Sourdough Boule w/ Sesame Seeds (new recipe)

sourdough boule with sesame seeds1

sourdough boule with sesame seeds2

Like a lot of people are doing while at home during this pandemic, I’m trying some new recipes. Luckily there was flour in my pantry because it’s a hot commodity at grocery stores and you’re lucky to find some! Since I had just reactivated my sourdough starter, I decided to attempt a new bread recipe that doesn’t take days to make (even though I have plenty of time on my hands these days!). If you have an active starter, this recipe takes approximately 4 hours from start to finish… my kind of bread recipe. Not only is it relatively easy to make, the end results are quite delicious!!

Sourdough Boule w/ Sesame Seeds (recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (227g) ripe (fed) sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup (170g) to 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (199g) lukewarm water*
  • 3 1/2 cups (418g) Artisan Bread Flour or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup (71g) sesame seeds, toasted until golden for best flavor
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

 

*Sourdough starter can vary quite a bit in consistency. Use enough water to make a soft dough.

Procedure:

1) In a large mixing bowl,  combine the fed sourdough starter and 3/4 cup of the water, mixing until smooth.

2) Add the remaining dough ingredients, and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until you’ve made a soft dough, adding additional water as needed.

3) Cover the dough in the bowl, and let it rise until it’s almost doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface and gently fold it over a few times to deflate it.

5) Shape the dough into a large round. Grease a Dutch oven and place the dough into it.

6) Cover the Dutch oven, and let the loaf rise until it’s very puffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7) Just before baking, brush or spray the loaf with water, and sprinkle with seeds. Use a lame or a very sharp knife to make several slashes across the top of the loaf, in the shape of a pound sign.

8) Place the covered Dutch oven into a cold oven, set to 450°F, and turn on the oven. Bake the bread for 35 minutes.

9) Uncover and continue baking until the bread is deep golden brown, about 10 additional minutes.

10) Remove the bread from the oven and turn it out of the Dutch oven onto a rack to cool.

 

Eat and drink to your heart’s content, but most of all, stay healthy!

Bruno

Lamb & Pork Meatballs w/ Berbere Seasoning and Pepper Jam Glaze

lamb and pork meatballs2

 

lamb and pork meatballs1

Mission: As requested,  create “something decadent” to bring to a friend’s party.

Since my search for a specific Morrocan spice blend was unsuccessful I decided to go w/ a berbere seasoning that I found at World Market. Berbere is an Ethiopian spice mix that typically includes chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella and fenugreek. The mix I purchased also included paprika.

I worked the berbere seasoning directly into the ground pork & lamb along w/ a bit of salt, formed it into bite size balls, then browned them in a cast iron skillet. Finished w/ my fresh pepper jam… mission accomplished!

Bon appetit!

Bruno

Garden Bounty 9/11/19

garden bounty 9-11-19

Summer’s winding down so I’m taking advantage of the remaining days of fresh picked produce. Hope you are too!

Yum, yum….

Bruno

Tomato Still Life

tomato still life 8-7-19

These beauties were picked from the garden yesterday. The one on the left is a Cuore Di Bue and on the right is a Cherokee Purple. I love the beautiful colors!

Bruno

First Tomato… and Caprese

Picked the first tomato of the season a couple of days ago. The first to ripen was a Cuore Di Bue (ox heart) shown in the first photo below. It was huge, but was more of a standard shape. The second photo of the green tomato looks more like a heart to me. In the third photo I placed it next to a 1 cup measuring cup so you can get a better impression of how big the ripe one is. It made for a delicious caprese salad for my dinner last night!

 

Photos taken on 7/23/19:

first tomato2 2019

first tomato1 2019

first tomato3 2019

caprese1 2019 Caprese with aged balsamic vinegar/olive oil drizzle and a sprinkle of black pepper/Maldon sea salt

caprese2 2019

 

Looking forward to more summer yums in the near future…

Bruno

Garden 2019 – Update #1

It looks like letting the garden go fallow for a year has made a big difference. All the plants look healthy and strong. I harvested some of the chard last week, sautéed it w/ some crimini mushrooms, andouille sausage and fresh basil then folded it into pasta for a delicious dinner! The tomatoes and peppers are starting to produce, so caprese salads are in my near future. Ahh… the joys of summer!

The following photos were taken on July 5th, except for the one of the Cuore Di Bue tomato which was taken on July 7th.

garden1 7-5-19

garden2 7-5-19

garden3 7-5-19

garden4 7-5-19

garden5 7-5-19

garden6 7-5-19

garden1 7-7-2019

Stay cool!

Bruno

Garden 2019

Welcome to this year’s edition of Bruno’s garden! This year the theme is “less is more”. I decided to reduce the amount of plants so it will be easier to rotate plantings next year. Seeded on April 2nd and transplanted on May 19th, there are 9 tomato plants 3 Cuore Di Bue (an Italian heirloom shaped like an ox heart), 3 Cherokee Purple and 3 Black Krim; 4 chard plants (Five Color Silverbeet); and 3 hot pepper plants (Padron and Early Jalapeno). It’s the first time I’ve tried growing the Cuore Di Bue tomatoes and Padron peppers. If they do well I’ll plant them again next year. The basil was seeded on May 28th. In the large, round pots is Italian Genovese basil and in the rectangular pot is Sweet Thai basil. So far, all the plants are thriving.

With all the rain that’s fallen this year (almost too much) the wildflowers are growing like crazy (and unfortunately so are the weeds!). If you enlarge the photos you’ll notice the blooms are about to burst open w/ color. It reminds me of a fireworks display exploding when all the colorful blooms burst open!

Here are a few photos taken on 6/14:

garden1 2019

garden2 2019 herbs

garden3 2019 veggies

garden4 2019 basil

garden5 2019 wildflowers

garden6 2019 wildflowers

Cheers to a great growing season!!

Bruno

Pasta w/ Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Asparagus

Pasta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Asparagus - Copy

So, a few years ago my sister-in-law ask me if I knew how to make a pasta w/ mushroom sauce. We attempted to create a recipe and had mediocre results. Ever since then I’ve been developing new recipes and finally have come up w/ a keeper!

Pasta w/ Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Asparagus

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta

12 ounces crimini mushrooms (sliced, then cut slices in half)

1 head garlic

2 chicken sausages (sliced, then quartered)

1 teaspoon rosemary (chopped)

1 teaspoon sage (chopped)

1/3 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup half & half

1/3 cup goat cheese

1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 pound asparagus spears (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)

salt to taste

Procedure:

1) Roast garlic in oven until soft; squeeze out cloves, then crush cloves into goat cheese

2) Cook asparagus spears until tender (approx. 3 minutes); set aside

3) Saute’ sausage in sauce pan until slightly browned; set aside

4) Saute’ mushrooms in sauce pan until they have softened

5) Add herbs, goat cheese mixture, pepper flakes, sausage, broth and half & half to mushrooms

6) Place sauce pan over medium/low heat and whisk together sauce, salt to taste and keep warm until pasta is ready

7) Cook pasta until “al dente”; fold sauce and asparagus into pasta and serve immediately

Yield: 4 servings

 

Happy Easter!

Bruno

San Francisco and Sonoma

I visited family and friends in Northern California last week. The weather was fantastic, the food was delicious and my overall experience was top notch! While in San Francisco, I visited my favorite art museums – SFMOMA and The de Young. I also tried a couple of new restaurants – Piccino and Burma Superstar. I highly recommend both!

In Sonoma, my friends took me to Gloria Ferrer Vineyards the afternoon I arrived. We sampled some of their delicious sparkling wines and snacked on some local cheeses. A wonderful way to start the weekend! The next morning we drove to Petaluma for breakfast at Hallie’s Diner. Delicious omelets! Later that day my friend treated me to a vintage biplane ride to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. What a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience!! For dinner we grabbed a grilled chicken meal at El Brinquito Meat Market. What a great deal – a whole grilled chicken, beans, rice, tortillas and spicy sauce for a mere $20. This was washed down w/ a couple of bottles of local wines. Heavenly!!

Here are a few snapshots of my wonderful trip:

SF1 10-16-18 My view in S. F.

SF2 10-16-18

Sonoma1 10-19-18 My view in Sonoma

Sonoma2 10-19-18

Sonoma3 10-19-18

Sonoma4 10-19-18

Sonoma5 10-19-18 Me

Sonoma6 10-19-18 My gracious hosts, Dan and Lorraine

Sonoma7 10-19-18 The view from the tasting terrace

Sonoma1 10-20-18 Biplane ride

Sonoma3 10-20-18

Sonoma2 10-20-18 Approaching S.F. and the Golden Gate

Sonoma4 10-20-18 Nice shot!

Sonoma5 10-20-18 The delta

Sonoma7 10-20-18 Sonoma scenery

Sonoma8 10-20-18 Landing…

Sonoma9 10-20-18

Bon Voyage!

Bruno

Garden 2018

Well, this year’s garden may surprise you. The last few years have been progressively worse and worse w/ my tomato plants despite efforts at crop rotation and soil replenishment. I decided to let my veggie plot go fallow this year, planting only a cover crop of Dutch clover to reenergize the soil. It was a tough decision, but I was tired of watching my tomato plants shrivel up and die year after year. In the fall I’ll till the clover into the soil and amend w/ some peat moss. Hopefully this will do the trick so next year I will have a healthy crop once again.

As you will see in the photos, I moved the herbs to the sunny spot where I had been growing zinnias. The herbs are now flourishing! In the pots next to the enclosure I have three type of basil growing – from left to right are Italian Genovese, Holy (also known as Tulsi) and Siam Queen (a variety of Thai basil). Looks like there will be plenty for pesto this fall! The perennials are doing great too.

Garden4 2018

Garden3 2018

Garden2 2018

Garden1 2018

Happy Summer!

Bruno