Grilled Basil Chicken and Trouble

This is what happens when you cook in a kitchen that doesn't have everything you need. Chicken marinating in a plastic vegetable bag from the grocery store.

Growing up I was a pretty good kid. Sure, my brothers and I got into some mischief. There was a constant stream of broken windows, locking each other out of the house and white lies. But other than an occasional bottle rocket and the time Albert got drunk, we were all very good kids.

In high school I never drank and almost always followed my parents rules. There might have been an occasional broken curfew but nothing really substantial. I spent so much time swimming and thinking about getting into college I didn’t have time for trouble.

Well let me tell you, boy did I make up for it. That summer before college started I really let loose. I drank three different times. THREE. I was such a rebel. Yes, I realize I technically broke the law each of those three times, but compared to most people I knew I was an angel.

I spent most of summer gallivanting around Orange County in my big white truck, blasting summer tunes with my friend Erin by my side. She was one of the people who helped me really come out of my shell and taught me how to really let go and have fun. Six years later, it was really nice to get together after a long period of time and catch up on what is happening in our new grown up lives and reminisce about how we used to dance all night (really till twelve because we had to be home) at Kokomos, the all ages club. And by all ages, they really meant girls under twenty-one who wanted to dance and the older creepy men who came to watch. Gross.

During all the summer talk, we ate delicious and simple summer food. Simple based on number of ingredients and the fact I was cooking at Eric’s which also limited my tools.

Grilled chicken with a citrus, basil sauce.

Garden salad with an orange and shallot vinaigrette

Grilled pineapple over orzo pasta

Grilled peaches with brown sugar and cinnamon for dessert!

Have you noticed yet that "simple" means I have to barbecue because the men in my life don't seem to have enough pans? I have. I know what gift I'm giving for Christmas.

Love and Beer Floats

Grilled Chicken with Basil Sauce

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 cup
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 large garlic clove
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a resalable plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turning the chicken occasionally.

Meanwhile, blend the basil, garlic, lemon peel, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plates, drizzle with the basil sauce and serve.

Grilled Peaches
1 peach per person
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

Slice the peaches down the middle and remove the pits. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and dust the meaty inside of the peaches. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes meaty side down. Serve and enjoy.
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