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VOL. 36 | NO. 9 | Friday, March 2, 2012

Grilling success all about the seasoning

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Charcoal? Check! Lighter? Check! Apron? Check! Ready to hit the outdoor grill? Check and check! Goodbye 30s and rain and hello 50s and sunshine! This is the perfect grilling weather, and it has me revved up and ready to go.

I have been checking the expiration dates on mustards, marinades and other grilling seasonings and replacing them with fresh ones. And to go with that, I have a great recipe for you to try – on the grill of course!

First, ever wonder why Dijon mustard is called “Dijon” or why Worcestershire Sauce is called Wor-whatever? My fingers get as twisted trying to type it as my tongue does trying to say it. I have always had difficulty saying “Worcestershire.” I have always wanted to put another “h” in it somewhere.

Anyway, here is the scoop on the names. The popular Worcestershire Sauce is a fermented concoction developed by English colonists in India during the 19th century and named after its original Lea & Perrins bottling location in Worcester, England. Lea & Perrins still bottles it in Worcester to this day.

H.J. Heinz Company purchased Lea and Perrins in 2005 and continues to manufacture and market “The Original Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce” under the name Lea & Perrins, as well as a Worcestershire sauce under their own name and labeling.

Authentic Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce contains vinegar, molasses, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions and spices. (Thought you didn’t like anchovies, huh?) Generic Worcestershire sauce is referred to as “Worcester sauce” and usually contains soy sauce, corn syrup and other ingredients.

It is said that the Worcestershire Sauce sold in the USA is different from the original sauce in Worcestershire, England, in that the USA brand uses distilled white vinegar instead of malt vinegar. There is only a slight taste difference in the two.

As far as Dijon mustard goes, let us sail across the channel to France and take a pleasant train ride through the country to a little town called Dijon. Dijon mustard is manufactured just outside this little French town in an area known as the “Dijon Region.” Its origin goes back more than a century to 1865 when Jean Naigeon decided to get a little inventive with the traditional recipe of mustard. Instead of using vinegar, which is in the traditional mustard recipe, Mr. Naigeon used verjuice (the acidic juice of insufficiently ripe grapes), and Dijon (dee-zhon) mustard happened.

To be labeled Dijon, the mustard must adhere to the formula developed in Dijon, France. Finely ground brown or black mustard seeds are mixed with verjuice and seasoned with salt and a small amount of spice. Dijon should be smooth and have a clean, nose-tingling heat. The traditional Dijon mustard recipe includes white wine. Black mustard seeds can also be used in making Dijon mustard.

At one time, any product called Dijon mustard had to be made in the Dijon region of France. Other products could be called “Dijon-style mustard” or simply “dijon mustard” with a lowercase “D”. Today, however, Dijon mustard has become so generic, any mustard using the basic Dijon recipe can be called Dijon mustard.

I don’t have a recipe for you today on how to make Dijon mustard or Worcestershire sauce, but I do have a yummy chicken kabob using both of them, and the grill! Serve these tasty little morsels with a fresh garden salad, some fluffy, garlic potatoes and a loaf of crusty, hot bread. Um-m-m yummy!

Tangy Chicken Kabobs

3 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed

1/4 cup finely chopped, toasted almonds

16 metal skewers or Bamboo skewers soaked in water for 20 minutes

Assorted fresh vegetables, cubed, if desired

In a medium, nonreactive bowl, blend first six ingredients. Add chicken to the mixture, stirring to coat. Cover and, turning occasionally, allow to marinate in the refrigerator four to eight hours. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 20 minutes. Preheat grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Thread chicken onto skewers. If using veggies, alternate them on skewers as desired. Place on hot grill and cook seven to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink, and juices run clear. Brush chicken occasionally with remaining marinade while cooking. Remove skewers from heat, and quickly roll in the chopped almonds to lightly coat chicken.

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