We're right on time for the Fourth of July and the depth of grilling season. The Dinner Sisters have options that are a little more than the basic burgers and hot dogs but not too complicated for a beautiful weeknight evening. Crack open your summer beverage of choice and get grilling!
A pantry-friendly recipe makes for some savory-sweet pork chops. Marinade includes the molasses and coffee for depth with a little mustard and vinegar for kick.
- Choose bone-in, thick cut chops for easy grilling and less chance the meat will get dry on the grill.
- Try two-zone grilling (YouTube and/or article here.) if you are using a charcoal grill. In short, have two areas on the grill: one for the coals and one side with very few or none. This way you can quickly sear your chops over the coals and then cook slowly on the cooler side.
- The marinaded pork chops lent themselves to a side of roasted sweet potatoes but we also think a mustardy potato salad would be great here.
A search for a long ago herby, bright green marinade led the Dinner Sisters to this recipe. Fish sauce carries the umami flavor that is brightened up by plenty of cilantro, mint and basil. This may not be the exact recipe we were looking for but it comes pretty close!
- Make sure to use skin-on chicken pieces. Whether you use thighs (our preference) or breast, the skin lets the marinade stick while it’s on the grill.
- Blitz pretty well in your blender- you don’t need the smoothest puree, but fine pieces of onion will help the marinade stick on the chicken.
- A two zone fire would also be a good idea for a charcoal grill. You want to get that good char without completely incinerating the chicken.
Fish is a weeknight wonder for grilling- little marinating time and cooks up quick. These kebabs are cubes of salmon threaded between lemon slices and sprinkled with a cumin, sesame and crushed red pepper dry rub. Done in minutes on the grill, this is a recipe to bookmark for this summer.
- Either ask your fish counter if they’ll skin the salmon or, barring that, make sure you have a sharp fillet knife to skin the salmon. Avoid Kate’s hangry crying…
- If you'd like additional guidance about the salmon, try this tutorial from Jamie Oliver.
- A well oiled grill is necessary here. Also, wait until you have a good, brown sear. You’ll lessen the chance of the salmon sticking.
- Grill too much to deal with? We made these on a grill pan and on a hot plate (it’s the lake house!) and had great results. Might even work with a good broiler.
From the Smorgasbord...
Thinking about your latest haul from the Farmer's Market or the latest interesting vegetable in your CSA? We have some tips and resources for you.
- Consider working from fresh and raw, to combined with other ingredients, to finally cooked down into sauces, baked goods, or soups and stews. Think of a tomato: a raw tomato salad with just olive oil and salt, to a BLT, to finally a beautiful marinara or candy-liked slow roasted.
- Kate has a couple vegetable-only cookbooks to reccommend:
- Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch (Nigel Slater) : A book that follows the seasons and the garden, with several recipes for each vegetable. Beautiful prose but also solid recipes.
- Vegetable Literacy (Deborah Madison): Ms. Madison organizes the vegetables by taxonomic group - which feels a bit much until you realize that it has interesting kitchen applications. If you are a gardener with a special interest in plants, you'll love this book. A solid reference for the kitchen.
- Mom's Chocolate Zucchini Cake: Betsy's son's favorite summer cake is easy to make and uses up a couple cups of shredded zucchini. Especially nice when your zuke is huge and well, less than tender.