Masters' Pimento-Cheese Sandwich

The pimento cheese sandwich is to The Masters Tournament (begins April 6th - Sunday April 12th in Augusta, GA) - as a good BBQ slider would be at a Super Bowl weekend tailgate. There are many stories claiming the sandwich's origin (not sure which one to believe) and there are many versions of this recipe (I have my own). BTW, you can get one at The Masters for the reasonable price tag of $1.50.

The Masters' pimento-cheese sandwich is a highly guarded secret recipe. I'm thinking the recipe might come with the green jacket though! If you are not in contention to receive the jacket this weekend you might want to watch comfortably at home with your own sandwich. 

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To make six Pimento-Cheese Sandwiches, use whole wheat or white bread spread with pimento-cheese filling.

Blend all ingredients in a food processor, 1/4 cup each shredded extra-sharp cheddar yellow cheese, Monterey jack cheese, softened cream cheese, drained jarred pimento, 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise. Add a pinch of sea salt, pepper and a dash of hot pepper sauce. 

Optional additions: chopped hard boiled eggs, sliced vidalia onions, watercress

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Banana Blueberry

Add some tartness to a sweet banana muffin, with my Banana Blueberry Muffin Recipe. It's also a great take-along snack that's better for you than reaching for a candy bar. 

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Banana Blueberry Nut Muffins

chefgeorgehirsch.com |  George Hirsch Lifestyle

makes 10-12 muffins

For the Crumb Topping:

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons nuts, chopped

1 Tablespoon sweet butter

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nuts. Blend butter in with a fork until mixture is crumb like.

For the Muffin Mix:

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups, about 3-4 large very ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup pure cane granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons honey

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 cup sweet butter, melted; or replace with part/ all applesauce

Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, honey, egg, cinnamon, vanilla, zest, nuts, and melted butter. Fold in banana mixture by hand with a spatula into the flour mixture until just moistened. 

Place batter into muffin cups filling each cup to three quarters full. Place a few blueberries, about 1 Tablespoon on top of each muffin. Divide the crumb topping evenly over the top of muffin batter.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin; done when toothpick comes out clean; or when touched lightly the muffin should have a slight resistance to finger pressure.

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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White Bean Casserole as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

This easy to prepare hearty soup makes for a wonderful mid-week dinner or rustic weekend starter. I have even prepared gallons of this warming soup for tailgates. For a creamier soup, puree half.   

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Making White Bean Casserole from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series

White Bean Casserole

Makes 6 servings

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2 Tablespoons olive oil  

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 

1 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped 

3 cups chicken broth 

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed 

3 links Italian or smoked sausage, pre-grilled and sliced  

2 cups Kale, washed, dried and chopped 

Fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Pre heat a large soup or sauce pot to a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, hot pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are tender, do not brown. Add the potato, sausage, broth, beans and basil. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. 

Bring soup back to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the kale. Cook until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add pepper to taste. 

For a creamier soup, pulse half of the soup or puree in a food processor. Bring soup back up to a boil until well blended. 

Optional Substitution for Kale: Spinach, Escarole, Swiss Chard, Broccoli Rabe

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Vision of Spring

With spring now upon us it's the perfect time to plan the early spring herb garden.

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PLANNING YOUR OUTDOOR HERB GARDEN

Nothing compares to the flavor of fresh herbs in cooking. Now is the time to plan your fresh herb garden for an abundance of flavorful herbs at your fingertips. But before you start digging, there's a little bit of planning to take into consideration.  

First consider the amount of time you have to spend and tend to your garden. If you're a weekend gardener, then a little patch of kitchen herbs is a great start, you can always increase the size of your garden next year. But if you're an avid gardener, go crazy! Add more exotic herbs and fragrant ones such as lemon verbena, lemon grass, pineapple sage and Thai basil. 

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Find a good location for your garden. Most herbs need five or six hours of sunlight and a soil slightly on the dryer side. Plant close enough to your back door for when you're running from the kitchen to the garden.

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Lay out your garden on paper. Think about style. Do you like a formal orderly appearance to your garden, or a more natural style? Keep in mind when planning to include walking paths so you can reach to weed and harvest your herbs and keep your feet dry when the ground is wet.  

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What to plant?  If you intend to cook with the herbs make a list of the ones you use most common.  If you like fragrant herbs or colorful herbs, ask your local garden shop what grows well in your area. And, herbs like a fairly neutral or slightly alkaline soil. If you know your soil is acid, add some lime when preparing your soil. 

When planting, try to keep the annuals and perennials separate so when the end of the season comes you won't disturb the roots of the perennials when you pull out annuals. Try to keep taller plants to the back of the border or in the center of your bed and smaller ones near the edges to form borders.  

Enjoy my Green Goddess aka. Sauce Au Vert Recipemade with fresh spring chive and parsley.

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Lamb Shanks with Mousseline Potatoes as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Lá Fhéile Pádraig That's Gaelic for Saint Patrick's Day or St. Paddy's. It's one of those days of the year where we all wear green, feel a wee bit Irish and spread good cheer. In honor of next week's holiday; Pionta Guinness, le do thoil. Sláinte! That's, a pint of Guinness please and cheers!

Pionta Guinness, le do thoil. Sláinte!

Lamb Shanks with Mousseline Potatoes as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Makes four servings 

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4 whole lamb shanks

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup carrots, chopped

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup celery, chopped

10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 cups chicken broth

1 Tablespoon rosemary

1 teaspoon thyme

Preheat large saucepan. Add olive oil and brown meat on all sides.  Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery and cook until light brown.  

Add vinegar and reduce for two minutes.  Add tomato sauce, broth, rosemary and thyme.  Cover and cook meat for two hours at a gentle simmer.  

The lamb shanks are fully cooked when the meat becomes flaky and shrinks away from the bone. Add peas to the lamb shanks and vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes longer.  

Serve the cooked Lamb Shanks with sauce and vegetables on top of hot, steamy Mousseline Potatoes.