I am getting my plants ready for spring planting and some going to friends. What you see in the photos is Roma tomato plants in bin and on on shelf, some basil, jalapeño peppers, peppercini peppers, and sweet bell. I have some seeds germinating for spearmint, peppermint, lemon basil, sweet basil, Thai basil, cinnamon basil, marigold regular and jumbo, tarragon, lavender,
my my other seed starter has English daisy, rosemary, sage, summer thyme, Greek oregano, and egg plant that not yet ready for transplanting to small pots yet. The English daisy, sage, summer thyme should be ready for transplanting next weekend.
I have been consumed lately with the desire to smoke some cheese on my classic. It just seems that everywhere I have been reading the last little while, someone has been talking about grilling cheese. I do not have a smoker tube or maze yet (that will probably be my next grilling purchase, but need to wait and see what Santa has in the presents first), but I got to wondering if it is possible to cold smoke without one. So here is my setup: just a small amount of charcoal, in a string, with a few apple chunks on top. The plan was to light the one end, and the chunks would slowly burn around my half circle. I had the vents almost closed, just a sliver open. Didn't start out too bad, I was holding grate temp right at 90, but after about half hour the fire was almost dead. I was forced to open the grates a little more, and the grate temp went to 120. That was about as low as I could hold it, so I just put a big pan of ice under the cheese. The smoke wasn't as clean as I would have liked, probably due to very little air circulation. After about three hours I pulled the cheese off and left it sit, then wiped it gently and bagged it. I just sliced a piece after a week and half of fridge time. The swiss is really good, the cheddar is o.k., but I probably should have gotten sharp instead of mild. Would I do this again? Probably not, I think the smoke tube is worth waiting on, but this did turn out better than I expected.
Our favorite meal (because it is restaurant worthy and really simple) is grilled Salmon and Fettuccine Alfredo with a Caesar Salad...
Found a copycat recipe for Alfredo Sauce like Olive Garden : its easy to make so we just cut the ingredients in half for just the two of us (full amounts are shown for recipe)
1 stick of butter / 3-4 cloves of garlic (minced fine) / 2 cups of heavy cream / dash of black pepper and salt / 1.5 - 2 cups finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese / 12 oz or so box of Fettuccine or other favorite pasta
Melt butter gently in sauce pan over medium to low heat / Add garlic, cream, salt & pepper / bring to gentle simmer (not boil) / Add cheese and continue to simmer and stir for 8-10 minutes. Do not bring to hard boil as the cheese and cream will separate. Last night I used a Trader Joe's pasta that was really good...
The Salmon was drizzled with Butter, Lemon, Dill, and Dizzy Pig "Raging River" rub. This fish had skin-on (which I prefer for grilling). Placed fish on folded foil tray and cooked direct at 400 for 15-18 minutes.
George was anxiously awaiting leftovers...
On a Restaurant Depot run to pick up a packer brisket and other supplies, a 5 lb bag of beautiful large fresh poblano peppers and a 5 lb chub of 'mild' Mexican Chorizo somehow managed along with some cheeses to jump into the cart – well assisted by my son and I in making that leap.
This is what we (well my son anyway, as he was lead chef on the meal) prepared from those fixings:
I blistered the poblano peppers on Big Joe over direct heat and then steamed them in a covered bowl. Next was peeling and seeding. Since we were going for a casserole rather than stuffed, the peppers were slit open to seed – much easier that way.
2.5 pounds of the chorizo was browned in a pan with the largest poblano chopped up for extra flavor, plus diced bell pepper, chopped onions and some garlic. We had not used this chorizo before ( La Paloma brand ) and we really liked the flavors of the sausage.
The peppers, meat mixture, Chihuahua and Queso Fresco cheeses along with some sharp cheddar were layered in the greased Lodge 7.5 qt dutch oven. A topping of cheddar and queso was the final addition – with the cheddar acting as the melting cheese to bind the queso as the topping browned.
The dish was baked, uncovered and indirect, on Joe at 375 degrees with application of mesquite wood smoke for about 35 minutes – until it looked and smelled just right.
Served with a simple side salad. Delicious for dinner and quite filling. These particular poblanos has just the right "heat" level to pair with the mild but flavorful chorizo.
The casserole reheated was great for breakfast the next morning, too!