Grill to the rescue

The oven has been a neglected appliance in recent days. Throughout the heat wave, we shunned it, cooking most of our meals on the gas grill. I’m sure that’s been the case for most of the region’s residents. Grill or eat out, right?

Our grilling repertoire has just about been depleted, however, so I was glad to recently receive a packet of recipes from sister Margaret, gleaned from a recent cooking class she and hubby Don attended inColorado. The titles might seem a bit exotic for we Midwesterners, but the methods and ingredients are really quite simple to throw together.

Ancho Chili-Crusted Chicken with Key Lime Aioli

Lay out 8 six-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts on a large sheet pan and coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder, 2 teaspoons dried whole oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon onion powder. Sprinkle the mixture over both sides of the chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to three hours.

Heat gas grill to medium-high. Clean the grill and wipe with a paper towel dipped in a small amount of oil. Lightly brush the chicken breasts with oil and lay on the grill. Cook approximately 3 to 4 minutes until well marked. Turn the breasts over and continue to cook until the chicken is firm and springy to the touch, another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with Key Lime Aioli.

Key Lime Aioli: In a food processor, combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1.2 cup fresh Key lime juice, 2 cloves garlic, 1 anchovy and 2 teaspoons dry mustard. Process until smooth, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh dill and parsley and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

 

Margaret reports that she has already attempted the following recipe at home, adding red and green peppers and fresh pineapple chunks between two strips of pork cutlet and serving it with wild rice.

Jamaican Pork Satays

In a small mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons dry marjoram, 1 tablespoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons brown sugar.

Slice 16 ounces boneless pork loin chops into long, wide, thin strips. Thread each strip onto a bamboo skewer Season the satays generously with the jerk spice. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to one day in advance.

Heat a gas grill on medium-high heat. Clean the grill and wipe with a paper towel dipped in a small amount of oil. Lightly brush the satays with the oil and lay on the grill. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes on both sides, or until the pork is springy to the touch. Transfer to a platter and serve with Mango Vinaigrette.

Mango Vinaigrette: In a blender or food processor, combine 1 ripe mango, peeled and seeded, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, the zest and zest from 1 lime and half the lime’s juice. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the sweetness by adding a small amount of sugar. Add salt andTabascoto taste. Start the blender again and slowly add 4 tablespoons salad oil.

 

Margaret sent another couple of recipes that will be shared in upcoming blogs. But she also sent the following grilling tips gleaned from the culinary class.

ALWAYS be sure to clean off the grill with a wire brush before grilling — the carbon pieces are not good for the grill, the food or you!  (Some people actually never clean their grill because they think it gives the meat flavor.)

Pound the protein into a flat, evenly thick piece using wax paper or a plastic bag and the bottom of a saucepan.

The thinner the meat, the higher the temperature;  the thicker the meat the lower the temperature.  (This seems opposite what you think, but it makes sense.  Otherwise, you get the outside of the meat done and the inside is still raw.)

If meat is thicker than one inch, grill with the lid closed.  If it is thinner than one inch, leave the lid open.

A more attractive display of food can be done with criss-cross grill marks if you just turn the meat three times when cooking and rotate the piece of meat 90 degrees each time you turn.

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