Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas: Beloved Travel Recipes

Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas: Beloved Travel Recipes

Need dinner ideas for Valentine’s Day?

Inspired Global Recipes

With Love From Jorj

#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, 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.

Canvas & Cuisine

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

#inthekitchenwithjorj

Let’s go!

 

Download your taste of travel adventure and make memories around the table.

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 by tagging #inthekitchenwithjorj and with Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj, my free private home cooking group.

Cooking With Mushrooms and Spinach

Lookalike Sweet Pea Soup

Lookalike Sweet Pea Soup

Hubby and I share a great deal of similarities, but this most recent experience was WAY TOO MUCH! Savor this spring soup with your significant other, in health or toothache!  Click to skip to the recipe

Secret Squash Jorj Morgan Filming

They say that if you’ve lived with someone for a very long time you start looking like each other. Hubby and I have lived together for a very….exceptionally long time and although we have many similarities, we don’t look too much like each other.

Or do we? 

We both have blue eyes.

On any given day, after various salon appointments, we both have blonde hair. 

Our tummies aren’t as flat as they once were and getting up and down out of our respective easy chairs, we both have a little hitch in our giddy-up (as my Dad would say). 

Sometimes we come out of the closet and we’re wearing the same colors.

Sometimes we miss the same golf shot.

Sometimes we order the exact same meal. Sometimes we finish each other’s sentences.

And then…there is the whole name thing……

But our recent bonding experience has carried things too far…way too far! 

Hubby made a dentist appointment recently. He reported back that he had a tooth that required repair and a bigger appointment the following week.

By the next day, I had a sore tooth and went to the same dentist.

After a quick x-ray, she emerged with uncomfortable-looking body language and promptly sent me off to an endodontist to discuss a root canal.

That guy was great, but he said no can do and pushed me along to a really nice oral surgeon who scheduled me for a tooth extraction and dental implant the next week.

YIKES!

I reported back to hubby and he laughed and laughed.

He, the owner of a tooth that simply needed repair and me whose tooth was at dental death’s doorstep. I filled my prescription for Valium and prepared for the worst. 

Hubby’s appointment day came, the day before mine, and off he went.

Forty-five minutes later, he texted that he was on his way to my same oral surgeon for an emergency tooth removal.  The dentist had misjudged the decay on his tooth. Go figure. 

Bottom line is that we each lost a tooth in the exact same place in our mouths, twenty-four hours apart.

Now, even our smiles are a bit more similar. 

Which gets me to the recipe this week. Pea soup!!

Yes, in order to ease the swelling, the surgeon recommended that I buy bags of frozen peas. Which I did: Bags and bags and bags of frozen peas.

After the swelling was gone, the peas remained. Note too, that only soft, smooth things were on the Morgan menu for a week or two.

So, our frozen peas did double duty as relief and substance.

Some things don’t change though. Even as similar as we are, I couldn’t convince hubby to eat pea soup.

He hates peas… which worked out just fine for me!

Have a great week and don’t forget to schedule your dentist appointment soon!

Sweet Pea Soup

Yield: 1 Quart

Time: 30 minutes ‘til it’s ready

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas, thawed

2 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, about 2 cups

½ cup dry sherry

Juice from ½ lemon, about 2 tablespoons

2 to 3 dill sprigs

3 to 4 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

½ cup heavy cream

Sour cream for garnish

Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra

Heat the butter over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and spinach.

Pour in the sherry and cook until most of the liquid disappears, about 4 minutes more. Add the lemon juice and dill sprigs.

Pour in 3 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer the soup for about 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Use a food processor, blender, or immersion blender to liquefy the ingredients to create a smooth, velvety soup. Return the soup to the pot. If the soup is too thick, you can add some more broth.

Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream. At this point, you can chill the soup or heat the soup to warm it up.

It’s great served warm or cold! Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a bit of dill.

Here, Fishy, Fishy: Pumpkin Swordfish Chowder

Here, Fishy, Fishy: Pumpkin Swordfish Chowder

Here, fishy, fishy, I have a new recipe for you!  Try this recipe to repurpose leftover fish for a hearty and satisfying chowder, brimming with all of your favorite vegetables. Because I had pumpkin swordfish, I “peppered” the chowder with like-colored ingredients, but remember, it’s your fish chowder. Click to skip to the recipe

pumpin swordfish chowder

I had friends over for a fussy dinner the other night. 

I did my version of surf and turf by grilling both a butterflied leg of lamb and delicious pumpkin swordfish steaks. Don’t fret, recipes will follow!

I ended up with a bunch of leftovers. You know how I am. I cannot stand to waste food.

The wheels started runnin’ and I thought about leftover recipes for the swordfish.

Swordfish cakes came to mind as did my Bubba Gump’s list of other fish dishes like swordfish gumbo, swordfish fried-rice, swordfish salad, swordfish burgers, swordfish spread…well, you get the picture.

In the end, fish chowder won out and I created a recipe that worked out just fine.

Because I had pumpkin swordfish, I “peppered” the chowder with like-colored ingredients using sweet potatoes and carrots to flavor the broth. But remember, it’s your fish chowder. 

You can use whatever fish you have leftover and your favorite chowder veggies.

It’s really all about the fishy, creamy rich broth that makes this soooo good. Serve with a wedge of cheesy garlic bread and a green salad and invite those friends back to join in the FUN!

Pumpkin Swordfish Chowder

Serves: 6

Time:  30 minutes ’til it’s ready

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

½ red onion, finely diced

6 ribs celery, finely diced

1 large carrot, finely diced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 medium white potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons flour

½ cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

1 pound cooked swordfish steak, chopped into ½-inch pieces

Chopped, fresh parsley

Best Italian Cookie Recipe
Best Italian Cookie Recipe
Best Italian Cookie Recipe
Best Italian Cookie Recipe

Melt the butter in a deep soup pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Stir and cook until the veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Cook for 3 minutes more. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, and thyme. Sprinkle the flour over the top. Pour in the wine. Stir until the liquid thickens and begins to reduce, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and cream. Stir in the swordfish. Reduce the heat to simmer the chowder over low heat. Continue to cook until the potatoes soften, and the broth is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. For thicker broth add more cream. For thinner broth, add more chicken stock.

Tip 1:

Pumpkin swordfish has a delicate, orange-colored flesh made possible because the fish eat a whole bunch of pink shrimp and krill. I created this soup after I over-prepared swordfish for a special dinner I had with friends. I grilled the fish and finished it with a bit of butter. The leftovers were just too delish to lose, thus the soup. I added carrots and sweet potato to go with the orangish color of the fish. But you can use this recipe as a guideline. Any fish will do and plain ole’ swordfish works just fine. Add more regular spuds if you don’t have sweet potatoes and flavor this rich chowder with any of your favorite spices. It’s all good!


     

Let There Be Harvesting: Jalapeno Corn Bisque

Let There Be Harvesting: Jalapeno Corn Bisque

Creamy and sweet with a touch of heat, this soup is fabulous served after a brisk walk on a cold day!  Welcome Fall with my Jalapeno Corn Bisque! Click to skip to the recipe

 

We took a drive through the countryside this past week. This was by complete accident.

We were on our way to our friend’s home across the state, about a three-hour drive. Usually, we take freeway to by-pass freeway to alternate state road freeway and bam…we’re there.

Not this time. I pecked in the address, plugged the phone into the car, and listened to my (Aussie-voiced) virtual assistant as he directed me along the way. In an entirely different way!

We were on roads that we had never traveled.

Once hubby looked up from his iPad and asked me where we were…and I couldn’t say…we began to look around at our whereabouts.

We drove through town after town and passed farm after farm and noticed the fields full of growing cornstalks. Hubby noted that it was soon to be harvest time for that corn and that was just enough insight to send me off in that direction.

I found my recipe for Jalapeno Corn Bisque from Canvas and Cuisine and altered it by placing the ingredients into a slow cooker while I skedaddled towards errand running.

The results were delish.

But I pushed the meal up a step by adding a wedge of home-baked focaccia bread (Also, a recipe from Canvas and Cuisine). Now, it was both delish and tummy-filling.

If you are in the mountains of North Carolina, then you know fall is in the air. If you are living by the ocean in Florida, then you are experiencing the dog days of summer.

Either way, you will find corn is most plentiful at this time of year and I invite you to “harvest” some of your own and chow down on this really yummy soup.

Jalapeno Corn Bisque

Creamy and sweet with a touch of heat, this soup is fabulous served after a brisk walk on a cold day; I like my bowls fireside! I was introduced to this soup, by a super chef in Banner Elk, North Carolina. It was that kind of bone-chilling Autumn day when you just need a big bowl of soup to warm you from the inside out. It didn’t hurt that the corn is grown right down the street from the restaurant.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped, about 1 cup

1 whole leek, washed, white part chopped, about 1 cup

4 large jalapeno peppers, seeded, veins removed, diced, about 1 cup

8 ears of corn, kernels removed from cobb, about 6 cups

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup sherry 

3 cups homemade chicken stock or prepared low sodium broth 

4 cups half and half

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour mixed with 1 tablespoon room temperature butter (beurre manié)

Fresh chopped cilantro

Serves:   8

Time:   60-Minute Cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Heat the olive oil in a deep soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, leek, and jalapeno pepper and cook until beginning to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. Pour in the sherry. Cook until the liquid is almost all evaporated, about 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Use your gadget of choice (food processor, blender, or immersion blender) to emulsify the soup. 

Return the soup to the pot if you have used a blender or food processor. Heat the soup over low heat. Stir in the half and half. Drop small pieces of the beurre manié (flour mixed with butter) into the soup. Stir until the soup thickens to your desired consistency. You can add more cream to thin the soup or more of the beurre manié to thicken it.

Garnish with fresh herbs, cheddar cheese, salsa, cooked bacon, or all the above!

Market Finds: Tomato Hoarder Edition

Market Finds: Tomato Hoarder Edition

There’s nothing that says love than a big bowl of tomato soup. Why not share this recipe, brimming with Farmer’s Market bounty, with your numero uno?!! Click to skip to the recipe

Heirloom Tomato Soup

 

Facemask in hand, I was strolling the mark last week and found a few exceptional produce offerings.

It is TOMATO TIME.

The varieties of heirloom tomatoes are on full display at almost every farmer’s stand.  If there were a TV show that centered on tomato hoarders, I would be featured on episode number one! I just can’t help myself.

I fill my straw basket with these red, ripe beauties and then take them home and display them on my counter. 

Luckily, I am married to the numero uno tomato consumer and we eat them at every meal. But, when the numero uno consumer can’t keep up with the number one hoarder, we have a problem. 

Enter my recipe for heirloom tomato soup. I think you are going to love this one.

One of the most interesting additions to my soup is elephant garlic. Remember those beautiful garlic scapes we found in the spring? Well, those scapes are on the top end of growing bulbs of garlic that are dug up right about now. 

The cloves from this garlic are huge and have more of the texture of a turnip than a potato. The taste is more delicate and doesn’t overpower the flavor of this soup.

Last but not least, I found delicate zucchini squash blossoms still attached to their mini mates. These need to be dealt with quickly, as they don’t have an awfully long life span in the fridge.

I stuffed the flowers with a combination of ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and roasted them alongside the mini-squash for a delightful bite of cheesy vegginess. 

It was an excellent side dish for the soup. A super YUM on the Yum-O-Meter.

I offer my soup recipe for you to try this week, whether your strolling the market or not. 

There’s nothing that says love than a big bowl of tomato soup.

Why not share one with your numero uno?!!

Heirloom Tomato Soup

Elephant garlic gives this soup a unique flavor as well as an interesting texture.

Ingredients

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, about 6 large

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, peeled and diced

3 cloves elephant garlic, thinly sliced, about ¼ cup (substitute with 3 cloves regular garlic)

1 cup sherry 

1 (28-ounce can) crushed tomatoes

1-quart vegetable stock

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ cup half and half

Yields:   A crowd

Time:   60-minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Peel the tomatoes by first slicing the skin crosswise at the stem and then placing them in boiling water for just a few seconds. Transfer the tomatoes to a colander and peel the skin. Cut the tomatoes into chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes more. Pour in the sherry and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to emulsify the soup. You can also use a stand-blender or food processor to accomplish this step but cool the soup first. You don’t want hot soup in a blender!

Stir in the half and half. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. You can add more salt and pepper if you like, or any other herb or spice you want to flavor your soup. It’s all good!!