Spaghetti alle Vongole

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Quick, easy and one of the most delicious pasta dishes outside of a good pesto. Afterwards, just sit back and enjoy a crisp Pinto Grigio or Rose like you're sitting seaside on the Almafi coast.  

The clams are the star of this dish, but co-starring is the garlic. You may also call this dish 'Aglio con Spaghetti alle Vongole.'  I've cooked this recipe for years using the sweetness of caramelized garlic, which adds a nice component to this dish. Yes, my family in Italy is shaking their heads right now as they cook with a very little amount of garlic. Go figure? But here in the US we've become accustomed to big flavors in our dishes. So get out my old recipe for caramelized garlic and make a half dozen heads, I guarantee you won't have any left. Breakfast anyone? Maybe garlic French toast? I'll save that for another post..If you are feeling a little more in the mood for good meatballs and pasta, why of course there's always Nana's Meatballs from GHL!

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Spaghetti alle Vongole recipe by George Hirsch

makes 4-6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | from Know Your Fire Cookbook

1 pound dry spaghetti or linguine

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

2 heads caramelized garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds Manila or littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed well

1 cup dry white wine 

Juice of 1 lemon

4 Tablespoons sweet butter

Freshly ground black pepper

4 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh basil, rough chopped

Optional: 1/4 cup lightly toasted bread crumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to toss the spaghetti directly into the sauce.

Pre heat a deep side saute pan or dutch oven; add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes; saute for 1 minute. Add the clams, wine, half the parsley and lemon juice. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until all the clams are opened, about 5 - 8 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.

Increase heat to medium temperature add the hot, drained linguine to the pan; add the butter and season with pepper. Toss the pasta with the clams to coat pasta with clam sauce. Top with chopped parsley, basil and toasted bread crumbs. Drizzle with additional olive oil. Serve immediately.

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Best Chocolate Sauce Recipe

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This is one of those sauces that is a must in every chef's repertoire. It's a classic. In a matter of minutes you can turn a simple sweet into chocolate decadence. So set aside the guilt and go ahead - dip, drizzle and dunk your way through fresh strawberries, ice cream and cake. Make it for your Valentine, the clock is ticking.

A few bits on chocolate:

One study has shown that the smell of chocolate may actually relax you by increasing theta waves in the brain. Yes, we all have them.

Does chocolate contain any nutrients? Yes, it does, in small amounts. A 1.5-ounce milk chocolate bar contains recommended daily values of the following vitamins and minerals:

 • 3 grams of protein • 15% of the Daily Value of riboflavin • 9% of the Daily Value for calcium • 7% of the Daily Value for iron

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When choosing chocolate, look for a shiny finish, which is a sign that the chocolate was heated at the right temperature for the right amount of time. Also, look for a crispy snap when chocolate is broken into pieces. Choose a good chocolate source for sauce like Lindt, Callebaut, or Scharffen Berger. In a pinch chocolate chips will do. This very decadent sauce is ideal served with fresh strawberries. Note: this chocolate sauce recipe is not ideal for coating dipped strawberries. That's another post. 

The Best Chocolate Sauce

Makes about two cups

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 Tablespoons pure cane granulated sugar

3/4 cup cream

3 Tablespoons corn syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Optional: 1 Tablespoon Brandy or Grand Marnier

Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside. 

Place cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a small pot. Heat to a boil stirring constantly. As soon as it reaches a boil pour directly over chocolate and stir until all chocolate has melted. Add vanilla and brandy.

Use immediately or cool, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks. To reheat, heat the amount you need over a double boiler and stir until just melted.

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Beer Batter Cod

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Buying food and reading labels can be a dizzying task. One can't help but be overrun with questions like - Is this good for me and my family? Is it safe to eat? Where did this come from? Is this sustainable? Reading labels can work most of the time, but what if there’s no label, as with fish? You would think if a fish has been around since the beginning of time and spawned billions of eggs - there wouldn’t be any problem, right? But not so fast, too much of anything can be harmful, even cod. 

Fishing off Montauk Point, East End LI, GHL

Fishing off Montauk Point, East End LI, GHL

With it’s mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh, it's no wonder cod is one of the most common fish used for fish & chips along with haddock and plaice. But, did you know it is currently at risk from over fishing in UK, Canada and other Atlantic waters? So be in the know with Seafood Watch. Use this guide to find ocean-friendly alternatives to seafood on the Seafood Watch “Avoid” list. It’s a good thing to use discretion and follow their lead so in the future when we are calling all cods, there are still some around.

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The carbonation in the beer makes the batter exceptionally airy and produces a crispy coating. Malt vinegar is a British favorite on fish and chips.

George's Beer Batter Cod

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 eggs

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 cup beer, a strong full flavored Stout or India Pale Ale

vegetable oil for frying

2 pounds cod fillet, cut into serving pieces

Malt vinegar for serving

Combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, baking powder and black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs and hot sauce. Slowly pour in the beer, stirring constantly, until the foam subsides and the batter is smooth. Let the batter rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 370 degrees F. in a deep sauce pan or deep-fat fryer.

Dredge the the cod in the remaining 1/4 cup flour, shaking off any excess, and dip into the batter.

Carefully slip the pieces into the hot fat and cook until brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Serve with french fries and malt vinegar.

Laissez les bons temps rouler

enjoy GHL six times weekly T,W,TH & F on Create TV

Fact: Louisianians possess joie de vivre. They can find a reason to celebrate life any time of the year. Each visit to the state split by the Mississippi; either for pleasure or filming, has always brought me home with fine memories and new friendships - good times. 

With Fat Tuesday celebrated this week and today’s added Mardi Gras - New Orleans Saints parade, It only seems fitting to brush up on their rich food culture in Louisiana, and the traditions around Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Translation; let the good times roll!

Which BTW code for New Orlean's colors are; purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.

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Mardi Gras Review

Carnival season which leads to Mardi Gras begins each year on Jan 6th.  But it’s really this past week that the Krewes really start to build up their parading steam right up to Fat Tuesday on February 9th, aka Shrove Tuesday served with Pancakes. Get out your beads and join the celebration.

Mardi Gras: Did You Know That?

Fat Tuesday is the English translation of the French words Mardi Gras. As the rite of Spring, Fat Tuesday festivities commence before the change of seasons. The original purpose of the big celebration was to pray to the Gods for good weather and good crops. In Louisiana, the first Mardi Gras was celebrated in 1589, when the French explorers Bienville and Iberville landed at the mouth of the Mississippi river in New Orleans. The next day was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. The tradition back home in France/ Europe in those days, was to have a major feast prior to the 40 days of fasting in Lent. The day called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, was the opportunity to eat and drink all day long prior to repenting for a long, long, forty days. 

Mardi Gras Colors & Throws

Rex (latin for king) selected the official Mardi Gras colors in 1872. The 1892 Rex Parade theme Symbolism of Colors gave meaning to the colors: purple represents justice; green-faith, and gold-power. The throwing of trinkets to the crowds was started in the early 1870s by the Twelfth Night Revelers, and is a time-honored expectation for young and old alike. 

In 1884 Rex started using medallions instead of trinkets. These medallions are represented today by doubloons. These doubloons are aluminum and anodized in many different colors. They depict the parade theme on one side and the Krewe's emblem on the other. 

So friends, let's top off the fete, with my Jambalaya recipe.

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George's Hot Chocolat Royale

Tune-in Create TV to see creamy chocolate icing on GHL 

Tune-in Create TV to see creamy chocolate icing on GHL 


Chocolat L’Africain

In 1903, the Austrian confectioner Antoine Rumpelmayer established Angelina in France, named after his daughter-in-law. For over a century, this tearoom has been the reference for Parisian gourmet delicacies. Angelina became the meeting-place for the Parisian aristocracy. Proust, Coco Chanel and the major French fashion designers all crossed each others’ paths there.  It is the place to enjoy the famous Chocolat L’Africain (named after it’s Ivory Coast cacao beans) or aka, hot chocolate and the classical Mont Blanc gateau. With locations throughout France and three within Paris—the tea room close to the Louvre art museum, is a favorite venue of local Parisians and all chocolate lovers. Cafe Angelina's hot chocolate recipe is a highly kept national secret. I've offered you my recipe, which does come with a warning as it's no Swiss Miss.

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Good To Know:

Better tasting chocolate will contain at least 30-40% cacao. The percentage can be found on the label of all good quality chocolate.

Warning: Drinking hot cocoa in moderation may cause extreme amounts of happiness.

George's Hot Chocolat Royale

Makes 4 small cups, or 2 large 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup half and half

2 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate- 40% cocoa, finely chopped

2 ounces milk chocolate, - 40% cocoa, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh whipped cream

Optional: serve with a touch of cognac or brandy

Heat half of the milk, half and half, and sugar over medium high heat with chocolates stirring until chocolates are melted. Whisk the remaining milk and half and half until warmed and chocolate is completely smooth. Remove the pot from heat.

Pour into pre heated cups/bowls. Serve with a side of fresh whipped cream and optional cognac. 

PARIS Locations:

Angelina Rivoli

Opening hours: every day from 9:00a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Address: 226 rue de Rivoli, 75 001 Paris

Tel: +33 (0)1 42 60 82 00

Angelina Porte Maillot

Opening hours: every day from 9:00a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Address: Palais des Congrès, 2 place de la Porte Maillot, 75 017 Paris

Tel: +33 (0)1 40 68 22 50

Angelina Louvre

Opening hours: every day from 9:00a.m. to 6:00 p.m. except on Tuesday

Adress: Musée du Louvre, Aile Richelieu, 75 001 Paris

Tel : +33 (0)1 49 27 93 31

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