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!

Additional reading:

-SMOKED FAVA BEANS MAKE THE PERFECT DIP OR CONDIMENT

-A SAVORY TAKE ON THE PANCAKE FROM SMOKINLICIOUS®

-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!

Our finished Cauliflower rice with Tomato we fire roasted with just a chimney starter!

Our finished Cauliflower rice with Tomato we fire roasted with just a chimney starter!

COAL FIRE CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH TOMATO

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#cauliflowerrice

With my special chimney starter cooking technique, which you can view in a separate posting, a fresh head of cauliflower was wood fired for a charry flavor.  Now, it’s time to take this fabulous flavor and marry it to tomato and spice in a cauliflower rice dish that can be consumed as a main course or a fabulous side dish.  A simple recipe that’s full a flavor that you’ll want to enjoy again and again.  Plus, you’ll enjoy the added benefits of this super nutritious food due to its low saturated fat and cholesterol and high vitamin and mineral daily needs.

Making Rice

Our charred Cauliflower in the food processor ready to be "riced"

After tenderizing my fresh head of cauliflower on the hot coals of a charcoal fire, I’m going to turn this into a cauliflower rice dish that features tomato, feta cheese and just a hint of jalapeno pepper.

To start, cut your cooked cauliflower steaks into smaller florets and place half in a food processor with a standard blade.  Pulse the cauliflower until it is reduced to rice-like particles.  Remove from the processor bowl and add into a pot.  Continue to process the remaining cauliflower in the same manner.  You’ll see the tiny flecks of the charred goodness easily if you’ve prepared white cauliflower.  Keep in mind, that one head of cauliflower will produce nearly two quarts of rice before the other ingredients are added, so this can comfortably feed 6 as a side dish or 3-4 as a main entrée.

Tasting Notes: If you care for additional spicy notes, feel free to pulse in some fresh ground pepper or pepper flakes.  Just be sure to reduce the amount of fresh hot pepper in the cooking section.

Hearty Flavors

Adding the broth to the cauliflower rice!

Once the cauliflower rice is made and in the pot, it’s time to add the other ingredients.  Start by adding 2 cups of diced tomato and one finely chopped jalapeno pepper.   Pour in ½ cup of broth – I’m using bone broth – and stir well.  You can adjust the moistness of the finished rice by adding more broth.   Add ¼ cup of feta cheese just before serving, allowing the cheese to be heated just a couple of minutes.

Once sampled, you’ll taste the meaty char flavor from the coal cooking technique that is balanced so well by the sweet tomato and slight kick of the spicy pepper.  This is hearty enough to eat as a main meal or the perfect accompaniment to your favorite animal protein.  Just think what the festive colors can do for this dish if you’re lucky enough to find yellow or purple varieties of cauliflower. [#cauliflowerrice]

Tasting Notes: There are so many variations to cauliflower rice.  Use seasonal ingredients to guide you.  Options: curry powder, honey, Dijon mustard, & butter; asparagus, mushroom, basil, & coconut milk; black beans, tomato, corn, onion & Verde sauce.

SmokinLicious products used:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

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

Additional reading:

-Cauliflower roasted on LP/Gas Grill over wood chunks

-SUCCULENT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

-SMOKED BROCCOLI CASSEROLE WITH APPLE & QUINOA

-WOOD GRILLING WINTER SQUASH WITH CUMIN & HARDWOOD

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

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

Our Rich Pumpkin Butter has a slight hint of smokiness!

Our Rich Pumpkin Butter has a slight hint of smokiness!

RICH PUMPKIN BUTTER YOU’LL CRAVE!

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I’ve been pumpkin picking!  I found a sweet pumpkin that will be perfect for making a pumpkin butter that will have a wood flavoring due to my grill roasting method on the gas grill.  When you make pumpkin butter, it’s crucial that you select a variety of pumpkin that is designed to be cooked.  My choice was a variety of “cow” pumpkin, known for its super sweet flesh and great creaminess for cooking.

Our two pumpkins for the grill

Pumpkin is packed with nutritional value including a high level of Vitamin A and C, antioxidants, folate, and has a low caloric level.   And, yes, they are rich in fiber.

Get to the pumpkin patch and find one or two sweet gems to bring to the grill for a wood fired sensation that makes for great pumpkin butter.

Quick Preparation

I’ll be using my gas grill for this recipe which means two-zone cooking which is really the only way I grill.  I need to start by lighting only half the burners on my grill which I’ve added a smoker box to that has three double filet hardwood chunks from SmokinLicious®.  This will provide for the great smoke flavor to the pumpkin flesh.

Our two pumpkins on the grill with the smoker box on the heated burners

While the grill heats up to about 300°F, I prepare the pumpkins.  First, wash and pat dry the pumpkins.  With a small, sharp knife, cut into the pumpkin about 1-inch from the stem making a circle.  Remove the stem top and scoop out the seeds.  You can reserve the seeds to bake or grill, including placing the seeds in a pan on the upper rack while the pumpkins wood roast.  Once the pumpkins are clean, drizzle about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the pumpkin flesh and the stem top.  Place the pumpkins in a heat tolerant pan.  You can grill roast with the stem tops in place or laid in the pan as separate pieces.  I’ll be putting my stem tops back on the pumpkins.  Now the grill should be pre-heated for wood roasting.

Tasting Notes: Other varieties of sweet pumpkin to consider include will usually be labeled sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins.  However, other names to be on the lookout for include: Baby Pam, Baby Bear, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, Lumina, Cinderella, Winter Luxury, and Fairytale.

Dark and Sweet

nicely roasted pumpkin for our butter

Once the pumpkins have been cleaned and seeded, it’s time to get them roasting on the grill with hardwood for added flavor.  I simply place my pan with the pumpkins on the unlit side of the grill, while my smoker box of wood chunks is placed directly on the heat shields of my lit burners.  Next, I let the pumpkins roast at 300°F for 50 minutes without disturbing them.  I do a check of the wood chunk pieces after 35 minutes and replenish if they have carbonized or turned black completely, as that means they are no longer producing flavonoids.

Once I can insert a knife point into the pumpkin flesh without resistance, I know the pumpkins are ready.  You’ll see that they become a deep bronzy-brown coloring on the outside while the flesh becomes deep orange.  I remove the pumpkins from the grill and allow to cool until I can handle them.  Then I scrap all the flesh from the skins into a blender.

Creamy Pumpkin Butter

Although this is called a “butter” it technically is a fruit spread that is used like a butter on breads, pancakes, and crackers.  To make the butter, add ¼ cup of apple cider to the pumpkin flesh in the blender and blend until a thick paste is formed.  To that, add 1/3 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg and a pinch of ground cloves.  Process until smooth.  Since I’ve wood roasted two pumpkins, I’m doubling the recipe ingredients.

Transfer the blended pumpkin mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to reduce by 1/3 and turn dark in color.  Total time should be 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Our finished pumpkin butter ready for rolls!

I usually refrigerate my pumpkin butter at this point or even divide into individual jars for gifting or just to simplify the quantity put out on the table.  Today, I’m serving this pumpkin butter with some hot yeast rolls but there are plenty of other uses.  Think about folding it into whipped cream for a mousse-like dessert, use it as an additive to a sauce or soup, or even make your own yogurt flavor by adding to plain yogurt.  The best part, you can use different varieties of pumpkin to produce different flavors.

Tasting Notes:  One benefit of winter squashes is that there are many flavors that you can add.   Although I’ve gone traditional by incorporating cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove, you can also consider using turmeric, cumin, chili powder, garam masala, Chinese Five Spice, sage, and even vanilla bean paste.  Experiment and you’ll find a flavor blend that is perfect.

 

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Enjoyed our Pumpkin Butter blog read other great recipe and tip ideas from our culinary crew!

Enjoyed our Pumpkin Butter blog read other great recipe and tip ideas from our culinary crew! #smokedpumpkin

Related recipes:

-WOOD GRILLING WINTER SQUASH WITH CUMIN & HARDWOOD

-ACORN SQUASH- SWEET & SMOKY

-ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

 

 

Dr. Smoke- Our Pumpkin Butter recipe is a keeper!

Dr. Smoke- Our Pumpkin Butter recipe is a keeper!

Our winter squash sliced and seasoned with Cumin and ready for the grill!

Our winter squash sliced and seasoned with Cumin and ready for the grill!

WOOD GRILLING WINTER SQUASH WITH CUMIN & HARDWOOD

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Full of color, flavor and packed with nutrients, winter squash makes for exceptional seasonal dishes, whether soups, casseroles, or desserts.  Harvested in the approaching Fall, they are available all winter long due to their firm shells.  With varieties such as sugar pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, buttercup, and red kuri, sweetness level is always present.

Naturally low in fat and calories, yet rich in vitamins A, B6, C, and E, you can’t go wrong with any variety you select.

Today, I’ve elected to make cumin squash on the grill using confetti squash, so called due to the beautiful multi-skin coloring.  Note, you may substitute any rounded winter squash available near you for this recipe.

Two-Zone Cooking

Smoke coming from our wood chunks! Using a two zone cooking method

To allow for slow roasting on the grill, I recommend a two-zone cooking set up.  Lite half the burners on your gas grill – if an odd number of burners, decide how many you need for the cooking temperature. The lit burners should be set to medium to obtain a cooking temperature of about 375°F.  Add wood chunks to the lit burner side either directly on the heat shields or in a smoker box.  My smoker box accommodates three double filet wood chunks easily.  The prepared squash will go on the unlit side of the grill.

Tasting Notes: Your choice of hardwood will determine the boldness of the smoke infusion.  I find that the skin of the squash will take most of the smoke vapor so really any hardwood or combination of hardwoods will do.  Be sure to keep extra pieces in case you need to replace halfway through the roasting process.

Seasoning the Squash

Our mixture of seasoning and spices.

To start our recipe, first wash and dry off your squash.  Then cut in half and remove the seeds.  Slice the squash into 1-inch slices and place in a high heat tolerant pan.  Once sliced, prepare to toast 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown.  If you’re able to locate cumin seeds, toast 1-1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds with the browned sesame seeds.  Transfer the seeds to a bowl and allow to cool.

Now prepare the squash seasoning by combining 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.  If you didn’t have cumin seeds, then include 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin.  Drizzle 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the squash slices and sprinkle with squash seasoning.  Toss to coat all the way around the slices.

Grill-Roasting with Wood

With the grill preheated, the wood chunks smoking, and the temperature gauge reading close to 375°F, I place the trays of prepared squash on the grill grates and close the lid.  I allow this to roast for 30 minutes, then I return to the grill, check the wood chunks and add more wood if needed.  Briefly toss the squash to ensure even cooking and close the lid again.

Our pan of squash roasting on the gas grill

Once tender and bronze in color, I remove the squash from the grill and plate to a serving platter.  Total cooking time is about one hour though this is dependent on the thickness of your slices and quantity of squash you’ve added to the pan. Remember, the rind of squash is loaded with nutritional value as well and will be very tender so there is no need to discard it. Consume the entire slice.

Roasting winter squash on the grill with wood is the perfect way to usher in the cooler weather and enjoy all this great flavor.

Tasting Notes:  You can serve this as is or feel free to process the slices into a puree for use in soups or as a filler to pasta or even desserts.  There are many options with grill roasted winter squash.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

For more reading related to winter squash and other grilling/smoking techniques- #wintersquash

For more reading related to winter squash and other grilling/smoking techniques- #wintersquash

Related reading:

-ACORN SQUASH- SWEET & SMOKY

-Smoked Squash & Kale Soup

-EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT & FETA TARTS

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor to winter squash with cumin & wood flavoring!

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor to winter squash with cumin & wood flavoring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finished slices of our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

The finished slices of our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

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Listen to The finished slices of our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

I love making traditional baking items on the grill especially when wood is added for a kick of flavor that can make some normal recipes totally unique.  That’s how I feel about this recipe for zucchini-coconut-lime bread/cake.  It has to have two names as I’m giving you two finishes so you have something more savory like a bread and something sweet like a dessert.  Don’t ignore large, fresh zucchini that you see in your garden or farmer’s market or even the local store.  Pick up a beauty and come to the grill with me for this great two loaf recipe.

Two Bowls & One Grill

There’s minimal preparation that needs to be done for this bread/cake combination.  One thing I love about zucchini bread/cake is there’s nothing complicated about it.

two batter pans on the grill for baking

To start, head out to the grill and light the burners on only half the grill.  On the lit side, place wood chunks directly on the heat shields or burner covers.  This will produce that fantastic wood vapor that is going to super flavor our bread/cake.  I’ve set my burners to medium which should bring them to 325°F, the perfect temperature to bring these two loaves to the finish.  For the loaf pans, simply spray with non-stick cooking spray or butter generously.  Now, let’s get the batter made.

Tasting Notes: If you’re leery about putting wood pieces directly on your heat shields than you can use a metal smoker box to hold the wood.  Try to get one that will still fit between your grill grate and the heat shield, otherwise, you’ll have to put the box on the grill grate which will take longer to heat up and start the wood smoking.

The Double Duty Batter

To start our batter, get a large bowl to combine the dry ingredients first.  Add 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut.   Combine well and set aside.  Next, we’ll prepare the wet ingredients.

In a medium bowl combine 2 cups of raw, unpeeled, grated zucchini, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, ¾ cup oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 2 teaspoons lime zest.  This batter will be quite thick.  Here’s a trick with the zucchini: be sure once you grate the zucchini you place it between paper towels and remove the excess water.  If you leave the excess moisture, the batter will become watery and affect how the bread/cake rises.

Mixing the ingredients

 

 

With the dry and wet ingredients made, it’s time to combine them.  Place the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well by hand.  Divide the batter in half and pour into the prepared loaf pans.  Place the filled loaf pans on the unlit side of the grill and c

lose the lid.  This batter will take 75 minutes to cook so I check the cake about ½ way through and rotate the pans.  I also make sure the wood chunks are still producing smoke.  If not, I add new wood.  Once cooked, I remove the pans from the grill and cool on wire racks.

Tasting Notes: Whenever you bake on the grill, it is important to use a two-zone cooking method rather than direct heat cooking.  This will reduce the risk of burning the batter or producing off flavors, especially if you use a charcoal grill.  This recipe can be altered to fit your taste.  If you don’t like coconut but still want something sweet, feel free to swap out the cup of coconut for chocolate or butterscotch chips. 

When a Bread Becomes Cake

Once cooled, I remove the loaves from the pans and place on a serving platter.  I take 1/3 cup of flaked coconut and toast in the oven or on the grill until lightly browned.  Time to make a glaze that will sweeten up this loaf some more, turning one loaf into a cake.

close up of the finished loaves on the grill

For the glaze, combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of lime juice.   Using a fork, I drizzle the glaze over the loaf in a rapid side-to-side motion.  While the glaze is still wet, I sprinkle on the toasted coconut and additional lime zest.  That’s it!  Now you can sample both loaves and decide which is your favorite.  As a bread or a sweet cake.

 

 

 

Tasting Notes:  If you prefer a lemon flavor you can swap out the lime juice for lemon and the lime zest for lemon zest.  Orange works well too!

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Related reading:

-CHOCOLATE WAR CAKE BAKED ON THE GRILL

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

 

Dr. Smoke great dessert recipe- our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

Dr. Smoke great dessert recipe- our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

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!

The serving picture of our SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN- try this!

The serving picture of our SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN- Try This!

SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN

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Corn is one of those vegetables that has an extended season to allow you to do all kinds of recipes and techniques.  Given that there are times when you frankly don’t have a lot of time to stand over a grill to do whole ears of corn, I’m giving you an easy technique to add smoke flavor using a handheld food smoker.  Then, I’ll give you a recipe for a spicy butter to coat the corn in to bring out the best in this seasonal vegetable.  I’ll also provide some flavor pairings that work great for other butter topping recipes.  Go visit your favorite corn seller and pick up some fresh corn.

Corn Prep

I’ve purchased 6 ears of corn and have boiled them in water until tender, which is the most traditional way of cooking corn.  I allow them to cool enough to handle, then using a sharp knife, I stand the ear of corn on its wide end and cut the kernels from the cob into a disposable foil pan.  If you cook the corn and then refrigerate it prior to removing the kernels, know that the kernels will not come off individually but as one long strand.   Don’t worry about reducing these strands as when we add the butter topping, it will break down the kernels.  Next, I’ll be taking the fresh kernels to the smoke using the Breville-PolyScience The Smoking Gun Pro Smoke Infuser which is a cold smoke application anyone can do!

Cold Smoke Infusion

smoke infusing the corn

If you’re familiar with The Smoking Gun™ note that the version I’m using was a collaboration between Breville and PolyScience, the originator of the concept, and designed specifically for commercial use.  It is manufactured from heavier materials and can stand independently while you work the smoke vapor production.

I’ve gathered together my pan of previously cooked corn kernels, the handheld food smoke infuser, SmokinLicious® Minuto® wood chips in size #8, a lighter, a plastic food bag, and a cable tie.  After sliding my corn pan into the plastic bag, I place a pinch or two of the wood chips in the unit’s bowl, extend the smoking tube into the plastic bag, Then pinch off the end of the bag around the tube, and lite the chips.

Tasting Notes: You may select any hardwood microchip for the smoking but do note that this infuser produces a lot of smoke vapor.  I tend to recommend using light to medium boldness levels of hardwood: Ash, Maple, Cherry.

After placing the corn pan in the plastic bag and lighting the chips with the handheld food infuser, I synch the bag’s end tightly around the tubing.   This allows me to trap all the smoke vapor in the bag and surround the corn.  Once filled – the bag will expand – I turn off the smoker, remove the tubing, and attach a cable tie to the bag’s end.  I prefer to wait until the smoke vapor has dissipated from the bag.  That’s when I cut the tie and remove the corn tray from the bag.  Time to take this to the kitchen and make a spicy butter for the fresh, smoked corn.

Spicy Butter and More Recipes

Time to share my recipe for a spicy butter that works perfectly with the sweetness of the corn.

First, melt 1-1/2 sticks of butter over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, 2 tablespoons Chipotle Chili pepper, 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce.  Whisk together, then remove from heat.  This will be poured directly over the smoked corn and reheated until warmed through.  Serve immediately.

There are so many options for corn that it depends if you want a spicy flavor, sweet, savory, or citrus.  In addition to the spicy butter recipe I provided, here are some other flavor combinations that work just as well:

Truffle Butter: garlic, butter, truffle oil, salt & pepper

Sundried Tomato Butter: butter, chopped sundried tomato, basil, parsley and a sprinkle of Parmesan

Siracha Butter: beer, siracha, butter, garlic powder, cilantro, salt, pepper, and oil

No matter what combination you prefer, adding another flavor level through smoke vapor will make this corn season one to remember and enjoy our SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN!

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Related recipes:

-FRESH CORN ON THE COB- GRILLED

-NO, IT’S NOT SLAW JUST SMOKED CABBAGE!

-SMOKED MAPLE SYRUP MARINADE

Dr. Smoke you must try this recipe SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN

Dr. Smoke, you must try this recipe SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN

 

Try our pan cook zucchini on the gas grill with wood chunks for a flavoring twist

Try our pan cook zucchini on the gas grill with wood chunks for a flavoring twist

PAN COOK ZUCCHINI ON THE GRILL WITH WOOD FLAVOR

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It seems like when August rolls around, people start looking for something new to do with all that zucchini that you either have in your own garden or found at the fresh market.  I’ve got a one pan dish that is easy to construct with the best part being you can do the entire recipe on your LP/Gas grill.

Grab your prized zucchini and get to the grill and I’ll show you how easy this technique and recipe are for a great meal.

Zucchini Prep

Diced zucchini in a disposable pan ready for the two zone cooking method

Two zone cooking method!

Preparing the zucchini is very simple for this recipe as we want all the nutritional value of the skin as well.  After washing, patting dry, and trimming off the ends, cut 1-inch thick rounds and then cut each round into smaller pieces.  For the smaller rounds, you should get 4 pieces and the larger 9.  Place all the cut zucchini pieces into a disposable foil pan.  There’s no need to spray the pan or add any liquid as zucchini has a 95% water content and when cooked, produces 6 oz. of water per every cup.  This will naturally steam away while in our grill pan while tenderizing the zucchini for our dish.  Plus, the high-water level will attract the smoke vapor for great flavor.

The grill set up is the easiest part.  Simply lite the burners on only half the grill.  Place wood chunks either directly on the heat shields located under the grill grate or in a smoker box placed on top of the grill grate of the lit burners.  Allow to heat up for about 10 minutes.  Then place the pan of cut zucchini on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid.

Tasting Notes: You do have an option to slice your zucchini lengthwise into quarters and grill directly on the grate.  Know this will produce stronger wood flavoring to the finished product and you will still need to cut the zucchini down into bite-size pieces.

Ragout Ingredients

Although ragout in Italian traditional means a sauce made from root vegetables and fruits, I felt it was a suitable term for our tomato-jalapeno based sauce.  In addition to your zucchini, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups pasta sauce
  • Basil- 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 10 oz. tortellini
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese

After the zucchini has cooked for about 30 minutes, add the diced tomato and jalapeno.  Let that cook for 15 minutes and then add the pasta sauce, basil, oregano, parsley and garlic powder.

Tasting Notes: This can be a spicy dish so if you only like a mild kick add ¾ cup of ricotta cheese when the pasta sauce and herbs are added.

Finale

all our spices added to the pan

All this made in one pan!

The final step to our grilled zucchini with tomato pepper ragout is to add the tortellini.  You may wonder how tortellini will cook without any water.  Essentially, you only need a little liquid with heat to produce enough steam to cook the tortellini.  The best part is you won’t have any pasta that is soggy and unable to hold its form.

After adding about 10 ounces of tortellini – mine happens to be filled with spinach – the ¼ cup of shaved asiago and parmesan cheese are added.  Everything is mixed well and left on the grill until the tortellini are tender.  That’s it!  Everything completely made on the grill and absorbing the great wood flavor from our SmokinLicious® chunks.  This is a great starter recipe that you can easily modify to fit your taste.

Now you need to try to Pan Cook Zucchini on the gas grill with wood!

 

 

 

 

SmokinLicious products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Related reading:

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

-TORTELLINI GETS A SMOKY MATE

-SUCCULANT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

-EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT & FETA TARTS

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor when you Wood Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Dr. Smoke-pan cook zucchini on the gas grill for great flavoring.

 

POTATO SALAD GETS SMOKE INFUSION

Serving bowl of Our Potato salad gets smoke infusion recipe!

Looking to add some smoky flavor to your BBQ try this Potato salad gets smoke infusion recipe and please your guests taste buds!

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Without question, potatoes are my favorite vegetable to expose to smoke vapor.   For one, it is so easy to do whether you select a gas/LP grill, charcoal grill, convection grill, or electric unit.  Additionally, it takes such a short amount of time to cook them this way.

I’ll give you my preparation for the potatoes and then my take on the traditional potato salad made with our awesome smoked potatoes.

Preparing for the Grill

The potatoes inside the Orion Cooker

The potatoes inside the Orion Cooker

 

Honestly, you can use any of your favorite potatoes for this technique and recipe.  I’ll tell you that I’m firing up my Orion Cooker as the high heat of this unit will allow my potatoes to become tender in about 60 minutes and I don’t need to do more than turn the potatoes one time.  Of course, I’m using the custom blend wood chips sold by Orion to ensure that the smoke infusion is perfectly balanced.  When using the Orion Cooker, a chimney starter of briquets should be started and the fuel pan of the unit filled with unlit briquets.  Personally, I like to use long-handled tongs and place my hot coals from the chimney started to the inner edge of the fuel pan.  That ensures that I direct the heat very quickly to the metal cylinder of the unit.

Tasting Notes:

If you’re using a traditional charcoal grill, try to do the cooking on hot coals only, with no flame. Start a chimney or two of hot coals and allow these to burn down until they are just hot coals.  Then pour into the charcoal area.  I often use a fine wire mesh in my charcoal area so I can retain even the smallest hot coal for my cooking.

On a gas grill, use a two-zone cooking method with wood chunks placed on the hot side of the grill, potatoes on the unlit side, and the lit burners set to low-to-medium. 

Before placing the potatoes on the grill grate of any of these units, clean them, pat dry, and pierce with a fork on both sides so the water in the potatoes can steam out during the cooking process.

No Work

As I said, potatoes are the perfect vegetable to put on the grill or smoker as their skin acts like a mini cooker and cooks them tender.  You’ll simply need to turn the potatoes just one time during the hour they grill.  While they are cooking, you can prepare the dressing to be ready to put everything together.

Tasting Notes: Always grill and smoke the potatoes with the skins on to keep the smoke vapor from getting too strong.  Remember, potatoes have a lot of water which will be an attractant to smoke vapor.

Creamy Dressing

The ingredients for our recipe!

The Ingredients for our Smoked Potato recipe

For our creamy dressing, you’ll need the following ingredients:

1-1/2 cups of mayonnaise

Rice or cider vinegar- 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of yellow mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon pepper

2 celery ribs, sliced

1 cup of onion, minced

5 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

paprika

Start by combining the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Be sure everything is mixed in well.  Taste to be sure everything is balanced and adjust as needed.  Usually, adjustments are made to the vinegar or mustard levels.   The texture will be very creamy.

Once the potatoes are tender, you can remove them from the grill and allow to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces.  Now add the chopped smoked potatoes to the dressing bowl and mix until all the potatoes are covered in dressing.  Give it just a few minutes to absorb.

Final Salad Touches

The ingredients mixed with our Hardboiled Eggs on top!

Must add the Eggs for our Smoked Potato Salad

Now that the dressing has been added to the smoked potato pieces, it’s time to add the remaining ingredients.  First in, the celery and onion.  Mix this well to ensure a single bite doesn’t get all onion!  Next, the chopped egg is added.  Gently mix this into the salad to keep the larger pieces from crumbling too far.  Finally, the sprinkle of paprika over the top of the salad.  I prefer a Spanish or Hungarian paprika.   That’s it!  Now chill until ready to serve and enjoy this super flavorful take on the non-traditional potato salad gets smoke infusion!

Tasting Notes

 

You can use a smoked paprika if you want even more kick of smoke but most of the time, a traditional paprika is suitable. 

SmokinLicious Products used in this blog:

Wood Chips: Grande Sapore®

Additional reading:

-The Breakfast Potato Takes on Smoke!

-GIVING AN EDGE TO SMOKY COCKTAIL SAUCE

-CORNISH GAME HEN MEETS SMOKE IN THE ORION COOKER

-SMOKED POTATO CURRY SMOKINLICIOUS® STYLE!

Dr. Smoke- Bet you can't stop at one bit when you try our Potato salad gets a smoke infusion!

Dr. Smoke- Bet you can’t stop at one bit when you try our Potato salad gets smoke infusion!

 

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!

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