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Marinade Madness


Natural Times, July/August/September 2012

By Jenn Bronson

It’s officially grilling season. When thinking about what you’re going to throw on the fire, and making your shopping lists, don’t forget about marinating. Marinades are a very important part of any cookout. Whether you are grilling pork, beef, lamb, seafood, or tofu, they infuse the proteins with flavor and prevent food from drying out in the intense heat.

There are many different ingredients you can use to create the perfect marinade, but the basics are oil and acid. Sometimes dairy, such as low-fat milk or yogurt, can be substituted for the oil as a lower calorie/fat option. Beyond the oil and acid the options are endless, but remember to think local. From the meat itself to the components of the marinades, New Leaf Market has everything you need to experiment and create your own favorite combination that incorporates locally produced ingredients.

Olive oil is ideal for marinades and there are numerous varieties of vinegar to try depending on the type of protein and the flavors you’re working with. If you’re using a citrus juice as an acid, consider juicing local/organic Meyer lemons, Satsumas, or limequats. Adding sweet ingredients, like fruit, to marinades can help form a crunchy, caramelized coating that complements the tenderness of the meat, so check out the produce section for what’s in season. Think local for the dairy substitute as well, by using products from Dreaming Cow Creamery or Kurtz & Son’s Dairy.

New Leaf Market also offers the best selection of top quality wines, beers, and bulk spices—all of which can be utilized in marinades. A white wine, parsley, and sage marinade is delicious for white fish. Guinness Stout beer can be mixed with soy sauce, Vidalia onions, shallots, garlic, and Worcestershire for a classic beef or pork marinade. Typically, you want to avoid anything too spicy when marinating tofu. Since it doesn’t have the fat content like meat, which helps release some of the heat during the cooking, it is more likely to seal in that kick.

Be sure to look for meats from Orchard Pond Organics, White Oak Pastures and Southern Seafood and wines from Sea Breeze Winery to add local/regional flavor to your meal, and always remember to marinate your proteins in the refrigerator. It’s easy and exciting to create the perfect marinade and will make all the difference this grilling season!

Italian Flavors Marinade

2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced into ovals
Several sprigs of fresh basil or 1 T dried basil
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients, mixing well. Marinate vegetables in this mixture for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Mustard Marinade

3 T Dijon mustard
3 T regular mustard
3 T rice vinegar or raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup unfiltered apple juice
1 green onion, minced
1 T chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1 tsp dried sage)
Black pepper

Combine and pour over vegetables. Let sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature or in refrigerator for about an hour.

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