Summer is here and the stage is set for easy and enticing outdoor meals. This month I feature chicken kabobs with a tropical flavor. The Wild Turkey Bourbon Marinade is featured in my cookbook and adds a robust taste to grilled beef. Grilled vegetables brushed with olive oil are a perfect accompaniment to any outdoor meal, and my homemade garlic butter beats the store-bought garlic spread hands-down. Your young guests will love making the grilled banana treats, so sit back, relax, and enjoy summer!
TROPICAL ISLAND CHICKEN KABOBS
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut
into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (15-oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 lb. fresh snow peas
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, stems removed
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large red onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
Place chicken in large Ziploc bag and add next 6 ingredients. Shake well and refrigerate 2 hours. Remove chicken pieces from bag and place remaining marinade in small saucepan.
Bring marinade to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside. Thread chicken and vegetables, alternating items, onto 8 (12-inch) skewers. To prevent kabobs from sticking, spray grids of grill with a cooking spray while grids are cold. Place skewers over hot coals. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently and basting with marinade. Serves 8.
WILD TURKEY BOURBON MARINADE STEAK SAUCE
2 cups soy sauce
1/4 cup Wild Turkey bourbon
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons dry mustard
2 Tablespoons finely chopped ginger root (or 1 Tablespoon ground ginger)
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Pour into a quart jar. Use this sauce to marinate red meats before cooking (a minimum of one hour, and preferably overnight, in the refrigerator) and to baste while cooking. Sauce may be stored in the refrigerator for approximately one week. Pour out the amount of sauce needed for your grilling. Be careful of cross contamination. Do not dip your brush into the jar of unused sauce once you have touched meat with your brush. You may omit the bourbon if you wish.
GRILLED ROASTED VEGETABLES
1 zucchini, sliced on the diagonal in 1-inch slices
1 yellow squash, sliced on the diagonal in 1-inch slices
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch round slices
1 red or Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced in 1/2- inch rings
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese or grated Asiago cheese
In a small saucepan bring balsamic vinegar to a boil and cook over medium heat until reduced by half. Set aside. Brush all vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. To prevent vegetables from sticking, prepare grill prior to heating by spraying grids with a cooking spray. Lay vegetables directly on grids over hot coals and cook until charred.
Remove from grill and place all vegetables on platter. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over vegetables and sprinkle with cheese. Serves 4.
HOMEMADE GARLIC BUTTER
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
Place all ingredients in mixing bowl. Blend until mixture becomes creamy. Place in serving crock and chill until butter is stiff but of spreading consistency. (Use garlic butter spread on French bread. Wrap bread in foil and grill over hot coals.)
KIDS' YUMMY GRILLED BANANAS
1 ripe banana per person
Peanut butter chips
Carefully peel each banana, but leave the peel attached or intact near the bottom of the banana. Let each guest choose their favorite chips and gently press them into the bananas. Cover bananas with peelings and wrap in aluminum foil. Place over hot coals, turning frequently, leaving on for a total of 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully remove from grill and unwrap bananas, discarding peelings. Grilled bananas are great eaten alone or served with vanilla ice cream.