It’s the middle of November, yet here in CA, the temperatures are still in the mid 70s even well after dark. What else to do but grill in the back yard? I also got some good news today, so I was in the mood to celebrate a little bit. After driving down to the other end of the island to visit friends who are also our new neighbors (Hi Jill and Lance!), I drove to the co-op on Park St. and picked up various delectables to put on skewers on the grill.
From Baron’s, I got a culotte steak for myself to cut into bits, from the seafood counter, I got some fresh prawns for everyone else. From the main grocery store bit, I got several tasty veggies, including fresh brussels sprouts, zucchini, yellow crook-neck squash, and red pearl onions, as well as a multi-berry cobbler for dessert. I marinated the prawns and beef (separately, natch) in a balsamic-based BBQ sauce before skewering them. In addition to what I picked up at the co-op, I also had some baby portabella and eryngii mushrooms on hand, as well as the last of the lovely sweet bell peppers from the Grand Lake farmers market from last weekend, and, of course, fresh tomatoes from the garden (boy am I going to be sad when they run out). I drizzled a little bit of white balsamic vinegar and olive oil over all the vegetables, as well as a pinch of salt and ground black pepper.
A fresh bag of mesquite charcoal guaranteed a hot fire, so everything cooked up nice and fast, and the vegetables charred satisfyingly on the outside, but were cooked perfectly inside. One disadvantage to using bamboo skewers is that one must push all the bits close together on the skewer, otherwise the fire will cause the bamboo to burn in between each item, and leave bits in the food. I was grillmaster, although I gave way to J when it came time to cook the prawns; I don’t eat bugs, so I never learned how to cook ‘em. He was also nice enough to rig up a proper light so we could see what we were doing while cooking- now the days are so short, grilling in the dark is no fun. The local raccoons were interested in the goings on, but a combination of a protective Maxi-puss, high-pressure hose and stick with nails kept the proceedings safe.
Back in the kitchen, I prepared a salad of many mixed greens, with still more fresh tomatoes from the garden, cucumber (that I shoulda peeled, the skin was BITTER!), radishes, sliced mushrooms, and a light vinaigrette over the top. Our starch, to go with all the vegetables, and to absorb the yummy juices, was something new I wanted to try, red quinoa, to which I added a touch of garlic and onion for some flavor, but left intentionally bland to offset the tasty BBQed items. Dessert, as mentioned before, was a cobbler made of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and apples, with ice cream over the top. Summer is a wonderful season; even better when it comes twice in a year!