Monday, April 22, 2013

Skewer Happy! Kebob & Brochettes on the menu

 Chicken Kebob, Photo Renee Fontes, Cook like a Caterer using marinade from Rosemary Lamb Skewers recipe
After a balmy spring weekend, I'm ready to crawl out of my coat, how about you? Thoughts of patio parties, sizzling grills and skewered delights are dancing in my head...maybe it's spring food fever!

From now and into the fall, bits of meat, vegetables and fruits can very simply be transformed into delicious art on stick. Food served in this style is impressive adding to the celebration and creating a buzz at the buffet table. Skewered offerings are your opportunity to get creative the extra touch will garner compliments from happy guests.

First a few notes about skewers themselves, the stick like holders of food. Skewered meats and vegetables go by many names; kebabs, brochettes and even pinchos, depending where your from.
Barbecue Chicken Brochette, using Bourbon BBQ Sauce from Cook like a Caterer, photo Renee Fontes

The traditional go to skewer is the metal blade with a flat or rounded shaft, pointy end and preferably metal handle. I love these for smaller parties, you don't need to worry about burning it away, they are sturdy and food slides on and off easily.

Threading small items like shrimp, look great and can make turning and serving them easier.

Shrimp Skewers, using Lemon Vinaigrette as marinade, Cook like a Caterer, photo Renee Fontes

Bamboo skewers are available in all sizes and have made cooking convenient. They are inexpensive, easy to find in stores and disposable. Soaking the bamboo sticks ahead will help with burning. Wooden sticks are also available, these are usually thicker and longer, good for heavy meats and produce.

I leave small gaps between food on skewers to make sure cooking is even. For best results, marinate the meat squares before threading and don't marinate the vegetables.

 Chicken Kebob, Photo Renee Fontes, Cook like a Caterer using marinade from Rosemary Lamb Skewers recipe

I have used sturdy barbecue rosemary (there is actually a variety called that!) as sticks for lamb appetizers. The best way too grill them is with a strip of foil under the leafy end to keep it from burning.

Rosemary Lamb Skewers, Cook like a Caterer, Photo Renee Fontes

Grilling is my preferred form of cooking for any outdoor event and I've never met a guest that didn't spontaneously drool over food laden sticks roasting on the fire. Remember, skewers are not limited to heated dishes, they can also be holders for cold appetizers, salads, fruit and dessert. 

 Chicken Kebob, Photo Renee Fontes, Cook like a Caterer using marinade from Rosemary Lamb Skewers recipe
These Mediterranean Chicken skewers marinated in herbs and lemon. After they are grilled, splash them with more lemon, and serve on a bed of rice or couscous. A crisp salad of Kalamata olives, red onion, cucumber and fetta cheese sprinkled with good olive oil is the perfect on the side.

Chicken Satay, Cook like a Caterer, Renee Fontes

Every country has a form of food on a stick, making it easy to theme parties with authentic dishes like these chicken satay. A variety of skewers are perfect for an appetizer party.

There is always room for dessert, strawberries are a spring favorite. Slide on a stick with Angel Food Cake squares and top sweet soft cream or give them a little dip in chocolate. Simple fruit kebobs are popular as a dessert too.

Fruit Kebobs, Cook like a Caterer, Photo Renee Fontes
I hope you enjoyed a few of my favorite dishes to inspire your own skewering frenzy. I would love to here your ideas as well. So stick to it... slide some food on a skewer and fire up the grill!