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by Liren Baker

Liren Baker is the voice behind the blog Kitchen Confidante, where she shares taste and inspiration in the kitchen. Inspired by the beauty of food, what it represents, what it invokes, and what we can create out of it, she shares recipes and images that remind her of her heritage, her childhood in New York, and the vibrant culinary culture she has learned to embrace in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives.

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  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Don't tell a soul, but I love grilling. Why the secretiveness, you wonder? You may assume that most people love the turn of the season, when warm weather arrives and cooking can be moved outdoors. Yes, of course, this is a huge part of its appeal. But there is something else -- I don't have to cook.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Hold on, what? Don't I love to cook? Isn't grilling cooking? Yes, and yes. But when we cook outside at my house, the testosterone takes over and my husband has to "man the grill," so to speak. And that means I get a break for most of the summer. And spring. And early fall. God, I love living in California!

    In all seriousness, husband or not, I love to grill too, and even when he is out of town, it is one of my favorite ways to prepare dinner. On busy days, I can marinate meat, poultry or fish in advance, and return home to meat that has already been infused with flavor. But on days when I have zero plans for dinner -- or did not have the foresight to marinate -- I can call in the rubs.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • One of my favorite ways to grill is by harnessing the flavors of herbs and spices in simple rubs. You can, of course, purchase fantastic blends of rubs -- whether it is a simple salt and pepper blend, or one that calls to mind the flavors of the Southwest. But once you begin to blend your own mixes, you will find yourself experimenting with a whole world of flavors. It's easy, it is simple, and you will be dining al fresco in no time.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Rubs for Grilling

    Here are some rubs to get you started this grilling season. Enjoy!


    Southwestern Style Rub

    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon granulated garlic
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon coriander
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Tuscan Rub

    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Lemon-Pepper Rub

    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
    1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


    Combine ingredients for desired rub. Lightly oil your meat/poultry/fish and generously season about 15 minutes before grilling.

    Happy grilling!

    - Liren
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