Thursday, June 4, 2015

Chicken Kabobs with Extras


Chicken Kabobs with Extras
(6-8 servings)

 
Ingredients:

2 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into 1-1½ inch pieces
2 cups Favorite Salad Dressing or Marinade (see note)
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 glove Fresh Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Dried Rosemary, crushed
6 cups Assorted Fresh Vegetables (see note)

Directions:

Place chicken in a zip-lock gallon bag with half the salad dressing/marinade of choice and refrigerate 30 minutes.  In a second gallon bag, combine oil, garlic and rosemary.  Add the vegetables to this bag and shake to mix.  Drain and discard salad dressing/marinade.  Thread chicken on to metal or soaked wooden skewers.  I start and finish each of these skewers with a bell pepper slice or two.  This helps keep chicken from drying out on the ends.  Next thread vegetables onto other skewers.  Remember to alternate the vegetables on the skewers.  It helps with the look as well as the cooking of each vegetable.    Prepare grill (clean & oil grates) and cook over medium-high heat.  Place skewers on grates, uncovered and cook (turning as needed) for 12 to 15 minutes or until done and juices run clear.  Use remaining salad dressing/marinade to baste skewers as they cook.

Note:               I like Olive Garden’s Italian dressing which you can find in many grocery stores these days.  But any salad dressing or bottled marinade will work for this recipe.  Use what you like or think will give the ingredients great flavor.

Note:               Everyone has vegetables they like or don’t like.  Use a variety of 4 or 5 for kabobs.  Some ideas for you include; any color bell peppers, tomatoes (cherry are best), zucchini or yellow squash, mushrooms, onion, corn of cob or potatoes.  Remember to cut these into pieces about the size of the chicken.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Shrimp Kabobs in Tomato/Basil Sauce


Shrimp Kabobs in Tomato/Basil Sauce
(4-6 servings)

 
Ingredients:

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp. Fresh Basil, minced
2 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 medium clove Fresh Garlic, minced
¼ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 lb. Fresh Shrimp (16-20 ct.), peeled & deveined

Directions:

Place the first 6 ingredients in a gallon zip-lock bag.  Shake well to combine.  Now add the shrimp, seal, place bag in 9x13 baking dish and put in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Remove dish from refrigerator and drain shrimp in a colander.  Dispose of marinade and thread shrimp onto metal or soaked wooden skewers.  Prepare grill (clean & oil grates) and cook over medium heat covered for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Turn shrimp and continue another 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and done.  Don’t overcook as the shrimp will get tough.

Note:               The 16-20 ct. above refers to size of the shrimp.  The count is how many shrimp there are in a pound.  I prefer this size for grilling.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ever Tried Shish Kebab in Grilling Season?

What is "Shish Kebab" or "Kebab" or "Kebob" or "Kabob" anyway?  That's a lot of different names for basically the same thing.  They all refer to putting food pieces on a skewer and grilling or broiling them to eat.  The main ingredient is usually meat of some type.

The original "Shish Kebab" used lamb as the meat.  They also come with pieces of vegetables or fruit too.  Today, you'll find them referred to as any of those names mentioned above depending on the country.

In today's world of food, anything goes when making a "Kabob" which is my preferred word for them.  By that I mean just about any meat, poultry, fish, seafood, vegetable and/or fruit works.  If you can get it on a skewer, then you can grill it.

When I first started in the business, you would see skewers with lamb or beef.  They also came with vegetables such as mushrooms, bell peppers, onion and cherry tomatoes.  The meat and vegetables were skewed alternating the meat and vegetable.  For appearance, they would do pepper, meat, tomato, meat, onion, meat, mushroom, meat, onion, meat, tomato, meat and end with a pepper.  It looked great on a plate when presented to a customer in a restaurant.

There was a problem in cooking them that way.  When the meat was done to the customers likeness (medium-rare, medium, etc.) the other ingredients were not.  Some of the vegetables would be over cooked and others under cooked.

Time and imagination has helped us there.  All the ingredients on a skewer need to be close in size.  Meats or other protein are usually cut to about 1-1 1/2 inch square pieces.  Vegetables and fruit try to follow in size to the protein.

We best talk about "Skewers" a little.  You can use metal or wood skewers.  The metal ones come both round and flat.  You can actually get some that are a half inch wide but still thin.  The flat skewers may help a little in keeping the food from rotating as you try turning them on the grill.  Wooden skewers need to be soaked in water for 30 minutes before using.  This keeps them from burning during the cooking process.

Many people today also grilled the meat and other ingredients separately on their own skewer.  That way you can control the cooking process better.  My suggestion for the meat is to start and end their skewer with some pepper slices.  This way the outside pieces of meat are not over done compared to the inside pieces.  This is especially important with poultry.

A few other tricks with vegetables is to blanch the pepper pieces before putting on the skewer.  I sauté my mushrooms a little before skewering too.  They tend to dry out just going straight to the grill.  I'll use 2 skewers for some items because they twist and turn on you as you try to turn them over to grill the other side.  I'll also try not to pack them items too tightly on the skewer as this lets the heat into those side areas.

I season red meats, brine poultry and marinade seafood to help keep moisture in the ingredient as it cooks.  The brine I use is just water and salt in a ratio of 2 quarts of water to 2 tablespoons of salt.  30 minutes is enough time for the brine too.  Be sure to pat all the ingredients dry with paper towels before grilling.  This helps with getting a good sear on the  outside of the protein and hold in moisture.

Today's post does not cover everything there is to know about "Shish Kebabs" but it gives you a good start in understanding them.  Now you can get creative and have fun making your own.

The recipes this week include "Shrimp Kabobs with Tomato/Basil Sauce" tomorrow and "Chicken Kabobs with Extras" on Thursday.  I hope you try these and share with family and friends.  "Happy Cooking" until next week.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Rhubarb Marmalade


Rhubarb Marmalade
(2 cups minus)

 
Ingredients:

¾ cup Water
¼ cup Sugar
1 tsp. Fresh Ginger, grated
¼ tsp. Ground Allspice
½ medium Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise & seeds scraped
1 lb. Fresh Rhubarb, 1/2 inch slices
to taste Salt & Black Pepper

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, combine the first 5 ingredients including both the vanilla bean and the seeds before adding the rhubarb.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Lower heat to medium-low and continue cooking for about 20 minutes or until sauce becomes jamlike.  Stir mixture occasionally during this time.  Taste and then season with salt and pepper.  Remove the vanilla bean

Note:               This sauce is best with cuts of unbreaded fish, chicken or pork.  Sauce should be served warm either under or over entrée.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rhubarb Ketchup


Rhubarb Ketchup
(2 cups plus)

 
Ingredients:

1 lb. Fresh Rhubarb, ½ inch slice
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. Ruby Port
2 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
½ cup Sugar
1 medium Orange, zested (wide strips of zest)
To taste Salt & Cayenne Pepper

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat combine all ingredients through orange zest.  Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.  Let mixture sit for 30 minutes uncovered.  Cover and bring to a simmer over moderately low heat until rhubarb is tender.  Stir often during this time (about 5-10 minutes) or until rhubarb is just tender.  Remove orange zest and transfer mixture to a blender.  Puree mixture, taste and season with the salt and Cayenne pepper.

Note:               Use it just as you would regular ketchup.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rhubarb BBQ Sauce


Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
(1 cup plus)

 
Ingredients:

1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¾ cup Yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
2 cups Rhubarb (fresh or frozen), sliced (thawed if frozen)
¼ cup Ketchup
¼ cup Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Cider Vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
¼ tsp. Black Pepper

Directions:

Over medium heat in a large saucepan, warm oil before adding the onion.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes than add the garlic.  Continue sautéing until fragrant.  Now add the remaining ingredients and cook until rhubarb is soft (about 10 minutes.  Cover and remove from heat until needed or refrigerate for later use.

Note:               This goes well with many different pork dishes.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rhubarb is for more than just Desserts.

When people say "Rhubarb" most think it is for some type of dessert recipe.  It is great for those but it works well in other situations too.

I've got several dessert and even a jam recipe in my "Recipe Tabs" above.

This week I give you 3 other ways to use rhubarb.  Tomorrow's recipe is for "Rhubarb BBQ Sauce."  Thursday try making "Rhubarb Ketchup" for your summer burgers.  Than on Friday it's a recipe for "Rhubarb Marmalade" which goes well  over or under fish and chicken dishes.

This is a short blog today as it is "Memorial Day Weekend" in the USA and we're busy with the family.  Also, my blog assistant turns 3 today.

Enjoy the recipes and "Happy Cooking" to everyone.  Remember to please share my blog link with all your family and friends.