Often Neglected

Really, I don’t mean to play favorites and cause any bad feelings among my herb seasonings, but we all get into a rut sometimes. Don't we? I know I am one of the world's greatest promoters of basil. I’ve even been advised at times by my director to ease up on my passion for basil. So, you can say I’m turning over a new leaf. My fresh herbs this season are now planted and I’ve included a new family member to the group. Yes, there still is basil, but I've added lemon verbena to the group. 

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Native to Argentina, Chile and Peru where it grows wiild on roadsides; Aloysia Citriodora aka, Lemon Verbena leaves are ideal to use for a lemony flavor addition to grilled fish, poultry dishes, marinades, and beverages. I’ve even used this very aromatic herb in place of lemon zest for desserts, such as my Lemon Squares. Thirsty? Try adding lemon verbena to iced tea in addition to mint. Also, when added to herbal tea it provides a fresh from the garden taste to your warm beverage. 

The aroma is intoxicating. It was love at first whiff, when we met at the nursery!

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Midweek Grilling

You are going to need cedar planks for today's fish recipe. Soak planks for 30 minutes before you fire up the grill. Make sure the grill is good and hot, this is key! Cedar planked fish takes on a wonderful smokey flavor with more flair and a lot less hassle. The plank will be charred, but the fish will be perfectly cooked. This technique of cooking on planks is not new. Developed by Indians in the Pacific Northwest, cooking on cedar and alder has been a tradition for centuries. 

Pick up some cedar planks at your local hardware store. Oh, please be sure they are untreated non-resined wood, no thicker than 1 inch. Cedar and alder are popular choices, but mesquite, cherry, peach, apple, and oak also add their own unique flavors. Enjoy!

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Cedar Plank Fish

makes two servings

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle

1 cedar plank

Two 10-ounce salmon, trout or halibut fillets

juice of one fresh lemon

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons olive oil

Fresh ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons butter

Soak plank in water to cover 1 hour; drain.

Pre heat Grill to high.

Rub plank with one tablespoon olive oil. Place fillets on plank; season with pepper, parsley, syrup and lemon juice. Top with remaining olive oil.

Grill 10-14 minutes or until fish is cooked. The thickness of the fillets will determine final cooking time.

Prior to serving top with fresh butter and serve with extra fresh lemon slices.

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Chocolate Pound Cake

This recipe is one of those cakes that gets better with age; meaning, it tastes even better the day after it is baked. You may not have access to Sag Harbor Rum for the simple syrup, so if you find yourself in a strange port use a good quality rum. 

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George Hirsch Chocolate Pound Cake, Sag Harbor Rum Syrup

Chocolate Pound Cake

Makes one loaf

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

 1 1/2 cups cake flour  

1 teaspoon baking powder  

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sweet butter, room temperature

1 cup pure cane granulated sugar  

3 eggs, beaten 

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine grated orange zest 

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder such as Droste

1/4 cupboiling hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Grease a loaf pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl mix cocoa powder into boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, mix cake flour with baking powder and salt.

On medium high speed, mix butter until softened, about 1 - 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. With the mixer on low add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after adding each egg. Add vanilla, orange zest, cocoa mixture. add the flour mixture and mix only until combined.  

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake on a center rack in oven for about 50 - 55 minutes or until done. To test doneness, cake will spring back when touched lightly with index finger.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Slice pound cake, serve soaked with rum simple syrup and with fresh whipped cream.

To make simple syrup:

1 cup water, 2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup of Rum, 1 orange, cut into quarters

Place all ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Remove and cool.