Our Grilled Parsnips with added wood smoky flavor taste almost like French Fries!

Our Grilled Parsnips with added wood smoky flavor taste almost like French Fries!

GRILLED PARSNIPS TASTE LIKE FRENCH FRIES Click To Tweet

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Your diet likely doesn’t consistent of many root vegetables and I can guarantee that if you have kids, they may not have tried more than a carrot for a root vegetable.  I’m going to introduce you to parsnips which is one root vegetable that when grilled, takes on a flavor very similar to French fries.

That’s why I’m calling this recipe my Smoked Parsnip Fries with Spicy Honey Glaze.  As easy to prepare as it’s cousin the carrot, parsnips take no time at all to prepare and smoke on the grill.  Go to the market and get yourself about 2 pounds of this lesser used vegetable and let’s convert you from the potato to the parsnip!

Got 5 Minutes?

The parsnips have been clean of the outer skin, washed and sliced to size

#grilledparsnips

Just like carrots, likely the more popular root vegetable, parsnips grow as a tuberous root and can be eaten raw, though most people prefer to cook them.  Once mature, they are harvested and sold in the grocery stores.  I do a simple end trim and peel them with a vegetable peeler.  Next, I cut them into 3-inch lengths and the width of an average potato French fry.  I then toss them with ¼ cup of oil – I’m using avocado oil but you can also use olive, almond, walnut, grape-seed or similar high heat oil – and kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Now they’re ready for the grill.

Tasting Notes: When selecting parsnips, it’s important to look for ones that have a smooth surface with no cuts or indentations.  Because they are a root vegetable, it’s important to rinse them well under water before preparing.

 Two-Zone Grill Smoking

Our smoker box is all set on the lite side of the grill and the parsnips on the unlite!

#twozonecooking

The best method of cooking our pre-cut parsnips is on a sheet pan.  This will ensure that the cuts of parsnip get equal browning and tenderization.  Just like roasting in your oven, I’ll be using a higher grill temperature of 400-425° F on my gas grill.  Total cooking time should be roughly 45 minutes to tenderize the parsnips.  For added flavor, I’ve included three double filet wood chunks to a metal smoker box.  These usually have wood chips added to them but I’ve found wood chunks much easier with less mess and no need to refill with more wood.

I’m using a traditional two-zone setup that involves using  ½ the burners of my unit set to a medium-high setting and ½ the burners are left off.  The smoker box will go on the hot side of the grill while our sheet pan of pre-cut parsnips will go on the cold side.  Half way through cooking time I rotate the sheet pan to ensure even browning.  That’s it!

Grilled Parsnips Glaze ‘Em for Added Flavor

While the parsnips are turning golden and tender on the grill, it’s time to start on the glaze.  Begin by melting 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan.  Add two chiles or ¾ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon honey.  Stir the parsnips occasionally until the glaze holds together well.  Set aside and go to the grill and check on the grilled parsnips.  When tender and golden brown, remove from the grill.  The wood chunks will be 100% carbonized.  I’ll like to save these to use in my charcoal grill as a charwood fuel product for a natural charcoal.

pouring the honey sauce over the finished grilled pasnips and ready to serve

#grilledparsnips

With simple trimming and peeling, these grilled parsnips become even more flavorful when wood flavored on the grill.  Two zone cooking makes it easy to step away while the parsnips cook giving you plenty of time to make the great spicy honey glaze to finish off perfectly grilled parsnips.

Remove the parsnips from the grill, place on a serving platter, and drizzle the spicy honey glaze over the parsnips when ready to serve.   Today’s Smoky Grilled Parsnip Fries are going beside a ground chuck burger for more of a traditional taste of burger and fries.

What’s your favorite parsnip 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 Chunks- Double Filet

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Our finished Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with a healthy Choice

Our finished Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with a healthy Choice

WRAPPED ASPARAGUS WITH A HEALTHY CHOICE Click To Tweet

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One of the favorite Spring vegetables that certainly don’t have a long fresh season around my area, asparagus is know for its fiber and its diuretic quality since it is 93% water.  Although it certainly is a star vegetable to grill, I’m taking it to the healthy side and preparing a wrapped asparagus without all the fat, sodium, and calories of bacon or prosciutto wrapped.

This is a super flavorful twist of carrot and puff pastry that is perfect for a dipping sauce.  Fresh asparagus comes to life when we wood-fire it on the gas grill with wood chunks for added flavor.  When done, you’ll never miss the bacon as this is a meaty, satisfying take on the wrapped asparagus theme.  Now, get your bunch of fresh asparagus and learn this healthier version of wrapped asparagus wood-fired!

Vegetable Prep

our two main vegetables fresh asparagus and ripe carrot

#asparagusspears #Carrots

First, start this recipe by trimming the ends of one bunch of asparagus.  Peel and end trim 3 medium size carrots.  Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, produce thin peels of carrot, figuring about 2 peels per asparagus spear.  Add water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Blanch the carrot peels in the water for about 30 seconds just to soften.  This will make for an easier time of wrapping the carrots around the asparagus spear.  Remove the carrot peels to a colander then place on paper towels to remove excess water.

With the vegetables prepared, it’s time to work on the puff pastry.  After thawing two sheets of puff pastry according to package directions, place one sheet on a cutting surface and cut ½-inch strips of pastry.  After that, take one egg and one teaspoon of water and beat together to produce egg wash.  This will be used to hold the ends of the puff pastry to the asparagus spear.

Asparagus Twists

Starting at the asparagus tip, begin wrapping one strip of puff pastry around the asparagus spear securing the ends in place with a bit of egg wash to the underside of the pastry.  Each spear will take just one puff pastry strip.  Be gentle with the pastry as the warm temperature of your hands will cause the pastry to begin stretching.  If you should have any excess, simply trim the end off.

wrapping our Asparagus with carrot peel in preparation for the grill

#puffpastry with #carrotpeel

With the puff pastry strip in place on the asparagus spear, time to add the pre-blanched carrot peel.  Each spear will take about two carrot peels, depending on the length.  Starting on the tip end of the asparagus, begin wrapping the carrot peel in the space left by the pastry.  Fold the carrot end under the pastry when you reach the ends.  Once all the spears are wrapped in pastry and carrot, brush the entire spear with egg wash.  Next, gently sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the surface of the stalk, then sprinkle with white sesame seeds.  Lay on a foil lined sheet pan in preparation for the grill.

Tasting Notes: Other options for wrapping the asparagus spears include using a purple carrot either in place of or in addition to the traditional orange to give more visual appeal.  Also, you can use zucchini or sweet potato peels too.

Two-Zone Grill Smoking

two zone cooking method with smoker box on on side and cooking on the other

#grillcooking

 

With all the asparagus spears wrapped in carrot and puff pastry and topped with parmesan, egg wash, and white sesame seed, these spears are now ready for the grill.  I’ve preheated my gas grill to 400° F using only two of the four burners.  On those hot burners, I’ve placed a metal smoker box that holds three double filet wood chunks. My sheet pans of prepared asparagus spears are placed on the unlit side of the grill.  Close up the lid and leave to cook for about 20 minutes.  Don’t be alarmed by the amount of smoke you’ll see from the grill’s vents.  That’s just the wood doing is part to flavor the spears.  After 20 minutes, check and rotate the trays to produce an even coloring to the puff pastry.  It will be 20-30 minutes total cook time depending on the thickness of your asparagus, to make these tender and golden brown.  Once done, remove from the grill and immediately remove the finished spears to a serving platter.

Optional Dipping Sauce

Adding a hint of lemon juice to our dipping sauce

#dippingsauce

Although the smoked asparagus spears are great on their own, I’ll be giving this option of a dipping sauce.  While the wrapped asparagus spears are on the grill, add ½ cup mayonnaise to a bowl.  To the mayo add 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice.  If you’d like a spicy kick to the sauce, add a ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes.  Stir well and refrigerator until ready to serve with the wrapped asparagus.

Although wrapping our asparagus spears takes a bit of time, the work is worth it when you taste these flavorful twists.  Perfectly cooked asparagus, sweetness of carrot peel, the airy quality of the puff pastry and the slight crunch of sesame seeds.  Pair them with our simple dipping sauce made from mayonnaise, fresh chives, and lemon juice for the perfect appetizer or side dish.  Ultimately, the only problem is it’s hard to stop eating these spears of flavor.  Grilling asparagus using a two-zone cooking method makes them quick with no need to stand over the grill.  Take advantage of asparagus season and give this easy recipe a try on your favorite grill.

What’s your favorite asparagus 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 Chunks- Double Filet

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Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke

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-  the grill is perfect for cooking Hot Cross Buns

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!

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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!

 

COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE begins by cooking the leeks over a bed of hot ember coals!

COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE begins by cooking the leeks over a bed of hot ember coals!

COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE

Listen to our COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE blog

Listen to our COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE blog

Considered one of the healthiest foods, leeks join onion and garlic as part of the allium vegetable family.  This seasonal delight is commonly used as a soup but I have something else in mind.  I’ll be putting these directly on the hot coals and charring them for tenderness and flavor.  Then I’ll be layering them in a terrine that includes goat cheese and crème Fraiche.  I’ll also provide a dip alternative using the same ingredients to give you two options for these great flavors.  Get shopping and pick out about 5 lbs. of vibrant green leeks, and let’s make an appetizer.

The Small Coal Bed

our cooking bed of coals

#hotcoals

One of the benefits of having a cooking wood company is when we produce our charwood product, I can have the micro pieces saved for my cooking use.  By using these smaller pieces, it allows my fire to reduce faster to the hot coal stage.  I’m using a Weber kettle for this coal method and include a fine mesh screen on the charcoal grate to prevent the micro pieces from falling through.

I place a Firestarter on the screen, then place my chimney starter over the top.  I fill the chimney with my micro charwood pieces and light the base where the Firestarter is.  Leave this alone until the coals gray over and are hot.  Then pour in an even layer in the charcoal area to be ready for the leeks.

Tasting Notes: I recommend for the best char taste to the leeks that you use hardwood charcoal and not briquets.  This will allow you to break apart charcoal pieces easier and get an even coal bed.

Quick Leek Preparation

Leeks are one of those vegetables that are simple to prepare for cooking.  First thing, if you’ve purchased with the root ends intact, remove those roots.  Even if the roots are removed, still trim the root end to remove the hardened, dried end.  Then cut off the dark green tops.  Remember to save these parts to flavor soup stock! Wash the leeks to remove trapped dirt and pat dry.  Once dry, cut each leek lengthwise in half.  Now get a sheet pan and we’ll finish getting the leeks ready for the coals.

With the leeks cleaned and trimmed, it’s time to spread them out on a sheet pan and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Taking the pan to the grill, place the leeks on the hot coals trying not to overlap any.  Let them cook for about 10 minutes before turning to char the other side.  Be sure to move around any leeks that are lighter in char color than the others.  Total time on the coals will be about 20 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool briefly.

Terrine Filling

The layering of the leeks in the pan and goat chees filling

#leeks

With the leeks charred and tenderized, it’s time to make the terrine filling. Start by combining 4 ounces of softened goat cheese, 4 ounces of crème Fraiche, 1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.    Mix these ingredients together well.   Line a standard 9×5 loaf pan with plastic wrap so that about 4-inches of wrap overhang the ends of the pan.  This will allow for ease in releasing our terrine once it is set.

With the leeks, goat cheese mixture, and loaf pan ready, it’s time to assemble the terrine.  Start by adding leeks to the bottom of the loaf pan in a single layer.  Then add a layer of the goat cheese mixture.  Repeat until the pan is filled, being sure to start and end with a leek layer.  Fold the plastic wrap over the finished terrine and place a piece of cardboard cut to size on the covered terrine.  Apply canned goods to weigh down the terrine and refrigerate overnight.

Tasting Notes: If you prefer to not make a terrine, you can still use this basic recipe to make molded leek topping.  Simply chop the charred leeks into small pieces and add directly to the goat cheese mixture.  Combine well and then mold in small bowls, still refrigerating overnight.

After spending the night in the refrigerator, the coal-fired leek terrine is ready to be un-molded.  Start by unwrapping the terrine and inverting it onto a serving platter.  I like to cut 1-inch slices while the terrine is still firm.  Be sure to use a sharp, serrated knife to get through all the leek layers.  Then allow softening somewhat before serving with your selections of suitable accompaniments.  I am using a hearty pumpernickel bread as well as a crusty Italian bread.  Other good choices are radicchio leaves, water crackers, petite bread, and mini pepper halves.  This is an easy means of giving your guests a unique appetizer that is healthy too.

Do you have a favorite leek recipe?  Tell us in a comment.   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 blog:

Charwood

For more reading related to grilling other items besides #cauliflowerrice with tomato!

For more reading related to grilling other items besides #cauliflowerrice with tomato!

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-STUFFED MUSHROOM APPETIZER FEATURING SMOKED ARTICHOKE HEART

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor when you fire roast Cauliflower rice!

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor when you fire roast Cauliflower rice!

Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers

Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers

 

MUSHROOM TAPENADE ON THE WOOD GRILL

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Listen to how we did Mushroom Tapenade on the grill!

I’m the type of person who likes to put their own spin on a traditional recipe and make it my own.  I’m also one to take liberties with traditional ingredients in that recipe.  That’s why I found a great way to use all those peppers I have growing in my vegetable garden in a recipe take on the traditional tapenade.

I’m using a combination of Hungarian and cubanelle peppers in this great topping that will include portabella mushrooms as well.

Grab some of your favorite peppers and learn how easy it is to make great recipes on the gas grill with hardwood for another flavor level.

Where to Start

Fresh Mushrooms are a must for Tapenade

Normally, tapenade is made with very precise cuts to the olives, usually a fine dice.  I’m not going to be as precise with my cuts but will be doing a dice on the peppers and a rough chop on the portabella mushrooms.  Before getting the main vegetables started for the tapenade, I want to heat up the grill so my wood chunks will already be smoking.  I turn the burners on medium for one half of the grill only.  On that side, I place a metal smoker box that has a couple of hardwood chunks, directly on my heat shield of a hot burner.  Close the lid and let the grill get to 325°F.

Meanwhile, I’ve picked some fabulous sweet and hot peppers from my garden and purchased some great looking portabella mushrooms to be the main component of my tapenade.  I carefully remove the seeds and membranes from about ten peppers and dice fine.  I coarse chop the mushrooms and add this to a pan.   Then I drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil, I’m using avocado oil, on the vegetables and one stick of melted butter to the pan.  I season with a little salt and fresh ground pepper and mix.  This pan will go on the unlit side of the grill.  Close the lid and allow to wood grill for 45 minutes.

Tasting Notes: Since I’m taking liberties with what can go in a tapenade, feel free to experiment with other vegetables you may have available like eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, etc.

Tapenade Sauce

Although tapenades are usually oil based, I’m making mine with more of a creamy undertone to balance the hot pepper flavor.  I start by placing 1 cup of ricotta cheese in a bowl.  I add about ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar – I’m using a tangerine flavor.  Then in go my fresh herbs – rosemary, tarragon, and oregano.  Mix together and prepare to add to the grilled and wood smoked vegetables after they’ve cooked for about 45 minutes.

Mixing the ingredients

With the sauce constructed, it’s time to add it to the buttery wood-fired vegetables.  Place the sauce in the pan of vegetables and mix it well.  Let this cook on the grill for another 15 minutes.  The creaminess of the ricotta will counter the spicy peppers to make this a refreshing topping.  Obviously, this basic recipe can be used with a variety of vegetables.  Simply alter the sauce ingredients to balance what your vegetable focus is.  I prefer this tapenade version on crostini for an appetizer, directly on animal proteins whether beef, turkey, chicken, pork or game.  It also works extremely well on an animal protein sandwich such as brisket and pork shoulder.  And, on pasta – well, let’s just say, make a lot!  This is just another example of how easy the two-zone method using wood for flavor is on just about any food.

Tasting Notes:  If you prefer not to use a cheese in the sauce, you can make this with Greek yogurt.  I recommend you add about 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or another thickener to bring the consistency in line with a cheese-type sauce.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:

-MUSHROOMS GO SMOKY-WOOD FIRED

-STUFFED MUSHROOM APPETIZER FEATURING SMOKED ARTICHOKE HEART

-SPICY-CHAR HUMMUS

Dr. Smoke this recipe Mushroom tapenade is a keeper! try it!

Dr. Smoke this recipe Mushroom tapenade is a keeper! try it!

SMOKED FAVA BEANS MAKE THE PERFECT DIP OR CONDIMENT

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If you visited our article on smoking fava beans and gave our technique a try, hopefully, you have enough beans leftover to make this recipe.  I thought I would introduce you to a dip that can be used as a condiment to your favorite sandwich – think veggie or animal protein burger, grilled chicken, breakfast bread, or vegetarian.  I’ll be offering the recipe and giving you suggestions on what to serve with it.

Simple Ingredients

Our arrangement of simple ingredients

Once you have your fava beans smoked, you’ll need about 2 lbs. of the beans, there are some simple ingredients to gather for this recipe.

  • 4oz. goat cheese softened
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chopped fresh tarragon- 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh lemon juice- 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest – I prefer fresh
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper

You’ll also need a food processor or blender to combine all the ingredients.

Tasting Notes: I prefer a little kick to this recipe so I add 3 or so drops of hot sauce.

Pulsing to Flavor

With a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients except the water.  Pulse only to blend and produce the chunky texture desired.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the blending container at least once.  With all the ingredients, add the water and mix in by hand; do not process or blend.  Adjust the consistency to the finished mixture by adding water as needed.  Usually, I find 2-3 tablespoons of water is perfect.

Blending ingredients in the food processor

Tasting Notes:  if using a blender, be sure you have a pulse control or you could blend this recipe too smooth which will limit its use with certain foods

Multiple Uses

Once you have the consistency you like, transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.  I like to chill this briefly before serving.  If using as a dip, suggested items to accompany the dip include sweet mini peppers, cucumber slices, radish, carrot slices, cherry or grape tomato, baguette, naan, won-ton shells.

This is also great with a firm toasted bread, tomato slice, fresh basil leaves, and poached or fried egg.  Let your imagination go and find more uses for this super flavorful dip and spread.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-FIRE ROASTED PEPPER MAKE THE PERFECT SALAD

-CHARRED PEPPER DIP

-SPICY-CHAR HUMMUS

-WOOD FIRED GUACAMOLE

We use our Grilled Fava beans from our tips and technique blog to make a perfect dip or condiment!

We use our Grilled Fava beans from our tips and technique blog to make a perfect dip or condiment!

Raspberries go to the grill recipe is a mini tart with cheese and smoky raspberries on top- Yummy!

Raspberries go to the grill recipe is a mini tart with Brie and smoky raspberries on top- Yummy!

RASPBERRIES GO TO THE GRILL FOR THE ULTIMATE MINI TART APPETIZER

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our fresh picked raspberries

Known to help aid weight loss, be a cancer preventer, and assist your autoimmune system, raspberries are one of the fresh fruits that can have a short availability depending on where you live.  I like to take advantage of the fresh harvest and use them of course in desserts but I also like to blend them with savory items for a perfect bite of balanced flavors.

That’s why I’m taking fresh raspberries and smoking them first to enrich their flavor then combining them with creamy brie cheese for a great, five-ingredient appetizer.

Take a trip to your fresh produce stand, farmer’s market, or even the grocery store and pick up some raspberries for this easy recipe.

Ingredients & Prep

Beautiful fresh raspberries are going to the grill for a smoking that will turn them into a perfect jam-like consistency to be added to a tartlet.  First, gather these five ingredients for a full cook event on your favorite grill: There are not too many ingredients for this easy recipe

  • 1-1/2 cups raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 30 phyllo tart shells
  • 8 oz. Brie

If you plan to use a charcoal grill for the cooking, do the grill’s set up first so the fire can die down to hot embers.  You’ll want to remember that no matter if you use a charcoal or LP/Gas grill, you’ll be setting up a two-zone cooking method, which by now you likely know is my favorite way to grill and smoke foods.  You’ll also need a couple of wood chunks for the smoke infusion which will be placed on the hot coals of a charcoal grill or the heat shield or in a smoking box of the gas grill.

While your heating up the grill, rinse and pat dry the 1-1/2 cups of raspberries – fresh or store bought – and place in a disposable foil pan.  When the grill is ready, add your disposable pan of raspberries to the unlit side of the grill.  Leave to cook for about 15 minutes.

Turning Fruit to Fruit Sauce-Raspberries go to the grill!Raspberries on the grill with a wood chunk

After bringing the raspberries to the grill and cooking with wood chunks for about 15 minutes, you’ll find that the raspberries have softened and broken down, making for the perfect sauce-like consistency.  Time to sweeten and thicken them up.  Start by adding 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the pan and stir to combine.  Allow the mixture to continue to cook for another 10 minutes.  Then stir again and place on the warming rack of your grill.

Tart Time

I love the ready-made phyllo tart shells available in most grocery stores.  This makes our recipe super fast and easy.  You’ll need 30 premade phyllo tart shells and about 8 ounces of Brie.

Taking the brie, cut into ½-inch slices and then cut those slices in half.  Cut the slices into ½-inch cubes.  You’ll need about 2-3 cubes per shell so prepare 90 cubes.  Use the leftovers in other recipes or eat on their own. Be sure the brie is cold when you cut it especially if you’ve purchased a double crème or you’ll have issues keeping the cubes firm.Brie cut into small squares

With the brie cubed and the tart shells laid out in a pan, it’s time to take these tarts to the grill for some melting.  Just like when the raspberries were smoked using a two-zone method, we place the tart shells on the unlit side of the grill and the raspberry filling on the warming rack.  Close the lid and allow the brie to melt and absorb the great wood flavor from our wood chunks.  As the cheese melts, you may need to rotate the pan to ensure an even melting.

After the brie-filled tart shells have melted, it’s time to take the smoked raspberry sauce that we sweetened and thickened to become our sweet-tart complement to the brie’s creaminess.  Simply spoon a tablespoon or so of smoked raspberry sauce on top of the melted brie, making sure to stay within the tart shell edges.  Allow the tarts to cook for just a few additional minutes, then remove from the grill and serve immediately.

With the crunch and lightness of the phyllo shell, the creaminess of the brie and the sweet-tart of the smoked raspberry sauce, this is the perfect light appetizer that will be enjoyed by everyone.  And don’t forget, the entire recipe can be done on the grill!

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Related reading:

-SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE

-EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT & FETA TARTS

-Smoked Strawberries with Hand Held Smoker

Dr. Smoke you must try this recipe- Raspberries go to the grill

Dr. Smoke you must try this recipe Raspberries go to the grill with our filet wood chunks!

Our Ember roasted peppers make an awesome Charred Pepper Dip

Our Ember roasted peppers make an awesome Charred Pepper Dip

CHARRED PEPPER DIP

Summary:

A great smoked appetizers for your charred peppers recipes; our ember bed cooking of peppers provides great flavor. How to roast peppers in a grill, cooking on coals directly, cooking in embers, gas grill, charcoal grill, even cast iron skillet cooking will work for peppers.  Try this charred pepper dip topping.

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Peppers are one of those thick-skinned vegetables that release their ultimate flavor when they are introduced to hot coals.  Many people think that you need special equipment to cook foods in hot coals but really, it’s as easy as having a disposable pan available and a grill.  I’ll give you some options for roasting the peppers and then provide a great recipe to be used as a dip or topping that is quick and so easy.

Multiple Charring Methods

The ember cooking of our sweet peppers

Although you will see me using an open pit method of charring my sweet peppers, you can do this on a gas grill set up with either a disposable foil pan or a cast iron pan or skillet.  You can also use a charcoal grill, lighting a fire and allowing it to reduce to simple hot embers.  A portable fire pit works if you clean out all previous ash and wood pieces to keep the final flavors clean.

Here’s the key to making perfect charred peppers, whether sweet or hot.  You must only use hot embers and you need to have additional hot embers available to keep a consistent temperature and a full bed of coals.

Because peppers are loaded with water, it is easiest to clean the skins and seeds from them once they are fire roasted.  If you cover the charred peppers placed in a bowl with plastic wrap, the skins will pull away easily.  Then you’re ready for your favorite recipes.

Fresh Ingredients Make This Dip

What makes this recipe so great is that there are only a few flavorful ingredients that balance out the charry, smoky flavor of the peppers.  For this recipe, you’ll need the following:

the simple ingredients need

  • 6 charred peppers
  • 1 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped (6 ounces)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and well drained
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano
  • A coarse salt such as sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Red-wine vinegar

Once the peppers are charred, I like to quarter them before placing in a food processor.  You can use a blender as well if you have a control to pulse the ingredients as you don’t want to thin them too much.  After pulsing the 6 charred peppers, add the raisins, oil, capers, and oregano.  Pulse to combine everything.  Season with salt and vinegar.  This dip can be refrigerated for one day prior to use.

Endless Uses

This dip/topping made from ember-roasted sweet pepper contains all vegan ingredients so its super flavorful while being healthy too.  Here’s the best part – it has so many uses and can be altered for a specific taste.  Use it as a topping for fish, chicken filet sandwiches, or sausage patties and links.  It can be heated providing an option to use it as a hot appetizer or cold.  I’ve served this will flatbread or Naan slices for a snack, appetizer, or lite lunch.  Want some kick to it?  You can add ember fired hot peppers as well or just add a few drops of hot sauce to the mix.  Because this is oil based, it is best to use up any leftovers within a few days, keeping it refrigerated until gone.

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®, Minuto®, & Piccolo®

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:

-SPICY-CHAR HUMMUS

Ember cooked Sweet Peppers

-Ember Cooking/Roasting Garlic In An Iron Skillet

Dr. Smoke- I love ember roasted peppers because they char well! Making a yummy Charred Pepper Dip

Dr. Smoke- I love ember-roasted peppers because they char well! Making a yummy Charred Pepper Dip

Our Savory Corn Muffins on the cool down rack. Just waiting to be served!

Our Savory Corn Muffins on the cool down rack. Just waiting to be served!

ADDING A SMOKY INGREDIENT FOR A SAVORY CORN MUFFINS

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Ready for a savory take on the standard corn muffin recipe?  I’m adding a smoked chive to bring these muffins to a whole new level.

You may have seen someone bake cornbread in a cast iron skillet on the grill but that’s just cast iron cooking.  I’m taking fresh chives that have been smoked on the stovetop with hardwood chips from SmokinLicious® and adding them to a favorite buttermilk cornbread recipe for a sweet-savory combination.  You can read about our technique for smoking the chives in Dr. Smoke’s Tips and Technique blog.

We are pouring our batter into the muffin pan and topping it off with our smoked chives in preparation for bacon.

A Flavorful Batter

To make 12 muffins you’ll need the following:

  • 1-1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal, medium ground
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 oz. grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped smoked fresh chives, divided

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Combine the buttermilk, olive oil, and egg in a small bowl.  Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground red pepper in a medium size bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour into that well the milk mixture, stirring just until moist.  Stir in ½ cup of the cheese and 2 Tablespoons of the smoked chives.  Spoon into 12 muffin cups that have been greased.  Sprinkle muffins with the remaining cheese and chives.  Now bake in the oven for about 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.  Remove from the oven and the remove the muffins from the tin to a wire cooling rack.

Culinary Crew Tasting Notes

Our finished muffins hot from the oven on our plate to be served with your favorite jam or butter.

There are so many variations you can add to this standard recipe while keeping the smoked chives.

  • Add fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries and leave out the cheese and pepper.
  • Go meaty with bacon or pancetta but hold the sugar and think about adding a different cheese such as Gruyere or Swiss.
  • You can also change the flavor by swapping out almond flour or coconut flour for the all-purpose.

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Additional reading:

-EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT & FETA TARTS

-ROOTING FOR GLAZED SMOKED TURNIPS

-Crostini with Smoked Asparagus

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke -You will love these corn muffins with a touch of smoky flavor!

 

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