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Thursday
Feb262015

Seafood Chowder, as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

a winning burger, George's Signature SLOPPY GIUSEPPE

My inspiration for this chowder is living so close to the water with an abundance of fresh seafood to choose from. The nice part of this recipe is it's versatility. The first part of the chowder is a rich tomato broth base, and the second part is adaptable to allow you to swap out any of the seafood based on seasonal availability and your own personal preference. 

Seafood Chowder from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

Seafood Chowder

Makes 6-8 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | From George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped 

1/4 cup fennel, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup carrots, choppd

2 cups yukon potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 1/2 pieces 

2 cups fresh plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped or 1 (28 ounce can chopped San Marzano tomatoes)

2 cups vegetable or fish broth

1 teaspoon dried basil

"now that's a chowder" on set George Hirsch Lifestyle

 For the seafood:

1 dozen fresh little neck clams

1/2 pound fresh cod, cut into one inch pieces 

1/4 pound calamari, cleaned and cut into thin rings 

1 pound mussels, cleaned

a few leaves of fresh flat leaf parsley, basil and oregano

fresh ground pepper to taste 

Pre heat a large soup pot to medium temperature. Add olive oil and onions, fennel, carrots, and garlic until tender. Add tomatoes, broth, potatoes, and dried basil. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer for 10 minutes. Add clams and cod fish, gently simmer for 10 minutes. Add fresh basil, parsley, mussels and cook for 3-5 minutes or until mussels open.  

Add fresh ground black pepper to taste & serve immediately. 


Wednesday
Feb252015

Melanzane al Pomodoro

Choosing the right condiments with cheese, from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series

My Eggplant Sauce Recipe is without a meat/protein in the ingredients, but feel free to add grilled sausage, chicken, or shrimp if desired. If you are looking for that under thirty minutes to-cook-to-table dish without compromising flavor for time, this is it. And, you can create variations on this recipe, which is very easy to do. 

This pasta sauce is great served warm or chilled added with a tube shaped pasta.

George's Eggplant Sauce

Makes 4 servings | 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | from George Hirsch Living it UP! Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups eggplant, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, chopped

6 plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup pitted calamata olives, chopped

1/2 cup white whine

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, thyme, hot pepper flakes

2 Tablespoons pine nuts

2 Tablespoons fresh basil

parmesan cheese to taste and fresh black pepper

Preheat a large nonstick saucepan.  

Add half the olive oil; then eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and bell pepper.  Cook until light brown.  Add the wine, chicken broth, olives, dried basil, oregano, thyme and hot sauce.  Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.

Top with remaining olive oil, fresh basil and pine nuts.

Excellent with a rigatoni or tube shape pasta.

Monday
Feb232015

Classic Apple Charlotte

As long as you have fresh apples and sliced bread you can make this elegant dessert. A classical sweet, Apple Charlotte, aka Charlotte de Pommes was created by Chef Marie Antoine Carême, who confectioned and cooked for Chef King George IV in London; also for Talleyrand, the Rothschilds in Paris and at his longtime Pâtisserie de la rue de la Paix. It is said he created the Charlotte during his brief stint in St. Petersburg in honor of his Russian employer Czar Alexander. 

Who would think that a classical French dessert would become a favorite traditional English dessert.. it's up there with bread and butter pudding and fool. Recently it received notoriety on the BBC and PBS TV airings of Downton Abby. The Crawley's cook, Mrs. Patmore was not able to fulfill the wish of Lady Crawley's request to serve Apple Charlotte for a very important dinner party. If only Mrs. Patmore had known just how simple this dessert is. Basically it's a tart that uses day old sliced bread in place of sliced sponge cake with a homemade apple sauce filling. In fact it's so simple that everyone of my students that prepared this dessert could have served it with pride for Lady Crawley's elegant dinner.

But not to fret if you don't live in a grand manor house or have no culinary degree, try this dessert for a casual weeknight and you will make Chef Marie Carême proud. And yes, I have even prepared this recipe on a grill!   

Classic Apple Charlotte
Makes 8-10 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

For the Crust:
About 10-15 slices good firm white bread, remove crusts and cut accordingly:

- Cut approximately 6 slices into triangles, resulting in 12 pieces to fan around bottom of cake pan - (use more if using a larger pan)
- Cut enough slices in half and trim the height of bread to the same height of the cake pan, as directed below
- Cut remaining slices to place on top, after filling with apple mixture

8 Tablespoons sweet butter, 1 stick melted

Line the bottom of a nine inch cake pan or oven proof mold with 12 bread triangles that have been dipped in melted butter, overlapping them slightly as they are put in place.

Next, line the sides of cake pan with bread pieces in melted butter as the same length as the height of the cake pan, overlapping them slightly as they are put in place. Continue until entire inside of the cake pan is covered. Hint: the bread acts like a pastry so it is important to slightly overlap all pieces of bread while assembling the Charlotte. 

For the Filling:
6 apples (3 Granny Smith, 3 Gala or other sweet variety); peeled cored and chopped small
1/4 cup white wine, or water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch, fresh grated nutmeg
Optional: 2 Tablespoons rum

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan and add chopped apples to the saucepan with the wine, sugar, raisins, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until apples are soft and slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Remove and cool slightly. 

Drain any remaining liquid from the apple mixture into a small sauce pan. Over a low heat, reduce the remaining liquid from the apple mixture to a syrup-like constentency, flavor with rum, and pour back into the apple mixture. Place apple mixture into the bread lined cake pan and press cooked apples down lightly with the back of a spatula. For the top, cut pieces of bread to cover Charlotte, also dipped in butter. 

Bake on the center rack in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Check after twenty-five minutes. If top of Charlotte starts to brown too much, place a loose piece of foil or parchment paper on top. 

Remove from oven and let the Charlotte cool and set for a few minutes. Place a serving plate over the baked Charlotte and turn out carefully.

Serve warm or chilled with fresh whipped cream and an optional Apricot Sauce on the side.

Apricot Sauce
Serve on the side | Makes about one pint
1 cup Apricot Marmalade 
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients. In a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes while blending all ingredients.