Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Grilled Caprese Kabobs -- summer on a stick -- #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: We rarely repeat recipes here on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, but I can’t resist the temptation to share our recipe for the taste of summer, which I originally posted almost exactly two years ago. It’s one of my most popular posts.

The recipe—if you even want to call it that—became so popular in my own household that I ended up crediting it to Fresca, manager emeritus of the fictional Merc, and featuring it at a picnic in TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the fourth Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, out this week. The recipe is in the book, but there’s no reason for you to sit there hungry and drooling while you wait for your copy.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, new this week!

It’s inspired, of course, by Caprese salads, which I am convinced are the salad the angels make when God needs a snack.

It’s a kind of magical medley that screams summer. Plus, you can grow cherry or grape tomatoes and basil on your back deck. (If you’ve figured out how to grow mozzarella balls in your garden, call me!)

We recommend two kabobs per person, as an appetizer. Both cherry and grape tomatoes work great, and the more color variety, the better! We used herbed mozzarella balls packed in oil from Costco, but plain cheese packed in water works, too. On a lark, we used a blackberry Balsamic vinegar we'd been given, and thought we were in heaven.

If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them first. You can also make mini versions, grilled or not, on appetizer-size sticks.

Kids would love making and eating these. There’s pretty much no way to mess them up. Except to not make enough.

Here’s to a tasty, happy summer, with good food, good friends, and a great book! (I have suggestions...)

Grilled Caprese Kabobs

For each kabob:

3 small tomatoes
2 fresh mozzarella balls, herbed or plain
3 fresh basil leaves
olive oil, if you’re using plain cheese
salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar
a metal or bamboo skewer (if you're using bamboo, soak them first)

Heat your grill. Use a perforated grill sheet or rack, if you have one; otherwise, grill directly over the heat. (A reader told me she discovered too late that her grill was out of propane, so she broiled these in the oven, with great success!)

Thread the skewers, starting with a tomato, a basil leaf, a cheese ball, another basil leaf, and so on, until you’ve threaded three tomatoes and two cheese balls, with a leaf between each. If your basil leaves are large, fold in half. If you’re using water-packed cheese, brush with olive oil. (The sharp-eyed among you may notice that these have only two tomatoes. First draft. Three tomatoes are better.)

Lay on the grill or grill sheet and close the grill lid. Grill 2-3 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft, even a little charred, and the cheese begins to melt. Don’t let your cheese fall off! Remove from grill and place skewers on serving plate. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

Oops -- looks like I forgot to take a picture after I drizzled on the Balsamic. In too much of a hurry to eat them! I promise, you will be, too!

Got a favorite food that screams "summer!" to you?

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017). (US and Canadian addresses only. Winner will be chosen Saturday, June 10.) 

From the cover: 

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Love Caprese; and the book sounds fabulous. Food that screams summer to me = freshly picked strawberries. EMS591@aol.com

  2. The kabobs look healthy; thanks for the chance to win :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  3. Jam and Jazz. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  4. Love Caprese salad and kabobs sounds like a nice variation. Fresh local (Ontario or Quebec) strawberries are a sign that summer is here. They should arrive in our farmer's markets in a few weeks.
    grace dot koshida at gmail dot com