I love walking into a grocery store, picking ingredients and figuring out what you can make out of it. My husband and I did that we got scallop chicken sweet chili kebabs. Some of the best recipes have come out of lacking groceries and using the ingredients left over. This time I was eying plump, glistening white scallops. They have this squishy inviting look. Perfect for skewers the grill. I like that skewers or kebabs are awesome finger food in bite size pieces.
Our neighbor was grilling next door. At first it smelled smoky and flavorful, but then we quickly realized the delicious smell was not coming from his grill. Our poor neighbor was making hot dogs. He put on a sad face. So we handed him a skewer and he lit up. I could hear him mutter, “Thanks. That’s awesome,” among other unintelligible things as he was already chewing on his skewer. After I bit into my kabab I realized why my neighbor looked so happy.
I have still quite a lot to learn as far as grilling skills go. The worst is when I try to grill after sunset…my vision isn’t so good. In the dark I can’t tell the texture of the food and I end up always burning it or making it chewy. For this reason I’m glad my husband is a truly a master griller. It must be all those years of Floridian tailgating. No matter what he grills, it turns out flavorful and tender. He tries to teach me, but like any good home cook he works with approximations. It’s an art. I always ask, “How do you know the chicken is done?” But I get something like, “I don’t know. You feel and poke it.” Right. His comes out tender, juicy, smoky with just gentle grill marks. It’s magical. Mine is more blistered, chafed and distressed.
But not always. In daylight I can finesse a chicken breast finely brushed with spicy sauce. The one thing I have learned is to never over-grill. Asparagus turns soggy in three minutes and chicken turns to jerky in twelve. I’ve learned to cut food into thinner slices and cook on lower heat and to alter the temperature to bring out the most flavor. My biggest problem with grilling besides my eyesight is really just my memory. I tend to get wrapped up in other things inside the house and accidentally remember I put something on the grill 20 minutes ago…this is not how to grill. Don’t do this. Give some love and attention to your food and it will love you back.
The other challenge of grilling is the marinades and the sauces. I’ve noticed when I make my own blend or sauce, the food tends to taste much better and I’m really not sure why. Why is it that even the best store-bought sauces are usually awful? The only exceptions I can think of are Annie’s Organic Smoky Maple or Simply Organic Steak Seaoning. I use the steak seasoning on everything. But those are rare. We usually blend our own and opt for a delicate or mildly sweet flavor that tenderizes and brings out the natural flavors of the food rather than smothering it. It’s not as difficult as you would think. Just like walking into the grocery story and looking to experiment with whatever ingredients you can find, the best is when we have a hunch that a sauce will taste good, throw in some quality ingredients and test it out.
2 Chicken filets, cubed
6 Sea scallops, halved
1 tsp. Fish sauce
2 tsp. Sweet chili sauce
1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
1/4 Ginger powder
1 tbsp. Coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 tsp. Lime juice
1 Red bell pepper, cut into small wedges
1/2 Red onion, cut into small wedges
8 Button mushrooms, halved
1.Cut all the scallops, chicken and vegetables and set aside.
2. Mix the glaze. Add coconut aminos, sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, ginger and garlic powder and lime. Marinate just the chicken in the sauce for about 15 minutes.
3. Take skewer and pierce in the center of each vegetable, chicken and scallop piece. After you are finished using a brush coat the kebab with the sauce. Then use the brush to coat the kabobs with a thin coat of olive oil.
3. Cook on low heat so chicken cooks all the way through without being gummy, about 5-7 minutes. Grill marks are a good indicator to check if the kebabs are done. Don’t overcook.