Monday, July 11, 2011

Dinner - July 2: BBQ Pork, Chicken Skewers, Grilled Potatoes, Zucchini-Tomato Slaw and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

I always visit my family in Washington state at this time of year.  My youngest sister and her son's birthday are all clustered around the beginning of July and festivities abound - this year it seemed on steroids. Oh - don't forget Canada's Birthday on July 1st.

On Saturday, while a couple of sisters and their friends were out getting pedicures, I made dinner for them and (most of) the rest of our family. Even though I visit several times a year, I miss the normal day-to-day stuff and contributing to get-togethers and meals shared. I love cooking for them.

A bonus to visiting when the weather's nice (and it was spectacularly sunny and warm this trip) are frequent, seemingly close enough-to-touch sightings of Mt. Rainier, the surrounding Cascades range and if you're lucky the Olympic range on the peninsula to the west. This shot, taken with my phone as I was about to go into a store, does not do justice to Mt. Rainier. If you live (or have lived) within sight of it, you don't often refer to it by name but just "the mountain".

This day I made: barbecued pork, grilled chicken satay, barbecued potatoes, corn and zucchini-tomato slaw with a Tennessee mustard dressing (yeah, I'm still digging the julienned zucchinis). Strawberry-rhubarb crisp for dessert (my sister S. assembled the crisp - thank you!!). And Cosmos - the official Walker sister's cocktail.

Photo: Cathy Walker Hall
Recipes after the link include:
  • Cosmos - Walker Style
  • Barbecued Pork Shoulder
  • Grilled Chicken Skewers
  • Grilled Roasted New Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob
  • Zucchini-Tomato Slaw with a Tennessee-Style Mustard Dressing
  • >Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
Cosmos - Walker Style
I think my sister S first made this (I'm sure I'll be corrected if not). I'm not a mixed-drink kind of gal - my default drink is bourbon on the rocks but I'm partial to this cocktail and can be seen drinking the occasional margarita (rocks) on occasion.
Serves 2
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 2 oz triple sec (I'm partial to Cointreau)
  • 4 ounces no sugar added cranberry juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Drink. Repeat.

Barbecued Pork Shoulder
Serves 6-8
  • 4-5 lbs pork shoulder (trimmed of the exterior fat and any really big interior blobs), cut in 2" x 4" pieces, about 2" thick.
  • Rub of choice - I grabbed something from my sister's cupboard (time was of the essence if I wanted the pork to marinate) - but you can use the ingredients and instructions found here if you have more time.
  • 2 medium onions cut in 1/3" slices
  • 3 limes, juiced and then cut into slices
  • 2 oranges, juiced and then cut into slices
Lay the pieces of pork on a cutting board and season liberally with the rub, patting it in on all sides.
Place the seasoned pork in a large enough dish to hold it in one layer. top with the lime and orange juice and strew the sliced onions and juiced citrus on top and between the pieces. Marinate, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for at least two hours, and up to 8.

If you are cooking this on a gas grill, set it on high and when the temperature reads 500+ let it sit at that temperature for a few minutes, then open it clean the grill with a grill brush.

Lower the temperature to 275 F. I'd have gone lower (225-250 F) but I was concerned about time. When the grill is at temp, remove the pork from the marinade and pat the pieces dry with paper towels. Oil the grates with canola oil and lay each of the pieces on the grill, with a little space in between and close the cover. Turn the pieces every 15 minutes or so basting with the leftover marinade and check for doneness after two hours. I took mine off a little before they were done and set them in a large glass oven-proof baking dish, with about 1/2 cup of water in the bottom and tightly covered it with foil. That pan went into a 250 F oven to finish cooking. The pork shouldn't be fall-apart tender but you should be able to easily pull the meat apart with a fork. You can baste it with sauce if you want, but wait until the last 20-ish minutes of cooking.

Grilled Chicken Skewers

I'd call this "satay-style" but there was no dipping sauce. Peanut dipping sauce is common but one of my sisters has a peanut allergy. Same for peanut oil (in the marinade). 'Nuff said. Chicken strips marinaded in a "vaguely Asian-ish" mixture and then skewered and grilled" is not a title that falls trippingly off the tongue - or the keyboard - but it tasted very good.
Serves 4-6

  • 6 tablespoons canola oil (peanut if allergies are not an issue)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest of 1 lemon (reserve lemon for juice)
  • zest of 1 lime (reserve lime for juice)
  • juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon
  • 1 3" piece of ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Trim off the tender, if it's there. Slice the breasts in 1" wide strips, lengthwise.
  • Skewers. If they are bamboo, soak them in water for a couple of hours or more so that they don't burn on the grill.

Add the chicken to the bowl or bag and toss to cover the chicken. Cover the bowl tightly or if you're using a bag, remove all the air possible and seal it. Store this is in the refrigerator for four hours. The bag is convenient because you can reach into the refrigerator every once in a while and give it a shake. If you're using a bowl - stir it every 30 minutes or so to evenly marinate all of the chicken pieces.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you're ready to grill. Drain and reserve the marinade and wipe off the chicken pieces - you want them to sizzle, not steam, when they hit the grill. Pour the marinade in a sauce pan, bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and reduce it so that you can glaze the meat on the grill.

Thread the meat on the skewers, trimming if the pieces are longer than your skewers - you can thread the extra bits on skewers like a kabob. Lay the skewers on a hot grill. Mop the top side with the reduced marinade and let them cook for about 3 minutes. Turn and baste the other side cooking for another 3 minutes. Check for doneness and turn again and cook for another couple of minutes. Drizzle any remaining glaze and serve.

Grilled Roasted New Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
Toss small new potatoes with olive oil, chopped rosemary, minced garlic and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Empty the bowl onto a single piece of heavy-duty foil large enough to hold the potatoes in more or less a single layer. Lay a second piece of foil over top and tightly crimp the edges to seal.

Lay this packet on a hot grill. Grill 15 minute on one side, then flip (this is why you want a tight seal) and grill 10-15 minutes on the other side. Check the potatoes. A fork should slide in and out easily and there should be spots of color on some of the potatoes.

Grilled Corn on the Cob
Place shucked corn cobs on a hot grill and turn every couple of minutes for a total of about 8 minutes.

Zucchini-Tomato Slaw with a Tennessee-Style Mustard Dressing
Dressing adapted from this recipe on Saveur
Serves 8-10 as a side

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. celery seeds
  • 3 large zucchini, cut in 3" julienne strips - do not include the seed core (I used 1 yellow, 1 green and 1 variegated green zucchini)
  • 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups loosely packed Italian parsley leaves

Whisk together all ingredients through the celery seeds and toss with the zucchini and tomatoes. Let this sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or an hour if possible.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
This is Anne Burrell's recipe. We used some beautiful ruby-colored rhubarb and exquisitely ripe and sweet strawberries purchased that morning at the Puyallup Farmer's Market.
Serves 6

  • 1 quart strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter, cut into pea-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350F

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to be sure everything is well combined. Spoon the filling into 8 individual ramekins or 1 wide shallow baking dish.
  • In a food processor combine the flour, oats and brown sugar and pulse to combine. Add the butter, vanilla and salt and pulse pulse pulse until the mixture looks dry and crumbly. Add 1 tablespoon of water and pulse until the mixture starts to come together and look crumbly. If the mixture still seems dry add 1 more tablespoon of water and pulse to combine.
 Crumble the topping over the filling. Bake in the preheated oven until the filling is hot and bubbly all the way through and the topping looks crispy and light brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

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