Monday, June 26, 2006

Orange-Bourbon Shishkabobs w/ Tofurkey Kielbasa, Blueberry and Wild-Rice Salad, and Mint Juleps, to Boot!

As mentioned earlier in the week, Saturday night I had plans to party it up Mark-Twain-style, and so we busted out the barbecue, the mint juleps, and the Mark Twain and had ourselves a sweltering, church-going, plantation kind of night! Why, you ask? Well, mostly just because I wanted to try out this Orange-Bourbon Marinade recipe I'd stumbled across and wanted to use for shishkabobs, which meant buying some bourbon, which in turn meant finding uses for bourbon, which in turn meant finally trying a damn mint julep, which in turn meant (of course) reading some Mark Twain.

Saturday afternoon, I whipped up this extremely simple (but flavorful) marinade and tossed some baby 'bellas, onion chunks, and diced up tofu into it to marinate throughout the afternoon and into the evening. I also boiled up some red baby potatoes so that we could throw them on the skewers as well and they wouldn't take excessively-long to grill.


Extra-firm tofu, chunks of onions, and baby 'bellas, all marinated in the Orange-Bourbon Marinade
One red-pepper, chunked
One green-pepper, chunked
5 red baby potatoes (pre-cooked and sliced in two)

Orange-Bourbon Marinade: RECIPE

E also found himself with a hankering for kielbasa that afternoon, so he picked up some Tofurkey kielbasa for us to grill up as well, along with a homemade batch of peasant-bread that he'd made the night before.

To top all that off, I picked up some no-cook fresh ears of corn at the market on Friday--I love this corn way the hell up... It is so gloriously sweet and tender that you can eat it right off the cob without ever needing to cook it. If you haven't tried it, you must.

And finally, I whipped up a batch of Blueberry and Wild-Rice Salad that I'd also been eyeing all week, and damn was it good. The most complicated part about the recipe was the dressing, but it was well-worth the grating effort. The only adjustments I made (or would make in the future) were that I used a variety of dried fruit (since I didn't wanna spend $6+ on buying a bag of apricots and a bag of cranberries) and in the future, I would probably cut the amount of oil in the dressing in half (if not more) as it was much greasier than it needed to be, especially for a fruit and rice salad. But seriously, well-worth the time and effort as it was wonderfully flavorful and summery-tasting.

Blueberry and Wild-Rice Salad: RECIPE

And of course, the night wouldn't've been complete without some homemade mint juleps... Man alive, these babies were strong--I'd imagine there's a helluva lot of drunken southern ladies sitting out on their porches, fanning themselves desperately on a nightly-basis if these really are the cat's pajamas down south. =)

INGREDIENTS (For one mint julep):

3 oz Jim Beam bourbon
5+ sprigs of fresh mint
1 t. sugar

Mix and try to make it through to that last sip, as it is the best one.

All in all it was a very spirited and fun evening, and I'd definitely recommend both recipes for grilling out with friends or family. I'd've said all that in a mock-southern drawl, but you'd just end up making fun of me. =)

OBLIGATORY READING: "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain

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