Surf and Turf

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My surf and turf was inspired by a recipe in one of my latest cookbooks entitled Barbecue, by Stéphane Reynaud.. (Info in this post.)

It’s skewered beef and shrimp in a very interesting marinade. At least, it is very unique to me. The photo in his cookbook came out much better than what my skewers look like, but then, he probably had a food stylist! But it’s this photo that intrigued me about the recipe in the first place. In fact, it’s the first recipe I’m using from his book.

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I made three times as much marinade as his recipe called for, because I felt it was necessary. And I also had to make a substitution because I don’t know what “meat extract” is. His “note” claims that Bovril is a good meal extract. What? It sounds interesting, but I’ve never come across it before. So I used demi-glace.

So I’ll never really know what his actual kabobs tasted like, but I can assure you that these, using “my” recipe, came out fabulous. Read ahead and check out this marinade. It’s very interesting!

Surf and Turf

1 pound beef tenderloin or flank or skirt steak*
1 pound shrimp
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons ketchup, yep, that’s right**
1 teaspoon beef demi glace
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Coarsely ground pepper

Slice your beef of choice into approximately 1″ pieces only about 1/4″ thin. Then slice the shrimp in half lengthwise. Place both proteins in a medium bowl.
To make the marinade, combine the olive oil, ketchup, demi glace and garlic in a small blender.
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Blend until fairly smooth, then pour over the meat and shrimp. It becomes very orange after blending.
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Toss together gently until evenly distributed, then cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
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The next day, make your skewers by alternating the slices of beef and chicken. Then let them come to room temperature or close to it.
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I love the fresh garlic in this marinade.

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Start your grill of choice. I’m using the electric one because the cooking time is so short. I cooked each kabob about 2 minutes on each of four “sides” at 400 degrees.
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Then I turned off the heat, put the cover on, and let them cook for another 2 minutes. They really smelled good while they were grilling!
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After a little rest, I served the surf and turf with some sautéed greens and steamed corn on the cob. Delicious.

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* I used beef tenderloin because I had an odd-shaped end left over. But flank or skirt steak would both work well because there’s very little cooking involved. You want the meat to take as long (or as little) time to cook as the shrimp.

** Even though I’ve been making my own ketchup, I used commercial ketchup to more closely mimic the author’s recipe.

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verdict: I will definitely use ketchup in more marinades!!! You can’t really tell it’s ketchup, but it probably adds some salt and sugar, as well as tomatoey goodness to the sauce.

Mughlai Kabobs

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Yesterday I made a creamy sauce called sas, made with pistachios, cashews, and almonds. And today I’m making curried lamb kabobs that go perfectly with the sauce.

From Indian Food Forever, a website devoted to Indian recipes, “Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. The Mughals did everything in style and splendour.”

These kabobs are so easy to make – it’s as simple as putting a meat loaf together, and forming elongated meatballs over skewers! If you don’t want to mess with the skewers, just make them meatballs!

Mughlai Kabobs

1 pound of ground lamb, I used a mixture of beef and lamb*
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup ground chick-pea flour, or besan
1/3 cup sliced almonds, pulverized in a blender
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
2 teaspoons salt

In a very large bowl, add all of the ingredients.

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Mix everything together well. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.

After time has passed, create the kabobs by forming the dough over the end of your skewers – I’m using bamboo skewers. I didn’t soak them because they really weren’t going to be over direct heat. Try to make the meat cylinders of uniform thickness so they will cook evenly.

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Meanwhile, start up a grill outside. You could also cook the kabobs inside under the broiler, but I used these kabobs as an excuse to try out a Cuisinart indoor-outdoor electric grill that I bought but have never used…. yet.

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So I plugged the “griddler,” as it’s called, outside in the shade. Then I turned the dial to the highest position, which is 400 degrees. Then I put the kabobs on and really, nothing happened. Then I realized that the plug wasn’t pushed in all the way, but after another 15 minutes or so, still nothing was happening.

Then lo and behold, I discovered I was using the dial incorrectly. Inadvertently, when I thought the dial was on 400 degrees, I had turned it to OFF.

I have wasted more time in my life with dials. Especially in hotel bathrooms where I can’t figure out which way to point the shower dial. There’s always a pointy thing, or a lever of sorts, but there’s never a corresponding line to match up with. I wish I could design these things. Although, I might be the only person who has this problem.

And so, I started up the griddler again, this time with the dial actually on 400 degrees. And it actually heated up really fast.
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I cooked the kabobs on three sides, then turned down the temperature to 350 degrees, put the lid on, and finished them for another 15 minutes. I wanted them still a little teeny pink on the inside.

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Then I served them just off the grill, with some of the beautiful creamy nut sauce, and a curried spinach and mushroom side dish. Scrumptious!!!!!

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* Because my husband thinks he doesn’t like lamb, I used the mixture of beef and lamb.

verdict: I’ve made these and the sauce before, and I will continue to make these throughout my life. This is fabulous Indian food fit for a fancy meal or a pool party!