Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shish Kebab Cooking Tips and Hints


Shish kebabs are a perfect choice for guests or family meals. The versatile beauty of shish kebabs allows you to use any combination of meats, seafood, fruits, and/or vegetables to please any palate.

Kebabs can be prepared in advance, making it a perfect crowd-pleaser while keeping you out of the kitchen so you can enjoy your guests. You can even make dessert kebabs. Let your imagination run wild with different combinations and marinades.

Shish Kebab Cooking Tips and Hints
It is so easy to make shish kebabs at home, it is surprising they are not a mainstay. If you combine vegetables and fruits along with your choice of meat, you literally have a meal on a stick. Kids get a big kick out of helping not only make kebabs, but choosing their own combinations, so do let them help. Here are a few tips and hints to keep in mind:

• Wooden bamboo skewers are inexpensive and easy to find, but they must be soaked at least 30 minutes in water (preferably warm to the touch) prior to use. This keeps them from easily catching fire. If you get into the shish kebab habit, then you may wish to invest in stainless steel reusable skewers.

• Wash all meats and seafood thoroughly and pat dry before skewering and adding to marinade.

• Be sure to marinate in the refrigerator to avoid food-borne bacteria.

• Meats should optimally be cut in uniformly-sized 1 to 2-inch cubes for quick and even cooking.

• Fatty meats can be cooked at a higher temperature. Lean meats will need a longer time at a lower heat.

• Choose firm-textured fish (salmon, tuna, mahi mahi, swordfish, shark, etc.) and shellfish.

• Parboil vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, carrots and other dense foods before skewering if you like them fully-cooked in the end product. Baby new potatoes can be scrubbed and par-boiled in skins or use canned whole potatoes.

• When using marinade, a large heavy-duty plastic zip or cooking bag works great for prepared skewers. Be sure to get most of the air out before sealing so the contents are covered with the marinade, and turn the bag often while marinating.

• Marinade is not necessary. You can also just season with your favorite herbs and spices.

• Kebabs can be grilled, broiled or baked. If you don't have a barbecue, you might want to look into an electric table-top indoor barbecue.

• If using marinade, be sure to marinate at least 30 minutes before cooking. Overnight is even better if you have time to prepare ahead. Discard marinade. Do not reuse it. Prepare a separate batch if you need a dipping sauce.

• Alternate meat with vegetables and fruit on the skewers. Be creative.

• A light spray of cooking oil will help keep the kebabs from sticking. Turn the kebabs often for even cooking.

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