One way to add flavor to meat is to use a marinade. A marinade is made by combining an oil, an acid and spices. Historically, people used marinades to both tenderize and flavor meat. More recently, however, it has been discovered that marinades don’t really have an effect on how tender the meat is. The cut and quality of the meat and how it is cooked determines how tender it will be. In fact, if certain meats are left in a marinade too long the tissue will break down and the meat will be grainy. Even after soaking several hours, marinades only soak into the outer layers of the meat, not clear through, so it is important that you use a high quality piece of meat to really get the best flavor. Remember that, for steaks, the more marbled with fat the piece is, the more natural flavors you will have.
Now, here’s where the fun starts. You can use any combination of your favorite oil, acid and spices to make your marinade. I prefer a high quality olive oil, and am able to purchase them at a local gourmet olive oil and vinegar shop, The Olive Twist. The acid can be a vinegar, wine, liquor or citrus juices. Some of my favorites are balsamic vinegar, a Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, whiskey, tequila or lemon/lime juice. Which I use, depends on the type of meat and the flavor I’m trying to achieve. For example, for jerk chicken, I would use olive oil, lime juice, rum or tequila and Caribbean style spices such as all spice, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, nutmeg, habanero chiles, and thyme. More often than not, my marinades are a combination of what I have on hand.
A warm day last weekend, contributed to a craving for steaks on the grill (which my former husband would eat six days a week, with Mexican food on the seventh day, if meal planning was up to him!). So, a quick trip to the grocery store for beautifully marbled ribeye steaks cut an inch thick, and some potatoes and salad ingredients, and we were ready to cook! I chose a whiskey marinade because we had some tasty Jameson Irish Whiskey on hand. I decided to keep it simple, but because of the strong flavor of whiskey, chose to use garlic and pepper to compliment it.
(amount of each ingredient would vary depending on the quantity of meat, this was for two 16oz steaks)
1/2 C your favorite Whiskey
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 T minced fresh garlic
1 T course ground black or rainbow peppercorns
1 T dried parsley
Mix all of the ingredients in a large zip close bag. Add the steaks turn and massage so that the marinade covers the meat. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours, turning bag occasionally.
To get a flavorful char on the meat, make a dry rub using the same spices you used in the marinade and apply to the steak before grilling. Grill to your preference. For me, that means a quick 5-6 minutes per side on a medium-high grill for a medium rare steak. Sooo tasty!!
- ½ C your favorite Whiskey
- ¼ C Olive Oil
- 1 T minced fresh garlic
- 1 T course ground black or rainbow peppercorns
- 1 T dried parsley
- Mix ingredients in a large sealable bag
- Add meat
- Massage to cover the meat
- Place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours
- Turn meat occasionally
I enjoy food…buying food, prepping food, cooking food, eating food (not cleaning up so much though!)!! And, I subscribe to the “everything in moderation” theory of eating, as long as you combine that with exercise…I love to walk. So, not everything I blog about will be the healthiest versions of a recipe. However, one of the reasons I love using a variety of herbs and spices in cooking is that you can get intense flavors from your food without having to add fats and carbohydrates that can land the recipe in the “unhealthy food” category. I was given the idea for this recipe a couple of weeks ago at work, and experimented with varying amount of spices to produce a tasty breading for a healthy version of onion rings.
Two things make these onion rings healthy: the bran-based breading and the fact that they are baked, not fried.
You will need:
2 C bran cereal
1 tsp whole rainbow peppercorns
1 T course ground garlic with parsley
2 eggs (whites only)
1 large Vidalia Sweet onion
Peel the onion and slice in 1/2 in wide slices. Separate the slices and place in a bowl of cold water until you are ready to use them. Put the bran cereal, peppercorns and garlic in a spice mill or food processor and grind until a fine powder. Pour into a bowl. Put the two egg whites in another bowl.
Dry the onion slices. Dip each slice in the egg whites and then place in the bran breading and toss until covered. Tap gently on the edge of the bowl and then place on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the breaded slices lightly with the cooking spray, and place in an oven that has preheated to 375 degrees.
Bake for 20-30 minutes depending upon the thickness of the slices, turning once half way through.
The onion rings will be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside…and very flavorful. You won’t miss the grease! Now you can enjoy onion rings that are healthy and simple to make without having to bring out the fryer. Yummy! So we are clear though, I will still, on occasion, have the strong desire to dip onions in a beer batter and fry them in a pot of hot grease!! I’ll just have to walk a little further that day! Enjoy!!