i have made a choice not to learn how to use our grill. it's one of those things that i know i have the intellectual capacity to take on, but i chose to remain ignorant about and cede all responsibility for this area of our life to jesse. much like canine care, cable and internet troubleshooting, taking out the trash, killing bugs, dumping out spoiled or old food marooned in the fridge, and unclogging the sink. yes...the man is a catch.
well last night, jesse was being awesome and was at home depot with layla getting wood for an amazingly thrifty DIY hack project we are working on, and i knew they were both really hungry and would appreciate a hot yummy meal when they docked back at the mother ship. but alas, the stuff i had shopped and planned for dinner was all to be prepared on the grill.
we have been losing our little minds with giddy glee over grilling and outdoor dining lately. for one, the only dining table we have is our patio set, so sitting at a real table and chairs feels like a luxury for us. and for two, taking a few bites and then running around is my kids M.O. while dining, and our fenced in back yard provides an arena for this that makes me 14 times less insane than when it is played out in our living room. al fresco is where it's at, folks.
so with no Y chromosome to foist it off on, i had to step up and (wo)man the grill. it was a million percent easy and fun. no pots, no pans, just one big compartment of fire to be left alone to do its thing.
2 of the sides were from a few pins that i was rolling the dice on since i dont usually like cooked carrots and because grilled salad?!?
i added corn because it was close to starting to go bad in the fridge and then defrosted a big thing of chicken legs that we had in the freezer and found an easy recipe.
after 30 minutes of minimal prep, and cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes while it all cooked on the grill, this is what greeted layla and jesse when they arrived home:
carrots- i followed the pinned recipe exactly. these carrots made the whole family happy. not mushy at all, and a little char and a honey glaze makes everything right.
corn- husk the corn and remove the silks. season each ear with butter, salt & pepper. wrap each ear in aluminum foil and place on a hot grill for 15 minutes, turning ever few minutes. unwrap each ear and put the naked ears back on grill for a few more minutes on each side. everyone in the family, including the dogs, who got the cobs, LOVED this classic pleaser.
salad- i followed the pinned recipe again. the only change i made was subbing sour cream for creme fraiche b/c my store didnt carry it. these were the surprise stars of the show. i was so skeptical about grilling salad, but it really was just smoky perfection, and the simple herbed dressing was a great match. do you trust me? give this a try!
chicken legs- i started with a recipe from cooking light, and adapted it to make it supremely superior (because i watch top chef and am fancy like that).
my cardinal rule for grilling chicken is this: NEVER trust a marinade. every time i have relied upon a marinade for flavor, i have been disappointed. it seems like no matter how long i marinate for, hardly any of the flavor gets into the meat and it just tastes like chicken. and it's a sad moment when i pour out all of those yummy ingredients into the trash after the chicken is pulled out of them. there has to be a better and more lasting way to use them.
the answer is: the glaze.
now whenever i see a recipe for a marinade, i take the same ingredients and make them into a glaze to be brushed onto the chicken as it grilled AND after it comes off. i have yet to be disappointed by this method.
sweet citrus glazed chicken legs (adapted from cooking light):
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (siracha or tabasco)
- 8-12skinless chicken drumsticks
- Cooking spray
1 cup of orange juice
- 1. Prepare grill.2. Place chicken on grill coated with cooking spray; grill (with lid closed) 30 minutes at medium heat or until chicken is done, turning occasionally.
- 2. Place chicken on grill coated with cooking spray; grill 30 minutes, covered, over medium heat or until chicken is done, turning occasionally
- 3. Combine the first 13ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. heat until the mixture reduces to a thick, glaze-like consistency (about 15 minutes). DONT overcook or turn the heat up to high to speed things up. (that story has a tragic ending).
- 4. during the final 5 minutes or so of grilling the chicken brush the finished glaze over the chicken legs, coating all sides. reserve just enough to give them all a final brush after the legs are finished.
attack this plate of food with a gusto that can only be accomplished with the knowledge that you can wash your hands and face off with the garden hose when you are finished. just like martha stewart does.
declare yourself a grill-genius but decide to turn back over the tongs to your husband in favor of "simpler, gentler" inside cooking tasks. but look forward to the day where your secret super powers will be called on again to save the day.