Foodie news: Skewer fun for Labor Day
Special to the Sun
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; I know, for you guys out there, scary title. Memories of similar headlines during the Lorena Bobbitt trial when (honestly) most men were on their best behavior. Relax, these bobs are nothing to cringe about. In fact, just the opposite. I have found sticking things (food) on a skewer adds fun to the meal and gives it a little more cache. Throw in a great marinade recipe and you will be celebrating Labor Day in style. To start, you will need skewers. Do as I say and not as I do and just go to Rite Aid and buy the metal ones ($2.97 for four in the camping section) or a pack of the bamboo disposables for $1.99 at Safeway. Before I discovered these I was a regular at the local thrift stores, looking for the long shish kabob wands of my youth (no luck, and do not try to grill with fondue forks) and even went so far as to hit a food booth at Farmers Market and beg a handful of freebie sticks claiming I needed them for and#8220;my daughter’s art project.and#8221; Spend the money, own your skewers and get ready to bob for compliments. You’ll get them.
Tandori Chicken and Veggie Kabobs*
This is a variation of the traditional Indian dish and like all kebobs of this sort, I marinate the vegetables with the meat for more flavor. Unlike traditional marinades, you don’t need to let the meat and vegetables sit in the sauce for too long. It is more of a coating.
Ingredients for marinade/coating:
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. red pepper (I love those little packs from take-out pizza.)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbls. hot sauce
4 drops red food coloring (optional, but it does look better with)
2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into two-inch pieces
2 medium onions, cut into two-inch pieces
2 green peppers, cut into two-inch pieces
2 small zucchini, cut into half-inch thick rounds
Preparation: Mix all marinade ingredients in large bowl. Add chicken and vegetables, stir until pieces are coated, then let sit at room temperature for about an hour. Put mat and vegetables on skewers, alternating selections. Barbecue on medium heat, turning over once, for about ten minutes. Serve with Tzatziki sauce (recipe below), Major Grey’s Chutney (Safeway, Savemart or Incline’s Village market) and flat or Naan bread (also Safeway, Savemart or Incline’s Village market)
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cucumbers, peeled seeded, and diced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbls. fresh dill
3 cloves garlic
Blend all ingredients together in food processor or blender. Chill an hour before serving.
*If you do not want to invest in all the Tandori ingredients simply marinate meat and vegetables in a good Italian salad dressing, olive oil and garlic. Follow same prep and cook instructions and serve with Tzatziki Sauce.
Alternate strawberries, black berries, raspberries and one-inch squares of brownies on bamboo skewers, leaving about an inch empty on the pointed end. Use a watermelon end as your display base (called a and#8220;frogand#8221; for those-in-the-know) and stab skewers in the watermelon dome/base for a fruited porcupine effect. Serve with a side of whipped cream or creme fraiche available in the gourmet cheese section at Safeway.