Eating better food for less and other tales from a no-moneymoon

Monday, July 19, 2010

Getaway Grilling

Despite the odd year we've been having (see the no-moneymoon), Mr. Lemon and I are able to take a deep breath and recognize the sweeter stuff in life. Tops on that list: outdoor space. This steamy summer may have us hiding in the AC-cooled apartment during the day, but at nightfall, when the temperature drops, we've been eating dinner on the terrace.

And better yet, we've been making dinner out there, too. We've got a little grill and we're making the most of it. Grilling's a healthy way to get a lot of flavor out of not only lean meats, but those uber-healthy, CSA-supplied dark greens, too. So on a recent hot night, with some on-sale chicken breasts pulled from the freezer and a bag o' greens from the CSA, our little terrace turned into a Caribbean getaway.

Caribbean Spice-Rubbed Chicken
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts (this proportion could also 'rub' up to 4 breasts)

Combine the spices, oil, thyme and garlic in a shallow dish or bowl, and add the washed and dried chicken breast. Rub in the spices, all over. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for half an hour (or more.)

Grill over indirect heat, about 10 minutes each side until done. You could broil this easily, too.

Grilled Collards in a Bag
I saw the adorable Jamie Oliver make his greens this way on his Cooking Channel show, and whether it was his charming accent or his use of lemon, he had me convinced that this was the solution to my CSA-greens overload. And it turns out he is 100% correct. This method can't be beat and the greens are not bitter, have a silky texture and still keep all their healthy nutrients and fiber.

2-3 cups collards/greens/what-have-you, rinsed and trimmed (Take off the really thick part of the stalk)
1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground pepper

Create a bag with tin foil: use two sheets about two feet long each. Place sheets one on top of the other and fold over, then fold two sides, leaving the fourth side open and creating a "bag"

In the bag, place the greens, torn into large pieces, along with the olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper. Seal the fourth side and grill for 20 minutes.

It wasn't the deck of a boat, or a beach bungalow's porch, but sitting out there enjoying our spicy chicken and greens, we felt like we had found our own little tranquil island escape in the big noisy city.

Chicken breast w/bone, not the healthiest, but grilling drains some fat away
A flavor-packed way to get our "greens" in without adding porky bits
Grilling takes away a dark green's bitterness in one simple step (no blanching!)
Fast dinner that doesn't heat up the kitchen

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