Cranberry Hootycreeks

I always look forward to this time of year sharing a post from my dearest friend and co-author of four of my cookbooks. I've enjoyed many days with laughter with Marie and her husband Frank's great espresso. A tradition in my book for the Christmas season, I hope you make Marie's Hootycreeks a holiday traditions too. 

Guest holiday post + recipe today by Marie Bianco, my dear friend, food writer and author. 

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Edible holiday gifts always make a hit and this one is about as easy as it can get. Even school age children can get into the act. 

The cookie ingredients are layered in a wide-mouth canning jar which you can buy for about a buck each. Make sure you get the wide-mouth ones because it’s easier to get the ingredients into those jars rather than the narrow neck ones. If you’re planning on making a large quantity of mix for all those people on your list who you want to give “a little something” invest in a wide mouth funnel.

Tap each layer down in the order given. Once the lid is in place, cut a circle of gingham or holiday fabric and fasten it with a rubber band. Then tie a ribbon around the jar and include the recipe directions printed out on the computer or written in your best hand.

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Cranberry Hootycreeks

1 jar Cranberry Hootycreek Mix

½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter, egg and vanilla. Add the Cranberry Hootycreek Mix by hand until the mixture is well blended. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown. Transfer to wire rack and cook. Makes 18 to 24 cookies.

Cranberry Hootycreeks Mix

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ cup old-fashioned oats

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

½ cup dried cranberries

½  cup white chocolate chips

½ cup chopped pecans

Layer the ingredients in the order given into a 1-quart, wide mouth, canning jar. Pack each layer into place before adding the next ingredient.

Attach a gift tag with the mixing and baking directions.

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Bologna Inspired

The cold weather is about to enter into the low digits; so light a roaring fire in the fireplace and keep the big soup pot at the ready. You could make my Baked Potato Soup as a quick way to warm up. Or, how about cooking-up a brothy and hearty tortellini soup. (The tortellini originates from the north-cental part of Italy). Serve with my Fennel & Green Bean Salad and Homemade Biscuits for a complete meal. 

BTW--To answer a much often asked viewer question about my TV show; yes, 100% of my recipes are cooked on air and are eaten by my TV crew. Hey, it’s part of their job!

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Tortellini Basil Soup

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sweet onion, chopped

8 cloves caramelized garlic

1 cup canned San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped

4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 quarter cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

8 ounces cheese tortellini

1 cup small white beans, cooked or canned

Pinch nutmeg

Grated parmesan cheese to taste

Fresh ground black pepper

Pre heat a medium soup pot to medium temperature.

Add olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add tortellini, spinach, basil, and white beans. Simmer until tortellinis are al dente and season with nutmeg, pepper. Add parmesan cheese to taste. Serve with a basil leaf on top. 

NOTE: This recipe requires a good quality tortellini if you are cooking the pasta in the broth. A lesser quality tortellini will make the soup starchy. If you are not sure of the quality, cook the tortellini separately and add pasta to the soup right before serving. 

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More Than Potatoes

I had an enjoyable afternoon tea, at yet another one of my favorite Ireland locations with great history, Adare Manor, with mega TV chef and cookbook author Rachael Allen (Yes, the Allen Family from Ballymaloe). 

VIDEO: Watch the Segment. Rachel and I shared our foodie stories and the like beginnings in our culinary careers. See why Ireland's cuisine is more than just potatoes.

George Has Tea with Ireland's Rachel Allen

Mother Earth, Ireland

I know I have raved more than once about Myrtle Allen + Ballymaloe in Ireland. She has touched my heart and left me and my TV crews with food memories that we will always cherish. So join me as she gives me a glimpse into how she made necessity a destination that keeps people from all over the world coming back for more.

George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Segment: Video Travel Ireland

Mr. Softee

OK. I admit it, I am a softie - didn't you know all chefs are sensitive? But I am referring to one of America's number one indicator of the summer season, the jolly jingle of the Mister Softee truck. Yes, I have featured the best gelato in the world, but the dipped cones and tall shakes from the Mister Softee truck hold a special place in most people's hearts, a bit of nostalgia. 

Here's the scoop on Mister Softee:

Back in 1956 soft ice cream was a big hit with the public, being sold exclusively in roadside stands and restaurants until Mister Softee took to the road with the first mobile truck unit. Mister Softee is America's oldest and largest franchisee of soft ice cream trucks. You'll find hundreds of Mister Softee soft ice cream trucks from coast to coast. Mister Softee was founded by two brothers, William and James Conway, in 1956. On St. Patricks day of that year - (Yet another connection to Ireland; It's following me everywhere.) Bill and Jim took their first truck and gave out green colored ice cream in the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia. 

For more info on Mister Softee