Ok, before we get to this month's real recipe, here's a few rules about cooking over (or in) an open firepit:
1. Pick your spots - there's always a hot area and a cool area; act accordingly. You don't want your sensitive trout fillets over the blast furnace portion of your fire.
2. Tools good - fingers bad - fire is...well, it's hot. So keep your fingers out of it if possible.
3. Marsupial meals - you can make a pre-made food pouch for any food. Wrap it in tinfoil, put some sauce or spice on it and chuck it in the fire when ready. It often cooks unevenly but I suspect you won't care too much about that when it's time to eat. Use heavy duty tinfoil or double-layer regular tinfoil for best results.
4. Morning Wood - save the softwoods like spruce for the morning fire when you're not cooking. Hardwoods create more heat and don't leave a resinous taste on your food. Your dining room...
Your sous chefs...
Your dinner (grilled rib-eye steaks, new potatoes in mushroom sauce and asparagus with wedges of parmesan - a la foil packet)
And now something for those of you that are cooking on a real barbecue this month... Ground Pork Kebabs in a Pita with Raita (recipe courtesy of www.putporkonyourfork.com)
Assemble Your Ingredients:
1 lb (500 g) lean ground Canadian Pork
1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander
1 tsp (5 mL) minced garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) paprika
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2 mL) red chile flakes
8 10-inch bamboo skewers
In mixing bowl, thoroughly combine pork, coriander, garlic, paprika, salt, cumin, and pepper flakes.
Pre-heat barbecue to medium-high. Using 1/4 cup (50 mL) ground pork mixture, mould around a skewer to form a sausage-shaped log about 3/4-inch (2 cm) wide and six inches (15 cm) long.
Tip: Wet hands with cold water to help hands from getting sticky.
Grill over medium-high for 10-12 minutes. If using bamboo skewers, make sure the portion not surrounded with meat is not over the flames.
Turn kebabs occasionally to brown uniformly. When cooked (with no hint of pink), twist and pull meat from skewers.
Cut pitas in half and warm briefly on grill.
Serve pork in pitas with salad ingredients of choice (lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, peppers, etc.). Top with a generous spoonful of raita.
FOR THE RAITA:
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 cup (250 mL) Balkan-style yogurt
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each: salt and ground black pepper
Cooking Instructions RAITA
Thinly slice or grate cucumber. Place in clean cloth or cheesecloth. Press out as much liquid as possible, or blot off moisture with a paper towel. Add cucumber to yogurt and combine with remaining ingredients. Serve chilled. Makes 1 1/4 cups (300 mL)