You'd think, the way I have gushed about Stuart Little for two posts, that he was the "only" one. Our kids say I am guilty of favoritism and I guess I am...at least that's what is evident here in writing anyway. However...we do have two other sweeties, Annie, a black and white rat terrier who channels Audrey Hepburn, and Lilly, a curly haired Cairn-ish terrier with "natural red highlights" that make me envious. They are high energy cuties who like Stuart, just happened into our lives and luckily have stayed. They are mostly outdoors during the day and now, because they have calmed down a little (oh, those terriers!), they are coming in the house earlier at night and have become the resident lounge lizards on our couch. We call them "The Sisters".
Lucky for them, The Sisters' domain is the backyard. That is prime property...yes, without a couch but definitely with its own perks. The barbecue grill is there. They are oh-so-happy to see me yank out the charcoal and light up the grill. That means food is coming their way first...little droplets of tasty fat, morsels of meat or fish that fall off the grate or that I happen to flip with too much energy, even roasted veggies that slip off the skewers. All good, all theirs. And, all goes to the quickest to dive under the grill and scarf it up. Let Stuart have the house; they have the eats! They are on high alert throughout the grilling process, which is a good thing. Their attention spans (Lilly's is a little shorter) work as well as a timer or meat thermometer. They know when things are done.
A girl (or two) can only wait so long for dinner.
Despite lots of rain around here, I fired up the 'barbe a couple of weeks ago and started cooking out. I always have to remind myself that as a trained nutritionist, I am supposed to know and do better. Try as I may, I always want to sneak a little bite of roasted, charred fat and one bite leads to another. Oh, the flavor! Oh, the crisp! Oh, just one or three bites won't hurt, right? But, I grill out a lot for about 6-7 months of the year and so, to be safe, I do the following:
1. Marinate everything in an acid-based marinade (I often use a combo of marinade, dry rub and basting sauce)
2. Don't let things catch fire (don't laugh)
3. If they do, cut or scrape off and don't eat charred area, especially fat
4. Sear quickly over direct coals for "effect" and to seal in juices
5. Finish over indirect heat in back section of grill
Here is a basic marinade I use for everything...veggies, fish, chicken and even tofu. It is the Little Black Dress of my sauces and yes, The Sisters love it.
"The Sisters"Little Black Dress Lemon Marinade
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fruity olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
In a glass jar, mix lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake to dissolve salt. Add garlic and rosemary and taste and adjust flavors. Add more garlic or use other herbs instead of rosemary. Try basil, lavendar, lemon mint or thyme, oregano. Play with this and dress it up or down. Makes about 1/2 cup. Marinate foods for at least 30 minutes up to two hours. Also, marinate overnight if that works better for you!