Day 138: More Satay and Peanut Sauce, Grilled Bacon-wrapped Corn on the Cob, Grilled Peppers, Grilled Pineapple and Raspberry Crumble Cake
I worked today, cooking for Customer Appreciation Day at Willow Park. (On these days I get to rifle through their massive kitchens and challenge myself to creatively use up whatever has piled up in their fridges and freezers. They have an entire fridge devoted to cheese. Today they had more Spolumbos sausages than I ever care to see in one place again.)
I got home around 5, and we decided to have an impromptu barbecue on the back porch to celebrate the fact that a) the trees are finally starting to grow leaves, and b) it’s actually warm enough (33 this afternoon!) to have an impromptu barbecue on the back porch. So a bunch of assorted friends congregated in our back yard; K & N brought cross sections of corn on the cob, wrapped in bacon (inspired by the menu at Palomino). J & P brought teeny sweet peppers, tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and chunks of pineapple threaded onto skewers to grill for dessert. Everything got thrown on the grill, but unfortunately I got distracted taking photos of all the boys hanging out the kitchen window and our bacon-wrapped corn caught fire. After extracting the cobs, we actually had to douse the lingering flames with baking soda.
To make bacon-wrapped corn, all you need to do is cut the corn into chunks about the same width as your strips of bacon, then wrap a strip of bacon around each piece, securing it with a toothpick. (Soak them in water first if you don’t want them to burn.) Grill, turning as you need to, until the corn is sort of shrink-wrapped by the cooked bacon.
The peppers, similarly, were slicked with oil (and a bit of balsamic) and tossed whole onto the grill until they were slightly charred and soft, then returned into their bowl with its oily, vinegary residue.
I didn’t have much time to think about what to make (Spolumbos sausage would have been easy), nor did I feel much like cooking anymore, so called my trusty pork satay into service – besides being quick, they are easy for larger numbers of people to eat while sitting on folding chairs on the deck. Plus, I haven’t met a little boy yet who didn’t love meat on a stick.
I told you - when I stumble upon something that works, I make it over and over again. I did switch back to the maple-rosemary version though.
Maple-Rosemary Pork Satay
2 pork tenderloins
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard (or any mustard you like)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Cut the pork tenderloin in half widthwise, then into even strips lengthwise. Put them into a ziplock bag along with the marinade ingredients; knead the bag a bit to blend everything, then stash in the fridge for up to 24 hours or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When ready to grill, soak bamboo skewers for at least 10 minutes, then thread the pork onto the skewers and grill for a couple minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the pork), just until done. Serve hot, warm or cold, preferably with peanut sauce.
Makes lots. (We fed 8 adults and 5 kids.)
For dessert, the pineapple was simply grilled until it was soft and grill-marked, then drizzled with honey.
And finally, a raspberry crumble cake, made with a handful of the frozen raspberries I keep in the freezer for smoothies. This eat-straight-from-the-pan cake is one of my favorite go–to recipes, and perfect for summer because you get the benefit of cake and fruit crumble all in one. It’s not too sweet, easy to eat with your fingers, and can be made with any kind of fruit you have around, even if it’s getting wrinkly. In the summer, use berries, peaches or plums, and add some grated lemon zest to the batter. At Christmas, try it with pears and cranberries with grated orange zest in the batter.
Apple, Plum or Berry Crumble Cake
Sometimes I throw a handful of sliced almonds into the crumble mixture, or sprinkle them overtop before the cake goes into the oven. For a raspberry-almond cake, you could also use almond extract in place of the vanilla in the cake batter; this would go well with raspberries.
1/2 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp. ground flax seed (optional)
a shake of cinnamon (optional)
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup low fat sour cream or plain yogurt
a large apple (peeled and sliced), or 3 plums, pitted and thickly sliced, or a large peach or nectarine, pitted and sliced, or a cup or so of fresh or frozen (unthawed) berries
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8″ square or round pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crumble, stir together the flour, brown sugar, flax seed, cinnamon and butter and blend it with a fork or your fingers until the mixture is well-combined and crumbly. Set aside.
To make the cake, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add half the flour mixture and stir by hand just until it’s combined. Stir in the sour cream, then the remaining flour mixture, stirring until it’s just blended.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the apples, plums, peaches or berries on top and sprinkle with the crumble mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is golden and springy to the touch. (Springiness may be difficult to test with the fruit in the way – you could also test it by sticking a toothpick or bamboo skewer into the cake. If it comes out with moist, not gooey, crumbs sticking to it, it’s done.)