Smoke & Honey

Here I am posting on a Sunday because I agreed to do this blog roll feature-rama thing and asked Jeff to be so kind as to write a post for me and because last week was insaneville for us, we both (he) dropped the ball. However Renee over at Flamingo Musings and Freakin Flamingo is one of the dearest ladies I know and I love her to the moon and back and I am all well I guess the cluster-f^$k in the kitchen can wait a bit while I continue on the blog tour of awesome. Can someone get me some coffee? Spiked por favor.

In case you didn’t notice, we have not been around these parts much lately. So Sunday posting is as rare as posting at all really. Our lives have changed quite a bit and the blog has suffered. Or maybe we have out grown this specific venture. Because it is not like we don’t cook or anything. As a matter of fact that seems to be all we’re doing lately.

What are we working on?

As a few of you may already know, Jeff & I started competition BBQing last year as a way to test our strength of relationship. You hang out in a 10 x 20 popup with a smoker going all night long with 4 different types of meats cooking while you sleep in a chair or on the pavement in a light dusting of rub and see if you do not kill each other before sunrise. We didn’t kill each other and we thought well let’s really change things up a notch.

So our competition BBQ team, Smoke & Honey, became our foodstuffs business. And so far so good. We are starting out at farmer’s markets in town selling smoked jerky, BBQ, sausage, bacon and the like. Plus a bevy of savory baked goods, including these doozies – Bourbon Apple Hand Pies with Bourbon Sugar Glaze and Bacon Dust.

Bourbon Apple Hand Pies

And we cater. And we are planning on just where this is going to take us. What is our end goal?

Plus you know we both still have real jobs.

Pretty much we have decided that we hate sleep and just won’t do that nonsense anymore.

CAN I PLEASE GET SOME DAMN COFFEE!?

How does our work differ from others of its genre?

Everything meat we produce (ok say 90%) is smoked. Our jerky is smoked, our sausages, bacon, etc all smoked. We have even made smoked tasso, salami and lomo. Damn tasty too. So rather than age curing our meats, or just using a regular dehydrator on our jerky, we go nice and slow over a whisper of smoke. It makes all the difference.

Smoked Pulled Pork

Why do we write what we do? (when we even write…)

Simply, to share our love of good food. And good beer. And so we have a reference to go back to when ever we want to make Bock Brined Corn Beef because let’s face it – all I really hear here are crickets… But that is our own fault. Consistent writers we are not. We’d rather be in the kitchen, at the grill, manning the smoker.

How does our writing process work?

Mostly with lots of scribbles on random pieces of paper after one of us storms up some crazy idea about what we want to make next. Then we lose the paper and have to try and redo stuff from memory only to find said paper after we have freaked out about it at each other for hours. Ah love.

We like odd combinations. Things you don’t usually see or hear of. If it is a massive fail we order pizza. If it kicks ass well we know we will make people happy with the flavors we create. We aren’t pretty cooks. Our stuff is rustic, messy and sometimes plain confusing. But where we understand that people do eat with their eyes first, we know their noses and mouths and fully happy bellies is how we finish everything off.

Eventually we take those scribbles on paper and cipher them and get them on the computer and maybe to the blog. However judging from the stack of paper scraps on my desk, I’d say were behind on the whole ciphering part.

Now here comes another part of of blog tour fail. I forgot about the fact that this is a “tour” and you should have somewhere else to “tour” once you were don’t “touring” us. i.e. forgot to ask a soul. I KNOW I SUCK OMG.

However I will not leave you without somewhere, ANYWHERE else to go than here so I think I will just talk about a couple of my latest addictions.

H2oKitchen by Jason Hook.

h2oKitchen

His food is drool worthy. He takes amazing photos. He reminds me a little of me in that he seems to do EVERYTHING. Cooks, paints, gardens, caters, etc. and still spends lots of time with his freakishly adorable boy and his lovely fiancé. Like us he probably doesn’t sleep much, but he knows good food. He knows that pulled pork, fried egg and red pepper jam taste amazing together between two crunchy slices of bread and to me that is like passing some kind of sandwich test. And I am a sandwich professional. Serious.

My Portuguese Kitchen by Paula Costa

My Portuguese Kitchen

She is a natural wiz in the kitchen. She now runs not one but TWO blogs, does kitchen demos, custom catered dinners and the like and is just so wonderful that I long for the day when I can actually give her a hug. A real live hug not just a bunch of parens with the word hug in between. Tho that works for now. She makes these amazing peri peri chicken wings that were the inspiration for Smoke & Honeys latest jerky development creation and check out this bright, colorful, just simply gorgeous Sangria!

Thanks for stopping by you lovely reader you.

Cooked up by Heather ~ Got a comment?

Farmhouse Ale Cheese Fondue

Spring has been less then stellar here in the Midwest. I am ready for 80 degree days and the shining sun. All we have been getting is clouds and cold wind and me pouting in a fleece jacket while I attempt to put in our garden. I am ready for cold beers and hot grill action! Not chili and soup. But you have to make the best of what you got right?

Fortunately for us making the best also came with a new grocery store here in Fort Wayne (FTW), and their sweet cheese section, but I will get back to that in a moment. I had grown used to having many natural food options when I lived in Chicago. I was in walking distance from about 5 different stores, and a very nice farmer’s market. When I moved to Indiana and in with Jeff, the options were not very impressive. But it is improving.

Our Barr Street farmer’s market, which only had about 10 vendors when I started visiting FTW, now boasts an impressive 40+. And now we have like 10 market’s to choose from, almost daily!

But still, off-season natural and organic shopping was rather limited. Till now.

Earth Fare, who’s mission states “to connect communities and improve lives through food” is one we share. We plant a HUGE garden every spring and share what we reap with all our friends, family and neighbors. And being obsessive lovers of food and beer, we also entertain friends on a regular basis, filling their bellies with only the best. So we were intrigued when Earth Fare decided to open their doors in FTW.

The first thing we noticed at Earth Fare – that they made making healthy food choices easy. No foods with trans fats. No high fructose corn syrup. No artificial colors or sweeteners. No synthetic hormones in fresh meats or dairy. Want to eat healthier? No problem.

Earth Fare Fort Wayne, IN

They also make it super easy to eat every color of the healthy rainbow. Which is a fantastic rule to get your daily veggies and fruits in. (Sorry, colored sprinkles on cupcakes do not count as part of the healthy rainbow. It disappoints me too.)

Earth Fare Fort Wayne, IN

The girly girl in me (she’s THERE I swear) went ape for these all natural soaps by the ounce and scoop yourself body scrubs.

Earth Fare Fort Wayne, IN

The carnivore in me fainted on site of the charcuterie. Jeff asked me twice to stop licking the glass.

Earth Fare Fort Wayne, IN

Throw in an expansive Indiana and Midwest craft beer selection, a large gluten free selection (ahem, mom), a juice bar, a pizza station, salad bar, tons of ready-to-eat options for healthy eats on the fly and an amazing group of friendly, courteous, helpful employees and I think we have a winner Fort Wayne.

BTW they have locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. And where this might upset some of the 100% local natural food establishments in town, it shouldn’t stop you from visiting them and giving them a try. They aren’t here to steal business from any farmer’s markets or natural food stores, they are here to give us more, easily obtainable healthy food choices. And that is NEVER a bad thing. Ever. Never ever ever.

And to get you to eat better we are going to tempt you with a $50 gift card to earth fare. All you have to do is share this post (helpful links at the end of my rambling) and in the comments section, tell us what your favorite healthy go-to snack is. Extra credit if you also tell us your favorite beer. (Giveaway open to only residents of Indiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee, but we still want to hear about your favorite beers if you are NOT from one of these states.) Winner will be picked Friday May 16th at 3pm et.

Almost forgot. Their cheese selection. To die for. (I was jumping for joy which explains why the pic below is slighty blurry.)

Earth Fare Fort Wayne, IN

Which made us think of this amazing beer cheese Fondue. And we just had to share it with you.

Farmhouse Ale Cheese Fondue

Farmhouse Ale Cheese Fondue

2 T Butter
16 ounces shredded high quality sharp cheddar cheese, dusted with flour (do not use pre-shredded cheese)
1 onion finely diced
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
2 Jalapeno finely diced
2 Serrano finely diced
12 oz Bottle Farmhouse/Saison beer (we used Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
1/4 cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste.
Paprika

Melt butter over low heat. Saute onions, Serranos and Jalapenos till soft.

Add in garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.

Increase heat to medium, and pour in the bottle of Saison, Worcestershire sauce & whole grain mustard. When it begins to boil, add the cheese in hand-fulls and stir till completely melted.

Add cream and stir until creamy.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Dust paprika over the top.

Serve with apple slices, grapes, pears, crusty bread and/or hot pretzels.

Cooked up by Heather ~ 11 Comments

Mardi Gras Seafood Gumbo

Heather and I always joke that we manage to compliment each other perfectly. She has her baking and desert making and I am comfortable in front of the grill/smoker and even spending way to much time stirring a roux. Which is good because there is nothing worse than two people fighting over a spatula to flip the burger. Plus her stuff requires concentration and my stuff just requires being in close proximity of the kegerator or beer fridge. I win.

Which brings me to this seafood gumbo, and my 13 hour roux (kidding, maybe 1 hour). For those of you who already skipped my rambling and just went ahead to the recipe and are now back here wondering… what gives only 12 ounces of beer? I know that seems like nothing, but we chose to use an amber ale and we definitely could pick up on it. Sometimes less is more.

Oh one more thing. We save the salt until the very end because depending on the seafood boil mixture and the producer of the andouille sausage, you could very easily over salt the dish. Just a heads up.

Mardi Gras Seafood Gumbo

Mardi Gras Seafood Gumbo

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1.25 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1# of whitefish (we used cod)
  • 1# of andouille sausage cut into bite size pieces
  • 1# of crawfish tails
  • 1# of shrimp
  • 2 cups of onions finely diced
  • 1 cup of bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 cup of celery finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 TB fresh thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoon of crab boil spice mixture
  • 54 ounces of seafood or chicken stock warmed or at least at room temperature
  • 12 ounces of amber beer at room temperature
  • parsley and white onion for garnish
  • White rice
  • File powder and hot sauce on the side

Now the instructions:

  • Toss the shrimp in the crab boil spice mixture and put back in the fridge to relax.
  • The hardest part about this is making the roux. It is not difficult but it requires a lot of stirring so open a couple beers, put on some good music, and stir stir stir. You want to use a large cast iron dutch oven over medium heat.  Bring the oil up to a temperature where a pinch of flour starts to sizzle and once you have that dump the rest of the flour in. You want to stir until the roux is milk chocolate color. This will take about 35-45 minutes. The biggest problem is roux is easy to burn so stir like a mad man and be patient.
  • Once you are at that milk chocolate colored roux, dump in the onions, bell pepper, and celery.
  • Stir the vegetables for 5 minutes and then dump in the garlic and stir for another minute
  • Add in the beer and stock along with the crawfish tails, thyme, cayenne (we start with with one teaspoon and add more as it cooks if it needs to be spicier), bay leaves, and black pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for an hour.
  • Add in the andouille and whitefish. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  • If you still need to make the rice, before dumping in the andouille and whitefish is the perfect time.
  • Kill the heat and add in the shrimp and let it sit until the shrimp is cooked through.
  • Taste and adjust
  • Put a scoop of rice in a bowl, pour the gumbo over top, and serve the file powder and hot sauce on the side for your guests to decide what they want to do.
Cooked up by Jeff ~ Got a comment?