Perfect Summertime Condiment

When temperatures reach north of 90 degrees, I find it's time to chill down supper food selections and prepare cold plates, just like as I ate as a child. My Mom, a delicious cook and a consummate organizer and doer, would cook first thing in the morning, before temperatures became too hot in the kitchen. It makes such sense and is still the way food is prepared in many European cultures today. Besides, having to cool things off in the kitchen, it was also the custom at home with non-meat Fridays, enjoying cold fish suppers. On those Fridays, dishes my mom would cook-up included grilled or poached fish such as tuna or cod; along with boiled potatoes, garden green beans, vine ripe tomatoes, boiled eggs, and sliced onion. The highlight for me on chilled supper night was the cold sauce made with garlic and mayonnaise. Later I learned, in my early culinary days that sauce was called an aïoli; a simple yet traditional emulsified sauce with garlic, olive oil and egg yolk. 

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It is a perfect summertime condiment and also goes well with roasted chicken, if fish is not on the menu.

With so many ways to prepare aïoli, the consistent ingredient that holds true across all ethnic regions is the garlic. The Occitan valleys of Italy serves aioli with boiled potatoes. In Cataluña and most of the Spanish mediterranean coast, allioli is purely a garlic mayonnaise. France's Le Grand Aïoli, dedicates a complete dish consisting of various boiled vegetables such as carrots, beets, cauliflower, green beans, yellow flesh potatoes, and boiled fish, such as salted cod with boiled eggs and the aioli sauce. The version from Provence adds Dijon mustard to the sauce, like I prefer; which in addition to flavor also helps in the emulsification of the oil to be suspended by the liquid of the sauce.  

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Aïoli is ideal to serve as a sauce for foods like above, but it's also wonderful as a spread on toasted French bread or pommes frites. Some may find that the raw garlic can leave too strong a taste. That is true, especially with summer garlic which has more of a bitter bite and has just recently been harvested. No need to avoid this tasty sauce or feel you'll need a shot of mouthwash, there is a tastier solution. I use my long time recipe for caramelized garlic to soften and sweeten the punch on my aïoli in place of raw garlic. 

To Yolk or Not to Yolk?

There is of course the food safety issue to point out regarding making aïoli from scratch, because of using uncooked raw egg yolks. Always make sure the eggs are very fresh, and best obtained from someone you know! One of my recipes is for using prepared mayonnaise and covers any concerns of food safety. Today, there is even mayonnaise made with olive oil, that I prefer. The choice is yours, go traditional with making a classic Provence style aïoli or make it semi-authentic with a prepared mayo; the choice is yours. Either way you'll be shouting bring on the Le Grand Aïoli!

The technique of making an aïoli is to create an emulsion with the egg yolks, supporting the liquid from the olive oil. Do not over pulse or mix the yolks and oil. Do not add the oil too slow or too fast. This technique may require some trial and error. If done correctly you will have a thick mayonnaise-like sauce; or if the sauce is broken, the oil will have separated from the yolks and will look more like a vinaigrette.

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Classic Aïoli

 Makes 1 1/2 cups

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*8 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

Coarse sea salt

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

3 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

A couple drops of water

Fresh ground black pepper

Always use caution with raw eggs. And this sauce must be kept chilled after it is prepared. 

In a food processor or preferably a mortar pound the garlic cloves with pinch of sea salt and Dijon mustard until a thick paste forms. Add in the egg yolks and begin adding in the olive oil a few drops at a time with a fork or whisk. Continue to add the olive oil in a steady stream as the aïoli begins to thicken. Stop and add a few drops of lemon juice, gradually add remaining olive oil and a few drops of water if the sauce becomes too thick. When all of the oil has been incorporated, season the aïoli with additional lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste.

Serve chilled. The aïolii can be tightly covered and refrigerated overnight. 

* A classic aïoli is made with raw garlic but again I prefer using caramelized garlic in place of raw garlic which offers a much sweeter and nuttier taste.

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Garlic Aïoli with Crostini

Makes about 1 1/2 cups 

chefgeorgehirsch | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

A strong flavored garlic mayonnaise from the Provence region of southern France. Traditionally the mayonnaise is made from scratch with egg yolks. I prefer this version, as it is safer and faster to make. 

Crostini, meaning “little toasts” in Italian, crostini are small, thin slices of toasted bread, which are usually brushed with olive oil-excellent spread with Aioli. 

3/4 cup mayonnaise 

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard 

1 head caramelized garlic

1/4 cup olive oil 

Juice of 1/2 lemon 

1/4 cup basil 

To Make Crostini:

1 loaf Italian bread 

Olive oil for brushing toasts. 

Puree the garlic in the bottom of a small bowl. Add mustard, mayonnaise and stir in olive oil. Add lemon juice and basil. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. 

Slice Italian bread into small pieces, toast and brush toast with olive oil. Spread a generous amount of aïoli on toasts. 

Serve aïoli and crostini with your favorite vegetables and seafood. 

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Regional City Dogs

Tune-in GHL Create TV Sat 6/22 6AM/6PM, Sun 6/23 12PM est

What could be better than going out to the ball park? Bringing the ball park home and getting creative with franks by using a mix of city savory toppings. Impress your guests with premium toppings and enjoy some tasteful and fun regional spins on the All-American wiener for your next cookout.

Franks and Hot Dog Recipes

LA Taco Wrap Use farm fresh veggies, sweet caramelized onions, and my 60-sec guacamole as a topping wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. 

Chicago 2nd City Dog How do you improve a Chicago Hot Dog that has been served up in ballparks for over 100 years? for the 2nd city serve up two dogs. AND Infused Hot dogs are gently heated in a good quality beer.

Carolina Double Dip Carolina BBQ is a multi-hour long process, low and slow. For the ultimate mix of 100% Beef hot dog, wrapped with what Carolina does best--pork. And smokey bacon kicks up the flavor and texture.

NYC Street Corner Frank Home to Hot Dog street carts with over 1.5 billion franks. Split top soft buns with spicy deli-style mustard, caramelized red onion sauce, sauerkraut, relish and handcrafted potato chips on the side.

Jersey Red Hots Think flatbread pizza meets hot dogs. Grilled or pan fried and stuffed into Italian bread pizza along with crispy pancetta, potatoes, provolone, fried onion, and grilled red hot pepper.

Chef George Hirsch’s Caramelized Onions Preheat a nonstick saucepan to a medium heat. Place 2 cups sliced onions in the pan and cover. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown. Stir and cover again. Continue the process until the onions are a golden brown. Remove the cover. Cook off any excess moisture. Remove the onions from the pan and cool.

Chef George Hirsch’s Red Onion Sauce Preheat a nonstick saucepan to a medium heat. Place 2 cups sweet sliced onions and 4 cloves of chopped garlic in the pan and cover. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown. Stir and add 1⁄4 cup ketchup, 1 Tablespoon paprika, 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Stir all ingredients into onions and cover again. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve warm with sausage, franks or burgers.

 Hot Dog Grilling & Cooking Tips

1 - Start with a clean grill, pre heat grill to high heat; always light grill with the cover up 

2 - Place a high sided casserole pan with *seasoned liquid on grill or side burner and bring up to a boil. *Seasoned Liquid: 1 Bottle of beer, sliced onion, brown sugar, or 2 Cups beef or chicken broth, sliced onion, bay leaf. Or, 1/2 Bottle Beer, 1 Cup Broth, Sliced Onion, juice from drained can of baked beens!

3 - Add Hot Dogs, and very gently simmer and heat until warm 4-5 minutes. With tongs remove hot dogs from liquid and quickly sear on grill surface turning to brown on each side

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Since March is unofficially 'Irish Awareness Month', I want to offer you the luck of the Irish by kicking off a St. Patrick's Day food tradition with Corn Beef and Cabbage...umm Irish-American that is, and not really part of the repast on the Emerald Aisle. 

Since the early 1900s, Americans proclaimed corned beef and cabbage to be their favorite Irish dish, even though it really never had graced dinner tables in Ireland. Since then, Americans have embraced it as the meal of choice for St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. Corned beef got its name before refrigeration, when meat was preserved using coarse grains of salt, called 'corn'. Today, beef is corned with spices strictly for flavor, not for preservation, so the meat must be refrigerated. Whether you're a wee bit Irish or not, boost your luck by celebrating St. Patrick's Day with friends and a feast. 

It is said that President Grover Cleveland once noticed the aroma of Corned Beef and Cabbage coming from the servants quarters at the White House. He asked to trade his dinner for that of the staff meal. He commented "that this was the best dinner I had had in months.."

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit, Gaelic for Saint Patrick's Day

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Corned Beef and Cabbage with Boiled Vegetables

Serves six-eight 

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3 pound corned beef brisket 

4 cloves garlic, peeled 

Fresh ground black pepper 

2 Tablespoons pickling spices, 

3 bay leaves 

1/4cup sugar 

1/4cup cider vinegar 

1 large onion, peeled and quartered 

6 carrots, peeled 

6 Yukon potatoes, scrubbed 

3 turnips, peeled 

1 head cabbaged, leave core on and cut into eights 

Place corned beef brisket in a very large soup pot. Fill pot with cold water to cover meat. Add sugar, cider vinegar, pickling spices, bay leaves, and garlic. 

Bring to a boil over rather high heat. Boil for 5 to 6 minutes, skimming off the any scum that rises to the surface with a large spoon. 

Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let simmer for 1-2 hours. Test the meat for tenderness with a large fork, it should have a little resistance, be careful not to overcook corned beef or the meat will become dry and stringy. If fully tender turn off the heat and let the meat rest in the liquid. 

One hour before serving and before the meat finishes, add all the vegetables in the pot with the meat. 

Timetable for the vegetables: 

• onions, simmer 1 hour 

• carrots, potatoes and turnips simmer 30 minutes 

• cabbage simmer 20-30 minutes 

Slice only as much meat as you will immediately serve, keeping the rest in one piece for future use. Serve with a variety of mustards and horseradish.

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Blue Food

With just 80 delicious calories per cup and virtually no fat, blueberries offer us many important nutritional health benefits. 

Blueberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber, and possess antioxidant properties as well. These important antioxidants help neutralize free radicals can prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's. 

Blueberries are also high in Vitamin C. In fact, a serving contains about 14 mg or almost 25% of daily requirement for Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for the formation of collagen and to maintain healthy gums and capillaries. It also aids in the absorption of iron and promotes a healthy immune system.

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There are many ways to incorporate blueberries into your diet with a healthy breakfast including a parfait of blueberries, yogurt and granola.

Blueberries are also an excellent way to add sweet and tart flavor to pork, poultry or fish with sauces, salsas and chutneys. Simply simmer blueberries with balsamic vinegar, sweet onion, garlic and peppers. 

Create desserts with blueberry toppings with cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, and mint. Garnish desserts topping off with fresh blueberries like a Creamy Rice Pudding from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series.  

And a few fun facts:

The blueberry is the official state fruit of New Jersey.

There are only three fruits native to North America; blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes.

The blueberry muffin is the most popular muffin in the U.S.

Thanksgiving Tradition, Apple Brined Turkey

First, start with Turkey 101. Got that? Then, resume with my apple turkey brine tradition below.

Hands down, my Apple Brined Turkey recipe is an all time winner for a moist and flavorful turkey. Need more kitchen? If your oven is all jammed up – take it outdoors and grill it. Or, a Thanksgiving turkey solution: Cook 1 turkey in the oven and 1 on the grill.   

George’s Apple Brined Roasted Turkey

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

Brining is an overnight process requiring TWO days preparation.

If preparing a frozen turkey, be sure to thaw it in refrigerator well in advance. Brine the turkey in a large stockpot or a large food-safe-plastic bag.  The turkey needs to be completely submerged in brine, or you must turn turkey every couple hours. I prefer turkeys no larger than 12-14 pounds for best tenderness and flavor; and if grilling I have my butcher split the turkey for ease of brining and grilling. Cook additional turkeys if serving more than 12-14 people. As a guide, figure each pound of turkey on the bone feeds one person. 

STEP 1: First day

On the day prior to cooking: Brine for a 12-pound turkey; prepare a double brine recipe for larger turkey. 

Apple Brine Mixture

8 cups apple cider

1/4 cup Maple syrup

2/3 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

2 bay leaves

To prepare brine, combine ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely. 

STEP 2: First day

Add Flavor Ingredients to Apple Brine Mixture:

6 garlic cloves, peeled & cut in half

1 onion, quartered

1 rib celery, chopped into two inch pieces

2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled & sliced

3 each sage leaves, rosemary sprigs, thyme

4 cups ice

Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for making gravy. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Stuff body cavity with orange quarters, ice, onion, ginger, sage, rosemary and thyme. Place turkey in a large stockpot or food-safe-plastic bag. Pour apple brine mixture over turkey. Depending on size of turkey refrigerate for 6 hours for a split turkey, or 12 hours for a whole 12 pound, turning occasionally. Add one-hour bringing time per additional pound of turkey.

Spice Rub

1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

To Roast:

1 yard kitchen twine

2 cups chicken broth or stock

4 Tablespoons butter

fresh ground black pepper

6 slices pancetta or bacon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove turkey from brine, discard brine and orange quarters. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Place garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, onion, and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack. Brush turkey back with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350º.

Remove turkey from oven. Carefully turn turkey over, breast side up. Put turkey neck and giblets in pan. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper; lay slices of pancetta over breasts. Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center meaty part of thigh registers 170º. 

Cover breast of turkey loosely with foil if it browns too quickly. Remove turkey from oven; let stand 30 minutes. Pour off drippings and remove turkey neck and giblets for gravy; cover turkey to keep warm. 

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