Monday, July 26, 2010

Our smoker, our oven

I'm embarrassed to admit this. Back in April, in April, our oven elements at home went out. I tried out the self-cleaning function on the oven, and apparently four years of grime was too much for the thing, so it quit.

It was right before the book tour, and then I went to Memphis, and then catering season hit three seconds after I landed (while I'm admitting embarrassing things: suitcase still not entirely unpacked).

I also checked and they don't carry the elements at Home Depot or Lowe's. All appliance parts live in a place called Tukwila. If you are in the Seattle area, that is. There is an actual town, south of Seattle, that hoards appliance parts and to get them you have to go there. Yeah right.

We haven't missed it much. Eric is the king of the one pan meal, and we have a bevvy of grills and smokers in the back yard. The two things I miss, though, are frittatas and baked goods, if "baked goods" can really be counted as one thing. Two categories then. Fluffy egg dishes and yummy baked things.

But guess what? I don't have to miss a thing. I can do it all on the grill (and so can you).

Today, I did both. Well, I kind of cheated on the baked goods category. I baked Pillsbury dough ready-made cinnamon rolls, which were yum, and besides it was work-related. Yeah. Sorry about your cubicle.

I'm doing an all-day demo at the Big Green Egg dealership in Kent on Tuesday, and needed to time my breakfast choices. I'm going to do the egg dish from scratch, but needed something easier than pie for the second item. Everyone loves a cinnamon roll, so I figure no one will bust me on the store-bought with a mouthful of buttery icing.

Both dishes were so easy and were enhanced by the imparted charcoal flavor that I must share them with you. The first is a Southwest Frittata with Yukon Gold Potato Crust.

I baked on my Weber Smokey Mountain (I don't have an Egg...yet, but it's coming). It maintains heat really nicely, but it likes 250 degrees. I can get it higher, but it takes management, and I had both kids solo today.

Both recipes are timed for this lower heat. If you have a smoker/grill that can maintain 325-350 degrees easily, halve the times. Of course you can do both recipes in the oven, but that's missing the point.

Southwest Frittatta with Yukon Gold Crust

3 Yukon Gold potatoes
salt to taste
3/4 lb sausage
2-3 T vegetable oil
8 eggs
2 T milk
4 oz grated cheddar or Colby
2 T diced green chilies
1 T diced jalapenos
4 T enchilada sauce
4-6 slices Oaxaca cheese (or other mild, slightly creamy cheese. I like the Oaxaca because it gets nice and smoky, but it's somewhat pricey and not always available)

*A note about the ingredients. I get annoyed by recipes that have you buying all sorts of ingredients where you only use a tiny bit. Just. Like. This. One. The green chilies and jalapenos do freeze well. Buy the smallest jars, or skip one of them. The enchilada sauce is nice for color and flavor, but is optional. Use what you have in the fridge and pantry! Substitute freely!

1) Cook potatoes until just done, but still firm. Cool for 1 hour.

2) Cook sausage and drain on paper towels.

3) Slice potatoes in about 1/4 inch slices and fry until just starting to brown in pan. (Remember: Hot Pan, Cold Oil. Don't add the oil until the pan is hot, then add the potatoes. This way they won't stick or get saturated with oil). Salt lightly, if at all. The sausage and cheese will add salt to the dish as well. Set aside.

4) Get coals hot and, when ashed over, spread evenly in charcoal smoker (or in half of a grill so you have an indirect cooking space). I used a water pan and think it helps keep the eggs from drying out.
5) Whisk together 8 eggs, milk, cheese, sausage, green chilies, and jalapenos (sauteed onions and garlic are also nice with this recipe. I was just out. Saute them with the sausage).

6) Place potatoes in an oiled pan that you don't mind getting a bit sooty. A 10-inch pie pan works well. Cut some potato slices in half so the "crust" goes up the sides of the pan.

7) Pour the egg mixture in the pan and place on grill.

8) Bake for 30-40 minutes. Add slices of Oaxaca cheese in a sun pattern, and alternate stripes of enchilada sauce. Bake for another 20-30 minutes until center doesn't wiggle.

9) This is important: Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes.  Cut around edges with a dinner knife.

10: Getting it out of the pan: Place one plate over it and flip. If you oiled the pan well and let the frittata cool enough, it should fall out. Don't worry if some of it doesn't. Scrape any remains and pat back into frittata. Place another plate on top and flip over again. Now the pretty part will show and most mistakes will be hidden. Slice and serve.

Cheater Baked Good Recipe on the Smoker
1) Open a can of ready made cinnamon roll dough.
2) Place in oiled pan as directed.
3) Bake in smoker at 250 degrees for 1 hour, icing it in the last 10 minutes. If you bake at the directed 325-350 degrees, follow time on can.
Eat 'em up. Hopefully you ripped the calorie/fat content part off the wrapper when opening.
You don't wanna know.


  1. Julie,

    Great recipe! I love to bake on the grill, just amazing. The Frittata recipe is a winner for sure. I had to laugh about the note, having a ton of extra stuff left over from a recipe. I really appreciate the in site on what to do with the extra. Many times I won't try a recipe because of too much extra food left over from making the recipe.



  2. Thank you, Gary! I always think of recipes as a guide for me to change according to my mood and ingredients on hand, so I encourage that!

  3. Looks great--and less heat in the house. God knows none of us PNW folks have AC. Keep smoking! Jill

  4. Hello Fellow Fishie (Pisces)... You're KILLIN ME and I'm LOVING IT.


  5. Thank you, Keri! I LOVE your blog, btw. Must go make a sandwich right now.