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Monday
Apr272015

Benedictine Sandwich

If it seems like a busy week for celebrating, then you are spot-on. This is what's on the celebrations calendar; there's Cinco de Mayo appraoching, and this weekend is the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. 

To keep your entertaining true to form, here's a traditional Derby Day classic, invented by Jennie Benedict in the 19th century, The Benedictine Sandwich. This sandwich is to Churchill Downs as the Pimento Sandwich is to the Masters; and is one that John Montagu (The 4th Earl of Sandwich) would still be proud to eat.

To Make a Benedictine Sandwich:

In a food processor - mix 1 package softened cream cheese with 2 Tablespoons finely chopped watercress, 1/4 of a finely chopped Vidalia onion, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil mayo, a shot of hot sauce, and a pinch of sea salt. Pulse all ingredients until just blended smooth. Fold in 1 large peeled, seeded and finely chopped English cucumber. Spread cuke filling on thinly sliced white sandwich bread. Trim crusts, if desired. 

Wash down with a cool Mint Julep! 

BTW: Each year, almost 120,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Sunday
Apr262015

George Hirsch Lifestyle Biscotti

I think one of the most often asked question regarding biscotti (meaning twice baked) is, do you dunk? And I’m not talking coffee or espresso. Biscotti is ideal dunked into sweet wine, the dry cookie soaks up the beverage giving it an ideal flavor.

Chef George on set of George Hirsch Lifestyle dunking biscottiThis recipe is an ideal do ahead sweet, as it only gets better a couple days after baking. 

chef George's Biscotti from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

George’s Biscotti 

Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup pure cane granulated sugar

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 eggs

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3 drops pure almond, or anise extract  

1/2 cup mixed pistachios pieces and slivered almonds 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and almond flavoring until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. 

Place dough on parchment lined sheet pan, divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your sheet pan. Press down to 1/2 inch thickness and with a rolling stick even out top height of dough by rolling evenly and gently. 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until a light golden brown. Remove the two biscotti bars from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 4-5 minutes on each side or until slices should be lightly toasted.

Cool, and store for two weeks in a tightly sealed container. 

Tip: Save the biscotti crumbs when slicing cookies, they make an ideal topping on gelato and ice cream. 

Thursday
Apr232015

Know Your Fire Fridays: Ancient Grilling

I have prepared different types of acient recipes on my TV series and included the recipes in my cookbooks. Why? One of the oldest cooking techniques in existence, the art of grilling meat on a skewer was derived from medieval Turkish soldiers who used their swords to cook meat over open fires. An Adana kebabi from the south of Turkey is a savory mixture of minced lamb, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, dried oregano and mint. The meat is shaped into a long cylindrical shape like a long hot dog or sausage, then pierced onto a long metal skewer and grilled in one piece. It is served removed from the skewer and cut up.

Adana is named after the 5th largest city in Turkey, Adana. There are very strict guidelines and inspections that must be passed by The Adana Chamber of Commerce in order to be an authentic Adana kebabi vendor.

Adana kebabi has to be made from the meat of a male lamb. The skewered meat, must be roasted on fireless, charcoal embers exclusively from oak wood. The skewers are frequently turned during grilling using caution so the melting fat is not dripped on the embers causing a flair up. The Adana is served on flat bread by pressing the meat off the skewers after cooking; when wrapped and served in a flat bread, it's called a Dürüm. Authentic accompaniments served with adana include; charred tomatoes, green or red peppers, onions and parsley seasoned with sumac or lemon pepper seasoning, and warm hummus. And there is nothing easier and better than a homemade hummus!

Adana or Kiyma Kebabi

Makes 4 servings 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 pound ground lamb or ground beef 
1/4 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
1/2 teaspoon each; ground cumin, dried oregano
1 Tablespoon each: fresh parsley and fresh mint
1 egg white
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch Sea salt
Olive oil
2 fresh lemons, quartered
Fresh Mint 
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, optional

Mix the meat with the cayenne, cumin, oregano, parsley, mint, black pepper, and salt in a bowl. Add the egg white and continue to combine until the mixture is well blended.

Grease skewers with cooking spray or oil. If possible, use long, flat metal skewers. Divide the meat mixture into 2-4 (depending on the length of skewer), 2 inch wide thick sausage shapes. Push the skewer through the middle, lengthwise, and squeeze the mixture up and down the skewer, spreading it evenly. Repeat with the other skewer. 

Cover and place in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. This will help the meat hold together. When ready to grill, brush the outside of meat with olive oil.

Preheat the grill to high. 

Place skewers on very hot grill. Grill 5 minutes, turning frequently, or until cooked through. Serve immediately with sides of yogurt, fresh lemon, fresh chopped mint, and an onion & parsley salad.