Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon

Brining is a popular way to infuse moisture and flavor into a piece of salmon before smoking. It provides a subtle, pervasive flavoring of the salmon and can make a dry piece of salmon juicy and flavorful. It's a simple process that requires little experience and prep time, yet can transform your smoked salmon from boring and dry to plump, flavorful and moist.

A basic brining recipe is salt and water, but that's just for beginners. Some brines are mixtures of salt and sugar, while others use maple syrup, corn syrup or even fruit juices. You can brine salmon in wine or apple cider and salt or add such flavorings as pepper, herbs, spices, citrus peels, fresh berries, cinnamon sticks, cloves or garlic. What type of brine you use will determine what flavors the smoked salmon will assume.

You will always want to brine your cut of salmon in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, but 24 hours is ideal. Choose your wood chips for smoking such that they compliment the flavors used in the brine such as juniper berries for cedar plank Salmon, or cherry wood for sun dried cherries in the brine mixture.

Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon


2 Quarts Pineapple-Orange Juice
2 Quarts Water
1 Cup Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 cups light Brown Sugar
1 Cup Molasses
2 Cloves Chopped Garlic
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorns
1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger, Chopped


Preheat Grill to 350°F
1). Soak Cedar Planks in Warm Salted Water for at least 2 hours
2). Combine all ingredients listed above and soak salmon in brine for 12 to 24 hours.
3). Place Salmon on Cedar Planks, and place plank on preheated grill for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked as desired.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Does a 10 pound bag of flour make a really big biscuit?

Am I the only one who wanted to know the answer to this question? Ok so the advertising executives at a big insurance company decided to ask, and needless to say I set out to discover the answer. I started this task knowing that the parameters for my recipe only stipulated the use of a 10 pound bag of flour. I decided to re-scale my recipe for Southern style beaten biscuits and here's a scaled up version for those that are interested.....

29 1/8 cups all-purpose flour- That leave just enough flour to dust your counter)
14 5/8 teaspoons granulated sugar
7 1/4 teaspoons of salt
7 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
7 1/4 cups vegetable shortening, cold
3 2/3 cups half-and-half
3 2/3 cups ice water


preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Place flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Cover and pulse to mix. Add shortening; cover and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. With the food processor running, add the half-and-half in ice water in a slow, steady stream through the food chute.

3. Process until the dough forms a ball. Continue processing three additional minutes.

4. Turn dough out onto a floured board. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness; fold dough over onto itself to make 2 layers.

Plaistow on and on greased baking sheet; talk with a fork bake 30 minutes (if you're seriously making a big biscuit, you may want to reduce the oven temperature to 300° and bake for approximately one hour allowing the center of the biscuit to cook), or until lightly browned.

Now just in case you want to make beaten biscuits, and just don't have the necessary group of people it will take to consume a larger version here is a smaller recipe...

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup ice water

The answer to the question I just had to see for myself: Yes it does..... about 3 foot diameter

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Starting the day with a wonderful Croissant...........

A fresh baked Croissant
One of my favorite smells of all time is the wonderful scent of a freshly baked Croissant, and  the once daily ritual of  slathering croissants with warm butter and black currant preserves is still a cherished memory of my time overseas.. I find it difficult to track down a properly made croissant these days with so many places serving a proof & bake product! If you are lucky enough to run across a bakery who still actually bakes from scratch pick up a couple croissants. For my blog followers willing to spend a little time in the kitchen you will find the rewards for your efforts will be abundant!

1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup +1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour


1. Dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand five minutes.

2. Place milk in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, until thoroughly (approximately 180°F) heated but not boiling.

3. Combine milk, sugar, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large bowl; mix well.

4. Allow the mixture to cool to 110°F. Add yeast mixture and egg.

5. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Place dough mixture into a well greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover; chill one hour.

6. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; roll out into a 12 inch square. Spread 1/4 cup of the butter evenly over dough. Fold corners to center; then fold dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

7. Repeat rolling, buttering, and folding procedure twice more; cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

8. Divide dough in half; roll each half into a 14 inch circle on a lightly floured surface; cut into six wedges.

9. Roll up each wedge, beginning at the wide end. Seal points; Place croissants point side down on a greased baking sheet; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for one hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

10. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

yield: 1 dozen

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chess Pie

Chess Pie

I'm sure many of you reading this recipe today have never even had the pleasure of eating Chess pie. This dessert is perfect for humid summer afternoons, and has been served in the parlors of Southern homes since colonial times. With the addition of 1 teaspoon distilled vinegar to cut the sweetness, it becomes what is known throughout the South as vinegar pie. While many will debate the exact origins of the name chess pie, it is regarded as a classic southern desert and just may be the basis for traditional pecan pie. I highly recommend this recipe as a dessert to be paired when cooking any of my barbecued entree recipes such as pulled pork.

Chess Pie

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1 pie crust- recipe follows


Preheat up into 350°F
1. Combine sugar, corn meal, and salt in a small bowl; mix well.
2. Combine eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl; beat well.
3. Add the combined dry ingredients, milk, and melted butter to the egg mixture; beat until smooth.
4. Pour filling into a prepared  pie crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until set.

Pie dough

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup +2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons ice water
1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with cold water, one tablespoon at a time, mix with a fork, until all ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball; chill in the refrigerator.
2. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until approximately 1/8 inch thick.
3. Place dough into pie dish and press lightly with a small scrap to make sure dough is pressed into the corners. Trim edges, and dock bottom with a fork. Reserve.