Surf and Turf Kabobs with Spicy Sesame Butter

Let’s pretend it’s 1965, you’re wearing a fabulous muumuu poolside and a man who eerily looks like Don Draper is making Mai Tais.  Your friends are coming over, you probably have Don Ho playing in the background and you need something to nosh on at this fabulous make-believe party.  I’m thinking Ramake, Crab Rangoon, a pineapple carved out like a boat and filled with fresh fruit and these delicious, sorta fancy Surf and Turf Kabobs.  You can mix up the seafood to your liking; prawns, scallops, firm fish such as mahi or halibut work well and colorful veg like bell peppers or onions won’t disappoint.  The real kicker with this recipe is the spicy sesame compound butter so don’t be stingy with it.  I’m pretty sure I’d eat a dirty sock if it was covered in that fatty goodness.

Serves 4


For the Skewers:

2 lobsters (1 ½ – 2 lbs.)

3 cloves garlic

2 inch piece of ginger, grated

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

2 lbs top sirloin or filet, cut into ¾ -1 inch cubes

For the Butter:

½ lb. cold butter, cubed

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp Asian hot sauce, such as Sriracha

Zest of 1 lime

Salt, to taste

1 tbsp black sesame seeds


½ bunch cilantro, chopped for garnish



Bring a large pot of water to a boil and par-cook the lobster for 4 minutes.  Plunge it into an ice bath to cool and prevent from further cooking.

In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, lime, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper and set aside.

By now the lobster is cool and you can remove the meat from the shell.  Crack the claws with the back of a knife and twist from the body.  Carefully remove the meat and put it in a bowl.  Cut the underside of the tail using either a knife or kitchen shears and remove the tail meat.  The small tentacles are of no use for the skewers, but are certainly tasty to snack on while you’re cooking.  Discard the shells and chop the lobster meat into 1-2 inch pieces.

Either using bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water or metal skewers, begin to assemble the surf and turf, alternating between the steak and the lobster.  Place the skewers in a baking dish, cover with the marinade chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high heat.

To make the compound butter, in the bowl of a food processor add the butter, sesame oil, hot sauce, lime zest and salt.  Process until it is smooth.  Scrape the butter into a bowl and stir in the sesame seeds.  At this point, you can also roll the butter into a tube using plastic wrap and then it is very easy to cut a piece off whenever you want to use it.

Grill the skewers over high heat for 2 minutes per side for medium rare.  To serve the surf and turf skewers, serve them on a bed of butter lettuce and top with the spicy sesame butter and cilantro.


Miso Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes and yams but I’ve never understood the need to make them any sweeter than they already are.  The traditional candied yams during the holidays are lost on me, as is the casserole topped with marshmallows, though I’m sure many of you reading this think I’m crazy for feeling this way.  I like my sweet potatoes savory so what better way than adding a bit of miso?  Sweet, salty, buttery and slightly spicy are these and I’ve yet to meet a person that didn’t love them.  I make them in hobo packs for the grill but they can also be made in the oven in a covered baking dish.  Take them camping or live on the edge and add them to your Thanksgiving spread.  They taste great with cranberry relish.

Serves: 6-8


½ cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp. miso (white or red)
2 tbsp sriracha
4 large sweet potatoes, sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, quartered
Herbs such as chives, cilantro or parsley for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish


Heat the grill medium over medium heat.

In a large bowl, mix the first 6 ingredients into a smooth paste. Add the potatoes and onions and using your hands mix until coated well.

Tear off as many sheets of foil as there are guests to make hobo packs (a nifty name for anything cooked inside foil on the grill or over a fire pit!). Divide the potato mixture amongst the foil sheets and close them tightly. Place the hobo packs on the grill and close the lid. Cook until the potatoes are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Make sure to flip the hobo packs halfway through cooking and rotate them so they cook evenly.

After the sweet potatoes are done, open up the foil and garnish with a squeeze of lemon, some chopped herbs and sesame seeds. Guests can either eat right out of the foil or scoop them onto their plate.