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

Here's a photo from my friend Mark who tried the recipe!
I LOVE BEEF BARBACOA. 

The best I've ever had is from Cocina DeLeon in Brookfield, and I've been inspired to experiment on my own (no worries, I won't stop buying it there - it's just so good!).  I've combined about 5 different recipes from the Internet with some of my own tweaks, and made it in the slow cooker (sorry, not uber authentic, I know...).  The results were met with very positive responses tonight, so much so, that I have no photos.  Maybe tomorrow with the leftovers, if I can get to them first! 

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa (a work in progress)

Approx. 2 lb. beef chuck roast (or larger)
1 small to medium white onion, diced (I only had a sweet onion, so I just used that – white onion next time)
3/4 c. chicken stock
4-6 avocado leaves (Woodman’s!!)
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 2-3 limes)
1/2 c. cider vinegar (I might experiment with white vinegar next time)
4 chipotle chiles and a little adobo sauce from the can (a little intense with all the sauce and chiles)
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. ground cumin
2-1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano

I seared the roast with a little oil in a screamin’ hot pan first, and tossed it in the slow cooker, and added the chicken broth, onions, and avocado leaves.  Then I mixed up the rest of the ingredients, and blended them together with my immersion blender, to make a “sauce”, and then poured this over top of my meat.  Turned the slow cooker to 8 hours.  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.   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.