Saturday, August 14, 2021

Summer Fresh Recipe Series: Gaucho Beef Kabobs with Corn and Orzo Salad

This is a one dish summer feast!  A gaucho style feast that starts with succulent beef, spiced with just the right Latin flavors, surrounded by an orzo, summer corn, and fresh summer tomato salad!

Gaucho Beef Kabobs with Corn and Orzo Salad

I'm seeing fall food and home items all over Pinterest.  I don't know where these people live but in Southern California it's 94 today which is HOT, which means SUMMER IS STILL HERE!  I don't want to be thinking about pumpkins and stews. Heck no.  Bring on the fresh summer food til there ain't no more!

This Gaucho Beef Kabob is fabulous! Gaucho is a Latin American Cowboy and this food steak would be right up his alley. (or trail!)  Cuts of tender sirloin skewered for ease of cooking are seasoned with spicy Latin flavors.  To go with it we have a wonderful fresh summer salad.  August and September is corn and tomato season so why not put them to good use.  The cool salad tames down the heat of the beef and is the perfect side kick.  Enjoy!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • ground cumin
  • ground oregano
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs sirloin steak
  • orzo pasta
  • 2 fresh corn on the cobs - fresh is best
  • red onion
  • grape tomatoes
  • bell pepper - red, yellow, or orange
  • limes - needed for zest and juice
  • cilantro
  • We also grilled zucchini on the side!

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use New York strip or filet mignon
  • Use cherry tomatoes cut into 4th instead of grape tomatoes
  • Bell peppers - use a sweeter one like red, yellow or orange
  • Use shallots instead of red onion, or leave it out

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • If you make a lot of kabob buy some metal skewers.  It will save you money in the long run.
  • If using bamboo skewers - soak for 30 minutes before threading to prevent the wood from burning
  • You can make the orzo pasta ahead but it is not necessary.
  • Microwave your limes for 15 seconds to get more juice out of them!

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Gaucho Beef Kabobs with Corn and Orzo Salad

serves 4

Gaucho Kabobs
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1 ½ pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Corn and Orzo Salad
⅔ cup dried orzo pasta
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
⅔ cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon lime zest
¼ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons Fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Lime wedges and cilantro as garnish

In a small bowl combine chili powder, garlic powder, cumin,  oregano and black pepper.  Rub over meat pieces and thread meat onto skewers, leaving a 1/4 inch between each piece.

Grill meat skewers, covered, over medium heat 8 to 12 minutes or until meat is slightly pink in center, turning skewers once or twice during grilling.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions, adding corn the last minute of cooking. Drain in a colander. Rinse; drain again. 

In a large bowl combine orzo mixture, bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes.   For dressing: In a small measuring cup combine lime zest and juice, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, the cilantro, and 1/2 tsp. salt.   Cover and shake well. Pour dressing over orzo mixture, tossing to coat. 

To serve, arrange Corn and Orzo Salad on a large platter. Top with meat skewers and, if desired, additional cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Summer Fresh Recipe Series: Grilled Margherita Pizza

This pizza packs a double whammy.  1) Fresh and perfectly spiced homemade pizza sauce using summer ripe tomatoes, and 2) it's grilled outdoors and comes out close to a stone oven baked crust!  This is summer cooking!

Grilled Margherita Pizza

Today we are making Classic Margherita Pizza out on the grill!  This is a great summer treat when you use a homemade tomato sauce using ripe summer tomatoes and flavor-popping herbs.  Cooking the pizza on pizza stones like these, give you that stone-oven pizza taste.  Take a little help by using a store bought pizza dough.  It will come out delicious and the simple toppings are just the right touch.

The homemade sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator several days.  Fresh, ripe summer tomatoes make this sauce really special, taking the pizza up another level.  The sauce is simple to make, one you'll want to make over and over.  Enjoy!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • pizza dough - store bought or homemade
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh mozzarella
  • Roma tomatoes
  • onion
  • garlic
  • dried basil, thyme, and oregano
  • tomato paste

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use homemade pizza dough
  • Use a jarred pizza sauce instead
  • Create different pizzas by using a variety of toppings

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Blanch the tomatoes to easily remove the skins
  • The pizza sauce can be made ahead a few days and stored in the refrigerator
  • Allow the pizza dough to sit out at room temperature about 2 hours so the dough rolls out easier
  • Top with fresh torn basil leaves after the pizza is cooked to avoid the basil from browning.

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Grilled Margherita Pizza

1/2 to 1 cup homemade pizza sauce (recipe below)
Fresh mozzarella - torn or sliced into pieces

Allow pizza dough to sit out at room temperature for 2 hours.  Take a piece or parchment paper and roll out the dough.  We cut our into 3rd making three small personal pizzas.  Place a sprinkling of cornmeal on a pizza peel or the back of a sheet pan and place the pizza dough on it.  Place the pizza sauce on the pizza and top with slices of mozzarella.

Heat grill to 450 degrees with the pizza stones already on the grill.  After about 10 minutes slide the pizzas on to the pizza stones.  Cover with grill lid and allow to cook about 10 minutes.  Pizza dough should be cooked and browned on the edges and bottom.  Remove from the stones to a cutting board.  Sprinkle with torn basil leaves.  Cut into slices and serve.

Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce

2.5 pounds cored fresh whole tomatoes  
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried basil 
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano 
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoons tomato paste

1 store bought pizza dough
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make a small X in the bottom of each tomato and plunge into the boiling water until the skins are slightly loosened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of ice water for 1 minute. Peel with a paring knife, starting at the X.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes (and any juice), basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until slightly thickened.

Transfer the sauce to a blender, add tomato paste and blend until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)


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