Asparagus! In The Kitchen With Jorj

Asparagus! In The Kitchen With Jorj

Join Jorj In The Kitchen!

Learn the secrets to delicious asparagus!

Join me in the kitchen and learn how to master asparagus for your next meal!

I will show you my best tips to making the most tender asparagus, from how to buy ’em, to how to prepare ’em, and finally how to serve ’em THREE DIFFERENT WAYS!

The Art of The Fresh Market

Grab the book that contains my favorite travel adventures, with inspired original artwork by artist Susan Fazio.

New Year, Old Friends and the Birth of This Book

Beer Battered Fried Things for National Beer Day!

Beer Battered Fried Things for National Beer Day!

Beer brings best friends together in the backyard! Serve these fried things up with beer batter and be the hit of the backyard party this National Beer Day.

Frying things is FUN.

Frying things and then eating those fried things with a cold, crisp brew is even more FUN!

If you want some real FUN, invite your pals to a backyard barbecue and fry things in a beer batter and then toast the pals with a chilled cold one.

Yes…that works.

You can use this batter for other things like shrimp, pickles, mushrooms and cauliflower.

Everything tastes better when it’s battered in beer and fried in hot oil.

In honor of National Beer Day, here’s my take on big, fat, puffy fried onion rings with a really yummy sauce.

Beer Battered Fried Onion Rings
With Spicy Dipping Sauce

These fried onion rings are a perfect pass around, backyard appy! The dipping sauce is reminiscent of that Aussie-style dish. (You know the one I’m talking about…) In early summer markets, you’ll find smaller, tender spring onions with white or purple bulbs.  You can use the same technique described here to fry up these babies. They turn into crispy, golden strings which you can mound on top of your favorite burger. It’s all yummy!

Serves:

A  Crowd

Ready In:

30 – 45 minutes

Ingredients

For Onions

2 large white sweet onions, cut into ¼-inch slices

2 cups buttermilk


For Dipping Sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon ground oregano

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 or more drops hot pepper sauce

For the batter:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup rice flour

2 cups club soda

1 (12-ounce) bottle beer

For dredging:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chili powder

For big finish:

Vegetable oil for frying

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Flaky salt (like sea salt)

Directions

Separate the onion rings and place into a shallow bowl or baking dish. Cover with buttermilk pushing the rings down into the liquid while you get everything else ready to go.

Whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, paprika and oregano. Season with some of the salt and pepper. Stir in as much hot sauce as you like. Pour the dipping sauce into a bowl.

Whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 cup rice flour in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Stir in the club soda and beer. 

Place the remaining 2 cups all-purpose flour into a shallow baking dish. Whisk in chili powder and season generously with salt and pepper.

Heat about 3-inches of vegetable oil in a deep, large pot over medium-high heat to 350°. The vegetable oil should come no higher than one third up the side of the pot. Once you add the onion rings, the oil will bubble up. The temperature of the oil will go down when you add battered onion rings and then come up again as they cook. I use a candy thermometer to make sure that the temperature is hot before I add more onion rings to the oil.

Lift an onion ring out of the buttermilk and shake off the extra liquid. Dredge into the seasoned flour and then dip into the beer batter, again shaking off the excess liquid. Place the battered onion ring into the hot oil. Continue this process to fry several rings at a time, being careful not to place too many into the oil at the same time. You want them to swim freely as they fry. Use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to turn the rings in the oil until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the rings to a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Continue with the remaining rings until there are none left. Once you remove the onion rings from the oil, immediately sprinkle with parsley and flakey salt.

Serve with dipping sauce.

Cook’s Tip

For a really FUN presentation at your next barbecue, serve these onion rings right out of the fryer and onto a foot-long wooden dowel mounted onto a wooden block. You won’t find this in the restaurant supply store. Instead, you’ll have to get your best DIY buddy to make them for you. Your friends will love plucking a puffy onion ring right off the stick.

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Best Steak Kabobs Recipe With Bonus Cucumber Tzatziki

Best Steak Kabobs Recipe With Bonus Cucumber Tzatziki

Summer will be here before you know it, but why wait? Serve these steak kabobs with a fabulous sauce and enjoy something on a stick when the mood strikes!

The revival of kabobs has begun. At least for me, it has.

I remember my mom threading beef and tomatoes on skewers and grilling them over a charcoal flame. The results were a bit charred but just FUN enough for everyone to giggle over.

Kabobs are terrific when you are hosting a crowd. You can prepare everything in advance and then grill them in minutes.

You can also vary the skewers so everyone can choose their own. What a FABULOUS solution for your picky eater or diet-restricted guest!

In my earlier catering days, I would thread bite-size nibbles onto short skewers for a terrific display of appys.

I still do this with sweet tomatoes, marinated tortellini, and small balls of mozzarella. Yummm!

Here’s a recipe from my upcoming book for beef kabobs. That’s right, book #8 is WELL underway! 

The secret to beef kabobs is to make sure that everything you thread onto the skewer is equal in bite-size and that the skewers are not over-stuffed.

You want things tightly fitted together, but not squished! Give these a try!

National Something On a Stick Day:
Tenderloin Steak Kabobs With Mushrooms, Peppers, and Onions

Servings

4 – 6

Ready In:

30 minutes ‘til it’s ready

Ingredients

1 bell pepper, three different colors
1 large red onion, peeled
12 baby portabella mushrooms
3 (4 to 6-ounce) tenderloin steaks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Cut each pepper in half (from stem to bottom) and then in half again. Remove the stem and seeds. Cut each piece in half.

Cut the onion in half across the center, leaving the eds in place. Cut each half down into 6 wedges, trying to keep the pieces connected by the stem.
Pull the stems from the mushrooms.

Cut the steaks into 1-inch pieces.

Thread the skewers starting with 2 pieces of pepper. Thread 1 chunk of beef, followed by a wedge of onion and a mushroom. Thread another chunk of beef and repeat with peppers, onion, and mushroom. End with another chunk of beef. Continue threading skewers until all the ingredients have been uses. You should have about 6 skewers.

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Season the skewers with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Lay the skewers (as many as will fit) onto the grill. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn a quarter of a turn and cook for 2 minutes more. Continue until all sides of the beef have been browned, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Test for doneness. Rare to medium rare works great for this steak.

 

Do you know what would be really FUN?

Serve these kabobs with a fabulous sauce like this one for cucumber tzatziki sauce.

Peel and slice a medium cucumber. Lay the slices onto paper towels and sprinkle with salt. After 5 minutes, wrap the cucumber in the paper towels and squeeze out the excess moisture.

Place the slices into the bowl of a food processor. Add 4 peeled and ⅓ cup fresh dill. Pulse to combine. Add 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, the juice from ½ lemon. Pulse again. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce into a bowl and serve with kabobs. Oh! Let’s add a couple of pitas to make things really authentic.

Chips and Dip For All Occasions: Party Dip Recipe Ideas

Chips and Dip For All Occasions: Party Dip Recipe Ideas

mardi gras king cake donuts

Chips and Dip Day celebrates all things crunchy, gooey, dippable, shareable, snackable, and delectable! Get inspired with my best party dip recipes, whether it’s for one, two, or a whole crowd.

 

I have made my fair share of chips and dips over the years, every which way and for just about every occasion.

From appetizers to party take-along to afternoon snacks, the versatile chips and dip dish strikes a satisfying balance of keeping us just the right amount of full before a big meal (or in-between them)!

Chips and dip are a staple in my household, and maybe yours, as well!  But I know you must be wondering…

Are chips and dip healthy?

The wonderful thing about home-cooking is that you have control over your ingredients and preparation process.

I have made both potato chips and veggie chips in my oven with great results and prefer this extra step over store-bought when making chips and dip fresh for my family and friends.

Get my “Oven Baked Seasoned Potato Chips
with Caramelized Onion Dip” recipe for National Chips and Dip Day, or try these fun recipes from my archives!

Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Spread

Servings

1 Cup Dip
2 tablespoons per serving size

Ready In:

15 minutes

Ingredients

1 (3-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 ounces reduced-fat grated cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Place the cream cheese, mayonnaise, red pepper, parsley and cheese into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with assorted cut vegetables and homemade potato or veggie chips.

 

Peace, Love and Far Out Recipe for Chips n’ Dip

Jorj’s Kale Chips

Servings

6

Ready In:

12 – 18 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound fresh kale
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Prepare the kale for baking by using a sharp knife to remove the leaves from the thick stems; tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

Wash and pat dry the kale. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with the salt and pepper. Add a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes.

Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, between 12 to 18 minutes.

Peace, Love and Far Out Recipe for Chips n’ Dip

Inspired Artichoke Heart Recipes

Inspired Artichoke Heart Recipes

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Watch Jorj bring three delicious artichoke recipes to life!

My hubby and I have made many happy memories and homemade meals over the years, but artichokes have our hearts!

Join me in the kitchen and discover how to make artichoke hearts day any ol’ day when you make artichokes my way!

You’ll learn how to cook fresh artichokes, how long to cook artichokes for, how to make stuffed artichokes, and get inspired to put your own spin on the dish.

The Art of The Fresh Market

Grab the book that contains ALL of my travel adventures, and original artwork by artist Susan Fazio.
New Year, Old Friends and the Birth of This Book

Southern Super Supper Book Club Menu

Southern Super Supper Book Club Menu

It’s “Read An eBook Week” and my recipes and read are available for immediate download! Host a Southern-style book club supper with “Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson and my “Sunday Best Dishes” menu.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

Last year I discovered author Joshilyn Jackson and devoured every book she’s written in record time.

For me, her characters, strong Southern women, strike a chord with so many attributes I aspire to. Her heroines face challenges that we can identify with, although hopefully in not such a dramatic manner!

For this book club, I’ve chosen the book “The Almost Sisters”.

This is not her most recent book, but I find it to be very current given our present political climate. And although this book is in no way political, it does deal with issues in the headlines.

Here is a summary from Amazon:

“With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality—the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

 

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

 

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight-year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes.

 

Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

 

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding.

 

Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.”

There’s a pivotal scene in the book that serves as the catalyst for bringing Leia home to Alabama and her grandmother. Birchie and her caretaker, Wattie attend a potluck supper after Sunday church. It’s Birchie’s out-of-character outburst in front of the parishioners that sends a distress call to Leia.

Sunday after church potluck suppers are a tradition in the South. I must have been on the same wavelength with Ms. Jackson when I wrote an entire chapter of the potluck recipes in my book, “Sunday Best Dishes.”

This book is the perfect one for recipes for your book club menus. Buy one and share it with all of your book club members!

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

Here’s a menu that will work perfectly for your book discussion of “The Almost Sisters”:

Pretty Potluck Beans

Sunday Best Dishes, page 73

Southern-Style Chicken Pot with Okra and Collards

Sunday Best Dishes, page 79

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and Green Onions

Sunday Best Dishes, page 83

Trio of Picnic Salads

Sunday Best Dishes, page 123

#RecipesAndReads

 

Here are a couple of book club discussion questions to get you started:

  • There are multiple relationships in the novel that fit the title The Almost Sisters description. How did the title take on new meaning to you as the story developed?
  • Despite her worsening dementia, Birchie is still a strong character throughout the book. How would you describe her lifelong friendship with Wattie? Did your impressions change throughout the novel? Why do you think Birchie chose to keep their true relationship a secret even as times changed?
  • Leia makes the decision to hide her pregnancy early on and keeps her secret throughout much of the story. Do you think Leia made the right decision? Were you surprised by the characters’ reactions when her pregnancy was revealed?

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