Sometimes you just gotta grill; in the middle of winter.
Here is my favorite basic marinade:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 T vegetable oil
2 T soy sauce
2 T ketchup
1/4 tsp onion salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and submerge meat for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. The longer the meat sits, the better it will absorb the flavors.
Great on beef, pork or chicken.
I completely understand eating locally and applaud those that do. I have a small container garden in my back yard. I can cook with my fresh produce when I get surplus from friends and family, and my fruit trees overproduce. I even recycle more than what is picked up from the curb. But sometimes I need that summertime taste in the winter, hence I grill; indoors on my panini press.
It is not ideal conditions, but during the polar vortex you don’t fire up the outside grill, that’s very counterproductive. It can be done well indoors if you remember a few things, you must marinate your meat. The indoor grill does not have that smokey goodness from your wood chips, or that delicious basting of homemade barbecue sauce for hours on end, so you must add flavor before the process of cooking begins. It can be as simple as Italian dressing or as complex as you want it to become, but insert flavor beforehand.
Don’t be afraid to think “outside” the box, or “inside” the grill. Make your tools work for you.
You need to crank the heat to get the right sear, but don’t forget that the panini press cooks on both sides at once and will cook faster than on the outside grill, so take it off early and let it rest five to ten minutes to finish cooking.
Finally, use the fond (crispy bits left on the grill) or juice that the meat gives you to top your pork chops with grilled onions and mushrooms. That stuff that flows down the grooves and into that plastic vessel every indoor grill gives you is money. I cut a few onion slices and some mushroom tops and smashed them while the meat was resting and yum, they were almost as good as caramelized onions, which take forever to make.
This was a great weeknight dinner, done in about 20 minutes, not counting the marinating time. I put a spring mix salad along with it, but some roasted veggies or applesauce would work well with the pork chops, or an au gratin potato side dish if you have a little more time.
I hope this gives you some ideas for using other appliances when you have a hankering for something but are unable to use your desired tool.
Here are a couple more ideas:
- Cast iron skillet for a pizza stone
- Waffle iron instead of a panini press. (I haven’t tried to cook meat on a waffle iron, but I have made hashbrowns on one.)
- Outdoor grill instead of an oven. (The summers are too hot to bake inside!)
You get the idea though, and if you have any great tips on using other appliances other than what it was made for leave us a comment and maybe we will give a prize to the most creative one,
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Read. Cook. Eat.
I’m a wife, mother, pastry chef and amatuer gardner. I travel as much as possible, can what I grow, and taste as many new things as possible.