Posts Tagged 'barbecue'

Curried Pork Kebabs with Mango Chutney

You may notice a mango theme recently.  This because the grocery store had a two-for-the-price-of-one mango sale.  Who can resist.  I love mangoes. I grew up where people had mango trees in their yards, and in season brought you bags of mangoes.

I recently learned that two-for-the-price-of-one is called a BOGO (for buy one, get one), so now I know that the email ads that tell me BOGO today are not asking me to play a game or dance, but are trying to get me to buy two pairs of shoes.

Back to my BOGO mangoes (that actually sounds like a good name for a recipe: pork with bogo mangoes.)  My problem with mangoes is that they are hard to peel, which is compounded by the fact that I tend to eat them while I peel them, leaving me less than I need of peeled mango.   I have seen photos where someone cuts the mango down its flat sides and neatly dices the flesh while it is still on the skin.  Allegedly, the diced mango comes off the skin neatly diced – but mine never does.  I just peel the whole mango first, slice off as much as I can to dice for whatever I am making – and eat whatever is still clinging to the pit, mango juice dripping down my chin.

This recipe started as a recipe for chicken breasts from Cooking Light, but I have turned it into pork kebabs, adding the vegetables to make it a more substantial meal..  A chutney is a variety of sweet and spicy condiment, usually involving a fresh, chopped vegetable or fruit with added seasonings. When I lived in Mumbai, fresh chutney, made of whatever fruit or vegetable was available in the open air market that day, accompanied most meals. It was often made with chili peppers and very spicy.  The piquant chutneys were thought to stimulate the appetite. Mango chutney in Mumbai was likely to be made from green mangoes.  This mango chutney, made with ripe mangoes, follows a more western interpretation of chutney: fruit, vinegar and sugar, cooked down to a reduction, and often preserved like jam, rather than eaten fresh. Leftover chutney of any kind is great on cream cheese or goat cheese sandwiches.

Curried Pork Kebabs with Mango Chutney

Mango chutney:

2 cups chopped peeled ripe mango
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup apple juice
1/3 cup diced dried apricots
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Pork Kebabs

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1½ lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1” pieces
1 medium onion, peeled, quartered, and cut into 20 chunks
1 red or yellow bell pepper, de-veined and seeded, and cut into 16 chunks

To prepare chutney, combine all chutney ingredients in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring mixture occasionally.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To prepare kebabs, combine the soy sauce, juice, curry, and pork cubes in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and shake. Marinate in refrigerator 10 minutes, turning once. (I actually marinated them while I prepared the chutney).  Pre-heat a grill and lower the heat to medium high.

Remove pork cubes from bag. String pork cubes on 4 large or 8 small skewers, alternating with onions and peppers. (If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least ½ hour prior to stringing them on the skewers).  Brush kebabs with marinade, and then discard remaining marinade.

pork kebabs 2

Place pork kebabs on grill.  I have a kebab rack, a nifty metal square with notches that suspends the kebabs above the grill rack. If you don’t have one of these devices, be sure to coat your grill rack with cooking oil so the kebabs don’t stick.  Cook for about 5 minutes, then turn kebabs over and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until pork is done. Serve with chutney on the side.  This makes 4 servings (one large or 2 small skewers) with about 4.5 grams of fat/serving.  I served the kebabs over couscous made with chicken broth.

pork kebab abnd couscous2


Grilled Trout with Roasted Pepper-Mango Salsa

I have been traveling a lot for a month or two and not having much chance to cook – although I’ve discovered some outrageous restaurants.  I love to eat in good restaurants, but I miss my own cooking.. My kitchen has been bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to avoid having them rot  while I was on the road (or in the air).  But now I’m back, and the farmers’ markets and grocery stores are packed with summer fruits and vegetables – the grill has been more or less cleaned – so let the cooking begin!

Tonight I grilled trout. The grocery had them whole, heads and all, but I asked the butcher to chop of the heads and tails and split them open so they would lay flat on the grill.  They were too small to bone prior to cooking, but once they were grilled, the bones more or less lifted right out.  I decided not to fuss with the trout, since they were fresh and would have their own delicate flavor.  Trout Is often sautéed or pan fried, but freshwater trout has a high fat content and can easily stand up to grilling.  I made a lightly spicy fruit salsa with and Asian touch to go with the fish.

Grilled Trout with Roasted Pepper-Mango Salsa

4 whole trout, heads and tails removed, and halved lengthwise. (These trout were only about ½ pound whole, and after the head and tail were removed, there was probably 4 ounces of meat left)
Mesquite seasoning (I used Costco’s, which is not too strong)
1 red bell pepper
Cooking Spray
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into ½ inch dice
½ cup sweet onion (like Vidalia or Walla Walla), finely chopped
2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 green chili, seeded, de-veined,, and finely chopped (optional)
2 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce (I used Sun Luck, but there are several brands)

Preheat the grill, then reduce the heat to medium low.  Cut the red pepper in half and remove the seeds and veins. Place cut side down on hard surface and flatten with the palm of your hand.  Spray both sides of the pepper with cooking spray. Place on grill, cut side down.  Grill for about five minutes per side, turning once. (I used a barbecue grill pan sprayed with cooking spray on top of the regular grill to make it easier to remove the pepper without sticking).  Remove pepper and allow to cool slightly.  Cut the pepper into ½ inch dice.  Mix the pepper, mangoes, onion, cilantro, chili, and sweet chili sauce in a medium bowl and set aside.  Spray the trout  with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with mesquite seasoning. Place flesh side down on the same grill surface you cooked the peppers on.  Cook for 5 minutes, turn over, and cook for about 4 minutes more.  Serve with salsa.  This makes 4 servings. The amount of fat depends in part on the type of trout – rainbow trout have more fat than lake trout, but I estimate that the total fat is about 8 grams/serving.

trout and mango salsa

NOTE on peppers: I had a bag of red bell peppers, and took the opportunity to grill all 5 of them so that I could use them for sandwiches and such.  No sense turning on the big barbecue and grilling one every time I need one, when they keep quite well for several days refrigerated in a sealed plastic bag.

Smoked Cornish Hen with Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

I have a smoker – a useful item when it is hot and you want to make something interesting without heating up the kitchen.   It is an electric smoker, which I purchased because it seemed safer than my old charcoal smoker in this fire-prone region.  You soak wood chips in water – I used apple wood this time – and then place them around the electric elements before plugging in the smoker. The beauty of a smoker is that you can get that smoke-penetrating-the-meat flavor without the added salt that most commercial smoked products have.  It is also inherently a low-fat way of cooking. Any small amounts of remaining fat drip into the water pan below the racks.  I have smoked fish, leg of lamb, pork tenderloin, turkey, and later this year I plan to smoke a duck.

Given that it was a record-breaking 103, I decided to smoke a couple of Cornish hens that I was planning originally to bake.  I did not marinate or brine them, although I have marinated smoker-bound meats in everything from beer and wine to orange juice. I planned to make a hearty barbecue sauce, and I thought that the flavor of the marinade would be overwhelmed by the sauce. So I just cut them in half, took off the skins and fat, and put them in the smoker, filling the water pan that sits below the racks with a mixture of water and leftover wine.  I smoked them for about 2 1/2 hours. (You could also smoke them with the skins on, but it is sometimes harder to remove the skins after smoking.)

What you see on the rack below the hens are mushrooms.  I like to fully use the smoker space, so I usually tuck mushrooms or other smokable vegetables like eggplant around the main course.  Smoked mushrooms are good on sandwiches, and in salads and pilafs.

The smoked hens develop a beautiful color.  I used to think that Cornish hens were very high fat, and with skin on, they are a higher fat entrée.  But without skins, a half of a hen, the usual serving size, only has 4 grams of fat.

I am somewhat obsessed with blueberries. At this time of year, I buy them by the pound and try to work them into everything. The barbecue sauce originally came from Eating Well, another magazine you should consider reading. I left the jalapeno peppers out because I didn’t want a very spicy sauce, but added a little black pepper for some warmth.  This makes a fairly assertive barbecue sauce.

Blueberry-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup bourbon (confession: I didn’t have any bourbon so I used Southern Comfort)
2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 Tablespoon of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of molasses
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
a few grinds of black pepper

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat (In retrospect, I would have used a non-stick pan).  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 3 minutes).  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add bourbon. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in blueberries, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, allspice, and black pepper.  Return to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.  This makes 2 cups.  They list the serving size as 1 Tablespoon, and 0 grams of fat/serving.  Realistically, you’d use more than this on your entrée.  I think I used about 1/4 cup.  This would make it about 2 grams of fat/serving.

And what is underneath the hens: a quick pilaf of brown and wild rice mix to which I added chopped up smoked mushrooms, green onions, and a handful of dried blueberries.  I estimate that the whole entrée had 8 grams of fat, including 1/2 hen, a cup of pilaf, and 1/4 cup of sauce.  I took the pilaf the next day for lunch with some chopped Cornish hen mixed in.

It’s Buffalo Week!

Every six weeks or so, my local Fred Meyer store features fresh buffalo – that’s right, steaks, roasts, and other delicious portions of the American Bison. Typically, I race down the hill to the store to stock up, cooking and freezing it when I get home. Other than the occasional restaurant meal, I have switched to buffalo for my red meat dishes. I will now extol the virtues of buffalo:

  • With visible fat removed, a 3.5 ounce serving of buffalo is just over 2 grams of fat, for virtually all cuts of the meat. (Not so ground buffalo or buffalo burgers, which are higher in fat.) Of the lean cuts of beef, 3.5 oz of flank steak are 8.0 grams, bottom round 9.4, top sirloin 7.9, T-bone steak 10.3. This is a major virtue to someone like me who sometimes wants to eat red meat.
  • Buffalo spend their lives eating grass. They are not subjected to questionable drugs, chemicals or hormones. The members of the National Bison Association feel so strongly about this that they have a resolution opposing the use of these substances in the production of Bison for meat
  • Lest you think that buffalo is strong, gamey or tough, it actually tastes like high quality beef. The T-bone steaks we had earlier this week were fork tender after grilling. I expect that if you did a blindfolded taste test, you couldn’t tell the difference
  • Buffalo used to be more expensive than beef, but with the rising cost of beef, the relative cost of buffalo is now competitive to the price of good quality beef.
  • No, they are not endangered!

Enough of the extolling. On with the recipe:

Buffalo Kebabs with Creamy Grilled Onion Sauce

1/4 cup light balsamic vinaigrette dressing
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 pound of buffalo meat, visible fat removed. I used top sirloin, but a round roast or other roast would also work
A mix of grillable vegetables. I used 16 medium mushrooms, 2 zucchini, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, and a medium onion. You could also substitute eggplant for one of the vegetables. This amount will give you enough for an extra skewer of grilled vegetables.

Mix marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Cut buffalo meat up into 16 approximately even cubes (this will give you 4 cubes/skewer). Place buffalo cubes and marinade into a quart-size zip top plastic bag and zip closed. Mush around so that the meat is completely covered. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2-4 hours, turning occasionally.

Cut vegetables into chunks – mushrooms whole, peppers into about 12 pieces, onion into eighths, zucchini or eggplant into 1 or 2 inch thick pieces. String meat and vegetables alternately onto skewers, 4 chunks of meat and as many vegetables as you can fit on a skewer. Grill over medium heat for about 6 minutes per side, or until done to your liking. About 5 grams of fat/skewer.

My kebabs got a little too well done for my taste, because it was well after dark when we started grilling , and my motion sensitive outside light didn’t seem to think that grilling created enough motion. Grilling by flashlight is not the greatest idea. But they were still very tasty.

Creamy Grilled Onion Sauce

I got this recipe from the blog of Coconut and Lime, a wonderfully inspirational source of original recipes. I was trying to find something to go with the kebabs that would taste good with the grilled vegetables, but wouldn’t take hours to make (it was, after all, already past 9 p.m. when I hauled the marinated buffalo cubes out of the refrigerator and we were starving). I also had an excess of green onions and I never tasted a grilled green onion.

1/4 cup chopped green onions, green parts only
2 Tablespoons non-fat sour cream
2 Tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons non-fat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon white paper
salt to taste

Grill onions by placing them on a grill over medium heat, 3 minutes to a side. You could grill the onions at the same time as the kebabs, but, as I have pointed out, it was dark, and I decided to deal with only one thing grilling at a time. Chop the green parts of the onions coarsely – the white part made a tasty snack as I continued to cook.

Whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix the chopped green onion into the sour cream mixture and serve with the kebabs. 1/4 of this sauce has about 1 gram of fat.


I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

More about me.

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