Yesterday was appetizer day here at our house. We never really at one full meal but we snacked all day long.
I made up a small bite of fun using Mezzetta's Applewood Smoked Olives in Chardonnay. I've talked about these a few times since I found them at Food City this spring. They are the best olives I've ever had, they are a treat by themselves. Just a hint of smoke shines through each briny bite. I love using them in any Spanish or Greek dish calling for any other kind of olive.
Anyway, I split them and then stuffed them with a strip of roasted red bell pepper and a spear of Locust Grove Farms Cumberland cheese. Locust Grove is a local farm that makes spectacular cheese from sheeps milk. The Cumberland is there manchego cheese that adds "a wonderful mix of green peppercorns, sweet red chili’s, onion, garlic, and ginger". It is ridiculously expensive ($19 a lb) but worth every penny. I wrapped some with prosciutto and some with bacon and then high temp smoked them with more applewood. My temps were about 300 for about 30 minutes until the bacon was crisped.
The prosciutto wrapped ones were way too salty, not surprisingly. The bacon ones were perfect.
Then I tried grilling artichokes for the first time ever. I followed the Cooking For Engineers method which I think was on target. I just wasn't thrilled with the result. Granted I had high expectations, but I think I would have preferred grilling artichoke hearts on a skewer. Anyone have tips for grilling artichokes?
Next, I grilled some wild caught Gulf shrimp. Yes Gulf shrimp, you can still get it and should support those fishermen as long as it is available. Simply seasoned with Old Bay, brushed with butter/lemon juice and grilled 2 1/2 minutes a side at 300f. They were perfect and would have been ideal on shrimp tacos but we ate them straight off the skewer before tacos had a chance.
Finally, I made a version of Chris Lilly's BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.
And speaking of Chris Lilly, it is time to give away the autographed copy of his book, Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue Book - Recipes and Secrets of a Legendary BBQ Joint. There were 68 eligible entries and the winner was #18 - Thebtls, fellow Egghead and operator of the blog, Big T's Big Green Egg Recipe Blog.
Congratulations Big T. I'll email you through the Egg Forum but check your spam filters, a lot of messages to me from the forum end up there. I need a snail mail addy asap so I can get this to you before next weekend.