Monday 2 July 2012

Skewer your 4th with this!!

 Happy 4th of July! We're so grateful to live in this great Country and to celebrate the birth of our Nation. On this day we thank our servicemen and women who are fighting for our freedom and keeping our country safe. Many of us celebrate our Nation’s birth filled with family gatherings, picnics, barbecues, parades, and showing a great emphasis on the American tradition of Freedom. The most common symbol of Independence Day is the American flag, but other symbols include the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island in New York harbor and Macy’s fireworks display viewed all over the United States. Most of us display the American flag outside our home or buildings. My family and friends will be with us for the annual celebration of our independence! I will see you again on Friday!

  July is upon us, the Summer is really heating up in most areas in our country. I’m sure you, like most people are preparing your menu for this July 4th for family and friend cookouts. That means grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, steaks, chicken, Mom's potato salad, corn on the cob and veggie's. Mmmmmmm Mmmmmm, I can't wait, my mouth is watering just writing this! Today I am offering a method of grilling kabobs. What about BOB? No, I said KABOB!!!! Okay, I've got your attention!!

I love kabobs, but, am frequently disappointed when when the meat is over cooked. Over the years I have had mixed success trying to come up with the perfect combination of flavors and fire. Too often my attempts ended with beef that's either chalky with black spots or practically incinerated with the red raw center. And the vegetables? These usually turn out torched on the outside and crunchy on the inside. I have been determined to nail a foolproof approach to putting some great flavor into the beef and achieving nicely browned, tender-firm vegetables at the same time. Here is what I have found to be the epitome of perfectly done kabobs!! Enjoy!

Rosemary and Lemon Marinade:

1 onion roughly chopped (1 3/4 cups)
6 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp. finely grated zest from 1 lemon
2 T chopped rosemary leaves
1/3 c. beef broth
1/3 c. canola oil
3 T tomato paste
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Beef, chicken and vegetables:

Note my cutting boards are color coded to avoid cross contamination of foods. The colors help you keep track of which cutting boards are for reserved for which types of foods, so that you're less likely to cut lettuce on the same board you just used for prepping meat.
2 pounds  sirloin steak tips, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2" cubes
1 large zucchini, ends trimmed. halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1 inch thick slices
1 large red pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 large sweet onion, ends trimmed, peeled, halved lengthwise, core discarded, each cut into 4 wedges and each wedge cut crosswise into thirds

(You can add the vegetables of your choice, I am making a separate skewer of mushrooms, which I will marinade differently and feature in a future blog)

For the marinade-place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, about 45 seconds. I chopped the onion in the processor first by putting the quartered onion in and pulsing a few times, then add the other ingredients and process again.

 Transfer 3/4 cup marinade to a large bowl and set aside.

For the Beef and Vegetables: Toss remaining marinade and beef in a second large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or up to 2 hours, tossing beef after 3 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and toss with reserved marinade. Cover and let the vegetables marinade at room temperature least 30 minutes.
 Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Tightly thread beef onto two 12" metal skewers, rolling or folding meat as necessary to maintain 2" cubes. Thread the vegetables onto 12 " skewers, in alternating pattern of zucchini, pepper and onion.

 About 30 minutes before grilling prepare your coal or gas fired grill. Grill is ready when when you can't hold your hand over the grate for more than 2 seconds! HOT NOW!!! Woooooweee!

Place the meat skewers in the center of the grill and vegetable skewers near the edge, but still over fire. Grill beef skewers until well browned, slightly charred, and instant read thermometer reads 125F for med rare, turn every 2-3 minutes. Transfer beef kabobs to serving platter, loosely tented with foil., and let rest for 10 minutes. For gas fired grill, turn the grill to low, continue to grill vegetable skewers until vegetables are tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes longer, turning every 3-4 minutes.

  Transfer vegetables to platter with beef. Remove beef and vegetables from skewers and serve!


Marinade Power Brokers: The facts

Contrary to popular belief, almost none of the flavors in a marinade penetrate to the center of the meat, no matter how long you soak it. But, studies published in the Journal of food Science indicate that salts-ordinary table salt as well as sodium glutamates,the naturally occurring flavor enhancers found in many foods-are the exception, traveling far into the meat chunks and beefing up the taste as they go. With this in mind came the creation of a turbo charged marinade with three key ingredients:

Salt- Not only does it penetrate meat to thoroughly season it, salt also swells and dissolves some of the proteins, allowing them to retain juices.

Tomato paste- this condiment is a potent source of naturally occurring glutamates. Just 3 tablespoons ramp up the savory flavor.

Beef broth- Many commercial beef broths contain a yeast extract (read the can) a rich source of two flavor-enhancing molecules: glutamates and nucleotides. The latter amplify flavor 20 fold, so that even 1/3 cup of broth in the marinade has a huge impact!!

~ For chicken, you can substitute chicken broth in this marinade.

~ A lot of research went into this blog!! It was in draft stage for a couple of months, before I was able to back up my opinions, with facts from more than one source. It is fun for me and you reap the rewards of the effort put forth! Enjoy!

A great fourth of July red wine, this works with both the barbeque chicken and the beef!!

2009 Sbragia "Gino's Vineyard" Zinfandel, Sonoma, California. From Wine on the Way! 
Wine Spectator Rating: 92 
$29.00 WOW! Thats a deal!!

This is a classically styled Dry Creek Zinfandel, with aromas of wild raspberry and underbrush that lead to rich but elegant flavors of black cherry, anise and smoky cracked pepper. It is really tasty with the chicken, but, my family and I found it stood right up to this marinated beef kabob too.

We opened it 1 hour ahead of dinner.

Wine on the Way! Free shipping on any 12 bottles! Just click on the icon on the right to order some yummy wines!

 Just sent to me today, had to share this! Look at the price for this over the top yummy Cabernet!!



Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California

Retail Price: $45

These are normally only available direct from the winery but we have managed to secure some cases of each of their "AVA Series" wines at a substantial discount [all $29 a bottle]. Miniscule production and outstanding quality at a price that can't be beat. These are the individual vineyards that Conn Creek sources from to create their Anthology blend. From places in Napa Valley like Rutherford, Oakville, Mount Veeder, St. Helena and the legendary Stagecoach Vineyard, these wines are an absolute bargain. Stock up while you can!


              Love this! Some people just know how to have fun!!

Have a Super Holiday! Enjoy your independence! Love my country! Cheers! JJ


  1. Thanks for the extra info about the marinade. Great to know!

  2. You are welcome! We actually made these again last night! YUM!! I did the same marinade on chicken, beef and vegetables, very good!


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