Phil's International Flair

Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair! Summer is upon us and the time to cook outdoors is here! Cooking outdoors need not be limited to meat, fowl and fish. Many vegetables are also well suited to the outdoor grill. Corn, squash and even mushrooms are well suited to outdoor cooking (also see Grilled Asparagus from last month's column).

Shish kabobs are one of my favorite items to grill, so I've presented one of my favorites, Russian Lamb Kabobs. This recipe takes a little preparation ahead of time, but is well worth the effort. For those of you who are partial to vegetarian cuisine, the Grilled Portabellas may be just what the doctor ordered. The Bacon Wrapped Filet is an excellent choice for an outdoor barbecue when having company. Last but not least, give that grilled burger a new taste by adding salsa. This is a treat you are certain to remember.

The recipes presented this month are from my yet to be published cookbook, Phil's Family and Friends Cookbook. Feel free to email me at with your comments and requests. Be well, and good eating!

Now, on to the recipes!

Summer Searing

Russian Lamb Kabobs

This recipe stems from my cousin's wife Tanya who is of Russian descent. This is truly an incredible way to prepare lamb.
  • 3 lbs. lamb, cut into large (1") cubes
  • 3 lbs. yellow onions, quartered
  • 3 lbs. lemons quartered
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bell pepper chunks
  • Fresh mushrooms

Place the cubed lamb, onions and lemons in a large pot for marinating. Do not squeeze the lemons, simply throw them into the pot quartered. Allow the mixture to marinate for 3 complete days under refrigeration, turning the mixture daily.

After 3 days, discard the lemons and save the onions for the skewers. Skewer the lamb on metal skewers with the onion chunks, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, or whatever other vegetables you happen to fancy. Grill over hot coals for approximately10 minutes, turning frequently. Enjoy!

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 3 days

Grilled Portabellas

Portabellas are a large dark mushroom that lends itself well to the grill. These are best marinated ahead of time for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  • 6 large Portabella mushrooms
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed and chopped

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and place the caps into a shallow pan or bowl for marinating. Allow the garlic to set in the teriyaki sauce for an hour or two before using. Pour the sauce over the mushrooms and allow to marinate for at least 3 hours prior to cooking over a hot grill. Marinating them overnight under refrigeration is preferred. Grill these for about 4 minutes a side and serve while hot.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 3 hours minimum

Bacon Wrapped Filet

There is no greater barbecue than a good steak and the filet (beef tenderloin) tops the list. Allow one 6 to 8 ounce steak per person.
  • 2 lbs. beef tenderloin (4 steaks)
  • 8 slices thick bacon

Cook the bacon in a skillet until it is slightly browned, but not crispy. Wrap the bacon slices around the edges of the steaks and hold in place with toothpicks or skewers. You will need about 2 pieces of bacon for each steak. Once the bacon is attached to the filets, grill them over hot coals for about 5 to 6 minutes per side. The bacon may cause flare ups in the fire, so be prepared to douse the flames with a spray bottle of water. Serve hot with your favorite accompaniments.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Salsa Burger

Another recipe of my own invention, salsa burgers are a unique way to prepare the old standby with a touch of flair!
  • 4 burger patties
  • 4 tablespoons salsa
  • 4 slices cheese (or Velveeta)

Prepare the burgers as you would normally, except after turning them over on the grill, top each burger with one tablespoon of salsa (see my recipe for salsa in the archives). Top each burger patty with a slice of cheese over the top of the salsa. Serve with the normal condiments and enjoy!

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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