Oven Fried Garlic Chicken, as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

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Many of you have requested this recipe from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series. I am delighted to share.

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Who doesn’t like Fried Chicken? But frying chicken in the traditional manner can make for health concerns and take a long time to prepare it correctly. Solution, my Oven Fried Garlic Chicken. It is as good as it looks. Perfect for making and taking to the tailgate or picnic. When prepared ahead, tastes even better the next day! That's if you have any left. 

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George’s Oven Fried Garlic Chicken

Makes 8-10 pieces

 chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 whole chicken cut into 8 - 10 pieces, or pre cut from butcher

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon 

2 cups flour, approximate

paper bag or food safe plastic bag

For The Chicken Rub

1 teaspoon each: dried basil, oregano, thyme, sweet paprika

1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder

Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

Pinch sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Combine all seasonings for chicken. 

Add seasoning rub to chicken coating each piece, then squeeze lemon juice over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place half of flour in bag and add additional flour as needed. 

Place two pieces of chicken in the bag of flour at a time, close tightly and shake bag coating chicken evenly. Remove flour coated chicken with tongs and shake off any excess flour. Place flour coated chicken in a low-sided heavy gauge roasting pan. Repeat until all chicken has been coated with flour. Make sure chicken is not over crowed in roasting pan. See Tips. 

Place chicken in oven at 425 degrees F. for first 15 min or until chicken begins to color (you will smell aroma), then lower oven to 350 degrees F. for 30 - 35 minutes until golden brown or until done. Time depends on size of chicken pieces. 

After removing from oven, let chicken rest for 5 minutes and serve. 

Tips: 

- For crispy chicken, use a heavy gauge low sided pan (to prevent chicken from steaming). 

- Do not overcrowd chicken in pan, allow for air circulation.

- The oven baked chicken fries in its own fat. Using just breasts (white meat) does not oven fry as well due to lower fat content. For best results cook with a mixture white and dark meat that has a higher fat content.

- Trust the cooking times. Try not to open the oven door to peak at chicken while cooking. It will still be there. Each time you open the oven door the temperature drops in the oven causing chicken to steam. 

- To keep chicken crisp after cooking, place chicken on a wire baking screen until cool.  

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Ribs and Sauce

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Ribs & Sauce — a perfect relationship

Everyone has a favorite way to serve ribs. Some like it dry with just a rub, others will dip dry ribs and wet them down with a vinegary sauce; or slather them up with a sugary sticky sauce right before coming off the grill. I'm often asked how I like my ribs the best. Really, I like them both ways, it just depends on what mood I'm in. It's definitely going to be a sticky rib weekend!

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Ribs cannot be prepared in a hurry, so toss a burger on a separate hot grill while you wait. How-to prepare the Ribs.

For Making Ribs with Sticky Sauce:

15 minutes prior to removing the slow cooked ribs, brush ribs lightly with a little sauce to moisten and add flavor. Remove, cut and serve ribs as is or serve extra sauce on side for pouring over ribs. 

GH Rib Sauce Recipe

 Makes 3 cups

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1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon thyme

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh grated orange zest

1 cup ketchup 

1 cup tomato sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Place the onion, green onions, garlic, cumin, thyme, vinegar, orange juice, and sugar in a small pot.  Boil until the vinegar is reduced by half.  Add orange zest, soy sauce, ketchup, tomato sauce, hot sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Perfect Summertime Condiment

Officially summer weather arrives June 21st. However, 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.  

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

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

*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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Nana’s Meatballs as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series

Chef George prepares Nana's Meatballs on George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

George's Nana’s Meatballs

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. 

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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Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

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In a professional kitchen, crepes are prepared using several pans at a time, usually making hundreds in only a few minutes. Making crepes is all about rhythm. Once the batter is made and rested at least 30 minutes you are ready to go. Don’t fret the first couple crepes not coming out perfect, just give them up as your practice warm up, just like a batter taking his first pitch or the orchestra warming up in the pit. Once you are on a roll you’ll find yourself making crepes for both sweet and savory. 

Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes

Makes four servings

 chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

Crepe Batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fine grated orange zest

2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, crushed

2 egg whites

1 Tablespoon granulated pure cane sugar

Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl and slowly add the milk and egg yolks, using a whisk to avoid lumps.  Do not over mix. Stir in the milk, cream, melted butter, orange zest, almonds, and vanilla.  

Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Right before making the crepes, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the beaten egg whites in to the flour mixture.

Preheat a crepe pan or a 7-inch nonstick skillet & lightly grease with melted butter or vegetable spray.  When the pan is very hot, pour in 2 Tablespoons of the batter and swirl it around.  Cook 1 minute, turn and cook another minute on the other side.  Remove and set aside.  Crepes may be stacked one on top of another, up to ten high. 

Continue making crepes with remaining batter.

For Filling & Topping:

2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 Tablespoon granulated pure cane sugar

1/4 cup raspberry jam

1 Tablespoon brandy or Grand Manier

1 Tablespoon granulated pure cane sugar

Confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup fresh softened mascarpone or whipped cream

8 Fresh Mint leaves

In a large bowl add mixed berries. Slice strawberries to be about the same size as other berries. Add orange juice and 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar to berries and toss. 

Mix brandy with jam and place two teaspoons of raspberry jam in the center of each crepe; add a few mixed berries in center of each crepe. Roll up and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.  

Serve two crepes per serving with a dollop of fresh mascarpone or whipped cream and top off the crepes with fresh mint leaves.

Chef Notes: 

To achieve good volume and soft peaks on the egg whites, make sure there is no yolk in whites and that the bowl is totally grease free. A good tip to ensure a grease free surface is to wipe out the bowl with a paper towel with just a drop of white vinegar before adding egg whites to bowl.

To make the above recipe savory, omit from batter the vanilla, orange rind, almonds, and granulated cane sugar. Replace regular melted butter with brown butter for a slightly roasted flavor; add 1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs such as Italian parsley, or basil, or chives. 

Crepes are a great do ahead consideration for your menu. No need to prepare at the last minute. Simply stack prepared crepes in stacks of about ten and when cool, wrap in plastic film. Store in refrigerator for up to 2-3 days or freeze for up to one month.

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