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Try a Fourth of July kabob barbecue

Summer isn't the only time to barbecue but it is a great time to cook outside. We like the taste so much our family barbecues in the middle of winter rain or shine, in hail or sleet. I will admit that when we barbecue in the nasty weather it isn't as much fun as being able to sit outside on the deck and take your time basting and brushing on the sauces and enjoying the warm sunshine.
   One of my current favorite things to barbecue these days is shish kabobs. Sometimes we do just vegetables as a side dish and sometimes I skewer the meat with or without veggies. In checking out some recipes I found that people use all kinds of meats: chicken, beef, pork, turkey, lamb, venison, elk, shrimp, scallops and even salmon. It seems no meat is off limits.
   So if no meat is off limits then what about the vegetables? They seem to be only limited by your imagination and willingness to try new flavor combinations. Cherry tomatoes, pineapple, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, baby potatoes, apples, eggplant, and green, red, and yellow peppers are just a few ideas to start out with. If you are going to cook dense vegetables with your meats and you worry about them not getting cooked enough you can par-boil them for a few minutes before putting them on the skewers.
   Speaking of skewers, there are metal or wooden skewers. I own both, but quite often I will go ahead and use the wooden ones. A lot of the recipes I found said that you should soak the wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes before you plan to cook the shish kabobs to help keep them from burning while on the hot grill. If you are running short of time I have found that if you use a low flame you can get away with not soaking them although they will get black on the ends. One recipe suggested soaking the skewers in rum or white wine. It suggested that the flavor of the rum or wine will permeate the food on the skewers. Another tip I have is that if you are planning on marinating the meat why not go ahead and place all the foods on the skewers and then place the skewers in a container or bag so that you can marinate them all together. That partially soaks the sticks and the food gets a great flavor too.
   One recipe I found for Camp Shish Kabobs calls for using 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup Italian salad dressing, and if you like your food spicy, 1 tsp Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Paste. You would mix these together and pour over the shish kabobs marinating them for at least 1 hour. This recipe came from www.about.com and was submitted by Wild Bill Gwaltney. I plan on trying it soon. In the meantime this is what I served for Father's Day. One thing I learned is that when you wrap bacon around meat, place in on the skewer so the stick goes through the bacon and holds it on. The bacon kept coming off the scallops and I kept wrapping it back on. It still tasted great though. Enjoy your Independence Day and don't forget to thank those who were in the service and helped protect our independence.
   Bacon-wrapped Scallop Shish Kabobs
   Ingredients:
   1 16 oz package whole mushrooms (small Crimini or white work well)
   1 yellow squash, sliced in rounds about 1/2 inch thick
   1 green zucchini squash, sliced in rounds about 1/2 inch thick
   1 16 oz package of cherry tomatoes
   1 green pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
   1/2 onion, quartered
   1 1/2-2 lbs large scallops
   10 slices of bacon cut in half
   Olive oil spray
   Directions:
   If you have really large scallops you may have to stretch the slice of bacon a little to make it fit the scallop, or you can cut the scallops in half and put more on your skewer. I put two scallops per skewer with veggies in between.
   If using wooden skewers you will want to soak the sticks in warm water for about 30 minutes while you are preparing the food to go on them. Cut the vegetables as directed. The onion quarters will be broken in two sections to slide on the skewers. Wrap a slice of bacon around each scallop. Set them aside. Take one skewer at a time and thread your vegetables and scallops on in whatever order you want, leaving a little room in between each addition for heat to circulate. Remember to put the bacon on so that the skewer goes through it to hold it on the scallop.
   Preheat grill making sure that the grill is clean and sprayed with oil so the food won't stick. While you are grilling the shish kabobs watch for hot spots from the bacon grease drippings. Turn them every 3-5 minutes until all sides are done and the scallops appear thoroughly cooked. Spray with olive oil if the vegetables start to dry out. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
   Makes 10- 15 shish kabobs.
   Becky Teater is a Powell Butte resident. She welcomes your recipe ideas and comments and can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.