Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Family Cookouts

We actually had two cookouts with my family this weekend. The first was with a soccer team of four year olds celebrating the end of their season (Go Rainbow Fish!), and as you might imagine, was less about the actual food than the experience. You know, burgers, hot dogs, chips. And a playground. One of the four year olds was my nephew, and my brother, his dad, was the coach. My brother didn't know anything about soccer before becoming the coach of this "pre-instructional" team. He calls it "herdball." The team learned to pass, to stay in their own field, and to use their feet instead of their hands. They also scored at least one goal apiece in their last game!

This is the cake my sister-in-law made for the occasion. Very tasty! Do you see the soccer players looking for dandelions on this cake? No? Well, it's there. I have been assured. If you live in the Knoxville area and need a special occasion cake, cupcakes, cookies, pie, tiramisu, etc., she can help you! Contact me for more information.

My sweet hubby ran one of the grills for this cookout, and he ran the grill for the family on Memorial Day as well. I don't have pics of what we grilled Monday, but here he is grilling burgers on Saturday. Isn't he cute? (He can cook on a stove, too. Jealous?)

We were trying to cook low sodium, so I experimented a bit on the marinade for the chicken. We had frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts, which are too easy to dry out on the grill. My mother selected the pieces that were the most even thickness to help them cook evenly. I put them in a ziptop bag and filled it with the marinade. We let it sit out Sunday evening to start to thaw, then put it in the refrigerator overnight to finish the marinating and thawing. I didn't measure anything, and I just worked with what we had on hand.

Here are the rough proportions I used for about 10-12 chicken breasts: 4-6 cups of dairy, around half a cup of something acidic, and 2-4 teaspoons of dried herbs (optional). The dairy helps to keep the chicken stay moist without using salt, or so I've been told. Ideally, the dairy would include Greek yogurt or sour cream plus milk, half and half (regular or fat-free), or cream to thin it. I mixed it together before pouring it over the chicken, but you could coat the chicken with the yogurt or sour cream first. Then put the chicken in the ziptop bag and pour the other ingredients over it. I used lime juice and cilantro for the acidic element and herb combination, but you could use red wine vinegar and fresh basil chiffonade (you could also add some mozzarella for a Caprese-style dish), grapefruit juice and rosemary, or whatever combination you would like. And the expert on the grill timed them perfectly! The cilantro and lime combination was very subtle, but this was the most tender, moist chicken. This is definitely a process we will try again. And I'll get pics then!

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