‘Tis the season for pass-around hors d’oeuvres.
One of Steven’s favorites is mini-kebabs, grilled on sugarcane skewers. Guests eat the kebabs, then discover the fibrous skewers themselves can be a great chew as well. But until recently, serving the kebabs meant tackling whole sugarcane batons with a cleaver and mallet, peeling and splitting the cane into sticks, much like a carrot–only tougher. Now you can buy them, conveniently precut, from the Barbecue Store where they’re sold as Sugarcane Swizzle Sticks. (See the link to the Store at left: Click on Cool Tools and scroll down.) Just make a sharp diagonal cut on one end and thread with your favorite combinations. There’s a great illustration of how to use sugarcane skewers, as well as a recipe for Shrimp on Sugarcane with Mount Gay Rum Glaze, on page 328 of How to Grill by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2001). The sweetness of the sticks meshes extraordinarily well with shrimp, pork, chicken, and Asian-style beef. Of course, you could always use them to give holiday drinks an exotic flourish. Even hot chocolate.