Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recipe Time: Kabobs, Pineapple and Sangria

Last night I was in the mood for some chopping. I know that sounds weird, but chopping massive amounts of fruits or vegetables is a relaxing activity for me. I love to just stand there and mow through some veggies like they were yesterday's news. So here's what was on the menu last night:

 Mormon Girl Sparkling Sangria

Doesn't that look refreshing?

Basil Rosemary Kabobs and Spicy Glazed Pineapple

I haven't had a more delicious dinner in a looooong time! I don't know what it was about the combination of the flavors, but it hit not just the right spot, but the left one and the bottom one and that so very hard to hit top one too!

I served the kabobs over plain white rice because I was starving and didn't want to take more time doctoring some rice. But you know what, I always buy the jasmine rice, so it already has a delicious flavor regardless of the addition of any extra spices.

I've put the recipes after the page break! Try them! I know you'll love them as much as I did!

Mormon Girl Sparkling Sangria

  • 1 bottle of sparkling white grape juice ( I like the target brands for sparkling grape juice. They taste more grape-y to me. Plus they have a super fun cap to open! Makes you feel like you're opening champagne!)
  • 1 bottle of sparkling red grape juice
  • 2-3 cups of OJ
  • 3 medium to small apples peeled, cored and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bunch of grapes taken off the stem
  • 1 orange cut into wedges
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled cored and chopped into small bites
  • 1 lime sliced thin

  1. Wash all the fruit (even the orange and limes! They're going in the drink, you know)
  2. Put the fruit into the pitcher you plan to serve it. Muddle the fruit as best you can with a wooden spoon or rolling pin. (You want to release the juices of the fruit!)
  3. Pour the juices on top of the fruit (you don't have to put the OJ in. It makes it delicious, but clouds the  drink. If you want a clear looking beverage, skip the OJ)
  4. Let the fruit and juice mixture hang out in the fridge so the flavors all mingle together for at least an hour before serving

Basil and Rosemary Kabobs

  • 2 tbls chopped basil
  • 2 tbls chopped rosemary
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mined fine
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tsp salt (depending on taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper (freshly cracked, of course!)
  • 3 tbls olive oil
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime (zest before you juice. Much easier)
  • 1 lb. of steak cut into chunks - or - 1 lb. of stew or fajita meat (be warned if you use stew meat, you will end up with some really chewy pieces. It's a time saver because it's already chopped, but they tend to use the gristliest pieces they can find. That's why it's good in stews. The stew can break down that connective tissues better. Science! It's great, right?)
  • several wooden skewers pre-soaked for at least an hour (more is better though)
  1. Place the first 6 ingredients into a mini food processor and whirl until it looks fairly uniform
  2. Place oil mixture into a small bowl and add the lime juice, stirring well. (You can add the lime juice to the food processor but it will end up more like salad dressing than a wet rub, which is what we're making. You also don't need the food processor, just make sure you mince everything very fine and mix together)
  3. Toss the meat chunks in the bowl with the wet rub and them skewer them, leaving some space between the chunks
  4. You can either grill them on a medium hot grill for 5-7 minutes on each side (depending on how done you want you meat and how big your chunks are. Smaller chunks = faster cooking time) or under the broiler or approximately the same amount of time.
  5. Be watchful, as the wood skewers can burn and burst into flames in either application quite easily. That is why pre-soaking is a must!
  6. Serve immediately over rice
Ok, so I know this wasn't a real balanced meal and I could've done veggies if I'd had them. Mostly I buy frozen these days as I seem to throw away a lot of veggies that I've forgotten about int he bottom on my crisper drawer. It's very frustrating. If you do choose to do veggies, do them on their own skewers as the cooking time can be more or less than your meat. Softer veggies like onions and zuchini are great for kabobs, but cook much faster than the meat will. Alternately, small fingerling potatoes or carrots would also be excellent with the same rub, but will take much longer to cook. Put those items in a cooler part of your grill or broiler and let them cook longer. You can also pre-cook these items to save time on the grill.

Spicy Glazed Pineapple

  • 1/2 Fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped into bit sized pieces
  • 2 tbls honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp (or a pinch) of nutmeg
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  1. Mix the honey and spices together in a bowl. Go easy on the cayenne if you don't want a lot of heat. It has a wonderful flavor, but it does pack a punch so watch out!
  2. Toss in the pineapple and coat well.
  3. Skewer the pineapple and place on the grill until slightly charred and carmelized or place under the broiler until the same effect is achieved
  4. Serve piping hot along side of the kabobs or over  ice cream with any left over glaze.
That little touch of cayenne really makes a differences and takes the pineapple from pretty good to outright fantastic. Matt has asking if there was any more! I only made half of the pineapple because the other half was in the sangria, but you could double the glaze and use a whole pineapple. Your family/kids/guests will be begging for more!

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