Plum Jam

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Beach plum jelly has a taste that's virtually unknown except maybe in the Hamptons, Cape Cod and along the Atlantic Coast. The art of making beach plum jelly, or any jams for that matter, has been revived recently with more people wanting to use local fruits and have a condiment that’s a notch above mass produced jelly-in-a-jar. However, beach plums are kind of fickle, some years they are available and other years, like this summer they are plentiful to pick from their secret spots along the East Hampton dunes. That’s if you are still fortunate to avoid the poison ivy and ticks. A safer bet for me is to make Damson Plum Jam. Or, just reach out to my favorite monks at Trappist Preserves for a mail order jam solution.

Yes, you could say they use a production method of a higher authority. But, what I really love about Trappist Preserves is they use only the best seasonal fruits and make only a certain allotment based on the highest quality, not filling sales quotas. When the Kadota Fig Preserves, or Red Currant Jelly is gone that’s it. And, yes they do make a Damson Plum Jam! 

Watch a past TV series segment, Monks in a Jam: Making Trappist Preserves

Do You Know Your Jam?

- Jams are made from puréed fruit

- Jellies are made from fruit juice

- Marmalades include peel

- Conserves & preserves are made from the whole fruit, but raisins and nuts may be added 

Canning jar instructions for any type of canning.

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Jam is only as good as your fruit. Taste plums and adjust tartness vs. sweetness according to the ripeness of plums. If only using all ripe plums, peel core and chop one green apple in place of unripe plums to aid in adding natural pectin. 

Damson Plum Jam

recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes about 6-8 250-ml jars

2 3/4 pounds very ripe Damson plums

1 cup water

1/4 pound unripe Damson plums; contains added natural pectin

Variable: 4-6 cups pure cane granulated sugar, depends on sweetness of plums and personal taste (you may also use a little honey and cut down on some sugar)

juice of 1/2 lemon

6 orange peels- about 2 inches x 1/4 inch, no whites

Wash plums, add the water and simmer the plums until the skins are soft. Allow to cool and remove the pits. 

Optional~ if you do not want plum skins, strain plums through a sieve to remove skins. I prefer the texture and do not strain.

Combine plum puree, lemon juice, orange peel and sugar in a heavy gauged sauce pot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring occasionally with a long handle spoon until sugar dissolves. Continue to stir frequently to prevent sticking or burning. Cook until the plum puree and sugar reach the jellying point of 220 degrees F. About 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour hot jam into hot, sterile canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; making sure the tops of the jars are clean so the lids seal. Adjust two-piece sterile metal canning lids. Place jars into a large pot with a strainer on the bottom so jars do not have direct contact with bottom of pot. Cover the filled and closed jars with an inch or so of hot water and boil for 10 minutes. 

George Hirsch TV Series: Making Trappist Preserves

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Johnny Cakes as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

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Johnny Cakes are a cornmeal unleavened flatbread and an early American staple. It is said to have its roots in New England first cooked by the Algonquian Native inhabitants. Think polenta like pancake. Aka Jonnycake, Johnny cake, Journey cake, Shawnee cake, or Johnny bread are ideal to serve for breakfast, brunch or supper in place of bread and biscuits. Dip, dunk or soak   up the juices from savory homemade Lamb Sausages, and warming chowders or soups .   

Johnny Cakes Sausage, George Hirsch Lifestyle

Johnny Cakes

Makes 6 large or 10-12 mini cakes 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle 

1 cup Fine stone ground yellow or white Cornmeal 

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 and up to 1 3/4 Milk, variable 

2 Tablespoons Butter or fat drippings to grease griddle

Good Quality Maple Syrup 

Pre heat griddle to 375 degrees or an iron skillet or sauté pan.

Mix all ingredients until lightly just until batter like. Allow to rest 5 minutes.

George Hirsch Johnny Cakes

Cook Johnny cake in a well greased griddle or pan with a little melted butter, bacon or sausage drippings. Allow to cakes brown and crisp; turn cakes over once after about 3-4 minutes. repeat. Top with melted butter and good maple syrup. Serve immediately 

Option Seasoning: A classic Johnny Cake is neutral in taste allowing whatever the cakes are served to be the predominate flavor. However, seasoning may be added to spice up according to personal tastes with a pinch of ginger, or allspice, or nutmeg, or pumpkin spice.

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Grilled Garlic Shrimp

Know Your Fire Fridays

Itch'n for grill'n? Time to light up the grill and cook up an easy dish. 

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George Hirsch Skewered Garlic Shrimp

Grilled Garlic Shrimp

Makes four servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

12 large Shrimp (size U15) peeled deveined, tail left on, skewer each shrimp through tail and front

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1 Head

Caramelized garlic

Juice from one lemon

1 Tablespoon honey

3 springs Fresh Rosemary

hot sauce to taste

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Chef George's Grilled Garlic Shrimp Salad

Pre heat grill to a very high heat.

Mix all ingredients for shrimp marinade and pour over shrimp.

Cook shrimp on hot grill and place rosemary sprig on top of shrimp while grilling. Cook two minutes on each side, turning once. Baste the shrimp with any remaining marinade. Do not over cook.

Remove shrimp from grill and serve with grilled vegetables or salad.

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One Pan Meal

as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series 

as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series 

Looking for an easy one-pot meal? The frittata can be more than just breakfast, including brunch and lunch. Fill it with fresh veggies and good eggs like my recipe below and you'll have a powerful one-pan, moveable feast. A perfect take along for a picnic or al fresco meal. 

A frittata is also the perfect way to repurpose leftovers like roasted potatoes; add fresh herbs for added flavor like spring chives or thyme.

fritatta waterside

Fresh Herb Frittata

Makes six servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 Tablespoon olive oil

10 eggs, well beaten

2 Tablespoons water, optional  

1/4 cup pancetta 

4-6 each baby Yukon potatoes 

1 shallot or 1 Tablespoon sweet onion 

1 green onion 

1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced into small pieces  

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

fresh ground black pepper

Pre heat a large oven proof sauté pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Beat eggs with water, basil, parmesan cheese, hot sauce, nutmeg, and pepper. 

Add olive oil to sauté pan, cook pancetta until slightly tender. Add shallot and potatoes cook until potatoes are tender. 

Add pepper and hot sauce to eggs. Pour eggs over the filling and place the pan over medium heat. Stir egg mixture 2-3 times or just enough to mix eggs and potatoes. When the eggs begin to set, lower the heat and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, top with fresh mozzarella and green onion. 

Cover or place pan in oven for additional 1-2 minutes or until firm yet moist. 

Top with fresh basil. Serve warm or room temperature.

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
19.95
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Best Chocolate Cake Ever

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Simple solutions can give you best results. Machines and gadgets are very important to many people, but honestly I really enjoy cooking when just a simple whisk, spoon or spatula just does the job. As is the case with the Chocolate Torta recipe from my TV series George Hirsch Lifestyle episode titled Old World Traditions. Enjoy.

Mix by hand and bake. Forty-five minutes later you’ll be savoring this Italian Pastry delight! 

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George's Chocolate Torta

Makes 12 servings 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1-1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water

1/3 cup sweet butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 egg white, beaten into whole egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan; set aside.

In small bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, combine cocoa and granulated sugar until blended. With wire whisk, beat in water, then melted butter, egg, egg white and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. On wire rack, cool for ten minutes in pan. With small spatula, loosen cake from sides of pan. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Place on plate and sprinkle with confectioners sugar and a dollop of fresh whip cream. To serve, cut into small wedges. 

Tip: This cake actually tastes get better when baked and aged one day in advance. When making ahead, allow to cool completly, then cover tightly in an air proof container or place baked chocolate torta back into cake pan and wrap the top with film. 

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Chocolate Torta, from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series

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