should be about 3/4" above the rice.  Put the pot on the stove and bring the liquid to a boil.  Place the chicken on top, cover the pot, and simmer over very low heat for about 15-18 minutes, or until rice is cooked.   Turn heat off and let sit for another 10 minutes or so.


To make the sauce to pour over the rice:
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
Heat everything in a small sauce pan to near boiling.   Pour sauce over rice and garnish with some sliced scallions.
Comfort food.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The One-Third Pound Burger, Crispy Sweet Onions, and Shoestring Fries

A request was made for some burgers.  No ground-breaking revelations to report here.  Just a good 'ole burger.  Two parts beef chuck to one part beef short ribs ground using my Kitchenaid standing mixer grinder attachment.  Salt and pepper the beef well.  Pack the ground beef loosely into a large ball, press slightly to form a patty.  
Less compacting of the meat results in lesser shrinkage and a more tender burger.  Grill to medium rare with a thick slice of Beecher's Flagship cheddar.  Today's special topping was fried crispy sweet Vidalia onions sliced thinly and dusted in flour, salt and chili powder.  Serve your burger with your choice of condiments and your favorite bun.  My current, readily available, one is the Oroweat Country Potato Dinner Roll, which I sliced in half cross-wise.  It is soft, airy and not as large as a regular hamburger bun.  I had a smear of Good mayo, a generous squirt of Whole Foods 365 organic ketchup, romaine lettuce and crispy onions.  There is nothing you can say against a good burger.  Get out there and grill one!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Homemade Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

As I stand at the counter typing this, Stella is behind me rolling fresh pasta.  The sun is out, filling our kitchen with light, Maggie is working on some complicated math homework and Pacino is bathing in the sunlight in the pathway between the pasta roller and the towels where Stella is laying out the rolled pasta.  It is a little slice of perfect.  


Discussion has occurred over type of pasta, thickness of pasta and sauce.  Lamb, perhaps not a first choice amongst the kids, will hopefully pass the mustard with the ownership of the pasta making.  A little crispy pork product probably doesn't hurt either.


1 lb Lamb shoulder, finely chopped, I used Kosher lamb today
4 oz finely diced pancetta or bacon
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
2 small carrots, finely diced
2 small celery stalks, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1.5 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
leaves from one sprig of fresh rosemary
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
dollop of mascarpone
I cut the lamb shoulder into small pieces, 1/3", then used my large cleaver to chop it a bit more.  Quite small pieces, but not quite to consistency of ground meat.  
In a heavy enameled cast iron pot, cook pancetta or bacon until crispy.  Remove all but 1 tbsp fat, and add in the lamb and cook until browned.  Then add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and cook until softened.  Then add the tomato paste, bay lead and rosemary, stir to incorporate.  Deglaze with red wine and beef stock and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer over low heat for about 1.5 hours or until lamb is very tender.  Uncover, turn heat up to medium high to reduce sauce slightly.  Add mascarpone and still until incorporated.  Add ground black pepper to taste.
For the pasta, we followed a basic 1 cup flour to 2 eggs recipe.  We did 2 cups flour, 4 eggs, knead until dough is baby bottom soft.  Divide into 12 balls.  Using a pasta roller, roll each piece in turn.  That is, starting at the # 1 setting, roll all the pieces of dough, then go onto # 2, roll out all the pieces of dough, etc.  Stella rolled them to the #5 setting.  Lay the dough on clean towels to keep them from sticking.   Let the sheets dry slightly so that you can cut them without the noodles sticking together.  They need to be pliable, but not sticky and not hardened.  Flip the sheets a couple of times so each side can get equal drying.  Cut into wide pappardelle noodles with a pasta cutter or a pizza cutter.  


Cook pasta for 1.5 minutes.  Ladle a bit of ragu on top.  I broiled some oyster mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper to add to the dish.  Finish with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.  Luscious.  



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grilled Ribeye Steaks, Fired Goat Cheese, Crispy Shallots and Fresh Morels

I uncovered some prime ribeye steaks from the freezer, that ever rotating wondrous icy box downstairs, for tonight's dinner.  A trip to the Broadway Sunday Farmers Market  rewarded us with a few delectables to help the steaks shine.  In the bag were baby carrots, shallots and freshly foraged morel mushrooms.  In my fridge were the other ingredients to make the meal complete.  Really, any cut of steak you prefer makes this meal complete.  I just happened to have ribeyes.  For the rest...


1/3 lb fresh morel mushrooms
1 small bunch of sweet baby carrots, tops trimmed off, washed
1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
3 small shallots, thinly sliced
corn starch mixed with a pinch of salt
4 goat cheese medallions 
flour
1 egg, beaten
panko 


Prepare the goat cheese medallions.  Put flour, egg and panko in separate bowls.  Coat goat cheese in the flour, dip in egg, then coat with panko.  Place on a small plate and place in freezer for about 20 minutes.  You don't want them to freeze completely, but you want them colder than normal to hold its form when you fry them.  


Heat oven to 425f.  In a baking sheet, place a little oil or bacon fat (you must know what I chose), and place in oven to heat.  Once fat is heated, add the brussels sprouts along with some salt and pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Roast for about 15-20 minutes.


Salt and pepper steaks and grill to your desired temperature.


Cook carrots in a small pan with a bit of water and a pad of butter along with a pinch of salt.  Simmer until just tender, about 5-7 miutes.


Toss sliced shallots in corn starch mixture.  Fry in a shallow pan with some vegetable or grape seed oil at 340f until crispy.  Drain on paper towels.  Use the same oil to fry goat cheese medallions until golden brown.


Saute the morels in butter or olive oil with just some salt and pepper. 


I could do without the goat cheese, but the rest, yum!  Will work on a better plating job next time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Looks Like Another Grilled Chicken

Part two of my double pack of organic whole chickens from Costco is tonight's, yes another grilled chicken, dinner.  My chemistry set awaits in the many condiments hanging out in the refrigerator and cabinets.


1/4 Cup ketchup (my current favorite is Whole Foods own organic ketchup)
1/4 Cup sweet hot mustard
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce
2 tbsp Braham and Murray Good Classic Mayonaise
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 Sweet onion thinly sliced
3 Stalks of celery from the heart, roughly chopped, I like to use the tender pieces with the leaves


Combine all ingredients in a large ziplock bag and massage together.  I realized I inadvertently made a Thousand Island dressing of sorts.  Hmmm, wonder how that will turn out.  


Cut one whole chicken into 8 pieces and add to the marinade.  Massage marinade into chicken.   Refrigerate for about 6 hours.


It's just another grilled chicken, but it is still quite good.  I have to confess that an innocent, oh, I'll just sit down a minute and check out his Justin Bieber movie that Stella is watching, turned into a 2 hour sit down resulting in Chris having to cook dinner.  Just saying..



Monday, May 16, 2011

Pan Fried Veal Chops with Mushrooms and Porcini Balsamic Sage Sauce

I do like a good veal rib chop.  I go for the rib chop instead of the loin chop because of the little marbling you get and because I think it has better flavor and is more tender.  This is right in my wheelhouse.  Seared meat and a good sauce, now we're talkin'.   


For the sauce:
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves, plus several whole leaves for garnish
3/4 cup porcini mushroom stock (made from bouillon cube)
2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup heavy cream
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.  Fry the sage leaves until crispy, drain on paper towels.  Salt and pepper the veal chops and fry over medium heat in same skillet.  
The essence of the sage leaves in the oil add to the flavor of veal and sauce.  Fry each side until deep brown, and to your desired temperature.  I did mine for about 7 minutes per side.  
Remove chops to a warmed plate.  In the same pan, saute the mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms are softened.  Add in chopped sage and stir to combine. Deglaze pan with the porcini stock and let simmer for a couple of minutes.  
Add balsamic vinegar, any juices that have accumulated from the veal chops and then the cream.  Boil to reduce by 1/2.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  
This is really good...really.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cocunut Milk and Honey Chicken

If you are in the Alderwood Mall area in Lynnwood, WA, a stop in at H Mart would be well worth your time.  Though mainly a Korean market, they also carry a wide variety of other Asian groceries.  It is clean, bright, easy to navigate and well stocked.  Folks working there are friendly and helpful.  I picked up a variety of ingredients for another variation on a Thai style marinade for my chicken tonight.  The weather, so far, is not cooperating for an outdoor grilling session, but rain or shine, we be grillin'.
1 Whole organic chicken, deboned
3 Stalks lemongrass, pounded and cut into 2-3" pieces
Handful of kaffir lime leaves, about 20 or so, crumbled in you hand to release the flavor
Handful of Thai red basil leaves, about 20-30
4-5 Small shallots, peeled and smashed and cut in half
3 Thai chilis, slit open
3 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp sweet soy sauce
1 Small can of coconut milk (5.6oz)
2 Tbsp honey


Mix all marinating ingredients together.  Place in a large ziplock bag with the chicken.  Massage the chicken a bit to work the marinade into the chicken.   Place in the refrigerator overnight turning once or twice.  Grill chicken over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes.  I served mine with white rice and sauteed long beans.  




Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Veal, Portobello Mushroom and Carrot Ravioli with Browned Butter and Fresh English Peas

Drawing blank on new ideas and wandering Whole Foods Market in hopes of inspiration, I remembered it's been a while since I'd made any ravioli.  It was a good day for a kitchen excursion.  Various projects and work have taken up much of my day lately, so the luxury of spending quality time in the kitchen has been scarce.  But today was a good day.  I had thought of making osso bucco, as Maggie has requested it a few times now, but in my effort to Spring forward, I decided against braising a veal shank.  No other cuts of veal were available, so I went with ground veal and hence the ravioli.


1 lb ground veal
2 cups finely diced portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup Madeira
1 tbsp minced fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste


2 cups roughly cut carrots
1/2 cup small shallots, peeled
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper


1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated comte cheese
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar


In a large skillet, brown ground veal, then add portobello and saute until softened.  Add madeira and stir to incorporate.  Once madeira has evaporated, add sage and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside to cool.
Roast carrots and shallots with olive oil, salt, pepper in a baking dish at 375f until softened, about 20-25 minutes.  Puree in a food processor.


Combine veal, portobello mixture with carrot, shallot puree.  Then stir in parsley, cheese and balsamic vinegar and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper as needed.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the shells, you can either buy fresh already prepared sheets of pasta, or make your own.  It being kitchen project day, I decided to roll my own fresh pasta, again following Marcella Hazan's recipe.   My only addition was a drizzle of truffle oil in the mixture.  I used a pasta roller attachment on my standing mixer and rolled the dough to #4 setting.
Fill one side of the sheet with dollops of filling and fold the sheet over lengthwise.  Cut using a rolling pastry cutter.  I froze a good portion of the ravioli for future use.  For tonight's portion, I boiled for just 2-3 minutes and served browned butter, blanched English peas, candied pecans, drizzle of balsamic vinegar and freshly grated pecorino romano cheese.
I have to say, it was excellent.  Next time I may do more carrots in the mixture.  The peas added a sweetness and freshness to the dish.  The girls gobbled everything down as did I!



Monday, May 9, 2011

Smoky Sweet Baby Back Ribs

I don't care if spring weather is refusing to arrive in Seattle, I'm rolling forward.  I've broken out the linen pants already and tomorrow, I may even wear white pants.  Today, I rolled out the charcoal Weber, soaked some hickory wood chips, made a little rub, and mixed together a simple mop sauce.  Here's to looking on the bright side.. it's almost 57 degrees out and it's not raining.  So barbecue it is.
For the rub I mixed together garlic salt, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, mustard powder and freshly ground black pepper.  Coat 1 full rack of baby back ribs and let marinate in the refrigerator for several hours.  For the mopping sauce, I mixed together ketchup, red wine vinegar, honey, a few dashes of Franks Red Hot sauce and a couple tablespoons of butter.  Heat the sauce enough just to melt the butter.
An all day smoking would be preferred, but if you don't have the whole day, as I did not, this works pretty well.  Prepare your grill with indirect heat for the ribs.  Start the charcoal and place to one side of the grill.  You will want to maintain a temperature of about 325f for the next 2-2 1/2 hours.  So, adjust your vents to allow this and add a few more coals as you go.  I usually open the bottom about half way and keep the top just slightly open.  In a small disposable aluminum pan, combine sliced onions, a few garlic cloves and any beer you happen to have in the refrigerator.  Place the pan under the area where you will be laying the ribs.  Place the ribs on the grate over the pan.  Toss half of your soaked wood chips on the charcoal, cover the grill and let smoke.  While the chips are smoking, I go ahead and close the top vent to try to capture as much smoke as possible inside the grill.  Once the chips are finished smoking, you can open the vent again slightly to help maintain the proper heat.
Half way through the process, repeat the wood chip addition again.  About 30-45 minutes before ribs are finished, start brushing them with the sauce.   For the last 10 minutes, I placed the ribs directly over the coals.  If you do not finish the sauce, heat the remainder in a small sauce pan and use for dipping on the side.  My gals love this.
Sweet and smoky for sure.

Spaghetti with White Prawns, Seared Scallops and Vodka Cream Sauce

We all get a little excited at a cream sauce pasta.  Over the weekend, we had this rich treat with plump wild caught white prawns and Alaskan sea scallops along with a bit of crispy thinly sliced pancetta.  So good, as Stella says.


1 lb Wild caught white prawns, peeled, deveined, cleaned
10 Large Alaskan sea scallops
4 oz Thinly sliced pancetta
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1.5 Cups heavy cream
2 oz Vodka


1 lb dry spaghetti


Dry prawns and scallops well with paper towels.
Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Saute pancetta until crispy.  Turn up heat to medium high and then add garlic and prawns and saute until prawns just begin to turn pink and are par cooked.  Remove prawns and pancetta from pan.  Remove oil from the pan into a small dish to use for searing the scallops.  Add cream to the pan, then the vodka and bring to a light simmer.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti and sear the scallops.  Salt and pepper the scallops.  Heat a heavy skillet over high heat.  Add just a bit of the reserved oil.  The pan should be very hot and the oil will smoke.  Sear scallops for 1-2 minutes until brown and crisp on the outside and medium rare inside.  Remove scallops to a warm dish.  Add the prawns and pancetta back to the cream and along with any liquid that may have come from the prawns.  Cook until prawns are cooked through.  Stir in any liquid that has come from the scallops as well.
Drain cooked pasta, place a couple of scallops on each plate and then spoon prawns and cream sauce over top.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Quickie Side of Flatbread

Almost too easy to post about, but it's good enough and so simple and quick, it seems a shame not to share.  Great for an appetizer or a side to some grilled meat, you can throw it together at the last minute and you'll be good to go.  


1 Package of ready made Tandoori Naan  (I got mine from Whole Foods)
Roasted garlic
Olive Oil
Grated Gruyere cheese


Sliced shiitake mushrooms
Hoisin Sauce
Mixture of grated Fontina and Comte cheeses


Garlic cheese flatbread:
Finely chop roasted garlic cloves.  Mix with a little olive oil.  Brush bread with the garlic oil mixture.  Top with gruyere cheese.


Shiitake mushroom flatbread:
Saute shiitake mushrooms in a little olive oil.  Spread evenly over bread.  Drizzle with hoisin sauce.  Top with fontina and comte cheese mixture.


Grill the flatbread until cheese is melted.  Crispy crust, soft top, cheesy goodness.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Seared Ahi Bruschetta

I came home with a new favorite seared tuna dish.  We were sent to Mala Ocean Tavern on recommendation by a friend and it did not disappoint.  The winning dish of the night was their Seared Ahi Bruschetta, also raved about by our friend.  After a little discussion with our server, I gained some must dos to make the dish a success.  The ingredients were:


Sliced baguette - use whole grain or flax seed baguette.  Best grilled until crispy.
Edamame puree - secret is to add rice wine vinegar.  I got a bag of frozen shelled edamame peas, boiled them until very tender, pureed with some of the water from boiling, grape seed oil and rice wine vinegar.  Do this to the consistency that is spreadable.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.  
Sliced tomato - I used Roma
Seared Ahi Tuna - coat with sesame seeds and nori before searing.  I used a rice seasoning called Katsuo Fumi Furikake which contains nori, sesame seeds and bonito.  Coat the tuna and sear with just a bit of oil over high heat.  Rare on the inside, and just seared on the outside.
Chiffonade of fresh basil
Drizzle of good quality balsamic vinegar


Fresh, clean and delicious.



Sunday, May 1, 2011

Something Chinese Grilled Chicken


A beautiful sunny day called for grilling something.  Returning from a week away, the request was made by Maggie for something Chinese.  So, the compromise was made for a Chinese rub of some sort.  Chris started the charcoal and I started pulling things from the cupboards and refrigerator.  

Roughly speaking, here's what went into the sauce.  
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder
1" piece of ginger grated on a microplane (about 1 tbsp)
3 cloves garlic grated on the microplane
3 scallions very finely chopped
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1/8 tsp ground szechuan pepper

Mix all together resulting in a thick sauce.  Split a whole chicken through the back bone.  Break the breast bone in order to flatten.  Or you can spatchcock the chicken.  Start coals and burn until they start to grey and ash.  Set coals to one side of the grill to cook the chicken via indirect heat.  Soak wood chips in water a few hours ahead.  Place a small handful of wood chips directly on the charcoal.  Brush chicken with the sauce on both sides.  I brushed the inside first as that was the side to be laid down on the grill.  Once the chicken was on the grill, I brushed the skin side.  Cover the grill and maintain a temperature of about 250f.  Over the course of the 1.75 hours the chicken was on the grill, the temp of the bbq ranged from 250f to 300f.  
I served the chicken with fried rice and wok fried baby bok choy.  A very nice spring dinner.