Smoker

Smoked Cheese

Last week, I smoked cheese for the first time ever.  I got the cold-smoking accessory for my smoker last year for Christmas, and just never tried it.  The smoker you’ve all seen before.  The cold-smoking gizmo is the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker.  I love it!  I used Hickory pellets for this smoke.  As far as the cheese goes, Here’s what I smoked:

1 lb. Sharp Cheddar, aged in the fridge for 7 months

2 lbs. Extra Sharp Cheddar bought this week,

1/2 lb. Colby aged in the fridge for 7 months

1/2 lb. Colby-Jack bought this week

1/2 lb. Sharp Cheddar bought this week

1 lb. Monterey Jack bought a few weeks ago.

I neglected to take pictures of the pellet smoker, and the pellets.  The pellet smoker goes inside the unplugged smoker.  It generates little to no heat, so it is used for smoking things like cheese, lox, etc.

Here’s the smoker, full of cheese.  You can see the pellet smoker near the bottom – the little metal thing that’s full of holes.

2014-11-25_First_Cheese_smoke_2.1

It did have one flare-up, and I had placed it too close to the bottom rack of cheese, so two of the sticks of cheese (1/4 lb each) melted down into the pellets, and put out the fire.  Here’s the melted cheese:

2014-11-25_First_Cheese_smoke_1.1_melted

Mmmmmm. Delicious!  Once I cleaned up the pellet smoker and restarted the pellets, everything went well.  The cheese smoked for almost 4 hours all together.

2014-11-25_First_Cheese_smoke_4.1_finished_product

Once it was done, it got taken out of the smoker, and sat on the counter for more than an hour.  It did produce quite a bit of ‘sweat’ (which was actually oil from the cheese), but the kind people on the smoker forum I belong to assured me that once it sat for a while, it would re-absorb the oil.

2014-11-25_First_Cheese_smoke_3.1

I put it in the fridge for 4 days, where it did re-absorb its oil nicely.  On the 4th day, I took it all out of the fridge, and vacuum-sealed it all individually.

2014-11-29_First_Cheese_smoke_1.1_vacuum-sealed

2014-11-29_First_Cheese_smoke_3.1_vacuum-sealed

2014-11-29_First_Cheese_smoke_2.1_vacuum-sealed

Now, I have to endure the AGONY of waiting 3 weeks for it to ‘mellow’.  *SIGH*

Thank you, Mom, for all your help with my first cheese smoke!

Thank YOU, loyal readers, for stopping by and reading and commenting!

The End of a Long but Great Year

2013.

It’s been long.  A lot has happened, mostly for good.

We moved from a crappy, small townhome in St. George to a big, nice house in Santa Clara, UT (a small suburb of St. George) in January 2013.  Santa Clara was a nice little community, and if we had decided to stay in southwestern Utah, it would have been a nice, quiet place to live.

I added several new birds to my lifetime bird list in St. George – A Summer Tanager, a Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, some Hooded Mergansers, and Northern Harriers.

Summer_Tanager_5-13-13_1 Woodpecker_ladder-backed_5-6-13_1.1 2013-1-20_Hooded_Merganser_1.1

2013-1-20_Hooded_Merganser_2.1 2013-1-20_Northern_Harrier_1.1_female

A new addition to my life list from Moab this December – a bunch of Ruby-Crowned Kinglets spent most of the month digging seeds out of the snow in our front yard.  They are unimaginably tiny – like a fat, short-billed hummingbird.

Ruby-Crowned_Kinglet_12-11-13_3.1

I also saw a Great Blue Heron couple make a nest and raise baby Herons about 2 blocks from our house in St. George, and got to meet my Dad’s friendly Juniper Titmouse here in Moab.

2013-2-2_Great_Blue_Heron_nest_1.1 2013-9-11_John_and_his_friendly_titmouse_14.1

My mom and I flew to Philadelphia and had a great visit with family and friends.  That’s uncle Rich with me below.

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Some of my plants that have never bloomed before bloomed, and most of the plants that have bloomed before bloomed more profusely thanks to St. George’s warmer, earlier spring.

Echinocereus_reichenbachii_1_5-28-13_1.1 Echinocereus_pentalophus_1_5-28-13_1.1 Echinocereus_dasyacanthus_1_5-13-13_3.1

Adenium_obesum_1_6-10-13_1.1 Echinocactus_texensis_2n1_5-8-13_1.1

I saw plants in bloom in habitat that I have never seen blooming before in and around St. George.

Ferocactus_cylindraceus_lecontei_5-26-13_1.1 041.1

Echinocereus_2.1 Echinocereus_1.1

I rode my bike more than I have in many recent years.  I also hiked a LOT.  I rode 142.17 miles in 2013, and I hiked 84.25 miles.

Katie_bike_5-13-13_1.1

Rich and I moved back to Moab in August, and Chris stayed in St. George to attend college, and live in the dorms there.

We finally had a wedding, and had a HUGE number of family and friends come to Moab to help us celebrate.  It was wonderful to have such a beautiful ceremony and a great party!

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With our wedding gift money, we were able to buy a lot of nice things for our household, my favorite of which was our smoker.  After the salmon I posted about last time, I managed to get one more smoke in before it got too cold (the smoking has to be done outdoors).  The last smoke of the season was two different kinds of trout – rainbow and steelhead.  The steelhead was a little fishier than I was hoping for, but the rainbow trout was amazing!  Here’s the rainbow:

2013-11-25_smoked_trout_two_types_3.1_cooling_after_smoke

We have gotten an un-Moab-like amount of snow so far this winter.  I wish it would stop.  Here’s a look at the first snow of the season, with my hand in front of the accumulated snow for scale.  It was 6″ to 7″, depending where I measured it in my yard.

2013-12-4_snow_in_Moab_7.1

Last but not least, I have an Aloe blooming currently that hasn’t bloomed before.  Aloe bosseri, one of the more rare plants I own.  I am very proud that it is blooming for me!

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Thanks for visiting and commenting, and sticking with me for another year!  😀

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