The other day, I was making some salmon for dinner, and wanted it to be different than the usual lemon juice+ lemon pepper (which is delicious, but sometimes you need something new, you know?). I looked around the kitchen and found a tangerine. Success!
I juiced and zested the tangarine, and added about 1 Tbsp. of tamari to it. Then I grated up some ginger. (probably about 1/2" after peeling)
I added that, along with a sprinkle of hot chili flakes, a tsp. of vegetable oil, and a tsp. of sesame seeds. (If I'd had sesame oil, I would have added a little bit of that too.)
How can this experiment make you a culinary genius? Just remember a few rules, and you can whip up a killer marinade/sauce at a moment's notice too!
Step 1: Start with a base: some kind of fruit juice, like a citrus or pineapple. You could also use some sweet chili sauce, or really, even catsup if you were completely desperate (I have never actually done that though, so you might be in the midst of a real culinary adventure if you try it!)
Step 2: Add something savory; I usually use a soy sauce or tamari, but you could also do a basalmic vinegar if you were going for something more European-tasting
Step 3: Add some spices; ginger+ sesame for Asian; chile pepper flakes are always good- or a little bit of sriracha; basil+mint+ fresh tomato for Italian-ish; citrus zest will put it over the top if you're going for more of a citrus-y flavor; or just add a blend of your favorites, and mix it up!
Step 4: Make sure you add a little bit of oil, just to help it all blend together. Around a teaspoon should be fine. I know I usually use olive oil for everything, but if you're planning on grilling whatever you're marinating, vegetable is better- it has a higher heat tolerance, and doesn't break down as much as olive oil does.