Smoking is an ancient way of preserving food. Or extending its flavor, for you can smoke today and use today, too.

This excellent book comes from Charlotte Pike, who has written Fermented: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Your Own Sourdough, Yogurt, Sauerkraut, Kefir, Kimchi and More. That’s a long title but Fermented is long on ideas and details. If you are really into fermented foods — and most of us eat them every day — her from scratch ideas and details were nobly presented.

She has followed those earlier steps of fermentation with smoking. Smoking Hot & Cold is a serious book that will make you smile with pleasure. Yes, many of know about smoking ala barbecue. But cold smoking? That’s a technique at 85° or less where all the work is done by smoke, not by heat.

What do you cold smoke? Lots of things, fish like trout or dairy like butter. What do you use cold smoked butter for? Why, fudge, of course.

Chapters are devoted to major classes of food:

  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Vegetables and Salt

We know about smoked fish and smoked meat. That dairy chapter will give you some surprises:

Smoke Mozzarella

Smoked Ricotta

Smoked Cheddar

Once smoked, what to do with these ingredients? Charlotte is right there in the following pages:

Smoked Cheddar, Mushroom, and Leek Tart

Melanzane Parmigiana with Smoke Mozzarella

Smoked Roquefort Salad with Pears and Walnuts

Every fall, Suzi makes a round of blue cheese and onion tarts. They are exceptional and make you welcome the falling leaves. Charlotte offers a grand extension: Smoked Onion Tart with Spinach, Blue Cheese and Sage. Here’s the picture:

The veggies chapter is, like the dairy chapter, a tour down a path you’ve probably never taken. Here she offers ideas like

Smoke Corn Fritters with Smoked Corn Kernels

Smoked Bell Peppers Served with Chorizo and Sherry

Pork Stroganoff with Smoked Mushrooms

You may already own a hot smoker but have not put it to full use. Now you will. There is guidance here on how to build a cold smoker or you jump to Amazon and find something that is easy to use now.

The recipes here can occupy you for all the coming winter months. More importantly, you are sure to get ideas of your own for smoking other items, say smoked carrots for your Thanksgiving table. Charlotte has taken an ancient art, food smoking, and made it happily modern and very kind to your taste buds. The smokiness adds dimension and character. Where there is smoke, there is satisfaction.

Yes, I’m thinking of ways to convince my wife to smoke butter and make fudge. It’s a challenge I happily accept.