I Want to Marry Marinating

I’m just going to ask you point blank: Do you know about marinating? Do you know how marinating has the power to change your dinnertime? (Which is to say, of course, your life?) Do you know that marinating can be a working parent’s best friend?…That I, Jenny Rosenstrach, take thee marinating to be my lawful wedded….

Yes, I’m sure there’s a science to it, and yes if I were a real food writer I would give you exact measurements for each of the following three-minute marinades that you can assemble in the morning in order to be that much more ahead of the game when you walk in the door at night. But to get all scientific is to lose the beauty of it. Marinating is like braising — it’s very very difficult to screw it up and even someone with the tiniest bit of culinary courage could wind up having fun with different combinations of flavors. Just remember that you need to whisk some acid in there (lemon, lime, vinegar, buttermilk — to help with the tenderizing) and getting creative with a fresh torn herb or two is never going to be a bad idea, but otherwise, it’s up to you.

Marinade: A few shots soy sauce + 1/2 cup bourbon + spoonful brown sugar
: A pork tenderloin for Pork with Apples (shown; page 71 Dinner: A Love Story just replace the peaches with apples that hold their shape when cooked, like Cortlands or Jonagolds)

Marinade: Cup or so of buttermilk + dollop of mustard + heavy drizzle olive oil + salt & pepper
: Chicken drumsticks for Oven-fried Chicken

Marinade: Mostly yogurt + juice from one lime + chopped peeled ginger + olive oil + torn cilantro
Add: Chicken thighs or breasts for Yogurt-marinated Chicken

Marinade: Maple syrup + soy sauce + rice vinegar + oil (I’d go same amounts for all but syrup which you only need a heavy drizzle of…)
Add: Pork chops for Rory’s Maple Candy Pork Chops

Marinade: White miso + sake + mirin + sugar
Add: Cod for Nobu’s Famous Miso-glazed Black Cod (OK, fine that one takes three days, but you’ll have to eat on Friday, too, right?)

There. Doesn’t it sorta seem like there’s a little sous chef at home thinking about dinner so you don’t have to? How good does that feel?

Feel free to share your favorite combos as well.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 4 + 9 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)


Lucy Mitchell

My husband introduced me to marinade. Yup, you are right, it makes a huge difference. So what I did just before i read you post was cut up some chicken (that he remembered to take out of the freezer last night. He is a GOOD husband) and put it in a bowl with grated ginger, olive oil and any powdered curryish herbs i could find. But now I realise I should have added some lime juice too right? The plan is to brown it later and then throw in a jar of korma sauce and let it simmer while we do the homework. P.s. I love your blog!


Those are great ideas! I marinated chicken in buttermilk and garlic just yesterday. What a difference!

Here’s my contribution: Bone in, skin on split chicken breasts marinated in olive oil and cinnamon, with a splash of vinegar (white wine, cider, whatever) and a pinch (or two) of cayenne. It’s such an easy marinade, and the house smells so incredible once you start cooking them. Serve’em up with a quick onion apple compote and some garlicky steamed spinach and life is good.


I admit, I am completely new to this. So, how long do you leave the meat in the marinate? In the fridge or out at room temperature?


Zane – it depends what meat you are using, but the ones I offered above are usually minimum one hour up to eight or nine. Some, like the cod, marinate for THREE DAYS of deliciousness. So one could, in theory, start marinating for your Friday night dinner party right now!

Melissa@Julia's Bookbag

Marinating is the bee’s knees!! 🙂 what a lovely list o’ treats. I use a non-measured crazy mix of olive oil, worcestershire sauce, a bit of soy sauce, brown sugar and a dollop of mustard for steak marinade…


Favorite non-measured chicken marinade: Equal parts olive oil and lemon juice, some garlic, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.
To make it extra amazing, top cooked chicken with bacon and provolone cheese, then broil til cheese is melted/browned. WOW.


oh how i love to marinate! my favorite would be a combo of honey, lemon, garlic & olive oil ~ yum!

I Liked Bodum on Facebook. Do I win the Newsletter Prize?

thanks for the awesome recipes!!!


Marinating is one of those things I know I would love it if I could just have the forethought to get it done. Even freezing and marinating is sometimes too difficult for my toddler-bogged brain.

BUT I’m intrigued with the idea of using diary/yogurt in marinades, which is something I’ve never done. So I think I’m going to have to do some planning in order to try.

Thanks for the inspiration!

I Liked Bodum on Facebook. Do I win the Newsletter Prize?

Susan S.

“I Liked Bodum on Facebook. Do I win the Newsletter Prize?”

I also think having a few key marinades in your repertoire takes basic cooking to a whole new level!


I like to use one part Teriyaki sauce, one part balsamic vinegar, a glug of olive oil and juice from half a lime. It is best on pork chops on the grill or pork tenderloin on the grill, but pretty good on grilled chicken too. (salt and pepper too if desired)


Yes, marinating is seriously like magic! I mean, totally explainable by science-style magic. 🙂 My favorite thing to marinate is tempeh.


Two favorites here:
-Ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, hot sauce – great on chicken wings especially.
-Lime juice, honey, chili powder, garlic (fresh or powdered) – love this on shrimp or chicken for grilling

Amylynn McDevitt

I liked Bodum on Facebook, DALS?

Love the picture of the pork tenderloin, oh it’s making me hungry. Going to try to make this for dinner this week, so fallish!

Barbara Leckstein

“I Liked Bodum on Facebook. Do I win the Newsletter Prize?”

Of course I had to use the SO’s ID to do it! But when I read him some of the marinades, he said it was just fine with him. Keep the ideas and recipes coming!


“I want to marry marinating” – that title alone is why I love visiting here every week. Your awesome. Maybe I can make this? Thanks for being so inspiring. 🙂


Equal parts soy sauce, dijon mustard and Italian dressing. GReat with both chicken and pork chops. Delicious yet so simple.


What is a good marinade for tofu?

Also, I Liked Bodum on Facebook. Do I win the Newsletter Prize?

C.M. Adams

I always have a jar of my grandmother’s All-Purpose-Marinade/Sala Dressing in the frig. It’s great for fish, shrimp, chicken, Brussels sprouts, string beans, salad, etc., etc., etc.:
Clove of garlic mashed with salt
Juice of a lemon
Olive oil (3 to 1 ratio of lemon juice)


I <3 marinating too! makes my life SOOOOO much easier and tastier. We eat chicken 4ish nights a week and pre-marinating is what keeps it different and fun. Right now I'm on a Greek kick – olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and mint.


My favorite is a greek style marinade with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and parsley used with chicken or sometimes shrimp. Yum!


Ahh! I want to marry your delicious grammar skills! Flawless use of the verb “to marinate” and the subject “marinade.”

(Yes, I’m a nerd, but I do appreciate the consistently correct usage.)

Bourbon, worcestershire, and brown sugar is my favorite for chicken or pork on the grill- but I like the idea of swapping in liquid aminos (aka hippy soy sauce) instead! Definitely going to try. Also, you’ve revolutionized the way we eat grilled chicken… yogurt method, anyone? I’ve been known to use cultured sour cream in place of the yogurt, and it definitely works. My husband thinks I’m a grilling whiz and I’m too afraid to tell him that it’s all about the live active cultures, baby.



First off, I have to say that as a full time working mom of a 4th grader, living in NYC and dreaming of Westchester, you are my idol in many ways. I have had Time for Dinner for years and been reading your blog for, hmmm, 18 months now; I just realized you contributed to my favorite (visually, conceptually, and taste-buddually) Family Cookbook … I can’t believe it took me so long to make the connection. Also, I love the new cookbook and have gifted it to my best girlfriend and my sister (four kids under 10). You’re an inspiration, thank you for doing what you do.

However, a quandary… My best intentions of this morning were waylaid by a curriculum night that ran long, and a trip to B&N for birthday party gifts that ran long (though, bonus: we also picked up Wonder, on Pheobe’s recommenation – my son is a HUGE Amulet fan and has really liked some of her other recs, thanks for that), and I now have a pizza on the way as well as three Maple Candy Pork Chops marinating since this morning. What should I do? Keep marinating until tomorrow? Rinse off and refrigerate until tomorrow?

Advise from anyone is appreciated. 🙂