A Surprisingly Simple Meal


Our summer cooking consists mostly of grilled goods, as I can’t abide a live oven or stove-top in the summer. Luckily, Andy is a grill master, so he fires the shiny metal thing up, and I’m free to concentrate on marinades and skewers and neatly folded packets of aluminum foil. I’ll grill just about anything once, to try it, and some notable successes have been corn-on-the-cob (somehow much more flavorful when the golden rows aren’t leeched by a vat of boiling water) and wedges of cabbage (slathered with butter and garlic salt and pepper). In both instances, the vegetables benefited from not having their flavor sucked out by water or steam.

Of course, the grill is used mostly for meats and fish, and for this dish I marinated a couple of chicken breasts overnight in a mixture of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, a few cloves of minced garlic, a dash of fresh grated ginger, and freshly-ground black pepper. You can’t go wrong with those ingredients, and the proportions are as you like them. (Generally one part of the soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil and sugar, and less of the sesame oil and worcestershire sauce.) The mark of a good recipe, for this non-chef, is how forgiving it can be – and this one is very much so.

For the quinoa, I followed the instructions of a friend and simply cooked a batch in the rice cooker, then added olive oil, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper. The broccolini was equally easy, but I’ll include the online recipe for accuracy since it came out so well. (This too seems like a pretty forgiving one, but lemon can sometimes seem deceptively innocent, and zest especially is no joke.)

Broccolini with Lemon Dressing 

1 pound broccolini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Wash and trim the broccolini and steam for 5 minutes, until it is crisp yet tender. Drain.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the broccolini and toss to coat.
(Note: variations: 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper instead of black pepper or 3 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts chopped sprinkled on top.)

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