As the weather gets hotter, we do more and more grilling here at Glover Gardens. I’m really happy with the on-the-grill recipe I’m sharing with you today, a citrusy and piquant take on the ever-moist chicken thigh. It’s the product of a decades-long subscription to Bon Appétit. That venerable magazine and I have been friends for a long, long time.
In August of 2007, the Tequila-Glazed Chicken with Jalapeño recipe caught my fancy. I made it for years, adjusting this and that, playing with the spices, making it hotter, making it mine. Yum!
Then Bon Appétit’s 2013 recipe for Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs came out, looking like it was from another page of the same playbook. Of course it was also delicious.
The methods were different, though. The first recipe benefits from a dry rub for a few hours and then gets a glaze on the grill, and the second soaks in an “aggressively seasoned” marinade before being broiled.
But I wanted it all – the seasonings, the marinade, and the glaze. The best of both. So I played around with the ingredients and the concepts, and here’s the result. I think you’ll like it. There’s a long list of ingredients, but this is a really easy recipe.
Oh, and since the grill is already hot, sometimes I like to go one step further and throw on some pineapple and peppers for an easy side dish. I’ve included the instructions for that, too.
Citrus and Tequila-Glazed Chicken Thighs
1 bunch cilantro, long/leafless part of stems removed (about 1 1/2 cups, loosely packed)
5-6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
1 serrano pepper, stem removed, cut in half and seeded
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 cups juice: a combination of orange, pineapple, lemon or lime – I primarily use orange and pineapple
1/2 cup tequila (omit if you don’t cook with liquor and increase the juice)
1/4 cup olive oil
4-5 lbs. of chicken thighs, skin on
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp cayenne
Optional garnishes: cilantro, sliced jalapeños, sliced green onions
Combine the cilantro, garlic and serrano pepper in a food processor and process until they are finely ground. Add the cumin, nutmeg, red pepper flakes and sea salt and pulse again until combined. Pour in the juice, tequila and olive oil and mix again until blended.
Reserve and refrigerate 1 cup of the marinade, which will be used for the glaze later, or 1 1/2 cups if you’re planning to make the grilled pineapple and peppers side dish. Split the chicken thighs between two large food-safe resealable bags and distribute the remaining marinade on the chicken. Squeeze the air out of the bags and seal them, turning to ensure that the marinade covers all of the chicken pieces. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2-6 hours, turning the bags at least once.
Prepare the glaze by combining the honey and cayenne with 1 cup of the reserved marinade mixture in a small nonstick saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir and lower the heat to medium-high, keeping the glaze at a simmer until it thickens (about 5-7 minutes).
Remove the chicken from the marinade and place in a dish or cookie sheet. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for about ten minutes, then turn and brush with the glaze on the cooked side. Turn again and add glaze to the first side. Continue grilling until the chicken is done to your liking, about 165° in the thickest part. Remove to a clean platter and either spoon on the reserved glaze, or serve it separately. Throw on the optional garnishes and serve.
Grilled Pineapple and Peppers
A mixture of sliced pineapple and bell and/or poblano peppers
1/2 cup reserved marinade
When you’re ready to grill the chicken, arrange the pineapple and peppers in a pie plate and drizzle with the marinade. Grill them after you cook the chicken until you have a nice char on each side. Serve with the chicken.
True Confessions: I’m always looking for ways to get the Grill-Meister to eat more vegetables. I like the challenge.
The latest effort was this salad with grilled vegetables and fresh mozzarella “pearls” on a bed of romaine, tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a surprise ingredient – golden raisins. It got the Grill-Meister’s Seal of Approval, a certification that is quite difficult to attain when vegetables are involved!
Here’s how to do it.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Mozzarella and Golden Raisins
Makes 6-8 servings as a side dish, 4 as a vegetarian main course
1 fresh zucchini, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
1 fresh yellow squash, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, sliced longways, in about 1 1/2 inch widths
1/2 medium red onion, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds and separated
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat. Toss the vegetables in a medium bowl with 1 TBSP of the olive oil, then grill for 3-4 minutes per side until the vegetables have nice grill marks but are still nicely al dente. Return the vegetables to the bowl and toss the with the remaining tbsp of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, garlic and golden raisins. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and let the vegetables rest until they are room temperature, then add in the mozzarella pearls.
Distribute the romaine across an attractive serving platter, then place the grilled vegetable / mozzarella mixture on top. Add a little more pepper and garnish with the green onions and parsley.
The Grill-Meister was amazed that he liked this, and especially amazed that it would be good at room temperature (he was expecting the grilled vegetables to be served hot as per usual). The sweetness of the golden raisins and the balsamic vinegar are a perfect foil for the earthiness of the grilled vegetables and garlic, and the crunch of the romaine alongside the creamy mozzarella pearls provides a nice textural balance. This dish is a easy stunner.
And one more thing: you can dress it up to be a main course by adding slices of grilled chicken, or if you’re going vegetarian, slices of grilled tofu or portobello mushrooms.
The Kentucky Derby is today. It seems to always coincide with the last weekend of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, which seems to always be the weekend that we choose to go. I’ve seen the annual “Run for the Roses” on a bar TV in New Orleans more times than I can remember, usually from Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House. Even though the traditional Kentucky Derby cocktail is the mint julep, the libation of choice for the Grill-Meister and me is the Bourbon Milk Punch. It is lusciously, sinfully rich – a milkshake for grownups.
This year, we’re not at the Jazz Fest and we won’t be enjoying a cool, creamy Bourbon Milk Punch while watching the Kentucky Derby, but these things remain on our Replay List to enjoy again in the future. Read more about it and get the recipe for Bourbon Milk Punch here – and remember, one is enough!
We had a lotta leftover steak recently, because we tried this recipe from the Food Network’s show, The Kitchen. It involves huge porterhouse steaks, a cast iron skillet, and a unique method. Our foodie-senses were intrigued when we saw this, and we just had to make it.
It was good, but more work – and more food – than we anticipated. The instructions called for porterhouse steaks that were 2″ – 2 1/2″ thick, so of course I went for the thickest (wouldn’t you?). The butcher thought I was crazy. Turns out, he was right! And in looking at the picture above from the Food Network, there’s no way that’s a 2″ steak or bigger.
I gave up the idea of getting photos mid-recipe because it was a bit overwhelming; just suffice it to say that we had steak for days. Steak salad, steak quesadillas, steak burritos, steak tostadas and steak sandwiches. (Did I say it was a lotta steak?)
Well, Gentle Reader, in this Steak Week Odyssey, the steak sandwich was the best. Sautéed onions and jalapeños enhanced the flavor of the steak, and we dressed the sandwiches with ripe red tomato, fresh mint from our herb garden, and shreds of crisp raw cabbage, serving them on onion rolls. Double-Yum!Creating this Steak Sandwich for 2 recipe more than made up for the somewhat disappointing experience of the original steak dinner.
Steak Sandwiches for Two
3/4 lb. of leftover steak, cut in very thin slices
1 medium onion, sliced (I used part red and part yellow)
2 fresh jalapeños, sliced (leaving in the ribs and seeds for the heat unless that doesn’t work for you)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 ripe tomato, sliced
1/4 cup shredded raw cabbage
1 tbsp fresh mint, sliced in ribbons
salt and pepper to taste
2 onion rolls
optional condiments of your choice – I used stone ground mustard
In a medium skillet, sauté the sliced onions and jalapeños in the olive oil over medium high heat until they are soft. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat the steak briefly to warm it without overcooking it; the microwave is fine for this. Try 1-2 minutes on half power. Assemble the sandwiches on warm onion rolls or other buns of your choice by starting with the steak on the bottom, adding freshly ground pepper, then the sautéed onions and jalapeños, then the tomatoes, cabbage and mint.
This sandwich was delightfully easy, with a very sophisticated taste. The crunch of the fresh cabbage and brightness of the mint were the perfect compliment to the juicy earthiness of the onions and steak. Pair it with potato salad and a quick black bean salad for an easy weeknight meal whenever you’re wondering what to do with leftover steak from the weekend’s barbecuing. Here’s a recipe for the black bean salad.
Earth Day reminds me that our world is fragile and needs care, and that I should be an agent for positive change.
This year’s focus for the Earth Day Network is ending plastic pollution. They have a great site; I learned a lot about the size of the problem. Here’s one example:
Scientists predict that if nothing changes in our plastic consumption habits, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight).
That’s bad. How to help:
Reduce your consumption of plastics.
Properly recycle the plastic you use.
Remove plastic that is already in the environment.
If you’re interested, there are lots of great suggestions about how to do those three things in the Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit. The very first thing I’m going to do is to always, always, always use reusable bags when shopping. Easy-peasy! And I’ll be taking many other steps now that I’m aware of enormity of the plastic pollution problem, like finding products that aren’t in plastic bottles or containers.
Don’t get me wrong – Glover Gardens isn’t about lecturing, posturing or sanctimony, but I’m musing today about the delicate balance between the way humans use the earth and its resources versus the way the rest of our ecosystem partners function within it. And resolving to be more mindful and have a smaller footprint so that my future grandchildren can enjoy the world the way I do.
On a lighter note, I didn’t use the photo below in my earlier happy-happy Earth Day blog postbecause I thought there was a drone in the background, just above the bird and slightly to the right. It made me really grumpy for a few minutes – “really, a drone in my bird picture, for an Earth Day post??? – sheesh!!”– until I zoomed in as far as I could and realized that in addition to wings, it has a stinger. It’s some kind of nefarious flying insect, but definitely not a drone.
If you’ve been following Glover Gardens, you know that Sandwich Wednesday is a thing. Ever since our blended family was established nigh on ten years ago, the Grill-Meister has been the Sandwich-Meister on Wednesdays. It might just be my favorite weekday.
A variety of bread-ensconced offerings have come my way on Sandwich Wednesday, and nary a one has disappointed. The Grill-Meister is great about taking requests, and I recently realized that I hadn’t experienced most of the sandwiches he used to produce at his restaurant, the Bavarian Bistro. This phase of his career was before my time, but I don’t want to miss out on the sandwichy goodness. The only Bavarian Bistro sandwich I had experienced to date was the U-Boat Sub, and it was worthy.
So we decided that there should be a Bavarian Bistro series for Sandwich Wednesday, until I have experienced every sandwich. Lucky me! The Grill-Meister rooted around in his computer and dug up the 15-year-old menu, and let me pick. The first one was:
Der Red Baron: A triple decker of real breast of turkey, lean corned beef, imported Swiss cheese, crisp lettuce, tomato, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.
So there isn’t really a “recipe”; it is all assembly. The list below is ingredients without specific amounts.
Pumpernickel, dark rye or other sandwich bread of your choice, 3 slices per person
Thinly sliced turkey breast
Thinly sliced corned beef
Swiss cheese slices
Sliced ripe tomatoes
Sauerkraut, room temperature or warmed
Thousand Island dressing, mustard, or other tangy condiment of your choice
To assemble each Red Baron, slather a piece of bread with the condiment of your choice, then top with a Swiss cheese slice. Mound a generous amount of corned beef atop the cheese, then add another slice of bread. Repeat with another slice of Swiss cheese, a mound of turkey breast, and a generous dollop of sauerkraut.
Place the sandwich(es) on a panini press and cook on medium high until the bread is nicely toasted and the cheese is melted. (You can also cook in a skillet if you don’t have a panini press – press down on the sandwiches with a spatula to compress them.)
When the bread is toasty and the cheese is melted, remove the sandwiches from the heat. Open them up and add the lettuce and tomato slices. Serve immediately, potentially with more of your preferred condiment on the side.
I’ve been doing this National Haiku Writing Month thing now for a couple of weeks, and it will come to a close as February transitions into March. Today, I’m going to utilize the daily prompt from NaHaiWriMo: homemade soup. It’s a reference to a post from two years ago at around this time when some of my European colleagues made a fantastic soup at Glover Gardens during an open house for my team.
pot luck perfect in-the-moment lentil soup my colleagues rock
To read the whole story and check out their kick-butt (that’s a technical term) recipe for lentil soup, click here.
And if you want more soup recipes for a cold and rainy winter’s night, I’ve got a couple:
The Grill-Meister and I love wedge salads. You know, the traditional steakhouse-style that unapologetically showcases iceberg lettuce and blue (bleu) cheese, with ample garnishes of bright red tomato and crunchy bacon?
One version that we really liked (from a steakhouse, of course) added balsamic vinegar syrup. Yeah, baby! That addition took the wedge up to a whole ‘nother level. It is really simple to make a balsamic syrup – or rather, a balsamic reduction sauce, to use proper cooking terminology. All you have to do is use twice as much as you want to end up with and cook it in a saucepan, low and slow, ’til it reduces by half. But not longer, or else you’ll end up with balsamic caramel candy. (I know this from personal experience.) Some recipes will tell you to add brown sugar or some nonsense like that – don’t believe ’em! There is plenty of sugar in vinegar already.
We’re kind of picky, and don’t really like the iceberg lettuce to be a big ol’ single wedge. It looks great, but once you slice into it, there is a lot more lettuce than goodies and you end up wishing you could have more of everything but the lettuce. There just isn’t enough surface space for yummies add-ons with the traditional big wedge. So we split the wedge and arrange them side by side in the salad bowl, waiting to accept all of the lovely goodness this traditional salad has to offer. Photos are at the bottom of the post.
We had ribeyes recently, and what goes better with a ribeye than a wedge salad? Am I right? Here is our take on it, the wedgeless wedge.
Glover Gardens Wedgeless Wedge Salad for 2
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, trimmed and cut into quarters
2 thick slices of red onion, cut in half and separated
12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (preferably several colors)
4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
blue cheese dressing (purchased or homemade; I used this recipe from Epicurious.com – ingredients below)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (“lite” is ok, homemade is better if you have it on hand)
1/4 cup sour cream
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives (or green onion tops)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons milk (or more; this dressing is pretty thick)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and cook on medium low for 20 minutes or more until thickened and reduced by half. Set aside. If you are making the dressing yourself, combine all of the ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Arrange the lettuce in two salad bowls so that it covers the whole surface. Distribute the tomato halves, and then arrange slivers of the red onion in a pinwheel (see below). Put a big dollop of the dressing in the middle of each salad, then drizzle the balsamic reduction around the edge of the salad bowl (don’t be stingy with it).
Sprinkle the bacon, green onions and blue cheese crumbles atop the salad, then add a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
We served the wedgeless wedge alongside grilled ribeyes, but they could truly be main course salads. You could add grilled chicken, shrimp or even tofu to amp up the protein.
Another Wednesday, another sandwich! The Grill-Meister continues to kill it on Sandwich Wednesday; last week it was a vegetarian offering, a Pesto-Mozzarella Panini. The bright flavors of the pesto is perfectly balanced with the melty-creaminess of the fresh mozzarella and the righteous crunch of the toasted bread. Yum!
This panini is very quick to pull together. The Grill-Meister gets everything prepped and then turns it into a do-it-yourself project, which means I can have exactly the right amounts of goodies on my sandwich. My recommendation is to go heavy on the pesto, because in this panini, it’s not just a condiment, it shares the main ingredient spotlight with the mozzarella.
The Panini Makings
Four slices of sourdough bread
3/4 cup of pesto (the Grill-Meister makes a mint-basil pesto from one of our cookbooks, but you can use a good quality purchased one)
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, in thick slices
1 very ripe medium tomato, sliced
several slices of red onion, separated
salt (optional) and freshly cracked black pepper
Slather pesto on both slices of bread, then top one with slices of mozzarella, tomatoes and onions. Add a liberal amount of freshly cracked black pepper. You may also want a bit of salt, unless your pesto is already just right, salt-wise. Top with the other slice of bread and cook in a panini maker on medium high until the bread is toasted, about 5-7 minutes. You can also cook this sandwich on the stove like a grilled cheese, for about 4 minutes on each side.
Like it? You can find more Sandwich Wednesday recipes here.
I wonder what the Grill-Meister is going to make this week?