October 2019


WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE FLAVOR BROUGHT OUT BY THE SMOKING PROCESS!

Wood Fired Apple WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

As the second most consumed fruit in the USA, apples are loaded with antioxidant benefits and have been found to have extensive benefit to the colon due to the high level of gut bacteria present in its polyphenols.  Plus, this is a fruit that is readily available all year long making it an ideal choice for cooking.

We are taking the Gala variety and putting them over a coal fire for wood-fired flavor in our apple pie cake.  Pick your favorite variety of apple and get out the charcoal grill for this fun and simple technique and recipe.

Fire Up the Grill

Fire up the Stok grill

After purchasing 12 apples of your choice, get the charcoal grill going, so the flames can reduce to hot coals.  That’s all needed for our apple cooking!  Any size charcoal grill will do, including the small portable grill.  I use a chimney started to lite charwood from SmokinLicious® as this is my preferred product when I do a short cook fruit or vegetable item.  The reason?  It is not fully carbonized, so it still releases plenty of flavonoids from the hardwood.  You certainly can use a standard hardwood charcoal but add a chunk or two of SmokinLicious® double filet wood chunks to be sure you get a wood flavor.

While the chimney starter is burning down to hot coals, I peel and thinly slice 12 apples.  I use a Gala variety for my recipe and a Stôk charcoal grill, equipped with an insert system.  I place my sliced apples in the insert vegetable basket for this simple method of wood firing the apples.  Just be sure to spray the basket with non-stick cooking spray to ensure the apples don’t stick.

A Cake by Name

With my hot SmokinLicious® charwood producing steady heat, my 12 Gala apples peeled and sliced thin, I’m ready to place the vegetable basket over the hot coals.  Remember, apples have a lot of water content, so they will steam initially.  The water will attract the smoke vapor and bring great color and flavor.  After approximately 10 minutes, I shake the apple slices in the basket to allow them to rotate for even cooking and color.  You’ll see the edges become bronzed as they cook.   In 20 minutes, these will be ready to go.

wood-fired apples make the best cake

Adding the Ingredients & Cook Time

Our wood fired apples and dry ingredients mixed in the pan ready for baking

After the apples are removed from the grill and cooled slightly, add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to maintain color until baked in the oven.  Set those aside and gather together 2 cups flour, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 sticks of cold butter cut into 8 cubes.

Start by combining 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of packed light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Taking one piece of cold butter at a time, add to the flour mixture, cutting each piece using either an electric hand mixer, 2 knives or a pastry cutter.  You want to have pea-size pieces of butter mixed into the flour mixture.  Press 2/3 of this mixture into a 9-inch springform pan then add the wood-fired apple slices, spreading evenly in pan.

With the wood fired apple slices nestled in the simple cake batter of flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, it’s time to top the apples with the remaining 1/3 flour mixture.  Be sure all areas are covered.  Set the springform pan on the foil lined sheet pan and place in a 350°F oven for 75 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to sit in the springform pan until cool.  Just run a knife along the edge of the cake to ensure it will separate from the pan’s ring once removed.  Remove the ring when the cake has cooled then sift a ¼ cup powdered sugar on the surface of the cake.

Cake Perfection

Our finished wood fired apple pie cake nicely golden brown

 

After giving Gala apple slices the lick of smoke from our charwood grill, mix together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon with butter for a great cake batter, and baking everything together, the ultimate in apple pie cake is born.  With a light coating of powder sugar, the wood-fired apple slices pile high for perfection in the single bite.  More like a cobbler batter than cake, you’ll love the simplicity of the construction and the unique flavor a wood fire gives to apples.  Perfect anytime of the year, just like apples are, you’ll be the envy of your neighborhood when you fire up the grill for wood infusion to apples.  Now you must also prove that Wood-Fired Apples make the best Cake – Enjoy!

The Culinary Crew wants you to know …

… that this recipe can easily be adapted with the substitution of apples with fruits like peaches, pears or even strawberries.  This switch will offer more of a traditional cobbler type baking with these moisture rich fruits taking on incredible but delicate smoky flavor.

Visit our narrated video with more pictures and step-by-step instructions.

Press above to visit our narrated video with more pictures and step-by-step instructions.

SmokinLicious® products:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

More recipes to try:

-Our Smoked Carrot Cake

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

-A SAVORY TAKE ON THE PANCAKE FROM SMOKINLICIOUS®

 

Dr Smoke- "

Dr. Smoke- “This is a MUST try recipe”!

Our Finished Zucchini Rolls, Rolls that are easy to prepare, prepare your appetite for this great vegetable!

Our Finished Zucchini Rolls, Rolls that are easy to prepare, prepare your appetite for this great vegetable recipe!

Try these Zucchini Rolls wood fired for special flavor! Click To Tweet

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Zucchini Rolls– For those of us who love to grow zucchini you know just how heavy a harvest you can end up with.   Then the question is: what to do with all those zucchinis?  Let me offer up a suggestion.  Zucchini ribbon rolls are a super easy way to make a quick appetizer or a great side dish.  In fact, if you don’t need the fanciness of the ribbons, you can modify this recipe which I’ll cover in this posting.  I’ll be taking the zucchini ribbons to the gas grill which I’ve equipped with wood chunks and provide a subtle smokiness to the zucchini before filling with a flavorful ricotta-basil-Parmesan mixture that easily could be smoked as well.  Pick out some of your larger zucchini and get ready to make a super appetizer or side dish with your harvest.

Become a Ribbon Maker

Making the Zucchini Ribbons

As you likely know, zucchini grows on a vine so when you start, you will find an end that has a growth nub and then a rounded bottom.  Both ends need to be trimmed after the entire zucchini has been washed and pat dry.

Although you can make the ribbons on a mandolin, I’ve elected to use a wide vegetable peeler.  I located the flattest portion of the zucchini and begin at the stem top down in one peel.  This will produce a ribbon of about 1-inch in width.  I continue peeling on this side until I begin seeing seeds.  I then rotate the zucchini and begin peeling on the opposite side.  You can produce as many ribbons as the zucchini will make until it begins to reach tender inner flesh that won’t support a single ribbon peel.

With the long ribbons of zucchini made, I lay them out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  I then brush each ribbon lightly with olive oil before placing on the grill.  Since my grill is set up for two zone cooking, the zucchini pan will go on the side with no direct heat meaning all burners on that side are off, while my wood chunks are smoking in the smoker box on the direct heat side.  These will only take about 12-15 minutes to flavor with smoke and they do not require any flipping.  Just a quick rotation of the pan about halfway through the cooking process.

Tasting Notes:

Remember, zucchini has a lot of water content which makes it ideal of attracting smoke vapor.  That means, you need to use hardwoods that are more mild or medium in boldness so the intensity of the smoke flavor is pleasant and not bitter.  I like maple, ash, alder, and cherry either alone or in combination.

A Creamy Filling for our Zucchini Rolls

Making the creamy filing

While the zucchini ribbons are cooking with wood flavor, I begin working on the filling for my ribbon rolls.  I start by placing 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese in a sieve over a bowl to remove any excess liquid.  Once transferred to a bowl, I work on chopping some fresh basil from my garden, until I end up with about 3 tablespoons worth.  I add that to the ricotta bowl along with 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic.  A drizzle of white truffle oil and some fresh ground pepper go in next.  Finally, about a ¼ cup of grated Parmesan is added and mixed in well.

Tasting Notes:

You can substitute many other fillings for the one I’ve included.  Other ingredients that would work well include goat cheese, chives with some chopped nuts for crunch.  Even a dried fruit like cranberry or golden raisins would be a great addition. 

Time to Roll

Zucchini Ribbons on the grill with wood chunks using a two zone cooking technique

With our filling well mixed, it’s time to return to the grill and remove our ribbons in preparation for filling.  If the ribbons are still oily, simply take a paper towel and wipe the residual oil away.  You don’t want the ribbons too wet or they won’t hold up when placed back on the grill.  Working with a single ribbon at a time, lay a generous dab of the filling in the center of the ribbon and spread to within ½ inch of each end.  Starting on one end, gently roll the zucchini ribbon until you have a small spiraled log.  Place on a parchment lined sheet pan leaving 1-inch spacing between rolls.  Continue with the rest of the ribbons until all are filled.  Then return the pan to the grill just to heat the filling up.

I will tell you that you can grill smoke the ribbons to the consistency you prefer you just need to ensure that they stay flexible enough to roll.  It is sometimes beneficial to dry these out a bit more before grilling so making the ribbons a day ahead of the actual grill-smoking is helpful.  Once tender and warmed inside, remove from the grill and serve.  I prefer to place mine on a base of vodka sauce with some fresh basil leaves.  These are slightly smoky, creamy and easy to eat.  They can be served easily as an appetizer or a side dish to your choice of animal protein.  I like these served with a rich short rib or a nice flaky fish like snapper or sea bass.  Oh, and don’t forget about that leftover zucchini you’ll have after you’ve made the ribbons.  I like to matchstick cut my leftover zucchini and add the remaining cheese filling with a bit of sauce and make this for another side dish or healthy lunch.

What’s your favorite zucchini recipe from the grill?  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®.

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SmokinLicious® Products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to Zucchini rolls and other great vegetable dishes to wood fire!

For more reading related to Zucchini rolls and other great vegetable dishes to wood fire!

More recipes to try:

-SMOKED AVOCADO LOAF FROM OUR AVOCADO RECIPES

-PAN COOK ZUCCHINI ON THE GRILL WITH WOOD FLAVOR

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

 

Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke- Prepare your appetite for the Ricotta filled, tomato sauced, Zucchini rolls with a touch of wood fired flavor

The smoky deliciousness of breakfast potatoes!

The smoky deliciousness of breakfast potatoes!

listen to the audio of this blog posting

If you’re a fan of breakfast potatoes than you’re going to love this take on the traditional flavors of this first meal favorite. Click To Tweet

Give It A Smoky Start

As with most breakfast potato recipes, this one has just a handful ingredients to make it oh so memorable at the breakfast table.  It starts with a key ingredient – smoked potato – which you can find the technique for in our previous posting.  This is a recipe that can certainly accommodate your specific preferences so alter it as you please.  For my rendition, you’ll need the following:

Gather These Ingredients for Breakfast Potatoes:

  • 2 cups smoked potato cut into pieces no larger than 1 inch
  • 1 cup of rough cut onion
  • 2 cups of chopped sweet pepper – I’m using red, yellow and orange for a pop of color
  • A Jalapeno pepper diced
  • 1 Tablespoon oil – I’m using coconut oil for its high heat level
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • A red tomato sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
  • Oven safe skillet

One Hot Skillet Makes It Easy

Be sure you’ve readied all the ingredients as this recipe can be completed quite fast.  Place your oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and allow to heat.  Add the tablespoon of high heat oil and move the pan around to ensure the oil coats the entire bottom surface.  Add the cup of chopped onion and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes.  You’ll know you’re ready for the next step when the onion becomes translucent.  Add the 2 cups of chopped sweet pepper and mix well.  Allow the vegetable mixture to cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

Adding Heat and Smoke

The peppers, onions and Potatoes in the skillet

Once you see the vegetables take on a shine and tenderness, it’s time to add the diced jalapeno pepper, mixing well.  After just a couple of minutes, go ahead and add the 2 cups of smoked potato to the mixture.  Mix well and allow to absorb some of the existing cooking oil and moisture.  The colors will begin to blend as well as the flavors getting us close to the finished dish.

Mellowing Out the Boldness

To add another level of flavor, a tablespoon of flavored olive oil, I’m using a Tuscan blend, is incorporated to the vegetable mixture.  Once this has cooked for a few minutes, I add the cup of ricotta cheese in dollops to the skillet.  Using my spatula, I break this down with the heat to provide a creamy consistency.  The creaminess of the ricotta will help balance the boldness of the smoke and aide all the flavors to mellow.  After 5 minutes of medium heat, this pan will be ready for a quick trip to the oven to finish everything off.

The Spectacular Finish

After taking the skillet from the stove top, I place it in a pre-heated 350°F oven to finish.   This will only take about 10 minutes.  Remember, if using cast iron, this material will hold a lot of heat, so once the pan is removed from the oven allow the dish to sit untouched for about 5 minutes.  Then plate to your favorite platter.

I like to add sliced fresh tomato and a sprinkle of fresh parsley to the top.  This is a perfect dish for any type of eggs or served an accompaniment to sausage.  Of course, it can stand alone as well so feel free to treat it as its own meal.

Smoked potato from the charcoal grill with a medley of vegetables gets you to the perfect Smoked Breakfast Potato!

The Culinary Crew wants you to know

… that the deliciousness of smoked spuds can add a rich flavor burst to just about any breakfast food featuring potatoes.  In addition to home fries or hash browns, try your hand at adding either grill or skillet-based smoked potatoes to recipes like hash, potato pancakes or fritters.

More Related reading on this subject

-THE TOP 8 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN COOKING & GRILLING WITH WOOD

-HOW TO USE CHARCOAL WITH WOOD IN COOKING

-POTATO: OUR #1 CROP GETS A NEW FLAVOR TAKE

SmokinLicious Products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- “Here’s a great smoky flavor twist for traditional breakfast potatoes.”

Our table of the six ingredients necessary to prepare the smoked pear salad with gorgonzola for a tasty twist.

Refreshing smoked pear salad with gorgonzola and our easy to follow recipe only requires six ingredients.

SMOKED PEAR SALAD WITH GORGONZOLA

When your craving salad but our tired of the same boring options, take it a step further and feed all your senses with the Smoke Pear Salad with Gorgonzola from SmokinLicious®!

This is a very simple salad once you’ve followed our segment on smoking fresh pears.  With pears in season during the colder months, it’s a great time to get your serving of greens.  So, let’s get started with what you will need for Smoked Pear Salad with Gorgonzola:

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 smoked pears (see our previous series on smoking pears)
  • 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar – I prefer a flavor infused one – I am using tangerine balsamic vinegar but anything in the citrus line would work well
  • 1 head of lettuce in my case, I am using Boston lettuce
  • fresh pepper

Preparing the Smoked Pear Salad with Gorgonzola:

Taking your previously smoked pear halves, time to remove the skin and prepare to cut these for the salad.  Now, this is where you need to make some decisions on how you want your salad to look.  You can either slice the pears to add to whole Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves or you can cube them to add to chopped lettuce.  I will be chopping my lettuce and cubing my smoked pears.  Ideal sizing is ½ inch thickness for your pears to provide the right balance between the boldness of the smoked pear and the savory bite of the Gorgonzola.  I’ll be balancing the two out with my vinaigrette.

Specially Diced Lettuce Arranged in a Bowl

Chopped Boston Lettuce

Boston lettuce is ideal for forming its own bowl and is an ideal choice for this pear salad.  If you want to use the leaves whole, lay 1-2 for a good personal size salad.  I am chopping my lettuce for a full side dish platter.  Be sure to clean the lettuce and pat dry prior to using.  The lettuce, if cut, should be rough cut in order to hold the pears and hold the vinaigrette.

Assembling the Salad:

Once the lettuce is cut or laid in whole leaf form to the plate, it’s time to add the cubed or sliced pear.  Be sure you try to keep the pears in a single layer.  Now it’s time to add the Gorgonzola cheese.  Depending on your preference for this very strong cheese, begin sprinkling it all around the salad or if using the lettuce as a bowl, providing an even layer of cheese.  It’s that simple!  Now you’ll see just how well these colors all work together.  Pleasing to the eyes and mouth!

Specially Diced Smoked Pears Placed on Lettuce Awaiting the Zesty Gorgonzola

Adding Gorgonzola

Making the Vinaigrette:

Now that the salad components are plated it’s time to prepare the vinaigrette.  I like to mix my dressings in a 2-cup measuring cup in order to make it easy to add to the salad.  You will need a small whisk as well.  First, add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil to the measuring cup.  Then add 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar – I am using a tangerine infused balsamic vinegar for a citrus flavor to this salad.  To the liquids, grind some fresh ground pepper and then whisk until combined and thickened.  Do not mix the vinaigrette unless you’re ready to serve the salad otherwise you’ll get a breakdown and thinning.

 

The Finish of the Smoked Pear Salad with Gorgonzola:

Vinaigrette Spritzed Over Smoked Pears and Gorgonzola- Adding the Finishing Touch to a Savory Salad

Finished Salad

Here is the final component to this great salad – drizzling a tangerine vinaigrette over the smoked pears, Boston lettuce and Gorgonzola.  It’s your choice how much to add but just be sure you get most of the components coated with a bit or you’ll be missing out on the fantastic balance of all the flavors.  Smoky depth of the pears, bite of the Gorgonzola, crisp freshness of the lettuce and the tang of the oil and vinegar.  A perfect way to get heartiness in a salad while enjoying the benefits of healthiness.  Bon appetito!

The Culinary Crew wants you to know …

… that although grilled or smoked pears are the featured “star” ingredient to this salad, just about any type of seasonal fruit can add a nice taste zip to salads when grilled or smoked.  Grilling and smoking fruit brings out a caramelized flavor dimension that is rich, a touch earthy and very pleasant to your taste buds.  Try apples, peaches or even grapes with this recipe!

SmokinLicious® Products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to

For more reading related to Smoked Pear Salad with Gorgonzola

More recipes to try:

-GRILLED PEACHES FOR THE PERFECT SALAD ADDITION

-STEPPING UP RADISH SALAD WITH A WOOD-FIRED FLARE

-WOOD GRILLED VERSION OF CHEF WATERS’ GOAT CHEESE SALAD

-THE SMOKED PEAR BELLINI COCKTAIL

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

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