Besides grilling and sharing my own recipes this month, the authors of the new ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook offered me a copy to check out. The Hawaiian-inspired recipes range from Pineapple Chicken to Curry Coconut Shrimp with a side of Sesame Eggplant and Grilled Bread Salad. Of the recipes I’ve tried, we’ve had wiped-clean plates after every meal. To put it simply: making the recipes from The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook has been such delicious fun.
Read more about The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook
In case you haven’t noticed, I love the flavor of smoky chilies. I buy cans of chipotle chilies for my favorite salsa. I also home-smoke homegrown chilies to dry or turn into paste and then use in everything from spiced nuts to cheese dip to fish cakes. In my pickling cookbook, I recommend Fresno chilies in many recipes because of their natural slightly smoky flavor.
Chipotle peppers are actually jalapenos; they’ve just been smoked and dried. When you buy them canned, they’ve been rehydrated and stored in a spicy tomato-based sauce. The sauce can be as flavorful as the peppers, and they boost the heat and smoky flavor of a marinade. You only need a little chipotle flavor for a marinade, but don’t let that stop you from opening a can. Scoop any leftover chilies and adobo into an ice cube tray, and then freeze and bag the cubes for future use. A standard ice-cube tray holds about 2 tablespoons per cube.
After I’ve used a marinade for grilling, I hate to toss what’s left. So I boil it into a sauce and mix it into a second meal.
Learn to make Chipotle-Marinated Grilled Shrimp and Spanish-Inspired Fried Rice
Some of my favorite travel memories linger from my time in Morocco. I had the good fortune to have Peace Corps connections that introduced me to volunteers in both tiny towns and large cities. I stayed in their houses, visited their host families and haunts, and ate dinner in the homes of their Moroccan friends. I could never repeat or improve on the experience.
But the food: some of that I can and do repeat, even though it’s never quite the same. For example, every time I ate chermoula in Morocco, the flavor was unique. The basic version is essentially a pesto featuring cilantro and parsley, but my favorite versions included a little fresh ginger and extra spices, and I replicate it as well as I can. I mostly ate it in a tagine while in Morocco, but I’ve since learn to love it as a grilling marinade, accompanied, of course, by couscous.
Learn to make Grilled Shrimp with Chermoula and Cinnamon Couscous