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. 

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The Midweek Salad

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Grilled Romaine

Did you know lettuce made the top ten garden vegetables in America? It ranked number nine; trailing behind hot peppers, onions, zucchini, carrots, beans, sweet peppers, cucumber and tomatoes. The good news is lettuce beat out beans!

I received an email request that inspired this post. This was one of those recipes I did for my live PBS grilling shows that made people scratch their head years ago. The audience in the Disney Parks was at first shocked, then amazed! Now, its considered all the buzz, appearing on other cooking shows including chain restaurants. I guess they Know their Fire! Ha! Well, here's the how-to on grilling-up a delicious appetizer or side. I'll be making it this week. Enjoy! Top with this dressing.

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Grilled Romaine

Makes four servings 

chefgeorgehirsch.comAdventures in Grilling, 1996 by George Hirsch w/ Marie Bianco

2 Heads of hearts of romaine lettuce, split in half & washed

4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves caramelized garlic

A pinch of sea salt 

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, rough chopped

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Shaved Parmesan cheese

Pre heat grill to high heat.

Cut the romaine heart in half lengthwise, leaving stem end intact. Soak romaine heads in bowl of cold water. Brush with olive oil.

Put romaine halves on hot grill. Cook for about 2 minutes each side, until lettuce begins to blister slightly and lettuce gets a slight char. Turn over and grill for 2 additional minutes.  

Remove and plate cut side up, and top each with remaining olive oil, balsamic, garlic cloves, Parmesan, prosciutto, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve while still warm.

Optional: serve with thinly sliced prosciutto, grilled chicken, or grilled shrimp. 

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Gazpacho as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

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This time of year is perfect to dream about those farm fresh veggies. But don’t just dream, enjoy one of my favorite refreshing soups anytime!  

on location Seps Farm East Marion, NY from  George Hirsch Lifestyle

on location Seps Farm East Marion, NY from George Hirsch Lifestyle

I also call Gazpacho "liquid salad" — for obvious reasons. Its origin and roots go back to ancient times in Andalusia Spain; with a version of the recipe believed to be concocted as a re-energizing dish for Roman workers building roads in early 2nd century Spain. Traditionally, gazpacho recipes include stale bread, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, and a touch of vinegar. 

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Gazpacho aka Liquid Salad

Makes four servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV  

1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped very fine

4 cups low sodium tomato juice + Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup each sweet red + yellow pepper, chopped very fine

1/4 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped fine

4 cloves garlic, fine chop

1/4 cup scallion, fine chop

1/2 cup cucumber; peeled and seeded, chopped very fine

1 Tablespoon cilantro + 1/4 each teaspoon hot sauce, cumin, sea salt + fresh ground black pepper 

1/2 cup stale bread, toasted and chopped fine

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

Optional: 1 fresh gherkin cut into four wedges and a spring on dill to garnish. Or, marinate very fresh scallops or shrimp in tequila & hot sauce--top mugs ceviche style. 

*In a large bowl mix all the ingredients and chill for two hours before serving. 

My recipe will give your knife skills a work out. Feel free to use a blender. Keep in mind the manual chopping of the vegetables will preserve the flavor. 

*Tip: Be aware, using a food processor or blender actually cooks the veggies with the friction, in turn, changing the natural uncooked flavor, which is the true essence of this dish. There are many versions of gazpacho, but I prefer this one without any meat broth, keeping it true to its veggie roots, and finishing it off with a drizzle of a good olive oil.  

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Dessert Grilled

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I don’t have a sweet tooth and unlike most people I can pass on chocolate. However, growing up, it would not be summer without my mom whipping-up a bunch of banana boats, my favorite summer sweet treat. It's one of those summer dessert traditions I look forward to every year. I know your whole family will love them. And, so much so I included Banana Boats in my first cookbook!

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Tips: Use large yellow bananas with the barest green tips. Avoid using bananas that are too ripe. For true decadence, top the bananas with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and some chopped pecans before serving.

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Grilled Banana Boats

Makes 6 adults servings, or 3 child servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

6 bananas

Three 1-ounce good quality chocolate bars; milk chocolate, dark chocolate, broken into small pieces, or 6 Tablespoons chocolate chips

2 cups mini-marshmallows

six 12 inch squares aluminum foil

Preheat a gas grill, or use a hot-charcoal grill; after cooking your main food item.

Split bananas down the inner sides, but do not remove the peels. Spread the peels apart and evenly place the chocolate pieces and marshmallows between the bananas and the peels. Bring the edges of the peels together as closely as possible and wrap each banana in aluminum foil.

Grill the bananas for 4-5 minutes; turn them and move them to the cooler edge of the grill for 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve and eat immediately.

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Refreshing Fruit or Vegetable?

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Watermelon happens to be a vegetable! That's right, watermelon was officially declared a vegetable and also named Oklahoma's official state vegetable in 2007. The watermelon is related to the squash and pumpkin family; on the good side of the family.

George Hirsch Lifestyle Melon Kbob

Believe it or not- watermelon has higher concentrations of the antioxidant lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. A two cup serving of watermelon contains almost nineteen mgs versus four mgs contained in tomatoes and has only 48 calories; but can provide 25 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

Tip. Pick a melon that feels heavy for its size, that's an indication it's juicy and fresh. Enjoy eating it freshly cut or make my refreshing summer cocktail made with watermelon. 

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