Chili-Lime Chicken Skewers

I love cooking with skewers, especially for chicken. Instead of grilling a big piece of chicken breast, cutting them up into smaller chunks gives it more flavor (if you’re using a marinade). It also grills faster and gives you more char per square inch, which mean even more delicious food.

For the chicken skewers, I wanted to give it a flavor profile that was refreshing with a kick since we had a heavier main course. I looked online and found inspiration from a Chili-Lime recipe. It was a good start, but then decided to make some modifications to my liking.

The flavor profile of the marinade is delicious. The marinade features two contrasting flavors that balance each other. The primary flavor is the spice from the chili pepper and minced garlic. The secondary flavor is the citrus sweetness from the lime and pineapple juice. The acidity from the citrus and the punch of the cilantro tempers the heat from the spice.

The recipe is simple too. You start out with the marinade, put in the chicken, wait an hour, skewer it, grill it, and then eat it. They cook quickly and come out perfectly. So juicy and flavorful that we had none left! Try it out –

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced with pulp
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup pineapple juice (or any citrus juice)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 ½ inch pieces.
  • soaked skewers

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, vinegar, pineapple juice, and lime juice. Season with chili powder, chipotle powder, paprika, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish with the sauce, and stir to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken juices run clear. Turn every few minutes to give an even char.

Cedar Planked Salmon w/ Soy-Ginger Marinade

A few years ago, this farm-to-table restaurant called Founding Farmers opened next to the IMF (not badass Ethan Hunt, but maid-chaser Dominique Strauss-Kahn). I went there countless times because the menu was so delicious and the drinks were to die for. In fact, I probably brought every out-of-towner to Founding Farmers.

One of my favorite items was the Cedar Planked Salmon. Growing up, I was fairly apathetic  to salmon. My take on salmon was either that it was either an oozing-white over-dried buffet item or a soy-marinated baked fish that my mom made now and then.

Founding Farmer’s version was different. Everything they used there was organic or locally grown, and somehow it made everything taste so much better. So they started with some wild-caught atlantic salmon, marinate it in a maple syrup-apricot glaze, then smoke/grill it on a cedar plank. The cedar flavor infuses the salmon during the cooking process to balance out the sweetness of the glaze. It is so freakishly good.

Because of that inspiration, Jess and I decided to try make it for some guests. They key would be cedar planks and the grilling process that releases its flavors. We got our planks from Amazon (where we get everything). Make sure you get untreated cedar wood, otherwise you’ll be eating chemicals.

So after very-excited receiving our planks in the mail, we ran to the market to pick a few basic ingredients, per the recipe that we found. The recipe we followed is really simple – just soak the planks, create a simple marinade with basic ingredients, marinade, and then grill. You could probably do this in the oven, but the cedar flavors would not be as strong. 

Anyways, here’s the Cedar Planked Salmon recipe that we followed. It a smashing success, and our guests loved it.

Ingredients

  • 3 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 (2 pound) salmon fillets, skin removed

Directions

Soak the cedar planks for at least 1 hour in warm water. Soak longer if you have time.

In a shallow dish, stir together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, and garlic. Place the salmon fillets in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to one hour.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. Place the planks on the grate. The boards are ready when they start to smoke and crackle just a little.

Place the salmon fillets onto the planks and discard the marinade. Cover, and grill for about 20 minutes. Fish is done when you can flake it with a fork. It will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill.

More Photos –

salmon in marinade

salmon grilling

Grilled Truffled Shrimp Skewers

Several months ago, Jess visited the Filling Station at Chelsea Market and picked up a jar of Black Truffle Salt. Truffle as in the mushroom rather than the chocolate round stuff, although those a delicious too. Truffle seasoning is awesome on almost anything.

We took our first trip to Fairway Brooklyn in Red Hook – right where the Ikea is. They have a huge selection of items and a fresh selection of seafood. It’s a legitimate grocery store – something that’s hard to find around these parts.  You can say that Fairway is like a Whole Foods and a regular grocery store combined – good and fresh selection of items but affordable.

Anyways, we got some shrimp and seasoned it with the Black Truffle Salt for a simple, yet flavorful dish. It was sooo good and our dinner guests loved them. Try it out for yourself – here’s the recipe below:

Grilled Truffled Shrimp Skewers Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound fresh jumbo shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
  • ½ tsp Black Truffle Salt
  • ¼ tsp Ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • Skewers (soaked for 10 minutes)

Lightly season a the fresh jumbo shrimp with black truffle salt and black pepper. Adjust to tastes. Skewer shrimp with soaked skewers.

On medium-high heat, place skewered shrimp directly on the grill. Grill each side for about 7 minutes each. Use high heat if you like extra char. Turn the shrimp when the tails turn red orange.