During the next couple of months many of us head for the outdoors. It is time to head to recreational areas: parks, lakes, mountains and beaches. These trips can be one, two, three days long. Some make a summer’s vacation of it and head out by the week and month. As the peak of summer nears and the days are the longest of the year, we stay outside as long as possible.
There are many ways to cook outside. I find a fun way to cook whether cooking over an open flame or a gas barbeque is to put everything on a stick! This method is great because it is all done ahead of time and all that is left to do when you get to your destination is cook and eat. Choose firm raw ingredients that will not crumble when being cooked. Accompany with an assortment of easy to assemble, compatible salads and the whole thing can be moved in an ice chest, including food to be served hot that will be cooked at the site.
When putting ingredients on a stick to cook, the most important thing to keep in mind is the cooking time. If you are going to mix ingredients, make sure they will finish cooking at the same time. This can be done by controlling the size of the ingredients you cut and putting items with similar cooking times on the same stick. An extreme example of what not to do is to put a one-inch square cut carrot on the same stick as a cherry tomato. You’ll settle for either half-done carrots or burned tomatoes.
There are two common ways to put raw meat on a stick. One is to thinly slice the meat into long strips and “weave” the meat onto the stick by folding and skewering the meat in a back and forth motion. The other is to cut the meat into squares. If using wooden sticks, remember to soak them in water before putting on the ingredients. Re-useable metal skewers are also available.
If you have a well-seasoned and maintained grill, the items won’t need to be oiled. If you are using an unfamiliar grill (campground or park), it is best to be prepared to oil the items. The aerosol non-stick products are easy to carry and use.
Cooking times are going to vary. The thicker items will take longer. Heat sources will vary. Gas grills have the most heat control. With open flame and charcoal cooking everyone has their own style. Some like big fire, lots of heat, others are subtler. You will find your style. The only must is: KEEP IT SAFE. Other than that, ENJOY the great outdoors!
|Sage Chicken Skewers
Bacon Scallop Skewers
Honey Tabasco Swordfish Skewers
Sweet Potato Salad