National Gumbo Day Recipe to Savor

National Gumbo Day Recipe to Savor

national gumbo day recipe october 12

If you’re looking for a dish that’s perfect to prepare it in the morning and heat up as family gets in, look no further!  This soup/stew has just enough spice to keep things interesting. The roux makes the dish… it’s rich, luscious and full of flavor!

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October 12th is National Gumbo Day and I have JUST the recipe to see that you celebrate deliciously.

The dish of many cultures, gumbo is a melting pot for flavors. National Gumbo Day is a day to enjoy the bold, savory signature stew from Louisiana.

This multifaceted dish reflects its origins as an adaptation of many different cultures’ recipes blended together into one delicious dish that we know today.

According to SouthernFoodWays.com, gumbo was first served at a gubernatorial reception in New Orleans in 1803.

There’s no certainly no better way to celebrate than enjoying a hot, savory dish of gumbo.  Give this recipe a try!

 

Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

Servings

6-8

Ready In:

40 Minutes Until You’re Ready

Good For:

Dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, 2 sticks
  • 1 red pepper, deveined and diced into ¼” pieces
  • 1 green pepper, deveined and diced into ¼” pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 4 stalks celery, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth, or
  • prepared low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (8 ounce) bottles clam juice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 4 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 14 ounces andouille sausage, sliced and cut in half
  • 2 pounds uncooked jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 count), peeled, deveined with tails removed
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen sliced okra, thawed
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked white rice

Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage Recipe

Spread the flour onto a baking sheet. Toast the flour in the oven for 10 minutes.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the toasted flour. Stir in the diced peppers. Cook the roux until it is amber brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic to the pot. Add Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Pour in the white wine and cook until the liquid is incorporated. Stir in the chicken broth, clam juice, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Pour in the roux and cook for 5 minutes. Season with hot pepper sauce and additional salt and pepper. Stir in the sausage, shrimp and okra. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked through and the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.

Serve the gumbo by placing a scoop of rice in the middle of a bowl. Surround the rice with gumbo. Serve additional hot pepper sauce on the side!

Nana Network Tip
Use thawed, frozen shrimp and frozen okra in this recipe. It’s perfect and way less expensive!

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation on social media with #inthekitchenwithjorj and be sure to show us in my free private home cooking group, Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj!

Cooking With Mushrooms and Spinach

Make This Garden Art Focaccia Bread That Simply Inspires

Make This Garden Art Focaccia Bread That Simply Inspires

Easy Garden Art Focaccia Bread Recipe – Farmer’s Market Edition!

This garden bread art recipe was inspired by traditional Azerbaijani outdoor cooking and my love for all things fresh from the Farmer’s Market! Join me as I revisit my focaccia bread that first appeared in “Canvas and Cuisine: The Art of the Fresh Market” 

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Sometimes inspiration just hits! For me it started with the Azerbaijan cooking vlogs that constantly show up in my Facebook feed. 

I used to look forward to seeing friends and kids of friends and grandkids of friends. 

Now, I peer into the screen waiting to see my adorable Azerbaijan friends as they emerge through the green door of their tiny house to forage through the woods, harvesting as they go. 

The only sounds you hear are the rustling of leaves and chirping birds. He throws down a metal pan, slices some logs and before you know it there is a working oven in the middle of a field or by the side of a stream or at the top of a ridge!

She uses a clever wooden board to chop everything from onions to a whole leg of lamb. He makes tea out of the flowers he picks as he passes the field. 

I’m inspired by everything that they cook – always outdoors and always on an open fire. But what gets me the most is how she (Lord, I wish I knew her name) bakes bread at almost every meal using nothing but her hands and a covered skillet. 

It’s amazing! 

And even more, it makes me crave fresh baked bread almost daily. 

Let’s face it…I have every modern tool known to man starting with electricity and ending with a machine fitted with a dough hook and still, I find bread making to be daunting.

I’m over it! If my Azerbaijan friend can bake gloriously delicious-looking bread over an open fire, then I can certainly take my bread baking to a new level using my state of the art kitchen. Right?

I have a really good recipe for focaccia bread in my book “Canvas and Cuisine: Art of the Fresh Market”.

The dough comes together quickly and rises when requested. It bakes in about 15 minutes and has just enough crumb to distinguish itself from flatbread. It’s my go-to bread recipe, so I decided that my focaccia dough would be my canvas.

My morning trip to the Farmer’s market yielded all sorts of treasurers. I purchased peppers and multi-colored carrots. I gathered my favorite purple-green tomatoes and all sorts of herbs. When I laid out all of these, I saw my plan come together. I would create a flower garden using veggies and herbs to decorate my bread. I would make my Azerbaijan friend proud! 

It’s all in the planning, so I laid out my design on parchment paper while the bread was rising. This was the smartest thing that I did, because I could change things around on paper that I would have been stuck with when placed on the bread dough.

I used red onions for flower petals and chives for stems. I sliced the carrots using my mandoline and cut olives, red cherry bomb peppers and grape tomatoes into thin slices. Sage and parsley leaves pulled everything together and my flower garden was born.

In the end, it worked like a charm and my pals oohed and awed at the results. I must admit I was pretty impressed with myself!

My Azerbaijan friend started me on this journey. (I feel I have more to come!!) The Farmer’s market furthered my vision.

And here’s my take from this experience. Inspiration can be found anywhere; you just have to open your eyes. 

What’s going to inspire you this week??

Garden Art Focaccia Bread Recipe

 

Servings

6-8

Ready In:

20 Minutes plus a few hours for bread to rise

Good For:

Appetizer, Brunch

Ingredients for Garden Art FOCACCIA Bread

 

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 ¾ cups warm water

  • 5 cups unbleached all-purpose

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Directions for Garden Art FOCACCIA Bread 

 

Place the yeast and sugar into a small bowl. Stir in the warm water. Place the bowl in a warm place until the yeast is bubbling and fragrant, about 15 minutes. I use the proof setting on my warming drawer for this.

Use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook to combine the flour, salt, ½ cup of olive oil and the yeast to form a dough. Once the dough comes together, continue to knead the dough in the machine until smooth. Stop the machine and check the dough every couple of minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic, hold its shape around the dough hook and spring back when you indent it with your finger. This takes anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes using the mixer. If you are kneading by hand, knead until you can’t knead anymore!

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead it by hand for an additional 30 seconds. If the dough is too sticky, you can sprinkle with additional flour. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Cover and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I use my warming drawer for this step, too.

 

Pour the remaining cup of olive oil onto a 12 ½ x 17 ½ x 1-inch jelly roll pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, stretching it out to fill the pan. Turn and coat with oil on both sides. Use your finger to poke indentations into the dough. These will be the “nooks and crannies” to hold the seasoning in the next step. Place the dough in a warm place to rise again, for 1 hour. Yep, the warming drawer is still the best place!

Preheat the oven to 400°. Transfer the pan from its warm place. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, sea salt, thyme, and rosemary. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Bake until the top of the bread is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan before cutting into squares.

 

Celebrate National Coffee Day With These Cocktails

Celebrate National Coffee Day With These Cocktails

National Coffee Day After Dinner Drinks

National Coffee Day Dessert Ideas

Happy #NationalCoffeeDay! Perk up with these delicious coffee dessert ideas, perfect after dark.

Irish Coffee Recipe

The drink literally flew into the United States when a travel writer from the San Francisco Chronicle brought the recipe with him on a return flight from Shannon Airport. The belly-warming bar favorite, made with a frothy whipping cream, loads of sugar, piping hot coffee and 2 parts Irish whiskey, is based on a rather romantic story.

The necessity of Irish coffee’s fortifying ingredients were clear on a frigid winter night in Ireland in the 1940s, when a group of weary American passengers disembarked from their flying boat Pan AM flight (these were the precurosor days to the Shannon airport) and asked the guy in charge on the dock, Joseph Sheridan chef of County Limerick, if he had anything to remedy dampened spirits. The answer turned out to be a history-in-the-making yes when he concocted Irish coffee for them; about a decade after that, it was all the rage in the Emerald Isle’s Shannon Airport, where the American journalist with the very fitting name of Stanton Delaplane fell in love with the drink and popularized it at California’s world famous Buena Vista café in the fall of 1952.

Irish Coffee Recipe

Ready In:

10 minutes 

Servings

8 Cups

Dip 8 tall, glass coffee mugs first into cold water and then into granulated sugar. Use a cooking torch to carefully brown the sugar on the glass.

Whip the cream with confectioner’s sugar.

Divide the whiskey among the 8 mugs. Pour in the hot coffee. Top with whipped cream.

  • 8 cups brewed coffee
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • ¾ cup Irish Whiskey

Mexican Coffee Recipe

The drink literally flew into the United States when a travel writer from the San Francisco Chronicle brought the recipe with him on a return flight from Shannon Airport. The belly-warming bar favorite, made with a frothy whipping cream, loads of sugar, piping hot coffee and 2 parts Irish whiskey, is based on a rather romantic story.

The necessity of Irish coffee’s fortifying ingredients were clear on a frigid winter night in Ireland in the 1940s, when a group of weary American passengers disembarked from their flying boat Pan AM flight (these were the precurosor days to the Shannon airport) and asked the guy in charge on the dock, Joseph Sheridan chef of County Limerick, if he had anything to remedy dampened spirits. The answer turned out to be a history-in-the-making yes when he concocted Irish coffee for them; about a decade after that, it was all the rage in the Emerald Isle’s Shannon Airport, where the American journalist with the very fitting name of Stanton Delaplane fell in love with the drink and popularized it at California’s world famous Buena Vista café in the fall of 1952.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe

Ready In:

10 minutes 

Servings

8 Cups

Add the cinnamon stick and cocoa powder to the pot of brewed coffee. Allow the flavors to infuse for 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the coffee into cups. Garnish with whipped cream.

Add dark chocolate liquor with a splash of cinnamon schnapps to make it more fun!

  • 8 cups brewed coffee
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons instant cocoa powder
  • Whipped cream
  • Dark Chocolate Liqueur (optional)
  • Cinnamon Schnapps (optional)

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation on social media with #inthekitchenwithjorj and be sure to show us in my free private home cooking group, Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj!

The Only Fruit Chutney Recipe You’ll Ever Need

The Only Fruit Chutney Recipe You’ll Ever Need

How to make easy fruit chutney recipe

 The Only Fruit Chutney Recipe You’ll Ever Need (And It’s Peachy Keen!)

If you’re looking for the perfect chutney recipe, look no further. This easy peach chutney recipe can be used with a variety of fruits and is great on crackers, sandwiches, or even cheese plates. Create your own signature chutney with the only chutney recipe you’ll ever need from Jorj’s kitchen!

When your brother-in-law calls on the way to your house to visit and asks if you want him to bring you some peaches, you say, “Yes”! 

And when he shows up at your house with a bag, a basket, and a box full of peaches, you say, “Thank you.” 

And on the day, he leaves, and all those peaches are lined up on your counter waiting for your inspiration, you say, “What can I make?”

Then it hits. Peach chutney.

Chutney is a condiment made with fruit and spices. I keep jars of chutney in my pantry. If guests drop by unexpectedly, I use chutney on top of goat cheese or cream cheese as an appy.

Chutney spices up my bacon and cheese panini sandwich and is just lovely spooned over pork or chicken. A spoonful of chutney added to your homemade chicken salad makes for a nice twist.

Mix it into mayo for a yummy condiment on your turkey sandwich or into sour cream for an easy dip.



Think of chutney as a spicy jam and you will find all sorts of things to do with it.

Here’s my recipe for a simple, fresh chutney that will last for weeks in your fridge.

It’s easy to prepare and a lot better than those in the jar because you taste the freshness of the fruit and control the amount of heat.

You can make chutney with pears, apples, mangos… really any fruit will work well.

All you do is throw everything into a pot and simmer until the fruit begins to break down, merging all the flavors together.

It’s fun to make, yummy to eat and a treat to share with family and friends. 

Hey, brother-in-law, these peaches were just peachy keen!

Servings

3 Cups

Ready In:

30 minutes ’til ready!

Good For:

Appetizers, Spreads, Dip, Lunch

Heat the olive oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onion and cook until just soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the peaches and tomatoes. Stir in the brown sugar. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Season with Chinese Five spice, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the peaches just begin to break apart and the chutney thickens about 20 to 25 minutes.

The longer you simmer, the thicker the chutney! 

Cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced, about ½ cup
  • 2 to 3 medium-hot cherry peppers, seeded and finely diced, about ½ cup
  • ½ red onion, peeled and finely diced, about ½ cup
  • 6 ripe peaches, peeled and diced, about 3 cups
  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced, about 3 cups
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Note

To peel the peaches and tomatoes, use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top. Place into boiling water for a minute or two. Remove and cool slightly. The peel will come off easily from the slits.

Another Note

After you peel the tomatoes, you can squeeze out the extra juice and seeds by pushing them gently through a colander.

Movie Star Mushrooms: Netflix & Delish With This Mushroom Dish

Movie Star Mushrooms: Netflix & Delish With This Mushroom Dish

meals to make with mushrooms

I LOVE cooking mushrooms. These edible fungi inspire my dishes with their complex flavors and many uses. Spinach Au Gratin With Sauteed Mushrooms is one of my favorite recipes that is easy to make and will make you feel like a celebrity chef!

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September is mushroom month. Who knew???

Mushrooms are all the rage right now. Netflix just aired a mushroom documentary that someone spent fifteen years filming…FIFTEEN YEARS!!

Although I have always loved mushrooms and at least one container jumps into my shopping basket each grocery store visit, my love affair entered new territory when I visited the farmer’s market this season

There were not one, but two stands devoted to the most interesting varieties of mushrooms I have ever seen. I’m used to working with portobello and button ‘shrooms. 

I even dabble with shitake and oyster. But the giant varieties at the stands are as amazing as they are beautiful. 

There were baskets of Black Pearl and Blue Oyster mushrooms. Turkey Tail, Lions Maine and Chicken of the Woods were names of even more exotic ‘shrooms.

The Boone Fungi company offers a wild (yes, pun intended) arrangement of mushrooms and I bought a bag of assorted mushrooms and brought them home to experiment. 

The farmers suggested roasting the mushrooms, which I did. This did nothing more than dehydrate them. So, I tackled them the way I usually do which is to add fat and flavor, and this worked beautifully!

I do have a secret for getting the best flavor from the shroom. The secret is high heat and a butter bath. You can cook an entire mushroom steak this way or chop a giant mushroom into smaller pieces. Let the mushrooms or mushroom pieces crisp in the pan until you see a golden crust. Now they are ready for whatever comes next.

Serve them atop a juicy steak, or your favorite veggie casserole.

Use a mushroom broth to create a luscious soup or sauce.

Whatever your fancy, the fancy mushrooms will add flavor and FUN to your next meal!

Who knows? Maybe Netflix will come-a knockin’……..

Here’s one of my favorite recipes that uses mushrooms just perfectly!

Spinach Au Gratin With Sauteed Mushrooms

Servings

4-6

Ready In:

30 Minutes Until Done

Good For:

Dinner

Ingredients for Spinach

  • 1 (20-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (you can substitute with fresh spinach leaves)

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cups milk

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated, about ½ cup

  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about ¼ cup

  • Paprika

Ingredients for Mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 8 ounces of your choice of mushroom type, sliced or chopped to equal about 2 ½ cups

  • ¼ cup sherry

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Spinach Au Gratin With Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe

Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms. Don’t mess with them! Let the mushrooms cook until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn them to cook on the second side, about 2 more minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the sherry. Cook until the liquid disappears, about 3 minutes more. Season with some of the salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the spinach in the microwave.  Drain in a colander and use paper towels to press out excess moisture.  If you choose to use fresh spinach, 1 pound fresh spinach will cook down to about the same amount as 10 ounces cooked frozen spinach.  For this recipe, you will need 2 pounds of fresh spinach, chopped which will be about 8 cups. Steam the spinach in a microwave oven or in a steamer over boiling water. Drain as directed above.)

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a pot over medium heat until melted.  Stir in the flour and cook until the mixture begins to bubble.  Pour in the milk and stir until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir in the Gruyere cheese and cook until melted.  Remove the sauce from the heat.

Place the spinach into a bowl.  Pour in half of the sauce and stir.  Pour in the remaining sauce and stir once more.  Pour the spinach mixture into a casserole dish (or several smaller individual casserole dishes).   

Top the spinach mixture with the mushrooms and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with a bit of paprika.  Cook until the casserole is golden on the top and bubbling, about 10 to 12 minutes (depending on the size of the casserole dish).

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation on social media with #inthekitchenwithjorj and be sure to show us in my free private home cooking group, Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj!

Cooking With Mushrooms and Spinach

Celebrate Labor Day 2021 With These Backyard Party Recipes

Celebrate Labor Day 2021 With These Backyard Party Recipes

Can you believe that it’s Labor Day 2021 already? Whether you’re cooking for one or many, there’s never been a better time to let your creativity shine with these tried-and-true backyard recipes!

Labor Day 2021 has long signaled that Summer is winding down to a close and Fall will soon be ushered in. 

We’re not letting our tasty backyard celebrations slip by just yet. What better way to celebrate than with these Labor Day recipes?

Check out these delicious party ideas that are perfect for any outdoor celebration! 

All of these recipes can be made in under an hour and most have ingredients you may already have in your fridge.

Whether you’re cooking for one or many, there’s never been a better time to let your creativity shine with these tried-and-true backyard favorites.

Street Corn Caesar Salad

Hand salads open the doors to your creativity. Yes, this is salad you can eat with your hands. Think lettuce cups and endive spears filled with salad ingredients.

Steak Fajitas

Cook flanks steaks on an outdoor grill and serve all the fixin’s on the side for your Labor Day guests to savor!

Poblano Pepper Short Ribs

Social-distance Summer just got hotter with pecks of peppers, two ways! Add fresh air and “bubble friends” for this backyard feast!

Watermelon Margarita

I concocted a cocktail that turned out to be a BIG hit at a backyard BBQ!

You might want to serve this easy and tasty festive, summer drink at your Labor Day picnic.

We use our fruit-flavored tequila to make this “Watermelon Margarita”:

 

Watermelon Margarita Fruit Cocktail for Labor Day

The Recipe:

Prepare the base for the cocktail by emulsifying the inside of a seedless watermelon.

We mushed up (this is a highly technical culinary term – not used by Julia in any of her 700 pages) two large watermelons for our outdoor party.

Add two or more large cans of lime concentrate to the watermelon slush. You can prepare this base in advance. Pour it into a large container and refrigerate.

For Watermelon Margaritas, take a lime wedge and run it around the rim of a margarita glass.

Combine margarita salt with a bit of granulated sugar and place onto a small plate or into a shallow bowl.

Dip the rim of the glass into the salt/sugar combo.

Pour the slush mixture into the glass. Top with a drizzle of Triple Sec Liqueur and a generous splash of fruit flavored tequila. Top with a fresh, pitted cherry.

Celebrity Bartender….Who, Me? Craft Cocktail Recipes

Celebrity Bartender….Who, Me? Craft Cocktail Recipes

Create your own custom craft cocktails with these easy seasonal infused simple syrups, suitable for happy hours of one or more.  Click to skip to the recipe

easy simple syrup infusion recipe for cocktails

My BFF and I were asked to be “celebrity bartenders” at a meet and greet for pals and neighbors. We were invited to create our favorite cocktail.

This was a bit daunting, as we both prefer wine. However, we rose to the occasion. BFF infused vodka with fresh pineapple and cherries. A shot of this topped with club soda and garnished with the vodka soaked fruit turn out to be a quite the “Ridge Refresher”!

I decided to take a page from the Golden Age of Cocktails (the period between 1860 and Prohibition when most cocktails were invented) and update a few of the classics.

To do this, I focused on simple syrup. Simple syrup is the traditional sweetener in cocktails. You can buy simple syrup in a bottle and keep it in the fridge, or you can make it yourself by combining equal parts sugar and water and boiling until the sugar dissolves. Voila! Simple Syrup!!

The star of my cocktails was my Old Fashion made with a really, really good bourbon, a dash or two of bitters, and a splash of blood orange and sage-infused simple syrup.

Everything was placed into an ice-filled cocktail shaker, and then mixed for several seconds. The liquid was strained into a rocks glass over a huge cube of ice. The drink was garnished with bourbon-marinated fresh cherries and strips of candied blood orange. Yup, it was good!

Here are a few other ideas for simple syrups and their use. Bottoms Up!!

Easy Infused Simple Syrups

Makes: 1 cup of simple syrup

Time: 5 minutes to assemble and several hours to infuse

Ingredients

Blood Orange-Sage Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 blood oranges

1 bunch sage leaves

1 cinnamon stick

Blueberry-Thyme Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 pint blueberries

1 bunch thyme leaves

Meyer Lemon-Lavender Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 Meyer lemons

1 bunch lavender

Lime-Lime Spearmint Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 limes

1 bunch lime spearmint leaves

Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra

For each syrup, place 1 cup sugar into a deep pot with a lid. Pour in 1 cup water. Add the fruit (and in the case of the juices, add in a couple of the squeezed peels) and the herbs and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil to let the sugar dissolve. Put the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to let the syrup simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the syrup sit on top of the stove for several hours. 

Pour the syrup through a fine-mesh colander and into a jar with a seal. Refrigerate for up to several weeks.

Things to Note:

These syrups are perfect for cocktails and mocktails. Use the blood orange-sage syrup to create a super Old Fashion or Manhattan cocktail. Blueberry-thyme updates a traditional Gin Fizz. And lime-lime spearmint takes your next Margarita to new heights!

You can also use simple syrups to sweeten cold drinks like lemonade and iced tea. The Meyer-Lemon Simple syrup is terrific in pink lemonade! 

Another Thing to Note:

You can also use these syrups to sweeten cakes. Poke holes into a pound cake, douse in syrup, and see what comes out!! You can also mix them into your sorbet or ice cream recipes.

Make it My Way:

Anything and everything go into your simple syrup. Don’t stop with these combinations. Create your own!!

Last Thing to Note:

If you want to add a garnish to your drink, try candying the citrus peel. Before you squeeze, use a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips from the peel. Take these strips, place them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat this boiling procedure two more times. You are doing this to soften the peel while retaining the color. Next, place the strips into the pot and add 1 cup sugar and two cups water. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce for about 30 minutes.

There will be some liquid left in the pan, but not much. Cool to room temperature. Transfer the strips from the pot to a wire rack placed over a piece of parchment paper. Let the strips dry overnight, the longer the better!

At this point, you can douse the strips in sugar again if you like and eat them like candy. But I use them as they are to garnish the drink. Sooooo good!!

National Hamburger Day is May 28 🍔 Get these burger recipes!

National Hamburger Day is May 28 🍔 Get these burger recipes!

National Hamburger Day Recipes

National Hamburger Day is May 28th.  What will YOU be eating?

We all know you really don’t need a designated day to savor a delicious, sizzling burger, fresh off the grill, or make a veggie-forward option for a lighter lunch option.

And with Memorial Day around the corner, it’s all the more reason to start thinking burgers!

I have made my fair share of burgers over the years for a number of occasions:  Super Bowl parties, outdoor get-togethers, and just good ol’ American eatin’.

But these recipes endure, and I’m sure they’ll find a special place in your May menu line-up!

Score a Touchdown with the SUNDAY BEST BURGER!

Check out my recipe for my Sunday Best Burger to see just what happiness is made from! If you don’t want to grind the beef yourself, ask your butcher to do the grinding for you. Most grocery store meat departments will be happy to do this for no extra charge.

Read on

Couch Potato Fan Food for the Super Bowl

 These sliders are bite-sized and couch PERFECT.  Use sharp cheddar and do NOT forget the pickles.  Oh, and good news, the recipe a mountain of pimento cheese, suitable for savoring with burgers, nachos, you name it!

Read on

Couch Potato Fan Food for the Super Bowl

My veggie burgers are filled with fiber and offer a delicious alternative to the more caloric beef burger. This is your go-to recipe for a basic veggie burger that most condiments and giant bun can make extra delicious. I like that you can make it in a skillet just like you would a grilled cheese.  

Read on

Couch Potato Fan Food for the Super Bowl

What would a delicious burger be without homemade fries?! You’ll be delighted by how easy – and delicious! – these hot potatoes are.

Read on

Mussel Up: Summertime Is Almost Here!

Mussel Up: Summertime Is Almost Here!

…Did someone say “swimsuit season”?  I JUST DID. Time to “mussle up” with more seafood and veggies, and I’ve got just the recipe for you to try.  Click to skip to the recipe

Secret Squash Jorj Morgan Filming

You can tell Summertime is right around the corner. Swimsuit ads keep popping up on my Facebook feed.

Yikes!!

Not only is there the spring panic of bathing suit weather arriving shortly, but add in a year’s worth of a stay-at-home pandemic and where are those dumbbells? Under the bed??

When I feel the need to rein things in a bit, my go-to is seafood. I eat shrimp for lunch and salmon for supper. And it usually works, until I get bored. 

While in this pattern, I came across an old fave that I haven’t had in a while. I saw fresh mussels at the local store and thought I’d give them a try.

The (lady) fishmonger was so sweet. She picked the closed shells from the bin, one by one, to the dismay of the growing line behind me. But I was left with a whole bunch of perfect mussels.

Earlier in the week my pal, Lauren, had gifted me with a Misfits box that contained a ridiculous number of veggies, so I had lots of THINGS to work with.

Misfits take the not-so-pretty produce that farmers grow and that retail grocers won’t purchase because they don’t look perfect and recycles them to people like me. People who don’t care if the tomato has a blemish as long as it tastes sweet. 

I chose the red onion and garlic in the box to start and then my eyes landed on the garlic. Yes!

There were also a bunch of kale leaves both dinosaur and curly. A bit of wine and a dash of stock and yum oh yum did I have a dish to remember. 

Bathing suit beware…. I’m coming for ya!

Mussels in Ginger-Garlic Broth
With Crusty Bread

Serves: 4 as an appy and 2 for a meal

Time: 30 minutes ‘til it’s ready

Ingredients

2 tablespoon olive oil

½ red onion, peeled and finely diced, about 2 tablespoons

2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 (2-inch) knob ginger, peeled and finely diced, about 2 tablespoons

½ cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 to 4 kale leaves, stemmed and finely chopped, about 1 cup

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 pound mussels

For bread:

Several thick slices crusty bread

Olive oil

Garlic powder

Parmesan cheese

Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra

In a deep pot or wok with lid, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer to reduce, about 3 minutes more. Add the stock. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the kale. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the pot with the lid and simmer until the kale is soft, about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to the broil setting. Place slices of bread onto a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle it with garlic powder and top with Parmesan cheese. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and watch closely. Cook until the bread is golden, and the cheese is melty, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Place the mussels into the broth. Cover with the lid and cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Serve the mussels in a bowl with lots of broth and a couple of slices of toasted bread for dipping.

Mother’s Day Best Recipes: Make Together Ideas!

Mother’s Day Best Recipes: Make Together Ideas!

It’s Mother’s Day, and I have just the (fool-proof!) plan for your at-home celebrations. These dishes don’t skimp on thoughtful details but are quick and easy to prepare with all of the kiddos!

No matter what they call you (or how many times they shout your name), when they call for mom, they are calling out of need.

“Mom, where’s this…”
“Mom, can you believe she did that?”
“Mom, tell him to stop touching me!!!”
“Mom, I can’t find……………..”

Well, on this one Sunday in May, we Moms don’t need to have all of the answers.

In fact, it may be the only day of the year when you can reply, “Ask your father,” without ending your marriage in the process.

Let me help get your Mother’s Day morning (or noon or Saturday before!) inspired with a few of my favorite recipes that are easy enough to prepare, absolutely perfect to share, and will definitely show your care.

Ask your family to whip these up or make it a group activity!

When Life Gives You Lemons….. Make Lemon Curd!

When life gives you lemons…..Make lemon curd! You can spread lemon curd on your English muffin, swirl it in the center of a pound cake, whip it into a mousse, transform it into ice cream or make lemon curd parfaits for a light, airy, and bright spring dessert.

Read on

Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs

Here’s my make-it-at-home version of breakfast pizza that’s easily prepared, and tastes just like the one from the market. It’s just a little slice of breakfast heaven!

Read On

Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones

This is the recipe for the famous Camp Greystone opening day scones. The campers are greeted with these on the first day of camp. The parents are given some to take on the trip home and then hustled out the door. It’s a camp tradition that has met with success for generations, and one I am always excited to recreate with my granddaughter.

 

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Chilled Strawberry Soup for Hot Days

Say, “Hello” to DOUGHNUT Muffins! Get everyone into the act when making these delicious treats. My grandson Sammy LOVES donuts and has got in on the fun: Little ones can brush the warm butter and sprinkle the toppings and the older kids can stir the ingredients together and wash up the bowls! 

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What to Feed Your April Fool? How About Dinner for Breakfast?

There are so many savory breakfast classics, but this one is something special.  In Spain, it’s just a tapa, but in my house, it can be breakfast, brunch, and even dinner! Try this potato torte and pair it with sangria for an authentic experience. 😉

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