Fall into the holidays with celebrity chef George Duran with his Kitchen Hacks and tips using great brands including Mighty Sesame™ Tahini, Dorot Gardens™, and Absolutely Gluten Free™ Flatbreads.
“I always look for ingredients that will help me in the kitchen, which is why I teamed up with brands like Mighty Sesame and Dorot Gardens,” he explains. “I want ingredients that will help me save time but still offer authenticity and great flavor. I want to make my life easier in the kitchen, and I love to share these hacks and amazing brands with my followers and viewers.”
Chef Duran is a polylingual chef, comedian, host, and culinary contributor for ABC’s Good Morning America. He is also known for his Food Network show Ham on the Street and host of TLC’s The Ultimate Cake Off! Chef Duran is also the author of Take This Dish and Twist It. He has also appeared on Live with Kelly, NBC’s Today Show, CBS This Morning, Wendy Williams, Dr. Oz, and Tamron Hall.
From a varied background, Chef Duran followed his culinary passion to Paris, where he attended culinary school at L’École Supérieure de Cuisine Française. He would learn the basics of French cuisine, which is the standard of all of the fine cuisines of the world. Eventually, he would return to the United States to cook and entertain at the same time.
The chef admits to being a big fan of Mighty Sesame™ Tahini for years before he teamed up with them. Mighty Sesame makes the all-natural, high-quality Squeeze and Serve Organic Tahini made with one ingredient the highest quality sesame seeds that are sustainably sourced. The tahini has a delicious, creamy texture to complement dressings, dips, meats, and veggies as well as favorite wraps and sandwiches. Its newest flavor is a spicy Harissa, and there is also a Whole Seed Mighty Sesame Tahini.
“The idea of having tahini in a squeezable bottle that is so creamy and delicious is extraordinary. I am Armenian, and both of my parents were born in Lebanon, so we ate a lot of tahini dishes. However, the tahini I grew with came in jars with the oil separated, and we have to mix it up.”
Two of his favorite recipes, Mighty Sesame Mashed Sweet Potato Bake and Butternut Squash with a Mighty Sesame Tahini Drizzle, combine flavors of fall and the holidays perfectly.
“The beauty of tahini is that you can substitute it in place of other ingredients and condiments and get extraordinary flavors,” Chef Duran explains. When preparing the Mighty Sesame Mashed Sweet Potato Bake, instead of loading it up with butter, he adds tahini instead. Its nutty flavor blends in very well with the cinnamon spices. “No more mayo, no more butter, no more ketchup, no more mustard; it is all tahini for me,” he laughs.
He prepares a tahini dressing with garlic for the Butternut Squash with a Mighty Sesame Tahini Drizzle as a twist for fall and Thanksgiving classics by adding one simple, delicious ingredient.
Dorot Gardens™ is the ultimate convenience or Kitchen Hack, as Chef Duran calls it. The idea is to offer innovative flash-frozen packages of fresh, pre-portioned herbs and garlic that eliminate the process of peeling, chopping, and measuring. All it takes to season and flavor a dish is a cube of spice, including garlic, ginger, basil, onion, cilantro, turmeric, parsley, and dill. These frozen pre-measured garlic, herbs, onions, turmeric, and ginger are natural, raw, and vegan and contain no preservatives or artificial flavors. It is also certified kosher and halal. Dorot Gardens products are non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free. Dorot Gardens is picked fresh, flash-frozen on site to lock in freshness, and shipped directly to be placed in the freezer. Best of all, home cooks can have fresh garlic, onions, and herbs year-round with a two-year shelf life.
“This is a staple in my freezer, especially during the winter, when you can’t just grow herbs. All I need to do is pop out the herb or spice I need, much like an ice cube. For my Dorot Gardens Roasted Garlic Dip, I just pop out a few garlic cubes into the microwave with olive oil and heat it. The garlic will actually roast in the microwave, giving it a nice, nutty flavor, and then incorporate it with the rest of the ingredients to make the dip [see recipe].”
To make his Herb Roasted Brussels Sprouts [see recipe], he pops out a cube of parsley, a cube of basil, and a cube of cilantro, adds the Brussels Sprouts, and roasts it with olive oil, seasoning it with salt and pepper. “This is a truly herbalicious side dish for the holidays,” says Chef Duran. “Herbs are the way to get kids to eat everything since it adds flavor without the fat. Herbs and spices are the secrets to healthy eating in my household.”
When the chef tasted the Absolutely Gluten Free™ Flatbreads and Absolutely Gluten Free Crackers, he was amazed by the taste. Absolutely Gluten Free’s scrumptious assortment of snacks are 100 percent certified gluten-free, all-natural, OU Certified Kosher, vegan, and free from grain, corn, and rice. Absolutely Gluten Free Flatbreads and Crackers are crisp and crunchy, featuring flavors including Original, Toasted Onion, Everything, and Cracked Pepper.
“Their flatbreads and crackers will change what people serve with dips, cheese boards, charcuterie boards, soups, and salads. Their flavor is so good. You don’t have to be gluten-free to eat and serve this product.”
Along with the taste and quality of the product used, convenience and saving time in the kitchen is essential to the chef. “I look for shortcuts, Kitchen Hacks, so people can spend more time with their families and friends and less time cooking. I want people to have more time to enjoy the meals they prepared.”
Purchase Mighty Sesame Tahini, Dorot Gardens, and Absolutely Gluten Free Flatbreads at major retailers. Store locators, recipes, and information can be found at mightysesameco.com, dorotgardens.com, and absolutelygf.com. For recipes, visit georgeduran.com and follow on social media @ chefgeorgeduran.
HERB ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
4 to 6 servings
3 cubes Dorot Gardens frozen basil
3 cubes Dorot Gardens frozen parsley
3 cubes Dorot Gardens frozen cilantro
3 cubes Dorot Gardens frozen garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, trimmed and cut in half
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 425F. Place all of the frozen Dorot cubes in a microwave safe bowl and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and microwave for 1 minute. Place Brussels sprouts in a medium bowl and add carrots and onions. Mix in microwaved herbs and garlic and season generously with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-45 minutes, just until it begins to brown. Remove from oven and season more to taste.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH HONEY TAHINI SAUCE
4 to 6 servings
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or fresh chopped rosemary olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
2 cubes Dorot Gardens garlic
½ cup Mighty Sesame Tahini
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread butternut squash on parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 25 to 35 minutes until edges of butternut squash start to brown.
Make tahini sauce by whisking the rest of the liquid ingredients plus ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Whisk in water until it is a smooth drizzling consistency (about ½ cup of water).
Once squash is cooked, allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve on a platter. Drizzle with honey tahini sauce and garnish with pumpkin seeds, if desired.
DOROT GARDENS ROASTED GARLIC DIP
6 frozen cubes of Dorot Gardens garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 frozen cubes of Dorot Gardens parsley
2 frozen cubes of Dorot Gardens basil
8 ounces sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper, to taste
Absolutely Gluten Free Crackers or Flatbread
In a small saucepan place frozen garlic cubes and olive oil and heat on medium. Cook and stir garlic until it starts to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the frozen parsley and basil. In a small bowl mix the sour cream with mayonnaise and add in the garlic mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with Absolutely Gluten Free Crackers or Flatbread.
MIGHTY SESAME MASHED SWEET POTATO BAKE
Serves 4 to 6
3 medium sweet potatoes
2 cubes of Dorot Gardens Garlic
1teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for garnish
¼ cup Mighty Sesame Tahini, plus more for serving
salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Wash and clean sweet potatoes and poke them with a fork throughout. Roast them for 50 to 60 minutes until soft and tender, flipping halfway through the cooking. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before peeling and placing in a medium bowl. Microwave garlic cubes with olive oil for 1 minute and add to the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and Mighty Sesame Tahini. Mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with more tahini and sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.