Cinco de Mayo Chocolate con Plátanos

This week Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated worldwide honoring Mexican heritage; marking the defeat of the French Army after invading the Americas. But believe it or not, this commemorative holiday is celebrated by more people in California than Mexico. And, many festive ways are used to mark the occasion beyond cervesa and tequila. Dances and music mark the occasion to preserve & educate the public of its historical significance and culture.

I’ve adapted a very popular Mexican dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The origin of this recipe is fried, but who is going to refuse this decanant grilled version.

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Chocolate con Plátanos Quesadilla

Makes 6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

6 Flour tortillas

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

3 firm but ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup chocolate, chopped

3 Tablespoons pecans, chopped

2 cups mini-marshmallows

3 Tablespoons sweet butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pre heat grill to low.

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and reserve.

Brush one side of tortilla with olive oil. Turn the tortilla over and top one side with banana, chocolate, pecans, and marshmallows. Fold the plain side over the filling and press firmly. Repeat filling for all remaining tortillas.

Place the tortilla on the grill over a low heat. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, then move to a medium heat and allow the tortilla to crisp up. Remove the quesadilla from the grill and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over both sides. Cut quesadillas into halves or thirds and serve immediately.

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Creamy Rice Pudding as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Enjoying time sharing food for the soul in-studio with Msgr. Jim at Telecare TV

Enjoying time sharing food for the soul in-studio with Msgr. Jim at Telecare TV

And, join me in February on Create TV and your local PBS station as I share warming comfort recipes and more!

Having really no economic barrier and universal appeal- I’ve seen rice pudding on restaurant menus from diners and joints (my favorite place to find RP) to high-end linen napkin on-your-lap digs. Personally I‘ve made more batches than I can even remember. Here are a few variations that come to mind; Rum Raisin, Berry, Pomegranate, Coconut Mango and Banana. Keep in mind, I made mega batches. I prepared rice pudding batches to feed a daily buffet for about 10,000 people with list of ingredients like; 18 gallons milk, 12 pounds of rice, 12 pounds sugar. . . 

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Creamy Rice Pudding from George Hirsch Lifestyle

Making a batch for 10 thousand or 10 hungry people at home is pretty easy, as most ingredients are probably already in the pantry and can even be made by using leftover plain cooked rice. 

Creamy Rice Pudding

Makes 2 cups, about 4-6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

 3/4 cup uncooked short grain rice

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar, or if using Turbino slightly less

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup raisins, plumped with dark rum or water 

1 Tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, add rice and water bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. 

In a separate bowl mix 1 cup milk, salt, sugar and salt. Add to cooked rice and return to heat and gently simmer and stir for 15 minutes.

In separate bowl mix remaining 1/2 cup milk to beaten egg, plumped raisins, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

 Stir egg mixture into milk and rice and simmer 2 additional minutes, stirring constantly. Serve warm or chill in small cups. Sprinkle small amount of granulated sugar on top to keep skin from forming.

Serve with fresh chopped fruit, toasted chopped nuts, whip cream or meringue.

TIPS:

Knowing your grains is important, as each type of rice will provide different results. Here are your options; long or short grain white rice, brown, basmati, or jasmine. Cooking times and consistencies will vary wildly, ok maybe widely. Long grain rice makes a pudding that is slightly drier and chewier than one made with short grain rice. While brown rice will be nuttier. Arborio rice is starchier and therefore can set up without addition of eggs. Cooking times will also depend on the type of rice, along with the amount of milk used. 

Other important tips: Do not combine any sugar to rice until the rice kernels are completely tender or the starch will begin to set and harden and will not become additionally tender. Do not use converted rice as it contains pre-gelatinized starch, which will not thicken rice properly. To keep a skin from forming over rice pudding, sprinkle a small amount of granulated sugar over the top as soon as you pour the pudding out of the pot.

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George’s Christmas Eggnog

A classic for entertaining this season. Create your own spin on the nog; how about a wee bit of B & B or Grand Marnier, even sans the alcohol, or add a squirt of chocolate syrup for the kids. It’s just another way to celebrate the holiday. Oh, and don’t forget the chestnuts roasting on an open fire. OK, open fire not required.

George Hirsch's Christmas Eggnog

Eggnog

Makes 4 Servings

from chefgeorgehirsch.com

6 egg yolks, save the whites *see below

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup bourbon, or rum 

1/4 brandy

1/2 cup pure cane sugar, or Turbinado

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated orange rind

Using a mixer with a whip attachment on medium speed; whip the egg yolks until light in color, about 4-5 minutes. Add sugar and mix until completely dissolved. Set aside.

In double boiler, combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange rind and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and combine, while tempering the hot milk-cream mixture into the egg-sugar mixture.

Return all ingredients to double boiler and heat constantly stirring with a spatula until the mixture reaches 160 degrees (well below simmer), eggnog begins to resemble custard.

Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, and brandy. Pour into a bowl, cool and refrigerate for at least two-four hours. Best if refrigerated overnight.

Serve in cups with a shaved chocolate, or unsweetened cocoa powder dusted on top.

Optional Toppings: with a dollop of *meringue (made from all the left over egg whites), or ice cream, or whipped cream.

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Sacher

Exclusively available at the Hotel Sacher Wien, the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, the Café Sacher Innsbruck, the Café Sacher Graz and at the Sacher Shop in Bolzano. Just like 175 years ago, the cakes are covered with apricot jam, iced with chocolate and packed in wooden boxes by hand. 

This Hotel Sacher specialty is a purely natural product, made without chemical preservatives. The "Original Sacher-Torte" is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream and a cup of "Original Sacher Café". More than 300,000 cakes are produced at the Hotel Sacher per year, more than half of them are sent to destinations all over the world. 

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If you missed your flight to Vienna this weekend, order takeout soon, delivery is 7 working days: Click for sizes and details.  

Exclusively available at the Hotel Sacher Wien, the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, the Café Sacher Innsbruck, the Café Sacher Graz and at the Sacher Shop in Bolzano. Just like 175 years ago, the cakes are covered with apricot jam, iced with chocolate and packed in wooden boxes by hand. This Hotel Sacher specialty is a purely natural product, made without chemical preservatives. The "Original Sacher-Torte" is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream and a cup of "Original Sacher Café". More than 300,000 cakes are produced at the Hotel Sacher per year, more than half of them are sent to destinations all over the world. 

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