I settled on a recipe for my marinade that will (or I should say is) flavoring the chicken for the skewers I'm making for the big luau Saturday. The last part of the equation was to figure out what kind of wine to use, because I was totally clueless.
Naturally I had to find out why you'd cook with wine in the first place. The most obvious reason is flavor, and I doubt there is any substance in the world that varies more in flavor than wine. You don't even have to be a wine snob to appreciate that. But I also learned that the acidity of wine tends to tenderize meat as well, which I've learned is incredibly important for grilling in particular.
I wanted to go for tropical and fruity, so naturally pineapple juice was going to be the starting point (and since there would be pineapple on the skewers, it just makes sense). A lot of recipes I found also include soy sauce, though I couldn't find the brand that comes from Hawaii, so I had to skip on authenticity. I can't even describe what soy sauce tastes like, aside from salty, but I like it. I've noticed too that when you cook with it, it has a stronger taste. I also wanted to use a little garlic powder and a fair amount of ginger for a good kick.
Fortunately, we have an amazing organic food store around here, Mustard Seed Market. They also have a restaurant at both locations that make some pretty amazing stuff, including milkshakes. If you doubt the difference in organic ingredients, have a milk shake. It will blow your mind.
Anyway, their wine selection is massive, and they frequently have a "wine guy" there to answer questions. He's not one of those pretentious assholes from Sideways either. So I explained what it was I wanted to do, and he started to steer me in the right direction. He pointed out several fruity wines that were low in alcohol but big on flavor, and I settled on Moscato d'Asti. It's made from muscat grapes, which are known for being fruity or flowery smelling, he said, depending on who you ask. This particular wine is semi-sparkling, so it's a little fizzy, but not like that "other" Asti, which tastes like shit.
Of course I tasted it before I submerged a dozen cut up chicken breasts in it, and it was exactly what I was going for! Once I mixed it in with the other ingredients, it was the taste I was hoping for, almost. I added more ginger. I pussed out on getting fresh ginger because I don't really have anything to grind it with, so I bought the powdered stuff. I really like it.
And the bonus of cooking with wine? You can tie one on while you cook! :)
This is really fun. Tomorrow, I cook a pizza on the grill on my new stone.