Best Recipe Key West Doesn’t Want You To Know About

February 7, 2012

Chickens are protected in Key West, Florida. When we visited the Blue Heaven Restaurant, we found more chicken under the tables, on the chairs and scratching the earth around our feet than there were chicken items on the menu.

Apparently, after generations of living on the streets, these hens, roosters and baby chicks are considered to be wild birds and are protected by a city ordinance that prohibits luring, seizing or teasing. Chickens roost in hedges at night and strut the streets during the day. We read in the newspaper that some locals who are disturbed by early morning cock-a-doodle-doos throw ice cubes at the red-crowned creatures. The advantage of throwing ice cubes, rather than rocks, is that the evidence melts. We were told that some people even go so far as to capture a particularly annoying bird, in the dark of night, and move it into someone else’s neighborhood.

We don’t want to encourage the fine folks of Key West to break the law but we have come up with a quick and easy solution to their chicken problem:

Grapefruit Marinated Chicken
(Makes 3 to 4 servings)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely chopped garlic
¾ cup (180 ml) grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) brown sugar
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons (10 ml) canola oil
red or pink grapefruit slices as a garnish

Combine the olive oil, garlic, grapefruit juice, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix well. Set aside.

Cut the chicken breasts into strips. Place in a container.Pour the marinade over the chicken. Turn the chicken to coat each piece thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. Turn the chicken once or twice while marinating. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and discard the marinade.

Heat the canola oil to medium high in a non-stick frying pan. Add the chicken strips. Cook and turn the chicken strips for 5 minutes or until they are browned on all sides and cooked through. Serve over cooked rice with a green vegetable or salad. Fresh red or pink grapefruit slices make a perfect garnish.

About The Cooking Ladies

For 20 years, Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay were successful foodservice entrepreneurs. The sudden death of a young business partner forced Phyllis and Lamont to realize there should be more to life than working seven days a week.They sold their businesses, their houses, and almost all of their possessions, bought a motorhome and set out on the highways and back roads of North America to see where life would take them.

For 14 years, The Cooking Ladies, as Phyllis and Lamont are affectionately known, have combined their appetite for adventure with a quest to meet new people, see new places, sample new foods and create recipes.

Today, Phyllis and Lamont are enthusiastic RVers, magazine columnists, cookbook authors, travel writers, photographers, TV personalities, lifestyle and culinary event speakers, and restaurant consultants. To learn more about them or download their best-selling e-cookbooks, visit

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