I'm back from my self-imposed summer vacation, people.
The one where I intended to read a lot and get back to the kitchen and get a pedicure and get my ducks in a row, whatever that means, and prepare for Lucy going to the big school and getting caught up on all things not-internet-related. I also vowed to clean out and organize my entire house top to bottom. Yeah, right.
Truth be told, I meant to do all those things - I did, in fact, write and cook a lot, test recipes, try new ingredients - but I didn't actually read much, except the two pages I can get through before my head slams into the pillow at the end of the night from sheer exhaustion. So, I'm not much brighter than the last time you read me.
But I did get Lucy off to the big school, where we had to scream her name to get her to say "goodbye" to her poor, old, totally abandoned mom and dad. Truth is, I was not one of those bleary-eyed, sentimental parents hovering at the door, sobbing while their kids tumbled into their first class circle. No, I was elated. Proud that she was so ready. So happy. So in her own element. So big.
I thought I'd be mush. I was surprised actually. I thought, "Oh maybe this is how I'll feel dropping her off to her college freshman dorm room. Maybe I won't be crushed, abandoned, almost-empty-nested. Maybe I'll just be proud and happy that she is ready to make her way in the world." Uh. I'll settle for not laying on the floor of her dorm room and screaming "No, No...don't do this to me. You can't leave your mother. We have to grow old together" while half the freshman class looks on, thankful I'm not their parent.
Oh, and I never cleaned and organized my entire house. And I never got that pedicure. Some summer resolutions are left undone. I shall move those to-do list items to the fall. I want a pedicure so my toes will look great while I wear....boots. Nice.
Anyway, there have been a lot of changes here in these last few weeks - and I'll just tell you about them over the next few weeks of posts - but don't get your bunions in a bunch because we aren't pregnant, so it's not that. Geez...you guys always jump to conclusions.
Other than that, I have something for you to make. Something to get us moving out of our lazy, hot and altogether too short summer and into the crisp breezes and baskets of Macintosh apples of Fall. On to Halloween and princess costumes and steaming hot pies out of the oven and weirdly-shaped, rotting pumpkins in your window sill that you totally forgot, until the smell reminded you that it was still there and intense pleas for a certain parent to turn our apartment into a haunted house that can be enjoyed by all the neighbor children and also, I suppose those people who dress up their kitchen tables with gourds and corn stalks, like they have been french kissed by Martha Stewart and breathed in the very life force of crafting.
Bring it the on, you beast. I'm back and waiting for you.
Cumin Scented Beef Kabobs
from Gourmet Magazine
To make the brief jump from Summer to Fall, I suggest a dish that does well on the grill or on the stove in a very hot cast iron pan. I've tried them three ways, grill, cast iron pan and broiler and the first two yield the best results. The broiler is serviceable, but you just can't get the right crunchy, oily texture, where the spices carmelize on the outside of the meat forming a hot, spice-infused crust for the soft, yielding meat inside. For the cut of meat, I like the boneless short rib best, but any nice fatty cut should work just fine.
These cumin-scented beef kabobs from Gourmet Magazine are easy, quick and great for a spicy week-night supper. Throw the meat in a bowl with the marinade the night before or morning of and put them in the pan for dinner that night after you kick your shoes off. A lightly grilled pita and greek salad will make for a scrumptious late summer meal. Or pair it with a thick and hearty white bean soup and thick crusts of bread for that blustery day.
Oh and also, meat on a stick is a big winner with my kids. It's way better than using a fork apparently. And after the meat is eaten, they make nice swords and impalers. Make extras cause you'll be standing at the fridge eating them at 11. And they work great in a lunch box.
* 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. Or heat a cast iron fry pan over high heat. Thread about 4 pieces of beef onto each skewer, leaving small spaces between pieces, then transfer to a tray. (For the fry pan, you can use the skewers but once I just cooked the meat up quickly in pieces and dropped the juicy pieces onto a stick for the kids to eat and carry around. Whatever works for you, will be fine.
Oil grill rack, then grill beef, covered only if using a gas grill, turning, until browned but still pink inside, 4 to 5 minutes. No cover for the cast iron pan, but same length of time.