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Thursday
Jul242014

Summer Corn Chowder

It's time for a summer soup. Make magic with the goodness from the earth, simply with corn and potatoes. 

George Hirsch, Scott Chaskey, Quail Hill Farm, Amagansett LI

One my most often requested soup recipes especially during mid-summer when the farms are so abundant with fresh candy-like corn, and our famous Long Island East End Yukon Potatoes. 

It is known that eastern Long Island has some of the best soil for farming in the world. Off the record I have had some farmers tell me - that farmers in other regions are envious over the rich well drained earth here on the East End. 

From my garden it’s vine ripened Early Girl Tomatoes simply sliced and drizzled with olive oil over a crusty ciabatta bread, topped with freshly ground pepper and fresh basil for summer fresh flavor. This will make a perfect snack paired with a crisp cool glass of rosé while waiting for my corn to grill to perfection. I always buy extra ears, aw-shucks, the leftover corn makes a great soup!

Summer Corn Chowder

Makes four-six servings | recipe by Chef George Hirsch
From George Hirsch Lifestyle! TV series 

1 Tablespoon olive oil 
4 Tablespoons pancetta or bacon, chopped
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 
1/2 cup chopped carrot, chopped 
1/2 cup chopped celery, chopped 
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 
4 cups chicken broth 
2 cups corn, (about 4 ears) fresh cut from cob; or leftover grilled corn
1 cup Yukon potatoes, well scrubbed skin left on, chopped 1/4 inch pieces
1 bay leaf 
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped 
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce 
pinch of sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup half-half 
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Pre heat a soup pot to medium temperature. Add olive oil and pancetta, cook until light brown. Add onion, garlic and chicken and cook until lightly colored. 

Add carrot, celery and cook three to four minutes. Add flour, cook for two minutes and slowly add chicken broth. Bring soup to a boil, add corn, potatoes, thyme, hot sauce and bay leaf. Simmer soup for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Pre heat half-half, add sea salt, pepper to soup and top with fresh chopped parsley.

Tuesday
Jul222014

George’s Double Chocolate Brownies

An often requested recipe from George Hirsch Lifestyle, it is ideal for every occasion. Enjoy as is or upgrade by topping with your favorite ice cream. The brownie derives its character from a deep rich cocoa base for the chocolate flavor.  

George Hirsch Lifestyle Double Chocolate Brownies

George’s Double Chocolate Brownies

Makes 12-18 Brownies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts

1 1/2 cups semisweet chopped chocolate pieces; or chocolate, or butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease and flour an 8 x 12 x 2 inch-baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt well. Set aside.

Cream butter in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar, cream on high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. 

On a low speed add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, stopping machine to scrape down the bowl well after each addition. On a low speed add flour and cocoa powder to the butter mixture and mix just until flour is absorbed. Do not over mix. 

By hand, fold the pecans and chocolate in with a rubber spatula.

Optional: if using coconut; mix 3/4 of coconut with pecans and chocolate. 

Using a spatula, spread the batter into baking pan making sure the batter is spread evenly and smooth. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Caution to not over bake. Brownies are baked when pressed cakes springs back when pressed lightly with your finger or a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 2 hours and cut the brownies into rectangle or square pieces.

Know Your Cookie:

A brownie is considered a sheet cookie, as it's soft batter spreads across sheet like pan to bake. Other types of sheet cookies would include blondies and rainbow cookies. After sheet cookies are baked they are cooled and can be cut into squares, rectangles or any other shapes. 

Monday
Jul212014

Wampum

A mere bag of shells - Ralph Kramden from "The Honeymooners"

As Europeans settled in the Americas, they quickly became aware of the importance of wampum to the Native Americans. While the Natives did not use it as form of currency or money, the people within the New England colonies began to use shells as a medium of exchange. Soon, they were trading with the natives of New England and New York using wampum. At that time, the rate in New York was eight white or four black wampum equaling one stuiver coin, until 1673. The basis for their value was an exchange for pelts from the Native Americans. As Native Americans became reluctant to exchange pelts for the shells, the shells lost their value. 

As for today's chowder lovers, getting your hands on a really good clam chowder recipe, priceless.

I created this recipe and it's been featured on my TV show as one of the best chowders from our local Native American's of the Shinnecock Nation. It's a pure-n-simple recipe, not fussy; without the typically added tomatoes, cream, celery, and corn. Unlike most chowders, which call for chopping the clams, this version uses them whole. Enjoy!

Shinnecock Clam Chowder

Makes 6-8 servings | From Grilling with Chef George Hirsch Cookbook

1/4 pound salt pork, chopped fine

2 large sweet onions, diced small

4 medium all purpose potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups fish broth 

2 dozen chowder clams or quahogs, well scrubbed

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the salt pork in a 1 gallon soup pot until it gives up all it's fat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn light brown. Add the potato and stock and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the shells open.  Stir in the parsley and stir in the salt and pepper.