Calendulas

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Saying goodbye May..

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from George Hirsch's Garden "Calendulas" Edible Flowers

Calendulas have beautiful daisy-like flowers that are tasty in salads and teas. As a "pot marigold" they were used during Tudor times as a poor man's saffron in cooking.

Aztecs introduced marigolds to Spanish and Portuguese explorers. Once the seeds made it to Spain, they quickly spread throughout Europe and North Africa. In Europe the plants were called "Mary's gold," referring to the brightly colored flowers and the Virgin Mary. 

As you see they bring color to a vegetable and herb garden. Pick as edible flowers for salads, cakes, and teas. Marigolds and calendulas are easy to dry and store for later use. Spread the flowers on a screen to dry in a well-ventilated, shady location and store in glass jars. 

Hello June!  

Beacon of Light

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

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Our Nations Beacon of Light, honoring those who serve and have served.

A National Historic Landmark, the Montauk Point Lighthouse is located on the eastern most point on Long Island, New York. It is the oldest lighthouse in New York State. The Second Congress, under President George Washington, authorized the Lighthouse in 1792. Construction began on June 7, 1796 and was completed on November 5, 1796.

About this beacon and military significance. Civilian keepers maintained the lighthouse until World War ll, when the U.S. Army took it over as part of the Eastern Coastal Defense Shield. Adjacent to the lighthouse, Camp Hero was opened by the Army in 1942 and was heavily fortified with huge guns during the war. Those gun emplacements and concrete observation bunkers are still visible as a reminder of our freedom due to the bravery of those who serve.

Never taking for granted the freedom and beauty of American shores, I have been drawn since a child to the Montauk Lighthouse towering structure. Years ago my culinary students won one of many gold medals in culinary competition from the Société Culinaire Philanthropique for an all Long Island theme submission in food and pastry based on local food and geography. Our table stood apart from the competition as the Lighthouse was replicated in pastillage sugar work.

Montauk, A symbol of great fishing, it's beaches and surfing, the Lighthouse has been featured in the open of George Hirsch Lifestyle and several episodes of the TV series as a strong image of Long Island and our place in history. The Montauk Lightouse has been part of Long Island's land and seascape for over 200 years and still serves as an active aid to navigation and a beacon of light to all those who have served. 

 Surf Casting off Montauk Point

Surf Casting off Montauk Point

More Facts:

- Fourth oldest active lighthouse in the United States

- Foundation is 13'deep and 9' thick

- Constructed of sandstone blocks from Connecticut, 8" high and varying in length from 18" high to 44"

- The walls are 6' thick at the base tapering to 3' thick at the top

- The height of the tower is 110' 6"

- There are 137 iron steps to the top of the tower

- The light flashes every 5 seconds and can be seen a distance of 19 nautical miles

For more information and to visit the National Historic Landmark, the Montauk Point Lighthouse 

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Go Red For Know Your Fire Friday

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

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With red meat, that is. I'm often asked how I create my recipes. The truth is, there isn't really one way; sometimes by theme, sometimes by menu needs and sometimes... well, because it's the ingredients I have on hand. The later reason can be the most enjoyable to create with. And this is just one story that became a recipe ...

Once on the road, while taping my TV series, when we were between shows; some of my crew wanted a snack. There is nothing like a hungry crew staring at you to give you motivation. Upon looking at the fresh ingredients we had on hand, I found a few chipotle peppers. I started from there, and the warm smokey flavor made it a hit with my crowd. I’m sure it will satisfy yours too.

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George’s Sliced Beef Wraps

Makes 10 wraps

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2 pounds sirloin steak 2-thick, or flank or hanger

For marinade:

2 chipotle (smoked-dried jalapeño) peppers, or 2 teaspoons powder

1 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup raisins

1 head caramelized garlic

1 Tablespoon wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon cilantro

Fresh ground black pepper

Place pineapple juice, raisins, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, cilantro, black pepper and chipotle peppers in food processor and blend well. Pour blended marinade over sirloin and marinate 24-48 hours, refrigerate.

Remove meat from refrigerator one half hour prior to cooking.

Preheat a cast iron pan, grill pan, or outdoor grill to high. 

Remove meat from marinade and grill on high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, brushing with chipotle marinade while cooking.  Lower heat to medium and allow to cook slowly to desired doneness. 

Remove from grill and allow meat to rest 3-4 minutes before slicing. Slice meat thinly against the grain.

For wraps:

1 cup black beans, cooked or canned 

1 cup *Tomatillo Sauce, see below

3 Tablespoons cilantro, coarse chopped

10 flour tortillas

Wraps may be served warm or cold. To serve warm wraps, heat tortillas quickly on grill or a griddle pan. Top warm tortillas with sliced sirloin, warm beans, cilantro and sauce. Wrap tortillas over and serve.

Optional toppings may include:

sour cream

sliced avocados

grilled onions & peppers

*Tomatillo Sauce

Makes one cup 

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1/2 pound tomatillos, cut into quarters

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 small sweet onion, chopped

2 serrano chili’s, stem and seeds removed

1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, peeled and deseeded

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon sea salt

In a food processor mix tomatillo, garlic and onion. Add cilantro, avacado, salt and lime juice. Puree until smooth. Serve with Warm Chipolte Chips or use as a topping sauce.

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Strawberry Cornbread Shortcake

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

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This Southern version of strawberry shortcake is baked in a black iron skillet, which gives it a crunchy crust, the perfect foil for berries and sweetened whipped cream. Using cake flour will give the shortcake a lighter, more tender texture. And if you have any strawberries left over you may want to try my Rosé Sangria from George Hirsch Lifestyle

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Strawberry Cornbread Shortcake

Makes 6 - 8 servings

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For the Cornbread:

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup cake flour or all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 eggs. lightly beaten

1/4 cup sweet butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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For the whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

2 pints mixed fresh strawberries and optional blueberries

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

Granulated sugar, if necessary

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Strawberry Shortcake, Hirsch Media image

Preheat oven or grill to medium temperature or 375 degrees F. 

In a medium bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl combine the milk, eggs, butter, vanilla and cinnamon and mix well. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until no particles of the dry ingredients remain. Do not over mix.

Spoon the mixture into a well-greased, 8-inch, black iron skillet or cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cornbread 5 minutes in the pan; remove and cool completely on a rack.

Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until peaks are stiff. Wash the strawberries and pat dry gently with a paper towel. Cut half of the strawberries into slices and leave the rest whole. If the berries are not sweet, toss with a small amount of granulated sugar. 

Slice the cornbread in half horizontally and spread the lower half with half the whipped cream and sliced strawberries and blueberries. Replace the top half and cover with remaining whipped cream and berries.

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