Friday, July 20, 2012

Build-Your-Own Kebabs

Food on a stick isn't just for the fair!

I was just paging through a few magazines, trying to thin out the pile, and I found a great list of ingredients to combine for kebabs.  Kebabs are fab for parties - you can have big platters of ingredients, and people can put together their own combinations.  I love that this particular list of ingredients includes foods that are either already cooked or don't need to be, so you don't need to worry about cross-contamination like you might with raw chicken or beef.  If you want to go that route, marinate the chunks of meat in advance, and then have a hand-washing station for guests once they've skewered their meats. 

Here's a list to get your started - just pick a variety of ingredients you'd like to try, put out a pile of skewers, a mister with some evoo, some salt & pepper, and have some fun!

slices of baguette
fresh mozzarella balls
cubed Halloumi cheese (it's kind of like Feta, and it's good for grilling)
grape tomatoes
zucchini rounds
mushrooms
pineapple chunks
watermelon cubes
cantaloupe cubes
sliced bell peppers (red, yellow, orange)
sweet onion wedges (or red onion)
baby red potatoes (pre-cooked)
sliced chicken sausage (pre-cooked)

For a fun twist on dessert, put out cubes of brownies and pound cake, all kinds of fruits, and then have a fruit dip or chocolate to drizzle over the grilled kebabs.  Yum!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

I love beef barbacoa. The best I've ever had was from Cocina DeLeon in Brookfield, which is now closed.  I was inspired to experiment on my own, and I've combined about five different recipes from the Internet with some of my own tweaks (yes, I used a spreadsheet to compare ingredients).  The results were met with very positive responses, so much so, that I had no photos. [Update: added a new photo!  Also, make a double batch of the marinade, and freeze 1/2 so it's super easy to make next time.]

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

2-3 lb. chuck roast
1 medium white onion, diced
3/4 c. chicken stock
4-6 avocado leaves (hojas de aguacate)*
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 2)
1/2 c. cider vinegar
4 chipotle chiles and a little adobo sauce from the can
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (remove big pieces of stem)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. ground cumin
2-1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano

Put the roast in the slow cooker with the onions and avocado leaves (you'll want to leave them whole so you can fish them out later). Put the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend together then pour over top of meat.  Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours until fork tender.  I removed the juices and used my gravy separator to get rid of some of the fat, and screen out some of the undesirables (i.e. avocado leaves) and then shredded the meat.   Add back some of the juice to keep moist.  We served it on tortillas with our green salsa, and it was REALLY GOOD.  Pico, queso fresco, fresh cilantro, diced white onion all would be good as condiments.

 *Locally, try Woodman’s - also found them on Amazon.