We had Brian's family over for dinner on Friday night. Normally, when we eat together, we eat at his parents', but we hosted for a change of pace (and, no doubt, relief for his mother).
I decided to serve what has become a common meal in one form or another around our house this summer. In fact, my sister-in-law has gotten to have it twice. I'm that kind of creative hostess.
Basically, it's chicken thighs (Costco!), chopped into pieces, marinated, and grilled on skewers, and whatever seasonal veggies I have on hand grilled in our grill basket. It's a great make-ahead meal. I do most all the work in advance, and then Brian does the grilling after the guests have arrived.
|The griller extraordinaire separates veggies and meat for the vegetarian. And celebrates science.|
As for marinades, I've gone with different combos: basil and lime, cilantro and lime, rosemary and lemon, etc. I try to stick to the general rule of three parts base to two parts acid (not sure where I picked this up or whether it's the ratio espoused by the best--and I always eyeball it so who knows what ratio I actually get), and the base is always olive oil. The acid is usually a lemon or lime, but it could be vinegar. Depending on how much marinating time I have, I marinate the chicken in whole thighs or already cut up (already cut up if I have less time).
For Brian's family, I made a marinade from an actual recipe (called "Garlic Chicken" from Cooking Light years and years ago) that we've had and liked. I half it for five chicken thighs.
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I always use full-fat)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
It's sort of Middle-Eastern-tasting with the spice combo, and the yogurt keeps the chicken super moist. We really love it around here. And I'm lazy: I toss the ingredients and the chicken in a plastic bag and then massage it until it looks mixed up well-enough. Then I toss it in the fridge until it's time to start skewering.
I've served it with quinoa and with pitas (as I did for Brian's family) to flesh it out a bit. When Brian's sister (vegetarian) is over, I make hummus. I know I can buy good hummus, but I kind of like the control of making it myself (meaning: lots of garlic). And, don't roll your eyes, but I have taken to removing the chickpea skins as Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggests. It does make the hummus smoother, and it doesn't take that long.
So, I planned to make this dinner party simple with this meal I was used to making, but we ended up with feta-stuffed grilled figs for an appetizer, basil-lime vodka tonics, and almond-crisped peaches and plums for dessert. And...that was why I was so exhausted last weekend.