This post comes to us courtesy of Melissa Graham, founding Executive Director of Purple Asparagus.
Ah, Mother’s Day: a day for dads and kids to celebrate Mom by making a giant mess out of her kitchen. While I’m sure that there’s a goodly percentage of dads out there who pull off a delicious family brunch without flour on the ceiling and eggs in the cabinet hinges, my husband is not one of them.
This is not to suggest that he can’t cook. On the contrary, he’s quite the accomplished chef, at least in one realm – the great outdoors. Give him a set of grill tools or a cedar plank, and he’ll treat our family and friends to a multitude of gourmet delights.
Given my husband’s talents, the only thing made in our house for brunch on Mother’s Day are reservations. After brunch out, we come home to spend the remainder of our day outside in the garden, playing, drinking wine and lemonade, listening to music and enjoying the change in climate. Even our food prep takes place outside.
My favorite of all Mother’s Day meals is an all-grill dinner of beef kabobs paired with a salad from the garden, washed clean with a garden hose and dressed lightly with vinaigrette. For dessert, we share a bowl full of spring’s best strawberries and fresh cream. This meal revels in the bounty of late spring with flavors that parents and kids will both love.
Beef and Vegetable Kabobs with Mint Chimichurri Sauce
If you’re cooking outside, make the sauce in a large mortar and pestle on your picnic table. Boys, in particular, have a great time grinding the ingredients to a paste.
The spring onions I use in this recipe are reddish and shaped like a torpedo — bulbous at the center of the base and narrowing at the end. If you can’t find that variety, substitute the more common red onion.
For the kabobs:
1 ½ pound beef sirloin or bottom round, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 pinch dried oregano
1 large bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 bunch bulbous spring onions, such as Tropea, cut into ½-inch slices
Skewers, bamboo or stainless steel
For the mint chimichurri:
1 ½ cups mint leaves
1 medium garlic clove
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. white vinegar
A small pinch of red pepper flakes
½ tsp. kosher salt
Stir together tamari or soy sauce, oil, vinegar, garlic and oregano in a medium bowl. Toss the beef cubes in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Thread the skewers by alternating beef, peppers and onions. When skewering the onions, make sure to thread all the way through the petals. Cook on a very hot grill to medium rare or an internal temperature of 125° F, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
To make the sauce, purée all the ingredients in a food processor or grind to a paste in a large mortar with a pestle. Serve alongside the kabobs. Serves 4 to 6.
About the author: Melissa Graham, a former attorney, is the founding Executive Director of Purple Asparagus, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to educating families about all things associated with good eating, eating that’s good for the body and the planet. Though its Delicious Nutritious Adventures program, Purple Asparagus has taught thousands of parents and children about healthful, sustainable eating in schools, community centers, and farmers’ markets throughout Chicago and the suburbs. Melissa speaks and writes regularly on child nutrition and sustainability both in the Chicago community and online, blogging at Little Locavores, as The Sustainable Cook on The Local Beet, and as a regular contributor to Kiwi Magazine’s KiwiLog. In recognition of her contributions to the Chicago community, the Chicago Tribune recently awarded her a 2011 Good Eating Award, an honor previously bestowed to Rick Bayless, Alinea chef Grant Achatz, and First Lady Michelle Obama. Melissa resides in Chicago with her husband and 7-year old son in a rowhouse built in 1896.