It sneaks up on you. The disappearance of snow and cold weather, the coming of new leaves, the green shoots above the damp garden soil.
It’s spring and it’s time to think about outdoor eating.
All that hot and heavy comfort food is gone until next winter. Now it’s fresh corn, tomatoes and peppers, bowls of salad greens, parfaits of berries.
The sizzle and smell of grilling meats will accompany this to make a new season on a plate. It’s time to break out the barbecue tools, tie on the apron and scrub and season the grill.
More than 80% of American households have a barbecue grill, and about 14 million new grills were shipped to stores and individual consumers in 2013. That’s a lot of food under (or over) fire, especially since about 97% of households who have grills actually use them. Grilling food outdoors means keeping the house cooler, the dining out bills lower and the neighbors wondering why your place smells so good. The right tools mean you can cook anything on a grill, from the usual steaks and chicken to crab cakes, oysters, fruits, vegetables and even thin and delicate fish fillets. Seasoning food for the grill is critical for good flavor; food cooks fast over the high heat, so imparting flavor early and often before adding fire is important.
Liquid marinades serve to tenderize and flavor food before cooking; this is a sweet and tangy recipe for a marinade made from ingredients around the house:
Two tablespoons each of:
fig balsamic vinegar
Aged white wine vinegar
Major Grey’s mango chutney
A teaspoon (or more if you like it very hot):
A quarter-cup each of:
Dark corn syrup
Use a medium-size bowl for the ingredients, and a whisk to combine them. Let this mixture sit in the refrigerator for about an hour, and taste it before using
If you like a sweeter marinade, add a tablespoon of dark brown sugar or agave syrup. For more heat, add pepper flakes. If you need a salt component, use soy sauce, rather than table salt.
A citrus components, such as fresh orange juice, can also be added to the marinade.
This marinade is wonderful for pork, dark meat chicken and tougher cuts of beef, such as skirt steak.
Safety tips from Foodsafety.gov:
Use food-safe plastic bags or food-safe plastic, steel or glass containers to marinate food.
Always marinate food in the refrigerator, where the temperature is constant.
Don’t reuse marinade. It’s one type of food into the container, one time only. Using marinade multiple times can result in bacterial cross-contamination.
Marinated raw poultry can remain in the refrigerator for two days. Raw beef, veal, pork, and lamb be marinated up to 5 days ahead.