Hello my Foodie Friends!
Grilling in our backyards during the month of August is among my favorite summertime pastimes. Your BBQ, grilling, and outdoor cooking missions can eventually bring you to one of life’s simple joys: meat on a stick. One tool that can help those who are firing up in the backyard is the skewer. Creating food on a stick offers the ability to be creative and to offer various food choices for your family and guests. Serving food on a stick is not only convenient, but it’s also fun! Skewers can be made of bamboo, flexible stainless steel or stainless steel. Finding the right skewer for your grilling mission is key since skewers come in a variety of lengths and shapes, with handle embellishments and smart features. If you’re using a grill with a lid, make sure you choose a skewer length that will allow you to close the grill lid. Metal skewers now come in flat, round, spiral, or square shapes, and some also have double shafts. A square or spiral shape is especially helpful in keeping foods from sliding off the skewer or spinning around the shaft as you turn them on the grill. If you’re already working with spinning skewers (round metal or wooden), you can try using tongs to cradle the foods as you turn them and keep things grilling evenly.
Shish kabobs, usually just called kabobs, refers to meat and vegetables cut into one inch cubes and put on a skewer. “Kabobs,” translated, simply means a meat dish of Middle Eastern origins. In America, most skewered meats and vegetables have been come to be known as kabobs. Some common ingredients for a kabob is onion, bell pepper, various meats, mushrooms, and a variety of other foods. There are many specialties of various skewered meat dishes from all around the world, but in America, kabob has come to mean any of them. While kabobs are not necessarily always cooked on a grill, they usually are. This allows the meat to take on the smoky grill flavor as well as get a nice char on it. With wooden skewers, the skewer has a nice char as well. The key to grilling great kabobs is making sure they cook evenly. Make sure before you place anything on the grill, it’s at medium temperature. Then, as the kabobs cook, rotate them regularly, so they don’t burn on one side while being raw on the other.
If you’re going to make shish kebabs with both meat and veggies, you must precook the meat so that you’re just heating it. Otherwise, by the time the meat is cooked, the veggies will be charcoal. Also, make sure the foods that take longer to cook (like onions and peppers) are cut into smaller pieces than the quick-cooking foods (like pineapple and cherry tomatoes) so that nothing burns.
Other skew suggestions: Fruit skewers. Just like above, you can put similarly sized chunks of fruit onto a skewer, chill, and serve. It’s even better if you serve a yogurt or cream cheese dip or chocolate fondue with them.
Fresh veggie skewers. Whether you cook them or not, a skewer makes veggies infinitely more appealing to children. The novelty might get veggies into little tummies where they otherwise would not go. As with the fruit, if you serve a dip with them, they might go over better. Or, forget the kids and make grilled mushrooms to add to a steak.
This summer let the aspiring little chefs’ help create unique and memorable food on a stick. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, for an assortment of skewers to help you create your food on the stick creations. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen!”
John & Paula