Garden 2015 – Update #1

So far this season the garden is doing well despite being drowned by all the rain we’ve been getting. A total of 11.25 inches of rain has fallen so far this month alone! Some baby tomatoes and jalapenos are starting to form already. My basil seems to like all the moisture because it’s growing like crazy. I harvested enough the other day to make a big jar of pesto. I also harvested some oregano. It’s being dried out and will be used in tomato sauce and crumbled on top of pizzas. The zinnias are looking beautiful, but the hollyhocks were so badly damaged from rust disease that I removed them from the butterfly garden yesterday. The following garden photos were taken on June 24th. The pesto and oregano pic was snapped this morning.

garden1 6-24-15 Zinnias

garden2 6-24-15 Basil in the foreground

garden3 6-24-15 Lettuces, greens, etc.

garden5 6-24-15 Baby tomato

garden6 6-24-15 Baby jalapenos

garden4 6-24-15 Butterfly garden

garden7 6-24-15 Wildflowers

garden9 6-24-15 Herbs

garden8 6-24-15  Veggie enclosure

pesto 2015 Oregano and pesto

Until next time…

Bruno

Garden 2015

This year’s veggie garden was seeded on March 29th and planted on May 6th. The weather conditions were optimal to get everything in the ground early this year. All plants are thriving w/ the exception of the hollyhocks which have rust disease. I’m trying to nurse them back to health. Fingers crossed they survive. Here’s a list of what went in the garden this year:

3 Waltham butternut squash

2 Aconcagua red bell pepper

1 Jalafuego jalapeno

1 Sierra Fuego jalapeno

4 Early jalapeno

2 Red Winter kale

2 Lacinato kale

2 Ruby Red Swiss chard

2 Mixed chard (Pot of Gold/Ruby Red)

4 Black Krim tomato

2 Brandywine tomato

2 Crimson Carmello tomato

1 Pineapple tomato

1 Gold Medal tomato

1 Speckled Roman tomato

1 Pompeii tomato

Baby Mesclun lettuce

Spicy Micro Greens

Wild and Regular arugula

Siam Queen and Italian Genovese basil (direct seeded)

Zinnias (direct seeded)

The following photos were taken on 5/25/15:

garden1 5-25-15

garden2 5-25-15

garden3 5-25-15

garden4 5-25-15

garden5 5-25-15

garden6 5-25-15

garden7 5-25-15

Happy Gardening!!

Bruno

Rye Pain au Levain Revisited

Same recipe and procedure as in my last post. Only this time I made 2 small loaves, 35 minute total bake time and rotated the loaves front to back after 20 minutes. Same great results… this recipe is a keeper!

Happy Baking!

Bruno

Rye Pain au Levain Batard

This is a very delicious bread… crisp crust, airy crumb and nice sour rye flavor! The only deviations I made from the recipe was making one big batard instead of 2 small ones. Also I did not have the steamer used, so after sliding the dough into the oven onto my pizza stone I poured a cup of water into a metal container placed on the bottom of the oven. Next time I’ll try making 2 small loaves to see if this is the optimal method. The recipe came from Bread Cetera. Click here for the recipe.

 

Coming soon to a garden near me… Spring and veggie season!

Bruno

Garlic Rosemary Knots

Garlic Rosemary Knots   (recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter (melted)

2/3 pizza dough recipe (click here for recipe)

3 tablespoons garlic (minced)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped)

Procedure:

1) Make pizza dough (add butter, garlic and rosemary into bowl prior to mixing in flour)

2) Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12 inch square then cut lengthwise into 8 ribbons. Roll each ribbon to round out the edges then tie each one into a knot. Place them on a parchment paper lined sheet pan, loosely cover w/ plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour until slightly puffed. 

3) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake knots until cooked through and golden (approx. 20 – 25 minutes).

4) Remove from oven and let cool or serve warm – your preference.

Yield: 8 knots

 

Savor the goodness!

Bruno

Bannetons and Bread

I bought myself some new kitchen toys to help w/ my bread baking experiments. I did a lot of shopping around at various kitchen stores in St. Louis but couldn’t find a banneton for an affordable price – most places were charging around $40 for a single round one. I found a store online that sold me four bannetons of various shapes and sizes for just over $40 (the price included tax, shipping and an $8 wholesale charge for purchases under $50). I love my new toys!

I used the smallest round banneton a couple of days ago while I attempted to resolve the problem I’ve been experiencing w/ a bread recipe. I didn’t resolve the problem of the bread bursting open at a slash point and altering the shape, but I like the way the boule looks when using a banneton despite it being malformed! On attempt #6 of this recipe I extended the final proof to 4 hours and baked the bread at 460 degrees F for 36 minutes. I’m going to put this recipe on the shelf until Spring and warmer ambient kitchen temperatures in hopes to finally get the results I’m seeking. Until then I’ll experiment w/ new recipes using my new toys…

Happy Baking!

Bruno

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! Here are a few photos from the Christmas feast I attended:

Signing off until next year

Wishing you a fantastic, food filled 2015!!

Bruno

Sourdough Boule Two Ways

Peter Reinhart‘s Basic Sourdough Boule (click here for recipe)

Weekend Bakery’s Tartine Style Boule (click here for recipe)

Both breads are delicious! The first bread (Peter Reinhart’s sourdough) had a tighter crumb compared to the Tartine style sourdough. I attribute this to the shaping method as well as not using stretch and folds when making the dough. In his book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter Reinhart demonstrates a pinching method to make a boule shape. The Weekend Bakery recipe uses stretch and folds in their dough recipe and in the shaping method. 

I’ve made the Tartine style bread 3 times and continue to have problems w/ the loaf splitting open at one of the slash points which causes the boule to lose its round shape. Since the ambient temperature of my kitchen tends to be cool this time of year I may need to increase the final proofing time. This has worked for me w/ other doughs when baking in wintertime, so I’m hoping this will provide the solution.

Both breads are time consuming but worth the effort!

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!!

Bruno

Final Harvests 2014 and Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

This morning we had our first frost here in St. Louis, so for me it’s the end of the gardening season for 2014. I harvested the remaining bounty on 10/30 because the forecast for this morning was in the low 30’s. I just checked the outside temperature and it’s 31.8 F. It’s been a great growing season! The jalapenos I harvested on 10/18 were pickled and the ones in the photo from 10/30 will be candied. Below are photos of the plentiful pickin’s and the pickled peppers (with an easy recipe if you’re flush with peppers too).

harvest 10/18

harvest 10/30

pickled peppers

 

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers (recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

30 medium jalapeno peppers (sliced into rings)

3 tablespoons fresh oregano (chopped)

3 tablespoons fresh chives (chopped)

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon (chopped)

3 large cloves garlic (crushed)

3 tablespoons kosher salt

9 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar

2 1/4 cups water

Procedure:

1) Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, oregano, chives and tarragon in a saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stir in jalapenos and remove from heat. Let mixture cool.

2) Pack peppers into jars using tongs, cover w/ vinegar mixture and refrigerate until needed.

Yield: 3 pints

I hope your garden bounty was plentiful too!!

Bruno

Garden 2014 – Update #4

As the garden fades from Summer into Fall it continues to produce a nice quantity of bounty. There are still some tomatoes, jalapenos, basil and hopefully a few butternut squash to be picked. I made some pesto the other day w/ the Asian basil that I picked and have been enjoying the tomatoes in salads, sandwiches and stir fries. The following garden photos were taken on October 11th. The garden bounty photos have been snapped on various days since my last update.

Brandywine, Pompeii and Black Krim tomatoes

Pineapple, Black Krim and Pompeii tomatoes

Jalapenos, butternut squash, Pineapple, Black Krim, Gold Medal, Crimson and Pompeii tomatoes

Pompeii and Pineapple tomatoes; Siam Queen basil

 

Happy Eating!

Bruno