Friday, October 30, 2020


 Here is Part II of my big smoking adventure of a couple weeks ago. I'm going to start with one of my favorites. I love it because it is so antithetical...Ok, it also seems mutually incompatible. How can you possibly smoke an ice cube?! Once again, I am learning from Steven Raichlen's wonderful book, Project Smoke. He is a believer that just about anything can be smoked. I am also starting to believe!


For smoked cubes, simply pour water in a pan and place in your smoker (once you've got it going) for about 15-20 minutes. That's it. Pour the smoked water in ice cube trays and once frozen you have smoked ice cubes. The longer you smoke the water, the smokier the cubes will get. I thought 20 minutes was perfect with a little scotch. I think the smoked cubes would also make a fantastic Manhattan or served with any rye whisky or bourbon. They would also be great with Ice Tea...Lapsang Souchong, which is inherently smoky also sounds like a perfect combo.

As with the Ice Cubes it only took about 20 minutes to smoke these hard boiled eggs. Boil your eggs. Cool. Peel. Place on smoker (once lit) and smoke for about 20 minutes.
Behind the eggs is a pan of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. I smoked it for about 20 minutes, as well, but next time would smoke for a longer amount of time. The salt was smoky, but very subtle. On the bottom shelf is the Brisket.

After they came out of the smoker I salted and peppered and then prepared as you would any deviled egg. I think a nice pink caviar would be excellent as a topper on these smoked eggs, but my local market did not have any caviar so smoked salmon went on top of mine. Delicious!
Similar to the smoked ice cubes and deviled eggs, smoked bread is simpler than it sounds. All you have to do is smoke the water using to make the bread and also smoke the flour. When you put it all together you have a very subtle, delightfully smoked bread. Again, I smoked the flour and water for about 20 minutes. Steven Raichlen gives credit to French baker, Johann Villar who showed him how to smoke such unexpected ingredients.
I used Raicheln's recipe, which called for 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups white flour. He also uses honey as a sweetener, which lends a nice floral flavor. Use your favorite bread recipe or send me an email and I will send you his recipe.

From this wonderfully smoked bread I made a few different things. First, French Toast.

I cut the bread for this French Toast thicker than usual; almost 2 inches and also cut off the crust. Soak the bread in an egg (2 large eggs, well beaten for 3 big pieces of toast) batter with cinnamon, a little salt, tiny bit of sugar for about an hour, turning every 15 minutes or so to make sure it was completely soaked through. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet (I like using my old cast iron pan) until very hot and add about 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter. Lower heat to medium high. Carefully drop in the bread (It becomes quite soggy from all that soaking!) and saute for about 5-6 minutes on each side.
My husband, Jerry likes his French Toast traditionally sweetened with maple syrup with bacon on the side.

I chose (because I am still watching calories!) to have mine with Greek-style yogurt and fresh blueberries!

I actually liked mine better, but then I am not a fan of sweet things in the morning.

Next, I used the crusts from the French Toast to make a...
Gazpacho is a cold Spanish soup, specifically from the Andalusian region. It is an ancient dish dating back to the 7th century. The version we know today with tomatoes and green peppers was brought to Spain from the 'new world' in the 16th century. To serve completely pureed or chunky is a personal preference. I like both so puree the base and then add lots of toppings. Take liberties with the fresh veg ingredients, but this is what I used for this Gazpacho. Also, purists would never used canned tomatoes, but unless you grow tomatoes yourself, often the ones you buy in the grocery are not that tasty (picked way too early) so I prefer to use canned unless I have a source for really good fresh tomatoes picked ripe off the vine.

1 28 oz. can San Marzano style tomatoes
1 cup V-8
1 large English style cucumber (no need to peel); 1/2 in puree; 1/2 for garnish
1/2 small red onion, peeled and finely diced; same
1 medium Green Bell pepper, cored and diced; same
1 medium Red Bell pepper, cored and diced; same
2 large garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt 
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 thick slice white bread-This is where I used the crusts from the smoked bread. I used a large handful of crusts that I ran under water and gently squeezed out.

For garnish: In addition to the English cuke, red and green pepper, I also added 1/2 sliced avocado and 4 steamed shrimp per serving. I also added some chopped fresh tomato to the garnish. 
Here's my husband, Jerry helping to chop garnishes. 

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Puree until the soup is completely blended and the right consistency. If it is too thick, thin with a little more V-8 juice.

Taste for salt/pepper and more cumin if needed. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Top with whatever garnish you prefer. I cannot believe how just a handful of smoked bread crusts flavored this entire soup. You could definitely taste the smoke!
Sometimes your finger acts as the best utensil!

From the Smoked Brisket I also made Brisket Burgers and a very lovely Brisket Hash. Can't wait to get that smoker stoked up again. I have Steven Raichlen to thank for these smoky ideas, but am looking forward to creating some of my own.






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