marinated beef kebabs – or, when things don’t go as planned

Our weekday routine is so hectic – with work, school, swim practice, and random errands that must get done – that we rarely sit down to a real family dinner during the week. I have a wonderful babysitter who picks my kids up from school three days a week, and on those days, the kids eat dinner with the sitter before my husband and I get home from work. By the weekend, my maternal guilt has usually set in nice and strong, and I feel the urge to bring everyone together for at least one good meal together.

cumin-scented beef kabobs

Sounds lovely and peaceful, right? The four of us seated at a beautifully set dinner table, a home cooked dinner on our plates, pleasant conversation about life and the issues of the day. Smiles and happy faces all around. Add some violin music, and it would be perfect.

Of course, it rarely – if ever – happens that way. Not in my house, anyway. Our version usually involves less peace and harmony and more whining and complaining from the kids, begging and pleading from me, and general annoyance and frustration by about ten minutes into it. The meal usually ends with me wondering aloud why I even bother.

cumin-scented beef kabobs

This past weekend I attempted the family dinner again. I made a recipe from the August 2009 issue of Gourmet for cumin-scented beef kebabs. The recipe turned out great. The marinade was incredibly flavorful. The combination of the oregano, cumin, coriander, garlic, and cayenne was delicious.

The family dinner did not quite go as I had planned.  Our gas grill ran out of gas as the meat was finishing up. When the gas ran out, the steak was only cooked to medium rare, a bit too rare for our tastes. The beef cooked a bit more as it rested, so most pieces were cooked just right. My kids refused to eat the roasted red pepper and pine nut dip that I served on the side. It was a great sauce for the beef and the mushrooms, but Madeline and Oliver wanted no part of that. The grilled mushrooms were so tender and wonderful, but I couldn’t get either child to try even the smallest bite.  A small consolation was that they did eat the jasmine rice and the beef.

But I will still continue to try. I’m determined that if I make a habit of the family dinner, the kids will eventually forget that they don’t like eating non-brown, non-hot-dog-shaped food. I’m a believer that one day they’ll look forward to the ritual of it. And hopefully they’ll look forward to my food, too.

cumin-scented beef kabobs

Since I followed the recipe exactly, I won’t duplicate it here. If you’re interested in trying it, this is where you can find it. I thought it was really tasty, definitely worthy of making again.

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12 Responses to “marinated beef kebabs – or, when things don’t go as planned”

  1. 1
    Mauna — April 14, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    At least it’s socially acceptable to have children who won’t eat their veggies. I have to trick James into eating them. Mushrooms are still a lost cause, even though they’re one of my favorite things. Let me know if you have any advice for the full-grown man-child.

  2. 2
    ++MIRA++ — April 14, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

    i dont have kids yet, but i can imagine! i think i would be the mom sneaking veggies into everything. looks good though! with my kabobs i usually like to roast whole tomatoes on the grill, some jalapenos or anything hot, then peel the tomatoes after mush it up, add fresh garlic , and chop in the jalapenos. yum.

  3. 3
    Leigh (Modern Mommy) — April 15, 2010 @ 7:22 am

    These look amazing! I adore kabobs but never branch out from my usual marinade. I’m totally looking this up now.

    And, if it makes you feel any better, I do the same sort of begging and pleading here. We have a tendency to pull out the bag of raw carrots and replace veggie choices for the kids. Someday they’ll figure out what they’ve been missing. 😉

  4. 4
    julia — April 15, 2010 @ 8:08 am

    I have a miracle child. Despite all his problems, Benjamin loves mushrooms. He’ll eat them raw. Only problem- we have had multiple talks about how we don’t eat the mushrooms in the yard. (Ayden, on the other hand, will have nothing to do with mushrooms or any food that is not white. White mushrooms are still a no go). Good luck. I like my beef medium rare. Next time, I’ll come over and eat those pieces. PS Yes, my clinic started 5 minutes ago.

  5. 5
    Dr. Bob — April 15, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    Great food photography.

    I can eat chicken kebobs nightly as they perfectly complement a good Zin (of which I have plenty). I skewer, in sequence, red bell pepper, chicken piece, onion, tomato and mushroom, mist with olive oil and grill four minutes a side. For seasoning, I rely on what comes with Vigo Yellow Rice cooked 50:50 with Basmati as I find the Vigo too salty. Colorful, tasty, nearly fat-free.

  6. 6
    Trissa — April 17, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

    I tell you – continue to persevere with the family dinners. That is one thing I am so grateful that my parents ingrained in us at such a young age. Now, I always look forward to them. It brings the family closer together… and I have come to even enjoy them when they are chaotic!

  7. 7
    Chris — April 18, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

    The family meal is so important and also, so incredibly to schedule these days:)

    I remember running out of gas long time ago. Once we moved to Tennessee, we had a natural gas line plumbed to a natural gas grill which was nice. These days, I rely on hardwood coal.

    They do have gauges now that you can buy that will tell you the level of fuel left. I think they’re about $20 or so.

  8. 8
    merrygourmet — April 18, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

    Chris – That solution sounds just too simple for us. We prefer to do things the hard way. 🙂

  9. 9
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — April 19, 2010 @ 6:39 am

    That last photo is absolutely lovely – I could dive right in and eat it now!

  10. 10
    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — August 29, 2010 @ 11:41 am

    I missed this when you posted it but no matter; my comment is not about the food; it’s about keeping at it with the kids. Kids just seem to be inherently fussy eaters don’t they?

    But I stuck to a game plan when mine were little; they had to taste it. They did not have to finish their plate and I didn’t force them to eat; there was always something they liked that was served…I wasn’t looking for a huge rebellion!

    My youngest was the fussiest but she knew the drill and somehow, magically, I think it made a difference. Though myself and my girls just can not stand green pepper (nature or nurture?) I can think of few food items they would turn away from and in fact, though in their 20’s, are actually considered accomplished cooks by their peer group. They often introduce their friends to foods and seasonings they might not have experienced growing up. So this comment is really meant just for encouragement…keep up the good work!

  11. 11
    merrygourmet — August 30, 2010 @ 12:00 am

    Thanks so much, Barb!

  12. 12
    Marla — July 5, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

    Hi Merry, these beef kebabs look great!
    It is Kebab week at Get Grillin’ we would love if you submitted up to any 3 recipes (they don’t have to be grilled) to our link up. This one would be perfect!
    This week we have a Rosle Grill Utensils giveaway.

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