Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stove Top Smoker

Here it is: The Cameron Products, Stovetop Smoker! This was my gift from Tim for Christmas and it works like a charm. It is made out of stainless steel and designed to work directly on top of the stove. It has a very clever and compact design. It is just a bit bigger than a 9 x 13 pan. The handles wrap around the outside of the pan for easy storage.

Inside the pan is the drip pan and a wire rack. The lid slips tightly over the top to seal in the smoke and it keeps the meats very moist. It was recommended to line the drip pan with aluminum foil to help with clean up, which I did and it was suggested to spray the wire rack with PAM, which I did not do!

Here are the little canisters that are full of the pulverized woodchips that go into the very bottom of the smoker. There are many varieties of wood. We have alder, hickory, cherry and oak. There is nothing added to the woodchips. They are simply dried to remove resins, then ground to a fine pulp.

We chose cherry wood for smoking salmon. Any of the fruit woods have a wonderful flavor, as do any of the hardwoods. Anything can be smoked also! Meat, cheese, vegies, name it!

Add the woodchips first directly to the center of the ridged bottom pan. Only using 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chips. This was more than enough for a pleasant flavor.

There they are, looking so innocent in the middle of the pan!

Next, the foil lined drip pan, then the wire rack is added. The drip pan is place directly on top of the woodchips.

Now a beautiful piece of salmon with great thanks to my sister, Valarie, who is the best fishing guide! She and her husband own and operate Early Fishing and fish in both Oregon during the fall, winter and early spring, and in Alaska during the late spring and summer months. This precious fillet was part of our Christmas package.

The salmon was seasoned lightly with salt, pepper, and dill weed. That is it! Any seasoning could be used, like teriyaki, marinade, a jerk rub, or just lemon and butter, but we wanted the full flavor of the smoke for this piece of fish.

The whole pan is placed on top of the burner and the lid slides shut with a lip that wraps around the edges to help seal in the smoke. The burner is preheated to medium heat which produces the effect of 375 degrees inside the smoker. Within a few minutes, it was already smoking, but it seemed like a little too much smoke.

The directions and cooking guide have a special note about smoke escaping. It said it was easily fixed by "The Tweak". Basically, the smoker was slid off of the burner and using the palm of my hand, I applied downward pressure to the center of the lid, where you see the purple pot holder. It worked like a charm!

The smoker was placed back on the burner and as you can see, the only smoke or steam was from the potatoes and eggs boiling for hot potato salad which was cooking on the back burner!

The salmon was finished cooking in 25 minutes. It had a very delicious woodsmoke smell and our mouths were watering! As you can see, there was very little mess in the drip pan as well.

We served up the smoked salmon with green beans from the garden, hot potatoes salad with eggs from our hens, and bread and butter pickles from our summer garden harvest.

Here is a closer view of the freshly smoked salmon. It was moist and delicious with the perfect smoky flavor! Thank you Val and Tim for a wonderful gift!

The Cameron Stovetop Smoker is made in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It can also be used for larger items like chicken, turkey, or a roast by simply using a foil tent over the pan instead of the lid that slides shut. Here's to happy smoking!

Friday, December 30, 2011


We went to Alaska for Christmas to celebrate with our youngest daughter Karyn, her husband Zac and little one, Ada! We were there for six glorious days sharing great food, laughter, books, books, books, a lot of snow and memories that will last a lifetime! It was an amazing trip. We flew in on Christmas Eve, just as Santa and his reindeer were taking off for their annual deliveries. It was cold and it began to snow and kept on snowing throughout the week. That doesn't stop Alaskans, though. They can travel in all types of snow and ice conditions and if they can't use cars, they just use skis, snowshoes, dogsleds or skates! We saw a moose, bald eagle, various other north country birds, but the best sights of all were our three precious Northern Lights!

We gasped and gaped in awe at the stunning beauty of the mountains, the snow falling and falling outside the windows, and marveled at how comfortably warm we stayed although the temperatures were near 0 degrees Fahrenheit. We hiked to a frozen lake through a magical quiet, white wilderness. We visited local shops, brewed lots of coffee, baked bread, cinnamon rolls, roasted farm fresh pork, and sipped many cups of hot chocolate. Karyn is a pastry chef at a French Bakery and Cafe. She is responsible for all of the deliciously beautiful treats on display as well as loaves of bread, brioche,and baguettes. Ada Belle is a darling at one and a half and speaks equal parts of French and English. It was a dream come true to enjoy a white Christmas with our loved ones in Alaska!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice

If you look closely, you can see the brilliant sky in the background at sunset today. At our latitude in Southern Oregon, we have five days that are nearly the same length of day light. This is the third day. Two more days and then the light will last longer, minute by minute. In the meanwhile, there are plenty of twinkle lights and twinkling eyes! ~ Celebrate ~

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa's Packs

Santa's Pack on the farm looks like this! The walnuts that were crated for drying and now packed into mostly red bags and ready for delivery or for cracking! The biggest lumps weigh 50 pounds, the Rogue Valley onion bags weigh 30 pounds, the mid sized red bags weigh 15 pounds, and the little purple sassy bags weigh 5 pounds. Many of the walnuts have already been given out, so this is what remains! They really are decorative don't you think?!

Here are some of the walnuts cleaned out of their shells. They will be chopped up for a butternut casserole. They are full of healthy fats and protein, and especially heart healthy.

Speaking of butternut casserole, here it is! This squash was especially orange and large. It roasted in the oven for about an hour and then was stirred together with eggs, brown sugar, a little milk and baked. Nearing the end of baking time, the decorations were added.

You guessed it! The decorations were thanks to the walnuts! They are mixed with brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter and finish off in the oven for the final minutes of baking. This dish can be served as a side to lamb chops or any other meat dish. It is similar in texture to pumpkin pie, but without as much sugar, although it is sweet enough to be quite enjoyable to eat as a dessert.

And while we are eating dessert, we admire our slightly larger living room now that all of the drying crates are packed away and the nuts are snug in the Santa Pack! How is your holiday decorating going?!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December

It is December and the countdown to Christmas has begun! Its time to bring out the seasonal treasures, handmade goodies, favorite stockings, and cut the tree down. These little Santa napkin rings are made out of felt and yarn and seemed too good to be true full of fun!

They also match the Christmas stocking my mom made for me many years ago! Enjoy decking the halls and playing your favorite Christmas music!