I thought long and hard about which way to go with my entry for the “Pass me the Veggies” Challenge. Italian? India? Thai? I finally settled on my favorite cuisine, Mexican. Now Mexican food isn’t generally thought of when you mention veggies but if you think about it a little it could be. (Lots of onion, tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc.) I wanted to make everything as “Veggie” as I could so I settled on some Veggie Fajitas. I was going to use eggplant as a meat substitute but then eggplant isn’t very Mexican. So, I rethought that and came up with Nopalitos. Yeah that’s the ticket. Here’s a Youtube video about Nopalitos.
I started out by making some Mexican rice. (Which has plenty of veggies in it) Here are the ingredients for that.
See this link for the full recipe.
I then made up some flour tortillas. See this link for the full recipe / post.
I then cut up the onions
and bell peppers
and some zucchini and yellow squash.
For the fajitas marinade I cut up 3 limes
and squeezed them into a bowl.
I added 1/4 cup of OO and 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder and 1 teaspoon of cumin and stirred.
I then place all these veggies in a gallon zip lock and poured the marinade over them and let them rest for a while.
Then I prepped my Nopalitos.
My wife wanted to spread then out this way.
I smeared on a little oil and then sprinkled on some fajitas seasoning and let them rest a while.
I had made up some Pico de Gallo on Sunday.
I used that to make up some Guacamole. (A couple of stones left in to keep it from turning brown)
I got the kamado going and took out the nopalitos.
I put on most of the nopalitos along with a couple of Mexican green onions and yellow peppers.
When the nopalitos was close to being done I dumped in my veggie bag with all the marinade into my very hot 12” CI skillet. This is to start the cooking process.
I had pulled out as much of the squash out as I could and put it on the grill.
I took the nopalitos in and cut it up but forgot to get a pic of it. I now set up my fajitas bar with some black beans, rice, guacamole and Mexican creama. I had got my Fajitas Platter very hot and loaded it up with the pepper and onions, nopalitos and the squash. Here is that photo.
Close up of the nopalitos.
And here are some nopalitos fajitas tacos plated up.
Nopalitos are not meat but very tasty and this was a very delicious meatless meal.
Thanks for looking.
Stir Fried Shrimp and Vegetables in Cast Iron Wok on Classic Joe
Was looking for a different cook for dinner tonight. Since I am headed to Asia this weekend I guess stir fry was on my mind. And since the Challenge this month was seafood and because I will be gone on travel for the rest of the month - I also decided that this would be my entry for the May Challenge.
This cook is a stir fried shrimp dish done on my Classic Joe in the Kamado Joe cast iron wok using the Divide and Conquer support frame and the X ring to hold the wok.
My son and I did the cooking on this meal. He and I make a great cooking team and I really enjoy cooking with him. We are always competing with each other as we do the cooking and that makes for some great results - we hope you agree.
We did the cook in two parts. The first being what seemed reasonable for the evening meal; the second an after the meal cook with what ingredients remained to have leftovers/lunch.
The Main Meal - Stir Fried Shrimp and Vegetables
Previously we have used the cast iron wok on the X ring in Big Joe. This outing we decided to use the Classic Joe as a comparison. While both are fine for wok cooking – son and I are of the opinion we like the wok on the Classic Joe better just because of the relationship of the sizes of the Kamado and the wok. By the way – a good set of heavy oven style mitts that go a ways up the forearm really helps with the wok cooking – at least for your main hand that you cook with that is “over the fire” heat coming up around the wok. And for removing the wok itself from the Kamado as required.
When the food was ready we carried the wok inside and set it on the stove burner and being cast iron it kept the food nicely heated throughout the meal. Yes – we had seconds and even a third helping, it was that good.
Cook temperature in Joe was around 500 degrees preheat. I filled Joe Classic to have a full fire bowl and lit two places opposite each other just off the center on the lump. After Joe stabilized, we initially set the wok on the X rack in the upper position and got it heat soaked until surface temps in the bottom middle of the wok were reading 600 plus on the infrared thermo. The outer sides were showing 400 degrees. In mid-cook with the lid open we were losing too much heat in the wok and moved the X rack to the lower position which turns out to be the better placement. This gets the wok bottom closer to the coals and keeps the heat in a more desirable range. For the part 2 cook we kept the wok and X rack in the lower position on the D&C frame and that kept the heat up. This would be the preferred placement.
Here are the elements of the cook:
The Peeled and Butterflied Shrimp - about 2 1/4 lbs
Some of the Other Ingredients -The Seasoning and Sauce Elements
Sugar Snap Peas, Hot Peppers, Green and Red Bell Peppers, Fresh Ginger, Onions, Garlic, Corn Starch Slurry with Hon Dashi Granules
Baby Corn, Bamboo Shoots, Snow Mushrooms, Carrots,'Tall' Bok Choy
It Takes Two Baking Sheets to Carry It All Outside. Glad I Have a Separate Grilling Table Near Joe.
Heating the Wok (next time we will start in the lower level position)
Part 1 Cook Off to a Good Start - This Is Gonna Be Good!
Let's Add More Good Stuff
Almost Done - It Smells Wonderful
Part 1 Main Meal Cook is Done! - Taken Off Joe and Ready to Serve
The Part 2 Cook In Play on Joe - Whatever Ingredients That Were Left and an Opportunity to Increase the Hot Pepper Element with Extra Peppers and Sriracha... Oh Yeah!
Batch Two In Progress
Batch Two Finished - and yes we did stand around with chop sticks and sample batch two. Repeatedly.
Hope you enjoyed this wok cook on the Kamado as much as we did.
Mrs. Smokehowze commented that there was no need to go out to a restaurant to have this meal - it was better at home -- and the ability to keep a high heat in the wok on the Kamado made this a much better result than cooking it on the indoor stove.
Thumbs Up for Sure!
Grilled Swordfish Steaks & Kamado Joe Cast Iron Wok Bok Choy
A Tasty Meal
The market had swordfish steaks on sale. Four went in the basket for dinner. While there the Shanghai bok choy looked very fresh and was also on sale. Several pounds went into the basket.
This cook gave my son and I the opportunity to simultaneously cook on Big Joe for grilling the fish and on Classic Joe with the new Kamado Joe cast iron wok. We choose to use both Joes so the food came off at the very same time and because it was the first time using a wok on the Kamado as well as the first use of the recently released Kamado Joe cast iron wok.
Big(Red)Joe was set up direct at 475 degrees for the fish. The fish was marinated in olive oil, fresh lime juice, oregano, basil, granulated garlic, fresh ground black pepper and a bit of salt. Some of the marinade was set aside and reserved as a table sauce. This marinade flavor was very good on the fish. Cooked these thick steaks for 4 minutes first side on well-oiled grill and 3 ½ on flip side. Just right.
Classic(Red)Joe was setup for direct cooking and stabilized at 500-550 degrees. That was my guess with regard to the right fire level for woking. I think it worked. I tested the wok on the X ring frame at the lower level and decided that was too close to the fire and too hard to use the wok. We cooked with the X ring on the upper level. Wok preheat temp at the bottom was about 700 degrees. This is a cast iron wok, so it will hold the heat.
The bok choy (cooked by Smokehowze son) came out very nicely. Simply stir fired with sesame oil, dried hot peppers, garlic and soy sauce. You could definitely tell the improvement over a wok on the stove burner because of the added heat ability. The resulting bok choy was much more of a stir fry quality and much less of a steamed result when cooking with lower heat.
Wok Cook Observations:
Have a ready place with a heat resistant support of some type for when you need to get the wok off the heat (like end of the cook) in order to get the food out. I used three bricks on my stainless work table spaced properly as a wok nest to keep the hot wok off the stainless top which would cause the top to warp. Have a pair of forearm or elbow length leather or otherwise heat resistant gloves to use when woking or you will get your arm overheated and/or lose hair. Also a good pair of heavy duty of pots holders are essential/critical. You will need them. The wok lifting ears get very very hot. When I first saw the cast iron wok at Kamado Joe, I mentioned to Bobby Brennan that my son had commented that to use it more easily on a Joe or any Kamado it needed a half diameter flat wok ring plate to set on the X ring snuggled up to the wok to shield the heat at the front coming off the charcoal. I can (and will) now inform Bobby from experience that such a shield plate would be a good addition to the wok set. For next time I will make one or improvise one out of aluminum foil. If you are used to cooking on a wok on your stove, be prepared for some changes. Like much more heat and much faster and different cooking. Have everything you need where it needs to be including the dish for the finished cook - you have NO time to run and grab something or even have someone fetch it for you. The cast iron wok is heavier and holds the heat much more so than a carbon steel wok. Factro that into your cooking. Cooking on the Kamado and with the cast iron wok can somewhat limit the traditional cooking techniques where-in the wok is also tilted and moved around during the cook. .
Will we use the wok again on the Kamado? You bet! Is there be a learning curve for woking on a Kamado? Of course. Is it more like wok cooking should be? I think so at least from the heat perspective (from my limited experience).
Here are the rest of the photos:
Fish on Big Joe
Swordfish is Done
The Kamado Joe Cast Iron Wok on a Classic Joe
Wok Inside Bottom Temperature
Bok Choy in the Wok
Bok Choy is Done.
What do you do when you’re on vacation and you have a lot of let over Carne Asada and you don’t want to have Carne Asada Tacos every night?
You make Fajitas with it.
First I cut up the veggies. (1 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 brown onion and 3 Mexican green onions) Throw them into the resorts skillet until they start to wilt.
Now I toss some of the Carne Asada strips into a bowl with some Fajitas marinade.
Veggies are there.
Now throw them into the bowl with the Carne and stir.
And return to the skillet to warm the meat.
Serve with corn tortillas, sour cream and a cerveza.
It was delicious!
Thanks for looking.
Today was another good cook. Fajitas are possibly my favorite TexMex food ever. Well as I've stated on many other threads: Any time you wrap meat and veg in a tortilla, you've got a winner!! Mr Grill, of course, was observing every step of the way.
Started with a piece of beef flank and a couple of chicken breasts - each in a marinade of tequila, lime juice, cilantro, and fajita seasoning.
While that was marinading, I halved and cored some tomatoes and put them and a couple of jalpenos on the grill:
Only 5 mins to get a nice char on the skins and then I chopped everything up - added onion, garlic, cilantro, lime, and made a smoky, spicy salsa.
Then I heated up the griddle until it was smoking hot and threw on some red pepper and onion.
While those were getting nice and brown, Mr. Grill and I enjoyed a cold beer and some blue corn chips and salsa on the patio.
The grilled peppers and onions smelled SO good when they were done.
Then it was time for the meat! A 3 minute sear on one side, then a flip, and pour on a little of the marinade.
Mr. Grill took a few minutes to wander through the garden while the meat was cooking.
The chicken was next and took only a few mins per side as well:
More to come ....