We all have our go-to tools that give us confidence and comfort, that make us feel like super-quilters, capable of intricately stitching tall borders with a single bobbin. Whether it’s a well worn ruler or the scissors that snuggle perfectly in our hands, if we quilt without these talismans, all is not right in our stitchy worlds. Know what we mean?
Well, it’s often the same in the kitchen. We are not a fan of the “if it’s Tuesday, it must be spaghetti” brand of menu planning, but we DO know the value of having go-to marinades that never fail. Through trial and error (not altogether an awful process when it comes to food, mind you), we’ve found three grilling marinades that work every time to produce delicious beef, chicken or pork that we are proud to serve anywhere to anyone. (About our stitching we should be so lucky!)
Now, here in New Mexico, where Melissa lives, grilling is a year-round activity. So we’ve rarely tested these marinades in an oven or skillet application. Could happen, though. But just know that when it comes to great food off the grill, with these marinades, we’ve got your back, Q-bies. Go light that charcoal!
Okay, so here’s your next party entrée. We frequently produce these chops waaaay ahead of time, cut them into strips and freeze them. Come serving time, we just thaw well and warm, or serve ‘em room-temp. Always tasty and always moist!
Lemon-Tarragon Grilled Pork
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
4 6-ounce pork chops (about ½ inch thick)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine water, sugar and salt in a bowl, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour into a zip-top plastic bag, then add the tarragon, rind, juice, pepper and pork. Seal. Marinate at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain. Grill to desired degree of doneness.
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.
This recipe is forgiveness itself! Make minor tweaks—such as substituting regular white distilled vinegar—and you’ll still be rewarded with amazing flavor-boosted beef. That said, don’t skimp on the ground cloves. That’s the secret ingredient.
Best Beef Marinade
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
¾ cup soy sauce
½ cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup lemon juice
¼ Worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ground dry mustard
2 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons ground cloves (not a misprint)
In a quart jar, combine all ingredients. Shake well until mixed. Pour over beef in a zip-top plastic bag or bowl, and let stand overnight or up to three days. Turn occasionally. Drain and grill as desired.
Makes enough for 3-3 ½ pounds of beef.
We snagged this flavor-packed recipe from relish, a tabloid mag that occasionally shows up in our newspaper. Try packing cold strips of this, along with fresh cantaloupe, for a no-brainer picnic the next time your sweetie’s weekend softball game crowds out lunchtime.
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Handful of minced fresh basil.
Freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken, seal bag and refrigerate at least four hours or up to three days. When ready to grill, drain and discard marinade. Grill chicken thoroughly until done.
Know how pulling fabrics for a quilt gets you tanked on color, with your pulse racing and your eyes popping? Well, creating a new cocktail is sorta the same. Melissa’s daughter, Delia is working her way through school as a bartender at The Damn Bar (no, really!) in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She recently created this cocktail to highlight the Mountain Dew-like flavors of Three Olives’ new Dude, a lemon-lime flavored vodka. She sniffed and blended its fresh new flavor with companion flavors until she developed this sip-worthy concoction. It’s like a trip to the tropics in an icy cold glass!
3 slices of fresh lime
2-3 ice cubes
¾ jigger Three Olives Dude lemon-lime flavored English vodka
¾ jigger Bacardi Torched cherry-flavored rum
¾ jigger Malibu Caribbean rum with coconut
Ice cubes to fill glass
¾ cup to 1 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons cranberry juice
In a pint glass, muddle lime slices with 2-3 ice cubes. Add flavored vodka and flavored rums. Fill glass with ice, followed by pineapple juice. Top with cranberry juice. Garnish with additional lime slice.
Recipe by Delia Maher