Fried Oreo Beignets

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When I started Geo’s Table in 2015, one of the first recipes I created for the blog were Fried Oreo Beignets. Nearly, 3 years later, and that post is the highest ranking recipe on the blog. During my trip to New Orleans, my eyes were opened to a new world of beignets that put my original recipe to shame. Getting the opportunity to partake in both savory beignets (during my Drake on Cake Demo with Joy the Baker) and classic beignets heavily coated with powdered sugar at Cafe Du Monde, I came to the realized quick that my recipe desperately needed an update.

Deciding to tackle true New Orleans Beignets was no small fete,This labor of love turned out splendidly. So much so, that my mother has made a special request to have them on the menu for Thanksgiving.

Scouring the internet for authentic recipes was a bit overwhelming (who knew there were so many ways to fry and beignet?). After pondering over a few, I found an excellent recipe from Sugar and Charm that seemed manageable and allowed me to get my feet wet with this fried delicacy.

Creating the dough from scratch, adding a hint of vanilla and folding in a “healthy” amount of crushed Oreos truly took this recipe to the next level. This recipe also gave me an excuse to christen the Chrome Gold Kitchen Aid, Mark and I got as a wedding gift (and to be honest, I don’t know how I ever baked without it).

Check out the new and improved recipe for the Fried Oreo Beignets below. Happy eating!

Fried Oreo Beignets Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 6 1/2 cups bread flour

  • 1/4 cup shortening

  • 2 cups crushed Oreos

  • Corn Oil for frying

  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine the warm water, sugar and yeast and stir. Let the mixture sit for at least 10  minutes.

  2. Using a stand-alone mixer, combine the eggs, evaporated milk, pure vanilla extract and salt. Beat well until all ingredients are combined.

  3. Setting the mixer speed to low, add in the yeast mixture to the egg mixture.

  4. While still on low, mix in 3 cups of bread flour.

  5. Add the shortening and continue to mix before adding the remaining 3 1/2 cups bread flour. Be sure not to over mix.

  6. Knead the dough until it is smooth (not stiff). Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl in a warm area and let it rise for 2 hours.

  7. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4″ thick.  Add 2 cups of crushed oreos on top of rolled out dough. Fold in the oreos, and reroll the dough out on the service (1/4# thick)

  8. Slice into 2″ squares with a pizza cutter. Using your hands roll the squares into perfectly round balls.

  9. Heat corn oil (a dutch oven works best) until the temperature reaches 350 degrees (or very hot)

  10. Place a few beignet balls in the oil, and watch them fry. Be sure to turn them so they fry evenly.

  11. Remove from heat and set on a plated covered by a paper towel. Once all beignets have been fried, add spread the confectioners sugar on a baking sheet, and have fun coating the beignets!

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Drake on Cake Demo with Joy the Baker

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Two weeks ago, I attended a Black Food Bloggers Retreat in New Orleans that still has me in awe. Everything from the fine cuisine, eclectic decor, and vibrant fashion has kept my creative drive in overload since I left. Recording my epic weekend has proven difficult because it’s so hard to put the experience into words, but a post is coming soon that will truly do the trip justice in my eyes.

During the education sessions for the retreat, our small but mighty group spent time in ideation sessions around our blog strategy, learning tips and tools to help us expand our brands, and getting to discuss all of the kick ass and groundbreaking work we are doing in our respective communities. Outside of the sessions, our lovely host and leader, Jasmine Lukuku (The Blenderist) planned some phenomenal food-centered experiences that I truly enjoyed. Of all of the events throughout the weekend, my favorite was time spent with the infamous Joy the Baker.

Joy is a legend in the blogging world, who has been chronicling her adventures in baking and cooking for nearly a decade. Welcoming us into her home (a meticulous marvel of interior artistry), she shared a little bit about her trials and tribulations as she built her career as a blogger.

From self-taught baker to the author of multiple cookbooks, Joy bestowed infinite wisdom about how we needed to trust in our talents, identify the things we truly care about, and how the best tools are the ones we have right at our fingertips. Charming and witty, with a great sense of humor, she achieved all of this while putting her foot in some savory beignets.

In the grand finale of our time together, Joy let us get up close and personal with one of her passion projects, Drake on Cake. The gallery of cakes with Drake lyrics is one of my guilty pleasures of instagram, and the experience of watching her take a blank cake and create whimsy and wonder was second to none. We watched as she took the cake from simple to stunning, adding notes of confetti, candles, and mini champagne bottles.

Following the cake decoration, we watched her build the photo scene for her final shot. Using a photo-board placed in front of her patio door for perfect lighting, she scoured her home for props that represented the essence of the Drake lyric. As we watched her add paper flowers, rosary beads, and fresh cut slices of cake for depth, she shared that her end goal is to create a story centered around the cake.

Reflecting on my time there, the lyric, “I’m blessed, I just checked,” is the embodiment of our time together in NoLa, and is now a mainstay mantra as I look toward the future of Geo’s Table.

To follow Joy, her awesomeness, and to view the latest photoshoots from Drake on Cake check out her instagram accounts and websites:

Website: joythebaker.com

Instagram Accounts: @joythebaker | @drakeoncake | @thebakehousenola

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Summer Style with Dapper Black Box™ - August Edition

At Geo's Table we believe in the uplifting and supporting those changing the game in our community. This month's feature is the third and final of the Geo’s Table “Summer Style”  collaboration  with the trailblazing, Black-owned subscription service Dapper Black Box.

Each month subscribers receive a carefully curated selection of men's accessories, grooming products and other tokens designed for the style conscious gentleman. The best part, every month the products featured are made with love by black entrepreneurs and businesses.

This month's box included a deliciously bold Knit Ties and Patterned Socks from TYED by Dede, Magnetic Collar Stays by OSK Styles and Fresh Meat Wipes from Scotch Porter . This month's box was made in honor of Bayard Rustin, a civil rights activist who was instrumental in several major historical events that shaped the civil rights movement. 

A little known fact here on my blog is that I am a member of Delta Phi Upsilon Fraternity, Incorporated. Delta Phi Upsilon is the nation's first fraternity for gay men of color. We believe in uplifting the LGBT community and communities of color through unwavering service without expectations. With this being said, our first honorary member was the late Bayard Rustin.

In the 1950's, Rustin became an organizer, strategist and trusted friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a major force behind the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom as well as the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Throughout his life he was also an avid activist and support of economic equality, and LGBT rights. In honor of Mr. Rustin and his legacy, I also dedicate this blog post to him. 

Summer Style Inspiration for August & September

#BlackBoyJoy is a hashtag I follow on instagram, it is also the perfect descriptor for how I felt when I opened this month's Dapper Black Box. With red being my FAVORITE color (and coincidentally one of my fraternity's official colors) I was elated to see a very bold red knit tie included in this month's package. As an added bonus, a pair of red patterned socks also graced me with their presence. 

It can be difficult to match a color this vibrant, but I was determined to let this tie have its moment. Pairing the tie with a quirky "tiny zebra" print shirt by Bar III and a taupe pinstripe suit from Express, I was able to capture the essence of proper summer suiting, while still allowing the tie to shine.  And for some flare, I added a gold tie-bar also by TYED by Dede (included in the Amos Dapper Black Box™).

Check out my photoshoot below!

It has been an absolute pleasure doing this series! A special thanks to Aaron Barnes, the found and owner of Dapper Black Box™ for allowing me to showcase these products!

If your interested in subscribing visit dapperblackbox.com !

Dîner en Blanc 2018

Photo by   Joe McFetridge at  Joe Mac Creative

Photo by Joe McFetridge at Joe Mac Creative

Thursday, August 16th, Philadelphia’s 7th Dîner en Blanc commenced with fashion and flare. This year’s surprise location Dilworth Park, created a vibrant and chic scene as over 5000 guests donned in their white outfits to dine in the heart of the city.

This being my second time in attendance I became more enthralled as the evening unraveled. Boasting an international theme, the event featured a variety of world's fare and decor and offered performances from over 75 entertainers, truly showcasing the diversity of talent our city offers.

Some of my top moments included dancing to throwback tunes  and salsa music, partaking in macaroons and champagne courtesy of Delice et Chocolat and witnessing the artistic talents of Alloyius Mcilwaine, who painted a mural that will be displayed at Broad Street Ministry!

Although the night flew by, I am happy to have another year of this amazing event under my belt and look forward to attending another in the future. Check out some of my favorite moments from Dîner en Blanc below!

Special thanks to Philly PR Girl for having me!

Dîner en Blanc 2018 - Philadelphia



Table Talks: Chef Tonia Renae

There is nothing like a meal prepared by the hands of someone who is passionate about their craft and confident in their approach. That's the essence of dining with Chef Tonia Renae, a professional personal chef and founder of Bless Supper Club. Perched at her counter, in a kitchen personally styled and renovated by her wife,  it felt like I was at home dining with an old friend. I was impressed by the personal and refreshing dining experience, and her effortless finesse as she maneuvered about her space.  As I admired her genius at work I got the opportunity to discuss her life, her aspirations and how food became her passion and art. 

Table Talk with Chef tonia Renae

WHAT SHE PREPARED

Pan-Seared Scallops with Asparagus and Purple Potatoes

TABLE TOPICS

HER STORY

Originally from Connecticut, Chef Tonia moved to Philadelphia nearly a decade ago. She playfully (yet candidly) admits her culinary journey stemmed from a necessity to "show off on a budget." Little did she know that learning how to make what some would consider more "high brow dishes" on modest means would ultimately ignite her life’s passion. Today, with over twenty years of experience, formal training in the culinary arts and an impressive resume in the food and hospitality industry, she has taken on the role of professional private chef, recipe developer and curator of phenomenal dining experiences through her brainchild Bless Supper Club.

 BLESS SUPPER CLUB & BEING A PRIVATE CHEF

In October of 2016 Chef Tonia created Bless Supper Club, a pop-up dinner series.  Partnering with her wife, Bless Supper Club centers on creating a unique and creative dining experience for foodies of all backgrounds. The supper club, which takes place in the comforts of their home, has allowed them both to nurture what they call a "creative movement" propelled by both of their passions. 

Being extremely introspective, Chef Tonia sees each supper club event as an opportunity to try something new and improve on the past. With this in mind, each event places an emphasis on fresh décor and a curated menu focused on the season or an event occurring during that time of year. Past themes have included a southern style brunch, and "Fat Tuesday." Another event is in the works for the near future, and she is sure it will be something different than what any attendee has experienced before.

Photos from @cheftoniarenae on Instagram

HER SPECIALTIES

As with many of us, nostalgia is the basis of Chef Tonia's favorite meal to prepare: Chicken and Dumplings. She is confident that hers is as good as your grandmother's and has a "Chicken and Dumplings Fan Club" to prove it! She recalls the first time she introduced her recipe to her wife, and how it was an instant hit with her friends and family. Now, there's a "Chicken and Dumplings" fan club ! While she enjoys experimenting with different types of cuisine,  she notes that seafood (of all types) is her "specialty of the moment." She also loves to infuse Caribbean spices and influences into her dishes. For my meal she prepared a simply but perfectly pan-seared scallops paired with asparagus and purple potatoes. Her technique was flawless, the flavors were impeccable, and it was all prepared within a blink of an eye. 

PHILLY FAVES

When it comes to dining locally, there is a top contender: South Restaurant and Jazz Parlor. She's attracted to the live jazz music and the delicious southern-inspired menu. She also vouches for their top-notch quality of service and cuisine. An honorable mention: Chili Garden, a recent favorite of hers and her family. Chili Garden located in University City, and boasts a menu of authentic Chinese and Asian cuisine. 

WHAT'S NEXT?

Excited by the open possibilities the future might present to her, Chef Tonia informs, very humbly, that she has seen her following on social media increase steadily. She says, with a smile,
"this means at least two or five people are paying attention." As her brand grows, she has been offered a number of opportunities to grow her business and venture into new spaces. More recently, this has led to her becoming a private chef for a local NFL player as well as being tapped to participate in food-related Philadelphia events. With these accolades under her belt, she is looking forward to attracting and working with new clients to offer more in-home private dining experiences and events. Although these desires are immediate, being the owner of a small restaurant is a long-standing dream she looks forward to actualizing in the future. 

For now, Chef Tonia is taking opportunities as they come to her, and continuing to focus on what she is most passionate about making great food for the people who appreciate it most.

Photos from www.cheftoniarenae.com

For more information on Chef Tonia Renae's services and Bless Supper Club, visit her website and follow her on social media:

Website: www.cheftoniarenae.com

Instagram: @cheftoniarenae

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