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Pork Kebabs

August 22, 2010

What is that? Can you feel it?  There is something slipping through my fingers like delicate silk, so fine that I can’t seem to hold on.  The harder I try to grasp it, the faster it dwindles away.  That, everybody, is summer, and yet again it has completely flown by and all I seem so have done is worked.  I haven’t been swimming, visited a theme park, or stepped on one sandy shore.  My skin probably glows neon purple under black lights.  No picnics, no parades, no family reunions, just work.  So now that ALL of my friends have left to go back to school (I leave later than normal since I’m studying abroad) all opportunity is lost to make up for the quintessential summer activities I missed out on.

Now, friendless and alone, I dread my days off from work.

Here’s how they go:

7:30 – wake up

7:45 – breakfast/check e-mail

8:00-10:00 – watch the Today Show to learn about the goings on of Lindsay Lohan via her mom and other important “news”.

10:00 – 11:00  – read and call my mom to tell her how bored I am

11:00-12:00 – The Price is Right

12:00-12:30 – lunch…yessss!!!

12:30-1:00 – shower because I feel useless and grimy

1:00-5:30 (when my parents come home) – go on miniature field trips by myself, mainly to the grocery store or the mailbox

5:30-bedtime – dinner, chatting, tv, internet, read

Sweet life right?

Well, Thursday was one of my day’s off and my field trip took me beyond my ordinary boundaries to this new Wegman’s.   I got ingredients for nice summer dinner in the hopes of holding onto the season a bit longer.  The Wegman’s, though, is a very unnecessary addition to our county.  The town/city they built this in has about 20 grocery stores already but no bookstore or movie theatre.  I mean, I like grocery shopping and cool grocery stores, but I enjoy other types of entertainment too.  In addition, this supermarket is the most overwhelming and huge store I’ve ever been in besides maybe Costco.  Yes, they’ve got a lot of great selections of produce and some fun, exotic foods, but it can overtake you if don’t go in there with a plan.  Oh, and just in case you’re hungry and the thousands of grocery items to choose from aren’t satisfying you, they’ve got like 6 cafes and eateries.  It seems to defeat the purpose of a grocery store a bit to me but oh well, I guess we just don’t have enough options these days.

But anyway, back to my dish.  I wanted to make up something very typical summer, something grilled, light, and refreshing.  I decided to base it off of Jamie Oliver’s recipe for grilled pork kebabs.  He only uses mushroom and onions along with the pork but I ditched the onion and amped up the variety and color with some zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and orange peppers.  He also makes a flavored oil that he brushes on the kebabs right before grilling, but I actually marinated everything in the oil for a while too.

My mom and I decided that this was one of the best dinner’s we’ve had this summer.  It was so juicy with little charred bits here and there and the meat stayed really nice and tender.  It was so simple too.  I served it with brown basmati rice and, following Jamie’s suggestion, with a little drizzle of honey over everything to cut through the tanginess and earthiness of the marinade.  Summer decided to stick around a bit longer after this meal.

Grilled Pork Kebabs (serves 4)

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 ½ pounds
1 large zucchini
1 large bell pepper, any color
½ pint cherry tomatoes
about 16 white mushrooms
½ cup olive oil
1 Tbs. lemon zest
2 tsp. finely chopped rosemary
½ tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
rice, cooked according to package instructions

A few suggestions first.

1. Put the meat on the ends of the skewers because it holds everything in place the best.  2. If using wooden skewers make sure you soak them in water for 30 minutes so they don’t burn.  3. Finally, your best bet may be to cook the cherry tomatoes separately off the skewers.  I have a special frying pan made to go on the grill so I put the tomatoes in this and set it in indirect heat so they didn’t cook to fast (see picture).  In my experience, if they are on the skewers, they will turn to ash before everything else is done.  With this new way, they were perfectly warm and soft.

Prepare your veggies by washing them and wiping off the mushrooms with a slightly damp paper towel.  Cut up the pork tenderloin, zucchini, and bell pepper into pieces.  It doesn’t really matter how big or small they are but just they are all the same size so they cook at the same rate and that they are big enough to fit on the skewer.  I just made mine about the same size as my whole mushrooms.  Place the pieces of pork in one large Ziploc bag and all the vegetables except the mushrooms into another.

Prepare the marinade by whisking together the oil, lemon zest, rosemary, cumin, salt and pepper.  Pour half into the pork bag and the other half into the vegetable bag.  Squish the bag’s contents around so that everything is coated, seal them up, and let them hang out in the fridge for about an hour.

When you’re ready to assemble the skewers, toss the mushrooms in with the other veggies to coat them with the oil.  Then, simply stick everything but the tomatoes on the skewers in any pattern you desire until you use everything up put the tomatos in the grill frying pan.

Place the skewers and the pan with the tomatoes on the grill and turn them occasionally.  Once the pork is cooked through, the skewers are ready to come off the grill.  Serve over a bed of rice, and don’t forget the drizzle of honey.  It really completes the dish.

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