27 Oct 2009

STUFFED BABY SQUASH


I couldn't resist cooking this on my cedar wood baking plank to give just a hint of smokiness to the squash.



A small whole baby squash is a meal in itself and all you need for accompaniments are some sun-dried tomato bread and a spicy tomato sauce.

Serves: 4

You will need: 4 small squash about 350g each, 200g mixed wild and basmati rice, 60ml chilli and garlic oil, 150g grated Gruyere cheese.

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Pierce the squash in several places with the tip of a knife. Place the squash on a baking tray or oven plank and bake for 30 minutes or until the squash are tender. Leave to one side until cool enough to handle.
2. Cook the rice in salted, boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender, drain. Slice a lid off the top of each squash and scoop out and discard the seeds, also scoop out and chop the flesh.
3. Heat the chilli and garlic oil in a frying pan and cook the chopped squash for 5 minutes. ( Or, if using, transfer to the oven baking plank for extra smokiness and cook in the oven for a few minutes).
4. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the cheese and add the remainder to the pan along with the cooked rice, season. Mix well.
5. Pile the mixture into the squash shells and place in an ovenproof dish (or return to the oven baking plank). Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

18 Oct 2009

SMOKED SALMON AND CAMEMBERT CHEESE COOKED ON A STOVETOP SMOKER


As a newbie to smoking food, I decided to start with salmon fillets and a Camembert cheese. These took the same amount of time to cook which is approximately 15 minutes. Baby new potatoes dipped in smoked Camembert was a revelation, and will be made many times again, also the salmon was deliciously moist and smoked. I chose to use Alder Wood Chips, which came supplied with the Stovetop Smoker.


The food smoking possibilities are endless. Cheese, tomatoes, pork chops, chicken, fish, seafood, sausages and potatoes - just to name a few options. Any foods you may think will benefit from searing after smoking can then just be placed onto a griddle pan.

My husband has decided he is going to use the smoker on the barbecue, load it with sausages, potato wedges and vegetables then finish cooking them on the barbecue. He is coming up with ideas now - anything to do with the barbecue and you soon get his interest!

I've had a few requests from him such as smoked salmon fishcakes and smoked tomatoes, maybe these can be part of my next stovetop smoker posting.

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the Oven Baking Plank sent to me by Cookequip, this time it is the turn of the Stovetop Smoker. I have been sent the Gourmet Edition - Mini Smoker which can be used indoors on the hob, or outdoors on a barbecue.

The smoker is made from stainless steel and consists of a base where you put a small amount of wood chips, next you insert the drip pan and top with a food rack. Put your food to be smoked on the oiled rack and slide the lid to close. Cooking instructions and recipes are on a separate booklet included with the smoker, also included are a couple of tubs of wood chips to get you started. After use the inside of the smoker will turn black but this is normal and means you are using it!


The smoker comes with a cooking guide explaining the matching of wood chips to certain types of food, I chose to use Alder and the book explains this is a mild wood ideal for smoking salmon, seafood and vegetables. Although Alder isn't recommended to smoke cheese I found it was a suitable match.

Smoking food is all about tweaking - which wood chips you prefer to use, the quantity and also how long you prefer to smoke your food. I am at the beginning of the learning curve with smoking and from time to time I will come back with a few photographs of food I have smoked.