Chef and entertainer George Duran started his career in broadcasting working as an on-air personality for WPLJ-FM in New York and hosting various TV shows. In 2002, he moved to Paris to pursue his love of cooking and attended culinary school. Since then, he has hosted multiple TV shows in France and the U.S. on networks such as Food Network and TLC. You can also catch George at the Harlem EatUp! festival on March 14th-17th, 2015.
Here is how to make some of his favorite recipes with tips and pointers from George himself: Grilled meat with guasacaca sauce, lolli-kebabs, caesar salad spring rolls, cornmeal crusted yucca fries with chipotle dipping sauce, chocolate chip cookie cake and apple-strawberry sangria to drink!
Grilled Meat with Guasacaca Sauce
Here's the plan: get yourself invited to the next barbecue bash. Make a batch of guasacaca and tell everyone to drizzle it over everything-meat, chicken, even vegetables and potatoes! Bask in their immediate adulation as you become a neighborhood hero (then tell everyone to buy my book).
Prep time: 15 minutes
Stand: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 2 green sweet peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
- 2 gloves garlic
- ½ bunch fresh parsley
- ½ bunch fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons table salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
- desired grilled meat (such as skirt steak, ribs, and or sausage)
Put everything except the olive oil into a food processor and process until mostly smooth. Add the olive oil in a stream with the processor running and process until smooth. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend Taste and adjust seasoning.
Meanwhile, heat grill to high. Generously sprinkle flank steak with salt and ground black pepper. Place steak on grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness.
Serve sauce at room temperature with skirt steak. Cover leftover sauce, and store in the refrigerator (bring to room temperature before serving)
Soak: 30 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: 5 minutes
Yield: 16 kebabs
I grew up inhaling Amernian "Loolleh-kebabs," but this bite-sized version was just begging for a little creative re-spelling. The hors d'oeuvres are ideal for all your carnivorous guests, or any meat on a stick fans in your life.
- 8 sets wooden chopsticks
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt or table salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Non stick cooking spray
- Pita bread
- Mint sauce
- Cucumber slices (optional
Special equipment: 8 sets wooden chopsticks, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Preheat an outdoor grill. Put the beef, onion, parsley, tomato paste, cumin and paprika in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix everything together with your hands until it is well combined.
Take about ¼ cup (2 ounces) of the meat mixture and form it into a 2-inch long hot dog shape on the sharp end of a chopstick. When you have them all made, spray them with the cooking spray and grill them, turning frequently, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. (Alternately, cook them in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes)
In a small bowl mix 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt; 1 tablespoon water; 5 mint leaves, finely chopped; and a pinch of kosher salt. Serve with the kebabs.
Caesar salad spring rolls
Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
For every kid who felt their mother's wrath every time he ate salad with his fingers, I feel your pain. Now our long struggle is over, Caesar salad has gone handheld.
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, forced through a garlic press or finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 12 (8 inch) Vietnamese rice paper sheets
- ¾ cup small croutons
Chop the lettuce into ½ inch pieces and put them into a bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the anchovy paste, mustard, garlic, and lemon juice, then whisk in the oil. Toss the lettuce with half the dressing and the parmesan cheese.
Fill a large bowl with hot tap water. Dip a sheet of rice paper into the water for about 10 to 15 seconds. (If the rice paper sheet is not pliable enough, it will break instead of bend.) Once the rice paper is "relaxed," place it on a large plate. Place about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the salad onto the bottom third of the sheet and add 4 or 5 croutons. Fold the bottom half over the salad and then fold the left and right sides over the salad, towards the center. Finally, roll from the bottom to form a tube. Set aside, covered with a damp towel to keep them from drying out while you make the rest. Serve the remaining dressing as a dipping sauce.
Cornmeal crusted yucca fries with chipotle dipping sauce
- Frozen yucca
- Course cornmeal
- Vegetable oil
Start by placing the frozen yucca in a large imusa stock pot, depending on the amount of yucca being fried. Fill the stock pot with water until the yuccas are covered by at least 3 inches of water. Bring water to boil and lower heat to simmer yuccas until they are completely soft, after 2 hours, making sure to refill the water as it evaporates. Drain yucca and allow to cool to room temperature. Carefully wipe each yucca with a paper towel and cut the larger pieces into thick spears, trimming ends. Place course cornmeal in a deep dish and bread the yucca by gently pressing them into the cornmeal.
In the imusa frying pan heat about 1 inch of oil on high heat until it begins to smoke. Add cornmeal yuccas and fry on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Place on a paper towel to drain excess oil and serve with chipotle dipping sauce.
Chipotle dipping sauce:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1-3 tablespoons water
For the chipotle dipping sauce: in a medium bowl whisk mayo, sour cream, chipotle sauce, and lime juice. Whisk in water, one tablespoon at a time until you reach a creamy consistency. Serve in a small ramekin next to fried yuccas.
My mom's chocolate chip cookie cake
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 50 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
Ever since I was a kid, my brother, sister and I would beg my mother to bake us this cake. Now im just begging her not to sue for publishing it! (Her lawyer is a pit bull) With a little makeover, thanks to prizewinning chef Anna Ginsberg, the recipe is now officially immortal.
- Non stick baking spray with flour added (such as Pam for baking)
For the topping:
- ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
For the cake:
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking sode
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs
- ¾ cups buttermilk
- 1/3 cup Irish cream liquor (such as Baileys)
- 1 ¾ mini chocolate pieces
Chocolate topping (optional)
Preaheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup bundt pan with the nonstick baking spray.
Make the topping: in a small bowl combine the butter and sugar until creamy, stir in the nuts and chocolate. Spoon into the bottom of the bundt pan. Refrigerate the pan while you make the cake batter.
Make the cake:
Sift together into a bowl the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add both sugars and the vanilla and continue beating for 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and Irish cream in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer at low speed, add the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the batter alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. When everything is incorporated, stir in the chocolate morsels. Pour the batter into the pan, over the topping. Bake for 50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Immediately invert the cake into a cooking rack and let it cool completely.
Note: for best results, have all ingredients at room temperature
Prep: 5 minutes
Yield: about 10 servings
This white-wine sangria is a refreshing alternative to the ubiquitous red wine version. Make sure to chop the apples and strawberries finely- and serve each glass with a spoon allowing your guests to sip and eat their way to happiness.
- 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 pint strawberries hulled and chopped
- 5 cups orange tangerine juice
- Juice of 2 oranges
- 1 bottle dry white wine (such as pinot grigio)
- 1 cup brandy
Put all ingredients into a large pitcher and gently stir to mix. Add some ice. Pour into glasses making sure to get a nice helping of fruit into each one. Serve with spoons.