Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Summer's Coming!

With the weather getting warmer (although not drier) lately, I have been getting the itch to grill. The only problem with that is, I don’t actually own a grill. I’m thinking of getting one of those small tabletop style grills they sell at places like Target and Walmart, but I haven’t actually bought it yet.

But, I do have a grill pan, something I use almost everyday in my kitchen. I’d even classify it as an “essential,” along with my Furi knives and a selection of other things I’m obsessed with. I use it to cook chicken and fish, turkey bacon, grilled cheese and other hot sandwiches, burgers, etc. The trick is to get it hot enough so that you cook each side of whatever you’re making for a few minutes, long enough to cook through and get some nice grill lines, while not so long that it burns or overcooks. And since the one I have is non-stick, cleaning it is always a breeze. The one I have was a Christmas gift from my mom, and is made by Kitchen Essentials from Calphalon (only at Target) and can be seen here. It’s even on sale this week, for $33.99.

Aside from the food described above, there are a couple of recipes I’ve made in the past couple of weeks that center around the fact that they are grilled. One is Tequila-Lime Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas, and the other is Coconut Curry Chicken Kabobs.


  • 1 cup good quality tequila, I like Jose Cuervo
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized strips
  • 1 pound of peeled and de-veined raw shrimp
  • 2 large peppers, one red and one green
  • 1 large Vidalia onion

  • about 20 fajita sized flour tortillas
Fajita Toppings
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • salsa
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced green onions
Mix the tequila, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, green onions, salt and pepper together for the marinade. Pour about 2/3 of it over the chicken in a bowl and cover. Pout the rest over the shrimp in another bowl and cover. Place both bowls in the fridge for at least one hour… but, the longer, the better! Slice the onions and peppers while the chicken and shrimp are marinating. Heat grill pan coated with non-stick cooking spray over medium heat, and begin grilling onions, peppers, chicken and shrimp in batches (or you could do what I did and use TWO grill pans -one belonged to my mom- AND a two-burner sized griddle pan, I had the ENTIRE stovetop covered!) The onions and peppers are done when they have some grill lines, but are not cooked so much that they are soggy. The chicken should be cooked through, with no pink, and the shrimp take just a couple of minutes on each side. As you finish a batch, cover it with foil to keep warm. Warm the stack of tortillas in the microwave for about one minute.

I served these family-style for my, my mom and dad, sister, her boyfriend, and my neice, with the chicken, shrimp, onions and peppers on big platters on the table, right along side all the toppings (FYI- best store brand guacamole ever is Wholly Guacamole, it comes in sealed plastic bags that you can freeze and defrost whenever you need them)The marinade, which I pretty much just threw together with a few things I thought would be good together, worked out great- you could taste both the tequila and lime flavors, without being overpowered by them. My sister’s boyfriend, Ben, even messaged me the next day saying “I want more fajitas.” And, it’s a really fun meal to share with good friends and family.

The next recipe, Coconut Curry Chicken Kabobs, has similar ingredients (chicken, peppers, and onions), but a totally different flavor, and is SOOO easy.

  • 1 pound of chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1 large green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 T curry powder
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • bamboo skewers

Put chicken, onions and green peppers onto the skewers.
Make the marinade by combining coconut milk, curry, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over the kabobs in a deep, rectangular storage or marinating container. Put in fridge, flipping halfway through marinating time to ensure that each skewer can soak in the marinade, for at least one hour. Heat grill pan over medium high heat, and place kabobs on, cooking in batches. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side.
I made these for my sister one Sunday night and we ate every last one. They are good! Coconutty and spicy, with just a hint of sweetness. TRY THEM!!!

Of course, either of these recipes can be made on a traditional, open flame grill, but if that’s not an option, a grill pan on your stovetop works just as well.

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