Brunch Style for Fall

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Over the years, I have met some pretty awesome people through various food events and gatherings. If you follow me on Instagram (where I got my humble beginnings) you have probably noticed my right hand woman, Bari, in a few of my photos

Bari and I started on the food and Instagram scene around the same time and became quick friends. Nearly four years later, we are a bit of a dynamic duo pretty hard. She is a fantastic food photographer and influencer covering food from “street to elite” in Philadelphia and beyond. You can follow her adventures via her instagram: @baris_belly

Growing out of our mutual love for food, fashion and photography, we organically formed our own past-time we call Sunday Funday. A form of soul therapy, the recipe for Sunday Funday is simple. We plan brunch in an area of the city we would like to explore, don our Sunday’s best (or whatever fashion mood strikes us) and spend the day together eating, partaking in libations and snapping photos of street art (and of each other). 

For our first Sunday Funday of the Fall season, we coincidentally arrived at brunch twinning in oversized scarves and capes.

A timeless trend that is probably my favorite staple of fall fashion is the art of layering. Bari has always been the Queen of Layers and showing up in an off the shoulder sweater, black skinny jeans and an over-sized scarf. This year, I’ve been particularly inspired by turtlenecks and capes, which have been making a strong appearance in my favorite stores this season. My favorite combination of the moment is pairing turtlenecks with a button-up shirt and slacks.  We both completed our looks with Chelsea boots and hats.


We dined at W.M. Muhlherin’s Sons a former whiskey blending and bottling company turned modern Italian Restaurant and Boutique Hotel, which is always a stellar dining experience. Following we explored some of the great murals along Front Street including a few the Honeygrow headquarters completed as part of their Front Street Walls project. As an added bonus, it’s Mural Arts Month here in Philadelphia, so be sure to learn more about some of the artists and the abundance of murals we have in the city.

Artists featured in this post:

Molly Crabapple

Lemon Sparkle Fantasy

Amberella

Mural Arts - Philadelphia

Dry Rub Chicken Pasta featuring SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

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Proper and quality seasoning is the cornerstone to any stovetop recipe. So when I come across one that is a cut above the rest, my interest is immediately piqued. That was the case with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub.

I was introduced to the owner of this fantastic product, Demond Mullen, via Facebook. A caterer, chef and creator of Sweeetheat brand, his passion and heartfelt belief in his product was resounding. He emphasized their versatility and how they were more than just spices, rubs and BBQ sauces, instead he presents them as an essential condiment to any kitchen dish. From using his BBQ sauces as a base on pizzas to giving his deviled eggs a savory pinch with his seafood spice, Demond was able to provide color to what differentiates his brand.

Allowing me to put his confidence to the test, he sent me his suite of sauces and rubs which included bottles of his Spicy Homey Honey, Sweeet St. Louis and Kansas City Classic BBQ sauces as well as his Savory Seafood Spice, Southern BBQ Blend and All Purpose Rub. The sauces and spices have become a quick go to for a number of dishes in my household, which have include using the Sweeet St. Louis sauce as a dressing for pasta salad, and seasoning my roasted vegetables with the Southern BBQ blend. Of all the SweeetHeat offerings, which will now be a mainstay in my kitchen, my go-to has been the All Purpose Rub.

 SweeetHeat’s All Purpose Rub includes a blend of sugar, Spanish paprika, sea salt, oregano and bells seasoning. Its hint of sweetness is what makes it extra special, and  Ihave found it pairs well with any meat, especially well ribs, steak and of course, chicken! Although I have made several dishes with this rub, one of my favorites was a one-pot chicken pasta made with a parmesan creme sauce.

As a child my mother would always add a little sugar to our pasta sauces, and as an adult, pasta just doesn’t seem right to me without a little sweetness. Using the SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub to season the chicken for this pasta took me back to my childhood, while getting to use these wonderful product in an unconventional way. Gathering a little inspiration from my good friend Quin, who made an awesome Cajun Chicken Pasta on her blog Butter Be Ready, certainly helped to bring this recipe to life!

Check out my recipe for Dry Rub Chicken Pasta below, and grab some SweeetHeat to upgrade your dishes!

Dry-Rub Chicken Pasta with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Cubed)

  • 2 Tablespoons SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

  • 1 Tblspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 Tblspoon Minced Garlic

  • 2 Servings or 1/2 Box of Penne or Cavatappi Pasta (or any pasta of your choosing)

  • 1 Red and Green Bell Pepper

  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red pepper

Instruction

  1. Cut the chicken breast into cubes, and season with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub. Place in the refrigerator to marinade for up to 1 hour.

  2. In a cast iron skillet on high heat, heat the olive oil, add in red and green peppers and cook until they begin to soften (approximately 5 minutes).

  3. Reduce the heat to medium, and add marinated chicken and garlic to skillet and cook until it is brown.

  4. While the chicken is cooking prepare the pasta  (use package instructions) and parmesan sauce (use the package instructions).

  5. To prepare the parmesan sauce, pour heavy whipping cream into a medium sized saucepan and heat on medium heat until it come to a boil. Using a whisk, stir in the parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper until it thickens.

  6. Drain and place cooked pasta into the skillet.  Pour the parmesan cheese sauce overtop of all the pasta, cooked chicken and peppers. Mix together with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are well coated.

  7. Serve in a bowl topped with additional parmesan cheese.

Happy eating!

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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 !