Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: Cumin-Scented Kebabs & Best Broccoli Slaw



For a year now, I've been getting the wrong magazine subscription. Wowed by her Christmas cookie issues, I thought I wanted to receive Martha Stewart Living, but my husband knew better and ordered Gourmet as well, both Christmas gifts. For a while they competed for space in my mailbox and for attention on my coffee table, but it wasn't long before I was completely seduced by the recipes and articles in Gourmet, and read each issue cover to cover before glancing at MSL. It didn't help that MSL seemed to have less and less food articles and focused more and more on fashion. Sorry, but I just don't want to read eight pages of summer jacket requirements--I don't care that much about their versatility or how a good jacket is 'the ultimate team player'. (April-'09) Kudos to Martha for using her own staff to model the blazers and the like, but unfortunately I won't be renewing my subscription.

That being said, did you read the August '09 issue of Gourmet?? Cumin-Scented Beef Kebabs, Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita, Corn-on-the-Cob with Mint and Feta, Ice Cream Sandwiches with Blueberry Swirl....The mag is chock-full of recipes, each one begging to be made this instant. Everything about the 'Freewheeling' feast appealed to me (p.62) and became the inspiration behind a recent casual BBQ in honour of my birthday.


Yes, I cooked for my own birthday. Get over it!
Does NO ONE know me by now? Friends and family were incredulous that I wanted to cook a meal for them and 'work' on my birthday. Don't they know by now that I truly DO love to cook?

Perhaps they didn't understand my terms:

"An afternoon of distraction-free cooking, with no children underfoot and no clean-up required by me."

I believe that was what the official contract read.
OK, so there was no such contract, but for the first time ever, I employed a 'Mother's Helper', which is about as close as I'll ever get to a nanny! My neighbor's teenage daughter brought the boys to the park, then bathed them and put them down for naps while I zipped around my kitchen in fifth gear. Then I enlisted her to shuck 24 ears of corn and skewer two dozen kebabs, while I freshened up before our guests arrived.

The recipes from Gourmet are so easy to follow and the meal came together with no hitches. If only the weather was so manageable. It poured rain at the beginning of the evening - just as I was out barbecuing some lamb 'popsicles' - and thoroughly soaked me. The twenty or so guests took shelter in my kitchen and munched Greek meze while I panicked over how I was going to feed (and fit) everyone in our cozy bungalow. Fortunately the rain tapered off enough to allow us to move outdoors for the meal, and everyone had the luxury of a little elbow room after all.


Our beef stole the spotlight dressed as Cumin-Scented Beef Kebabs, tender chunked sirloin that had been marinated in garlic, coriander, cumin and loads of fresh oregano. The skewers were sandwiched between grilled pita bread that had been bathed in a pungent garlic and oregano infused olive oil and the whole thing dressed with homegrown tomatoes and slathered with Peter's Tzatziki. Several variations of Greek Salad were the colorful accompaniments, along with my Current Obsession Number 1: Corn-on-the-Cob with Mint & Feta, and Current Obsession Number 2: Broccoli Slaw --the recipe for the slaw is given at the end of the post.

And for dessert...my sister brought a killer Carrot Cake (I do draw the line at making my own cake. Thanks, Miranda!) and our fingers got sticky with baklava from Montreal's own Patisserie Mahrouse. It felt a bit weird planning a party with no sweets, so a few days before I churned a batch of vanilla ice cream and made my own version of Gourmet's Ice Cream Sandwiches. Between thin layers of blondies (like a brownie, but no chocolate) I spread vanilla ice cream and swirled in a chunky blueberry jam. Delish! Of course they were consumed before I could get a photo. It didn't even cross my mind to photograph them--I was too busy eating as many as I could before they melted.

As usual, I was flying around the kitchen with an 18-month-old permanently attached to my leg--so there was no way I could snap as many photos as I would have liked. I handed my camera off to my brother-in-law at some point, and he snapped a few for this post.


This is a great menu for a big gang when you want to BBQ, but perhaps have had your fill of burgers for the season. Do try these recipes; this is food that gives maximum flavour for minimal effort.

Cumin-Scented Beef Kebabs
Recipe courtesy of the lovely Gourmet Magazine

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

2 pounds sirloin flap steak or flatiron steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces


Equipment: 12 (12-inch) skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes if wooden


Stir together oil, oregano, garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then toss with beef. Marinate, chilled, at least 2 hours.


Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (high heat for gas); Thread about 4 pieces of beef onto each skewer, leaving small spaces between pieces, then transfer to a tray.

Oil grill rack, then grill beef, covered only if using a gas grill, turning, until browned but still pink inside, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita (recipe below) and fresh Tzatziki.

Beef can be marinated up to 8 hours

Serves 6



This is my favorite salad this summer and I've made it so many times! It's great to bring to a potluck or just for eating all by your lonesome for a healthy--and crunchy--lunch. You can't get much easier than four ingredients and a dressing! Don't forget to toast the almonds--they really make the salad. Oh, and I once used golden raisins instead of dried cranberries and they were fabulous, too.

Broccoli Slaw

Recipe slightly adapted from the original version given to us from that blogging queen of slaw, Smitten Kitchen
Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing


1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot


Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply hand chop it into smaller pieces. I used both the stem and the flowerets, but you can just use the tops.


Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli (if you’ve skipped the stems, you might not want it all; I otherwise found this to be the perfect amount) and toss it well.
Season well with salt and pepper to taste.
Should keep up to a week in the fridge.


Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita Bread
Also from Gourmet Magazine August 2009

3 tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, smashes

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano

2 pocketless pita bread rounds

kosher salt to taste


Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook garlic, turning once until pale golden. This took a few minutes. Discard garlic and remove skillet from heat, then stir in oregano.
Preheat grill. Oil grill rack. grill pitas, 3 at a time, turning once, until grill marks appear. Remove from grill and brush both sides with garlic-oregano oil. I had a friend stand by, brandishing a silicone brush, to do this part while I continued grilling.
Sprinkle with kosher salt and serve warm. May be cut into wedges.


Got Beef?

The Beef Chronicles: an introduction

TBC: Rib Steak au Buerre Rouge

TBC:T-Bone Goes Camping

27 comments:

Maria said...

Look at all of that amazing food! Nice work! I love Gourmet too:) I am for sure trying that slaw. Glad you had a nice b-day!

Tartelette said...

Happy belated birthday! The kebabs sound out of this world!

Megan said...

I came to the same realization. I stopped subscribing to MSL... now I just get Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Everyday Food, and Cooks Illustrated's Entertaining. Hmm... maybe I subscribe to too many... but none of those go into fashion or things I don't want to read about!

This dinner looks mouthwatering!

Half Baked said...

Hope you had a Happy Birthday! Wow your food looks awesome! And I totally agree with you about MSL. I'm always sucked in by the photography but let down by the content. Not so with Gourmet!

Melissa said...

Hope you had a great birthday.

MSL recently changed her format to include fashion/beauty...I've subscribed to MSL since 1996.

I love Bon Appetit, have had Cooks Illustrated, skimmed through Food & Wine and have just ordered a preview to Cooking Light. Maybe I'll have to check out Gourmet!

Hilary said...

Happy birthday!

I agree, MSL is not great for food. I think its focus has changed somewhat over the years and it's more 'lifestyle-ish' now. (She still does hands-down the best wedding mag on the market, though!)

I LOVE Gourmet.

Colin's Mom said...

I have to agree with you that the broccoli slaw recipe is a keeper! I've made it with chopped broccoli and the bagged broccoli slaw mix. Either way, it was great! Happy Birthday and one way to ensure you get what you want on your birthday is to cook for yourself!

Kelsey B. said...

Happy Birthday!! This looks awesome, I love your birthday feast. It has definitely given me ideas for mine next month. :) ps - I agree with you, I much prefer Gourmet to MSL.

Cheryl Arkison said...

Kindred spirits we are. Gourmet was the one mag that I started my food obsession with, the one that lasted through the financial drought we had 7 years ago, and the only one I now refuse to give up, although I will share.

Does it make you feel old to have a mother's helper? Hiring a nanny does that to me.

Katie @ goodLife {eats} said...

Yum!

That looks like a fantastic spread and happy birthday! I am the same way, I love to cook and I love to cook for others.

nicole said...

What a delicious birthday feast! I know what you mean about people not letting you cook. My Mom never wants me to bring anything, ever, saying it is too much trouble and I have to tell her over and over that I want to.

Deborah said...

that sounds like a perfect birthday - and you just made me want to subscribe to Gourmet!

Miss High Heels said...

Happy Birthday!
I keep hearing about Gourmet magazine and how great the recipes are. I think it's time I started to track down where it' sold in Australia to get my hands on a copy.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

What a lovely spread. Yes, cooking is the ultimate treat, especially if someone else cleans up!

Ash said...

okay... love your blog! Just found it!
I love the looks of all this beefyness. I need some beef now.

kimberleyblue said...

Happy birthday! I can't think of a better meal to celebrate a birthday with.

I've been following your beef chronicles...I'm not much of a beef-eater, but this one sounds amazing! My fav so far...

Jenny said...

Sounds fabulous! And belated Happy Birthday.

Kimberly said...

Happy Birthday Aimee...I had mine a week ago myself ;-). Didn't make my own cake...my hubby brought home these gourment cupcakes for me instead...yum!

My husband would love those kebabs...he's a beef guy...will definitely have to try those.

Emily said...

I tried commenting on this earlier, but my computer kept messing up. Not from your blog- it was any blog.

Anyway, the whole meal sounds great. The ice cream sandwiches really excite me. I know exactly what issue of Gourmet you're talking about. That one is a keeper.

Abby said...

Incredible meal! Mouthwatering photo at top. I'd love that for dinner.

And I LOVE Martha, but for the crafts and design, not the recipes!

Denise said...

Glad I found your blog. I'm subscribing so that I can spend more time here. I'm new to food blogging & find I am quite addicted to reading them.

Happy Birthday! My b-day is coming this Friday Sept 11th. I had to comment because I just did kabobs on the grill this past weekend. Your beef kabobs look delicious! I'll have to try them!

I like your cooking terms. I think that would be the ideal way to cook for my own bday.

Michelle from Taste As You Go said...

All of that food looks amazing! And I agree with you about MSL. I've found myself in the same predicament whenever a new issue arrives. When my MSL subscription ends, I probably won't renew.

runescape money said...

Off cost outfits are also pretty cheap. You can market them at lower prices. away cost outfits are products which have minor flaws that are frequently pretty challenging to detect and do not have an effect on the all round great quality concerning the clothes. For example, outfits that do not possess the exact shade of color could be regarded away cost as well as you can acquire them at a pretty affordable price.

rs gold said...

Off cost outfits are also pretty cheap. You can market them at lower prices. away cost outfits are products which have minor flaws that are frequently pretty challenging to detect and do not have an effect on the all round great quality concerning the clothes. For example, outfits that do not possess the exact shade of color could be regarded away cost as well as you can acquire them at a pretty affordable price.

thomas sabo charms said...

Off cost outfits are also pretty cheap. You can market them at lower prices. away cost outfits are products which have minor flaws that are frequently pretty challenging to detect and do not have an effect on the all round great quality concerning the clothes. For example, outfits that do not possess the exact shade of color could be regarded away cost as well as you can acquire them at a pretty affordable price.

thomas sabo bracelets said...

Off cost outfits are also pretty cheap. You can market them at lower prices. away cost outfits are products which have minor flaws that are frequently pretty challenging to detect and do not have an effect on the all round great quality concerning the clothes. For example, outfits that do not possess the exact shade of color could be regarded away cost as well as you can acquire them at a pretty affordable price.

pandora jewellery said...

Off cost outfits are also pretty cheap. You can market them at lower prices. away cost outfits are products which have minor flaws that are frequently pretty challenging to detect and do not have an effect on the all round great quality concerning the clothes. For example, outfits that do not possess the exact shade of color could be regarded away cost as well as you can acquire them at a pretty affordable price.

ShareThis

Blog Widget by LinkWithin