Author Archive for brunosdream

Asian Basil Gelato w/ Roasted Hazelnuts

asian basil gelato with roasted hazelnuts1

Here’s a good recipe if you still have basil growing in your yard and don’t know what to do w/ it. You could surprise your friends at whatever Thanksgiving gathering you attend this year by bringing something unusual! In this recipe I used Asian basil to add a more pungent flavor, but any basil will work. I also tried a new technique of letting the basil steep in the gelato base in the fridge for 2 days before churning. This punched up the flavor and color.

Basil Gelato w/ Roasted Hazelnuts


1 cup Asian basil leaves (packed)

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 quart half & half

1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)


1) In a metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow.

2) Place half & half in a heavy pot and heat until scalded.

3) Very slowly whisk warm half & half into egg/sugar mixture so as not to curdle the mixture.

4) Place bowl w/ mixture over a pot of simmering water, stirring continuously w/ a heat resistant spatula until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon (do not let mixture exceed 170 degrees F to prevent curdling), then quickly place bowl in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and promote rapid cooling.

5) Once cool, pour into a food processor, add basil and pulse until basil is finely chopped.

6) Pour back into bowl, cover (I use a shower cap that fits snuggly over the top) and place in fridge for 2 days.

7) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding the hazelnuts when mixture begins to thicken.

8) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container and quickly stir to evenly distribute the hazelnuts and basil.

9) Place a piece of parchment paper cut to size on the surface of gelato (this will reduce air exposure and prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface of the gelato), seal container and freeze until firm.

Yield: Approx. 1 1/2 quarts 

I hope you enjoy this recipe!


The Gastronomique Tour: Part 1 Week 1- Southwestern France

How do I edit a fantastic 2 week vacation during which I snapped 670 photos?… Not easily!

To sum it up, seeing family I hadn’t visited since 2004 was so enjoyable I wish I had more time to be w/ them. I definitely won’t let so much time pass before my next visit.

My first stop was Southwestern France. I landed in Bordeaux and spent the first week exploring the region surrounding Agen, the city where my brother and his wife live. This region is filled w/ great food and beautiful countryside which encompasses many well preserved medieval villages.

This post and the ones to follow will provide a visual taste of my experiences…

P1010639 Agen’s organic farmers market




P1010661 Gavaudun

P1010683 Biron


P1010712 Monpazier

P1010732 Bonaguil

P1010739 Rocamadour


P1010839 Foie gras museum



P1010873 Josephine Baker’s old house (Chateau des Milandes)

P1010881 Beynac




P1010919 Our picnic spot (Roque – Gageac)

P1010920 Decadent picnic food


A bientot!



Peppers Picked and Pickled

pickled peppers 2015

Huge crop this year… mucho pickled peppers for the winter months!!

Lovin’ the heat!


Garden 2015 – Update #3: Fading into Fall

Well, summer’s almost over…what a bummer! Besides spring, it’s my favorite season. Gardening has been good this year. I already have a few ideas for next year that I’m looking forward to putting into action.

Here are a few photos that I shot this morning. As you can see, there are many tomatoes and peppers yet to be picked, and a few baby butternuts that hopefully will plump up for good eatin’! If you enlarge the photo of the zinnias and look closely at the top right flowers you might be able to spot a Monarch butterfly that stopped for some nectar to help it w/ the long flight to Mexico.

garden1 Sept 5 '15

garden2 Sept 5 '15

garden3 Sept 5 '15

garden4 Sept 5 '15

garden5 Sept 5 '15

garden6 Sept 5 '15

garden7 Sept 5 '15

garden8 Sept 5 '15

garden9 Sept 5 '15

Enjoy the final weeks of summer!


Garden 2015 – Update #2: First Tomatoes!

We’re finally getting a normal rain pattern in St. Louis. A good soaking rain about once a week is just what the garden needs besides my daily watering. Getting some nice ripe veggies on a regular basis… this is why I love to garden!

The following garden pics were snapped on July 26th and on August 5th, voila, the first ripe bounty for my eating pleasure!

garden1 July 26 '15

garden2 July 26 '15

garden3 July 26 '15

garden4 July 26 '15

garden5 July 26 '15

garden6 July 26 '15

garden7 July 26 '15

garden8 July 26 '15

garden bounty1 August 5, 2015

I’m one happy gardener :-)



Pepper Jam

Pepper Jam1

If you’re looking for something different to do w/ all those peppers growing in your garden, here’s a quick and easy recipe. I love the sweet and spicy flavors of this jam! Want it more sweet than spicy… just use less spicy peppers, add some bell peppers or just omit the hot pepper seeds/ribs. This jam will wake up your palate in the morning!

Pepper Jam (recipe adapted from


Mix of jalapeno and fresno peppers (stems, seeds and ribs removed, leaving seeds/stems of only 3 or 4 jalapenos) – enough for 2 cups when minced

3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 cups of sugar

1 tablespoon fruit pectin


1) Finely mince peppers in a food processor

2) Place a small plate in the freezer

3) In a large heavy-bottomed pot combine minced peppers, cider vinegar and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat and boil for 10 minutes, stirring often.

4) Add fruit pectin, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove pot from heat.

5) Remove plate from freezer and dab a small amount of jam on it. Return plate to freezer for 1 minute. If the jam has jelled and does not slide down the plate when tilted it’s done. If the jam slides down, continue to cook mixture for another minute and try the freezer test again. If the jam is the desired consistency it’s ready.

6) Let cool a bit, then ladle into a jar.

Yield: 10 ounces


Pick a peck of peppers!


Can You Spot the Goldfinches?

A pair of goldfinches stop by in my yard from time to time to snack on the zinnias. They’re beautiful and fun to watch as the pull the petals off the flowers to get to the seeds. I was drinking my morning cups of coffee the other day and spotted them in action through the kitchen window. Can you spot them? The female is a bit more difficult to see in the photos but she’s there! (click the pics to enlarge for easier spotting)





Happy Birding!


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…


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!!


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!