Apple Pumpkin Crumb Muffins

Seems like yesterday I was driving home from the beach (OK, it was yesterday). But then I passed one of my local farm fields filled with pumpkins. So ready-or-not the season has changed. At home I can still enjoy the best of both seasons on the farm and all the goodness from the farm. 

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We will soon say goodbye to summer's tomatoes and corn. But, Autumn is one of my favorite food seasons. So let's get fall started; here's my seasonal spin on the average apple muffin - add pumpkin and crumb. Great to take on-the-go too. Enjoy!

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Apple Pumpkin Crumb Muffins

Makes 18 muffins or 9 x 13 coffee cake 

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For the crumb topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup flour 

3/4 cup oats, not quick cooking

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 cup melted butter 

Mix all sugars, flour, oats and nuts. Pour in butter and mix until topping looks like wet sand. Do not over mix; topping should have a lumpy consistency. Reserve crumb topping and prepare muffin batter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

For the muffins:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour; or 50/50 whole wheat flour

2 cups pure cane granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 

3/4 teaspoon ginger 

Pinch allspice & fresh grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup applesauce, or vegetable oil 

2 cups Green or baking apples, peeled, core and chopped into small pieces 

In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to until flour is absorbed. Add chopped apples. 

Add batter into prepared muffin cups 3/4 filled. Top each muffin with crumb mixture and bake.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

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The Rooster's Beak

You must want to know why Pico de Gallo is referred to as the rooster's beak? It actually refers to the bite-size (beak-size) proportions of fresh tomatoes in this chunky salsa of Mexican origin. How about that! You may also be familiar with its other name, Salsa Fresca. 

The garden tomato bounty is here for a few more minutes, so this is an ideal week to make my pico de gallo from my own tomatoes and peppers. Serve Pico de Gallo with corn tortillas or my Cilantro Shrimp Nachos for más divertido!

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George Hirsch's Salsa Fresca

Makes 3 cups

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8-10 San Marzano plum tomatoes, split de-seeded 

1 small sweet white onion, or sweet red onion + 1 green onion 

2 jalapeño peppers, split and de-seeded chopped (optional) 

1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber 

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce 

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste 

Juice of two fresh limes

1 Tablespoon olive oil 

Cut all veggies into 1/4 inch size pieces. In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix and set aside one hour to allow flavors to develop. Serve room temperature.

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Take Along Snack

Today there are so many prepackaged cereal snack bars available on the market, so it can make you dizzy trying to decide which one to pick. Yes, there are some good ones, but why not make your own? 

Let’s begin by understanding this recipe I've created. Oats are the main body of the recipe, so that ingredient is the constant. Other than that, you can be creative with several substitutions based on your personal preference and ingredients you have on hand. If you don’t have dried blueberries but have dried apricots - fee free to substitute! Have sliced almonds, but no walnuts, no problem. OK, you get the idea.

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My Oat Bars are perfect for take-along snack for traveling. You can also share your own snack bars at the office, bake sales, church socials, or your next tailgate. 

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Oat Bars

Makes 2 dozen bars

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2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup desiccated coconut (shredded & dried)

1/4 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or mixed

1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, or mixed; chopped

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons, maple syrup

2 Tablespoons butter or canola oil, plus enough to grease parchment

1/2 cup mixed dried fruit, raisins, blueberries and cranberries

2 large ripe bananas, mashed 

1/4 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon cinnamon  

pinch fresh grated nutmeg

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Line a 9-inch-baking sheet pan with parchment paper allowing two inches to over lap sides of pan. Brush parchment paper with melted butter.

Spread oats, coconut, nuts and seeds on another baking pan and toast in oven just until very light brown, about 5 minutes, stirring once. Use caution not to over brown. 

In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey, and maple syrup. Stir over low heat until warmed. In a separate large bowl, mix together toasted oats, coconut, seeds, dried fruit, mashed banana, applesauce, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour butter mixture over and stir until well combined. 

While mixture is warm, spread into lined parchment baking pan with a spatula. Bake until brown, 25 to 30 minutes, remove and allow to cool. 

Lift parchment by grabbing the sides of paper and place on a cutting board. Cut into bars, about 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches.

For extra crisp bars, toast bars in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Lay cut bars out on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 300 degree oven until bars crisp, about 15-20 minutes.

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GEORGE HIRSCH’S SLOPPY GIUSEPPE BURGER

A holiday weekend call for a burger, but not just any burger. Grilled slider served on a potato roll, with pickled bourbon peppers, an Italian style sweet sloppy Joe sauce, topped with crisp sriracha slaw with farm fresh veggies and a side of garlic kettle chips. 

George's SLOPPY GIUSEPPE a winning combination

Grilling a winning burger from the bun up takes time and the freshest farm picked ingredients. For my SLOPPY GIUSEPPE, the peppers were farm picked and pickled the same day, two months ahead of adding to my burger. I used a colorful mix of vine ripen sweet and hot peppers, and the vinegary brine was topped off with bourbon for added zip. The Sloppy Sauce is a homemade sweetened Italian tomato sauce, and the slaw—a mixture of crunch tossed at the last moment in a creamy sriracha dressing. With no compromise to the meat tossed on the grill, my signature special meat blend, and the only bun of distinction worthy for such honest “sloppy goodness’ is soft potato roll.   

GEORGE HIRSCH’S SLOPPY GIUSEPPE BURGER

Makes 8, quarter pound burgers.

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*weight before cooking

1 3/4 pounds ground beef, short rib blend, 80/20 lean / fat ratio

3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Accompaniments: Potato Rolls, mix of sweet & hot vinegar peppers, sloppy sauce, sriracha slaw, 

In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine beef and sausage meat and mix with a fork, taking care not to overwork the meat. Divide into 8 or 10 equal portions and form into 3/4 inch thick patties. Use raw meat from two of the above formed burgers for sloppy sauce. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

Sloppy Sauce

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Makes about 2 Quarts, or enough topping for 16 SLOPPY GIUSEPPE burgers.

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onions, sweet red peppers

8 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine

1 15 ounce can each Tomato Sauce & Tomato Puree

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

1 pint of IPA

1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano

2 bay leaves

2 cups water

Pre heat a saucepot to medium temperature. Add olive oil and two burger patties browning lightly; add onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook for two additional minutes, do not brown vegetables. Add all remaining ingredients using water to rinse out any additional tomato sauce left in cans. Simmer for 45 minutes. Keep warm until topping burgers. 

For Slaw & Dressing as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Vegetables: 1 small head shredded white cabbage, one 1/2 head shredded red cabbage, 2 grated carrots, 1/4 of a sweet thinly sliced onion, 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, and 3 chopped green onions. Mix 2 cups mayonnaise, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce, 1/4 cup sriracha, 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, pepper and sea salt to taste. Add dressing to slaw thirty minutes before serving. 

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the burgers on a hot grill and cook about 3-4 minutes per side, turning once. 

Serve on lightly toasted Martin’s Potato Rolls, first peppers, burger, sloppy sauce, and slaw. Serve extra Sloppy Sauce on side with plenty of napkins. 

Note: If you don’t see ground short rib beef in your butcher shop, by all means ask for it. Whenever you’re mixing any ground meat product, it’s a good practice to have the meat and bowl well chilled. Not only will a chilled bowl cut down on bacterial growth, it will help bind the meat. If possible, use a metal bowl for mixing the ingredients and place it in the freezer beforehand. If your kitchen is warm, place the bowl over a bowl of ice when you’re incorporating the meat with the spices.

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