Molten Chocolate Cake, aka..

 Lava cake, or HOT CHOCOLATE BERRY CUPCAKES..This sweet was created in my restaurant years ago, as a hot dessert to satisfy every chocoholic. it's my warm bit of chocolatey goodness I include in my St. Valentine's Day line up. A little like a foolproof soufflé only easier to prepare and a hit every time! 

And, guild the lilly and serve with my

Best Chocolate Sauce!

from George Hirsch Living it UP! Cookbook

HOT CHOCOLATE BERRY CUPCAKES

makes 8-10 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

George Hirsch Living it UP! Cookbook 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 1/3 cups sugar 

1/3 cup *Good Dutched cocoa powder 

3/4 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 cup milk 

1 Tablespoon white vinegar 

1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil 

1 egg 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1/2 cup fresh raspberries 

*Dutched cocoa means the cocoa underwent a process that results in milder chocolate flavor notes by reducing acidity. The dutching process can also change the color from light red to brown to black. Dutched cocoa works well in chocolate desserts such as devil’s food cake or brownies.

For the Hot Cupcake filling: 

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 

1 teaspoons grated orange peel 

2 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate, chopped 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium bowl combine the flour,1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and mix well. 

Combine milk with the vinegar in a separate bowl and allow to stand 5 minutes for the milk to sour. Add the oil, egg, and vanilla; mix well. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Do not over beat. 

In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, orange peel and chopped chocolate and mix until well blended. 

Pour the batter evenly into four or six ounce buttered ceramic ramekins or cupcake tins. Divide the cream cheese mixture into 10 equal balls and drop one into the center of each batter. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove the ramekins, let stand for 2 minutes, and serve with ice cream on the sid

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Melanzane al Pomodoro

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Cooking Melanzane al Pomodoro is perfect this time of year when farms are abundant with eggplant and tomatoes. My Eggplant Sauce recipe is without a meat/protein in the ingredients, but feel free to add grilled sausage, chicken, or shrimp if desired. If you are looking for that under thirty minutes to-cook-to-table dish without compromising flavor for time, this is it. And, you can create variations on this recipe, which is very easy to do. 

This pasta sauce is great served warm or chilled added with a tube shaped pasta.

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George's Eggplant Sauce

Makes 4 servings 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | from George Hirsch Living it UP! Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups eggplant, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, chopped

6 plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup pitted calamata olives, chopped

1/2 cup white whine

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, thyme, hot pepper flakes

2 Tablespoons pine nuts

2 Tablespoons fresh basil

parmesan cheese to taste and fresh black pepper

Preheat a large nonstick saucepan.  

Add half the olive oil; then eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and bell pepper.  Cook until light brown.  Add the wine, chicken broth, olives, dried basil, oregano, thyme and hot sauce.  Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.

Top with remaining olive oil, fresh basil and pine nuts.

Excellent with a rigatoni or tube shape pasta.

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

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

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 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | As seen on George Hirsch Living it UP!

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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BBQ, Grilling + Bourbon Sauce

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

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With Mother's Day this weekend, top off your favorite grilled meats this weekend with my Bourbon Sauce.  I dedicate this recipe to my friends in Kentucky; the inspiration for this recipe. I've used this as a great finishing sauce for most proteins; including beef, pork and chicken. Tip: use only the best bourbon!

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Be very careful saying BBQ when you should be saying grilling - especially in BBQ country.

BBQ: It's a science of cooking protein by indirect heat, with dedication. I emphasize the word dedication because there is NO speedy way to BBQ. Two words, low and slow. I spent many years teaching the art of heat and fire, and in this case Q. There really is so much to learn and each Q occasion is always an unique experience with many factors; like air temperature, humidity, moisture, wind, etc. One of the best ways to Know Your Fire is to experience it first hand. It's one of those things you intrinsically feel and only come to understand when you are in the fire pit - so to speak. I tip my hat to all pitmasters. 

Grilling: This is the way most people will cook with their backyard grill; grilling proteins such as burgers, steak, chicken, seafood, as well as veggies. This is the use of direct heat cooking at a higher temperature for shorter cooking times over the fire. Again, practice makes perfect, so there's no time like the present to learn or expand your current grilling skills. 

Bourbon Sauce

Makes 5 cups

chefgeorgehirsch.comGrilling with Chef George Hirsch cookbook 

1 cup Dijon Mustard

1 cup steak sauce

1 cup bourbon 

1 cup honey and 1 cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon orange zests

Juice of one lemon and one orange

In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients; simmer gently for 4-5 minutes. Serve with ribs, steak, or grilled meats.

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The G is Silent

Gnocchi, pronounced n-yo-key. This dish reminds me of one of my favorite places on earth - Castelletto di Montebenchi, the heart of this small medieval city in the Tuscany Region. One of my chef friends, Antonio from Northern Italy makes the best gnocchi ever! When I can't connect with Antonio, I just make my own.

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Gnocchi are excellent accompaniments for meat and poultry dishes. When prepared right they are light as pillows. The secret is not to over mix the dough and to use just the right amount of flour. There are so many ways to make gnocchi, I prefer to bake the potatoes instead of steaming to make a softer dough.

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Potato Gnocchi

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle 

2 pounds russets (baking potatoes)

Approximately 2 cups flour (variable) 

1 large egg

A pinch of sea salt

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake potatoes until easily pierced with a fork or a paring knife will easy slip through potatoes. Cool slightly, then peel the potatoes. 

Mash them while they’re still warm (a potato ricer or food mill works best). Season the potatoes with a pinch of salt and slowly knead in enough flour to obtain a fairly firm, smooth, non-sticky dough; exactly how much flour depends on the moisture from the potatoes. Add the egg, and enough flour so the dough does not stick to your hands. 

Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, as it will resemble regular pasta dough. Divide the dough into four pieces.

Roll the dough out into a rope shape about 2/3 of an inch thick, cut the rope into one-inch pieces, and gently score the pieces crosswise with a fork to obtain slight ridges. With your finger, gently roll the pressed doughback off the fork. This may take a little practice. If the dough sticks to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it. Making this shape will help the gnocchi grab on to the tasty sauce it’s served with. 

Cook the gnocchi in abundant salted boiling water, removing them with a slotted spoon a minute or two after they rise to the surface. Drain them well and serve them with a few leaves of sage, melted unsalted butter and Parmesan, or meat sauce, or pesto sauce. 

Serve immediately while they are full of steam. The gnocchi are wonderfully light when hot. Once they cool off they become dense like a tire without air.

Make ahead Tip: Place any remaining uncooked Gnocchi in a container, dust with corn meal and freeze until you are ready to boil.

George's Spicy Tomato Sauce

Makes 4 cups |chefgeorgehirsch.com

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped pancetta

10 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/2 chopped onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup prosciutto, chopped fine

2 cups canned plum San Marzano tomatoes, crushed

1/4 cup dry white wine

2-4 teaspoons hot pepper flakes

10-12 fresh basil leaves, lightly torn

Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a saucepan and heat the olive oil.  Add the pancetta and cook until it becomes light brown.  Add the garlic, onion and prosciutto and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, white wine, hot pepper flakes, basil and black pepper, stir well and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  You can regulate the spiciness of the dish by adding more or less hot pepper flakes.

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