Well, now I’m all dis-kebab-ulated

The grill-meister also known as boyfriend just started his own blog, but I’m going to beat him to the punch with this post (sorry babe)! I’ve already talked about grilling everything in sight like fancy steaks and loaded burgers, cedar-wrapped fish, exciting mixtures of veggies (even hair – that’s a good story, but you can’t have it yet…), but what about the simple things in life? Sometimes you just want a good old hot dog or brat. Well, too bad, we don’t do simple here so suck it up and eat our ridiculous concoctions! Honestly, even grilling a hot dog turns into a happy heart attack on a plate [see pic of my evil double-dog-chili-white-onion-tomato-jalapeno-explosion. With-cheese. And-beer.] Sometimes, ok often, we totally ignore my rants about eating healthy and just dive face first into a plate full of gluttonous delight until it hurts so good that we roll toward the floor ready for a food-induced nap in the fetal position.

I’m full just looking at it…

However, when we want something lighter (and by lighter I generally mean “without chili”) the traditional kebab is a great choice. There are so many ways to load a wooden stick with food that it can be quite a fun game coming up with ingredient combinations, and although it usually simply becomes a game of “what’s in the fridge today,” there’s still lots of room for creativity. When we want to keep it simple, though, I start with chicken or some variation of sausage. The two types of kebabs we made this week include one I found while making my awesome salads the other day from the Casual Cooking cookbook – Picnic Sausage & Potato Kebabs; the other a variation of an Indonesian dish I had many times growing up called Sate (or Satay; pronounced SAH-tay). Both are awesome and yes, sigh, simple-ish so you can very easily throw these on the grill any time you want a little change-up in your cookout.

simply yummy!

just like mom used to make

For once – believe it or not – I actually followed the exact recipe for the Sausage Kebabs! Ok, I lied. We only had a few green onions on hand, so rather than go back to the store I used the white parts of the ones we had and added some sliced sweet onion to finish the skewers. So, it was just a little white sweet lie. Our brats were uncooked, so I had Jeremiah throw them on the grill for a few minutes first and then bring them back so I could slice and skewer them. And this time the recipe helped me pre-cook the potatoes (where were you for this post Pampered Chef?!?), so they were cooked to perfection. I loaded everything onto my BBQ Skewer Set, which are quite long and very sturdy, so I was able to squeeze all 6 servings on the 4 skewers. Note: cherry and grape tomatoes explode in your mouth, which is fine. A word to the wise… they explode when not in your mouth as well. Take great care when pushing all items off of your sticks/skewers as you probably don’t want tablecloths/placemats/laps full of baby tomato seeds. It’s best to push down the meat or potato BELOW the tomato first, and either the tomato will stick to it and follow the train off onto the plate, or it will be next in line so you can catch it off-guard, alone and unaware of your pushy intentions. I learned the hard way that you can’t just shove a tomato, if for no other reason than to save you from falling victim to their hot, juicy fury as well! The best part, oddly enough though, was the dijon mayo. Mixing the mayonnaise in with the mustard is something we’ve never done before (always just slathered on the dijon/brown mustard without a care in the world), and I loved how it cut back on the bite that you usually get from mustard alone and just made a nice flavorful dipping sauce. I even started dipping the grilled onions in it (the sweet were good, but the green bulbs were so delish!) like those Awesome Blossoms from Outback, just to have an excuse to eat more of the sauce!! Altogether, combined with more husk-grilled corn (which I also ended up rolling in the dijon mayo), a very tasty meal!

microwave and drain, so easy!

3 item marinade!

Now Sate is something I remember helping my mom prepare when I was younger. As weird as it may sound, I had so much fun stirring/marinating the chicken in a big metal bowl, and getting a soy sauce hand bath while I skewered all the fat pieces onto wooden sticks. Then I’d patiently sit outside, rotating the sticks like a human hot dog machine, content to just stare at the meat as it cooked. We never had a fancy barbecue like Jeremiah and I do now, just a simple coal-fueled hibachi grill a foot high that served it’s purpose just as well as its bigger cousins full of knobs, tricks, and fireworks (fireworks not included, please purchase separately). We made many trips to the Dutch store – Holland American Market – with the flat wooden fisherman outside (hey mom, I remember!) a few cities over for chocolate and wooden shoes, and it also carried Indonesian foods as well, such as sambal (ridiculously spicy sauce that we loved with sate and white rice or noodles) and the Indonesian soy sauce – Conimex Ketjap Manis – my mom always used to marinate the chicken (that one I had to look at pictures to recognize, haha). As I didn’t officially have Indonesian soy sauce, I thought perhaps I could manipulate my regular low sodium soy sauce to be sweet just like it. While purchasing extra soy sauce, I happened upon some Ponzu Soy Sauce and figured it had a better base for what I wanted to put in (other than the citrus, which was barely noticeable once I added more sugar and garlic). I let it marinate in the fridge for about 6 hours, and it ended up tasting pretty darn close! I did soak the sticks, but only for a few minutes so they did get a bit blackened (but catching things on fire is half the fun!). I will attempt a general recipe below, but don’t quote me on it. Sate is traditionally served with peanut sauce, but I hate peanut sauce (seriously, I’d rather eat the food dry than dip in it). Unfortunately, we don’t have sambal out here in the desert, and I didn’t think to substitute a comparable item when I made the meal the other day. If you want spicy and can’t find the right sauce, Srirachi is always a good go-to hot sauce for non-Mexican ethnic foods, or in the case of these “kebabs,” the chicken (if cooked properly) is usually juicy enough to eat alone. Since I also did not have plain white rice, I grabbed a box (boo, hiss; cheater!!) of Broccoli Au Gratin Rice A Roni and added more large pieces of steamed fresh broccoli. It actually made a fairly well-rounded meal, so I didn’t mind forgetting to buy white rice (although Ryley did, sorry!).

what’s on your skewer?

So the next time you find yourself singing about how “the red red Robin goes kebab-bob-bobbin along,” or you want to buy kebab-ble heads and go kebab-sledding… and any other bad puns I can skewer you with… perhaps try one of these recipes. Or make up a new one: chicken/pineapple in teriyaki glaze, eggplant/artichoke hearts/zucchini with a red curry rub, etc. Go ahead, close your eyes and start grabbing food. Let me know what incredibly delicious kebabs you create!

Picnic Sausage & Potato Kebabs

Mustard Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard

1/4 pound petite new potatoes (10-12)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove
3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
6 large green onions
1 package (1 pound) cooked bratwurst (5-6 sausages)
12 cherry tomatoes

1. Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium coals. For mustard sauce, mix mayonnaise and mustard in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. For kebabs, cut potatoes in half using Crinkle Cutter. Place potatoes and water in Large Micro-Cooker; cover. Microwave on HIGH 5-7 minutes, just until potatoes are fork-tender; drain. Drizzle with oil. Add garlic pressed with Garlic Press and seasonings; mix gently using Small Mix ‘N Scraper.

3. Trim root ends from green onions. Cut 24 pieces, each 2 inches long. Reserve green tops for another use. Add onions to potatoes and toss gently.

4. Cut bratwurst diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Alternately thread bratwurst, potatoes, onions and cherry tomatoes onto six 12-inch skewers.

5. Grill kebabs, uncovered, 6-8 minutes or until bratwurst is browned, turning frequently using BBQ Tongs. Serve kebabs with mustard sauce.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 370, Total Fat 28g, Saturated Fat 9g, Cholesterol 52mg, Carbohydrate 16g, Protein 13g, Sodium 610mg, Fiber 2g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 1 1/2 meat, 4 fat (1 carb)

Menu Suggestions
Serve with sauerkraut or marinated cucumber salad and rye or pumpernickel rolls. Enjoy Apple Berry Crisp for dessert.

Cook’s Tips
1. For extra convenience, this recipe calls for precooked bratwurst. If you prefer to use fresh bratwurst, you’ll need to cook the sausages before skewering. To cook fresh bratwurst before grilling, prick sausages several times. Place in Large (10-in.) Skillet with 3 cups water and 1 medium onion, cut into wedges. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove bratwurst from skillet using Chef’s Tongs; cool slightly and proceed as recipe directs.
2. Precooked smoked sausage is another type of sausage that can be used in this recipe.
3. If you use wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before using to prevent burning.

Copyright 2002 The Pampered Chef, Ltd. All rights reserved.

Heather’s Close Enough Sate

4-6 boneless chicken breasts (1 pound)
1 bottle (12 oz) soy sauce or ponzu sauce
1 cup golden brown sugar
2 garlic cloves
6-12 skewer sticks

1. Trim fat and other yuckies from chicken breasts with Professional Shears; cut into pieces, approx. 1-in. thick. Be sure to use the word “yuckies” when referring to trimmings as they are thrown in the garbage or disposal.

2. In Large Stainless Mixing Bowl, combine sauce, sugar, and garlic cloves pressed with the Garlic Press; stir well until sugar has dissolved.

3. Toss chicken gently in soy sauce mixture, coating well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 24), mixing occasionally to re-coat chicken pieces evenly. Soak skewers (if made of wood) at least 20-30 minutes, or be prepared to dance in front of the fire that was once your sate sticks.

4. Heat grill to MEDIUM, unless you like char-grilled chicken (that would be HIGH). String 5-7 pieces of chicken closely together on each skewer, leaving space at the bottom for grasping. Cook chicken until no longer pink inside (about 10-15 minutes, rotating every few minutes). Don’t wait until you have chicken jerky – check by opening a piece or inserting Digital Pocket Thermometer into the fattest piece on a skewer.

5. Eat the sate. Be careful, both the sticks and the chicken are hot if not allowed sufficient time to cool due to the delicious aroma creating a need to dig in immediately! Liquid helps cool the mouth, so enjoy beverage of choice with sate. The End.


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