Get on BOARD With This Charcuterie: Tuna Steak Nachos

Get on BOARD With This Charcuterie: Tuna Steak Nachos

Mix and match your guests’ favorite meats, treats, and cheeses and never be bored with your charcuterie board! Start with these Tuna Nachos, perfect for tailgating at home. Click to skip to the recipe


There are lots of reasons to entertain family and friends these days, as long as your family and friends have maintained their social distance while trying to live their lives amid craziness!

We’re all living in our reduced social circles these days, but that still leaves us room to gather safely. And gather, we do!

One of my favorite ways to entertain is to set out individual bites onto a lovely charcuterie board.

Now, by its very definition, a charcuterie board is made up of prepared, cured meats (usually pork) and varieties of cheeses.

The very word charcuterie comes from the French words chair (flesh) and cuit (cooked).

But meat and cheese can be boring, so I veer towards combining charcuterie with an antipasti platter. Olives and pickled veggies are so yum.

But then I have a couple of crudité tray ideas and well, before you no it, I create a board full of appetizers that is unlike any other.

Just like I like it!

My recent board was created for my fellow book club pals. It was packed full of individual appys that by themselves would be perfect for a first-course nibble, but when combined could serve a crowd for a cocktail party or game day (stay-at-home) tailgate party.

The appys assembled on my board included roasted shrimp on a stick, chunks of Parmesan cheese, whole roasted garlic, salami and cream cheese “flowers”, margarita sausage on baguettes with lime mustard, gouda and sun-dried tomato “pimento” cheese with candied bacon, hummus and Parmesan stuffed tomatoes and the fan-favorite, seared tuna nachos with roasted garlic cream.

Whew! Sounds like a lot and it was…..but it was also FUN to prepare and wonderful to watch as they were devoured in no time.

Whether you prepare your own fan-favorite appys or arrange store-bought (and there are tons of them) items on your board, the secret is to be surprising. Mix and match your favorites and be creative with your choices. After all, you never want to be bored with your board!!

Seared Tuna Nachos with Roasted Garlic Cream

These nachos are a big hit. You can easily make them in advance, and they look divine on your appy board.


For tuna:

1 (8-ounce) tuna steak:

½ cup rice wine vinegar

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

4 green onions, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)

1 (1-inch piece) ginger, grated

1 tablespoon olive oil

For roasted garlic cream:

Cloves from 2 whole heads roasted garlic, about ¼ cup, mashed

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup heavy cream

Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

For nachos:

Large, sturdy tortilla chips

2 cups tender green leave, washed, dried and thinly julienned (I used frisee, baby kale and butter lettuce leaves)

Serves:   A Crowd

Time:   60-Minute Cuisine

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

Place the tuna steaks into a shallow dish. Whisk together the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, onion, and ginger.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade.  Pour the rest over the tuna steak.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours in the fridge.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove the tuna from the marinade.  Shake off the excess.  Sear the tuna in the skillet turning once, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for very rare.  Remove the tuna to the freezer and chill for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place the roasted garlic cloves, sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine into a smooth thick cream. Season with salt and pepper. The cream should be thin enough to drizzle.  Pour into a squeeze bottle and set aside.

Place the tortilla chips on a platter. Toss the greens with the reserved marinade.  Place several shreds of lettuce over the tortilla chips.

Remove the tuna from the freezer.  Use a very sharp knife to cut very thin slices (across the grain) of seared tuna.  Place 1 to 2 slices (depending on how thin you can cut) onto each chip.  Drizzle with garlic cream. 


The Dandiness of my New Group, Scrumptious Possibilities

The Dandiness of my New Group, Scrumptious Possibilities

With a recipe for dandelion greens.

I’m working on recipes for a new book, CANVAS & CUISINE. A hybrid of recipes and oil paintings celebrate the fresh fruits and vegetables of world farmers markets, with an eye for global cuisine and flavors that range from the very exotic to the simply delicious. My dear painter friend has created masterpieces that depict wandering tourists, as they breathe in outdoor markets. As the chef in this partnership, I take regional dishes and give them a “can-do” spirit.

One of the things that’s been on my fork and (I’m sure!) splashed across the canvas are dandelion greens. To paraphrase Dr. Suess, “you can’t paint them here nor there; you can paint them anywhere!” This time, the dandelion greens on my plate came from an American grocery store rather than a stroll through International markets. I did, however, rely on travels to the Deep South to create this dish. It’s a recipe for fried pork chops with a creamy mustard gravy and sautéed dandelion greens. I chose these greens, because they are traditionally Southern.

These greens need a bit of TLC because they are naturally bitter. Many recipes instruct the cook to find tender, young dandelion greens to reduce their bitterness, but in my experience no matter how young and how tender the greens are, they need to be boiled in a bath of salty water to make them palatable. Adding sautéed onion, shallot, leek or fennel will also add to the subtle sweetness of the dish.

Give this one a try when you’re in the mood for a dish that’s hearty, soulful and delicious all at the same time! And if you’re sitting down somewhere comfortable and need a cuppa while you read or write, I can whole-heartedly recommend dandelion tea, which tastes almost as rich and nutty as coffee. Did I neglect to mention that CANVAS & CUISINE is a coffee table book? There’s a lot to look forward to, my friends…

Fried Pork Chops w/Sautéed Greens

& Mustard Cream Gravy

Serves 4

45 Minute Cuisine

For Greens:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 whole leak, cut in half, thoroughly rinsed, thinly sliced, tough dark green leaves, discarded, about 1 cup

1 pound rainbow Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves rolled and thinly sliced, about 6 cups

¼ cup dry sherry

½ cup homemade chicken stock, or prepared low sodium vegetable broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

For Pork Chops:

4 (4 to 6-ounce) 1-inch thick, bone-in pork chops

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 cups bread crumbs from about 6 slices day old bread

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about ½ cup

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoon butter

For Gravy:

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

¼ cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 ½ cups half and half

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced leek and cook until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the sherry and cook until the liquid disappears. Pour in the chicken broth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the greens are very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Brush both sides of the pork chops with mustard and season with salt and pepper. Stir together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, thyme, garlic and onion powders in a shallow bowl. Melt ¼ cup olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Dredge the pork chops in the crumb mixture pressing down to thoroughly coat both sides. Place the chops into the hot oil and fry until golden on one side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and fry on the second side until golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork chops to a platter, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm.

In the same skillet, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with flour and whisk to create a roux. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the white wine. Stir in the mustard. Pour in half and half and stir until the gravy thickens. Stir in nutmeg. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Lay the pork chops over the greens and serve the gravy on the side.


Gourmet green beans for tonight’s side dish

Gourmet green beans for tonight’s side dish

If you only have 10 minutes until it’s time to eat, and are scrambling to find a side dish that rounds out a full spread dinner, this citrusy and delicious spin on green beans is just what you need. The reason it’s a hit and pairs well with just about any entrée is its nutty, garlicky flavor. You can save extra green beans for use later in the week. They are excellent in soups and chopped salads – even with a little tuna fish. Nicoise salad anyone?

I find that if you don’t do fish –or lean vegetarian – that swapping out the anchovies in this recipe for Kalamata olives works just as well. Anyhow, get ready to transform these babies into something truly special! I bought mine at the farmers market this week. Florida’s grow season is pretty much RIGHT NOW, and we’re the green bean capital of the world. You can always find huge bags of fresh green beans on the cheap at the grocery store too.

Citrus Sautéed Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces, about 4 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 anchovy filets, about ½ tin

1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced, about ½ cup

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Zest of 1 medium orange, about 2 teaspoons

Juice of 1 large orange, about 1/3 cup


            Steam the green beans until just crisp tender. Do this in a microwave oven or using a steamer on the stovetop. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the anchovies. Stir until the anchovies completely dissolve. If the oil sputters reduce the heat to low. The anchovies will dissolve quickly. Add the onion to the pan. Turn the heat up to medium high. Cook until the onion are soft and just beginning to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green beans to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add the orange zest and orange juice. Cook until the liquid begins to disappear. Remove the pan from the heat. Cover the beans to keep warm until ready to serve. Reserve extra beans to use later on.



Simple. Elegant. Delicious.

Simple. Elegant. Delicious.


So far as side dishes go, you can’t do better than these poached carrots. The treatment they receive calls for any kind of carrot you see fit, a cup full of extra virgin olive oil, plenty of chopped parsley and pinch of salt. Am I missing anything? Nope! My latest cookbook explains a humble, yet amazing poaching method that elevates carrots faster than Bugs Bunny can say, “What’s up, doc?” In addition to parsley, these carrots love poaching with fennel, spring onions and celery.

Face it. It’s the simplicity you need right now with so few days between now and Christmas. This is a brilliant one to add to your year-round repertoire as it’ll work for all the special holiday dinners in 2018, too. In my book, SUNDAY BEST DISHES: A COOKBOOK FOR PASSIONATE COOKS, this recipe shares prime real estate with its sister side dish, Saucy Succotash; to get and entire collection of weekend inspired yumminess, please click the Amazon link to purchase. Oh, and don’t forget to email me at with your home address, so I can personalize the first page with a little note: from one passionate cook to another!

Carrots Poached in Olive Oil


¼ cup olive oil

1 bunch carrots, peeled, green tops removed

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat a skillet over medium heat. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of the pan. Place the carrots into the skillet. Pour enough water to come up 1-inch from the bottom of the skillet. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the skillet with a lid. Cook until the carrots are fork tender, about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the carrots. Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley.



Counting Down to Christmas with Jorj’s Chicken Rolls

Counting Down to Christmas with Jorj’s Chicken Rolls

It’s Sunday afternoon, and you still have plenty of time to pull off another awesome SUNDAY BEST Dinner! Here’s my recipe for Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Rolls with a Side of Tahini Squash. Busy shopping weekends require an easy chicken dish that comes with a special side; in this case, it’s squash made with tahini sauce! This chicken dish works as a guideline to help you create your own favorite dish; you can literally put anything you like in these sumptuous chicken rolls. ROLL WITH IT BABY!

If you want to customize your dinners, so that your family wants even more, my book is full of ways to do that. There are plenty of recipes in SUNDAY BEST DISHES that allow home cooks to easily create other great chicken dishes during this busy holiday season…which ain’t over until somebody sings in Times Square. Order your copy with my autograph before the year is done. Love ya all!

This recipe photo of your next great December dinner, are how my chicken rolls look right before they go in the oven:

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Rolls

with a side of Tahini Squash




4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons butter

½ pound fresh assorted wild mushrooms, sliced, about 2 cups

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, preferably purple basil

½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

4 (1-ounce slices) Provolone cheese

Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of parchment paper.  Use a meat mallet to gently pound to ¼-inch thickness.

Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the basil and herbs de Provence.  Season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the bread crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the bread crumbs. Pressing the crumbs into the chicken.  Lay each onto your work surface.  Place a slice of cheese in the center of each breast.  Top with mushrooms.  Carefully roll up the chicken breasts around the filling.  Place, seam side down into a baking dish, coated with vegetable oil spray. Bake the chicken until the tops are just golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.



1 medium acorn squash, seeded, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon tahini paste

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon Ponzu sauce

4 to 5 green onions, cut diagonally, thinly sliced, about ½ cup

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

            Preheat oven to 400°. Place the squash pieces onto a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the squash is just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.

Whisk together sesame oil, tahini paste and ponzu sauce. Stir in green onions and crushed red pepper. Pour the sauce over the squash and place the pan back into the oven. Cook until the squash is very tender, about 5 minutes more. Serve alongside your stuffed chicken rolls and enjoy!