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Posts Tagged ‘bbq’

As Sitelle and I live a few hundred kilometres apart, it’s always a treat when we get together for dinner.  We had the pleasure of dining together last week, and I knew I wanted to cook something easy and fun involving the grill, as I was cooking for a small crowd (my parents and her fiancé joined in on the party!)   We started with her tasty kuri squash soup and ended with my favourite dessert of all-time, raspberry glacee pie. All in all it was a lovely escape from the hectic life of a medical clerk!

Shish kabobs are one of my favourites – and with all the gorgeous fresh produce (ripe cherry tomatoes! perfect yellow zucchinis! fresh red onions!) at the farmer’s market in Ottawa, I couldn’t help but be inspired. Who doesn’t love meat cooked by fire (not to mention veggies cooked by fire)??

I love the hint of rosemary in the marinade as it keeps the meat tasting fresh. Whenever I make these kabobs, I usually try to use a high-end cut of meat.  The marinade will tenderize the beef regardless, but as the recipe calls for little beef, it’s always special to splurge on the high-end nicely marbled cuts.  Feel free to mix up the type of veggies – the combination below is the classic choice in my family.

If you are feeding vegetarians too, it’s easy to simply leave off the meat on a skewer or two.  I usually have leftover veggies after threading all the skewers balanced with beef and veggies anyways.  With these extra veggies, I cook them on a separate skewer or simply in a large basket for the BBQ.  Charred vegetables make for great leftovers!

Classic Beef Shish Kabobs

The kabobs got eaten before I was able to snap a post-grilling pic, but here they are assembled and ready for the grill

Classic Beef Shish Kabobs

Serves ~6

Ingredients

For the marinade

3/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, pressed

2 tsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 lb top sirloin steak, trim the fat and cut into 1-inch cubes

For the kabobs

2 red onions, cut into large wedges

24 cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed

2 zucchinis cut into large rounds

24 cherry tomatoes

2 peppers, cut into large 1-inch chunks

2 tbsp olive oil

Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste

6-12 metal skewers (or if using bamboo, soak in water for half an hour)

Directions

To make the marinade: In a bowl, stir together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, rosemary, and pepper.  Place the beef cubes in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinate. Seal the bag and marinade at room temperature for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight in the fridge.

About half an hour before you want to start grilling, combine the vegetables with the oil and seasonings.  Toss gently to combine. Place the beef in a bowl and discard the marinade.  Thread the beef and vegetables on the skewers, dividing them evenly, until the skewers are filled.  Start and end with a vegetable on your skewer as often the grill isn’t as hot near the edges.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill – either over hot coals or high propane. Place the skewers on the grill directly over the heat.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn the skewers with tongs. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes more for medium-rare or longer for well-done.  The veggies should be cooked but firm and nicely charred, while the meat should give easily when pressed.

To serve, slide the beef and veggies off the skewers onto a platter and enjoy.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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As the end of BBQ season is approaching, I wanted to share one of my family’s absolute favourites: a tangy BBQ sauce for pork ribs.  For me, the very definition of summer is enjoying these ribs on a hot summer night at the lake, preferably with corn on the cob and potato salad as sides!

Bewared: I’ll admit this sauce has destroyed me for all other pork ribs.  After savouring this superior sauce, the overly sweet or overly spicy sauces you find at restaurants just never makes the cut in comparison.  What I love about this sauce is how easy it is to prepare, how the tomato caramelizes just so when grilled, and how there is a hint of sweet and spicy without those flavours overwhelming the rest.

The ribs take some effort to assemble – boiling the ribs, preparing the sauce, then grilling the ribs – but the first two tasks can be prepared a few hours (or even a day or two) before you get down to grilling the ribs. Certainly there’s no rush in assembly, and my grandmother (the champion-maker of this recipe) more often than not takes a swim in between steps.

I’m already counting down the days until it’s summer again, so I can chow down on these ribs!

The magic of these ribs is the sauce!   I can never get enough of it...

The magic of these ribs is the sauce! I can never get enough of it…

Country-Style Barbecued Ribs

6-8 servings

Ingredients

4 pounds pork country-style ribs

1 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 8-oz can tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp prepared mustard

1 tsp salt

1 tsp celery seed

1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

Cut ribs in 3-4 rib portions. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven cook ribs, covered, in enough boiling salted water to cover till ribs are tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes.  Drain well.

Meanwhile, in saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil till tender, but not brown.  Stir in tomato sauce with brown sugar, lemon juice, Worchestire sauce, mustard, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Grill ribs over slow coals until charred, about 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. While grilling, brush ribs with sauce so they are well coated.

Serve ribs with the extra sauce and your favourite summer sides such as potato salad, asparagus,  or corn on the cob.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Farmer’s markets are one of my favourite places to visit. I enjoy how markets allow me to meet the people who grow the greens, raise the laying hens that produce eggs, and who produce anything else that catches my eye.

There’s another important reason why I enjoy markets so much: I draw inspiration from everything I see, and I like to challenge myself to cook  vegetables or fruit I am less familiar with. This past weekend I attended the Sweetwater Music Festival in Owen Sound, and since I did not have any concerts to attend in the morning G. and I went to the farmer’s market to explore what local products were available.

At one of the vendors, a basket of tomatillos caught my eye, and I remembered a bunch of cilantro in my refrigerator in Ottawa.

Back home, I drew inspiration from the beautiful sunny weather, despite the cold, whipping up a tangy spicy green salsa for a lunch BBQ at my neighbour’s place. In the end, I was invited to play some board games another time, “as long as [I] make that salsa again!” I’ll leave it to you to try it, and see if it measures up to its reputation as an immediate “invite-granting” commodity!

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Ingredients – An appetizer for 8, as long as there are enough tortilla chips!

-1 lb Tomatillos, peeled and washed

-3 Shallots, peeled and quartered

-2/3 Cup fresh cilantro leaves

-Juice from 1 lime

-4 Dried red chilli peppers (or more or less to taste)

-Tiny pinch salt

-Tortilla chips

Directions

Preheat the broiler while you peel and wash the tomatillos and prepare the shallots. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and place 2/3 of the tomatillos and two of the shallots on the sheet. Make sure none are touching (they roast better that way). Broil for 7 minutes, then turn the vegetables and broil on the other side for another 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the remaining raw tomatillos and shallot, and place in a food processor (or blender). Wash the cilantro and place in the food processor as well with the hot chillis and juice from half of the lime.

When the veggies are done roasting, place them in the food processor as well, then coarsely blend it all. Add a pinch or two of salt, and some additional lime (to taste).

Place in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips – or alternatively, serve on burgers hot off the grill!

-Sitelle

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