Here's a gift idea for the guy or gal who has everything: an invitation to the Bacon and Bourbon Dinner Party at Tiki's Grill and Bar. The event is Monday, so it will be an advance gift, allowing you to set the bar for a reciprocal present of equal warmth and yum.
Chef Ronnie Nasuti's menu includes abalone topped with bacon, fish wrapped in bacon, eggs with smoked duck bacon, and Guava-Glazed Bacon & Big Isle Wild Boar Eruption, which has got to be one of the best names for a dish ever. Each is paired with a different bourbon or whiskey.
But even if bourbon is not your thing, I call your attention to another menu item: Bacon-Wrapped Mochi, stuffed with cheese and grilled. Bacon! Cheese! Mochi! Disparate items, they ought to come together like some wild and wacky dance act. I asked Nasuti for a recipe because New Year's is coming, a time of mochi-making merriment. It's also a drinking holiday, and this dish is designed to go with booze. Nasuti gives idea credit to one of his cooks, Brad Furu-kawa, who trained as a sushi chef. The dish does bear a resemblance to yaki mochi, grilled rice cakes often found on Japa-nese bar menus. It will be paired with a cocktail made with Knob Creek rye whiskey.
At Tiki's the cooks will make their own mochi and the kaba-yaki sauce that puts the finishing touch on the dish. You're welcome to do that, too. But to simplify, use prepared mochi and sauce, sold in Japa-nese groceries or in the Asian aisles of some supermarkets.
The Tiki's dinner starts at 6 p.m. and costs $59. Reservations required; visit eventbrite.com or call 923-8454.
Blanch bacon in simmering water. Warm mochi 15-20 seconds in microwave until soft and pliable. Make a pocket in each mochi by pressing your thumb into it, working quickly so they don't cool and harden. Put a spoonful of cheese and a slice of shiso leaf in the pocket and press closed. (If mochi is very soft, you can place cheese and shiso in center, fold mochi in half and press closed.) Wrap each mochi in a slice of bacon. Thread skewer through bacon and mochi.
Grill on low heat or fry in skillet until bacon is crisp. Drizzle with kaba-yaki sauce. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 230 calories, 6 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 20 g sugar, 6 g protein
Ingredient notes: Plain mochi is sold in squares or discs in shelf-stable packages or frozen (don't get the soft, fresh type that is already filled). Shiso, the herb used to flavor Japa-nese pickled plum (ume), is sold fresh in Japa-nese markets. Kaba-yaki is similar to teri-yaki sauce, but thicker and a little sweeter, often served with grilled unagi (eel). You are likely to find it sold as unagi sauce. A simple formula: 1 part mirin with 1 part soy sauce and 1/2 part sugar; simmer until thickened. Teri-yaki sauce may be substituted.