Pick a Peck of Peppers: Short Ribs Two Ways

Pick a Peck of Peppers: Short Ribs Two Ways

Social-distance Summer just got hotter with pecks of peppers, two ways!  Add fresh air and “bubble friends” for this backyard feast!

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During this time of social-distancing, my “Bubble Friends” and I have taken turns hosting Potluck Sunday suppers. 

The host couple picks the theme and the rest of us bring the appys, sides, and dessert. We gather together on our porch, back deck, kitchen table; wherever we can dine and raise a glass in the open air with good friends…Well, you get the picture.

Recently it was my turn. 

We’ve been in this social-distance bubble for quite some time, so when it was time to plan my dinner theme, my thoughts raced away from grilled steaks and barbecue. 

I was looking for something that was unexpected on a summer’s night. 

I started thumbing through my Sunday Best Dishes cookbook and paged right through to the Slow and Sly Supper chapter. I saw the picture for my Chili Roasted Short Rib dish and a light bulb went off.

Let’s stuff a pepper or two or three…and my dish was born!  The recipe follows, but what made the evening really special and what makes every potluck supper really special…..The friends who share your bubble. 

Give this dish a try.

Invite your Bubble Friends and ask them to bring a dish. Open the windows and enjoy!

Short Rib Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs


Serve these most delicious stuffed peppers with yellow rice and black beans for a hint of Mexico cuisine cooked in your very own kitchen.

10 to 12 beef short ribs, prepared as follows, shredded, tossed with sauce from pan

10 to 12 large poblano peppers (you can substitute with Anaheim peppers)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup prepared enchilada sauce

4 ounces Queso blanco cheese, grated

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Serves:   6 to 8

Time:  All Day or Overnight Cuisine

Prepare the short ribs according to the Chili Roasted Beef Short Rib recipe written below. You can do this the night before or even several days in advance. Remove the meat from the bones and shred. Place the meat into a large bowl. Spoon the sauce that remains in the pan over the meat and toss to combine. You should have one big bowl of meaty, saucy rib meat.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Slice one cut into the side of a pepper. Gently pull the pepper open and carefully remove the seeds and ribs. Place the peppers into a baking dish. Sprinkle with olive oil on the inside and out. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until the peppers just begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Carefully remove the peppers. Pour enchilada sauce into the bottom of the pan. Place some of the shredded Queso blanco cheese into the bottom of each pepper. Spoon the short rib meat into the pepper. Fill with as much meat as you can. Place the peppers back into the pan with the sauce and top with cheddar cheese. Place the dish back into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, and the beef is warmed through.

Chili Roasted Beef Short Ribs (from Sunday Best Dishes)


Prepare these ribs in the morning and slow roast in the oven while you enjoy your Sunday afternoon. It’s melt in your mouth comfort with just a hint of heat.  

8 beef short ribs, about 3 to 4 pounds (choose ribs that are thick and meaty)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup (or more) unbleached all-purpose flour for dredging

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, diced, about 1 cup

2 large carrots, diced, about 1 cup

2 medium celery ribs, diced, about 1 cup

6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced, about ¼ cup

2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and deveined, diced, about 2 tablespoons

1 750ml bottle red wine

1 quart homemade beef broth, or low sodium beef broth 

1 cup tomato paste

1 cup chili sauce

1 large chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and diced, about 2 tablespoons

2 cinnamon sticks

Chopped, fresh cilantro

Yield:   18 bite size cakes and about 6 large cakes

Time:  45 minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 250°. Season the ribs with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large roasting pan) over medium high heat. Dredge each rib in flour, shaking off the excess. Place each rib into the oil and brown on all sides. Remove the ribs to a platter. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and jalapeno to the pan. Cook until the veggies are soft. 

Pour in the wine and beef broth. Stir in the tomato paste and chili sauce. Bring the liquid to a boil. Return the ribs and any juices on the platter to the pan. Bury the cinnamon sticks in the sauce.

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid (or place aluminum foil over the pan). Place the pan into the oven and cook until the meat is tender and pulling away from the bone, about 6 to 7 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the cover. Place the ribs onto a platter and spoon the sauce over top. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.


How to “Pumpkin-Spice” Everything as Though It Were a Verb!

How to “Pumpkin-Spice” Everything as Though It Were a Verb!

How can tell when the Fall season approaches? Is it the cool breeze, shorter days, leaves changing colors? Heck no! You can tell that it’s Fall because absolutely everything is pumpkin-spiced.

Not too long ago I wrote a recipe for pumpkin donuts in my Sunday Best cookbook. It’s easier than you think it is to make these delicious donuts at home. The downside is that unless you have a lot of friends, you may just eat all of them yourself! Check out the yield from this recipe in the photo below:

Aren’t those donuts gorgeous? They should be…for I added a new dimension this time! I pumpkin-spiced up some granulated sugar for dipping, and created a maple glaze for dunking. The results were… well, can I say sooooo Fall inspired. Give these a try… or move next door to me, and ask to borrow a cup of pumpkin-spiced latte for total pumpkin immersion!

Pumpkin-Spiced Donuts

with Maple Glaze for Dunking

For donuts

3 cups unbleached all-purpose four

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Canola oil for frying

For spiced sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

For glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 to 2 teaspoons heavy cream

 Whisk together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine the eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, buttermilk, brown sugar and butter. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in batches. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 3 hours.

Unwrap the chilled dough onto a floured work surface. Roll out the dough to ½-inch thickness. Use a donut cutter to cut out donuts and holes, reusing the scraps until all the dough has been used. Transfer each one onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Pour enough canola oil in a deep fry pan to come up the sides two inches. This should be less than half of the depth of the pan as oil expands when heated. Heat the oil over medium high heat between 365° and 375°. Fry the donuts in batches until golden brown on one side. Turn to brown the other side, about 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet pan.

Mix together the spiced sugar ingredients in a shallow bowl. Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a shallow bowl. Place the donuts into either the glaze or the sugar.


Boozy Desserts Are Trending So I Jazzed Up My Sunshine Cake

Boozy Desserts Are Trending So I Jazzed Up My Sunshine Cake

I love to hear of new food and drink trends. One of my recent favorites is the concept of specialty cocktails that have exotic ingredients – like muddled basil, citrus infused simple syrup and hot chili garnishes. I especially like the fact that these cocktails decrease the amount of alcohol in each drink, enabling the party-goer to safely indulge. A win win!

And then comes along the new food trend of boozy cakes. Just when we limit the liquor in pre-dinner cocktails, we add liquor to desserts! That pendulum does swing back and forth!

Not to be left out, I decided to experiment with this trend at a recent dinner party. One of my most popular desserts from my book Sunday Best Dishes is my recipe for Sunshine Cake. It’s a lovely, fluffy cake made from a combination of almond flour and finely ground corn meal, flavored with lemon zest and fresh thyme. After the cake is baked, you poke holes in the top. Then you pour lemon infused simple syrup over the cake. The syrup seeps into the cake for a burst of sweetness.

For my boozy version of this cake, I decided to add the citrus flavor of triple sec to the mix. Triple sec is a colorless cordial made from the dried peels of both sweet and tart oranges. My Sunshine cake recipe tops the sweetened cake with a sugary glaze – as you can see in the photo above. I eliminated this, replacing it with berries that I macerated (soaked) in a bit of granulated sugar and a smidge of triple sec. I upped the booziness by adding triple sec to whipped cream and adding this to the dish. But the true boozy aspect of Sunshine cake comes with the triple sec I added to the simple syrup that infuses the baked cake.

The results? Well, the cake topped with berries and whipped cream had the feel of an after-dinner cordial, but I didn’t have to grab the car keys from my guests at the end of the evening!

Tweak My Sunshine Cake Recipe for Boozy Results…

My original recipe for sunshine cake is printed below. If you want to make a boozy version, eliminate the glaze. Add two table spoons of triple sec to the simple syrup after it is cooked and cooled. Whip up some whipped cream, adding 1 tablespoon of triple sec. And finally, soak berries in 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons triple sec.

There’s a bit of booze in every bite! Oh, and you can easily add booze to any cake or cornbread recipe that tastes outta this world. In a cornbread recipe that called for a cup of milk, I swapped ¼ amaretto and the rest orange juice. The result was an even tasting buttery, slightly spicy flavor that rocked my cup of coffee, when I cut myself a slice.

Feel free to share your creative culinary whims with me anytime. The only risk you run is me…actually making it!

Sunshine Cake



2 cups almond flour

½ cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

Zest of 1 medium lemon, about 2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon table salt

4 large eggs

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup Crème fraîche or sour cream

½ cup butter, melted, 1 stick

Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray.

Whisk together the flour, polenta, baking powder, lemon zest, thyme and salt in a small bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine the eggs and sugar. Stir in the Crème fraîche. Slowly add the butter. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.



½ cup granulated sugar

Juice of 1 medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons

Whisk the sugar, lemon juice and ½ cup water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 to 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Remove the cake from the oven and transfer to a rack,  set over parchment paper. Use a toothpick to poke holes into the cake. Pour the syrup over top. Cool to room temperature. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a platter.



½ cup confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup Crème fraîche

Juice of ½ medium lemon, about 1 tablespoon

Whisk together the sugar, crème fraîche and lemon juice until smooth. Spread the glaze over the cake. Garnish with chopped fresh thyme or edible flowers!


Valentine’s Day Par…TEA!

Valentine’s Day Par…TEA!

February 14th is around the corner. The holiday differs depending on where you are in life. If you’re raising kids, there are valentines to seal and deliver. If you’re in love, the day calls for flowers, chocolates – maybe dinner reservations if you’re okay with crowds.

In other words, the kind of stuff that makes you glad when it’s over.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It can be F-U-N! And here’s the truth from a self-described EXTREME PARTY PLANNER. In all my years of entertaining, I’ve come to see that the best thing you could do on Valentine’s Day is stay home!

But you can’t just do nothing, right? Not with an excuse like Feb 14 to have a party. So make it the easiest of parties…make it a TEA party!

The guest list is easy. Got grandkids? Invite ‘em! They will never stop talking about the time Nana hosted high tea. Just you and a significant other? Make it tea for two. Or you can just have a few friends come over and nibble crustless sandwiches, dunk macarons in Earl Gray and talk about Downton Abbey.

What you can’t make, can pretty much be bought. I’ve seen cases of macarons (in pinks and reds no less) for sale at the grocery store. It’s also kind of fun to buy crustless Pepperidge Farm bread (in white or pumpernickel) to make cucumber, chicken salad or pimento cheese sandwiches.

Cut them up small, so they fit on a 3 tier cake stand.

A roll of puff pastry dough from the frozen food aisle enables spur of the moment pastries, both savory and sweet. Idea: Make a Caesar salad and plop tablespoons into baked phyllo cups.

OR…Make my TRIO OF PICNIC Pinwheels, a SUNDAY BEST favorite. I’ve posted the recipe below.

On a tiered tray, I like to make the top level up with 4 to 6 savory items and up to 5 sweet ones on the bottom level – I’m talking desserts like mini slices of key lime pie, baby brownies, scones and lil’ cupcakes.

The middle level can have hand dipped chocolate strawberries, and ramekins full of clotted cream, butter, chutney, raspberry jam or any garnish your guests see fit.

And of course you need to have a tea pot standing by, either pre-made with a black tea blend that is a safe bet for most palates, or just hot water with array of teabags on offer. I also highly recommend offering pink and yellow lemonades – something cold and un-caffeinated.

I’ll be posting table-scape ideas and shopping lists, now through Valentine’s Day on all the social media channels. Find me @jorjmorgancooking! Be Mine always when you subscribe to the weekly blog. XOXO

Trio of Picnic Pinwheels

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels
½ pound medium fresh asparagus spears, trimmed, about 16
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
8 ounces smoked salmon
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons capers, drained
¼ small red onion, peeled
2 (10-inch) flour tortillas

Warm a grill pan over high heat. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the spears until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Place the salmon, cream cheese, capers and red onion into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Lay the tortillas onto your work surface. Spread each one with salmon spread. Lay the asparagus over the top. Roll up the tortillas over the filling. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until ready to slice.

California Pinwheels
4-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup good quality mayonnaise
1 large avocado, pitted and peeled
Juice from ½ lime, about 1 tablespoon
8 slices Provolone cheese
8 slices roasted turkey
10 to 12 cornichons, chopped

Place the cream cheese, mayonnaise and avocado into the bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle with lime juice. Pulse to combine. Lay the tortillas onto your work surface. Spread each one with avocado spread. Lay the cheese and turkey slices over the top. Sprinkle the cornichons in a line over one edge of the filling. Roll up the tortillas over the cornichons and filling. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to slice.

Ruben Pinwheels

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sauerkraut
1 tablespoon prepared Thousand Island dressing, plus 1 cup for pinwheels
8 slices corned beef
8 slices Swiss cheese

Place the cream cheese, sauerkraut and 1 tablespoon Thousand Island dressing into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Lay the tortillas onto your work surface. Spread each one with sauerkraut spread. Lay the corn beef and Swiss cheese slices over the top. Spread with another layer of Thousand Island dressing. Roll up the tortillas over the filling. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to slice.


Rotisserie Chicken for Christmas Dinner!

Rotisserie Chicken for Christmas Dinner!

A slow roasted chicken is a classic Christmas dinner, but can be a lot of work. This Sunday Best recipe changes your notion of what it takes to get a yummy bird on the holiday table. While I was able to publish it with my own lip smacking modifications, I must give credit where credit is due. This chicken recipe comes directly from New Life Farm in Boone, North Carolina where I like to summer in the mountains.

It’s amazing in its simplicity, and yet the end result is a melt-in-your mouth, highly flavored chicken, just like the one you get from the deli rotisserie in the grocery store. If your slow cooker is large enough, jam two chickens into the pot, and have enough to jump start several mid-week meals. My newly released cookbook features ideas with what to do with all that delicious shredded chicken meat, such as Buffalo Chicken Hash, and Truffle Roasted Potatoes with shredded Rotisserie Chicken. Nothing says I’ll be home for Christmas, like seasoning these dishes with hot pepper sauce and fresh cilantro. This is what you’ll have to work with when you make this DISH OF THE DAY:

I might add that the rich broth left in the bottom of the slow cooker is the perfect ingredient to jump start soups or sauces. Place the stock into the fridge overnight. In the morning, skim off the fat layer and go to town preparing ultra-savory meals that will see you through the entire holiday season!

Without further adieu, here’s the recipe – if you don’t already have a crockpot order one, along with my book on Amazon ; )!!

Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken


Note: If you are going to use two chickens, double up on all the ingredients in this recipe.

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse pepper

1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken

1 fennel bulb, tops trimmed, cored and thinly sliced, about 1 cup

1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

Mix together the garlic, minced onion, salt and pepper. Rub the seasonings all over the chicken. Place the chicken, breast side down into a slow cooker. Place the onion and fennel over the top and around the chicken. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours. Do not add any liquid. Get to work on those mashed potatoes and green beans to serve with X-mas dinner!