I came to a conclusion this weekend. I am terrible at keeping friends. It’s not that I am a mean or vile person. I am very personable and make friends quite easily, but I am terrible at keeping long term friendships alive. I have moved around alot in my life, both somewhat as a kid and more so as an adult and I have come to the realization that I tend to close out chapters of my life, when I move, to the point of letting old friendships fade away. You psychologist types out there would probably tell me that I do this to protect myself from the pain of leaving friends and loved ones behind as I move on with my life, and you’d probably be right. It’s a coping mechanism that has suited me well, in the short term, but I am now realizing that, in the long run, it wasn’t such a great thing.

So what has brought about this epiphany? Well, this weekend we got together with a couple of my old friends from culinary school, who are now married to each other. It was a fun time, hanging out, at the park, grilling out for Father’s Day, and enjoying the company of old friends, but as conversation turned to others we went to school with I realized I had pretty much lost touch with everyone and only knew about their lives by what they posted on Facebook. I then realized that it was the same with many other chapters in my life. I had made many wonderful friends, but, with a few exceptions, had allowed all those relationships to fade away.

Thanks to Facebook, I now have the chance to try and reestablish some of those friendships, but I wonder if that is even possible. I’m not the same person I was years ago and neither are they. We’ve had so many years to grow in different directions I wonder if there would even be any common ground any more. But even more importantly, I hope I have learned my lesson, and will not follow the same path as I have in the past.

But enough of my maudlin, introspective mood. That’s not what you came here for. You can to check out the new dishes I have created and the recipes I have come up with. Well, the next few posts will revolve around some of the food I prepared for our Father’s Day picnic/cook out.

These skewers that I am sharing with you today are pretty simple but require a little work the night before which leaves you with more time the day you are preparing them. Make sure, if you are using bamboo skewers that you start soaking them the night before you plan on cooking. If you don’t they will go up in flames and your skewers will fall part during cooking which is a pain!

Onion Balsamic Glaze

1 onion, large
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar

Peel and slice the onion. Place in a sauce pot along with the oil and saute until just starting to brown. Add the water and cook until almost all of the water has evaporated. Add the vinegar and sugar and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly then blend until almost smooth. Chill.

Beef and Mushroom Skewers with Onion Balsamic Glaze
makes 16 skewers-serves 6-8

3 pounds sirloin roast, trimmed of all fat and silver skin
24 cremini mushrooms, large
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
5 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced and lightly crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Onion Balsamic Glaze
16 skewers (I use bamboo, but if you have metal skewers they can be used also)

Cut beef into cubes approximately 1-1 1/2″ square. You should end up with about 48 cubes. Place beef, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil in a zip lock bag. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste and close bag. Gently massage bag to evenly distribute oil and seasonings over beef. Place in fridge and marinate overnight. Soak skewers, overnight, in water.

The following day, cut mushrooms in half. Make skewers using 3 pieces of beef and 3 mushroom halves, starting with a mushroom half and alternating with the beef. The mushrooms will have a tendency to split apart when being skewered. To avoid this press them gently, but firmly down on the skewer while rotating the skewer. This will prevent most of the mushrooms from splitting. Season with salt and more pepper, if desired and grill over medium high heat, trying to keep the bottom, exposed, part of the skewer from sitting directly over the coals.

Grill for 3-4 minutes then flip the skewers over to cook the other side. After 3-4 minutes longer brush with glaze and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Longer than that and the sugar in the glaze will have a tendency to burn. If you like your meat a little more done, cook longer before adding the glaze. When done remove from grill and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.