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(5-) spice it ua grill menu 
by Yee-Fan Sun
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One of the benefits, I suppose, of living in Tucson is that with nearly 300 or so days of dazzling sunshine annually, it's grill season just about all year long. But in deference to my New England roots, I still can't bring myself to grill until the weather gets good and hot. Without fall foliage, or impending snowstorms, or crocuses to mark the passage of time each year, I rely on more subtle cues regarding the transition from one season to the next. When the weather makes that little shift from t-shirts-and-capris temps into tank-top-and-shorts territory, I know it's time to pull out the grill.

Grilling's fast, grilling's easy, and grilling gives me an excuse to lounge around on my lovely patio, sipping a lemonade or a margarita, depending on my mood. Me being me, grilling has to be a little bit of an adventure as well. It's not just about the burgers and the brats and the big ol' hunks of steak. I love all those barbecue basics, don't get me wrong. But one of my favorite things about grilling is that it lets me get plenty experimental with my cooking, without a hefty investment of time and energy.

Here's one of my latest grilling experiments, a five-spice-based marinade that's a slightly more exotic take on the usual teriyaki marinade that I usually make when I'm in the mood for grilling with an Asian twist. It's quick and easy enough to throw together for a simple dinner for just yourself; serve it with some rice and a side of sesame sugar snap peas, and you have a perfect meal to share with friends.

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