Meatballs for Goodness

After all these years, my nana's meatball recipe is still nurturing and comforting. I am delighted to share once again a simple recipe filled with goodness. Thank you nana for teaching me the essentials of a recipe, even those ingredients not listed here. 

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Nana’s Meatballs, as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Makes 12 Jumbo, 24 large or 40 mini meatballs

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

3 pounds ground beef, 80 / 20 blend; can use combo of beef, pork, and veal

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine

2 eggs, cracked and beaten

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cups day old Italian bread, pulsed into crumbs

1/2 cup chicken broth, to soften bread crumbs (variable amount may have to add more broth just to soften crumbs) 

Fresh ground black pepper

* Note all ingredients should be very cold before blending. 

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In a mixer or by hand mix all ingredients until well blended. Dip hands in ice water before shaping into round balls.

Spray an oven-roasting pan with grease spray.

Use an ice cream and scoop up meatballs; roll by hand until they are shaped round. Do not over handle as to not over warm up meat. Repeat until all meat is used up. Do not over crowd meatballs to make it easier to move them while baking. 

Refrigerate meatballs for at least 30 minutes to chill. Prepare Tomato Sauce below.

Pre heat a large heavy gauge sauté pan to high heat, or if making a large quantity of meatballs brown in a hot oven at 425 degrees F. 

Roast meatballs for five minutes in oven or on stovetop just until they begin to brown. If roasting gently shake pan to move meatballs to turn over, or use a spatula for meatballs if browning in sauté pan. Continue cooking for a few additional minutes (or less if mini) or until meatballs are brown on the outside. Meatballs will not be fully cooked and will continue to cook in tomato sauce. 

Remove meatballs with a spatula and add to gently simmering sauce and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes. 

For the Tomato Sauce:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 

1/2 cup minced sweet onion

6 cloves garlic, minced 

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed San Marzano Tomatoes

2 (6.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Fresh ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons each fresh chopped parsley and basil

In a large saucepot sauté add olive oil, onion, and garlic over medium heat until light brown. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with dried basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, pepper, and half of the parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked browned meatballs and top with fresh chopped parsley and basil before serving. 

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Vine Ripen Pizza

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When it comes to making any type of pizza let imagination and the season rule your toppings. I love this caprese style pizza in the summer with the abundance of vine ripe tomatoes. And if you are up to expanding your hand tossed style take the dough to the grill for an added fire roasted flavor.

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Caprese Flatbread Pizza  

Makes four servings | chefgeorgehirsch.com

From George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series

Mix Dough and place in a bowl lightly oiled with olive oil. cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight. 

Next day, pre heat *oven to 475 degrees F. 

Stretch out dough to a rectangular shape and cut into two pieces. Sprinkle a teaspoon of fine grind corn meal on the surface of a heavy gauge pizza pan or sheet pan. Place the two pieces of dough on the top of corn meal. Brush top lightly with olive oil. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until pizza flatbread crusts are fully baked. You can check for doneness by tapping on the edge of the dough with your finger. It should should hollow. 

Remove from oven, place two pizza flatbreads on a rack, allow to cool.

When cool top with sliced vine oak leaf lettuce, ripen tomatoes, fresh basil, pesto, sprinkle small amount of sea salt, fresh ground pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

*NOTE: If grilling, pre-heat grill to high heat. After stretching and right before placing dough on grill surface, brush heavy with olive oil.

 pizza dough on set  George Hirsch Lifestyle  TV series

pizza dough on set George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

George's Pizza Dough

Makes enough for 2-3 pizzas

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

1 teaspoon active dry yeast 

1/4 cup warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees F) 

1 teaspoon sugar 

3 1/2 cups bread flour 

1/4teaspoon salt 

3/4 cup warm water 

1 Tablespoon olive oil 

In a small bowl, combine the yeast and water. Add the sugar and stir well. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until small bubbles appear on the surface. 

Place 3 cups of the flour in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and the water. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, using the additional 1/2 cup flour if the dough is sticky. 

The dough is sufficiently kneaded when you can stick two fingers into it and it springs back without leaving an indentation. 

Cut the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Let the dough rest in an oiled bowl for 45-60 minutes. Lightly oil the top of each ball with the 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours. 

- Mixing with a mixer & dough hook: Mix for eight minutes at medium speed

- Mixing with a food processor: process for 40 seconds until smooth, add 1 additional Tablespoon of flour at a time until all of the flour is combined into the dough.

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George Hirsch Caprese Flatbread Pizza

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Gazpacho as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

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This time of year is perfect to dream about those farm fresh veggies. But don’t just dream, enjoy one of my favorite refreshing soups anytime!  

 on location Seps Farm East Marion, NY from  George Hirsch Lifestyle

on location Seps Farm East Marion, NY from George Hirsch Lifestyle

I also call Gazpacho "liquid salad" — for obvious reasons. Its origin and roots go back to ancient times in Andalusia Spain; with a version of the recipe believed to be concocted as a re-energizing dish for Roman workers building roads in early 2nd century Spain. Traditionally, gazpacho recipes include stale bread, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, and a touch of vinegar. 

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Gazpacho aka Liquid Salad

Makes four servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV  

1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped very fine

4 cups low sodium tomato juice + Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup each sweet red + yellow pepper, chopped very fine

1/4 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped fine

4 cloves garlic, fine chop

1/4 cup scallion, fine chop

1/2 cup cucumber; peeled and seeded, chopped very fine

1 Tablespoon cilantro + 1/4 each teaspoon hot sauce, cumin, sea salt + fresh ground black pepper 

1/2 cup stale bread, toasted and chopped fine

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

Optional: 1 fresh gherkin cut into four wedges and a spring on dill to garnish. Or, marinate very fresh scallops or shrimp in tequila & hot sauce--top mugs ceviche style. 

*In a large bowl mix all the ingredients and chill for two hours before serving. 

My recipe will give your knife skills a work out. Feel free to use a blender. Keep in mind the manual chopping of the vegetables will preserve the flavor. 

*Tip: Be aware, using a food processor or blender actually cooks the veggies with the friction, in turn, changing the natural uncooked flavor, which is the true essence of this dish. There are many versions of gazpacho, but I prefer this one without any meat broth, keeping it true to its veggie roots, and finishing it off with a drizzle of a good olive oil.  

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Classic Brownie Cookies as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

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a Classic, cookies and milk on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Chocolate treat, under 30 minutes - mixing and baking. But can you wait 24 hours? Probably not, but just save a few because these cookies actually taste even better a few days after baked. Eyes-go-wide open on the first bite. Try my recipe for yourself and you'll agree. For best results use this good quality cocoa.

Classic Brownie Cookies

Makes 3 dozen large or 6 dozen small 

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle 

1 1/3 cups butter

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 each eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

2/3 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons milk

1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped 

1 cup mini chocolate chips, semi sweet, or chopped chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar one minute, or until creamy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating lightly after each.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk beating at low speed about 1 minute, or just until blended.

Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.

Drop dough by heaping 2 Tablespoons spoonful on ungreased baking sheet. 

Bake at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies will still appear soft and moist when baked, but firm up on cooling.

Cool slightly, then remove to cooling rack. About 3 dozen cookies.

Tip: Smaller cookies can be made using 1 Tablespoon dough for each cookie, baking for 8 to 10 minutes.

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