Well, dear friends, I do feel secure in pronouncing that spring has finally sprung! As I write this week’s missive, I am sitting on my deck, enjoying the sunshine and a warm breeze. It is such a joyous time in Western New York as the trees seemingly overnight turn bright shades of green, white and pink.
Now is the time to start thinking about our spring and summer activities and festivities. Our family will be celebrating my younger son’s college graduation in a few short weeks and my hope is to hold the celebration outdoors. I have been trying out new recipes and coming up with different ideas that I can’t wait to offer to our friends and family!
For the picnic I am planning, grilling is my preferred method of cooking. I don’t want to warm the house up by turning on the oven and there is nothing that says summer more than the smell of something tasty that is sizzling on the grill wafting through the neighborhood! You can, of course, just throw plain meats and veggies on the grill, but I prefer to add flavor (and moisture) by whipping up a fresh marinade. Basically, a marinade is nothing more than a simple dressing of sorts…olive oil, vinegar and herbs or other seasonings. The flavor of meat or veggies can be accentuated – or covered up – depending on the ingredients you choose to use and the length of time you allow it to marinate. Today I made a marinade for the pork tenderloins I plan to grill tomorrow. I wanted to highlight the pork flavor with fresh herbs and a little citrus zing. I made the marinade today so all of the flavors I included in it will mingle overnight, and then I will add the meat to it in the morning. If I had added the meat to it today, the marinade flavor within the meat would be much more intense than I wanted by tomorrow.
With the abundance of fresh herbs available to us in the markets today, the combinations are endless! Fresh thyme, lemon zest, white vinegar and olive oil are a wonderful accent to chicken breast; fresh garlic, oregano, basil and rosemary, when added to kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, add a terrific flavor to a strip steak, and tarragon, thyme, lemon infused olive oil and cider vinegar are terrific brushed on portobello mushrooms and zucchini planks.
Fresh herbs, flavor infused oils and vinegars are our friends, folks! Be daring and try a new flavor combination this week…I’ll be you will be amazed by the difference it makes in your favorite dish!
Grilled Marinated Veggies
- Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
- Zucchini and summer squash
- Vidalia Onions
- ¼ C olive oil
- ¼ C tarragon vinegar
- 1 T fresh tarragon
- 1 T fresh thyme
- Kosher salt
- Fresh cracked pepper
Whisk marinade ingredients together and set aside. Slice zucchini, summer squash and onions into ½” slices. Mushrooms can be sliced thick or grilled whole. Brush veggies lightly with marinade.
Preheat grill to medium high. Cook veggies on grill, brushing with marinade and turning every few minutes, cooking until tender.
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