keeping peace with Irish Coffee

I had an enjoyable afternoon tea with fellow Create TV host and Ireland’s TV chef, cookbook author Rachael Allen of Ballymaloe. Rachel and I exchanged our foodie stories and the like beginnings in our culinary careers. She shared with me her simplistic approach to food. I can't agree more. We agree that most are learning from this approach; getting back to the roots of growing and eating locally grown foods. The thing is, this in nothing new in Ireland, in fact they never lost their connection to sustainability. 

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Chefs Rachael Allen and George Hirsch, Adair Manor, Adair Co. Limerick, Ireland However, one topic of discussion is as serious as rugby or politics. I asked just about every person I meet in Ireland which brand of tea they preferred better, Lyons or Barry's. Barry's seemed to hold the lead during our filming. But then upon departure at Irish Customs I was told I was bringing home the wrong brand. They preferred Lyons. I can't be swayed, Barry's fan here.

So in keeping peace let’s drink Irish Coffee, a warming beverage on a chilly evening. Served first to arriving passengers in County Limerick, what is now Shannon International Airport. Ideal served with a slice of Chocolate Torta from George Hirsch Lifestyle. Sláinte! 

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Irish Coffee

Makes one serving

chefgeorgehirsch.com | from George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey

1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream

1/2 cup hot strong coffee

Lemon wedge

Sugar to coat glass

Whipped cream

Prepare a sugar-rimmed glass by rubbing a piece of lemon or orange around the rim of a large wine glass. Dip 1/4 inch of the rim of the glass into a plate of sugar, coating the edge.

Place a teaspoon in glass. The spoon will diffuse the heat when hot coffee is poured into the glass. 

Add whiskey and Baileys. Pour coffee into glass over spoon. Remove spoon. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

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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