The smell of freshly mown grass and sunshine lures me outdoors.
Feet up, eyes squinting, shoulders relaxing, I inhale and then exhale deeply.
Summer has arrived.
Lazy mornings, longer days, soft blurred edged evenings with friends and family. Laughter bouncing off the concrete, sidewalk chalk smudged hands and popsicle tinged smiles.
The hinges on the barbecue pit creaking, the smell of charcoal and propane smoke wafting on humid air, the sound of meat sizzling and popping as it hits the hot grates.
This is summer in Texas.
The lure of the grill is like the siren’s call to sailors.. the popping of the propane, the smell of wood smoking, and the sizzling of kerosene on charcoal… these are the song of summer in the south.
Vegetables are ripe and bursting with flavor, begging to have their seductive flavor brought to their peak over slow heat, paired with seared meat – they become irresistible.
There’s something about a kabob – bite sized meat and veggies, finger foods that are cooked to perfection under the setting sun.
Have you ever eaten a roasted tomato and had its charred skin burst open as you bite into it releasing the savory, succulent juices into your mouth and then immediately followed it up with a charred, grilled, spicy jalapeno only to follow that up with sweet, robust, mouth-wateringly tender beef?
I have so many memories of kabobs as a child; crisp veggies turned soft and saturated with flavor – the crunch of them between my teeth is as vivid in my memories as the stars in the sky and the muted sounds of my parents laughter and the smell of the new wood of the deck below my feet.
I remember how complicated kabobs once seemed, their colors so vivid, the ingredients so exotic, their preparation the epitome of summer art. They were an edible rainbow prepared over fire – to be enjoyed by sun kissed, barefoot children and their equally summer blessed parents.
Even now, as an adult.. I refuse to eat kabobs indoors.
Kabobs are meant to be enjoyed outdoors where finger tips fly over blades of grass from hammocks, where picnic tables are the preferred table of choice and where summer breezes carry the scent of freshly mown grass and lemonade, and the sounds of laughter and games of hide and seek echo off the sidewalk.
That is how summer should be enjoyed.
Lazy. Delicious. Bursting.
- 1 lb sirloin steak, cut into 1½" pieces
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 C red wine (merlot, cabernet, pinot noir)
- ½ C horseradish
- ¼ tsp dry mustard
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ½ large red onion
- 5 to 8 mushrooms, stems removed
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- Cut the steak into 1½" pieces
- In a large zip tight baggie combine the chopped shallot, red wine, horseradish, dry mustard and steak. Squish and smush to coat. Refrigerate overnight.
- **If you're using bamboo(wood) skewers soak for 30 minutes prior to using***
- Rough, large chop the mushrooms,onion, jalapeno, and bell peppers so that they'll fit on the skewers without splitting. There's no science to this - it's just a quick, large, rough chop.
- Layer the meat and veggies on the skewers until they're full.
- Place them on your pre-heated grill and cook - turning 2 or 3 times to fully cook.
- The amount of time they cook is up to you.
- We like our meat Medium- Rare - so I turned them 3 times (5 minutes each side)
What recipe just screams summer to you? What recipe evokes your deepest memories of childhood and freedom?