One of my favorite things to use during the grilling months (and here in the South, grilling starts now in April) is marinade. Or mare-in-nod, as Martha enunciates it. Marinades are an easy way to a fabulous dinner and require very little work. They do need the time to work their magic however, but it is easy to do when you've worked this easy step into your morning routine.
Here's the no fuss/no muss way I do it. First of all, I use those big zipper topped plastic bags from start to finish, no matter what the recipe says-that way, there's virtually no clean up and when you're done, you pour out the remaining marinade (important: this stuff is a germ fest) and toss the bag (don't get frugal and wash it-if it had meat in it, it's virtually impossible to get it clean enough. Out it needs to go).
To make marvelous marinade you need these three things: an acid (like lemon or vinegar) some flavor (garlic, herbs and spices) and a little oil (I like olive oil). The world is your oyster when you keep these components in mind. You can make your own marinades out of what you have on hand. They're very forgiving concoctions, too-no need to measure and worry over getting it "just so".
And here's something I just learned about this delicious way of grilling. Marinating your meat before grilling is safer than just throwing your chicken or meat on the grill. I am sure you have heard about the dangers of grilling and carcinogenic dangers lurking on the barbecue.
Well, recent studies have shown that carcinogens are significantly reduced in grilling when the meat has been marinated. The reason? Could be the anti-oxidant rich marinade that is full of phytochemicalsÃ¯Â¿Â½those naturally occurring substances that fight cancer, researchers aren't entirely sure, but they do know that marinades do work for reducing carcinogens.
What I am sure about is this recipe. You're going to love it.
Garlicky Ginger Lime Marinade
1 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup olive oil
Throw all ingredients in a large, zipper-topped plastic bag, mush it around to mix, then toss in your meat, chicken or fish (a steak-like swordfish or mahi mahi would work, but a delicate fish would fall apart). Place in the refrigerator and turn whenever you remember. Not necessary, but will give you a more even distribution of the flavors.
When the meat is marinated to your liking (you'll marinate fish the least amount of time, then chicken and meat the longest; from about one hour all the way to eight hours), pull it out, throw it on a medium high barbecue (that has been preheated for at least 10 minutes) and cook it to desired doneness. Yum.
This wonderful marinade will also work with veggies. So have fun.
Remember, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen (and barbecue instead).
For more help putting dinner on your table check out the website, www.SavingDinner.com or the Saving Dinner Book series published by Ballantine and new book Body Clutter.Ã¯Â¿Â½ Copyright 2006; Leanne Ely Used by permission in this publication.