Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time to Get Your Rub On...and Your Paste as Well

Summer grilling has always been a fun time for me and I am a huge fan of marinating a piece of meat, chicken or seafood. Giving it an extra charge of flavor that just makes my whole mouth water thinking of that finished product, placed on a plate and waiting for me to stick a fork into it. This summer though, I started to explore the world of Dry Marinades, Rubs and Pastes. These blends of spices and herbs have brought out new ideas and flavors that before I have never really given much thought to. I was always a marinade kind of Chef.

So let's take a look at what a Dry Marinade or Rub actually is. A blend of spices and herbs are the key ingredients to a rub. Herbs can be added while dried and spices should be ground fresh. A small coffee grinder is an excellent and cost efficient way of being able to grind spices. You can go out and grab an old fashioned mortar and pestle if you prefer. When using a grinder remember that it is not necessary to grind down to a fine powder. Often times the heat of the motor will cause the oils to come out and ruin the blend, changing the flavor or turning it into a paste. Another rule to live by would be this: 'a little goes a long way'. A quarter of a cup can cover an entire side of ribs. The good part in knowing the strength of your rub, is that you can add as much as you want depending on the flavor. Spicy might be just what you want, if so then load up that pork loin or steak and have a good time!! When you are looking for spices, try to find a market that sells them in bulk. This way you can see, smell and sometimes taste before buying. A stale spice will have a medicinal scent or taste which will alert you to how fresh it really is. Whole Foods Market is an excellent place to shop for spices and will even help grind it for you as well. You also don't have to worry about spending an excessive amount of money...because like I said before, a little goes a long way!

Now a Paste is different then a rub. Pastes can be made with spices along with the addition of fresh herbs, onions, garlic, wine, oils and even juices from certain fruits. Pastes contain moisture and have a shorter shelf life then a rub. All the ingredients can be combined in the same manner. Bring them together in a blender and then apply to the item you plan on cooking. Rubs and Pastes can be used on beef, chicken, seafood or vegetables. Be prepared to use what you make without having leftovers. Have fun and don't be scared to try out flavors that normally wouldn't work together...I make a Pan Seared Duck Breast With Cinnamon Sugar that is simply amazing. Although it may not seem like a good combination, it in fact tastes great. Here are a pair of rubs and pastes that will help get you going.

Rosemary Rub

4 Tbs Fresh Rosemary
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbs Fresh Black Peppercorn
1/4 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Dry Mustard Powder
1 tsp Dried Oregano
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder

Combine all of the ingredients into a spice mill or blender. Blend until coarsely chopped and mixed. Use the rub to cover Quartered Chickens, Chicken Legs or even Fresh Swordfish

Cinnamon-Chili Rub

2 Tbs Ground Ancho Chili Powder
2 Tbs Mexican Chili Powder
1 Tbs Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Dried Oregano
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 Dried Chipotle Pepper
2 Tbs Ground Dried Orange Peel

Combine all ingredients into a spice mill and grind into a coarse powder. This is another great idea for chicken on the bone. Seared and left to do a slow cook on the outside edges of a grill.

Charmoula or Moroccan Pesto

This particular rub/paste has many different variations. The addition of the Olive Oil and Lemon Juice are what make it such a nice paste. Try it on chicken breast or shrimp.

1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1 1/2 Tbs Ground Cinnamon
1 Tbs Ground Ginger
1 Tbs Paprika
1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Thyme
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Dried Orange Peel
3 Tbs Olive Oil
4 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice

Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender. Puree until mixture turns into a smooth paste.

Coming up for the end of the week, Sushi along with tips for making some at home!! I will also be showcasing the menu for the first ever Kitchen Time radio appearance, at WMFO 91.5 FM...Join host Danny Martignetti and the crew of The Lounge on August 23rd from 8-10pm. We will be chatting about food while Danny plays some great music. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions You can also look for Kitchen Time on Facebook.

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