Wednesday, June 29, 2011


After complaining for months about our decidedly unspring-like weather, summer came and we were hit with a few days of temperatures in the mid-nineties. And you guessed it…we complained some more. Apparently we have turned into Goldilocks on her quest for the best porridge. We don’t want it too cold, too rainy, too windy, too hot, too humid, too cloudy. Andy stands by seventy-six degrees as the perfect temperature. I will take seventy-six provided there is no wind and a spot in the sun for me to sit. Additionally, the evenings must not get too cool. Otherwise, I’m happy with a nice day in the low eighties and a light breeze. I know, I know…every time I talk about the weather I realize how spoiled we are, but what can I say? We are Californians, born and bred.

As the weather heats up, so do the barbecues. Almost every night, at least one neighbor is grilling in their backyard; that enticing aroma wafting over the fence and through the open windows. It’s the kind of smell that makes your mouth water for the barbecue sauce, the steak, the chicken, the ribs, the corn on the cob. It makes you want to change your dinner plans and throw something on the grill yourself…either that or surprise your neighbors with two additional dinner guests.

Even though we can generally grill year-round, there’s really nothing like grilling in the summer. It means nights when the sun stays up well past eight, no need for a sweater, and a smokiness that hangs in the air. These days remind me of summer break as a kid, when your only agenda was to ride your bike as fast as you could, get ridiculously dirty, and generally do the things that as an adult you might now deem stupid dangerous. And the next morning, all the neighborhood kids would congregate, bright and early, plotting the day’s events, nursing scrapes and bruises, ready to do it all over again.

Those were the days of no responsibilities, when your only worry was if you had enough money to buy a slurpee. You wished with all your might that your mom wasn’t going to call you inside too early and that things could stay this way forever. Of course they didn’t; we grew up and summer took on a new meaning…beach vacations, drinks adorned by umbrellas, vegetable gardens, weddings, picnics and barbecues with family and friends. I can live with that.

With this warm weather upon us, I was happy to participate in the Smart & Final campaign for Cattleman’s Meat to #GrillUpYourSummer. Here is my original recipe that is sure to spice up your summer. (For chances to win a fabulous prize, see details below.)

Chili-Onion Sirloin Skewers with Tomato-Chipotle Dipping Sauce

1 1/2 pounds Cattleman’s Finest sirloin steak, cut into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup pureed yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup canola oil

4 small tomatoes (or 2 large), cut in half and seeded
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
salt, to taste 

1 red onion, cut into large chunks (optional)

Combine all marinade ingredients together in the food processor. Puree until smooth. Combine marinade and meat in a zip-top bag or other container and marinate at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

For the sauce, roast tomatoes on the grill for a few minutes to soften and char slightly. Put tomatoes and remainder of sauce ingredients into food processor and puree until smooth. Salt to taste. (Sauce will be a bit spicy, but when combined with the meat, will mellow significantly.) Refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to cook, thread meat onto skewers, alternating with red onion pieces if desired. Heat grill to about 400 degrees. Grill skewers for about 6-7 minutes total, turning once.

Serve with dipping sauce on the side, or drizzle over skewers.

These skewers are what summer is all about. Grill lines on the meat, the crunch of sweet red onion, smoky and spicy flavors cooled by the tang of sour cream. And it all melds together perfectly to form one perfect summery bite.

For your own chance to #GrillUpYourSummer with a new barbecue, visit and vote for your favorite recipe. (Pick me! Pick me!) By voting and entering your information, you will be entered to win a $50 Smart & Final gift card and a Weber 220 grill! The recipe with the most votes at the end of the week also wins. So what are you waiting for? Go vote (for the Chili Onion Sirloin Skewers!), and then get grilling!

This post has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias. All opinions are my own.


  1. I love these pics and sauce recipe!!LOL

  2. We don't have a grill now but we are moving and will be able to grill soon! I can't wait!

  3. Love kabobs...and that sauce drizzled at the end is a great touch!

  4. That sauce sounds wonderful! I love the way this recipe turned out - so pretty & easy!

  5. Yes, summer is here and bbq. I love spicy food so will try to do it next time :P

  6. I zeroed in on that chipotle sauce. It looks and sounds so delicious!

  7. What a great recipe! These skewers sound amazing! I love love spicy!
    Never can win with the weather, no matter where you live!

  8. I just voted for this recipe on Smart & final contest. This sounds so yummy and I can't wait to try it. We only use our grill during the summer months and I am always looking for recipes that allow for grilling. Thank you!

  9. OK...these are just wonderful! Love the flavors you chose! I so enjoy kabobs in the summer b/c they're delicious and low carb! And yes...these summer kids are staying until 9-10PM and I can hardly stand it but I recall doing the same thing as a child!

  10. Oh boy, it's been a long time since I had those carefree, nothing to do summer days as a kid. I miss those. But these skewers would throw me back to those days asap. Love the dipping sauce!

  11. Karen, this post just made me ALL KINDS OF HUNGRY! Those kabobs look out of this world. Love love love.

    p.s. - we are still in the un-springlike weather here in the Pac NW, so if you want to send some heat, we won't complain. Ok, I won't complain. :)


  12. Oh good, I'm not alone when it comes to complaining about the weather... I can count just how many days will feel comfortable to me... there's been 2 days so far this year, and I think I may get 2 more some time in September/October. :)

    The kebabs sound delicious!! I love the dipping sauce!

  13. My dad had a two-fingered whistle that could be heard all around the neighborhood. We groaned when it sounded, because that meant the end of the fun and time to head for home. You brought back so many memories.

    I love the marinade for your meat. Cumin? Heaven. I hope you win. Those skewers are delicious!

  14. Love this recipe, saved it, and I WANT that dish... it's perfect for kabobs!

  15. Wow - that looks amazing! What a great recipe! I'm definitely picking you!

  16. mouthwatering,,,i love beef on skewer,i always had peanut sauce with it,but i would love to try with this sauce recipe,thanks for sharing :)

  17. Ohh yummy kebabs! Your skewered food remind me that I also saved your shrimp recipe. I need to cook that soon. I also like the long narrow seems like a perfect for this dish!

  18. These look so good! Perfect for summer and July 4th especially

  19. Raally enjoyed reading you; what a lovely presentation...gotta love summer food.

  20. That sauce sounds like its a winner!

  21. These Skewers with the Tomato-Chipotle Sauce
    were DELISH!! I went back for more & they were gone! The onion gave it a good flavor with the dipping sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it :)! I hope you win!