Friday, August 29, 2014

End of Summer Grilled Beef Skewers and Pineapple Salsa

 Here is a recipe that would be great for this Labor Day weekend.
It is made with Five-Spice powder. If you aren't familiar with
Five-Spice, it is used often in Chinese cuisine and consists of,
you guessed it, five spices: Star Anise, Cloves, Chinese Cinnamon,
Black pepper, and Fennel seeds. It can be purchased in the
spice aisle along with all the other spices.

I wanted to marinate beef in a Five-Spice marinade,
then skewer and grill the beef for dinner.  I was at Costco 
looking for flank steak or skirt steak that I could thinly slice 
for the skewers. I didn't have luck finding one of those two 
and had to settle on Flap Steak. 

Flap Steak is a thin cut of meat that comes from a bottom sirloin
butt cut of beef. It differs from Flank Steak because it comes from a more 
rear portion of the beef.  Likewise, Skirt Steak is even more forward then
then Flank Steak.  Flap Steak is sometimes confused with Hanger Steak
but it is not.  Both Hanger Steak and Skirt Steak are cut from the
diaphragm of the beef.  I think Flap Steak gets a bad wrap but I
have to admit it usually isn't my first choice either.
BUT as a thin piece of meat, it works beautifully
for skewers. It marinates nicely, and grills quickly.
The finished dish shows how thin the meat is.
I only cut it width-wise for the skewers.

The original five-spice marinade recipe came from 
 Better Homes and Gardens and the recipe I used as
modified can be found on BHG Delish Dish.
On this site, it is served with a yogurt sauce,
but I wanted to go even lighter and chose a pineapple salsa.
I, unfortunately, don't recall where this recipe for the pineapple 
salsa originated.  You can use these amounts listed in the recipe
below and at the end, give it a taste and make adjustments to
to your liking. The flavor improves as it sits in the refrigerator. 

This pineapple salsa is delicious and is also great as a side dish
for chicken or just served with tortilla chips (and a margarita!).
It's also great with these Five-Spice beef skewers.


Pineapple Salsa
Source: Unknown
Serves 6

1 fresh pineapple, cored and diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantry
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Combine. Cover and chill. 

Please join me as I link up with

Rattlebridge Farm's Foodie Fridays
Thank you for visiting my blog!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Bird's Nest Napkin Fold and Dinner!

 Lucky me! 
Continued outdoor dining at my daughter's!
Previously, I enjoyed a lovely dinner on her balcony.
If you missed that post, you can check it out HERE

Tonight, dinner was originally for four but dwindled down to two.
That's okay. It happens... and it means more leftovers!

I like to include one or more wow-factors when entertaining
and often a napkin fold does just that.  I found this fun napkin 
fold in the shape of a bird's nest on You Tube HERE demonstrated
 by Denise Vivaldo. She has authored a book named 
"Top 100 step-by-step Napkin Folds." 

I decided to go with a bird theme and thought it coordinated
 well with this Morning Glories tablecloth and matching 
cloth napkins from Target.

My dinner for two began with an easy appetizer.

On a skewer, I added a cube of cantaloupe melon, a small fresh mozzarella
ball, and thinly sliced prosciutto.  I placed two each in margarita glasses,
drizzled each glass with a balsamic reduction sauce and chopped parsley.

The sweet melon goes beautifully with the Italian dry-cured ham
and the mozzarella ball has great texture and adds to the overall flavor.
They are pretty and were very nice to nosh on with a glass of wine.

For the entree, I made an Artichoke Chicken and Spinach Lasagna and served it
Basil Pesto Dressing that was really good.

Instead of a garlic bread traditionally served with lasagna, 
I tested a bread made with pizza dough stuffed with a soft herb
cheese, sprinkled with parmesan and topped with sliced zucchini 
and red onion.  You can find that recipe HERE.

Dessert was a wonderfully simple Lemon and Pistachio 
one-layer cake. Check back and I'll share the recipe with you.

I will be linking up with these following blog parties:

The Tablescaper's Seasonal Sundays
Between Naps on the Porch's Tablescape Thursdays 
Rattlebridge Farm's Foodie Fridays
 As always, thanks for visiting me!

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