For my fifth and final week of the 20-time project, I decided to showcase my talents for family and friends. I wanted to try something that is one of my favorite foods of all time: carne and pollo asada. This is a go-to meal for me while tailgating at Charger games, hanging out with friends and family, and on many holiday occasions. I did some Pinterest recipe research and decided on a recipe found here and here for the meat marinades and decided I wanted to do a Mexican classic and made burritos.
Last week, I spent my Spring Break in Yosemite National Park! One of the integral parts of camping is, of course, spending time around the camp fire and barbecuing. So this week, everything I cooked was over an open flame. This made it a little harder for me to predict how long it would take things to cook, but luckily, I had a lot of friends surrounding me giving me advice so I didn't totally mess up our meals.
The inspiration from this week's meal comes from a new Pomegranate jam I got at the Carlsbad Farmer's market last week! I have been reading about a lot of mouth-watering inducing recipes that involve using jam as an ingredient in the marinade so I decided to give it a try with my purchase. I also got a new tool in my Easter basket! I got a garlic crusher so I knew I had to try it out this week as well. Because these two ingredients (garlic and pomegranate jam) seem like an unlikely pair, I had to get a bit creative with the recipe. The flavor that I thought could unite the two ingredients was teriyaki. I know I made teriyaki salmon kabobs last week, but I just love teriyaki so much that I couldn't resist (and I have a full bottle that I bought for last week's recipe). So I mixed the garlic, teriyaki sauce, jam, soy sauce, lime juice, and a hint of chili garlic sauce to create the marinade and it was awesome if I do say so myself. I put the flank steak in a freezer bag with the marinade and let it sit for an hour before barbecuing. I think this helped the steak soak up the flavor more than previous weeks. I had more time for marinading this week and it really paid off in terms of flavor.
For side dishes, I went with a spinach cobb salad and grilled pineapple (I thought the pineapple would be harder to mess up than the brussel sprouts last week). I grilled the meat 6 minutes each side and the pineapple 6 minutes total. Something I keep struggling with is how you know if the meat is ready. I stress out about it every week and somehow I keep getting lucky. I left the meat on about 2 minutes longer than what the internet told me but since the pieces of meat were pretty large, it worked out nicely. The inside of the steak was light pink, just the way I like it! To top it all off, as I was finishing up, one of my neighbors yelled from downstairs how good the food smelled!
I did a little research and found that salmon should cook for 4 minutes each side so thats exactly what I did. I did not, however, realize how hard it is to flip fish on the grill. First of all, the metal skewers were too hot to touch (I didn't think about that before hand) and then when I got some tongs and tried to flip the fish, the meat started falling off the skewers. Some of it was even falling through the grill and into the fire! When I was finally able to get the meat flipped, I put on the brussel sprouts, assuming that they would cook the same amount of time as the asparagus did last week. Boy was I wrong. Only cooking the asparagus for 5 minutes was a big mistake. It was charred on the outside but raw on the inside. I think I should have cut all the brussel sprouts in half before cooking them so the pieces cook more evenly. They were pretty bad. The salmon, however, was delicious! I cooked it just right and the flavor was awesome if I do say so myself. So now I know what to avoid when barbecuing fish, and what to do differently when barbecuing brussel sprouts. I can't wait to try again next week!
Cheese-making or barbecue?
For my 20% project this semester, I have decided to focus on something cooking related. Right now, my skills are limited to cereal, scrambled eggs, and boxed pastas but it is something I want to be better at, I just haven't quite found that time to explore. I have narrowed my focus down to two types of cooking that interest me: 1) making cheese. I have always wanted to try making my own cheese, I just always thought it was easier to buy it or 2) master the art of barbecuing. This skill, usually reserved for the men in my family, always looked fun and is one of my favorite foods.