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Willing Cook-A-Long: Steak and Pineapple Skewers

September 16, 2011

The Willing Cook has started a new feature where each Friday she posts a link to a recipe, sometime during the week we make the recipe, adapting it to our family’s dietary and budgeting needs, and then at the end of the week we report. Besides getting out of a rut, it is also a good way to see how other people adapt recipes based on their needs.

So this week’s original recipe was Steak and Pineapple Skewers by Guilty Kitchen. She had me signed up at “grilled pineapple”. I’ve been in love with it ever since I had it at Tucanos. I’ve made my own skewers before, but with chicken, so I was excited for this change in the challenge.

The Changes

The first change I made was the cut of meat used. I feel that unless you need to use up steak quickly, this kind of recipe calls for a less expensive cut. So, I got a family pack of petite sirloin steaks, which were $3.99/lb.

Next, I had to reinvent the marinade. Not only does soy give my son diarrhea, but using it as the (almost) sole ingredient in the marinade sounded boring. So, I combined Willing Cook’s soy sauce substitution with this marinade for flank steak from Our Best Bites.

Also, the original recipe called for grilling. We actually own a grill, but it’s just a small charcoal grill. I’m not motivated to spend the time to let the coals heat up and then clean everything up when I’m just cooking for 2 1/2 people (yes, my children eat so little that they count as 1/4 each at dinner. Ok, it depends on the meal, but it’s true in this case). So, I used my broiler.

The Method

Prepare the marinade by whisking together pineapple juice, sugar, spices, and other things nice.

Cut steak into bite size pieces, then toss in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Mine marinated for between 3 and 4 hours.

Cut up the pineapple, and toss with olive oil, basil, and pepper.

Thread skewers, alternating between meat and pineapple.

Toss under a broiler for 6 minutes on each side. I served mine with quinoa.

And if you want to replicate what I did:

Steak and Pineapple Skewers

Adapted from Guilty Kitchen

Soy, gluten, and dairy free.

  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 petite sirloin steaks
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Cut steak into bite size chunks and add to juice mixture. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, not more than 24 hours.

Cut pineapple into bite size chunks. Put pineapple in bowl with olive oil, basil, and pepper. Toss to evenly distribute spices.

Alternating between meat and pineapple, thread food onto skewers. Broil for 6 minutes on each side.

Makes 7 skewers.

cover copy copy

A perfected version of this recipe is featured in my cookbook The Best of the Rice of Life: Over 70 Gluten-free, Dairy-free, and Nut-free Recipes available now in print (Amazon, Create Space) and e-book (Kindle, iBooks, nook, Kobo and Smashwords).

What I Thought

These were nice, but they could have been better. The steak marinade needed salt. I might consider increasing the vinegar, molasses and ginger for more of a “soy” flavor.

My meat also ended up really dry. I probably overcooked them. Part of this could be due to the fact that the first 6 minutes the broiler was set on low, and the next 6 minutes it was set on high. I should have had it on high the entire time. Another thing that would have helped would have been to reserve some marinade and baste the meat at the mid way point.

I also wasn’t a fan of the basil on the pineapple. I just wanted to enjoy its true flavor. I wouldn’t mind putting some of the meat marinade on it while basting though (it was very sweet with the brown sugar).

Is it worth redoing to make it better? Yes. Grilled pineapple is awesome!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2011 8:37 am

    Thanks for joining the Willing Cook-A-Long this week. I really appreciate you taking the time to make it your own! I can’t wait to try your revised marinade.

    Hope you’ll join in next week’s challenge.

    • September 16, 2011 8:46 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. I think this is a really fun series!

  2. September 16, 2011 1:29 pm

    Mmm…grilled pineapple. My husband lived in Brazil for a while, and brought back the jumbo sword-like skewers so we occasionally take a whole pineapple, roast it, and devour.

    Have you tried fish sauce for soy sauce? It’s used in south Asian cuisine a lot like soy sauce, tastes similar, and a quick Googling suggests most kinds are gluten-free. I don’t think regular grocers have them, but pretty much every Asian foodstore I’ve been in has one for pretty cheap ($2 for a big bottle). It’s a little more pungent than soy sauce, so I don’t know if your family would eat it…but we love the stuff.

    • September 16, 2011 1:55 pm

      I was just reading through a recipe last night that called for “fish sauce or soy sauce” so I was wondering how interchangeable they would be. I’d have to find a bottle to read ingredients, but I think I’d be able to find something that would work as long as Joseph’s not allergic to fish. I’ve not tried feeding Joseph fish, and its one of the top 8 allergens (the rest are peanuts, tree nuts, shell fish, milk, soy, wheat, and eggs)

  3. September 16, 2011 3:54 pm

    My bottle just says water, anchovy extract, salt, and sugar. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and it pretty much lasts forever. I didn’t realize fish was such a common allergen — sad. Anyway, these skewers look delicious.

    • September 16, 2011 4:36 pm

      Yeah, I didn’t know that either until I started googling about allergies, then I learned all about the Big 8 that make up 90% of reactions. Makes me surprised that parenting books don’t mention half of them in giving warnings about how to introduce food to your children.

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