I first tasted yakitori, or chicken-on-a-stick, in the ’70s when I was living in Japan. We Americans referred to the tiny restaurant where this delicacy was served as “The No-Name” because there was no signage.

The often-crowded eatery was in the front of a family home. The restaurant, located down a narrow path, had a counter with six stools and a few low tables where diners sat on flat cushions on the tatami floor. There was a TV; Sapporo beer, saki and Pepsi; heaping plates of shrimp fried rice; bowls of steaming yakisoba with octopus tentacles curling over the rim; and yakitori.

My Navy husband and I didn’t have a lot of money, but for just a couple bucks, we could share a serving of fried rice, feast on grilled chicken and click our glass bottles together feeling rich for an evening.

It wasn’t until we returned to the U.S. that I figured out how to make yakitori the way it tasted at that wonderful wayside spot in Iwakuni. The recipe for this marinade may seem strange, and I doubt cooking sherry is used much in the Land of the Rising Sun, but I’ve been making these chicken skewers for a lot of years, and I’m telling you, they taste just like the yakitori at “The No-Name.”

To go with the chicken, I make rice nests with lots of green veggies piled into them. Of course, you can also use sticky white rice and your favorite veggies. You may also prefer to steam the greens, but I find that layering them between the hot rice and grilled vegetables causes them to wilt just enough.

Fast-forward 10 years from my time in Japan and we have four children and live in Maine, courtesy of the Navy. Our first summer here, we discovered berries growing everywhere. It was just as fabulous as striking gold. Day in and day out, we picked berries, which we froze and jammed and sold by the roadside of our Bowdoinham farmhouse. This cobbler, which can be made with one kind of berry or an assortment, was a favorite summer dessert and still is. I remember baking it late at night with the last of the berries after filling the jam jars. In the morning, the kids would gobble up a serious bowlful after the obligatory scrambled eggs.

Such abundance!

Yakitori
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup cooking sherry
1/4 cup beef broth
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow dish. Add chicken and onion; cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Start charcoal grill and wait until coals are white-hot or preheat gas grill to high. Thread chicken and onions onto metal skewers or on wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes. Grill, turning and brushing with more marinade, for a total of 15 minutes. Yield: 6 servings

Grilled Vegetables in Nests
1 large onion
2 colored peppers
1 large sweet potato
1 head broccoli
1 pound small button mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups fresh spinach or baby kale
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked brown rice

Sauce:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
Soy sauce to taste

Prepare grill as above. Cut all vegetables into bite-size pieces and place in an oiled grilling basket. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Grill, turning often, for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.

If using the oven, preheat to 425 degrees and roast seasoned vegetables on a large oiled rimmed baking sheet for 20 minutes, stirring once half-way through cooking time.

Whisk together sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over cooked vegetables and gently stir.

To serve, divide rice between 6 individual bowls, making a nest shape with a large spoon. Top with a layer of raw greens then add cooked vegetables. Splash with soy sauce, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Razzleberry Cobbler
4 cups fresh (or thawed frozen) blackberries, raspberries and blueberries
3 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. cornstarch combined with 2 tsp. water
1 cup white or wheat flour
4 tbsp. sugar or other sweetener of your choice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2-2/3 cup milk
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine berries with maple syrup and cornstarch mixture. Pour into a 1 quart au gratin dish or an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.

For the topping, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Gently moisten with milk until a soft dough forms. Dot the dough over the berries in spoonfuls and spread it out, but there’s no need to completely cover the berries. Bake until pastry is golden brown and cobbler is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings.