It’s hard to beat a cookout for casual entertainment. The mood is relaxed, never rushed, and the food is informal, which makes for a perfect opportunity to grill kebabs.
This ancient means of grilling food is not only a fun way to cook, it lends itself to lots of creativity and a shared experience. Depending on what you like to eat, kebabs can be elegantly and colorfully arranged since you can blend of vegetables, fruits and proteins however you like. Assemble them before guests arrive or put out your precut fixings and let them to assemble their own. Kids love doing this, but monitor them closely since those skewers are pointed.
We’ve assembled a four-course dinner using a variety of kebabs we grill quickly throughout the meal. We recommend you start with panzanella kebabs (grilled bread salad on a skewer), then move on to the fish course, then the main course (chicken, beef or lamb), and finally dessert.
We recommend serving your kebabs off the skewer to take up less space on the plate. (Tip: To release the food smoothly, place the fork behind the last piece of food and over the skewer end nearest your hand. Then pull the skewer slowly toward you to let the food slide onto the plate.) Have fun with your kebab party and use the spices and sauces you like best to create your own signature skewers.
Remember, this is supposed to be fun, so get the party started smoothly by prepping your food ingredients, firing up the grill and while it heats up make some cocktails. Two cocktails that fit the occasion perfectly are the Jimi’s Cucumber Smash and the Ruby Manhattan.
- Panzanella — Cubed bread, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese balls and red onions. Drizzle with pesto oil.
- Note: these will take very little time on the grill as you just want the bread to toast slightly and the cheese to melt slightly.
- Chicken — Cubed chicken, yellow, green and orange peppers. Try this with fajita seasonings and serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream on a pita.
- Fish — Salmon and tuna. Use an Asian fish rub to season the fish and serve over rice with a sweet chili sauce.
- Lamb — Cubed lamb, red onion and cherry tomato. Marinate the lamb and use Moroccan or Greek spices and serve over Israeli couscous with tzatziki sauce.
- Beef — Cubed beef, green peppers, red skin potatoes and mushrooms. Marinate your beef in Italian dressing and serve this with horseradish sauce.
- Note: steam the redskin potatoes ahead of time so they are almost fully cooked, they can char and finish cooking on the grill.
In addition to the traditional white rice and couscous, there are many more options to try. We now have available various types of rice (brown, wild, Jasmine, Basmati), seasoned or unseasoned. The same is true with couscous, which can be found in several different sizes and seasonings to pair with your kebabs. Pita bread and French fries are always great options if you are serving your kebab as a sandwich.[/box]
Jimi’s Cucumber Smash
- 3 cucumber slices
- 2 ounces el Jimador Blanco
- Muddle the above then, add:
- ¾ ounce agave syrup
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a cucumber slice.
In a shaker with ice, add:
- 1½ ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon
- 3 ounces pinot noir wine
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- Squeeze of Lemon
Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Skewer brownie bites or chunks with marshmallows and grill until just warmed through and the marshmallows slightly browned. Serve with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge.