Hey Folks! I’ve got some bad news — after a week-long mischievous battle to create homemade mozzarella, Matthew has disappeared! I’ve been looking everywhere…I even posted fliers around the neighborhood. Rumor has it that the mozzarella came to life and has abducted our brave mischief-making Matthew. If you see him, or a hulking white blob of marauding monster-mozzarella, first run for your life, then call 911.
In the meantime, I’ve got a little mischief nugget for you. Today we’re gonna talk marinades. They’re actually a great way to start dabbling in your own kitchen mischief. Why? Because they are very forgiving. First, follow a few basic guidelines:
1. Start with thawed meat.
2. Don’t marinate in metal (I use Ziplocs)
3. Don’t over-marinate … meats can get mushy.
4. Balance acid, herbs, heat, and salt.
5. Super duh: Don’t drink discarded marinade (unless you boil it, or want to experience a new kind of diet).
Watch the Clock
Chicken, pork, and beef can typically stand 2-3 hours of marinating…longer if you’re using less acid or a tougher cut of meat. For fish, keep it under 30 minutes, or you’ll end up with ceviche. For tough cuts, you can dare to go all day or marinate overnight. Flank steak’s about as tender as horse meat, so feel free to marinate away!
Non-Exact Science — My Favorite Kind!
Marination isn’t like baking…you don’t have to be crazy-precise. Here’s an example. If I wanted to marinate 1 chicken breast, I would add about 1 TBSP vinegar, 2 tsp of oil, squeeze half a lemon or lime (and toss it in the bag), 1 smashed garlic clove, 1 tsp of herbs, half a tsp of salt, ¼ tsp of pepper. Simply use your multiplication skills for larger quantities.
You can futz with the ratios if you want…it’s all about what you have and what you’re in the mood for. I’ve outlined a few flavor profiles below to give you a gameplan. Take a look…
Acids: Lime, red wine vinegar
Oils/Sauces: Canola oil, olive oil, avocado oil,
Herbs/Spices: Garlic, cumin, oregano, cilantro
Acids: Lime, rice wine vinegar
Oils/Sauces: Sesame oil, canola oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, srihacha
Herbs/Spices: Garlic, ginger, cilantro, five-spice powder
Acids: lemon, Balsamic vinegar
Oils/Sauces: Olive oil, butter
Herbs/Spices: Garlic basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley
Acids: Lemon, red wine vinegar,
Oils/Sauces: Olive oil, yogurt
Herbs/Spices: Garlic, oregano, rosemary
These are really basic flavor profiles, so sorry if you already know all this stuff…I just thought it might be helpful to some folks. That, and I have to distract myself from obsessing about the Case of the Missing Matthew. Will he survive the clutches of the mutant Mozzarella Monster? Tune in to next week’s Kitchen Mischief to find out…that is, if we find him!