Go Nana Bananas!

Go Nana Bananas!

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When you want something homemade to gather grandkids around the kitchen…

Join me in the kitchen for more memories and recipes with our featured ingredient: BANANAS! 

I will show you how to whip bananas into delicious homemade delights, from breakfast (or anytime!) bread to donuts and finally my one-of-a-kind Banana Pudding Ice Cream!

Join Jorj In The Kitchen!

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

Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts for Fat Tuesday

Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts for Fat Tuesday

mardi gras king cake donuts

Need a Mardi Gras party food idea? Make Fat Tuesday delicious with this twist on traditional King Cake, from Jorj’s kitchen to yours!

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Twelve short days after Christmas is Three Kings Day (also known as the Epiphany).

This date marks the official beginning of Mardi Gras which last until the first day of Lent. Most of us don’t celebrate the entire season, after all, there are other holidays in-between!

So many Mardi Gras celebrations are left for the two weeks before Ash Wednesday.

My Mardi Gras memories settle themselves in my Grammy’s kitchen on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday.

My sweet, itty bitty Polish grandmother would create the most delicious pillowy donuts that day. Hot from the frying oil they were doused in powdered sugar and lasted just moments before we popped them into our mouth.

Traditional Polish donuts known as packzki are rich and filled with cream or fruit. My Gram filled hers with grape jelly. But she saved the unfilled donuts for us to gobble up. 😋 

I’ve made jelly-filled donuts before.

I’ve even made pumpkin spice donuts with maple glaze.

This year, I’ve decided to make King Cake donuts to celebrate the season.

These are big, fluffy, light-as-air donuts doused in a sugar glaze and sprinkled with traditional colors of the season, purple, yellow, green, and gold sprinkles.

Want some?

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation by tagging #inthekitchenwithjorj and with Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj, my free private home cooking group.

Jorj’s Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts

Servings

Makes about 9 large donuts plus holes

Ready In:

15 minutes for dough
15 minutes to cut out
2 hours to rise

Good For:

Dessert
Parties
Breakfast

Ingredients

For Donuts

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (you can substitute with instant)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For Glaze:
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons half and half or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles (green, yellow purple and gold!)

Jorj’s Mardi Gras King Cake Donuts

Place the flour, granulated sugar, yeast, salt, and nutmeg into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whisk the milk, butter, egg, and vanilla together in a bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl with a clean towel, and rest for 5 minutes. Change the paddle attachment to a dough hook and beat until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Dump the dough into a bowl sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Turn the dough to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The dough is doubled in size when you stick your finger into the dough and the indentation stays.

Roll out the dough and use a donut cutter (or round biscuit cutters) to cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place these onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place into the warm place and let rise until doubled in size again, about another 30 minutes.
Heat oil to 350° in a deep pot or Dutch oven. Only let the oil fill the pot one third up the sides so that when it bubbles up it won’t overflow.

Fry the donuts in batches. Don’t overcrowd the oil. We want them to swim in the oil… not drown! Fry until they are golden on one side and then carefully flip so that they are golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the donuts to a rack set over paper toweling to drain.

Whisk together the sifted confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and cream. Dip one side of the donuts into the glaze. Return to the rack and douse with sprinkles.

Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas: Beloved Travel Recipes

Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas: Beloved Travel Recipes

World Travel Foodie Adventures!

Celebrate your sweetie, family, and loved ones with memorable meals from around the globe. My gift to you this Valentine’s are my very best globally-inspired meals, designed to make memories any moment that calls for celebration.

#wanderlove

This Valentine’s Day, let’s take a trip around the world without leaving your own cozy kitchen. Let’s create a menu inspired by far-away places. Let’s create a dish or two to share with those you may not have seen in a while. And while we’re doing all of this, let’s share some LOVE…’cause all you need is….

FOOD!

Food that you can share with your loves. Canvas and Cuisine, the book I wrote with Susan Fazio is filled with foods that are inspired by our travels. But, more than this, the book is about love… love of family, love of neighbors, and love of friendships.

My gift to you this Valentines’ Day is all about LOVE. It’s about creating dishes that inspire you. Food that takes you just a bit your of your comfort zone. And dishes, that beg for your inventiveness.

Chinese Hot Pots: A Must-Eat for Travel Channel Foodies!

Grab Jorj’s Travel Foodie Guide

Join Jorj for Meal Inspiration & Home Foodie Conversation!

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

Jorj’s Mahogany Cake (The Lava Legacy)

Jorj’s Mahogany Cake (The Lava Legacy)

I’ve baked this chocolate cake for every birthday for every child and friend for years and years. It’s dark, rich, and has a flavor all its own. Try this featured Women’s Day Magazine recipe that everyone will ask you for!

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In honor of National Chocolate Cake Day, I give a nod to my late mother-in-law, Mary Jane Morgan, and the legacy chocolate cake she passed down to me from her mother, Irene Seeley.

I remember traveling with my firstborn, Trey, to visit George’s parents in September 1979.

Trey turned two that visit, and Mary Jane made chocolate cupcakes turned into clowns using ice cream cones as hats and candies for their faces. Trey was delighted and I noticed something funny.

Hubby, George, would sneak into the fridge and scoop from a bowl spoonful of left-over frosting again and again and again

Mary Jane shared the cake recipe and I’ve baked it for every birthday for every child and friend for years and years.

I’ve made it as a sheet cake, a two-layer round cake, and a four-layer square cake. The frosting is so gooey that the more layers you try the more the cake slides to one side or another leaving it a tiered cake or as my sons refer to it the AVALANCHE cake!

No matter how it looks, the cake is incredible.  It’s dark, rich, and has a flavor all its own.

The secret ingredient is black walnut flavoring. McCormick produced this essence until ten or so years ago when it was dropped.  Lovers of the cake would ransack their grandmother’s pantry for stored bottles of the stuff. We found quite a few that way!

Today, Amazon will give you a good selection of choices when you search, and I’ve tried them all. It works!

 

This is truly our family’s legacy cake. It was featured in Women’s Day magazine when my first book was published in 2000.

In honor of National Chocolate Cake Day, I will share with you the short-cut secret to making this cake for your family.

Yes, it is a departure from the original, but I’m sure both Mary Jane and Irene will approve of this modernization.

Jorj’s Mahogany Cake (The Lava Legacy)

Servings

6-8

Ready In:

30-35 Minutes Until You’re Ready

Good For:

Everything!

Ingredients

  • Devil’s Food Cake recipe or boxed mix
  • ¾ cup Sprite
  • ¾ cups brewed coffee
  • 4 tablespoons of black walnut flavoring
  • 6 cups of confectioners’ sugar 
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • ⅓ cup milk or cream

Jorj’s Mahogany Cake (The Lava Legacy)

Start with a Devil’s food cake recipe.

In place of water, use ¾ cup Sprite and ¼ cup brewed coffee.

Add 2 tablespoons of black walnut flavoring.

Continue as directed on the box and bake as either cupcakes or any version of your favorite layer cake. Cool the cakes.

 

National Chocolate Cake Day Mahogany Cake

For the frosting:

  1. Add 6 cups of confectioners’ sugar into the bowl of your electric mixer
  2. Add ¾ cup cocoa powder and ¼ teaspoon salt
  3. Mix in 4 tablespoons melted butter, ½ cup brewed coffee, 2 tablespoons black walnut flavoring, and ⅓ cup milk or cream
  4. Mix this all together, scraping down the sides

Home Chef Tip!

If the frosting is too loose, add more sugar. If it’s too tight, add more milk. Keep a can of prepared chocolate frosting on hand just to be safe

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation by tagging #inthekitchenwithjorj and with Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj, my free private home cooking group.

Cooking With Mushrooms and Spinach
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

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation by tagging #inthekitchenwithjorj and with Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj, my free private home cooking group.

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.

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.

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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!

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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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