This simple to prepare dish with our Woodsy flavored Broccoli Pesto sauce

This simple to prepare dish with our Woodsy flavored Broccoli Pesto sauce

Woodsy Broccoli Pesto from the Grill! Click To Tweet

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I purchased several heads of broccoli recently and decided to smoke them using one of my favorite short cut methods for smoke vapor infusion.  My Nordic Ware Kettle Stove Top Smoker allows me to get the flavor level I like in about 20 minutes using only my stove for fuel.

Once I have my broccoli smoked, I’m going to produce a smoked broccoli pesto that is perfect for so many foods and purposes.  This is super easy and doesn’t take a lot of time to make and it keeps well in the refrigerator.

Easy Smoking Technique

Here are the steps I used for smoking in the Nordic Ware unit but you can adapt these to pretty much any stovetop unit.

our stove top smoked broccoli

#smokedbroccoli

I’ve placed the unit on the largest burner of my stove top, added about ¼ cup of Minuto® Wood Chips #4 from SmokinLicious® in the base pan, topped with the drip pan, and then added the food tray with the broccoli cut into florets.  Total time to smoke and tenderize the broccoli will be about 20 minutes.  Usually a medium-high heat setting generates about 275°F of heat for the cooking process just target to be in the 275-300°F range.  With the broccoli smoked, it’s time to make the pesto.  In addition to the smoked broccoli, there are 6 additional ingredients: salt, pepper, basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice and grated Parmesan cheese.

Tasting Notes: You can use any method of smoking the broccoli based on the equipment you have available but if you do want to try a stove top method without having to purchase a ready-made unit, try our method using a standard 2-quart stockpot.

A Quick Process to Pesto

Pesto ingredients

#pesto

Pesto is one of those items that is simple to make but so many people will buy ready-made from the store.  You’ll get a much fresher taste quality when you produce your own.

Start by getting a large capacity food processor with a standard blade.  Place the smoked broccoli florets in the processor bowl, followed by a ¼ cup grated parmesan, ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons olive oil, juice from ½  a lemon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.  Process all the ingredients until smooth.  You likely will need to add a bit more olive oil to reach the right consistency for your taste.  Remember, this is going to produce about 2 cups of pesto so start with a lighter amount of oil as this ingredient can be added later when you decide how you’re planning to use the pesto.  For me, I’ll be starting with a simple pesto noodle that I intended to add some sliced pork to.

Tasting Notes: Each food processor is different so start on pulse and then work to maintain the motor on for a smooth result.  Feel free to drizzle additional olive oil into the mixture while the processor is running, just do so in drips rather than a stream amount.

Think Endless Uses

There are so many uses for our smoked broccoli pesto!  I’ll be adding ¼ of my 2-cup pesto production to some hot egg noodles that will act as a bed to lay some Asian marinated pork in.

Here are some other uses to consider: use in rice, pastas that have ridges for the pesto to cling to, on a sandwich, or use as a topping for chicken, fish, and pork.  I’m sure you’ll come up with other great uses as well.  The batch you make from the single head of broccoli will last for about 7-10 days if stored in the refrigerator.  If you can store in glass, it will likely last longer.  With broccoli readily available most of the year, this is a treat to be enjoyed anytime!

finished mixed Broccoli Pesto

#smokinlicious #pesto

What’s your favorite pesto recipe?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used for this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

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For more reading related to Pesto beyond Broccoli Pesto visit these pages!

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Dr. Smoke- When searching for a different pest don't forget about Broccoli Pesto but add a Woodsy twist from the grill!

Dr. Smoke- When searching for a different pest don’t forget about Broccoli Pesto but add a Woodsy twist from the grill!

Our Finished grilled hot cross buns!

Our Finished grilled hot cross buns!

Hot cross buns cooked on the Grill! Click To Tweet

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I know – hot cross buns are traditionally enjoyed during lent and holy Easter weekend.  The basic recipe dates to the 12th century and is known as a sweet dough ball.  Did you know that pretty much any recipe can be made on a grill or smoker, including hot cross buns?

I’m going to take a traditional hot cross bun recipe and make it using the grill with wood chunks for added flavor and the cooking.  Don’t worry that this is a recipe that involves yeast.  You don’t have to know everything about bread making to make this recipe work.  You can add the dried fruit of your choice to customize the flavors as well as selecting the hardwood you like best.

Let’s get started so you can enjoy the SmokinLicious® version of Hot Cross Buns Wood Fired any time of year!

Yeast Makes Dough

our covered yeast and flour mixture wrap to rise

#activedryyeast

These buns start with yeast blooming.  We are using active-dry yeast in our dough which means it must be re-activated in water. Start by pouring water that is between 105° and 155°F into a large bowl and sprinkle 2-1/4 teaspoons of active-dry yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar over the water.  Stir the mixture to dissolve the ingredients and let stand until foamy which will take about 10 minutes.  Then add ½ cup sugar minus 1 tablespoon, 1 cup of warm milk, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ cup of softened butter.  Mix well then add 3 cups of all-purpose flour.  Beat with the paddle attachment of a mixer until smooth and elastic.

After beating the initial dry ingredients, it’s time to add the eggs.  Do this step by adding one egg at a time for a total of 3 eggs.  Once the eggs are mixed in, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 cup of dried fruit of your choice such as currants, raisins, chopped apricots, and/or candied citrus.  I’m including currants in my dough.  Once mixed well, add 3 cups of additional flour ½ cup at a time, until a soft dough emerges.  Next, it will be time to turn the dough out on a work surface.

Tasting Notes:

These are traditionally a drier sweet dough.  That means you want to use dry fruit items in order to prevent the dough from becoming too moist.  Feel free to expand on the options for the fruit and use combinations that are pleasing to your palate.

Patience Is Key

slicing our dough into smaller amounts

#portioningdough

After adding all the ingredients to our hot cross bun dough, it’s time to turn the dough out and begin to proof also known as rising of the dough.  Start by turning the mixed dough out on a lightly floured work surface.  Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, then form into a circle.  Grease a large bowl and place the rounded dough into the greased bowl, turning the dough once to ensure it is coated with the grease on all sides.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until double in volume.  This will take about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Once the dough has proofed and doubled in size, it’s time to punch it down.  This is a step that releases some of the gas bubbles that have formed by the yeast during the rising time.  Once the dough has the gas released, cover it with a bowl on a dry surface and let stand for 10 minutes.  After that time, divide the dough in half and then quarters.  For each quarter, cut into six equal pieces.  Roll each dough portion into a ball and place on a greased sheet pan, spacing 1-1/2 inches apart.  This is a good time to start the grill by lighting only half the burners and placing a smoker box with wood chunks on the hot side.  We’ll be aiming for a grill temperature of 375°F.

Grill-Baking with Hardwood

Our sheet pan of dough on the grill with wood flavor

#gasgrill #woodchunks

With our grill lit using a two-zone cooking method and wood chunks of maple, white oak, and cherry in the smoker box on the hot side of the grill, it’s time to finish off the hot cross bun dough.  After spacing the dough balls on a sheet pan, I allowed them to rise for about 30 minutes.  Using the white of one large egg and a teaspoon of water mixed together, I brush each of the 24 dough balls with the egg wash.  Using a small, sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each roll no more than ½ inch deep.  Place one sheet pan of rolls on the unlit side of the grill and cook until golden brown which takes about 25-30 minutes.  I like to rotate my sheet pan ½ way through the cooking time for more even coloring to the rolls.  When finished, transfer the grilled rolls to cooling racks.

Tasting Notes:

I’m using a ½ sheet pan for my cooking but note that standard cookie sheets will work well.  If using the ½ sheet pan, your grill area may not be large enough to accommodate the pan while closing the lid completely.  I simply grill with the lid partially open, adjust my temperature control knobs to ensure the 375°F remains stable.

While the buns are cooking on the grill, you can prepare the icing that will go on top of the finish buns.  Start by mixing together 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of milk.  You can adjust the thickness of the finished icing by adding drops of milk if you want it thinner.  Just be sure that when you add this to a pastry bag, you will be able to push it out in a steady stream and don’t find that it pours out on its own.

Tasting Notes:

Here’s my tip for filling a pastry bag.  Tip-I like to use the disposable bags for icings. Click To Tweet I simply roll down the bag about half-way to form a cuff.  I place the pointed side of the pastry bag into the opening of a roll of paper towels.  This allows me to scrap every bit of icing from the bowl without worrying about the pastry bag.  I leave the filled pastry bag in the roll until the buns are cool enough for applying the icing.

The Perfect Sweet Dough Treat with a Kick of Wood Flavor

basket of our hot cross buns

#hotcrossbuns

After making our hot cross bun dough from scratch, allowing the dough to proof, then dividing into our individual buns.  We baked these on the gas grill set up two-zone method: a hot side that we added three hardwood chunks to using a smoker box on the grill grate.  The buns were placed on the unlit side of the grill and baked at 375°F for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan just one time.  Once cooled, we added lemon icing crosses to each bun.  We do this by working with twelve buns at a time, lining them up on the sheet pan tightly to each other.  Using the pastry bag of icing, I place a steady stream of icing vertically on each bun, then do the same horizontally for each row, forming a cross.  Allow the icing to set and then serve.

Although hot cross buns are associated with a specific time of the year, SmokinLicious® feels these are a sweet dough treat to be enjoyed any time of the year.  And, they are best when made on outdoor equipment that can include natural hardwood for unbelievable flavor.

Tasting Notes: 

If served warm, you’ll pick up more of the wood smoke flavoring Click To Tweet these buns were exposed to on the grill.  Adding a bit of butter makes them even sweeter!

What’s your favorite dried fruit to add to hot cross buns?  Comment to let us know.   Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke-  the grill is perfect for cooking Hot Cross Buns

This avacado recipe features melted cheese stuffed avacado inside Turkey, wrapped with Zucchini strips.!

This Avocado recipe features melted cheese stuffed avocado inside Turkey, wrapped with Zucchini strips.!

This Avocado Recipe is double stuffed for Yummy Flavor! Click To Tweet

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I love taking a basic recipe and being able to offer variations to that recipe which allows the cook to customize for those being served.  That’s why I refer to this recipe as the Versatile Smoked Avocado Loaf since you will have options in the ground meat or poultry used to surround the cheese filled avocado as well as the cheese and outer covering to the loaf.  This is referred to as a meat wrapped, stuffed avocado recipe.

I’ll walk you through my version which uses Jalapeno cheese, ground turkey, and zucchini ribbons all with whole avocado.  We’ll be smoking these mini loaves of goodness on the charcoal grill using a two-zone cooking set up.  Use my ingredients or customize for your own taste.  Either way – let’s get started.

simple ingredients, avacado, ground Turkey, jalapeno cheese and a zucchini

#meatwrappedavocado recipe

Avocado & Meat Prep

The ingredients I’m using today include 2 lbs. of ground turkey, 4 whole avocado, 1 medium zucchini, and 4 ounces of Jalapeno cheese.  To start, I make zucchini ribbons using a vegetable peeler on the length of the zucchini.  I wrap the zucchini ribbons in a paper towel as zucchini is loaded with water requiring this to dry out a bit before wrapping around our finished loaves.  Time to prep the avocados.

Start by cutting around the circumference of the avocado from stem top to bottom using a sharp paring knife.  Don’t cut into the avocado meat just into the hard, green skin.  Then twist the halves in opposite directions to separate the two halves.  One half will hold the pit of the avocado.  You can easily remove that by hitting the pit with the blade of a sharp knife then pull up which will remove the whole pit in one swipe.  Remove the skin on both halves of the avocado, leaving the avocado meat intact.

Our avacado split in half

#stuffedavocado

Avocado recipe Tasting Notes: Other options for wrapping the loaves include ribbons made of beets, carrot, leek, or eggplant.  You can also wrap these in bacon strips if you don’t mind additional fat and sodium levels.

Assembling the Loaves

With the avocados pitted and skinned, it’s time to stuff them with our jalapeno cheese.  Cut a cube of cheese that will fit perfectly into the pit hole of one half of the avocado.  Place the matching half of the avocado on top to make the avocado whole again.  Now it’s time to season the ground turkey.  Taking about 2 lbs. of ground turkey I add 2 tablespoons of Chinese Five Spice which is a premixed combination of anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger.  I also add 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon chopped mint, and fresh ground pepper.  Mix together well as this seasoned meat will become the wrapping around the avocados.

With the avocados filled with cheese and the ground meat seasoned, it’s now time to wrap the avocado in the meat.  I’ll be making four avocado loaves so I divide the meat into four parts.  Flattening the meat into pancake size, I place one filled avocado in the center of the meat and begin to wrap the meat around the avocado, pressing to fill any holes.  You want the meat to cover the entire avocado in an equal thickness.  Once wrapped, it’s time to apply the zucchini ribbons around the meat.  I’m using zucchini as it has a high water content which will result in extra attraction of the smoke vapor to the finished loaf.  smoke vapor seeks out moisture! Click To Tweet  Simply lay the zucchini ribbons one at a time around the meat loaf, overlapping as you go.

turkey wrapped avacado, now applying the zucchini outter wrap to hold everything together for grilling

Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:

Avocado and cheese go together so well which gives you so many options for the cheese filling.  There is no limit to the type of cheese you can use just know block cheese rather than shredded or a spread is best.  When it comes to the ground meat, feel free to use any type you prefer: beef, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb, veal.  You can also use a ground fish but may find you need to add a binder like panko bread crumbs to keep it from falling off the avocado.

 Two-Zone Charcoal Smoking

grill demonstrating our two zone charcoal grill set up with wood chunks

#twozonecooking

While I’ve been preparing the meat wrapped stuffed avocados, I’ve had my charcoal grill lit using a two-zone cooking method.  Since there isn’t a lot of meat on each of these loaves, I don’t need direct heat to cook.  I’ve placed my hot coals on one side of the grill and added about four SmokinLicious® double filet wood chunks.  On the unlit side of the grill, I’ve placed a disposable pan to act as a drip pan under the grill grate.  I place my four turkey avocado loaves on the unlit side of the grill grate and allow them to cook for about 45 minutes.  At that time marker, I brush the loaves with a sweet chili sauce and allow to cook for about 15 additional minutes.

After cooking for nearly an hour on a charcoal grill set up with a two-zone cooking method, these turkey wrapped stuffed avocado loaves are perfectly smoked and flavored.  Each loaf can easily feed two or one hearty eater!  With the creaminess of the avocado, the heat of the melted jalapeno cheese, the spiced turkey meat, plus subtle flavors of the zucchini and chili sauce, this is the perfect smoked protein that can be cooked quickly. Click To Tweet There are so many variations that can be done to this stuffed avocado which truly can make this your own creation!

Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:  

Any equipment can be used for this recipe to add the smoke flavoring.  Just know, you need to use a two-zone cooking method for charcoal grilling, gas grill cooking with wood, or electric smoking.  If using a portable grill, try to grill over hot coals over rather than direct flame.  If using a stove top smoker or plancha, you’ll obviously cook direct method.  And of course, you can always make this recipe without the added flavor of smoke in the traditional oven.

our finished avacado stuffed turkey loaf!

#stuffedavocado wrap

 

 

 

What’s your favorite ingredients for this meat wrapped, stuffed avocado?  Leave us a comment and subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the flavor.  That’s SmokinLicious®.

 

SmokinLicious® products for this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

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Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke- This avocado recipe features a cheese stuffed avocado wrapped in Turkey! YUM

 

 

Our Smoked Okra Soup rich and flavorful pieces in a wonderful tomato base broth!

Our Smoky Okra Soup rich and flavorful pieces in a wonderful tomato based broth!

Make a tasty smoked okra soup! Stove top smoking okra with wood chips! Click To Tweet

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Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to check out my smoked okra technique so you’ll be ready to take on this recipe for Wood Fired Okra Soup.  This is incredibly easy to prepare soup recipe that has a total of 12 common ingredients which includes our super smoked fresh okra.

For those who may never have eaten okra, this is a great first recipe to give it a try.  Okra is considered a warm-season vegetable but you can find imported varieties available so you can enjoy during colder months as well.   Okra is rich is fiber, Vitamin K and folate, as well as being considered an anti-cancer fighting food.

Get to the store and purchase a pound or two of vibrant green, firm okra, follow our directive on smoking it, then meet us in the kitchen for a great pot of soup.

Our wood fired smoked okra ready to be diced and added to the tomato broth

#smokedokra

Aromatics to Start

After you’ve smoked the okra using a stove top smoker, charcoal or gas grill, traditional charcoal or electric smoker, or even a handheld food smoker, you begin the soup by first thinly slicing the smoked okra pods.  Don’t worry if the seeds pop loose as they are 100% edible.

Next place 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven.  Once melted, add one small, diced onion to the pot.  Cook the onion until translucent then add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.  Allow that to cook for just a minute then add one clove of minced garlic.  Let the aromatics marry for a few minutes, then we’ll be ready to add the liquids.

Making of a Soup

Add all the broth ingredients to the stock pot

#okrasoup

Once the aromatics have married, time to add some spice to this soup.  First, add 1-1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  If you like a very spicy soup, feel free to adjust the red pepper flake amount.  Allow these ingredients to cook for about 3 minutes.  Time to add 4 cups of bone broth  or vegetable broth, 3 cups of water, and a 28 ounce can of diced tomato with juice.  Stir well and allow this to cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.  Reduce the temperature to low and add the smoked sliced okra, stirring well.  This should cook for at least 30 minutes though I prefer a longer cook time.

our stock pot blending all the flavorful ingredients

I like my soups cooked on one day, refrigerated and then cooked again on a second day.  I think this helps to add depth of flavor.  However, note that you can serve this soup after just one hour of cooking time.

Before serving the soup, make 2 cups of rice – I prefer brown rice.  When ready to serve, place a hearty serving spoonful of rice in a bowl and ladle on the hot soup.  Mix together and enjoy!

I honestly love this soup served hot in the colder months and cooled in the hot months.  Certainly, in season tomatoes make this even better and for those who really like a hearty smoked soup, check out our tips for smoking tomatoes and add that to the mix.  Wood Fired Okra Soup is sure to make it to your top choices for a go to soup!

our finished smoked okra soup

#bowlofcomfort

What’s your favorite okra recipe?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

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Dr. Smoke- the deep flavor of the Tomato broth and smoked okra make a wonderfully delectable okra soup!

Dr. Smoke- the deep flavor of the Tomato broth and wood fired okra make a wonderfully delectable okra soup!

Our Hearts of pleasure are filled with great Smoked chocolate! You or your favorite person must try Smoked Chocolate!

Our Hearts of pleasure are filled with great Smoked chocolate! You or your favorite person must try Smoked Chocolate!

Imagine a puffed pastry filled with Smoked Chocolate and Nuts! Click To Tweet

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Sometimes you need a special dessert or treat for that occasion that you want to express your love or appreciation.  An anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day, or even as a thank you gesture.  I have the perfect treat that is simple to make and allows you to customize the ingredients to fit the preferences of the recipient.  I’ll give you my version of the Heart Puffs of Pleasure but know too, you can change the shape of this treat to any cookie cutter shape you find adorable to use.  It all starts with adding a bit of smoky flavor to some of the filling ingredients so let’s start there.

DIY Stove Top Smoker

I’m using my DIY stove top smoker technique which uses a standard stock pot and a round roasting rack for the smoking.  You can visit our previous posting on this technique on our Tips & Techniques Blog.

Our stove top smoker is a simple stock pot with wood chips in the bottom and rack on top

#stovetopsmoker

I placed Sugar Maple Minuto® Wood Chips in the base and will smoke 2 of my filling ingredients: milk and dark chocolate and peanut and cashew pieces.  I’m also including shredded coconut in my filling but I’ll just do a light toasting of this in the oven.

Before smoking, I break up the large chocolate bars to allow for easier smoke infusion and place in heat tolerant containers.  The nuts will be smoked first since I’m using a hot smoking technique for them, then I’ll remove the pot from the heat and put the chocolate pieces in to infuse with the remaining smoke vapor.  It’s important that you quickly remove the nut container and reseal the pot in order to keep the smoke vapor generating.  If needed, keep the pot on the burner for a few minutes after the nuts have been removed.  Then take off the heat, allow the pot to cool slightly, then add the chocolate pieces container.

Tasting Notes: Although you can select any ingredients you want for your stuffed puff pastry design, be sure you understand which ingredients are appropriate for hot smoking and which would require cold smoke application.  Remember, items that traditionally melt with heat will melt from any temperature above 80°F.

Cookie Cutter for Easy Design

our heart shaped cookie cutters, you can do any design

#cookiecutter

Here’s the fun part of this treat!  Selecting the design shapes you want to encase your great fillings in.  I’ve decided to do heart shapes in two sizes: a 4-inch and 3-inch heart using cookie cutters.

Using store bought puff pastry sheets, I thaw according to the package directions and then lay one sheet out on a board.  I place my cookie cutters on the pastry sheet spacing accordingly so I end up with four hearts per sheet.  Remember, you will need a top and bottom pastry heart for each treat.  I’m using a total of four pastry sheets which will provide me with three large finished hearts and six smaller.  Simply cutout the heart shapes and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Keep the pastry cold until you are ready to fill them, with a damp cloth placed over the hearts to keep the pastry from drying out.

 

all the goodies inside, smoked chocolate and nuts!

#smokedchocolate #smokednuts #stuffedpuffpastry

Ready to Fill!

With our filling choices smoked, it’s time to start assembling the pastry hearts.  Start by placing three pieces of smoked chocolate on a pastry heart followed by the other fillings.  In my case, that’s a spoonful of smoked nut pieces and toasted coconut.  Place a second pastry heart over the first and pinch the edges together.  I secure the edges in place by using the tines of a small fork which also adds a decorative edge.  Then egg wash your finished pastry heart.  Continue with the other pastry cutouts until complete, noting that the smaller hearts will take just two pieces of smoked chocolate.  Do not allow the fillings to go to the pastry edges.

Once all the puff pastry hearts as filled, sealed, and egg washed, it’s time to place the prepared sheet pans into a 375°F oven.  These will take between 15-18 minutes to become golden brown and “puffed”.  It’s important that you check the bottom of the pastry hearts to ensure they are golden as well so there are no raw dough segments.  Once baked, remove from the oven and place on cooling racks.  These must be cooled completely through before attempting to ice.

 Dessert Means Icing

While the pastry hearts are baking, you can make icing to drizzle over the tops.  Be sure you cool the hearts completely before icing otherwise you’ll end up with a thin, melted icing.

To make the icing, combine powdered sugar with milk or cream.  I take about 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar to 1 tablespoon of milk or cream and mix well.  I like a consistency that is the thickness of gravy so I can control the drizzle on my finished pastry.

For coloring, I like to use gel food colorings which require much less coloring and have a greater variety of colors available.  I decided to use violet, pink, and red though my red was more of a deep pink as I used such a small amount.  When the pastry is completely cool, I use a spoon to drizzle the colored icing over the top of each heart.  Allow to dry for about 10 minutes and you’re ready to serve.

finished stuffed pastry will icing added

#puffpastry #mothersday #Valentines_day

Here’s the best part about our puff pastry hearts.  They can hold any fillings you can think of.  Whether sweet, savory, spicy or other, you can make these with all types of ingredients.  And the pastry can be cut into any shape and size. Consider the person you’re making them for, the special event or occasion, and then have fun customizing them.   Even with the stove top smoking components, these can easily be made in under two hours.  Try our technique and create a truly unique and flavorful result that will be appreciated by the recipient!

What’s your favorite filling to use in a stuffed puff pastry?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

Smokinlicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to smoked Chocolate and other great recipe ideas!

For more reading related to smoked Chocolate and other great recipe ideas!

More recipes you may like:

-SMOKED RICOTTA-CINNAMON PASTRY HORN

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Dr. Smoke-Dr. Smoke- I Love the taste of Smoked Chocolate! Try these puff pleasures for your favorite person or just for yourself!

Dr. Smoke- I Love the taste of Smoked Chocolate! Try these puff pleasures for your favorite person or just for yourself!

 

Our pastry horns in the over baking getting ready to be filled with our Smoked Ricotta Cheese we made in our tips blog

Our pastry horns in the over baking getting ready to be filled with our Smoked Ricotta Cheese we made in our tips blog

CINNAMON PASTRY HORN- SMOKED RICOTTA ON THE STOVE-TOP Click To Tweet

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Have I got a great treat for you!  Featuring smoked ricotta, I’m making a pastry horn filled with the sweetness of cinnamon infused smoked ricotta with a touch of crushed almond and shredded coconut.  I have an easy method of making the puff pastry horns that don’t require purchased molds and helpful hints on filling these light, golden horns of goodness.

Be sure to follow our previous tips posting on how to smoke ricotta using a DIY stove top smoker technique, and you’ll be ready for our smoked horns of ricotta goodness!

No Purchase Necessary

There’s no need to purchase horn molds as I have a very inexpensive way to make the perfect sized horns for filling.  Start by purchasing a box of sugar cones and aluminum foil sheets that are precut.  For each sheet of foil, cut in half.  Place one cone on the ½ sheet of foil and start to roll the foil around the cone until the final edge meets the cone.  Take the excess foil and push it into the top of the cone.  Continue covering all the cones – most cartons will have 12 cones total.

Tasting Notes: These foil-wrapped cones can be used again and again, as long as you keep them preserved.  To do that, keep the foil on the cones and place in a storage bag, with all the excess air removed from the bag.  I use my cones until they either become too soft or break apart.

Wrapping the Molds

wrapping the puff pastry around our cone

#pastryhorn

This recipe is easier when you use ready to use puff pastry sheets that are readily available in most freezer sections of the grocery store.

Start by following the thaw directions for the pastry.  Using a pizza cutter, I make roughly 3/8-inch strips of pastry.  Taking a foil wrapped cone, I start about ¾-inch from the pointed end and begin wrapping the mold with the pastry strip, overlapping each edge as I progress.  Add a 2nd strip, overlapping the end of the first until completely covered.  You do not have to cover the entire cone.  Set on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and finish covering the rest of the cones.

With all the horn molds wrapped with puff pastry strips, it’s time to ensure they get golden brown when baking.  That means they need an egg wash.  Taking one slightly beaten egg, brush each horn with the egg.  Use the egg wash to secure any loose ends as well.  Then bake according to package directions which usually is at 400° F for 12-15 minutes.   I usually rotate the sheet pan half way through the baking time to ensure even color.  Remove from the oven when golden brown and gently remove the foil cone from each horn.  Allow to cool prior to filling.

Ready to Fill!

our pastry bag filled with Smoked Ricotta Cheese.

#smokedricotta

With the pastry horns baked and cooling, it’s time to make the filling for the horns.  Start by adding powdered sugar, cream, cinnamon and cinnamon chips to the smoked ricotta. Mix well and then place the filling in a pastry bag.  I prefer the disposable kind to allow for easy clean up.  For the 3 pounds of ricotta I’ve smoked, I’ll need about four pastry bags of ricotta mixture.  In addition, I’m going to have two options for the ends of my horns – shredded coconut and chopped almond.  Be sure you refrigerate the ricotta mixture for at least 30 minutes prior to piping into the horn shells.

 Tasting Notes: For the 3 pounds of smoked ricotta I used, I included ¼ cup cream, 3-1/2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup of cinnamon chips.  You can use these measurements as a guide if you elect to decrease the amount of ricotta used.

 Horn of Flavorful Plenty

Now comes the fun part.  Assembling the pastry horns.  Starting with the large opening on the horn, begin piping the ricotta mixture into the horn in a circular fashion.  Allow the mixture to go just past the end of the horn.  Then pipe additional ricotta into the smaller end opening.  Next, dip the ends or sprinkle using a spoon with the shredded coconut or chopped almond, or both – one on each end.  Then place the finished horn on a serving tray.    Repeat with the other horns until all are filled.  Remember, work with only one bag of the ricotta mixture at a time keeping the others refrigerated until needed.  Use your imagination and think of other great ingredients to use with the smoked ricotta like peppermint extract and chocolate mint chips.  This is a recipe that is highly adaptable and don’t forget, food coloring small batches of the ricotta mixture will give you a colorful serving platter of delight.

Our finished pastry horns filled with Smoked Ricotta cheese

#smokedricottadessert

What’s your favorite filling to go with smoked ricotta?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

 

For more reading related to- Learn how to do Smoked Ricotta Cheese by following our method in our Tips blog

For more reading related to- Learn how to do Smoked Ricotta Cheese by following our method in our Tips blog

Additional reading:

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

-SMOKED BANANA DOUBLE BITES

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

Dr. Smoke- We love Smoked Ricotta Cheese filled Pastry Horn!

Dr. Smoke- We love Smoked Ricotta Cheese filled Pastry Horn!

The best 6 recipes from our 2018 collection!

The best 6 recipes from our 2018 collection!

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We’ve reviewed the numbers and are pleased to introduce the best recipes of 2018!

These are the recipes that garnered the most views and hopefully, were cooked in your household.   Vegetable recipes by far dominated this listed.

Without further delay, here are the top 6 recipes starting with number six.

#6 Smoked Carrot-Almond-Ricotta Cake

Slice of Our Smokey Carrot Cake on a plate with the a touch of Almond and Ricotta Cream on the side

#carrotcake

This recipe was completed on the gas grill using wood chunks for great smoky flavor to shredded fresh carrots.  By using a griddle insert on my grill, I prevent overcooking and dehydration to the carrot, since this is a main component to our cake.

You’ll find the full recipe here: https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/11/16/our-smoked-carrot-cake/

 

#5 Charred Corn on the Cob

The how to instructions for cooking corn on a gas grill!

#grilledcornonthecob

It’s clear that corn is one of the most popular vegetables to put on the grill or smoker.  Our recipe featured whole corn on the cob done direct cooking on the gas grill with wood chunks placed directly on the heat shields for the perfect char flavor.

Here’s our technique and recipe: https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/26/smoky-charry-fresh-corn-cob/

 

#4 Avocado-Chocolate Pudding

refrigerate the Chocolate Avocado pudding before serving.

#avocadopudding

We always strive in the Test Kitchen to bring recipes that meet a variety of dietary needs.  For the dairy-free follower, we made the perfect dessert featuring creamy avocado and rich chocolate for the perfect pudding.

Just follow our simple recipe that includes grilling halved avocado on the grill with wood

https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/19/avocado-chocolate-pudding/

 

#3 Cheesy Potato Bake

Cheesy Potato Bake

#cheesypotatoes

Our 3rd recipe of the top 6 overall features one of my favorite vegetables: potato.  This time, we took our pan of lusciousness directly to the bullet smoker for a long infusion of flavor.

https://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/cheesy-potato-bake/

 

 

#2 Ember-Fired Fresh Zucchini

Zucchini on embers using the direct fire method for cooking!

#smokedzucchini

One of the things we try to do in our recipe offerings is to give a variety of options on technique.  Our fresh zucchini recipe was one such offering as we took this vegetable to the hot embers to tenderize and char.  This is one great way to use the entire wood fire before it reduces to cold ash.

https://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/ember-fired-fresh-zucchini/

 

#1 Wood-Fired Guacamole

Wood fired guacamole by grilling the avocado's before you make the guacamole will excite your taste buds! Your quests will wonder how you did this simple recipe by adding only one small step!

#guacamole

The top recipe of 2018 was our wood-fired guacamole!  Given the popularity of avocado as well as dips in general for easy entertaining, this is one special guacamole.  The wood fired flavor works so well whether you serve this with chips or use it as a condiment to top a burger or chicken sandwich.  With versatility to add special flavor to any meal, it’s no wonder wood-fired guacamole is our number one recipe for 2018!

https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/12/wood-fired-guacamole/

 

Did your favorite SmokinLicious® recipe from 2018 make the list?  Leave us a comment to share your views.  Bringing you informative recipes, techniques, and the science beyond the fire, smoke, and flavor.  That’s SmokinLicious®!

SmokinLicious® products used:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Charwood

For more reading related to the best recipes of the 52 we published in 2018!

For more reading related to the best recipes of the 52 we published in 2018!

Related reading:

-Top 10 Vegetables to Cook in Hot Embers

-GRILLED PRIME RIB THE ULTIMATE WITH WOOD

-SMOKED HAM ON THE GAS GRILL

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

Dr. Smoke- these are the best recipes from 2018 selected by our readers!

Dr. Smoke- these are the best recipes from 2018 selected by our readers!

 

Serve this smoked simple syrup cocktail up or down, either way a nice smoky tasty bourbon cocktail

Serve this smoked simple syrup cocktail up or down, either way a nice smoky tasty bourbon cocktail

OUR BEST SMOKED SIMPLE SYRUP BOURBON COCKTAIL

Listen to our blog

We’ve always tried to stress that smoking doesn’t necessarily have to involve the entire item but rather you can simply smoke one component.  That’s just what we are doing with our latest smoked cocktail.  We are making a cranberry bourbon cocktail that contains a smoked simple syrup to give this extra flavor and balance.  Pick out your favorite brand of bourbon and let’s make this super easy, yet super flavorful smoked cocktail featuring bourbon and cranberry.

Making and Smoking Simple Syrup

simple syrup ingredients

#simplesyrup

Before the simple syrup can be infused with smoke vapor, we need to construct the syrup.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.  Add a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and fresh sage to the pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Strain the herbs from the finished syrup and allow to cool before smoking.

With the fresh herb infused simple syrup cooled, it’s time to infuse another layer of flavor using a cold smoke technique.  I’ve added a pinch of Piccolo® wood chips to the bowl of The Smoking Gun™ by Breville.  Using a large plastic bag, I insert my measuring cup of the simple syrup into the bag as well as the hose to the smoking unit.  I turn on the unit and light the wood chips which begins the smoke generation.  After filling the bag with smoke, I turn the unit off and remove the hose, while quickly cinching the bag closed.  I prefer to leave the smoke in the bag until it has naturally dissipated.  I do move the simple syrup around to allow the smoke vapor to penetrate completely thru the syrup.

 adding smoke to the simple syrup

#handheldsmoker 

 

Tasting Notes: You can control the level of smoke infusion in two ways – your choice of the hardwood chips for the actual flavor infusion and the amount of time you leave the syrup exposed to the smoke.

Cocktail Time!

ingredients for Cranberry Bourbon

#cranberrybourbon

With our herb infused simple syrup cold smoked, it’s time to assemble our cocktail.  Fill a serving glass with ice, add 2 ounces of your favorite bourbon, 2 ounces of 100%, unsweetened cranberry juice, ½ ounce of the smoked simple syrup, and a splash of fresh lemon juice.  Stir until well combined.  Add a fresh rosemary and sage sprig for garnish and serve.

This is a cocktail you can adjust the ingredient levels to change the level of sweetness versus pungency.   When dialed in correctly, the smoke and sweetness levels balance each other for a well-rounded cocktail to enjoy any time of year.

Do you have a favorite smoked cocktail?  Leave us a comment to let us know and subscribe to our channel to get all the tips, techniques, and recipes we bring your way.  Always eager to share our expertise on all things wood fired, that’s SmokinLicious®!

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Piccolo®

For more reading related to

For more reading related to on smoked simple syrup and our other smoky cocktails

Related reading:

-SMOKY BOURBON CRANBERRY COCKTAIL

-THE SMOKED PEAR BELLINI COCKTAIL

-JACK FROST GOES SMOKEY-THE COCKTAIL

Dr. Smoke - You will enjoy this smoked simple syrup cocktail

Dr. Smoke – You will enjoy this smoked simple syrup cocktail

We did a smoky whiskey cocktail with a sparkling twist!

We did a smoky whiskey cocktail with a sparkling twist!

SMOKY WHISKEY COCKTAIL FOR THE HEARTY DRINKER

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I’m bringing you another smoked cocktail that is deep in flavor and suited for those who like hearty cocktails.  For this cocktail, I’ll be adding even a deeper flavor to the whiskey by cold smoking it with a handheld food smoker.  A rich syrup is made first and then added to our cocktail that can be served hot or cold.  Perfect, either way, to warm you up on cold winter days!

The Syrup

ingredients in the pot warming up

#whiskey

To get our Harvest Smoke & Sparkle cocktail started, we need to make the sweet syrup to balance the boldness of the smoked whiskey.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together ½ cup of honey, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground clove and 1 cup of orange juice until it starts to bubble.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

If making individual cocktails, it is important to still make the full batch of cider-honey syrup and take the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cider-honey syrup from the batch per cocktail.

Tasting Notes: This is referred to as a harvest sparkle due to the traditional spices associated with the Fall.  Feel free to experiment and adjust these flavors as cardamom and allspice also work well.

The Construction

smoking the whiskey with the handheld smoker

#Breville #coldsmoking

With the cider-honey syrup made and cooling, it’s time to take your favorite brand of whiskey and cold smoke flavor into it.  I’m using The Smoking Gun® by Breville which is self-standing to make the actual smoking process easy.

After placing the whiskey in a measuring cup, I place the measuring cup in a plastic bag and insert the hose of the smoking appliance into the bag.  I then add a pinch of Piccolo® wood chips to the bowl and turn on the unit while lighting the chips.  Once the smoke fills the bag, I shut off the unit, remove the hose, and cinch the bag closed to allow the smoke to penetrate the whiskey.  It helps to move the whiskey around in the cup to help the smoke molecules to cling to the alcohol.  That’s it!

What is so great about this whiskey cocktail is that is can be served hot or cold.  Today, I’m making the cold version in a large batch to serve many guests.  I start by adding my smoked whiskey and cider-honey syrup to a large pitcher with lots of ice.  Next, I whisk these two ingredients together well.  If making a single cocktail, add an ounce of the smoked whiskey and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the cider-honey syrup to a shaker filled with ice.  I strain into a serving glass and add Prosecco and a garnish of rosemary.  I prefer a bit of ice in the glass for the cold version.

Our whiskey and herbs together heating up on the stove

#smokedcocktail #warmcocktails
#hotcocktails

Now, for those that like it hot, simply whisk together the smoked whiskey and cider honey syrup in a saucepan or heat in the microwave for 45 seconds in a mug.  This is one smoked cocktail that will take away any chill in the air!

Do you have a favorite smoked cocktail?  Leave us a comment to let us know and subscribe to our channel to get all the tips, techniques, and recipes we bring your way.  Always eager to share our expertise on all things wood fired, that’s SmokinLicious®!

SmokinLicious Products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Piccolo®

For more reading related to

For more reading related to this smoky whiskey cocktail

Related reading:

-WINTER COCKTAIL GETS A BIT SMOKY

-JACK FROST GOES SMOKEY-THE COCKTAIL

-SMOKY BOURBON CRANBERRY COCKTAIL

 

Dr. Smoke in this recipe we did a smoky whiskey and added sparkling wine!

Dr. Smoke in this recipe we did a smoky whiskey and added sparkling wine!

Discover a great taste with wood chips by cooking Swordfish Al A Plancha

Discover a great taste with wood chips by cooking Swordfish Al A Plancha!

SWORDFISH AL A PLANCHA

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Colder weather can often end your outdoor cooking but it doesn’t have to take away your desire for wood fired foods.  I’m going to show you an easy method of keeping wood fired flavors going even in the coldest, snowiest weather by taking the indoor plancha to my stove top.  I’ll prepare a tasty swordfish using wood chips for flavoring to the fish and finishing with a ginger-garlic butter sauce.  Purchase some fresh swordfish and let’s bring authentic wood flavoring to this great cut of fish.

Preparing the Plancha

Adding wood chips to the plancha

#plancha #minutowoodchips

I love my stove top plancha pan but you can easily use a standard griddle with a heat safe pot lid.

To start, get a supply of Minuto® wood chips and prepare your plancha or griddle by first placing a ¼ cup of chips in the center of the griddle, then placing the grilling racks on the surface.  Turn a medium-high heat on and place the cover on the unit to allow it to reach temperature.  We want a high temperature of about 375-400° F.   Once the plancha is hot, you will smell the wood chips combusting and releasing aromatic flavor.  That tells you it’s time to add the fish.

Cooking & Sauce Making

making the sauce in the pan

#sauces # fishsauces

Place the fish fillets on the grill racks of your plancha griddle.  Cover and allow to cook and infuse with wood flavor for 4-5 minutes on one side.

With the fish on the plancha, you can start to prepare the butter sauce that will go on the finished fish.  You’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¾ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • lemon peel- ¾ teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon citrus balsamic vinegar

Place all these ingredients in a small saucepan and bring together over low heat.

After 4-5 minutes of cooking, turn the swordfish fillets and cooked for another 4 minutes. Then remove the fillets to a plate and clean out the combusted chips to a heat safe container.  Place the hot plancha back on the heat but reduce it the heat to low and leave the grill racks off.

Put the fillets back on the hot surface of the plancha to sear the outside.  It will only take a minute per each side.  Once seared, remove to a serving plate and pour the hot butter sauce over the top.  That’s it!  Great wood-fired flavor done on the stove top with a hot plancha or griddle.

What’s your favorite fish to add wood flavoring to?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to

For more reading related on Swordfish Al A Plancha and other plancha cooking from Smokinlicious.

Related reading:

-HOT SEARED SCALLOPS!

-WOOD FIRED LOBSTER TAILS CHILI

-STUFFED SQUID COOKED ON THE PLANCHA WITH SMOKINLICIOUS®

Dr. Smoke- Swordfish Al A Plancha with wood chips adds a great smoky taste to this wonderful fish!

Dr. Smoke- Swordfish Al A Plancha with wood chips adds a great smoky taste to this wonderful fish!

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