Change is in the air and on the stove

“Change is a strange thing that cannot be denied. It can help you find yourself or make you lose your pride. Move with it slowly as on down the road we go. Please do not hold onto me, we must all go alone.”

The Golightly Gourmet

By Dana Zia

Olomana Let me tell you a story. Exactly a year ago I had a shoulder injury that brought my wonderful and very fulfilling career as a massage therapist for 22 years to a screeching halt. Of course I sought medical attention and they confirmed my diagnoses, yup, I had to take a long break from massage. I knew deep inside it was time to let go, change had blown its icy breath on my life.
Now change is a strange thing, it can bring you great rewards or it can take your legs out from under you. (And sometimes both at the same time such as moi!) One can cower and wait for it to grab you up on its terms or one can ride out to greet it and hopefully have some negotiating power. I chose the latter.
I mounted my steed and galloped out into the night in search of a miracle. Astonishingly I found it and the hubby and me made dramatic career change.  We accepted a job managing an extraordinary estate in the San Juan Islands in March and miraculously moved a 2800 SF house we had been pilling stuff in for 15 years in only 6 weeks. It’s all a blur but somehow we made it up here with no idea how it was going to go. It was a leap of faith.
The leap of faith was true to course and we even though we landed in a heap much like an albatross just back from sea, we ended up making a fine nest up here. Looking back on it, I can honestly say no one is as surprised as I am. Through all the rough and tumble of change, the one thing I clung to with grim determination was writing this column. It has brought me so much joy and delight over the last 10 years, it was a rudder for me in the storms of adjustment.
It has also been a way of staying present in one of the most amazing communities in the whole world. Let’s face it, Manzanita, you rock. You have weathered some turbulent waters last year and stayed afloat by being a true community filled with kind hearts, strong shoulders and bright minds. This is the kind of grass roots action we need in small villages across the country to bring our divided country back together. Act locally, think globally.
Speaking about acting locally, the time has come for me to let go of the Manzanita area and get active here in the San Juan islands. It is time for me to say good bye to this column and open up the space for another to step in that actually lives there as I now have a Washington driver’s license. (And even more important a Washington fishing license! The seafood up here is amazing!!)
Thank you for all the great years of readership and devotion, I am so grateful for it. You all were here for me as much as I have been here for you. You all anchored me and now that I have my anchor securely set here in these new waters, I bid you adieu. Manzanita, you will always be in my heart, I will never forget you. Know that I am only a recipe away and if you ever need a bit of assistance, I am only a google away. (I think I’m the only Dana Zia out there!)
I leave you with a recipe from another place that I hold in my heart, Hawaii. I love Hawaiian foods because they are such a melting pot of the many different nationalities that has come and rooted in Hawaii. The cuisine there reflects integration of all the different folks from many different countries. I feel that is what we all need to focus on, melting the walls of division and food is a great place to start. This recipe of Shoyu chicken is “danafied” a bit with sake and Chinese five spice powder added to it, but that is the point. Change can be a good thing. Me ke aloha pau ole “with best wishes (and love) without end.”

 Dana’s Shoyu Chicken

1/2 cup of low sodium shoyu (soy sauce)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Or 1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons of sake (optional)
3-6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, grated fine (skins on)
1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice powder
Hot sauce such as Sriracha to taste
5 pounds of chicken thighs
Green onions and sesame seeds for garnish

First off and very importantly put on some Hawaiian music. Whisk together the soy sauce through the hot sauce in a large bowl. (If you want to skin the chicken thighs here, go ahead. Traditionally Shoyu Chicken is cooked with the skin on.) Add the thighs to the marinade and stick in the fridge for about a half hour.
Heat up the oven to 350 degrees. Get out a nice BIG baking sheet and pour the chicken in the pan marinade and all. Turn the meaty side of the chicken thighs down. Pop in the oven an cook for about 30 -40 minutes, turning the chicken 3 or 4 times. Turn up the oven to 450 degrees the last 5-10 minutes and brown the chicken, meaty side up. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds and serve with  rice. Aloha!