Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Steel-Head and Salmon smoking

Got some more reasonably priced farm raised Salmon and Steel-head Trout from Chile at Sam's club on Friday. Wish it was wild caught but no such luck here in southern Maine.
Steel-head trout looks promising...
cover liberally with a mix of 50/50 kosher salt and brown sugar as well as garlic powder, pepper and dill.....
 after 36 hours wrapped and weighted down in the fridge it looks like this....
rinse, pat dry with paper towel and set on racks to air dry under a fan for about 3 hours...
11 am and in to the new smoker... this one made from a suitably modified old cabinet saved from another kitchen remodel job. Note racks on dowels substitute the old shelves also ports for smoke to enter and exit. As its raining today I did my set up in the wood shed behind the barn.
This time I am using a 5 qt cast iron dutch oven on my electric burner as a smoke generator. A tight fitting lid I made out of .0050 aluminum sheet and suitable connectors to a dryer vent hose, feeds the smoke to the cabinet.
lowering the smoke generator helps the flow a bit...
chimney seems to be flowing well....
I'll let it rip till 8 pm or so and see what we have for results tonight..
Postscript: 36 hours salting was to much. And the results were saltier than I like. The previous batch was only about 22 hrs and was much better. Live and learn.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Building a Pizza

Start with a good dough... I used to make my own but the store bought from Portland Pie Co. is just as good and a whole lot easier.

roll out your dough and add a good layer of Pesto and some sliced tomatoes from your garden.

then add some leftover roast chicken from last night's dinner
add some shredded mozzarella and a few blue cheese crumbles...

pop it on to your pizza stone in your oven (pre-heated for 40 minutes at 500 deg F)  and let it rip for 10 minutes and presto....

serve with some 2 buck Chuck..... mmmm...mmmm good

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Smoked salmon results A+

all in all a superb result.. and the Mesquite chips gave it a fabulous flavor. I only smoked it for about 6 hours. Some improvements are in order on the smoking rig to ease handling of the burner/pan/chips so I probably will build a proper smoker box.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Smoking Salmon

Salmon was for sale at the supermarket yesterday for the ridiculously low price of 1.75$ a pound for the tail bits..... so I figured it may be a good time to try and smoke some.
First step is to cure it with a dry rub. 1/2 cup of salt 1/4  cup of brown sugar, some pepper and a dash of powdered garlic and some dill. . Put down a good bed of your rub on some plastic cling film over aluminum foil and lay the filet skin down on the dry rub. Then layer some more of your dry rub over it.
next lay your second filet skin up over the first one and cover liberally with your dry rub.  Wrap it all up in the cling film and aluminum. Set it in a dish to catch the drippings and put it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hrs with some weight over it to compress it. 2 liter juice carton worked well.

after about 24 hours take it out and wash off the rub and all liquid it has given up
you will note it has lost a lot of liquid and has reduced its thickness. Then pat it dry and put it on a rack in a cool place and let a fan blow on it for about 3 to 4 hours until it has a nice rind on it. Pelicle is the correct term.
Then get the smoking rig set up... I am using my small BBQ grill and a separate metal box, in this case an old stainless steel bread drawer saved from a kitchen remodel job all connected to the BBQ grill with a piece of flexible dryer duct......
set a cast iron pan with mesquite wood chips on a single burner electric hot plate
and set the salmon in the smoker and let it rip for 24 to 36 hrs

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Making Hydrogen .... electrolytic rust removal

10 gallon bucket with two sacrificial anodes

add 10 gallons of water mixed with 1/2 cup of washing soda and connect the battery charger, positive on the anode, and negative on the item we want to de-rust. 12 volts is good, 18 volts must be better and watch the bubbles go..... make sure you do it outside unless you want to recreate the Hindemburg accident in your garage.
after 3 days it looks like this
dry and passivate immediately with phosphoric acid or it will start to rust right away
and the final results

Garden Harvest

onions and grape tomatoes

and some grackles came to visit
and some summer flowers

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Built a new Hibachi....

as the old hibachi is getting quite worn out from 30 yrs of use and abuse....

 .... I mocked up an idea out of poster-board
 and cut some 1/4 inch 6061 aluminum plates I had saved from a dumpster a few years back...
 and my friend Jonathan TIG welded it all up for me
including a new stainless steel coal grate
works like a charm... I start the coals in a 6 inch section of stove pipe with the propane torch from bellow and in 5 minutes....                            
its burning nice and hot
 ...5 minutes later...
 we add some swordfish steaks and some cherry tomatoes from the garden
all in all I am pleased considering I was fully prepared for it all to tun in to a big blob of molten aluminum.. ash tray catches all the ash and it has a great draft and burns 3 times as hot as the old cast iron one as the aluminum does not act as a big heat sink and the aluminum reflects the heat much better than the cast iron.