Monday, August 23, 2010

Kabob Cookout Weekend!

I have finished my first week of cooking new meals! Albeit, with a slight adjustment: I swapped Friday for Saturday (hubby was gone & we had a guest over Saturday night). Wanting to impress, and also wanting something good, filling, and healthy....we decided on veggie and meat Kabobs. Steak kabobs at that!

Let me tell you, they were a lot of work, but very very worth it. We also decided on an appetizer and a dessert. For the app I made "Cali"-schetta, which is basically bruschetta but with avocado, cheese, and other stuff added in. For dessert I decided to make some lemon bunt cake. My hubby loves things with lemon. I think its the tart/sweet combo.

Everything turned out wonderful. We grilled the kabobs, veggies, pineapple, and meat outside. I made the appetizer, baked the cake, and made a batch of cornbread ( I was craving some...with honey...yum). Hubby helped with the prep work, cutting the veggies, mixing the cake, and stuff like that. When the guests arrived, drinks were passed out and the appetizers were eaten! Then, not to long after, dinner was served!

1/2-1/3 baguette, cut into 1/2 in. slices on the diagonal
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. garlic clove, peeled, plus 1 clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 med. ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro*
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil. Toast on a baking sheet for about 4 min. per side. Remove from oven and rub one side with the whole garlic clove. Let cool. In a med. bowl mix together chopped garlic, tomato, avocado, onion, cheese, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. Top each bread slice with a spoonful of tomato/avocado mixture and serve.

*I left the cilantro as an optional garnish, I am not a fan of it, at all...

~Steak & Veggie Kabobs~
Steak, cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes
Marinade (10-30 min. stuff)*
Red, yellow and green peppers
Red onion
Cherry tomatoes
Button mushrooms
Kabob Skewers

Preheat grill. Marinade the steak in refrigerator. Soak skewers in water. Cut all the veggies into uniform pieces, about 1 1/2 in. each. (with the exception of the tomatoes). Peel and core the pineapple and cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes. Thread the veggies onto skewers, alternate veggies for looks. Thread the pineapple onto skewers. Thread the meat onto skewers. Grill the veggies and meat directly over the flame on med. heat. Place the pineapple above to warm with veggies and meat are cooking. Cook until meat is at your preferred doneness (We went for med. so it was about 10 or so min. each side) and veggies are charred and soft. Remove from grill. Place pineapple directly on grill and char, about 2 min. each side. Remove. Serve family style.

* I used a Teriyaki-style marinade

Ingredients before cooking
Nice char grilled meat, veggies, and pineapple!

~Lemon Cake~
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
2 1/2 c. sugar
4 XL or lg. eggs, room temp
1/3 c. grated lemon zest (6-8 lg. lemons)
3 c. AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. + 3 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 c. buttermilk, room temp*
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a bunt pan. Cream butter and 2 c. sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 5 min. or until light and fluffy. Mixing at med. speed, add eggs, one at a time, and lemon zest. 
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl combine 1/4 c. lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 min. to 1 hr. until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove and let cool
Combine 1/2 c. sugar with 1/2 c. lemon juice in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves.** Pour over slightly cooled cake. Let cool completely. For glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining 3 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice in a bowl. Mix with a whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake, letting glaze drizzle down sides. Cut and serve.

*I accidently bought half & half instead on buttermilk. I used it, and it worked just fine.
**I missed this step. I added all the sugar and the full 3/4 c. lemon juice in the batter. Again, it worked just fine.

This meal was wonderful! It was also very fun, I love to entertain! (and a little bit of showing off my cooking ability...  :-) all in good fun) Everything tasted oh so yummy! All the "Cali"-schetta went, but we did cut up a few two many veggies, but, as you will see soon, they will not go to waste!

Oh, how I love desserts. This lemon cake satisfied a craving that I have been having for some time now. I get that typical craving for a baked good every now and again, but I cannot justify baking a whole batch of cookies for just 2 people. Enter entertaining: I can make a dessert! Aha! Wonderful.

Well, I hope that this inspires you to try these recipes. And soon too! Grilling season is almost over! (depending on where you live of course) Use those summer veggies, fruit and meat! Try something new, even if you don't stick to the recipe, it can be done and taste good!

Great way to spend the evening!


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