grapes

When the weather gets hot, it's natural to seek cooling remedies such as splashing in a pool, sipping iced beverages and making meals that are quick to prepare and don't heat up the kitchen.

Fresh grapes are a cooling ingredient that can refresh and elevate summertime meals with a burst of color, flavor and pleasing texture.

Indian-Spiced Chicken and Grape Kebabs

1/4 cup unsweetened, reduced-fat coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of cayenne

2 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves

2 dozen large red California grapes

2 large pinches salt (1/4 teaspoon)

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or finely chopped fresh cilantro

8 bamboo skewers, 8-inch length

Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.

For the marinade: in a mixing bowl, whisk the coconut milk, oil, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne. Set aside.

Cut the chicken breasts into 32 cubes, about 3/4-inch each; add to the marinade and mix well to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Alternately thread 4 pieces of chicken and 3 grapes onto each of eight 8-inch bamboo skewers.

Grill skewers over high heat until the chicken is firm and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes each side. Transfer skewers to plates or a platter and sprinkle with salt and fresh herbs. Serve with steamed basmati rice or toasted naan flatbread.

Notes: To cook indoors, use the oven broiler. Line a shallow baking sheet with foil, shiny side down, and preheat the broiler. Broil the kebabs for 3 minutes, turn with tongs and broil about 3 minutes more, until chicken is firm and cooked through.

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