November 2017


Smoked grilled cheese like no other you ever had

Smoked grilled cheese like no other you ever had!

SMOKED GRILLED CHEESE LIKE NO OTHER!

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Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich!  We are taking this grilled sandwich favorite and elevating the flavor with a cold smoked cheese assortment.  Get the griddle or cast-iron pan ready!  We’re making Smoked Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Pepper Jelly!

What You’ll Need

Our thinly sliced fresh red tomatoes on the cutting board are awaiting the assembly of the sandwich

Certainly, you can purchase smoked cheese in the specialty grocery locations but we have a step-by-step series showing you the easy method of stove top smoking cheese that can be done in just a few hours.  For our version of the smoked grilled cheese sandwich, you’ll need smoked cheese – we are using an assortment that includes Swiss, muenster, horseradish cheddar, and fresh mozzarella.  In addition, you’ll need some fresh sliced tomato – sliced about ¼-inch thick -, a firm bread – we’re using sourdough and salt rising -, hot pepper jelly, and mayonnaise.  You’ll also need a griddle, cast iron skillet, or other heavy duty frying pan and spatula for cooking your sandwiches. Oh, and feel free to do this on a grill if you like.

The Assembly

Our thick sliced all grain bread is arranged to begin adding mayonnaise along with our smoky cheese and fresh tomatoes into a sandwich

It’s important that your griddle or pan be hot before starting the sandwiches.  I recommend a medium setting.  If using cast iron, let that pan heat up about 5 minutes before starting the cooking process.  First up, take a bread slice and coat one side with mayonnaise.  Yes, I said mayonnaise not butter.  It produces a nice browning and crisping to the bread beyond what butter can do.  Place mayo side down in the pan and add your sliced smoked cheeses.  Top with a tomato slice.  On the second slice of bread, coat one side with hot pepper jelly, leaving a little bread border near the edges as the jelly will migrate during cooking.  Place pepper jelly side down on the tomato.  Now coat the face up side of the bread with mayonnaise.

This starts the monitoring stage.  You want to peak at one corner of the sandwich after cooking about 3 minutes.  If you see golden brown, it’s time to flip the sandwich.  Once both sides are cooked, remove to a plate.

Like No Other

Our assembled sandwich browning on both sides in our hot cast iron pan. We are finishing this to a nice golden toasted brown.

As I have 4 smoked cheeses to choose from, I like to put a combination of cheese on a single sandwich.  Once you have a chance to experiment with the different combinations, you’ll find your favorites.  It’s important to slice your sandwich on the diagonal while still hot so each half has a chance to marry all the flavors with the bread.  Now, kick back and enjoy all that smoky, gooey goodness.  Just be sure you have more than one made as it likely won’t be a single sandwich event!

I’ll bet you’ve already come up with your own variation of the Smoked Grilled Cheese Sandwich!   Your comments and ratings are much appreciated, so subscribe and follow us so you don’t miss a thing.  We always welcome your suggestions as well on recipes and techniques you want to learn about.  We are your source for all things wood-fired, providing tips, techniques, recipes, and the science behind the fire.

 

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Additional reading:

-TORTELLINI GETS A SMOKY MATE

-SMOKED POTATO CURRY SMOKINLICIOUS® STYLE!

-THE KITCHEN FIND!

-THE EASY METHOD TO COLD SMOKED CHEESE

Dr Smoke says "Yummy, yummy, yummy! This is an awesome sandwich, especially if you smoke your own cheese! A must try recipe!"

Dr Smoke- “Yummy, yummy, yummy! This is an awesome sandwich, especially if you smoke your own cheese! A must try recipe!”

Tortellini Gets a Smoky Mate with the addition of Cherry wood smoked Brussel Sprouts! This is a medly and yummy recipe for the winter blues

Tortellini Gets a Smoky Mate with the addition of Cherry wood smoked Brussels Sprouts! This is a medley and yummy recipe for the winter blues

 

TORTELLINI GETS A SMOKY MATE

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There is something about the perfect pasta dish that isn’t necessarily loaded with a ton of ingredients.  I’ve found that the perfect pasta often features only 2-3 ingredients in addition to seasonings.  For me, the perfection is in how each of those ingredients contribute to the overall dish.

This is a pasta dish that features the smokiness of Brussels sprouts paired with the citric acid of lemon peel.  Mix in the sweetness of caramelized onion and a full-bodied dish emerges.

A Smoky Start

TBrussell Sprouts on the grill soaking up the flavors of the cherry wood pieces we added to the grill. he simplicity of the ingredients is what makes this such a flavorful and pleasurable dish. Start by smoking about a pound of Brussels sprouts – you can see our previous series on how to smoke these on the gas grill, an extremely easy and quick method.  Then gather 3 tablespoons butter, 1 medium yellow onion that is thinly sliced, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or flavored olive oil, 1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, 1 lb. of cheese tortellini, and the zest of 1 lemon.  With the Brussels sprouts already smoked, the cooking time for the rest of the dish is about 20 minutes.

Producing Aromatic Flavors

Put a pot of water on for the tortellini to cook according to the packaged directions.  What keeps this recipe extra simple is you can use frozen tortellini or fresh packaged rather than making your own and it will be just as spectacular a dish as if you made every ingredient yourself. We start with thinly sliced yellow onion in melted butter, releasing the sweetness of the onion.  Once translucent and browning, add the smoked Brussels sprout quarters. Toss together just until the Brussels sprouts heat through.

Cooking the onion in the skillet until they are translucent.

While the onion and Brussels sprouts cook, our water for the tortellini is salted and brought to a boil.  Once at a rolling boil, the pound of cheese tortellini is added.  I’m using a frozen variety but you can certainly use fresh.  Remember, tortellini is a filled pasta that does not take much time to cook to al dente so don’t turn your back on the pot.  It will only be a matter of minutes once the water regains boiling level.  Tortellini has the proven sign of being cooked when they float.  Once cooked, transfer to a large bowl.

 

 Easy Finish

With the tortellini cooked, it’s time to pour the cooked smoky Brussels sprout and onion into the bowl.  Once combined, add the tablespoon of olive oil.  I’m using a Tuscan flavored olive oil for just a bit more refined flavor but plain EVOO will do.  Time to finish this off with fresh ground pepper and salt.  The final ingredient – grated lemon zest.  Zest right over the bowl.  I like a lot of lemon zest so I zest the entire lemon.

After smoking Brussels sprouts using cherry wood, we made a hearty pasta dish that blended the flavors of sweet onion, smoky Brussels sprout, and lemon zest.  Added to cheese tortellini gets a smoky mate, this is so flavorful and easy to make.  Think of the many variations you can give this dish: adding butternut squash, or zucchini cubes, or perhaps chestnut when in season.  Even artichoke hearts.  So many opportunities to put your own fingerprint on this dish.

This recipe is sure to give you a great start on incorporating your favorite ingredients.  We’d love to hear what you think about our blog post “Tortellini Gets a Smoky Mate” so leave us a comment 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, that’s SmokinLicious®.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Related reading:

-STEPPING UP RADISH SALAD WITH A WOOD-FIRED FLARE

-HOW TO TURN YOUR LP/GAS GRILL INTO A SMOKER

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke- “This is an easy way to bring smoke flavor to a pasta dish.”

Our Smoked Carrot Cake starts with us grilling our carrots to add a hint of smokey flavor to this vegetable! Then we bake these carrots into a perfect looking cake for Smokey Carrot Cake!

Our Smoked Carrot Cake starts with us grilling our carrots to add a hint of smokey flavor to this vegetable! Then we bake these carrots into a perfect looking cake for our Smoked Carrot Cake!

A FAVORITE ROOT VEGETABLE SMOKED MAKES FOR AN AWESOME CAKE!

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PIcking fresh carrots from the garden is the best to assure the perfectly ripe carrot for this recipeCarrots are ready for picking and for cooking!  We’ve got an easy smoking technique that can be done with whole, sliced, even grated carrot.  Once smoked, we are taking all that flavor and making an oil-free, carrot-almond cake with ricotta cream.

Nutrition for your Bones

Carrots are known for their supply of antioxidant nutrients but they are also prized for their benefit to bone mass.  Rich in Vitamin A, biotin, vitamin K, fiber and so much more, carrots offer a variety of color options: traditional orange, yellow, white, purple, and red.  As they are considered a hardy root vegetable, they tend to keep longer than most other vegetables.  On the grill or smoker, they work perfectly at absorbing the level of smoke vapor you want for recipes.

Carrot and Grill Preparation

As carrots are a root vegetable, they can get a lot of dirt on them.  It’s important that you wash them well and then pat dry.  If you want to smoke your carrots whole, simply trim the ends.  My plan is to use these in our smoked carrot cake recipe so I’ll introduce my carrots to the food processor to produce even shredding.  Once shredding carrots in the food processor makes it easy! Just don't overdue the process; need some pulp to the carrotsshredded, I place in a grill safe, flat pan. I’ll be using two SmokinLicious® single filet wood chunks in Wild Cherry to keep the flavor on the mild side.  These chunks are placed on a lit burner set to medium-low.  Only that burner will be on!  Preheat the grill using all burners, then when the carrots go on the grill, turn off all the burners but the one with the wood chunks.

Just a Little Time

As I’ve elected to pre-shred my carrot for the eventual cake recipe, the actual smoking time will be quite short.  I don’t want to remove all the water content naturally found in carrot as I want a moist cake.  My total cooking time is roughly 15 minutes.  If you do want additional smoke flavor without dehydrating your carrots, you can do a handheld food smoker application as well as this a cold smoking technique that will not affect the moisture of the food nor provide any cooking.

Recipe Time

With our carrots wood grilled, it’s time to start with the cake ingredients.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.   First up, 1-1/2 cups of finely ground almonds, preferably blanched, finely grated lemon zest from 2 lemons, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  If you cannot locate pre-ground almonds, you may use blanched slivered almonds and process in the food processor.  Add all three ingredients to the food processor and pulse until a fine, ground consistency is achieved.  Time to prepare the 9-inch springform pan.  First, butter the bottom and sides.  Feel free to add a buttered parchment round to the bottom of the pan if you wish.  Then take a small amount of the ground almond mixture and apply to the sides of the pan.  Before we start on the cake batter, melt four tablespoons of butter and set aside.Hand mixing the ingredients to form the batter

 

Cake Batter

Now it’s time for the basic dry ingredients for our smoked carrot cake batter.  This is a recipe that is oil free.   I’ll be using cake flour to bring more lightness to this cake.  Here’s what you’ll need for the start of the cake batter

  • Unbleached cake flour-1-1/4 cups
  • baking powder-2 teaspoons
  • salt-¼ teaspoon
  • sifter

All these ingredients will be sifted into a medium bowl to bring airiness to the cake.  Next up, the wet ingredients.  You will need:

  • sugar-¾ cup
  • 4 large eggs
  • almond extract-¼ teaspoon

cracking eggs into a mixing bowl and then add the other wet ingredients to them.Crack the eggs in a large bowl and add the sugar.  With an electric mixer set to medium-high speed, beat the egg mixture until pale, foamy, and thickened.  Reduce the speed to low and add in the remaining almond mixture, almond extract, and the flour mixture.  Once the dry ingredients are incorporated into the cake batter, take the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and pour over the batter, gently incorporating.  In goes the smoked, grated carrot – about two cups.  Just combine those items and then spread the batter into your prepared 9-inch springform pan. I’ve used the orange carrot for this recipe as they were available in the garden but I prefer yellow carrot for a golden color all the way through the cake.

Baking Time

the baking time for this recipe is 40 minutes

 

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F once the cake is placed on the middle rack (From the preheated oven of 375°F).  It will take about 40 minutes to cook through.  While it’s baking, I make the ricotta cream.  Gather together:

 

  • ricotta cheese-1 cup
  • sour cream-1 cup
  • honey-2 tablespoons
  • confectioner’s sugar-2 tablespoons
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

Combine all these ingredients and refrigerator until the cake is ready to serve.

Our Smoked Carrot Cake- Spongy, Light Goodness!

With our cake lightly browned and springing back when touched in the center, it’s ready to come out of the oven and cool.  Once the cooled cake can be plated to a cake stand, I take about ¼ cup of confectioner’s sugar and sift the sugar over the cake.  Now it’s time to slice this succulent cake and serve our ricotta cream on the side.  This is a very subtle smoked carrot so you will not get an overwhelming smoked flavor.  In fact, if you don’t tell anyone you smoked the carrot, they likely will never know.  Experiment with flavors you like – swap crushed pistachio for the almond, coconut extract for the almond extract.  You can even dust with cocoa powder.  Anything goes!  Don’t forget, only dust the cake with the confectioner’s sugar before you’re ready to serve as this cake is very moist and will increase in moisture as it sits.

Slice of Our Smokey Carrot Cake on a plate with the a touch of Almond and Ricotta Cream on the sideDid we spur your imagination with this recipe?

We need your comment and rating, so subscribe and follow us so you don’t miss a thing.  We always welcome your suggestions as well on recipes and techniques you want to learn about.  SmokinLicious®- your source for all things wood-fired, providing tips, techniques, recipes, and the science behind the fire.

 

 

Looking for another smoked dessert?  Check out

-SMOKED BANANA DOUBLE BITES

-AVOCADO CHOCOLATE PUDDING

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- “This is a carrot cake like no other. A smoky twist enhances the flavor of the carrots. It’s yummy in your tummy.”

Ember Fired Eggplant on the rack cooking above a bed of hot coals. This technique provides the heat for cooking and the aroma of the wood smoke

Ember Fired Eggplant on the rack cooking above a bed of hot coals. This technique provides the heat for cooking and the aroma of the wood smoke

EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT WITH FETA TARTS

You’ve heard me mention before how great it is to ember or coal fire certain foods, with a good majority of those items falling in the fruit category.  One of the best fruits to use this technique with is eggplant.

Not of Nutritional Value

we selected two nice and plump eggplants for our ember cooking Eggplant, also called aubergine, is part of a flowering plant grown for its edible fruit.  This is a thick-skinned fruit that has a meaty quality to its flesh.  In fact, it can make for a filling meal.  Eggplant contains a lot of water – 92% to be specific!  It is not known to be a contributor for daily nutritional intake.  Despite all that, Eggplant remains a favorite ingredient to cook with.

Nestling is Key

When cooking in the coals, it is best to use medium sized eggplant.  It doesn’t matter what variety you select, the technique for cooking in the coals will remain the same.

Starting the fire

First, you need to start with a good wood fire, using clean hardwood.  In order to do this technique successfully, you need to ensure that there are no flames left in the fire, just hot coals.  You’ll know the coals are ready for the cooking when they are completely grayed over.  If your grilling area is large enough, you can stage a couple of burning wood pieces to provide additional heat to the area.  Just don’t cook directly in those flames.

preparing the hot coals for the eggplant. you want these to burn down leaving only the heat and no flame to burn the eggplant. Ember cooking is only over hot coals.When the coals are ready, make sure the embers are in an even layer and then place the eggplants side by side in the embers.  I like to use a fine screen in the bottom of my charcoal area to aide in heat retention.  Now, leave these untouched for about 10 minutes.  After that time, you can turn the eggplant to ensure all sides get evenly charred.  If you make a large enough fire, you can bury the eggplant completely in the hot coals and not have to do any turning.  That technique will require about 30 minutes of cooking time.

Blackened, Charred Skin Makes It Ready

Once the Ember Fired Eggplant has tenderized in the coals, it’s time to carefully remove it. Cool the eggplant, so it won’t burn and can be handled.  Then, slice each eggplant open from end to end, and gently scoop out the flesh.  Be sure to leave all the charred skin behind.  If you’re ready to use this in a recipe, then no need to do anything more to the eggplant.  If you plan on using it later, you must prevent the eggplant flesh from turning dark by incorporating 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and enough water to cover the flesh.  When finished, it’s best to store the Ember Fired Eggplant in a glass jar, bowl, or other container.

6 Needed Ingredients

To make the Ember Fired Eggplant with Feta Tarts, you’ll need a muffin pan and the following food ingredients:

  • Flesh from 1 medium size coal-fired eggplant
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons for topping the tarts
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 5 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing dough and preparing muffin pan

Wood Flavored Eggplant Mixture

removing any char from the fire and then chopping up the eggplant to be added as the tart fillingRoughly chop the wood fired eggplant.  Then transfer to a medium bowl and add feta, 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, coriander, red-pepper flakes, and mint.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and stir gently to combine.

Making the Tarts

Lightly oil the muffin pan cups.  Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a board and lightly brush with oil.  Stack 4 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each with oil.  Cut the stacked sheets into 6 equal squares.  Carefully, pick up each square and place in a muffin cup, gently pressing in place.  Fill each dough cup with about ¼ cup of eggplant mixture.  Gently fold over the corners of the dough to enclose the filling as a tart.  Brush tops with oil and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.  Then Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

showcasing the finished product! Our ember roasted eggplant within the feta tart- yummy

 

 

 

 

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Additional reading:

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

-SUCCULANT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

TOP 10 VEGETABLES TO COOK IN HOT EMBERS

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Dr Smoke- "Try this because it's a really tasty appetizer and easy to make."

Dr Smoke- “Try this because it’s a really tasty appetizer and easy to make.”

The three stages of preparing acorn squash on the grill-propped-cooking over wood-finished product!

The stages of cooking acorn squash on the grill-stuffing with brown sugar-cooking over wood on the gas grill-finished product!

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One of the most popular winter squash that can be found pretty much anytime of the year, acorn squash cherry wood placed on the diffuser of the gas grill to add a smokey flavoris rich in fiber and potassium.  Time to take this squash favorite and smoke it on the gas grill with cherry wood chunks.  But first, we’ll give it some flavorful stuffing to make this exceptionally sweet.

Clean the Acorn Squash

Most acorn squash weigh between 1-2 pounds.  After cleaning the outside under running water, cut off the pointed end and ensure the bottom is flat so the squash won’t tip while cooking.  Now, scoop out cut off the top and then scoop out the seeds to provide a great vessal for the sugar and spicesthe seeds and membrane until clean, just like you would do with a pumpkin.  The seed-free squash is going to be our ingredient vessel that will make the acorn squash so sweet and full of goodness.

Sweeten Things Up

Once the acorn squash is clean of seeds and membrane, it’s time to stuff it.  The ingredients are simple: brown sugar mixed with cinnamon and butter.  That’s it!

into the cavity of the squash add 3/4 stick of butter First put approximately ¾ stick of softened butter into the acorn squash center.  Then pack in the brown sugar-cinnamon mix.  And I mean pack it in!  Be sure to press down so the butter and brown sugar mix combine.  Once filled, I sprinkle a bit extra of the sugar mixture on the cut top.  Now place the acorns in a pan that will be heat safe on the gas grill.  Time to prepare the gas grill.

Smoking on the Gas Grill

I’ve turned two burners to “on” of my 4-burner grill.  I add two SmokinLicious® Single Filet Cherry Wood Chunks to one of the heat shields on my grill.   Next, I add the acorn squash to a roasting pan and set it on the grate of the grill that has the pan with the squash is placed on the non heated side of the grill, while the heated side has the double filet cherry wood chunksthe burners turned “off”.   This is known as an indirect method of cooking.  The squash will cook until tender all the way through.  Depending on the size of the squash, this will take between 1-1/2 to 3 hours.  Then get ready for the sweet, buttery smooth squash meat!

A Side Dish or Dessert

Even though the butter was placed to the bottom of our squash and the brown sugar mix on top, the lighter weight of the butter will rise to the surface while the brown sugar mix sinks to the base.  These ingredients will mix during cooking to sweeten the squash meat.  Once tenderized, remove and allow to cool before handling.  Then scrap out the squash meat with the cooked butter-brown sugar mix, combine, and enjoy.  This is sweet so you can enjoy it as a side dish or as a dessert – a spoonful on pound cake or puffed pastry is define.

How did we do?  Leave a comment, love us, and subscribe.  We’re all about wood fired cooking techniques, idea, recipes, and the science behind the smoke and fire.

 

Related reading:

-HOW TO TURN YOUR LP/GAS GRILL INTO A SMOKER

-Stove Top Smoked Butternut Squash

-Smoked Squash & Kale Soup

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke- “Try this sweet and savory recipe on your gas grill to add a little flare to your outdoor barbecue.”