Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Spicy Fruit Salsa (and a side of nostalgia)

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Hey Ya’ll. I’m back from my trip down south. We were gone for 12 days. Wow, that was a long time. We had such an amazing time. This trip was sort of a family Reunion for my dad’s side of the family. His brother and sister (my aunt and uncle) were there, along with their families. I have a relatively small family. I’m an only child, as is my mom. But, my dad had 3 siblings. He was the baby in the family. But, if you can believe it, I only have 2 cousins. Only one of my uncles had children, 2 boys. I was the youngest and the only girl. As you can imagine I was spoiled. But, I’m digressing.

My family is a quintessential old time Florida family. My grandpa moved there from Alabama in the early 30′s to find work. He  met my grandmother and the rest was history. My grandfather, who everyone called Ham, was a salty dog. He opened a welding shop and made a life for himself in Orlando, Florida. He comfortably supported 4 children, sending them all to college. I’m sure it wasn’t always easy, but I know he and my grandma would be proud of what our family has accomplished. I grew up in Orlando but spent much of my childhood fishing and swimming around the islands off the west coast of the state. My grandfather discovered this Florida gem in the mid 30′s and it became a second home for my dad and his siblings. Our family has continued that legacy with many trips, many fish caught, and countless bug bites since. So, this trip was a coming home for all of us. Back then, they camped in a makeshift tent made from a tarp, now we rent vacation homes with kitchens, running water and AC (my Grandpa would tell us we’re getting soft!)

Family-in-a-makeshift-tent1Here is a picture of my grandpa with his 4 kids. They are camping in a tent on a small island they affectionately called The Lump. Probably around 1950 or 51.

If you read our blog regularly, you know that I now live in Virginia. Sometimes, I feel like a family deserter. (You should know that I live in my mom’s hometown though.) Unfortunately, we don’t see each other often. They all still live in Florida.  However, my cousins and I, as well as our respective spouses just dropped right back into each others lives like we see each other everyday. It was an amazing feeling. I had a blast hanging out with all of them and must admit that I miss them like crazy now that we’ve all returned home. Both of them have 2 children. My daughter was enamored with all of them. She got some serious cousin time in and keeps asking when we’ll see them all again.

So, anyway…needless to say, we had a great time on our trip. I did cook a lot. Which is probably the opposite of what most people consider a vacation. My family is excited about this little food blog of ours and I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes with them. I made quite a few, including the egg muffins (a cookbook recipe),creamy avocado chicken enchiladas, and the avocado chicken salad. I also made a family recipe that my grandfather invented called the Weld-Rite special. Weld-Rite was the welding shop he opened in 1946 that my father took over in 1981. Essentially, its a bunch of vegetables cooked in an aluminium foil pouch. I promise to make it one day soon for you guys. It was a hit. My cousins came and help me make it. It was fun to have some tall, handsome sous chef’s for the night.

After a long week on an island, in the Florida sun I was in the mood for something from the grill and that tastes beachy. I am not quite ready to be done with my vacation. So I adapted a balsamic chicken recipe I’ve been making for a while, adding a little heat and some Georgia peaches as well. As far as I’m concerned – it’s perfection on a plate. (shh, I secretly ate two while I was taking the pictures!) This would be a great July 4th recipe. It’s sweet but has a little spiciness from the red pepper flake and jalapeno. It’s really the perfect combination. Make sure to let the chicken sit in the marinade for a couple of hours. This really helps it stay juicy. Enjoy!

Do you have any fun plans with family this summer?

Local Ingredient: Rosemary, Basil, and Mint from my herb garden and Georgia peaches picked up at a road side stand in Georgia on our way back from Florida.

 

Balsamic-Chicken-with-Fruit-Salsa

Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Summer Fruit Salsa

Ingredients: Balsamic Grilled Chicken

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 stalks rosemary, leaves removed stems discarded, chopped
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • Water (if needed)
  • 4 organic free range skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • Spicy Fruit Salsa
  • 2 ripe peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1/8 tsp jalapeno, diced
  • 1 tbls local honey
  • Splash of rice wine vinegar
  • 4-5 mint leaves, chopped

Instructions: Balsamic Grilled Chicken

  • Mix together all ingredients except chicken breasts to make the marinade.
  • Add the marinade to a zip top bag or other sealable container.
  • Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. If there isn’t enough liquid, gradually add water until chicken is coated well. Only do this is necessary based on the size of the chicken breasts. It can dilute the marinade.
  • Seal the container and allow the chicken to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  • Use cooking oil to grease the grill plates then preheat the grill or grill pan to about 400 degrees.
  • Add the chicken breasts, turning occasionally until cooked through.
  • Fruit Salsa
  • Mix all the ingredients together and allow to sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator so the flavors meld.
  • Top balsamic grilled chicken with about 1/4 cup salsa.

 

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