Dear Alison (one L),
I know we've never met. But your boyfriend Bill contacted me in late July and told me you're allergic to mold. Mold! How you manage to live without a daily dose of fetid cheese is beyond me, but I do imagine it's better than being allergic to, say, air.
I told Bill I'd devise a nice little mold-free recipe for you. He may have thought this would be a massive challenge, but contrary to popular belief, my mold-free repertoire is actually quite large. He also provided a list of your favorite foods. These include, as I understand it, "peaches, basil, soups, shallots, sherry vinegar, chicken thighs, swine, mushrooms, beef, and mashed potatoes."
He also felt the need to mention that you don't like capers, "muppet or otherwise."
Now instead of trying to hit the nail square on the head and create a recipe using all 10 of your favorite foods (a combo which screams for capers, sadly), I selected an even four: chicken thighs, swine, peaches, and basil. Turns out they make a terrific party kabob. Who knew? Of course, threading them on mini-skewers with colorful pompoms doesn't hurt.
You can invite some friends over and pass these around, crowing about how they were created specifically in your honor by a California food writer via your terrifically devoted boyfriend, or you can smack Bill hard across the face and berate him for embarrassing you in public. For his penance I suggest you banish him to the kitchen with orders to get cooking, and force him to feed you kabobs one by one with alternating sips of your favorite bubbly. When you're done, he will, of course, be tasked with doing all the damn dishes.
Recipe for Alison's Grilled Chicken, Prosciutto, Peach and Basil Party Kabobs
You couldn't ask for a prettier hors d'oeuvre than these colorful mini-kabobs. The meaty chicken, salty prosciutto, sweet, juicy peaches, and herby basil coalesce into a single well-balanced bite. Plus, the kabobs look really festive all laid out on a platter. See if you can find some fun 4-inch picks instead of plain old wooden toothpicks.
For the chicken:
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or bone-in, skin-on... ask the butcher to remove the bone, and you can remove the skin at home)
2 medium peaches, firm but ripe
5 slices prosciutto, cut lengthwise into thirds (keep covered so they don't dry out)
15 small fresh basil leaves
15 four-inch party picks or toothpicks
In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour into a large ziploc and add the chicken. Squeeze out the air, seal, and let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat a grill (or grill pan, which is what I used since my grill just died) to medium-high heat.
Discard marinade and blot excess liquid from chicken with paper towels. Lay on well-oiled grates and grill, turning 2 or 3 times, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow to cool. Blot with fresh paper towels to remove any grease, then cut into 1-inch chunks.
If peaches are nice and firm, peel them with a vegetable peeler. (This is optional, but it's nice.) Cut into 1-inch chunks.
Thread one hunk chicken, one slice prosciutto (folded onto itself), one peach chunk, and one basil leaf onto each mini-skewer in that order. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Arrange on a platter and serve to guests, or eat for dinner with your favorite vegetable and/or grain.