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Just this past weekend I hosted a small BBQ for my good friend Kara who is embarking on another chapter of her life’s adventures. She’s leaving these frigid vistas for a hopefully milder clime and the realization of a long awaited dream, in fact, by the time you’re reading this, she’ll likely be settling in. She’s moving herself and her young son to Tennessee, just outside Greenville. If you live in the area and happen across a recent transplant from “up north”, say “hi” and make her feel welcome.
So we collected a couple of people she hadn’t seen for a while, Anna, Brent, Phil & Rita, and ourselves and commemorated the occasion the best way I know how, over food and conversation.
Red onions, red or orange peppers, zucchini also in 1” – 2” chunks
About 20 mushrooms
Start by cubing the beef. Place it in a bowl deep enough to allow turning easily without spillage.
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chili oil
2 – 4 tbsp sambal oelek – depending on how hot you like it
A couple of spoonfuls of sesame seeds (optional)
Allow to marinade several hours, ideally over night. When you’re almost ready to put them together, soak approximately 2 dozen bamboo skewers in warm water for an hour or so.
Now you’re ready to construct. On each skewer, start with a piece of pepper, some onion and a meat cube. Next use a piece of zucchini and another meat cube. Next some onion, then pepper then another meat cube and top with a mushroom. Because of the length of the skewers I used and the size of my chunks (okay, so I didn’t exactly measure them!!!) I found that that combination pretty well filled up my skewer. Repeat till you’re finished your meat. You can do your distribution any way you like really, I just like the peppers throughout and the mushroom on the end kind of “finishes” it for me.
I cut my ribs into sections that are one bone each for easy eating. Once that’s done, I put them in a pot, just covered with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, I add garlic, some bay leaf and a couple of good grindings of pepper and turn it down to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes. (I have forgotten about them before and gone back after an hour finding they were none the worse for the wear, really)
Remove them from the pot and allow them to air dry slightly while you make up the dressing. Mix together:
¼ cup low sodium soy
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
2 tbsp chili oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Brush this dressing over the ribs, making sure to coat them well and allow them to absorb the flavours while you heat the grill. Cook over high heat till nicely browned, brushing often with the dressing.
We rounded this off with some hot Italian sausages bought from our favourite Italian market, a raw veggie tray and some salads.
It was a nice way to spend an evening, quietly reminiscing and making plans to “get together” soon as we can. Who knows, we may even find a certain columnist “down south” doing “research”. I hear that Tennessee is full of good cooks and good food!!!
So, take care my dear friend, we’ll hopefully see you soon, but you’ll be missed.