Cookbook dresses up meals with marinades

The book: “Marinades: The Quick-fix Way to Turn Everyday Food into Exceptional Fare, with 400 Recipes” by Lucy Vaserfirer; 320 pages, $17.95. Published by Harvard Common, 2014.

What you get: This collection includes oil-based, citrus-based, herb-based, milk-based and oil-based recipes that cover American, Italian, French, Asian and Latin American cuisine.

In her own words: “With 200 marinade recipes and even more ideas for how to use them, there’s something here for everyone, no matter your taste or your mood, no matter what’s in the pantry or fridge, and no matter if it’s a weeknight or special occasion.” — Lucy Vaserfirer

What we made:


2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Generous pinch of crushed red pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

Measure the canola oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and crushed red pepper into a 1-gallon zip-top bag and shake or squeeze until blended. Season to taste with black pepper.

Suggested uses: chicken breasts, pork chops or beef steaks (marinated 2 hours to overnight) or vegetables (marinated 30 minutes to 1 hour), grilled or broiled.


For 2 servings, add 2 portobello mushroom caps to the Balsamic-soy Marinade in the zip-top bag and turn to coat. Seal the bag, letting out all the air. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour at room temperature.

Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Grill over direct high heat until tender, 7 to 9 minutes, turning once.

Serve the mushrooms over sticky rice topped with a sprinkling of sliced scallions, with a side of garlicky Chinese greens.

Our assessment: My newsroom colleague Jim Bebbington got out his 25-year-old mini Weber grill to try this marinade on a large portobello mushroom cap and some short ribs. I thought the smell of the mushroom and steak cooking was just about heavenly.

Here’s what the griller himself thought: “This recipe was delicious and easy — most marinades are. It put a strong soy-sauce flavor into the beef, which I liked. I’m still dreaming about the portobello — it was very nicely flavored by the marinade, and came off the grill unlike anything I have cooked before.”

I agree — that marinated portobello is the stuff culinary dreams are made of.

The ribs and the mushroom were very tasty, although the balsamic vinegar flavor was stronger in the mushroom.

See the video of us trying out this recipe at

Suggestions or questions? Email

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