To be honest, I haven’t been cooking regularly for very long. It all started about a year or two ago with a discovery. My father had invited me for dinner to the most amazing restaurant he knew in Rapperswil-Jona (Villa Aurum). The second course was a duck liver pâté with dried pears and melted chocolate. The flavors were subtle, smooth, and beautifully combined. Ever since, I’ve been hooked on the subtleties of flavor and cooking. I even went back to that restaurant recently to take a cooking course.
When I got home that evening after eating there, I started scanning Pinterest for the most gourmet recipes I could find. If I wanted to keep discovering new, exciting flavors, I would have to start cooking for myself.
Apart from the excitement, there’s also an ever-growing necessity in my life to learn how to cook well. Who will do the cooking for me when I move out of my parents’ house? Exactly: nobody. This means that for me, cooking is a means of independence, and as such, I’m absolutely in love with it. When I have kids one day, I’ll be as prepared as I can be to feed them the best, most nutritious food possible.
Over time I’ve made myself a list of the best go-to recipes. So now that barbeque season is upon us, what could be a more heart-warming meal to an avid foodie than seasonal, colorful, tender skewers with an exotic marinade and a warm, crispy side dish? Mouth-watering. (The photo shows both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions and a simple tomato mozzarella salad on the side.)
Ingredients to serve 4 people:
For the kabobs:
1 lb. (500g) pre-cut veal strips or chunks of sirloin steak OR smoked or regular tofu, in chunks
2 medium bell peppers (any color), in large dice
2 medium red onions, cut into eighths with the layers pried apart
1 can (300-400g) pineapple, cut into chunks
For the marinade:
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. sunflower (or other neutral) oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame seed oil
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
1 large clove of garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tbs. lemon juice (important, as it tenderizes the meat)
- Put the chopped meat or tofu into a medium bowl and add the marinade ingredients one by one, tossing after adding each one until your meat/tofu is coated. When using tofu, toss carefully so you don’t break it up. Set aside.
- Chop the veggies. Build your skewers: I usually do veggies-pineapple-meat/tofu.
- Grill the skewers on an outdoor grill or indoors in a grill pan until cooked to your liking.
Tip: When using a grill pan (a regular nonstick pan would work as well), don’t start at the highest heat since the meat/tofu will be cooked quickly but the veggies, especially the onion, will stay too raw if you do this. You may even want to make “deconstructed” skewers when using a pan, meaning you wouldn’t use skewers at all and make a kind of stir-fry instead. This also goes nicely with basmati rice. Which brings us to our side dish:
The Garlic Bread
Ingredients for 10 pieces:
1 loaf of fresh bread or 5 mini baguettes
1 bulb of garlic cloves, pressed/minced/grated
3 Tbs. softened butter
3 Tbs. olive oil
Salt to taste
Italian seasoning to taste (basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- Slice your loaf or halve your baguettes lengthwise.
- Mix together all remaining ingredients, beginning by whipping the butter to soften it. Spoon the mixture over the bread.
- Put the garlic bread on a baking tray and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes right under the broiler until slightly browned and crisp.
Text and photo by Lara Friedrich
Lara has been a freelance illustrator for Mothering Matters since early 2013. She is in her third year of University (majoring in psychology) where she’s currently working as an assistant in a research project in pedagogy. Lara is also an assistant translator from German to English for various fiction books and works as a demo singer for the songwriter Kate Northrop. Lara’s Instagram has occasional food posts.
Skewers recipe adapted from: Laura in the Kitchen
Garlic bread from: Courtney’s Sweets