Monday, August 16, 2010

Peach Kebobs

I love cooking with my sisters. Things just get done quickly, and they read my mind. It was very helpful to have The Poet to skewer the meat and veg onto the skewers. Turns out everyone stabs themselves just a little. So best to have everyone join in the fun!

Here is a condensed version of the recipe to serve 4 (two skewers each)

4 Sirloin Steaks - chopped into 1 1/2 inch chunks
4 Red Peppers - chopped into 1 1/2 inch chunks remove seeds and rind
4 Peaches - chopped into 8 segments
2 Sweet Onions - Chopped into 8 segments
1 Bunch of Italian Parsley
1 Lemon
Olive Oil
Salt (kosher)
Pepper (fresh ground black)
Crushed Red Pepper
8 Wooden Skewers *Soak for 20 minutes in water first

Chop all ingredients and place on a tray.
Skewer the meat and vegetables alternating (meat, pepper, peach, onion)
Drizzle olive Oil and season liberally with Salt and Pepper

*It is always best to let meat come to room temperature before grilling to help cook evenly. Also it's best to keep all chunks relatively the same size so cooking time remains the same for each skewer.

Preheat Grill on High for 5 minutes. Grill 5 minutes each side until meat is cooked to at least 130 degrees when measured with a meat thermometer *or when cut into is medium rare (slight pink red center)

Chop the Parsley and mix with the juice of one lemon and stir in 1 Tablespoon Sugar.

Pour vinagrette over the skewers.

Serve with roasted potatoes, couscous, tabouli or a nice greek orzo salad.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Produce Box Week 1 by Paige

White Peach and Orange Marmalade
2 8 oz. jars

4 White Peaches, 1 orange sliced with peel, 1 lemon sliced with peel, carrot juice for color. Screw up, boil up, and sweeten up the peaches over med high heat. Best to sweeten 1/2 cup at a time to about 1 1/2 cups. Mine is certainly over sweet. For canning and steaming instructions see "Jam with Gram Goes Well With Shell".

As for the pectin. It is in citrus peels and carrots... so I added citrus peels and carrot juice for the pectin and didn't add SureJel packaged pectin.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Produce Box

I love my produce box that is delivered to me every Monday. This Monday I received TWO (thanks to P) one was Local Produce and one wasn't. Here is the list. We should all try and make something delicious:

Green Beans
2 yellow squash
2 zuchini
Tomatoes on the vine
4 ears of corn

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Late Summer Cooking--Waste Not, Want Not

There has been some good cooking going on around here. Erik made delicious carne asada for dinner tonight. We made homemade Pho following the recipe on the nikwalk page, adding a little bit of water to balance out the fish sauce. I made, for Zoe's birthday, carnitas (pork butt, rubbed with smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground dried adobos, and celery salt seared and then braised in beer in water in the oven for 4 hours at 300 degrees.), pineapple salsa, roasted pepper salsa, and not-homemade-tortillas. I rolled skirt steaks around boletes and made, for a different dinner, a zucchini gratin. But the highpoint so far has been the pork chops.

These ones Erik brought home from Randall's the butcher. Bone in and an inch and a half thick. I'm wary of thick pork chops. Erik won't eat even pinkish pork and the bone makes them tricky to cook. And like everyone else on the planet, I lament the lack of fat in the meat. So I brined them in a bath of 1.5 tbsp of salt (OK. Not entirely sure. Either 1 tbsp or 2 so I'm splitting the difference. Same with the sugar.) 1.5 tbsp of sugar, garlic powder (a little. I don't believe in powders and yet, so simple, so saturating!) and 1 cup apple juice. Put the brine in a plastic bag (I don't believe in wasting plastic bags but this provides the best full coverage) and let the chops brine for 4 hours, turning every hour or so.

Erik grilled the pork chops slowlyish--350 to 400 degrees for 6 minutes a side. He also sliced broccoli and coated it in olive oil, sprinkling salt and pepper on it and grilling that for a bit. We also grilled peaches.
Probably the best dinner of the summer at our house, knocking out even the carnitas which were good but when you're having a party, do you taste the food?

Unfortunately, you taste the food when it's just you and Zoe and Erik. We made pizza using Alton Brown's 24 hour dough-raising method. The dough was salty and tough to stretch out. We didn't have tomato sauce so I reduced a whole 28 oz can of tomatoes. We used like 1/4 of it and now the rest goes to waste in the fridge. But the worst part? We cooked the pizzas at 500 degrees just like Alton Brown suggested. But he didn't suggest the grill which we thought would be a great idea. It might have been. If we'd turned the burner off.
The first pizza was black all over the bottom. The next pizza, we turned the burner down. The third pizza, we turned the burner off. The first one was so burnt but something about it was delicious. The second one was OK. The third one, the cheese wasn't super melted like I like.
I liked the first one the best, because the crust was the crunchiest and the cheese the meltiest. But it was black. I wrote the whole dinner off as a waste until Erik reminded me that it was just an experiment. We'll try again next time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Chicken Caesar: how do you make croutons?

Simple. Classic. Summer big salad for dinner. I feared the make at home Caesar mostly because of the anchovy. The first trial years ago resulted in three tins of Costco size anchovies in the cupboard. For awhile. Daring the bag of Costco pine nuts who was going to get put in a salad first. Both being tossed during the last move.

And I'm a firm believer in making fun of girls that order this salad everywhere, with the dressing on the side, and would figure that I would wait til I was with one of those girls before I order it let alone make it for dinner. But it was a summery day and it seemed easy enough. You know me, I'm a Martha girl. No anchovies, no worry.

Chicken breasts marinated in buttermilk, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon. Romaine in the salad spinner.

Meanwhile... make the croutons. Brush bread with olive oil with herbs and garlic. Broil for 1 min on first side. Assign timer, wait for the beep, even count down in front of the oven from 30-0. Beep. Perfect. Then flip and wait for the other minute.

(Insert ADD test)

FAIL! Burnt to a crisp by minute 2 second side. Even how many times have I heard the annoying phrase "I always burn the toast! where's the evoo? by the garbage bowl?" by the ever happy 30 minute girl. How can I fail at croutons? Please, please help me with a sure fire no problem just a few minutes perfect crouton.

Salad was fine. The lack of anchovy was noticed.