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Marinade food first for extra flavor

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To turn up the flavor on grilled foods, start with a marinade.

Letting your steak, pork, chicken or fish soak in seasonings before you fire it up on the grill creates mouth-watering meals.

I recently tried a new Asian-inspired spicy marinade I found in the Chicago Tribune on pork tenderloin medallions and loved it so much, I’ll be using it all summer long.

It’s got the right amount of fire to please my palate.

But if you’re not one for spicy foods, I recommend using less of the chili paste.

(Note: I usually buy chili paste at Whole Foods in Austin, but you can usually find it in the Asian food aisle in H-E-B or Wal-Mart and Omart in Killeen sells a few varieties as well.)

The Tribune’s food writer recommended the spicy marinade on chicken, and I’m sure it would taste great on steak, too, and even tofu or portobello mushrooms for a vegetarian meal.

I served my pork medallions with a spinach salad with a red pepper dressing and grilled apples.

SPICY GARLICKY RED CHILI MARINADE

Prep: 5 minutes

Makes: about 1 cup

  • 6 tablespoons Asian chili paste with garlic
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger or refrigerated puree

Mix all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate covered up to 2 weeks.

RED CHILI PORK CHOPS

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 pounds pork chops (also works on chicken or beef)
  • ½ recipe spicy garlicky red chili marinade (see above)
  • Chopped fresh green onions
  • Sesame seeds

Put pork chops into a shallow baking dish.

Smear marinade over all sides to coat it well.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high heat.

Place pork on grill, directly over heat source.

Cover grill; cook 7 minutes.

Flip meat; continue grilling until meat feels almost firm when pressed, 5-8 minutes more.

Serve sprinkled with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.

Nutrition per serving (for 6 servings): 194 calories, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 141 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein, 214 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.

Contact M. Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.

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