Grilling for Engineers
Seeing that spring has fully arrived and the weather here has been nothing less than sunny and warm, we have decided to get out the grill and start engineering lunch. We are proud to announce that starting today, and continuing on each Wednesday, we will be adding a lighter side to our other blog series. While you can still catch our blogs regarding mechanical engineering, CADD, solar technology and the likes on our Friday series, as well as our more technical blogs on Monday’s, we hope you enjoy these also.
One thing we encourage at Glew Engineering Consulting is healthy eating. So the opportunity to grill at work allows us to keep track of what we eat. While I have never worked in a professional kitchen setting, I did have some formal training; it was mostly in the pastry field though. My other cooking skills have come from trial and error as well as watching and learning. Please feel free to comment as feedback is always welcome and I am always happy to receive tips as well as giving.
we start off this series with a healthy chicken entree we cooked up just last week. The menu on that day was:
- Grilled Chipotle Chicken
- Fresh Grilled Peppers and Squash
- Classic Potato Salad
Watch that Thermal Managment
When grilling chicken and vegetables, as well as fish, thermal management for the grill does come into play. What does that mean you might ask? That would be engineering lingo for temperature control. The consensus say that low and slow is the way to go for these types of foods. Too hot and they will burn before getting an even temperature and cooked throughout. Once the grill reaches the 300 degree mark, it’s time to get the vegetables on. The bell peppers get quartered while the squash is cut into medallions. While medallions do present better on the plate, they can be tedious when grilling, due to their small size. You can cut the squash lengthwise into quarters for ease on the grill. You can also grill the peppers without cutting them first, but I have found that you can get a little extra smoke flavor to them by cutting them into quarters. The goal here is to get a head start on the chicken since these vegetables will need a few extra minutes compared to the boneless chicken breasts. Once the skin on the peppers has blackened and blistered, remove from grill and place in paper bag and close tightly. After about 5 minutes, the blistered skins should easily peel off.
With the grill around 400 degrees now, it’s time to get the chicken on the grill. On this day I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts that were marinated in the recipe that follows. The second tip I have learned for grilling meats is, that once you put it on the grill, leave it alone. Trying to turn or move it too early will just make it stick and tear. This not only makes a mess, but allows for the juices to escape, resulting in dry meats. In this case, 5-7 minutes per side and a few minutes of resting time resulted in perfectly grilled and still juicy chicken.
Presentation is simple enough without going to a lot of trouble. I used a simple leaf of Romaine lettuce, rinsed and patted dry, for the bed. I then sliced the chicken on the bias and fanned it out over the center of the lettuce. I cut the peppers in a julienne style and laid them on one side of the chicken while the medallions of squash occupied the other. To accompany the entrée, we decided on a classic potato salad that you can look for the recipe in upcoming blogs. The following recipe is from my own kitchen and is adjusted for a balance of flavor and spice.
Simple Chipotle Marinade:
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle powder (adjust if you want more heat)
1-2 sprigs of cilantro
Salt and pepper to liking
Combine all ingredients and whisk. Place in zip lock bag with boneless chicken breast and squeeze out excess air before sealing. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
I hope you enjoyed this fun little blog, and hope that you follow us through the summer months while the weather is nice and the lunches keep coming.