Grilled soy-marinated chicken
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Sorry for the short hiatus at tony's kitchen! I was away on vacation and had a wonderful time with the fam! However, the downside of vacation was the desolate culinary landscape of, what Bourdain likes to call, TGI-McFunsters-type restaurants. So I was itching to get back into the kitchen and make something simple, fresh and delicious. I wanted to cook up something really flavorful but I also didn't want it to be too complicated. I also wanted to grill! I decided to look toward the Asian kitchen for inspiration. I wanted to do a Korean-bbq-style marinated steak at first but I had a bunch of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the freezer. So I decided to go with that and marinate in Korean-bbq flavors.

This kind of marinade goes really well with beef. If you've ever had Korean bbq before then you know what I'm talking about. It really works well with chicken though as well. With chicken, it doesn't require as long of a marinade either. I had my chicken marinating for about 6 hours. That was plenty of time to infuse it with deep flavor. As for the chicken, I'm a huge fan of the thigh. If you prefer chicken breast, go for it but you have to really be careful not to overcook it. With chicken breasts, I feel like they will overcook if you stare at them too hard. The thighs are a bit more forgiving and have a LOT more flavor.

I served this with a half brown, half white rice mix. I added shelled edamame to the rice as it cooked. It was an easy way to get a veg into the mix. Everyone's got their favorite way to cook rice. I use a rice cooker. It's easy and comes out perfect every time. I don't have a fancy one either. If you eat a lot of rice, I highly recommend getting one. 

I also served this with a quick Japanese-style cucumber pickle. At the store I saw a package of mini-sweet peppers and thought they'd be a nice addition. The technique for making this is pretty simple and it goes really well with this kind of food. Basically, you salt the cucumbers and let them sit for 30 minutes or so. Then you squeeze the water out of them. Season them with sugar to taste and rice wine vinegar to taste. You can make them spicy by adding chili flake, hot sauce, fresh chiles, etc. 

Anyone else grill this weekend?

GRILLED SOY-MARINATED CHICKEN

Ingredients: 10 chicken thighs, 4 cloves garlic, 2 shallots, thumb-sized piece of ginger, 4 TB soy sauce, 4 TB sugar, 1 TB dark sesame oil

  1. Mince the garlic, shallots and ginger finely. I actually like to rough-chop them and then smash them up with a mortar and pestle.
  2. Apply the garlic, shallot, ginger mix to the chicken. 
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Add the soy sauce.
  5. Mix thoroughly. I think you have to get in there with your hands and really work the ingredients into the chicken.
  6. Let the chicken marinate anywhere from 2-6 hours. I wouldn't go overnight with this kind of marinade with chicken as it could start to dry out the meat. 
  7. Fire up your grill and cook over a medium heat. There's a lot of sugar in the marinade so it can burn easily.
  8. Eat.

QUICK CUCUMBER (and sweet pepper) PICKLES

Ingredients: 1 English

cucumber

, 1 pint of

mini-sweet peppers

or 1 large sweet bell pepper, 2 tsp

kosher salt

, 2-3 TB

sugar

, 2-4 TB

rice wine vinegar

  1. Slice the cucumber as thinly as you can into rounds. A mandoline is great for this but I didn't want to get mine out for 1 cucumber.
  2. Slice the peppers as thinly as possible into rings.
  3. In a large bowl, add the salt to the cucumbers and peppers and mix thoroughly.
  4. Allow them to sit for 20-30 minute. They should exude quite a bit of liquid.
  5. Drain the liquid and remove even more liquid by squeezing the vegetable with your hands, one handful at a time.
  6. Taste a cucumber slice. It should taste seasoned but not super salty. If it's super-salty, then give them a quick rinse and squeeze again.
  7. Add 2 TB of sugar to the cucumbers and peppers.
  8. Add 2 TB of rice wine vinegar.
  9. Mix thoroughly.
  10. Taste to see if you want it to be a bit sweeter or more tart. 
  11. That's it. 
  12. Serve and eat.