Become a Culinary Rock Star
August 2018 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford
Reprinted with permission by George Hirsch, Jr. and Carrie Hirsch
Photography Credit: Butch Hirsch
George Hirsch, Jr. grew up in Long Cove on Hilton Head Island in a family who loves cooking. “My mom likes to say I was born with a wooden spoon in my mouth. She would feed me over her shoulder—tasting this and that,” chuckled George, co-author of College Man’s Cookbook. “As a food writer, my mom always put me to work in the kitchen (even when I just wanted to play video games), and now as I look back, I appreciate all I learned.”
When he headed to college at the University of Georgia, he soon realized many of his friends’ cooking skills were raw and under cooked—voila, the idea struck. George called up his mom, Carrie Hirsch, and said, “You should write a cookbook for college guys.”
During his sophomore year, George and Carrie rounded up the troops and set out to develop a cookbook. A four-year project, everyone was integral—he and his mom developed the recipes, while his dad, Butch Hirsch, a professional photographer, took all the food shots. In fact, George says his dad may be the only person who could convince him to climb onto a kids’ dinosaur ride outside the Harris Teeter grocery store for a full-page image in the cookbook. (It may even be worth purchasing the book just for the photo, although you’ll enjoy the recipes immensely, too)
George’s family, roommates (all five of them) and friends were taste testers and models for photos. There’s no question that the cookbook is authentic with lots of college men’s input. In fact, George says he loves getting Snapchats from his friends while they are cooking the recipes. The insider report: the "Whooooa-Sabi Wings" are a hot commodity, and the "Quesadilla in a Mad Skillet" is on point for a late night snack!
So what does a college man’s cookbook contain? User-friendly recipes, the most basic techniques from shopping tips to raw food containment, and chapters like “Breakfast & Hangover Helper” and “Impress the Rents” [college speak for parents]. It holds true to it’s subtitle: “100 Easy Recipes to Prepare on a Budget, in Tiny Kitchens, with Dull Knives, Microwaves, and Distractions While Earning a Degree.” And, you’ll earn your very own diploma as you cook your way through to the final recipe of the book—hopefully it won’t take four years!
With a sense of humor threaded throughout the book and the iconic red solo cup gracing its cover, it’s easy to overlook the importance of the topics this cookbook addresses. For years, when young adults head off to college, they put their bodies through the ringer, (and, ahem, it’s not just the men who do it). So this cookbook could just blow away the stereotype of a college guy’s dorm room piled high with pizza boxes and a bare pantry with a few paltry Ramen packages. Not only is learning to cook more cost effective, but it’s so much healthier, and when it’s 1:00 a.m. leftovers are the best! Plus, quoting one of the tips in the cookbook: Cooking is the New Golf: “Cooking can help you get in good with future spouses, bosses, and in-laws.”
And let me clarify, this cookbook isn’t just for the novice—there are great recipes ranging in difficulty, informative tips and even some shopping lists. In fact, Publisher Elizabeth Millen already made those famous "Whooooa-Sabi Wings" twice and proclaimed them “delish!”
2/3 cup Honey
2/3 cup Light brown sugar
2/3 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
6 Tbsps prepared Wasabi
4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
Juice of 4 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
4 lbs Chicken wings, drumettes and flats separated, tips discarded
1 cup Sour cream
½ cup prepared Wasabi sauce
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine honey, light brown sugar, soy sauce, vegetable oil, prepared Wasabi, chopped garlic cloves, orange juice and zest. Add chicken wings to mixture then toss until well coated. Arrange wings on a foil-lined, large, lipped baking sheet so the wings are not overlapping. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring twice while cooking. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and prepared wasabi sauce. Serve with wings.
!Holy Moly Guacamole¡©
Having ripe tomatoes and avocados can make or break this recipe—if they are not ripe, they are ill-prepared and tasteless (like we College Men can be!) Our secret ingredient is green apple—they’re cheaper than avocados, add a bit of crunch and a tangy flavor that makes this guacamole super delicious!
4 ripe Avocados
2 ripe Tomatoes, chopped
1 Green apple, peeled and diced
1/3 cup fresh Lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cut avocados in half—there are a huge pits in the middle, so cut around them. Use a spoon to cut around and dislodge the pit and to scrape the avocado flesh from the skins. Scrape out any brown parts. Cut avocados into 1/2” chunks. Gently stir all the ingredients together, but don’t stir too much or it will get mushy. Serve with tortilla chips. Eat on the spot—it starts to turn brown and does not hold up well in the fridge for more than a day.
Have you heard of a soy bean? That’s what an edamame is in its natural form. There have been witness accounts of college men eating the pod that holds the beans, which must have been hilarious and embarrassing for those at the same table. Evidently, that dude is not up on edamame, but you are…
1 bag Frozen edamame pods*
1 medium pot boiling Water
Salt to taste
Gently pour the frozen edamame into the boiling water or you can steam them, using a double boiler. Boil them for 10 minutes or according to the package’s recommended time, remove with a slotted spoon. Transfer to a serving bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Take soy beans out of the pods and eat them. *Bags of shelled edamame are also sold but half the fun is taking them out of the pod. If you don’t feel up to the challenge, then get the shelled ones.
8 slices thick Bread
1/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped (or 1 Tbsp garlic salt or garlic powder)
1 Tbsp Capers, drained
2 medium Tomatoes, chopped and seeds discarded
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped (or your favorite olives)
1 cup shredded Mozzarella or whichever cheese is on hand
Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange sliced bread on a lipped baking pan. Sprinkle with olive oil, then top with garlic, capers, tomatoes, olives, remaining olive oil, cheese, and black pepper. Place on middle rack of oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Spicy Rum Shrimp©
¼ cup Dark or spiced rum
1 medium Red onion, chopped
5 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp Red curry paste
Parsley, finely chopped (for garnish) 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper 6 cups hot cooked Rice
2 lbs. Medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsps Coconut oil
2 Tbsps Red chili powder or chili pepper flakes
In a medium bowl, combine rum, red onion, garlic, curry paste, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add shrimp and coat with mixture. In a large heavy skillet, heat coconut oil, then add shrimp, cooking on each side until shrimp turns a light pink. Serve over hot rice and sprinkle with parsley.
Grilled Peanut Butter & Jelly©
8 slices Bread
Jelly, any kind you like
Soft butter (nuke it for a
few seconds in a bowl)
Spread 4 slices of bread with peanut butter. Spread the remaining 4 slices with jelly. Slap them together. Here is the secret to successful grilled PB & Js. Take soft butter and spread it on both sides of the outside of the sandwiches. If you have a panini grill, you’re in luck and you know how to use it! If not, take a skillet, put some butter in it until it begins to bubble, making sure the butter does not turn brown. Place as many sandwiches in without overcrowding, and press down gently with a spatula. You can peek at the underside to see if they are turning golden brown. If yes, turn over the sandwiches—add a little more butter to the pan if too dry. Press down gently on the sandwiches a few times as they grill. You can use the same technique of buttering the outside of the sandwich even when you’re using the panini grill, too.
Teriyaki Chicken, Beef & Rice Stir-Fry
with Yummy Sauce©
1 lb. Boneless chicken breasts
1 lb. Sirloin steak tips
3 Tbsps Vegetable oil
6 cups hot Rice*, cooked according to package directions
(*if you want to buy 3 bags of microwavable teriyaki rice, that’s an option)
3/4 cup Teriyaki sauce (see right)
Yummy sauce (see right)
Once you have made your hot rice, make the Teriyaki Sauce (recipe follows) and decide how much you want to use, about 1/2 of it or all of it depending on your taste, and save the rest for another time. It will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. Heat oil in a large skillet, then brown the chicken and steak, then transfer to a cutting board. Cut chicken and steak into bite-size pieces-it’s easier to cut the meat when it’s cooked than when it is raw. Heat a little butter and cook the scramble the eggs in another medium skillet. Add the rice and teriyaki sauce, chicken and steak pieces, and cooked scrambled eggs into the large skillet. Serve hot and drizzle with Yummy Sauce.
Makes about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup Water
1/3 cup Soy sauce
1 tsp Ginger powder
2 Tbsps Light or dark brown sugar
3 Tbsps Rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, minced (use your mini food processor if you want to get it really fine)
1 Tbsp Corn starch* mixed with 2 Tbsps Water
*This helps to thicken the Teriyaki Sauce but if you don’t have corn starch on hand, don’t worry about it. It just means your teriyaki sauce will be a bit thinner but will still taste great!
Assemble all ingredients in a glass bowl, then stir. Nuke for 4 minutes.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 tsp Tomato paste (or substitute 2 tsps ketchup)
1/4 stick Butter, melted
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 tsp Sugar
3 Tbsps Water
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
Add all ingredients in your mini-food processor and pulse about 1 minute or until smooth. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Broc ‘n Mac ‘n Cheese©
1 (1 lb.) box Macaroni
1 head Broccoli
4 Tbsps Flour
4 Tbsps Butter
2 cups Hot milk
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black pepper
2 cups Shredded cheddar cheese
Cook the macaroni according to package directions. While the macaroni boils, prepare the broccoli by either steaming it or boiling, covered, it in a pot with 2” of water. Drain broccoli and set aside to cool. Cut off the thick stem and then chop into 1” pieces. In a medium skillet, heat butter on medium heat, then whisk in flour. The butter will immediately begin to absorb the flour and it will quickly thicken into a pasty consistency. Keep whisking for 1 minute, then whisk in hot milk. Continue whisking until it mixture is smooth and begins to bubble, about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese during the last minute of cooking or until it melts, whisking constantly. If sauce needs to be thinned out, whisk in a few Tbsps milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 350°. Transfer the cooked macaroni into a large buttered baking dish. Stir in cooked broccoli and sauce then sprinkle with remaining cup of cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.
Zesty “Leftover Pizza” Salad©
1 head Romaine lettuce, washed
3 ripe Tomatoes, cut into large chunks
¾ cup Parmesan, shaved
2 slices very crispy leftover Pizza, cut into 1” cubes
1 Tbsp Capers, drained
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Zest of 1 lemon
¾ cup Aunt Mary’s Caesar dressing (recipe follows below)
Aunt Mary’s Caesar Dressing:
½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
3 Garlic cloves, finely diced
4 tsps Dijon-style mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp Salt
Chop up romaine and add to a large salad bowl. Warm up the pizza in the oven at 350° for 10 minutes so it’s crispy. Just before serving, toss in all remaining ingredients, except lemon. Zest the lemon, sprinkle over salad, then cut lemon in half and squeeze juice over salad, removing any seeds.
Peanut Butter Cookies©
Makes 24 cookies
1 cup Sugar
1½ cups All-purpose flour
2 beaten Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Salt
2 cups Crunchy or smooth peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until dough forms. Using your hands, roll cookie dough into 24 balls and arrange them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down lightly and each cookie with the palm of your hand or press down using the back of a fork. Stick the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool, or they will crumble!
No-Bake Lime Cheesecake©
Your mini food processor and hand mixer will come in handy on this one!
4 Graham crackers
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 stick Butter, melted
Zest of 1 lime
1 pint Heavy or whipping cream
8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsps Powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lime
Break up graham crackers and place in the mini food processor—if too much, do it in two batches. Pulse until crumbled. Remove and place in a medium bowl, stir in sugar and melted butter and mix well. Press mixture into a pie plate using your fingers or the back of a spoon. Using your hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff ,then beat in the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and lime juice until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture into the pie crust. Ready to eat now, but you can also cover it and refrigerate for later!
Great after a breakup!
4 ripe Bananas, peeled
1/2 gallon of your favorite Ice cream
Chocolate syrup or caramel sauce
Peanut butter cups
Cut bananas in half lengthwise and arrange in the bottom of a bowl. Top with ice cream with the all toppings!