Grill

Grilled Soy-Lime Chicken

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Grilled Soy-Lime Chicken

1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 c warm water
2 T sugar
2 T kosher salt

3 T soy sauce
1/4 t sugar
1/4 t grated lime zest
2 t lime juice

Combine water, sugar and salt in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken but small enough that it can be mostly submerged in the brine. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt and then add the chicken breast. Brine for thirty minutes.

In a separate bowl combine soy sauce, sugar, lime juice and lime zest. Remove chicken breast from brine, shake to remove excess liquid and then put chicken breast into marinade. Turn to coat and let the chicken marinate while the grill is heating, ten to fifteen minutes.   

Grill over medium heat for nine minutes. Flip and grill for another seven minutes.

Notes: Oh, stop yawning and just eat it. I struggled with chicken breast for a really long time. It's cheap, it defrosts in a plastic bag and warm water in less than half an hour, it's versatile, it's healthy, kids generally like it but... I just couldn't seem to DO anything with it. 

Enter the 30 minute brine (wow!) and one of a million marinades. Try this one. I like it. Patrick LOVES it. Caroline and Edward ate respectable amounts even though I think they get tired of chewing after a while and need something easier like the asparagus and rice that went with it. Edward is like a giraffe, he prefers things that are green. Caroline, for some explicable reason, is a rice FIEND.

"RIIIIIIIIIICCCEE?" she shrieks with both hands outstretched and another thousand grains fall to the floor.

What I have not yet tried is this same recipe without the grill but now that we are being deluged with an icy rain and the temperature inside my house is about sixty (who turns on the heat this early?) I think my grilling days are over. I shall try it on the stovetop and report back later, unless you want to try it on the stovetop and report back sooner.


Grilled Pizza, Part One

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Fifteen  Minute Pizza Sauce

2 T olive oil
2 clove of garlic, minced
8 oz can tomato sauce
6 oz can tomato paste
1 t sugar
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil

In a saucepan heat olive oil. Add garlic and saute three minutes. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, oregano and garlic. Stir and then simmer for ten minutes.

and

One Hour (Give or Take) Pizza Dough

2 1/4 t active yeast (I buy a jar and keep it in the fridge; otherwise, use  1 packet)
1 1/4 c 106° water (for years I failed to make sure it was hot enough, now I use an oven thermometer)
4 c all purpose flour
1 T salt
1/4 c olive oil

Dissolve yeast in warm water. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine flour and salt. Using the dough hook attachment gradually stir in olive or and yeast/water mixture, alternating between the two. Increase the speed to medium and stir dough for seven minutes, stopping every so often to scrape dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl. If you do not have a stand mixer just use a spoon and beat the beejeezums out of it until it is elastic and just a little sticky. Flour and water are moody. Sometimes these amounts are perfect; some times they are not. Use your judgment and add water or flour by the tablespoon until the dough feels right.

Put the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Give it an hour or so to double in size. Then punch it down (I love that part) and divide into eight equal portions. Cover the eight balls with plastic wrap and let them rise again for ten minutes. Then roll or stretch each one until it is very very thin (wafer thin) and about 8-10 inches around.

Heat the grill to medium-low. Oil one side of one dough round and place on the grill oiled side down. Grill 1-2 minutes. Remove from the grill, oil the other side, and then add sauce (if desired) and other toppings lightly. Too much stuff on a grilled pizza is a problem. So scatter cheese, spinach, basil, pepperoni, what have you with a sparing hand and then return the pizza to the grill for another 2-3 minutes.

Depending upon the size of your grill you can do a few pizzas at once.  

Notes: I cut the dough into eight slices like a pie. When I went to roll them out they maintained their triangularity. Oh well. Pizza doesn't HAVE TO be round, you know. We made three pizzas this way (which was a mistake since Steve ate one, Patrick ate one and Caroline and Edward ate one together - hellloooo? no wonder I am always hungry at bed time) which left five balls of dough. We decide to grill them and then freeze the pre-grilled crusts for another day. I also froze the leftover sauce. My plan is to report back on how the freezer pizza components fared in Grilled Pizza Part Two.  

Patrick likes pepperoni and kalamata olives. Caroline and Edward liked (although they didn't have much choice in the matter) baby spinach and olives. I like black olives, fresh tomato, spinach and fresh basil. Steve prefers sausage when he can get it but seemed happy enough with spinach, olives and a few of the fifty billion chanterelle mushrooms he and Patrick have gathered this week. They are, like, I don't even know what... gnomes. And we are all tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese people. 

What do you put on yours?


Tomato-Balsamic Marinated Chicken

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While I was in the process of trying to make grocery store grape tomatoes taste like something I went through a few iterations of tomato-balsamic reduction. In the end I had a dressing I liked for the tomatoes and three pans full of a sort of glaze/marinade leftover. I put it all into an empty jelly jar and let it sit on the counter while I figured out what to do with it. Then Steve graciously volunteered to go grocery shopping for us and he came home with an item I have never purchased before, chicken wing drummies.

What the... ? I like a buffaloed wing as much as the next person but without a deep-fat fryer it just isn't the same. So for a lack of anything better to do I threw the drummies into my tomato-balsamic marinade and we grilled them for dinner.

Patrick said, "THIS is delicious." And it was.

Tomato-Balsamic Marinated Chicken   

24 chicken wing drummies

1.5 c tomato juice
3 T balsamic vinegar
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

6 T olive oil

In a saucepan combine tomato juice, vinegar and garlic. Bring to a low boil/rapid simmer and cook until it reduces by about a third. Off the heat whisk in olive oil. Let cool.

Pour half of the marinade into a large bowl, add the chicken and toss thoroughly to coat. Refrigerate for two hours (or less if you have less time.)

Grill over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, turning three or four times as they cook.

Edited to add: oh damn it! I forgot to say, after grilling pour the reserved marinade over the chicken and serve. The serve part is probably intuitive but the marinade as sauce thing was not.


Grilled Salmon with Basil Cucumber Cream

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Grilled Salmon with Basil Cucumber Cream

1/3 c orange juice
1/3 c soy sauce
1/3 cup water (or white wine, if you have some open - a dry one)

1 lb salmon fillet, intact and about one inch at its thickest

5 large basil leaves
1 c loosely packed baby spinach, stems removed
1/3 c sour cream
1 t dijon mustard 1/2 c finely diced cucumber, seeds removed

Combine orange juice, soy sauce and water in a shallow baking pan. Add salmon, skin side up. Marinate for as long as you can (up to three hours - two hours would be nice but ten minutes is ok too.) Heat grill to medium high. Grill salmon skin side down for 5-6 minutes. Flip and grill for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, place spinach and basil in bowl of mini food processor (or chop it yourself, very very fine) and pulse for a few seconds. Add sour cream and mustard, pulse until just blended. Stir in cucumber. Salt and pepper to taste.   

Notes: There is something overwhelmingly 80s about this, isn't there? I almost spelled it Creme. But I had the salmon and half a cucumber and I went from there.

I think it is marginally easier to grill one piece of fish than multiple smaller pieces and (as with beef) Steve prefers salmon rarer than I do. So a big fillet that is thick on one end and thin on the other works fine for us. By the time my end is cooked the way I like it his is perfect for him. If you run a less Jack Sprat household then you can either tuck the skinny end underneath or cut smaller fillets and cook accordingly. Or just buy equal sized pieces I guess.

Everyone ate all of this with the exception of Caroline who thought the salmon was weird and who subsequently ate only a few bites. Also I noticed that the tips of Patrick's asparagus were traded to Steve for some reason. But apart from that... .


Deconstructed Shish Kabob

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Deconstructed Shish Kabob

1/4 c olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 t dried or 1 T fresh oregano
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

6 cups bell peppers and zucchini; cut into 1.5 inch dice for peppers and 1/4 inch coins for zucchini
2-3 4oz beef tenderloin fillets

1 pt grape or cherry tomatoes

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl. Chop vegetables (I used yellow red and green peppers this time because they were all cheap and it looked pretty) and put them into a large Tupperware (Rubbermaid, whatever) bowl with lid. Cut beef into segments - Steve likes rare and I prefer medium so I always do one filet into four equal pieces and the other into eight equal pieces. Same cooking time thus produces different degrees of doneness. Add beef to bowl. Add olive oil-garlic marinade, put the lid on and give the bowl a few good flips to evenly distribute everything.

Put in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes or all day or overnight.

We bought a cheap rectangular grill pan from Target that we use for this (also nice when grilling fish.)

Spray pan with cooking spray (or take a paper towel and rub it with a little vegetable oil.) Heat grill to medium-high and place pan on grate. Add beef and vegetables, spreading them out as much as possible. Cook for five minutes, turning once with tongs/spatula. Add tomatoes and cook one more minute. You want the tomatoes to be hot and starting to split, but not pulverized into mush.    

Notes: After five straight days of chicken I was ready for something different. Tenderloin is expensive but it is the only cut that I have found that can be cooked very quickly with no fuss and always be tender. I would love to hear other cut suggestions, though. In the meantime I just use a little beef and a lot of vegetables.

I served this with brown rice and it was enough for all of us with some leftover vegetables. Edward had those for lunch the next day.