Recipe: spiced goat kebabs

A wonderful summer Saturday evening meal. We felt like grilling, and I’d been thawing a goat flank that I earned last spring helping our friends and mentors at Goatsbeard Farm clear a huge cottonwood that had blown down over their driveway in a storm.

I cut off and cubed maybe 1/2 pound of the best flank meat and placed in a bowl. Then I combined 1 Tbl coriander seed, 1 Tbl cumin seed, 1/2 Tbl caraway seed, 1/2 Tbl cinnamon ,a few cloves, a few black peppercorns, and some salt and ground them finely in our large mortar. These were mixed in with the meat, as was a thick handful of fresh mint finely chopped.

Once the coals were nice and hot, I dropped in a large handful of dried cedar branches just before placing the skewered meat on the grill; this generated some nice, aromatic flames to sear the meat. These were cooked for 3-4 minutes a side until just blackened. The spices make a good crust protecting the tender meat, and the fresh mint gives a really nice complementary flavor. This was served with a side of grilled sweet corn along with red onions & squash that were grilled after the meat. Cold beer and a perfectly ripe market watermelon from Terri’s Berries capped an excellent summer meal that took very little work.

Recipe: cherry tomato salsa

The need for this recipe was brought about by two inches of rain yesterday, which caused many of our nearly-ripe cherry tomatoes to start splitting. Once that happens, you have a very short time to use them for something before they go bad. Salsa is perfect, as it uses the naturally intense flavor and sweetness of cherry tomatoes and doesn’t require cooking them. It’s also a treat, as normally I wouldn’t use cherries for this, but the splittage creates the need to use lots at once. Using our 6 varieties of heirloom tomatoes creates a really pretty salsa.

In this case, all I needed was a bowl of splitting cherry tomatoes, a small red onion, a few cloves of garlic, a small hot pepper, a green pepper, and a few spices (cumin, paprika, black pepper).

Toast 1 tsp of cumin seed in a hot cast-iron skillet for a few seconds until it starts to become aromatic but remove before it burns. Grind in a mortar and pestle with 1/2 tsp paprika and a few black peppercorns. Finely mince the red onion, garlic, and hot pepper. Chop the cherry tomatoes until you’ve reached the desired chunk size, and do the same for the green pepper. Add salt and/or sugar to taste. Combine everything and let sit for as long as you can to let the flavors blend. Fresh sweet corn would be an excellent addition to this if we had it on hand, as would cilantro.

Tonight, this will top black beans and rice with melted home-made cheese on top, and possibly homemade corn tortillas if I get around to it.