Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beef and Pineapple Pops with Parsley Sauce

My Husband told me today that he thinks I was happier when I ate meat. I told him that it wasn't true but he wasn't buying it. I guess I don't buy it either. He told me all I had to do was read my blog because every time the word "vegetarian" came up it was never in a positive light. Plus every time I make meat for some other lucky soul, I get a little too excited about it. Listen, I can't help it. It's true that I submit to vegetarianism, or pescotarianism (spelling?), or whatever the correct word for it is, begrudgingly. I'm not exactly thrilled with it. But, it's also true that I care about my health and well-being and let's face it, meat is like #1 on the no-no list if you want to avoid things like cancer and heart disease. Plus I genuinely like vegetarian food. So I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Really, I most like the term "all things in moderation" because I can live that. I'm pretty moderate as is, and have little trouble keeping things that way. I enjoy a glass of wine, but one is plenty. I love dessert, but a couple bites can suffice. And, I love a big juicy medium rare steak, ribeye, filet mignon, prime rib, you name it. However, I don't want it every night by any means. I'd like it maybe once every two weeks, but I'd settle very comfortably with once a month. The problem lies in not being able to have it at all. That will and has made me crazy.

Jeremy has suggested I go back to making meat with dinners once in a while. He doesn't understand that when I make dinner I make it for him (and the whole family). But really, I enjoy making something he loves. That's what's so delightful about making food for someone. If I made a roast chicken for example, with salad and a baked potato, Jeremy would be completely gracious, satisfied and comfortable passing on the chicken and just eating the side dishes for dinner. What he doesn't get is that it would be a waste of a meal to me. Sure, I'd get to eat the chicken, but I would have no one to enjoy it with, or to talk to about it and tell me how great it is and that is what it's all about to me. I might as well just eat some potatoes and salad for dinner...So that's what I do. I eat salad, and vegetable soup and vegetable chili, salmon, quinoa and stuff like that. I still get excited for many pasta dinners because most of them were either meat free to begin with or the meat is not missed. In any case, I can tell my husband feels bad about how his food choices effect my passion for cooking and eating (my best qualities if you ask me, ;) and also how much it is an issue between us. I understand he wants to be healthy. I understand he feels great and I really don't want him to feel bad, but we both can't get what we want, you see? I'm begging him to eat meat once in a while, because when we are talking one serving a month (even once a week) it's not going to effect your overall health. Think about how much meat you consume in an average week. No really, play along a minute. A serving counts as the bacon you have with your omelet or the ham on your sandwich, or the pork chops for dinner. I bet your bottom dollar it's A LOT. That's why cutting it down to only one serving every once in a while is a big deal. I get it, but I still joke with him and say all I am going to ask for on my birthday is that he go to a steak house with me and enjoy some without complaint. All things in moderation, ya know? Even if it's great moderation.

Well, all that aside, I made Jeremy grill these beef and pineapple pops last week. Again, they were not for us, but part of that appetizer thing I catered for the Young Life wives. However he had to grill it non-the-less and get this...he actually licked the meat juice off his fingers and said it tasted good (maybe there is hope)?! I went one step further than him (surprise, surprise) and popped the tiniest piece of the meat into my mouth. Just enough for a taste really, and I'm telling you it was awesome. I've made this before, over a year ago and the interplay between the sweet grilled pineapple, the savory and tender meat along with the fresh and vibrant sauce is just unbeatable. I made these appetizer style on small bamboo wooden skewers, but they are equally fit for dinner along with some veggies or salad, or rice or anything you little heart desires. I would stay away from potatoes though, unless they are herby roasted ones, because they can tend to be too heavy for this dish and you don't want to weigh it down.

You might wonder why you would "waste" fillet mignon on kabobs. Oh! it's not a waste! it makes the most succulent and luxurious kabob you've ever had. Plus it does not take much meat per person so it's actually more cost effective than you would think. Try it. You'll like it.

Beef and Pineapple Pops with Parsley Sauce
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Serves 20 beef pops

For the Parsley Sauce:

3 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

For the Beef Pops:

1 1/2 pounds beef fillet, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 40 cubes)
1 (2-pound) pineapple, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 40 pieces)
20 (8-inch) wooden or bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the parsley sauce: In a bowl of a food processor, blend together the parsley, garlic, vinegar, chili flakes, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil until incorporated. Place half of the mixture in a medium bowl. place the remaining mixture in a small serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until redy to serve.

For the beef pops: place the beef in the medium bowl with the parsley sauce. Toss well until the beef is coated with the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or pre-heat a gas or charcoal grill. thread the skewers starting with a piece of pineapple, then a cube of beef. Repeat with another piece of pineapple and another cube of beef. Continue with the remaining skewers. Grill the skewers for 2 to 3 minutes each side (for medium rare) or until desired doneness. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, arrange the beef pops on a serving platter. Drizzle with the remaining reserved parsley sauce or serve the sauce on the side as a condiment.


  1. sounds amazing. I was a vegetarian for 10 years, i gave meat up fro my first lent when I was 15 and then never went back. Of course, I married a meat eating maniac from a long line of meat eaters. I resisted, Until one day...I don;t know what happened but after 10 years of discipline, I was done in by a McDonald's cheeseburger and it was delicious.In fact,I had 2 and immediately threw up my guys. My system couldn't handle it. i have since weaned myself back on the meat but I still only have red meat about 1x per week. mostly I stick to chicken and fish. Hope you can convince him to have it occasionally with you.Its not good to deny yourself that your body is actually craving!Happy Monday!

  2. Thanks! He has yet to read this post, but it will be interesting when he does...That is really funny that of all things McDonalds did you in! Do you know how many stories I hear like that? Ha ha.

  3. Looks excellent! Made this tonight – it was SO good! I will definitely make this again! Thanks for the great recipe!!