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Wednesday
Mar042015

Creamy Tomato Soup as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

 

One of the most popular types of comfort food combinations is the soup and sandwich. And, one of the most popular soup/sandwich combinations is tomato soup and grilled cheese. For my Vintage Classics episode on GHL I prepared Creamy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese with farm fresh bread, cured French ham and aged cheddar. For the ultimate tomato soup I combined a mix of fresh ripe San Marzano plum tomatoes and canned San Marzano tomatoes. During peak harvest season when there is a plentiful supply of farm fresh tomatoes available I would use all fresh, but during shoulder seasons I will mix with high quality San Marzano canned tomatoes. 

Once all your ingredients are assembled comfort can be achieved in about thirty minutes. Mmm Mmm Good!!!  

Creamy Tomato Soup from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series

George’s Creamy Tomato Soup
Makes 6-8 servings

 chefgeorgehirsch.com | From George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series

5 large ripe San Marzano Plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons sweet butter
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-4 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2- 15 ounce cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil
hot sauce, sea salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 cup half-and-half 

Pre heat a large 4 quart soup pot.

Add olive oil, onion, garlic and fresh plum tomatoes. Stir and sweat 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the butter and when melted, then add the flour, sir and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the canned San Marzano tomatoes, stir, and simmer 5 minutes. 

Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, and dried basil, simmer for 5 minutes.

Add fresh basil and simmer for 5 additional minutes. 

Remove bay leaves and take the soup off the stove. For a creamier soup use a food pulser and puree slightly leaving a few chunks of tomatoes. Return back to stove and bring back to a boil, and add the optional half-and-half. 

Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes.  

Add hot sauce, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Served topped with crunchy croutons and a few drops of olive oil.

 


Monday
Mar022015

Lemon Squares

I have shared many desserts in my cookbooks and TV series, delighted to share one of my most requested desserts. 

This is the quintessential dessert, although it is also a popular dessert during the holiday season. I have been told my recipe is the perfect balance of sweetness, lemony tartness and buttery shortbread. Make a batch and share this refreshing treat at your next gathering.

Lemon Squares (aka Lemon Bars) depends on how you cut them
Makes 1 dozen, eight inch square pan
George Hirsch Recipe | chefgeorgehirsch.com

Short Bread Crust:
1/2 cup sweet butter, room temperature 
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch cinnamon

A square tip: (lining pan with parchment paper is helpful for removing squares after baking)
Grease an 8 inch square pan with butter, line with parchment
Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

For the Crust: With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. By hand mix flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon forming a light dough. Press dough into greased pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes, should be light brown. Remove from oven and cool in pan.

Lemon Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
2 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest 
2 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

For the Lemon Filling: Mix with a wire whisk the sugar, flour, salt, and eggs until dissolved. Add fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla just until combined. Do not over mix or too much air will affect filling. Pour the filling over the cooled shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the filling is set. 

Remove from oven and cool. After cooling at room temperature, refrigerate. To serve, cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar. Chill lemon squares until ready to serve.

Sunday
Mar012015

Whats a Scape? tune-in George Hirsch Lifestyle 

Just in time for Spring! Hard Neck Garlic grown in the northeast and festured on GHL from Quail Hill Farm located on the East End of Long Island are a green garlic-like scallion. Scapes are slim, bright-green, foot-long shoots with a curled top that new garlic bulbs send up in Spring. Crisp and flavor-packed with a onion garlic like taste. The scape growing season is very short, so you need to be on the look out when avaiable in spring. 

Garlic Scapes as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

So what to do with a scape? Use in the same manner as you would use garlic or green onions. Chop and toss into sautéed vegetables, sauces, and grilled seafood. And, my favorite is chopped and used for making pesto. 

Garlic Scape Pesto from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

Garlic Scape Pesto 

makes one cup

chefgeorgehirsch.com | as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

1 cup Garlic scapes, washed, dried and chopped 

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried 

2 Tablespoon pine nuts, chopped 

1 ice cube

3 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese 

3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 

Place garlic, scapes and pine nuts in a food processor. Puree gently. Add ice cube, basil and slightly grind. Do not over grind too long, or you will actually be cooking the tender leaves. Add the olive oil and cheese and process until it makes a paste. Refrigerate until ready to use.  

Use for more than pasta. Scape pesto is a great addition to salad dressing, topping bruschetta, poultry, seafood, grilled seafood and vegetables. 

Tips: 

- Use good quality extra virgin olive oil. 

- Great make-ahead dish for work-week dinner crunch. Simply make the pasta and toss in refrigerated pesto sauce, top with grated cheese.