Affordable Entertaining | NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Affordable Entertaining

Courtsey of Chef and Lifestyle Expert George Hirsch

Updated 12:28 PM EST, Thu, Jul 19, 2012

Summer Dinner Option One - $67
Wine: Chilled Pinot Grigio Santa Marina magnum (2 bottles) $9.99
Bruschetta $5.00
with Olive and Arugula Tapenade $9.50

1st Course:
Grilled Romaine with Prosciutto & Caramelized Garlic Croutons $10.50

2nd Course:
Grilled Breast of Chicken with Red Pepper Pesto $7.00
Whole Wheat Pasta & Grilled Summer Squash, Smoked Pecans $6.00

3rd Course:
Columbian Supremo Coffee $2.00
Strawberry Zabaione with Lemon Ricotta Cake $8.95
George’s Goodie Bag: $2.00
Lemon Ricotta Demi Loaves Pound Cakes - each guest takes home cake! $5.95



Bruschetta with Olive and Arugula Tapenade

Makes 6 servings

12 slices round country- style hearty bread, sliced 3/4 inch thick
1/8 cup olive oil
1 Recipe Olive Tapanade
1 cup arugula, chopped

Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill 10 to 15 seconds on each side. Press down on the bread with a spatula so that the bread picks up grill marks.
When the bread is grilled, top off the slices evenly with Olive Tapenade and with chopped arugula.


Olive Tapenade

Makes 1 cup

2/3 cup black oil cured olives (Kalamata or Nicoise), pitted and finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped
4 cloves caramelized garlic
2 Tablespoons capers, drained, rinsed under cold tap water and finely chopped
4 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, mix together the olives, anchovies, garlic, capers, oil, and pepper.


Grilled Romaine

Makes six servings

2 large heads 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
¼ pound Prosciutto, sliced very thin

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 cut each lettuce half into thirds. Plate grilled romaine 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 croutons topped with pureed Caramelized Garlic.


Caramelized Garlic

6 heads fresh garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
one 12‑inch square aluminum foil

Pre heat grill to low heat.
Lay each garlic head on its side and cut off 1/4 inch from the bottom or root end, exposing the garlic
cloves. Brush with olive oil.
Place the heads, exposed end down, in a single layer in an ovenproof pan or on a sheet of foil. Roast in a low temperature grill 10 minutes or until light brown. Cover with aluminum foil and roast 8-10 minutes longer, or until creamy.
Allow garlic to cool and remove cloves from head as needed. Garlic may be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for several days.
To puree, crush garlic cloves with the flat of a knife.

George’s Grilled Chicken with Red Pepper Pesto

Makes 4 servings

Six 5 -ounce boneless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
pinch sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup red pepper pesto, see below

Preheat the grill.
Brush the chicken breasts with the olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place chicken on a medium heat
and cook for 5-10 minutes, until it begins to color. Move to a low or indirect heat and slowly cook 8-10 minutes for breasts, until the juices run clear. Brush 2 Tablespoons of red pepper pesto on the chicken during the final 2-3 minutes of cooking. Remove chicken breasts off the grill and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Slice chicken breasts thinly and serve topped with remaining ½ cup pesto and pasta salad.


Grilled Summer Squash and Fusilli Pasta

Makes six servings

3/4 pound tri-color fusilli pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup red pepper pesto, (see below)
2 grilled summer squash (see below)
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped + 6 whole fresh basil leaves freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the fusilli in a large pot of boiling water until pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a large bowl, allow to cool two minutes. Add olive oil and cool to room temperature.
Mix in grilled squash, red pepper pesto, vinegar, parmesan, chopped basil, and black pepper. Mix
well, and serve at room temperature. Top with whole fresh basil.Serve with grilled chicken, shrimp or fish.


Grilled Summer Squash

To prepare the vegetables:
1 green squash, split and grilled
1 yellow squash, split and grilled
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped juice of one lemon
pinch sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

Mix lemon, oil, thyme, pepper and salt with vegetables.
Pre heat grill to a very high heat.
Grill squash on high heat until light brown and vegetables are tender.


Red Pepper Pesto

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Puree from 1 head caramelized Garlic
1/4 cup unsalted cashews
3/4 cup grilled red peppers, skinned & chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice from 1/4 lemon

Place garlic and cashews in a food processor and process for ten seconds. Add the
red peppers and process for 20 seconds. Add the cheese and process for 10
seconds. With the motor going, slowly add the olive oil and lemon.


Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Makes one large loaf, or three demi-loaves

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup sweet butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (15 oz container) fresh whole-milk ricotta, drained
1 1/2 cups Turbino or granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Grease and flour 9-inch loaf pan.Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
In a large bowl, cream butter, and sugar until smooth and light. Fold in ricotta in three parts. Scrape
bowl well with a spatula. Mix dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter and sugar and mix just until flour is absorbed with eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla. Scrape down sides of the bowl, mix on low speed, 30 seconds just until batter is completely mixed.Do not over mix. Over mixing will toughen cake and produce air pockets. Pour the batter into greased pan and smooth on top. Once pan is filled with batter, tap pan against table or counter to remove air pockets. Bake for 45-55 minutes. After 40 minutes, lower to 325 degrees until done. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan; finish cooling on wire rack. Top with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
Think ice cream, think again. A zabagilione is a custard, which is the base of ice cream. Easy to make you will find it makes you feel as though your are walking down the Grand Canal in Venice on the first taste.


George's Frozen Strawberry Zabaglione

Makes six Servings

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup pureed strawberries with juice

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until combined and frothy. Slowly whisk in the pureed strawberries. Set the bowl over a double boiler, (a large pot of gently simmering water). Do not the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk until the mixture doubles in volume and slightly thickens easily coating the back of a spoon resembling a custard. Remove from heat and gently fold the strawberries into the zabaglione. Place the mixture into a small bowl, cover and place in freezer about 2 hours. Serve a scoop of Strawberry Zabaglione over Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake.

First Published: Jul 19, 2012 11:18 AM EST

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