Everything Skewered!

Whether it's a popsicle, a corn dog, a candied apple or a shish kabob, we all enjoy eating something yummy off a stick. This method of eating or snacking reminds us of simpler times like being at a carnival or a street fair. Bringing us a carefree and youthful spirit, skewered food is a casual and fun way to present food at any gathering. I tried out this theme of "Everything Skewered" at a recent summer gathering. Being out on the patio in the warm air, cold skewered appetizers were refreshing while hot grilled skewered items were the perfect compliment to our Belgian wheat brews.

First thing to know about skewering food is that you can skewer ANYTHING! You are only limited by your imagination. You can skewer pickles,
olives, tomatoes, beef, chicken, shrimp, fruit, cheese, and veggies-just to name a few. I only scratched the surface when it comes to ideas for a skewered feast. One question came to mind that inspired me to develop my skewered menu. What do I have right now in my kitchen that I could skewer? Fancy or casual, meat or vegetable, what could I put on a stick that everyone will love?

My first discovery was froz
en hot dogs for which I had no buns. Perfect-I would slice the hot dogs into half inch discs, skewer and grill them serving with a mustard dipping sauce. By the way, eating hot dogs off a stick will probably thrill any kid sees these. For any grilling occasion, we tend to think of the typical hot dog and hamburger. To keep that tradition along with my skewed hot dogs, I went for a skewered mini burger, which turned out more like a meatball shape. To step up the skewered burger, I used a leaner choice of ground buffalo. To complete my hot skewered menu, I opted for an all pepper skewer including as many varieties of pepper as possible. For my cold appetizer skewers, I decided upon a fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil skewer along with a sweet and salty watermelon and prosciutto skewer. Check out my "Everything Skewered" menu and start to imagine all of the food that you can present on a skewer to bring a ton of fun to your next gathering.

Lizzy M.'s "Everything Skewered" Menu

Skewered Grilled Hot Dogs with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

1 pack hot dogs
, sliced into 1/2 inch discs (Slice about 5-6 discs per dog)

1/2 cup spicy mustard
2 tsp honey


1. Slide each hot dog disc onto wood or metal skewers poking through the skin side not through the middle. Place as many discs onto each skewer as you like but I like to do a hot dog's worth of discs on each skewer.

2. Mix the mustard and honey for a sweet and spicy dipping sauce for your grilled skewered hot dogs.

3. Grill hot dog skewers for about 6-8 minutes or until browned.

Barbecue Buffalo Meat Balls Skewers

1 lb. ground buffa
1/2 yellow onion
, g
2 garlic cloves
, grated

1 tbsp steak seasoning
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1 tsp spicy mustard

1 tsp liquid smoke

Cooking spray


1. With a hand grater or microplane, grate half of a yellow onion into a large mixing bowl. Then grate the garlic cloves into the bowl as well.

2. Mix all of the remaining ingredients into the bowl using 1/4 of the 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce. Set aside the remaining 1/4 cup to brush onto the buffalo balls before grilling. Incorporate all components well into the ground buffalo.

3. Form into small meat ball shapes and place onto skewers, about 4-5 meat balls per skewer. Brush each skewer with the remaining 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce. Place on a hot grill sprayed with cooking spray. Rotate every couple of minutes until browned and firm to touch. Serve with extra barbecue sauce

Every Pepper Under the Sun Skewers

1 orange bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 green cubanelle pepper
1 red long Italian pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Clean and chop all peppers into a uniform squarish shape.

2. Place all peppers into a large mixing bowl and toss well with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Skewer all the peppers alternating colors for a vibrant beautiful skewer of peppers. Grill for about 12 minutes, rotating every few minutes.

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Skewered Bites

1 pint large cherry or grape tomatoes

6-8oz. container of fresh mozzarella balls
, cut in half

8-12 fresh basil leaves


1. On a smaller skewer such as Bamboo forks or skewers, which you can find in the supermarket, poke first a half of the mozzarella ball topped with a small piece of basil. Then poke a cherry tomato on the bottom.

2. Continue until you have a plate full of these beautiful, tasty bites. Chill in the fridge until it is time to snack on these refreshing skewers.

Watermelon and Prosciutto Skewered Bites

, cut into squarish shaped chunks

10-12 prosciutto slices, sliced from the deli very thin


1. Top each watermelon square with a piece of prosciutto. The prosciutto can be cut into 3-4 bites per piece or as big or small as you would like.

2. With smaller Bamboo forks or skewers, poke the prosciutto topped watermelon squares and chill in the fridge until it is time to snack.

Enjoy coming up with new ideas of foods you can enjoy from a stick. Have a blast creating your very own "Everything Skewered" Menu!


Mirch Masala: Fine Indian Cuisine

Last weekend I had th
e pleasure of dining at Mirch Masala Indian Cuisine, where dear friends of our family, Bayu and Kumar are cooks. My mother-in-law Polly met Bayu from Indonesia and Kumar, a chef from India, when she owned a restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware. Fellow restaurant owners, Bayu and Kumar ran a popular Indian restaurant in Wilmington called Panghat for years before they sadly lost their lease. With their common interests, Polly, Bayu and Kumar became good friends.When these two hard-working gentlemen fell on hard times, Polly insisted that they stay in her roomy townhouse until they got back on their feet, a kind offering that most would not even consider. To Polly's delight, she found Bayu and Kumar to be some of the best guests she ever had. They brought their love and talent for Indian and Indonesian cooking to Polly's kitchen, which had her dining on delicious samosas and other Indian dishes on a regular basis. Incredibly kind and helpful with anything that Polly needed, she was sad to see them go when the time came. Polly has stayed close with these two, always inviting them to our family gatherings and really trying to give them a family base here in the United States.

Last year, Bayu and Kum
ar were invited to my sister-in-law Jesse's wedding, in Seattle. They wanted to help, so they offered their culinary services for this "do-it-yourself" free-style kind of wedding. Polly had many wedding favors, wedding items, and cooking equipment to bring out West. Instead of shipping these items, Bayu and Kumar offered to drive them. With a car packed to the rim with wedding favors, baskets, dishes, pots, pans, ingredients and more, it took them 5 days to make the trek. With smiles on their faces they arrived, ready to cook their signature cuisine for the wedding weekend.

After sampling their delicious cooking last summer at the wedding, I definitely was looking forward to going to Mirsh Masala, the Indian restaurant where they currently cook in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Recently, Jesse was back home in Philadelphia, so we all headed to the charming, authentic BYOB, Mirch Masala in Bensalem, twenty minutes from Philadelphia. As we entered, we were greeted with the warmest of greetings from both Bayu and Kumar, who were elated by our surprise visit. Reading the menus, we were so confused and uncertain of what to get because there were just so many delicious items. We ultimately asked Bayu if we could just do a tasting of the menu. He asked if we were brave enough to try spicy dishes, which we were, and we were quite delighted with what was served.

Bayu started us off with a sampler that included potato and chickpea samosas, vegetable fritters and spiced potato patties served with crispy rice crackers and a side of a tamarind chutney and a spicy green chutney. Then came the sizzling "Paneer Tikka-cubes of homemade cheese, marinated in a blend of spices, and baked in a tandoor clay oven". Brought out in a black cast iron dish, these cubes of cheese were bright red in color from the spices served with sizzled white onion and garnished with limes and cilantro. "Paneer Makhani-homemade Indian cheese cubes cooked in a creamy tomato sauce and lightly spiced" followed. The mild and slightly sweet tomato sauce enveloped the delicate bites of home made cheese. For the perfect vegetarian side dishes, we had the "Vegetable Jalfrezi-mixed vegetables cooked in fresh ginger and garlic then cooked with herbs and spices", as well as "Aloo Jeera-diced potatoes tempered with whole cumin, haldi and spices." Haldi or tumeric provides a burst of yellow-orange color with the unmistakable peppery, bitter flavor. So many spices are used in Indian cooking to balance out one another providing intense layers of flavor. Cumin, curry, coriander, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, and fenugreek are just some of the spices used and combined in various ways to create this depth of seasoning in every Indian dish.

For our proteins, we sampled
the "Chicken Korma-pieces of chicken cooked in mildly spiced cream sauce with fresh cilantro" and "Lamb Kadai-cubes of lamb tossed with spices, herbs, bell pepper and onions and then cooked in a Kadai (a thick, circular cooking vessel found commonly in Indian cuisine)". Both the chicken and the lamb were undeniably tender enhanced by a slight sweetness mixed with undertones of spicy heat. Our favorite component of the meal had to be the delicious Naan bread, a baked flatbread. We tried both the "Plain Naan-white flour dough mixed with milk butter baked in a Tandoor clay oven" and "Naan Chili Cheese-flour dough stuffed with shredded cheese, green chili, chopped onion and fresh coriander baked in a Tandoor clay oven". These breads were unbelievably soft, buttery with a hint of smokiness. If I had the capabilities to make bread this divine, then I would make it every single day. There were even more varieties of the Naan bread on the menu, which I would love to taste in the future.

Strongly inf
luenced by religion, culture, and interactions from other cultures such as European and West Asian countries, Indian cuisine is diverse and can be found and enjoyed all over the world. If you are not familiar, then I urge you to taste the great flavors and dishes of Indian cuisine. Sample as many items as possible by ordering many dishes for the table sharing family-style, which is the way Indian food is intended to be eaten. When we try different cuisines from our own, we gain an appreciation and understanding of that culture. If you can't travel the world, then you can certainly travel the world with your palate by enjoying different cuisines offered right in your own home town. Enjoy something different. Enrich your life and your palate!

Thank you to B
ayu and Kumar for their sincere kindness, big hearts, and cooking skills!

Mirch Masala
2088 Street Road
Bensalem, Pennsylvania 19020


Proud to be an American, where at least I know I can grill!

Today is the day where we, Americans, can celebrate the successes and bravery of our forefathers. We can hold our heads up high knowing how fortunate we are to live in this great country where we have so many freedoms. Today, we are proud; we are patriotic; we are one. We are one because today there is comfort in knowing that no matter who you are or what your background is you, like me, will be BARBECUING! Whether it is on a little cement patio in the city, a roof deck, a big green backyard, in the mountains or near the beach, we all will either be barbecuing, assisting the barbecue or grill master or simply partaking in the delicious barbecued feast.

Outside we grill, with cold beers and beverages, games-a-plenty, and the sounds of some good American music. We grill hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, pork, ribs, chicken, lamb, vegetables, and fruit. Some keep it simple with the standard fair of hamburgers and hot dogs, while some take pride in their barbecue skills by slow-cooking racks of sweet and spicy baby back ribs. We eat grilled corn or kabobs mixed with beef, chicken, peppers, onions and tomatoes. Guests bring side dishes and salads to offer or someone is inside finishing up the potato salad, pasta salad, corn salad or baked beans. We snack on chips and dips and cheese and crackers while we wait to indulge in our fine American cuisine. We feast and we feast and end our meal with a good old American blueberry pie, a strawberry shortcake, an ice cream sandwich or an icy pop. Then we find our way to a place in our town or city where we can relive the power, the excitement and fear that our forefathers must have felt during the American Revolution, by watching an explosive firework display. We all look up into the sky in awe, hearts pounding with every loud boom, tears in our eyes from the rockets red glare and the emotion of it all. At the end of this glorious day, we will reflect upon our nation and all of its qualities, the good and the bad. Even with our many flaws, today on Independence Day, we are grateful and joyous because we are Americans.

Today, I will be grilling and
celebrating my freedoms on my patio. On the menu, we will have grilled meatball skewers half made with beef and the other with buffalo. Skewers stacked with every kind and color pepper under the sun will grace our grill, while we snack on mini skewers of tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil and watermelon and prosciutto. A spinach, herb, and feta pesto orzo salad with go along side as well as some yummy kettle-cooked chips from Gramercy, Louisiana. Today, enjoy celebrating your American freedoms and grill something good!



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