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

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

Woodsy Broccoli Pesto from the Grill! Click To Tweet

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

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

Easy Smoking Technique

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

our stove top smoked broccoli

#smokedbroccoli

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

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

A Quick Process to Pesto

Pesto ingredients

#pesto

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

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

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

Think Endless Uses

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

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

finished mixed Broccoli Pesto

#smokinlicious #pesto

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

SmokinLicious® products used for this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to

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

Related recipes:

-CHARRED BROCCOLI SOUP!

-TORTELLINI GETS A SMOKY MATE

-SMOKED BROCCOLI CASSEROLE WITH APPLE & QUINOA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#meatwrappedavocado recipe

Avocado & Meat Prep

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

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

Our avacado split in half

#stuffedavocado

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

Assembling the Loaves

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

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

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

Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:

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

 Two-Zone Charcoal Smoking

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

#twozonecooking

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

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

Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:  

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

our finished avacado stuffed turkey loaf!

#stuffedavocado wrap

 

 

 

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

 

SmokinLicious® products for this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

For more reading related to

For more reading related to- avocado recipe and other grilling techniques

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-AVOCADO CHOCOLATE PUDDING

-SUCCULENT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

-EMBER FIRED FRESH ZUCCHINI

Dr. Smoke

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#smokedokra

Aromatics to Start

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

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

Making of a Soup

Add all the broth ingredients to the stock pot

#okrasoup

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

our stock pot blending all the flavorful ingredients

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

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

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

our finished smoked okra soup

#bowlofcomfort

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

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to smoky Okra soup and other smoking vegetable ideas

For more reading related to smoky Okra soup and other smoking vegetable ideas

More recipes you might enjoy!

-CHARRED BROCCOLI SOUP!

-SMOKED BONE BROTH FOR HEALTH & FLAVOR

-SUCCULENT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

 

 

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

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

The best 6 recipes from our 2018 collection!

The best 6 recipes from our 2018 collection!

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

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

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

#6 Smoked Carrot-Almond-Ricotta Cake

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

#carrotcake

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

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

 

#5 Charred Corn on the Cob

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

#grilledcornonthecob

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

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

 

#4 Avocado-Chocolate Pudding

refrigerate the Chocolate Avocado pudding before serving.

#avocadopudding

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

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

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

 

#3 Cheesy Potato Bake

Cheesy Potato Bake

#cheesypotatoes

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

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

 

 

#2 Ember-Fired Fresh Zucchini

Zucchini on embers using the direct fire method for cooking!

#smokedzucchini

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

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

 

#1 Wood-Fired Guacamole

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

#guacamole

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

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

 

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

SmokinLicious® products used:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Charwood

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

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

Related reading:

-Top 10 Vegetables to Cook in Hot Embers

-GRILLED PRIME RIB THE ULTIMATE WITH WOOD

-SMOKED HAM ON THE GAS GRILL

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

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

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

 

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

listen to the audio of this blog posting

#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

listen to the audio of this blog posting

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

listen to the audio of this blog posting

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!

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