Molten Chocolate Cake, aka..

 Lava cake, or HOT CHOCOLATE BERRY CUPCAKES..This sweet was created in my restaurant years ago, as a hot dessert to satisfy every chocoholic. it's my warm bit of chocolatey goodness I include in my St. Valentine's Day line up. A little like a foolproof soufflé only easier to prepare and a hit every time! 

And, guild the lilly and serve with my

Best Chocolate Sauce!

from George Hirsch Living it UP! Cookbook

HOT CHOCOLATE BERRY CUPCAKES

makes 8-10 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

George Hirsch Living it UP! Cookbook 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 1/3 cups sugar 

1/3 cup *Good Dutched cocoa powder 

3/4 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 cup milk 

1 Tablespoon white vinegar 

1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil 

1 egg 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1/2 cup fresh raspberries 

*Dutched cocoa means the cocoa underwent a process that results in milder chocolate flavor notes by reducing acidity. The dutching process can also change the color from light red to brown to black. Dutched cocoa works well in chocolate desserts such as devil’s food cake or brownies.

For the Hot Cupcake filling: 

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 

1 teaspoons grated orange peel 

2 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate, chopped 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium bowl combine the flour,1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and mix well. 

Combine milk with the vinegar in a separate bowl and allow to stand 5 minutes for the milk to sour. Add the oil, egg, and vanilla; mix well. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Do not over beat. 

In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, orange peel and chopped chocolate and mix until well blended. 

Pour the batter evenly into four or six ounce buttered ceramic ramekins or cupcake tins. Divide the cream cheese mixture into 10 equal balls and drop one into the center of each batter. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove the ramekins, let stand for 2 minutes, and serve with ice cream on the sid

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Power Pantry

Winter is a good time to take inventory of how many of these power foods you have on hand, restock and remind you to incorporate them into your daily diet. I also take this as a good opportunity to go through non perishables + canned goods to give to my local food pantry.

Roasted Veg

Almonds: good fiber, protein good for your heart. Go ahead and go nuts!

Apples: Vitamin C and soluble fiber and helps keep the doctor away.

Beets: rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters; save fresh stems for salads for a double bonus.

Blueberries: big plant compounds to prevent chronic diseases. Toss in cereal and yogurt to get your day started right.

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Broccoli: missed your O.J. today? Have a glass of broccoli; it’s powerhouse of calcium, potassium, folate, fiber, Vitamins A & C. 

Red Beans: excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and copper, low fat low cal source of protein and fiber. A complete meal with steamed brown rice.

Spinach: Vitamin A and C folate. Good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium iron and magnesium. Boost your immune system and keep hair and skin healthy. Seemed to work for Popeye.

Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids, aids in keeping blood from clotting, good source of protein. Need more reason, just try this tasty recipe for Grilled Salmon, Irish Style.

Sweet Potatoes: high in antioxidant beta-carotene which can slow the aging process. Good fiber, fat free, and under 60 calories per tuber.

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Swiss chard: a leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes. Sorry, the DMV still requires an eye test for drivers license even if you eat your Swiss chard.

Pumpkin seeds: the most nutritious part of the pumpkin. Full of magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death. Helpful in the dugout during a Game Day too.

Sardines: high in omega-3’s, loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins. Enough said.

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Turmeric: more than just a yellow color to paella, it contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Wheat Germ: great boost to your immune system and cardio health. Go ahead treat yourself to an ice cream topped with wheat germ, you are doing yourself good. 

Vegetable Juice: when choosing, select a low sodium version because it’s filled with lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces risk of heart attack and prostate cancer. 

TODAY'S RESOURCE: 

To help jump start your New Year - start Living it UP! with the right tools, with a personally signed copy this January.

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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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Melanzane al Pomodoro

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

Join me + Tune-in GHL CreateTV

 Wed 8:30AM/2:30PM Sun 8:30AM

Cooking Melanzane al Pomodoro is perfect this time of year when farms are abundant with eggplant and tomatoes. 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.

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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.