CHICKEN KABOBS WITH JASMINE RICE & GRILLED ASPARAGUS


4 Fresh Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut into 1 ½” Cubes

1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro Soaked (to remove all sand & grit), Rinsed & Spun Dry, Then Chopped

1 Crisp, Fresh Jalapeno Stem & Seeds Removed Then Finely Minced (alternate would be Pablano)

4 Fresh, Thin Skinned Limes or More to Yield ½ a Cup of Juice

½ Cup Grapeseed Oil

1 Orange Zested, (reserved for fish), Segmented (reserve for rice), & Juiced (reserved for asparagus)

1 Pineapple Peeled, Cored & Cut into 1 ½” Cubes

8 Wooden Skewers Soaked By Weighting Them Down in 2” of Water a Day in Advance to Prevent Burning

8 Capresi Tomatoes, Stems Removed (approximately twice the size of a cherry tomato)

1 Cup Jasmine Rice, 1 Cup Water, ¼ Cup Good White Rum, 1 Cup Coconut Milk (sweetened or not depending on your mood)

2 lbs. Fresh Asparagus Lightly Peeled with Vegetable Peeler, Placed in a Shallow Baking Dish with 2 TBS Toasted Sesame Oil, Juice of the Orange, Sea Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Marinate Up to 1 Day in Advance

1  Jar Pigtale Twist Three Berry Vinaigrette Poured into a Squirty Bottle for Steady Stream Accuracy

1 TBS Black Sesame Seeds

2 Packages Edible Pansies (ask your produce manager to order them fresh)


Place the cubed chicken breast, half the cilantro, half the jalapeno, the orange zest, the lime juice, & Grapeseed oil in a Ziploc Bag & marinate for 15 minutes or up to 4 hours. Citrus, such as lime juice tends to cook poultry or fish quickly as is achieved in Ceviche. In this case, the Grapeseed oil will aid in neutralizing the lime’s acid. Light a charcoal grill preferably with a chimney not lighter fluid ESPECIALLY for this dinner. For this grill, set the hot coals to one side for the kabobs creating the other half of the grill for indirect heat so the asparagus does not scorch over flare-ups. Your grill grate MUST be clean & oiled for this dish or the chicken WILL stick. Assemble kabobs beginning with chicken, then pineapple, then tomato repeating once per skewer without pressing cubes “too” tightly together. This will allow for even cooking. Season all sides of each skewer with sea salt  & fresh cracked black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate skewers.

Place water, rum, half the jalapeno & coconut milk in a heavy bottom saucepan with a tight fitting lid & bring to a boil. Add the Jasmine Rice stirring well and cover. Reduce the heat to medium low, erroring on the lower setting & cook for 20 minutes. Remove rice from the heat & allow to stand for 10 minutes without removing the lid. After 10 minutes, remove the lid & add the orange segments & remaining cilantro, incorporating & “fluffing” with a fork.

Grill the skewers over direct heat for 4-5 minutes per side & the asparagus over the indirect heat for the same measurement of time. Stand near the grill the entire time to guard against flare-ups due to oil content. A vegetable basket designed for grills is brilliant to avoid permanently lost spears between the grates (if you’re so inclined). Our intentions are always good but when having a cocktail & yakking with friends there will be a few casualties! Remove kabobs & asparagus & prepare to plate. For this dish, I love a huge, sexy platter allowing guests to serve themselves. The presentation is top drawer. Heap the gorgeous rice in the center of the platter. To the left, stack the kabobs & to the right the asparagus. Drizzle the entire platter with Pigtale Twist 3 Berry Vinaigrette, zest the orange from at least a foot above the platter, sprinkle the black sesame seeds from at least one foot above & tuck pansies all about in carefully chosen niches. I love this menu with an excellent, not too sweet rose champagne such as Moet & Chandon. If you despise rum, add the same rose champagne to the rice instead. Make a wish on the moon & relax with those you love the most!

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