Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer Cooking: 60 Cheap, Healthy Marinades

The New York heat wave finally broke last night. Hot’s hot the world over, but if you’ve ever waited 20 minutes on a stinky 110°F subway platform, you know Big Apple summers are a special kind of hell. Apartments bake, blacktop wavers with steam, and even the local muggers are all like, “Forget wallets. I’m heisting a Slurpee.” Really, it’s like living on the sun.

When high temps roll around, the very last thing any right-thinking Brooklynite wants to do is increase the thermometer reading. Unfortunately, that rules out a lot of oven-oriented cooking. Baking, raising, roasting, and broasting (I just made that up) go out the window. So, how does one make up for the lost deliciousness?

The answer, my friends, is marinades.

Though tasty year-round, marinades have a special place in summer, when they impart mad, quick-cooking flavor without the risk of heatstroke. Even better, they’re inexpensive and relatively easy to keep light, as long as you avoid recipes that call for cups upon cups of olive oil.

Now, I can’t possibly explain why and how to marinate any better than Martha Stewart (see here, here, and here), but I can make a big, fat list full of recipe ideas. In fact, 60 of ‘em (recipes, not individual lists) are attached below. And just so you know, each marinade had to be:

Relatively inexpensive. Meaning no truffle oil, rare champagne, or crushed golden snail shells.

Low in fat. With some exceptions, these include no more than two tablespoons of oil, butter, or other high-fat ingredient. This criteria eliminated a lot of recipes like Ten Clove Garlic Marinade, which contains a staggering 2/3rd cup of EVOO. (Crap. Did I just write “EVOO”? Rachael Ray, GET OUT OF MY MIND.)

Almost all-natural. Very few processed ingredients allowed. This rules out a lot of dunk-a-chicken-breast-in-a-pint-of-Italian-dressing recipes, as well as bottled marinades like Mrs. Dash. Home-assembled marinades can be slightly more expensive than store bought, but you benefit by avoiding ingredient lists like this, courtesy of Lawry’s Sesame Ginger with Mandarin Orange Juice variety:

High Fructose Corn Syrup, Mandarin Orange Juice from Concentrate, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt, Sodium Benzoate [Preservative]), Salt, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Modified Food Starch, Sesame Oil, Sesame Seeds, Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Caramel Color, Ginger, Xanthan Gum (for Consistency), Sesame Flavor, Citric Acid, Chili Pepper, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives) and Natural Flavor.

Well-received. With the exception of the Real Simple and Martha Stewart/Everyday Food recipes, everything listed here received at least four stars (or 80% “yay!”) by reviewers.

I’ve never tried any of these, so please use your judgment when experimenting. Oh, and remember – if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen move to a slightly cooler part of the kitchen, where you can mix all this together without sweating your face off.

All Recipes: Easiest Teriyaki Marinade Ever
All Recipes: Korean BBQ Chicken Marinade
All Recipes: Korean Marinade
All Recipes: Soy and Ginger Marinade
All Recipes: Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade
Cooking Light: Grilled Eggplant with Sesame Marinade
Eating Well: Five-Spice Marinade
Epicurious: Beer Teriyaki Marinade
Epicurious: Ginger-Chile Marinade
Epicurious: Hoisin Marinade
Epicurious: Korean Barbecue Beef, Marinade 1
Epicurious: Spicy Asian Marinade
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Indian Marinade (scroll down)
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Thai Marinade (scroll down)
Real Simple: Ginger-Sesame Marinade
Recipe Zaar: Walt’s Teriyaki Marinade

Cooking Light: Jalapeño-Lime Marinade
Eating Well: Mojito Marinade
Recipe Zaar: Citrus Marinade
Southern Living: Citrus Marinade

All Recipes: Beef Fajita Marinade
All Recipes: Chicken Fajita Marinade
All Recipes: Fajita Marinade 1
All Recipes: Super Fajita Marinade
Juan-Carlos Cruz: Tequila Steak Fajita

Cooking Light: Browned Garlic and Burgundy Marinade
Cooking Light: Lemon Herb Marinade
Cooking Light: Zesty Dijon Marinade
Eating Well: Mustard, Rosemary, and Apple Marinade
Eating Well: Rosemary Red Wine Marinade
Epicurious: Minted Turkish Delight Marinade
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Herb and Garlic Marinade
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Maple Dijon Marinade
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Rosemary Balsamic Marinade
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Thyme, Shallot, and Lemon Marinade

All Recipes: G’s Flank Steak Marinade
Cooking Light: Orange-Maple Marinated Pork Loin
Ellie Krieger: Marinated Lamb Chops
Epicurious: Flank Steak Marinade
Epicurious: Ginger-Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Epicurious: Grilled Marinated London Broil
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Chipotle Marinade (for Pork Tenderloin)
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Citrus Marinade (for Pork Chops)
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Strip Steak Marinade
Recipe Zaar: Bahama Mama Chicken Marinade
Recipe Zaar: Honey Lime Chicken
Recipe Zaar: Pork Marinade
Recipe Zaar: Steak Marinade, Quick and Easy
Recipe Zaar: Super Simple Lamb Marinade

All Recipes: Absolutely Ultimate Marinade
All Recipes: Beer and Brown Sugar Steak Marinade
All Recipes: A Catering Company’s Marinade
Cooking Light: Ginger Molasses Marinade
Eating Well: Pirate Marinade
Eating Well: Red Wine Marinade
Food Network: Marinated Melon
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Buttermilk Marinade (scroll down)
Martha Stewart/Everyday Food: Spiced-Yogurt Marinade
Real Simple: End-of-Summer Marinade

(Photos courtesy of Flickr members minimallyinvasivenj and xander76.)


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