Before Jazz, Jake, Jurnee, and Jussie Smollet conquered Hollywood, they spent their time conquering the kitchen table at every city they traveled to. Oh yes; the Smolletts moved from coast to coast thirteen times during their childhood. No matter how many times their home and classmates changed, the food on the Smollett’s kitchen table and the relationship with each other was strong and unwavering.
The Smollett’s weekly family feasts and communal kitchen table was a custom that kept life at home stable, bonded, and growing. “Each time they arrived in a new home, their mother would transform a long piece of butcher block into a smooth varnished table in a beloved ritual that took three days. That hand-crafted table would become the heart of the Smollett clan… where they shared memorable meals over plates brimming with delicious food.” It’s no secret that eating together as a family is crucial to creating long lasting bonds amongst family members.
Now, the four Smollett siblings intend to share those same family values with your family. No matter how hard things are, the family table is something every family can look forward to together. Appropriately, the cook book is titled, “The Family Table: Recipes & Moments from a Nomadic Life” and contains 125 recipes that blend dishes from their past and present. Jazz, Jake, Jurnee, and Jussie Smollet have a dish that will satisfy every occasion and everyone’s appetite.
To get a little taste of what’s inside “The Family Table,” the Smollett siblings gave The Wendy Show three recipes you’re sure to love.
JURNEE: I love to host parties, and one thing you can be guaranteed of at my house is an extravagant cheese plate to snack on. I’ve gained the reputation of being able to throw down on my cheese plates . . . and they are kinda amazing, if I do say so myself. A necessity for any party.
A staple for my cheese plate is my spicy Gouda dip. It’s a favorite among my family and friends and usually the first to go. So I decided to change it up and combine two of my favorite things—spicy Gouda and potatoes! These are super easy to make; your fam and friends will be impressed and unable to stop praising your genius potato skills.
Makes 4 servings
4 russet potatoes, scrubbed 4 cups grated smoked Gouda (about 1 pound)
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup chopped pickled jalapeño chiles
1 green onion, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the potatoes directly on the middle oven rack and bake until knife tender, fluffy on the inside, and crispy on the outside, 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Turn the broiler to high.
Meanwhile, stir together 2 cups of the Gouda, the mayonnaise, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, green onion, and paprika in a large bowl.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them open lengthwise, scoop out the fluffy insides, and carefully transfer them to the Gouda mixture. Fold gently to combine.
Lay the empty potato skins on a rimmed baking sheet and evenly distribute the potato filling among the skins, so they are almost overflowing with filling. Top each potato with a generous sprinkling of the remaining shredded Gouda.
Broil the potatoes until the cheese is melty and gooey, about 4 minutes. Keep an eye on them so the cheese doesn’t burn. Garnish with more green onions if desired. Serve immediately.
JAKE: These chicken skewers are my take on buffalo wings. Instead of wings, I use thighs, and instead of buffalo sauce, I use sriracha topped with blue cheese crumbles to give it that extra salty, cheesy kick. These skewers are super quick and easy to throw on the grill. And because they’re made with dark meat, they’re extremely tender and flavorful. Pair with Cajun Fries.
Makes 6 servings
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon granulated onion
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: skewers (if wooden, soak for 20 minutes before grilling)
Clean and oil the grill grates (I like to use the end of a cut onion dipped in olive oil to oil my grates) and preheat the grill to high.
In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sriracha, honey, and mustard until smooth. Set aside.
Cut the chicken thighs into small square pieces, 6 to 8 pieces per thigh. Put the chicken in a large bowl and season it with the paprika, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and salt. Add the oil and mix to coat
the chicken. Divide the chicken among the skewers.
Grill the skewers until thoroughly cooked and slightly charred, 5 to 7 minutes on each side, lightly brushing the sauce over the skewers as they cook.
Plate the skewers and top with blue cheese and parsley.
JURNEE: I will confess now—I am a certified cookie monster! There’s no hope for me. This special little cookie has always been one of my favorites. I love macaroons, not to be confused with French macarons. These cookies became a staple during Jewish holidays because they are naturally without flour or leavening. I think we may rival Manischewitz with our version. I can’t describe the joy it gives me to bake these cookies with my niece Nylah. She gets to stir the ingredients in and I get to watch her enjoy the wonders of baking! Shepherd them young!
Makes about 25 Macaroons
14 ounces sweetened flaked coconut (about 5 cups packed coconut)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 large egg whites
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine the coconut, sugar, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the egg whites and mix until completely incorporated. Scoop out 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture, roll it into a ball in your hands, and place the macaroon on a prepared baking sheet. Continue to form macaroons, evenly dividing them between the two baking sheets and spacing them 1 inch apart, until you’ve used all the mixture.
Bake for 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. The macaroons are done when the bottom edges and very tops are golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Store in an
airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
For more delicious recipes from the Smollett siblings, purchase a copy of “The Family Table: Recipes & Moments from a Nomadic Life” so you can have recipes to bring family and friends together for a lifetime!