Waste Not, Want Not

If you’ve ever gone for a walk in the woods you’ve probably seen a fair amount of fallen trees, branches and bark on the forest floor. Now, imagine being able to use this “waste” to heat your home. This forest byproduct, also known as woody biomass, is now being harvested on a larger scale from slash piles left over by logging companies, sawdust and chips from sawmills and the thinned out trees removed by the U.S. Forest Service. Using woody biomass in a more constructive way will not only generate electricity and heat your home but it will create a healthier forest that is more resistant to severe wildfires.

WoodyBiomass_InfographRED

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Chicken Fajitas with Smoked Tomato Guacamole

Holy guacamole! Give your chicken fajitas a fresh kick of flavor with smoked tomato guacamole. The lightly smoked tomatoes add a real savory and distinct note to the entire meal. This delicious combination of deep, rich flavors are sure to be eye opening when it comes to how amazing homemade fajitas can truly be.
Chicken Fajitas
Serves: 4 // Prep time: 40 minutes | Marinating time: 4 hours to overnight | Grilling time: 22 to 28 minutes | Special equipment: 2 handfuls cherry, hickory, or oak wood chips

INGREDIENTS

MARINADE

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 tablespoon prepared chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved and cored, seeds removed
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2 large Hass avocados, about 1¼ pounds total, mashed
  • ½ jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 flour tortillas (6 to 8 inches)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large, resealable plastic bag combine the marinade ingredients, including 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken in the bag, press the air out of the bag, and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
  2. Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).
  4. Lightly brush the tomatoes with oil. Drain and add the wood chips directly to the lit charcoal or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When smoke appears, cook the tomatoes over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until browned in spots, about 8 minutes, and the bell peppers over direct medium heat until blackened and blistered all over, 12 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the grill as they are done. Maintain the grill’s temperature. Put the bell peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to trap the steam. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bowl, peel away and discard the charred skin and stems, scrape away the veins and seeds, cut lengthwise into thin strips, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Finely chop the tomatoes and place in a separate bowl.
  5. To the bowl with the tomatoes, add the avocados, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt and stir with a fork until evenly combined. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
  6. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until firm to the touch and no longer pink in the middle, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. Divide the tortillas into two foil packets and warm over direct medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once or twice.
  7. Cut the chicken into ¼-inch slices. Place the tortillas, chicken, peppers, and guacamole in separate serving dishes. Serve warm.

Recipe Courtesy: www.weber.com/recipes

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Balsamic-Marinated Flank Steak Sandwiches with Peppers and Onions

Who knew a simple balsamic vinegar marinade could make a meal burst with so much bold flavor? This marinade seals in the exquisite taste of the lean yet tender flank steak before putting it on the grill. Enjoy a gourmet, bistro-style sandwich at home with sizzling flank steak hot off the grill and piled high with caramelized peppers and onions.
flank steak sandwich
Serves: 4 // Prep time: 30 minutes | Marinating time: 4 hours to overnight | Grilling time: 8 to 12 minutes

INGREDIENTS

MARINADE

½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 flank steak, about 1½ pounds and ¾ inch thick
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bell peppers, any color, cut into thin strips
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ciabatta or other soft sandwich rolls, split
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large, resealable plastic bag combine the marinade ingredients. Place the steak in the bag (cut the steak crosswise in half, if needed, to fit in the bag), press the air out of the bag, and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil. Add the bell peppers, onion, salt, and pepper and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are very tender and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes more, stirring often. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

Remove the steak from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill the steak over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to your desired doneness, 8 to 12 minutes for medium rare, turning once. During the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, toast the rolls, cut side down, over direct heat. Remove from the grill and let the steak rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut the steak across the grain into thin slices.

Spread 1 teaspoon mustard on the bottom half of each split roll. Build the sandwiches with the meat and the pepper-onion mixture. Serve warm.

Recipe Courtesy: www.weber.com/recipes
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Coffee-Rubbed Ribs with Coffee Barbecue Sauce

This recipe for BBQ ribs features a coffee-based dry rub and tangy barbecue sauce that are sure to create quite a buzz. Freshly ground coffee adds a depth to the dry rub and helps bring out the flavor of the tender, slow-cooked ribs.  Not only will these ribs melt in your mouth but they are sure to give your local barbecue joint a robust run for its money.

Ribs
Serves: 4 // Prep time: 30 minutes | Grilling time: 3½ to 4 hours | Special equipment: rib rack, 18″-wide heavy-duty aluminum foil

INGREDIENTS

RUB

2 tablespoons ground coffee
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 meaty racks baby back ribs, each 2 to 2½ pounds

SAUCE

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups minced yellow onion
¾ cup strong brewed coffee
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine the rub ingredients. Using a dull knife, slide the tip under the membrane covering the back of each rack of ribs. Lift and loosen the membrane until you can pry it up, then grab a corner of it with a paper towel and pull it off. Season the racks evenly all over with the rub and allow them to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes before grilling.

2.  Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over low heat (250° to 350°F).

3.  Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened and reduced to 1½ cups, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from the heat. If you prefer a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the sauce.

4. Place the racks standing upright in a rib rack, both facing the same direction. Place the rib rack over indirect low heat, as far from the heat as possible, close the lid, and cook for 2½ hours. After the first hour, baste the racks with water, particularly any areas that are looking a little dry. Continue to baste with water every 30 minutes or so. After 3 hours, check to see if one or both racks are ready to come off the grill. They are done when the meat has shrunk back from the ends of most of the bones by ¼ inch or more. Lift a rack by picking up one end with tongs. It should bend in the middle and the meat should tear easily. If the meat does not tear easily, return the racks to the rib rack on the grill, close the lid, and continue cooking for about 30 minutes more.

5. Remove the racks from the grill and lightly brush them on both sides with some of the sauce. Wrap each rack individually in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Return the racks to the grill and cook over indirect low heat, with the lid closed, until very tender, 30 to 45 minutes more. Remove from the grill and cut the racks between the bones into individual ribs. Serve warm with the remaining sauce.

Recipe Courtesy: www.webergrill.com/recipes

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Why Does My Wood Stove Smoke?

The radiant heat you get from a hot, clean burning stove is what everyone loves on a cold winter day. But a smoky stove is just the opposite. So what actually causes wood stove smoke, and what can you do to stop it?

Identify the Real Culprit

While it’s tempting to blame the stove, the truth is that stoves don’t cause smoke…people do! In the last 30 years of selling and installing thousands of wood stoves, we have never seen a wood stove itself cause smoking. (The one extremely rare exception to this is if someone incorrectly assembled the upper baffle components after a stove and chimney cleaning.) Read on, and learn the 3 fire-building tips to prevent smoky wood stoves… 

The 3 Fire-Building Tips to Prevent Smoky Wood Fires

Wood stove smoking is always caused by combustion temperatures that are too low. And these low temperatures are caused by 3 things that are all controlled by the user. Follow these 3 tips to build a nice hot fire, so you can enjoy a cozier, cleaner fire all winter long.

  1. Don’t cut off air supply too soon. After starting your fire, you must keep the air supply vents wide open for at least an hour. It’s tempting to shut your vents to prolong the burn time…but in reality, such low temperature combustion wastes a huge amount of wood and smokes up the neighborhood. Allowing plenty of combustion air is critical.
  2. Avoid burning wet wood. Wood with a moisture content of more than 12% is considered wet. Store wood out of the elements, and remember to stock your woodshed well ahead of the wood-burning season to ensure your fuel has had plenty of time to dry before you burn it.
  3. Build a better start up fire. When the house is chilly, it’s tempting to try to speed things up by putting large logs on top of a small kindling fire. However, adding large pieces of wood to your small kindling fire is a sure recipe for smoke. Split medium sized pieces of wood to add to your kindling fire, establishing an ample bed of flaming fuel and red hot coals before attempting to add the larger pieces.

Not Just Blowing Smoke

Now you know that if your stove is smoking, it’s means the fire you’ve built isn’t hot enough. But the wood stove smoke you see and smell is just a symptom of the way low-temperature fires affect your stove, pipe, and chimney. Here’s what happens inside your stove when you build a fire that’s not hot enough:

  • First there is an immediate build up of black creosote on the glass door that does not burn off.
  • Next, the cold chimney walls have rapid creosote build up from constant low temperature burning. This quickly reduces the usable inner diameter of the chimney.
  • Chimney caps can very quickly plug up with creosote. Many times this cannot be seen when viewed from the ground.
  • Creosote build up and smoking means you are wasting a lot of wood. Stove efficiency drops from the 70 – 80% range to 50%, or lower. This significantly increases your heating costs and the amount of hours you spend handling and getting wood.

Conclusion

Low temperature combustion smokes up the neighborhood, wastes a huge amount of wood, and causes the need for chimney cleaning. So build a hot fire in your stove by allowing plenty of combustion air, burning dry wood, and making a hot start up fire. Not only will you stop your stove from smoking, you will save a lot of money and time, and enjoy the hot, clean burning wood fire that everyone loves on a cold winter day.

Author Roger Sanders is the Owner of Bend Fireside. Connect with him on .

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Citrus-Marinated Chicken Breasts with Grilled Red Onions

Everyone knows chicken breasts are great on the grill! This weeks recipe ups the ante with a blend of flavors that will make your taste buds sing with joy. The freshly squeezed juices in the citrus-marinate not only makes it sizzle but ensures a tender, flavorful grilled chicken every time. Enjoy!


Serves: 4 // Prep time: 20 minutes | Marinating time: 3 to 5 hours | Grilling time: 12 to 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

MARINADE

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh ginger, including juices
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 ounces
1 red onion, about 12 ounces, cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large, resealable plastic bag combine the marinade ingredients, including 2 tablespoons oil. Place the chicken in the bag, press the air out of the bag, and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

Brush the onion slices with oil. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Season the chicken evenly with the salt and pepper, and then grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until the meat is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once. At the same time, grill the onions over direct medium heat until tender, 12 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from the grill as they are done, and let the chicken rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

Cut the chicken crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices. Serve warm with the onions.

Recipe Courtesy: www.webergrillrecipes.com

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