Cooky Jason’s July Recipe – Mini Kabobs

Chef Jason’s World Famous Mini Kabobs

mini kabob 3

Who doesn’t like kabobs? We’re in full camping swing now and it’s high time we get into some grilling action. And kabobs are just plain fun. These… are minis. More of an appetizer, really. The key to making these special is in the fresh herbs. There are countless marinades. You can play mad scientist and come up with all manner of concoctions. The idea here is to have fun with it and experiment. (I actually brined mine for the 4th of July BBQ I just hosted.)

Major Players

  • 2 to 3lbs Beef and/or pork – London broil is really great, but sometimes I even use New York Strip or rib eye (my personal favorite). (2lbs will make 25 to 30 kabobs)
  • 1 cup salt, and ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 sprigs rosemary
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Fresh sage leaves
  • 1lb raspberries
  • Tbsp course ground pepper
  • 6 or 7 garlic cloves crushed, and 1 large onion
  • 2lbs small to medium white button or crimini mushrooms
  • 3 inch toothpicks (they come in lots of sizes)

OK, the fun stuff:

First we’ll start with the brine. This is pretty simple; don’t be intimidated by brining. It’s like marinating, but with more science involved. Boil the salt and sugar in 6 cups of water until dissolved; it will only take a few minutes. Let that cool. Then add your meat, whole and uncut, to a large stock pot. Add the dissolved sugar/salt mixture and fill the rest with cold water until meat is covered. Then add garlic, rosemary, and onion. Give it a gentle stir, cover, and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.

Remove meat from brine and discard brine.  Let rest for at least 5 minutes. Heat grill to medium high. Slice mushrooms in half and sauté them in 1 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsps. butter in a foil pack or disposable aluminum baking pan on the grill. (They come in various sizes and are perfect for this.) At the same time, throw the meat on, too. Grill until done, roughly 5 minutes per side for beef and 4 minutes per side for pork. The meat will be done before the mushrooms, which is fine. Once everything is cool enough to handle, cut the meat into half-inch cubes. Now it’s time for the fun. You can even get the kids in on this. And it really is the sage and basil that make these special, so don’t skip it. You can skip the brine if you like, but not the herbs. Trust me on this… Here’s the stacking order, from top to bottom: Raspberry/mushroom/folded basil and sage leaves/meat. It’s that simple. Cut your lemon in half and squeeze over all the kabobs once completed. Crowd-pleaser? I think so…

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at

Celestial Navigator – July 2015


Wednesday, July 8, 4:24 p.m. EDT  Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 1:30 a.m. and sets around 1:30 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Wednesday, July 15, 9:24 p.m. EDT  New Moon

The moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after New Moon.

Friday, July 24, 12:04 a.m. EDT  First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 1:15 p.m. and sets around 12:30 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Second Full Moon, July 2015

Friday, July 31, 6:43 a.m. EDT  Full Moon

This is the second Full Moon in July, what is sometimes called a “Blue Moon.” It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.


Uranus and the Moon

Wednesday/Thursday, July 8/9, dawn

The moon will be close to Uranus just before sunrise. In the lands surrounding the Indian Ocean, the moon will actually occult Uranus.

Venus at greatest brilliancy

Thursday, July 9, dusk

Venus reaches its greatest brilliancy at magnitude –4.7.

Aldebaran and the Moon

Sunday, July 12, sunrise

The waning crescent moon will pass close to the bright red star Aldebaran low in morning twilight. The moon will occult Aldebaran as seen from eastern Russia, northern Japan, Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, and Iceland.

Venus and the Moon

Saturday, July 18, dusk

The moon will be close to Venus just after sunset. Venus will appear in binoculars as a tiny crescent just north of the crescent moon. The moon will occult Venus as seen from New Guinea, northeastern Australia, Melanesia, and French Polynesia.

Ceres at opposition

Saturday, July 25, 4 a.m. EDT

Ceres, the largest asteroid or smallest dwarf planet, will be in opposition to the sun. At magnitude 7.5, it will be located right on the border between Sagittarius and Microscopium, just south of Capricornus.


Mercury is well placed in the eastern sky at dawn for the first half of the month for observers in the Southern Hemisphere.

Venus shines high in the western sky after sunset, reaching its greatest brilliancy from the sun on July 9.

Mars is too close to the sun to be visible.

Jupiter is low in the western evening sky all month, close to Venus on the 1st and 31st of the month.

Saturn is well placed in Libra in the evening sky.

Uranus rises near midnight in Pisces.

Neptune rises in the late evening in the constellation Aquarius.

Quotes About Camping

Camping is many things to many people.  Trying to define the meaning of camping is something like trying to describe all the trees in the forest with a single definition.  Not hardly possible. Nonetheless, we’ve compiled a list of camping quotes, some famous and others not so much, but all capturing one persons definition of camping.

“I have always loved camping, ever since I was eight, and was forcibly stuffed in a trunk and dropped off in the middle of the forest. My dad was a complex man, but I believe he was trying to show me the value of camping.”

“Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business. ”

“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.”

“What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die of course. Literally shit myself lifeless.”

“…my dreams are tangled in images of stars and clouds and firelight – we go camping at night – it’s my lucid dream of being with you…”

“Mom, camping is not a date; it’s an endurance test. If you can survive camping with someone, you should marry them on the way home.”

“In a well-ordered universe…camping would take place indoors.”

“A crude meal, no doubt, but the best of all sauces is hunger.”

“I walked slowly to enjoy this freedom, and when I came out of the mountains, I saw the sky over the prairie, and I thought that if heaven was real, I hoped it was a place I never had to go, for this earth was greater than any paradise.”

“My fear of camping: I’m convinced bugs will crawl up my vagina and lay eggs. Isn’t everyone?”  Kathy Griffin

“Deep silence fell about the little camp, planted there so audaciously in the jaws of the wilderness. The lake gleamed like a sheet of black glass beneath the stars. The cold air pricked. In the draughts of night that poured their silent tide from the depths of the forest, with messages from distant ridges and from lakes just beginning to freeze, there lay already the faint, bleak odors of coming winter.

“Of course, not everybody likes camping trips. I do not myself enjoy them much, because I’m not outdoorsy, or at any rate, I’m not outdoorsy overnight-without-a-mattress-wise. There’s a limit to the outdoorsiness to which some academics can be expected to submit.”

“Whatever form it takes, camping is earthy, soul enriching and character building, and there can be few such satisfying moments as having your tent pitched and the smoke rising from your campfire as the golden sun sets on the horizon–even if it’s just for a fleeting moment before the rain spoils everything.”

“Wilderness areas are first of all a series of sanctuaries for the primitive arts of wilderness travel, especially canoeing and packing. I suppose some will wish to debate whether it is important to keep these primitive arts alive. I shall not debate it. Either you know it in your bones, or you are very, very old.”

“A great many people, and more all the time, live their entire lives without ever once sleeping out under the stars.”

“To wake up on a gloriously bright morning, in a tent pitched beneath spruce trees, and to look out lazily and sleepily for a moment from the open side of the tent, across the dead camp-fire of the night before, to the river, where the light of morning rests and perhaps some early-rising native is gliding in his birch canoe; to go to the river and freshen one’s self with the cold water, and yell exultingly to the gulls and hell-divers, in the very joy of living; or to wake at night, when you have rolled in your blankets in the frost-stricken dying grass without a tent, and to look up through the leaves above to the dark sky and the flashing stars, and hear far off the call of a night bird or the howl of a wolf: this is the poetry, the joy of a wild and roving existence, which cannot come too often”

“If you have not touched the rocky wall of a canyon. If you have not heard a rushing river pound over cobblestones. If you have not seen a native trout rise in a crystalline pool beneath a shattering riffle, or a golden eagle spread its wings and cover you in shadow. If you have not seen the tree line recede to the top of a bare crested mountain. If you have not looked into a pair of wild eyes and seen your own reflection. Please, for the good of your soul, travel west.”

“I’m not a firefighter—I’m a firefly fighter. My bravery may come in small flashes, but I am sure it doesn’t go unnoticed by lustful women and campers everywhere.”

“When I returned to camp, they walked behind me on the trail, and we spoke not a word about getting skunked today, but rather talked about the days we returned with a stringer full of fish, and how we filleted them and the left the guts out for bears and eagles, and how those fish tasted fresh when we fried them over a fire.”

“My daughter had read books about people in the cities going camping. They would leave their comfortable homes and beds and deliberately sleep in tents, on the ground, then cook their food outside over an open fire instead of in a well-stocked kitchen. She couldn’t imagine something so ridiculous.”

“My tent doesn’t look like much but, as an estate agent might say, “It is air-conditioned and has exceptional location.”

“Mountains inspire awe in any human person who has a soul. They remind us of our frailty, our unimportance, of the briefness of our span upon this earth. They touch the heavens, and sail serenely at an altitude beyond even the imaginings of a mere mortal.”

“Kneeling over a trickling mountain stream and pumping every ounce of water you use though a filter can really change your perception of turning on a faucet.”

“There is a solitude, or perhaps a solemnity, in the few hours that precede the dawn of day which is unlike that of any others in the twenty-four, and which I cannot explain or account for. Thoughts come to me at this time that I never have at any other.” George Bird Grinnell

“Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.” George Carlin

“It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.”  Hunter S. Thompson

“What nature delivers to us is never stale. Because what nature creates has eternity in it.”

“Those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art.” Izaak Walton

“People say to me so often, ‘Jane how can you be so peaceful when everywhere around you people want books signed, people are asking these questions and yet you seem peaceful,’ and I always answer that it is the peace of the forest that I carry inside.”  Jane Goodall

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”  John Muir

“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.  When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. “  John Muir

“I got into an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That’s a bad place for an argument, because then I tried to walk out and slammed the flap. How are you supposed to express your anger in this situation? Zipper it up really quick?”

How would you describe what Camping means to you, in just a sentence or two?  We would love to hear your thoughts and quotes on being a camper!  Add your comments below!