We woke up Sunday morning to a dreary sky, cool temperatures and giant snowflakes streaming down. After a trip to church, we hunkered down for a relaxing day around home. All three kids were under one roof, with our older two home on a long weekend break from West Point. We had our usual Sunday brunch of crepes and homemade sausage and Jesse fired up the smokehouse in the afternoon to do some cold-smoking.
As the day went on, the snow eventually turned to a slushy mix that coated the ground.
Jesse cold-smoked some cheese and almonds for snacking and some pork chops for dinner. (You can see my earlier post on cold-smoking almonds and cheese here.) As usual, everything turned out delicious. Yum!!
With temperatures only reaching into the 40’s, we had the fireplace going to cozy up the house. We did not go anywhere all day. What a treat for all of us.
And just like that…the weekend was over and we had to return the kids to the airport early this morning for their trip back to New York and West Point. Winter is definitely on its way though…and although it is my least favorite season, the silver lining is that it also means that more breaks from school are on the way… along with some more cozy family time. I sure can’t complain about that. 🙂
Time has gotten away from me and I have not posted anything for a while. I had started this post shortly after my last post on the cold-smoked pork chops and am finally getting around to finishing it up.
So, anyhow, along with those garlic sage pork chops that we smoked a few weeks ago, we also threw some almonds and a block of sharp cheddar cheese in the smokehouse. We have tried smoking both in the past, but were disappointed with the overpowering smoke flavor.
This time around we smoked the cheese for about 1.5 hours and the almonds for about 2.5 hours. Once again, the cheese was still too smokey and overwhelming for my taste. I think we will cut back to an hour next time and see if that does the trick.
The almonds, however, turned out just perfect! Unlike commercially “smoked” nuts that are commonly flavored with liquid smoke, the smokey flavor of these almonds was fresh and subtle. You can see in the picture that we put them in a wire strainer basket to allow the smoke to circulate around the almonds.
After cold-smoking, we followed the recipe below to finish the flavoring process.
Spicy Smoked Almonds
- 1 pound unblanched raw smoked almonds
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1 T. kosher salt finely ground (coarse salt doesn’t stick to the almonds very well)
- 2 t. chili powder
- 1 t. fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
Combine the olive oil and seasonings, then mix in the almonds until they are well coated. Spread them evenly on a cookie sheet (one with sides works best).
Bake the coated almonds for 15 minutes stirring them a couple of times to roast them evenly. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet.
When cool they should look dry and coated with the seasonings, and they are ready to serve with no chemical smoke flavoring!
We enjoyed snacking on them while sipping a robust red wine. Give them a try some time and enjoy!