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Sunday, September 5

Serenading the Marinade!!

Ah, the marinade.....to some, it's the do-all, be-all of cooking, to others, it's their nemesis.  Yet, would you believe that marinades have been around for centuries?  The use of herbs and vinegars to soften tough cuts of meat into something truly scrumptious has allowed us to create some bonafide culinary masterpieces. 

Today, a marinade can be simple or complex.  Each one adds a special touch...but which is right for each meat?  Do you want it to tenderize and flavor thoroughly?  These are the questions we'll address today, so let's get started!!
 
First the how of it...marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origins of the word allude to the use of brine in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in liquid. The liquid in question, the 'marinade', can be acidic with ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, or wine, or savory with soy sauce, brine or other prepared sauces. Along with these liquids, a marinade often contains oils, herbs, and spices to further flavor the food items.

In meats, the acid causes the tissue to break down, allowing more moisture to be absorbed and giving a juicier end product.  However, too much acid can be detrimental to the end product. A good marinade will have a delicate balance of spices, acids, and oil. It is generally not recommended that raw marinated meats be frozen, as the marinade can break down the surface and make the outer layer turn mushy...YUCK!!

I have made a collection of different marinades for each type of meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc), and I'll post these shortly.  These are general purpose marinades, but you can find 1000's more on the internet with an easy search.  The trickier part is learning how to apply them, and that's what we'll discuss next.

See, some marinades only have to be applied for 10 minutes, others need overnight.  Much of it has to do with the type of meat (beef is denser, which takes longer to penetrate, whereas fish would absorb WAY too much if allowed to sit for long). Here are some key point to remember, and general times to use...If they soak too long, delicate meats like seafood and skinless chicken can become mushy from the acid in marinades, so keep an eye on the clock.

•Most seafood should not stay in for longer than an hour


•Boneless chicken breasts only need about two hours


•Pork loin can soak for four hours


•Lamb can go from four to eight hours


•Beef can marinate for 24 hours or more


Remember, always marinate in the refrigerator to avoid the growth of bacteria.  Glass dishes or resealable plastic bags work best. Metal containers and aluminum foil can give food a metallic flavor.  The main thing is SEAL IT, cause air prevents proper absorption.  You want your meat to be completely immersed in the marinade. Generally, 1/2 cup of liquid marinade for every 1 pound of meat will do the trick. If you can’t completely cover the meat, turn it over occasionally in the marinade.  Oh...and always remember...do NOT try to reuse a marinade...that's just asking for trouble!!
 
Ok, so are we ready for some marinade recipes?  EXCELLENT!!  I have tried MANY of the marinades found on these links, and have YET to find one I don't enjoy, so here we go!!
 
For Steak or Beef, use this...
http://www.marinade.com/recipes/topic/Beef+and+Steak
 
For Chicken/Poultry, use this...
http://www.marinade.com/recipes/topic/Chicken+and+Poultry
 
For Pork, use this...
http://www.marinade.com/recipes/topic/Pork
 
For Fish and Seafood, use this...
http://www.marinade.com/recipes/topic/Fish
 
For Vegetables, use this...
http://www.marinade.com/recipes/topic/Vegetable
 
Please, folks...if you have any questions, don't hesitate to post them here.  I won't know if what I'm posting helps or confuses you, so it's YOUR input that can make the difference!!  Until next time...ENJOY!!!

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Love this! and love love love to use marinades! Did one today in fact on chicken