04 Sep / 4-Ingredient Marinades for Your Labor Day Cookout
One morning last week, my husband came back inside the house after loading the car and declared,” It feels like fall outside!”
My heart sank, then rebounded. My mixed feelings were understandable: I was sad that the end of summer, as well as warm, sunny weather, was nigh. Not to mention, my son starts kindergarten this fall and this fact made me both whoop for joy–yay, I’ll have time on my hands again!– and weepy–my baby is growing up too fast!
Labor Day marks yet another annual milestone–the official end of grilling season. Now, now, those of you who can grill all year round, please be nice and don’t gloat!
For the rest of us, we’ll enjoy the balmy weather for as long as we can. (As an aside, my father-in-law has been known to zip outside in Colorado cold to smoke Thanksgiving turkey on the grill!)
You may be trying to decide what to grill for your last hurrah of the season. I’m sure you have no lack of ideas culled from the internet or from the cookbooks probably sitting on your shelf. However, I’d like to introduce you to a handy-dandy guide to marinades that I devised.
When I was at my neighborhood Whole Foods Market this past summer, I picked up “The Essential 2015 Guide to Grilling.” Inside, I found a fun table for creating freeform 4-ingredient marinades. “What a great idea!” I thought and adapted the ingredients to give the marinades an Asian-inspired bent.
Now, you don’t have to make a dedicated trip to the store to mix up a delicious marinade for grilling, roasting, or pan-frying. Just take a peek into your pantry and use what you have. It’s my favorite way to cook!
Once you’ve decided on your combo, here are some tips:
- Don’t limit marinating to meat. Tofu and vegetables could do with a tasty bath as well.
- Thicker cuts of meat should be marinated at least overnight. For fuller flavor, marinate for two to three days and flip the meat for even flavoring (I do this with flank steak). That being said, if you are short on time, even a short marinating time is beneficial.
- One to two hours should do it for fish and seafood, and no more than 45 minutes in a vinegar- or citrus-based marinade. For porous tofu and vegetables, a quick dip of about 30 minutes is enough.
- Reserve a portion of the marinade before adding meat, poultry or seafood for dipping or drizzling on top of the cooked dish.
- After pouring the marinade over the food, toss well, cover (with a lid or plastic wrap) and refrigerate. If the marinade only partially covers the food, toss or flip the meat halfway through marinating.
- Marinate food in nonreactive glass containers (lids are a plus!) or ziptop plastic bags.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!