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

George Hirsch Lifestyle  |  chefgeorgehirsch.com

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.

Hushpuppies or Cornballs?

Depending on where you are in the world I believe there is some variation of hush puppies or cornballs cooked in every culture, either savory or sweet - such as the falafel, sorullitos and festivals. Typically you may think of hush puppies as a BBQ or seafood side dish; originating in the southern region of the USA - tasty comfort food. Yes, I included my own version of it in my Know Your Fire Cookbook. Cook some up!

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Chef George’s Hushpuppies

Where the name HushPuppies came from:

The name "hushpuppies" is often attributed to southern cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture (possibly that they had been bread-coating or battering their own food with) and feed it to their dogs to "hush the puppies" during cook-outs or fish-fries.

Hush Puppies | Recipe by George Hirsch, Know Your Fire Cookbook, Putnam 

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1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon fine chopped parsley

Vegetable oil for frying

* optional suggestions: onions, hot pepper, crisp cooked bacon, finely chopped ham or crab meat

Combine cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the milk, add egg and beat with a whisk or fork until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Stir in the butter, parsley and set the batter aside for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Fill a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer with 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 360 degree F. Scoop up a scant tablespoon of batter off the spoon into the hot fat and when the hush puppies rise to the top in about 1 minute, turn them over and cook until evenly brown, about 2 minutes total. Remove and drain on paper towels. Hush Puppies should always be served piping hot.

Power Pantry

Winter is a good time to take inventory of how many of these power foods you have on hand, restock and remind you to incorporate them into your daily diet. I also take this as a good opportunity to go through non perishables + canned goods to give to my local food pantry.

Roasted Veg

Almonds: good fiber, protein good for your heart. Go ahead and go nuts!

Apples: Vitamin C and soluble fiber and helps keep the doctor away.

Beets: rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters; save fresh stems for salads for a double bonus.

Blueberries: big plant compounds to prevent chronic diseases. Toss in cereal and yogurt to get your day started right.

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Broccoli: missed your O.J. today? Have a glass of broccoli; it’s powerhouse of calcium, potassium, folate, fiber, Vitamins A & C. 

Red Beans: excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and copper, low fat low cal source of protein and fiber. A complete meal with steamed brown rice.

Spinach: Vitamin A and C folate. Good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium iron and magnesium. Boost your immune system and keep hair and skin healthy. Seemed to work for Popeye.

Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids, aids in keeping blood from clotting, good source of protein. Need more reason, just try this tasty recipe for Grilled Salmon, Irish Style.

Sweet Potatoes: high in antioxidant beta-carotene which can slow the aging process. Good fiber, fat free, and under 60 calories per tuber.

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Swiss chard: a leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes. Sorry, the DMV still requires an eye test for drivers license even if you eat your Swiss chard.

Pumpkin seeds: the most nutritious part of the pumpkin. Full of magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death. Helpful in the dugout during a Game Day too.

Sardines: high in omega-3’s, loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins. Enough said.

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Turmeric: more than just a yellow color to paella, it contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Wheat Germ: great boost to your immune system and cardio health. Go ahead treat yourself to an ice cream topped with wheat germ, you are doing yourself good. 

Vegetable Juice: when choosing, select a low sodium version because it’s filled with lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces risk of heart attack and prostate cancer. 

TODAY'S RESOURCE: 

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