A Labor Day with friends, and a recipe.

Sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll make the kind of friends that remind you of drunken days of college. Not literally maybe, but they’re are the pals at whose house you don’t mind dropping by unannounced, who will help you tide over difficult times without any expectation of reciprocation, and who won’t hesitate to drop your kid home at midnight if the sleepover thing doesn’t work out. If you’re score supremely in the luck department, you will also live in the same city as them and hang out all the time, sometimes to the exclusivity of everyone else.

We spent this Labor Day with one of our “those pals”, and enjoyed every minute of it. Nothing was planned, but we somehow ended up meeting, cooking, gossiping and playing (the kids) with them every day of the long weekend. Food and drink flowed freely, with enough music to dance it all off. The kids trashed the basement, and stayed up entirely too late, but we figured sleep can be caught up on easier than memories.

The hubby contributed today’s recipe to the festivities. I’ve made this in the past as well but I tend to marinate the paneer and the veggies while he prefers to bake them slathered only in some oil and spices. We don’t have a barbecue, but if you grill this you can achieve a whole ‘nother level of yum. A quick broil at the end achieves the same result but without the smokiness of the char.

Paneer Shashlik for the Soul

You’ll need:

250g paneer or firm tofu
1 cup cubed red onion
1/2 cup cubed green pepper (or colored pepper medley)
1/2 cup white button mushroom (the smaller the better)
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup spice mixture (salt, red pepper, black pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder)
juice of half lemon to garnish
7-8 long bamboo skewers or 10-12 sandwich toothpicks for bite-sized snack
2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil.
  • Toss all veggies and paneer in oil and sprinkle spice mixture. Toss to coat.
  • Spear veggies alternating colors onto the skewers.
  • Bake in oven for about 40 mins, rotating the skewers occasionally, until paneer is slightly golden and veggies are wilted.
  • Finish off with final broil for 2 mins or throw on the grill for char marks.
  • Splash lemon juice before serving hot.
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