Categories
Dessert

Baking cobbler outdoors can be ‘berry’ satisfying

Smoked Blueberry Peach Cobbler
This cobbler, made from fresh peaches and blueberries, is a perfect summer dessert that can be made in the oven or out on the grill or smoker.

Thanks to the Newton Rotary Club’s annual peach fundraiser and my three-year-old niece insisting that I buy blueberries for our recent fun day, I had quite a bit of fruit in my refrigerator this week.

That, combined with Joey itching to use a cast iron Dutch oven he recently got for his smoker, meant we were going on a new adventure of baking outdoors.

After a fruitless (pun intended) search for a recipe that I liked using both peaches and blueberries, I finally decided to combine two in my search for the perfect smoked cobbler, and the final product definitely did not disappoint.

One recipe I used is from “The Grateful Girl Cooks” (https://www.thegratefulgirlcooks.com/berry-cobbler-traeger-grill-style/), and the other is Steven Raichlen’s “Barbecue Bible” site (https://barbecuebible.com/recipe/smoky-bourbon-peach-cobbler/). I added extra vanilla and cinnamon to my version.

Smoked Blueberry Peach Cobbler
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Smoked Blueberry Peach Cobbler

This cobbler, made from fresh peaches and blueberries, is a perfect summer dessert that can be made in the oven or out on the grill or smoker.
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberry, bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon, cobbler, grilled, peaches, smoker, vanilla

Ingredients

Topping Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter cold
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk I used skim with a dash of vinegar
  • cinnamon for sprinkling

Peach Filling Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 cups peaches cut into one-inch pieces

Blueberry Filling Ingredients

  • 18 ounces blueberries
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat your grill, smoker or oven to 350 degrees. If you’re using a grill, you’ll want to bake over indirect heat.
  • For the grill or smoker, prepare a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven and for the oven, a 9×13-inch baking dish, by coating the inside with butter and set it aside.
  • For the topping, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl and then cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the buttermilk and set the topping aside.
  • In another bowl, combine all the ingredients for the peach filling, except the peaches. Once they are all incorporated, fold in the peaches.
  • Finally, for the blueberry filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir gently until the blueberries are well coated in the mixture.
  • To assemble the cobbler, start with about half of the peach filling, layer in the blueberries and then finish off with the rest of the peaches. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, drop the topping by the spoonful evenly over the top of the fruit. Don’t worry if there’s still some fruit visible. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the cobbler.
  • Bake on your smoker/grill/oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean. Ours ended up going quite a bit longer on our smoker, so be ready for the time to vary.

This was absolutely delicious. The topping took on a subtle smoky flavor that was majorly complimented by the cinnamon, syrup and brown sugar, not to mention the bourbon, which added a nice, subtle flavor to the background.

Actually, speaking of the bourbon, if that’s not your cup of tea, you might try adding a combination of water and more vanilla extract instead.

We ate our cobbler with scoops of vanilla ice cream and enjoyed our dessert outdoors until the mosquitos drove us back inside. There are few flavors like peaches and blueberries to really help you enjoy a summer evening, and being able to cook it right on the grill makes it even more special.

This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 26, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Appetizer Main Dish Side Dish

Grilling cheese is more than just o’queso’

Smoked queso with charcoal steaks can be made on the grill or modified to be served from your oven.

When it comes to cooking indoors, Joey and I share the load pretty evenly. We each take on lunch or dinner regularly, with both of us having our specialties.

But when it comes to cooking outside, I definitely fall far behind.

Joey has really perfected the use of his kamado-style grill, mostly opting to create delicious smoked chicken or pork, but he’s also branched out into briskets, pastrami, pizzas and more.

So I was a little nervous when I went to try my own grill creation this past weekend: smoked queso and steak nachos.

I do have to confess that Joey was still the one who got the fire started and got the temperature just right for me, but after that, it was my show, and thankfully, despite my extreme novice status with the grill, it turned out fabulous.

I didn’t use a recipe this week. Instead, I read probably 10 different versions of smoked queso that people have out there and ignored a lot of what they did, mostly because I just can’t handle the taste or texture of Velveeta cheese, and that’s what all of them used.

So this week’s recipe is an original, and it turned out great. We did this on our kamado grill, but you could also make this on a regular grill or in your oven (although you’ll want to probably cook your steaks on your stovetop, in that case).

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Smoked Queso with Charcoal Steaks

Smoked queso with charcoal steaks can be made on the grill or modified to be served from your oven.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword black beans, charcoal steak, cream cheese, grilled, pepperjack cheese, queso fresco, Rotel, sharp cheddar cheese, smoked, taco seasoning

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pepperjack cheese
  • 16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese I used fat free
  • 20 ounces Rotel drained
  • 15.5 ounces black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • salt to taste
  • enough charcoal steaks to serve your guests
  • Your favorite steak seasoning

Instructions

  • Prepare your grill so that it is 250 to 300 degrees.
  • Cube the three types of cheese into about one-inch pieces. (Make sure to use blocks of cheese instead of shredded; it melts better.)
  • In a foil, eight-by-eight-inch pan, add the cheeses, Rotel, black beans, taco seasoning, garlic and salt, and stir to combine.
  • For the steaks, pound them to about one-half inch thick, and season them liberally on both sides with steak seasoning, pressing it into the meat.
  • Once your grill is ready, place your pan of queso on a lower rack (we’re going to cook the steaks above it). If you’re using a standard grill, place it so it’s getting indirect heat. Close the lid and let the queso cook for 20 minutes.
  • After the 20 minutes, stir the queso. It probably will only just be starting to melt together. Place the steaks on a grate over the queso so that the juices can add flavor to the queso. Again, close the lid.
  • Check the queso every 20 minutes, giving it a good stir, and turn the steaks when they have good grill marks on one side.
  • Once the queso is melted and the steaks are done (after about one hour), remove it all from the grill. Be careful not to let the cheese overcook; it will get lumpy and separate if you do. Let the steaks rest for five minutes, and then slice them.
  • Serve the queso and steak over chips with your favorite nacho toppings.

We went for a smaller batch of queso than I saw many people make online, and it still fed six people, so definitely plan accordingly, but if you have a crowd, you can easily double this into a nine-by-13-inch pan and feed them all.

You can also make this as spicy or as mild as you like, depending on which style of Rotel and taco seasoning you choose. You could also add a drained can of jalapenos or something spicier if you really wanted to take it up a notch. It could also be made with pre-cooked ground beef or sausage or chorizo, if you don’t want to mess with steaks.

I certainly wouldn’t claim to be a grill master yet, but Joey did seem impressed with my most recent accomplishment. That being said, I think I’ll leave the heavy lifting to him. It’s a lot nicer to be the one sitting in the Adirondack chair than the one next to the grill.

This piece first appeared in print on July 15, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Side Dish

Let’s have a serious ‘stalk’ about grilled asparagus

Grilled asparagus has some simple seasonings that make it a perfect summer side dish.

Last weekend, we decided to go to a late showing of the new “Avengers” movie with a group of friends, so we met early to enjoy the nice weather and grill for supper.

One of our friends walked in with a big bag of fresh asparagus.

“You can do whatever you want with this,” she said, before heading out to the patio.

It’s pretty obvious my friends know me well when they feel comfortable presenting me with a random ingredient and have full faith that I’ll be able to pull something off with it.

I looked online for a way to grill asparagus, since I figured it would easily pop onto the grill next to our steaks, and I discovered one from the blog “Or whatever you do.” The recipe is by Nicole Johnson and is both easy and perfectly seasoned. You can find it at https://www.orwhateveryoudo.com/2014/08/perfect-grilled-asparagus.html.

I will include grilling instructions as well as oven instructions with this recipe, since I ended up finishing the asparagus in the oven, because we managed to run out of propane about halfway through our cooking adventure (the hazards of the first time firing up the grill for spring, I suppose). I also played with some of the amounts a bit.

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Grilled Asparagus

Grilled asparagus has some simple seasonings that make it a perfect summer side dish.
Course Side Dish
Keyword asparagus, garlic, grilled

Ingredients

  • about 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • about 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Instructions

  • Preheat the grill to about medium-high heat or preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  • Wash the asparagus and trim off the ends.
  • Fold a tray out of aluminum foil with raised sides to house the asparagus (put it on some kind of tray to use to carry to the grill or on a baking sheet if it’s going in the oven).
  • Place the asparagus into the tray, spaced just a little apart, and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to coat the asparagus in the oil and then sprinkle with the garlic salt, onion powder and pepper and mix around again to evenly distribute the spices.
  • Cut the butter into pieces and dot it along the top of the asparagus.
  • Place the aluminum tray right on the grill grates or leave it on the baking sheet in the oven and cook for about six to eight minutes for stalks that are pencil-size or smaller or about 10 to 15 minutes for larger stalks.
  • Serve immediately. The asparagus won’t stay warm for long.

We had a fantastic dinner, despite having to finish both our steaks and asparagus back in the house. At least our patio table was ready to hold our plates as we enjoyed one another’s company before our late-night movie.

Once the propane tank is full again, I’m planning on giving this recipe another try. I’m excited to fire up the grill, pull out my shorts and finally enjoy summer.

This piece first appeared in print on May 3, 2018.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

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