Say Cheese! In The Kitchen With Jorj

Say Cheese! In The Kitchen With Jorj

Join Jorj In The Kitchen!

Ready to make a deliciously decadent buffet of cheesy goodness?

Join me in the kitchen and learn how to make magnificent meals that build upon one of my favorite things…CHEESE!

This decadent and well-deserved spread is perfect for your more indulgent Summer menus, with a wonderful pimento cheese twist.

From deviled eggs to really good turkey burgers, there’s a little something for every picnic basket for days to come!

Pimento Cheese with Seasoned Crackers

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon and Berry Jam

Crack Crackers

Really Good Turkey Burgers Sliders with Crispy Shallots and Pimento Cheese

Ham and Turkey Roll-Ups with Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs

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

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.

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

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating: Super Supper Book Club Menu

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating: Super Supper Book Club Menu

I chose a veggie-forward menu for this Super Supper Book Club, Social-Distance Edition. Safely supp over a good read and prepare for what will be a roller coaster discussion and meal!  Click to skip to the recipe

 

In the months before COVID, we started posting a once a month book club guide for you to follow with your group. 

I stopped posting because we couldn’t gather.

But, in today’s environment, with some of the restrictions eased and our ability to safely gather in a socially distance approved way, I thought I would bring it back! My book club has gathered over the summer and we will convene again this week.

For those of you who are still staying home, you might consider starting a virtual book club.

A few of my besties did this over the summer as well, and we found that we gathered (virtually) more often than our in-person club.

I have included the full supper club menu here, but if you wish, just a sampling of one or two dishes works just as well.

Either way, if you are looking for a good read to share with friends (or just on your own), this one’s for you!

 

“The Family Upstairs” by Lisa Jewel

As I read, I had the same feelings that I had when I read The Goldfinch. The abuse of children is never an easy subject.

However, I loved this read because of the development of the characters from childhood to adulthood, the paths their lives eventually take, and The Baby that brings them together.

There are several twists and turns, many of which I didn’t see coming (which to me is the measure of a good suspense novel).

This is my next pick for our Super Supper Book Club.

Gather your readers, give them the title, and dole out the recipes for what will be a roller coaster discussion and meal.

There are three stories woven into the narrative. On Libby’s 25th birthday, she finds out she’s inherited a Chelsea mansion that’s been held in trust.

She soon discovers the house has a dark history based on scant decades-old news coverage. Lucy is living hand-to-mouth in France when her phone reminds her that The Baby is 25.

Without the means or identity, she must resort to some pretty desperate acts in order to get back to England after 24 years. Henry knows everything that happened in the house in the last several years when his family lived there.

He knew why there were so many extra people living there, what happened to the once-opulent residence and its contents, and how and why people were found dead in black robes on the kitchen floor.

I already cooked up some questions for your Super Supper Book Club gathering…

  • Do you think Henry’s lies and violent acts were born out of his need to survive an unimaginable situation, or do you think there is, as Clemency states, “a streak of pure evil” in him?
  • In your opinion, who is the most tragic figure in this novel? 
  • What do you imagine happens to the characters after the book ends?

I chose a veggie-forward menu for this Super Supper Book Club. In contrast to the spartan food the children were given while they lived at 16 Cheyne Walk, this menu celebrates the abundance of the garden with dishes woven into a delicious menu that all your members will enjoy.

Super Supper Book Club Menu

“The Family Upstairs”

 


Fresh Corn, Green Bean and Arugula Salad with Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette •
Canvas and Cuisine,  page 150

Cauliflower Risotto with Cinnamon-Roasted Butternut Squash • Canvas and Cuisine, page 36

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs (Recipe below) Canvas and Cuisine, page 96

Fresh Fish of the Day in Puttanesca Sauce • Canvas and Cuisine, page 262

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Thyme • Canvas and Cuisine, page 341

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
With Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta & Toasted Breadcrumbs

Best Stuffed Portabello Recipe

Spending quality time in the Farmer’s market naturally leads to veggie-forward main meals. This is one of these. There’s nothing better than meaty mushrooms, with a tangy, crunchy filling! You can serve these mushrooms as a first course, or as a late-night snack. Or you can stuff smaller mushrooms and serve these to your book club! The flavors are fantastic – everyone is a mushroom lover after tasting this dish!

Ingredients

1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 more for sauce

1 (3.5-ounce) julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained but save 2 tablespoons of the oil 

4 ounces pancetta, finely diced

4 large garlic cloves, minced, about 2 tablespoons

¼ cup Marsala wine

Juice of ½ medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

8 Portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Yields: Serves 4 for a Veggie Main or 8 as an Appy

Time:   30 Minutes

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

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter in a small bowl. Spread the crumbs onto a baking sheet. Toast the buttered crumbs until they begin to crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a skillet over medium-high heat. And the pancetta and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a platter lined with paper towels. 

Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and simmer until most of the wine has disappeared, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice. Season with some of the salt and crushed red pepper. Turn off the heat and swirl in 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the parsley.

Heat a grill pan on high heat. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, turning once, until they are just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the mushrooms to a platter. Spoon the sun-dried tomatoes into the mushroom caps. Top with pancetta and toasted breadcrumbs.

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!!

A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta: Cooking With Kids At Home

A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta: Cooking With Kids At Home

Homemade pasta is not only delicious, but it’s a great activity to do with kids. Click for recipe to make pasta in all the colors of the rainbow with your kiddos! Click to skip to the recipe

Jorj Morgan Camp Nana Homemade Pasta

 

While brainstorming to come up with some activities to do with campers at my recent Camp Nana, one of my first ideas was to offer a class on baking and cake decorating. 

But, here in the mountains of North Carolina, we sit in a bit of a rain forest. 

A humid, wet rain forest. 

This is not the best environment for cake decorating as the frosting has a hard time setting up. Get the pun?

My next thought was to do a cooking class where we eat what we cooked for dinner, doing double duty.

Then I thought about pizza which led me to think about pasta (My mind wanders in strange and mysterious ways…)!

This time, I thank goodness for strange thoughts as this class went down with pasta perfection.

My over-achiever self decided that we would make differently colored pastas instead of plain old noodles. 

Why not? If you are going out on a limb, it might as well be a high one. 

I amassed several pasta machines and decided to make a go of it. 

I took beets and boiled them, spinach leaves and steamed them and carrots and roasted them. Then I pureed each veg into a puree. 

Note to self, boiling root vegetables creates a smoother puree than roasting, although roasting gives a better flavor. The difference in the pasta is that a smoother puree will create a full-colored noodle, where a coarser puree will create little bits or dots in the noodle. How’s that for insider info?

The technique is really simple and a perfect activity for kids of all ages. 

Since we were creating four different types of pasta, I used a smaller amount of ingredients per pasta maker. You can double or triple this basic recipe based on your needs. You dump the flour onto your work surface and use your CLEAN, WASHED hands to bring it together in a circle. 

You then create a well and put the wet ingredients in the center. This is just like you pool gravy in mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. 

Then use a fork to start swirling the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and eventually form everything into a smooth dough. Kids LOVE this!!! 

Next, we cut the dough into pieces and run it through the machine. Through various degrees of thinness, we smooth the dough into thin sheets. The last setting on the machine cuts the dough sheets into the size noodles you prefer.

We let the noodles dry on a rack for a bit and then we boil them quickly in salted water and serve them with a topping of your choice. 

I offered marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, and plain old delicious browned butter with just a hint of sage. 

It was soooooo much FUN!!!

You don’t have to have a group of kids to make pasta. You can make pasta with just one of your favorite kids. 

Or you can gather a few and take turns on the pasta machine. You can store dried pasta for several days in the fridge. 

You can also purchase prepared sauces to go on top of your pasta. It’s all good.

Just as long as the smiles keep coming. Enjoy!

A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta

Homemade pasta is not only delicious, but it’s a great activity to do with kids. You can make pasta in all the colors of the rainbow, although some might take a bit of imagination! Gather a kid or two and have some fun!

Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones

Ingredients

2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

½ cup spinach puree (substitute with beet, carrot, or your favorite)

2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Serves:  4 hungry kids

Time:   60-minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Use a fork to combine the eggs and yolk with the puree in a small bowl. Place the flour onto your work surface. Use your impeccably clean hands to scoop the flour into a circle. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the liquid ingredients into the well. Use a fork to combine the flour into the wet ingredients starting from the center of the well and working your way to the outside. Use your hands to gently knead the dough into a smooth circle.

Cut the dough into four pieces. Flatten with your hand and run through a pasta machine on the thickest setting. Do this twice and then move to the next setting until you get a thin sheet of pasta. Run this sheet through the machine on the final setting that cuts the pasta into the noodle size of your choice.

Dry the pasta for several minutes (or longer) on a rack or swirl the noodles onto a baking sheet lined with a bit of flour. Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water for just a few seconds, until the pasta is tender. Drain and top with your favorite sauce.

Overboard Tip:

To make the puree, cook (boil or steam) the vegetable until it is incredibly soft. Drain the vegetable thoroughly in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Place the veggie into the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until it is pureed.