Author Archive for brunosdream

Spicy Beef w/ Papperdelle Noodles and Veggies

spicy beef with noodles and veggies

Isolation has been getting me down lately. One of the few things that has helped ease the feelings of loneliness is cooking therapeutic meals to elevate my mood. The most recent meal I cooked was exceptionally good. It momentarily made me forget about all the crap that’s going on in the world lately.

Spicy Beef w/ Noodles and Veggies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds London Broil – thinly sliced

1 pound tomatoes – large dice

10 ounces Crimini mushrooms – sliced

1/2 bunch Lacinato kale (approx. 7- 8 leaves) – cut into 1 inch pieces

1 red bell pepper – cut into 1 inch pieces

1 pound pappardelle noodles

1 medium white onion (about 8 ounces) – cut into 1 inch pieces

1/3 cup Thai basil leaves

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – grated

2 cloves garlic – sliced

Salt

Spice mix:

5 Japones  peppers

2 Pasilla Negro peppers

1 tbsp. dried chervil

1 tbsp. Hungarian paprika

Procedure:

1) Grind peppers, then mix in chervil and paprika.

2) In batches, sauté beef and sprinkle w/ spice mix to desired spice level; set aside.

3) Sauté mushrooms w/ garlic until they release moisture, then add onions and bell pepper and sauté until softened.

4) Add kale to veggies and sauté until tender.

5) Add tomatoes and beef to veggie mix, season w/ salt and cook until warm.

6) Cook pasta until al dente, strain pasta and return to pot.

7) Fold veggie/beef mix into pasta, then fold in basil leaves and parmesan.

8) Eat!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings, depending on hunger level.

Here’s to the joys of cooking (and eating)!!

Cheers…

Bruno

Eat a Peach (Gelato!)

 

peach gelato

I made this gelato about a month ago when peaches were at their peak. The local peaches didn’t look very good (possibly due to the excessive rains this summer), so I chose some perfectly ripe peaches from California. I pitted and froze the peaches until I had time to execute the recipe a few days later. My taste testers at work gave the gelato a thumbs up. Give it a try… you won’t be disappointed!

Peach Gelato

Ingredients:

4 peaches

6 egg yolks

1 quart half & half

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Procedure:

1) Puree peaches in a food processor.

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

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

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

5) 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.

6) Once cool, stir in peach puree and refrigerate mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight.

7) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

8) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container then 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 

 

Savor summer’s sweetness…

Bruno

More Garden Bounty

more bounty august 2020

Here’s a picture snapped over the weekend. The photo is deceiving – the current tomatoes are small, the largest ones are the size of a big apricot. I did however harvest 7 packed cups of basil leaves. Enough for a large jar of pesto! This year has not been a good one for tomatoes. The big rains we’ve had have taken a toll on my tomato plants. Some have died and the remainder are producing less and smaller fruit. Surprisingly, the basil plants have thrived. Probably because they are planted in well drained pots. Oh well, I’ll take what I can get…

Hope you’re enjoying the remains of summer!

Bruno

First Tomatoes 2020

St. Louis has been pummeled by rain during the past week. We’ve had several torrential downpours and many of my tomatoes were starting to split open from the excessive water. I decided to harvest the nearly ripe ones yesterday before they were ruined. Some were already starting to rot at the spots where they were touching each other. After cutting away the bad spots from a big tomato, I made a caprese salad for lunch today with mozzarella di bufala that I picked up at the wine shop where I work. Drizzled w/ an aged balsamic vinegar from Italy and served w/ tuna packed in olive oil… life was good as I momentarily forgot about the pandemic that is ravaging Missouri and St. Louis as well as the rest of the country! Tonight’s dinner will be a curried pork stir fry which will include some garden fresh tomatoes and Thai basil. Looking forward to more goodness!

Here are a couple of photos taken yesterday (August 1st):

tomatoes1 2020

tomatoes2 2020

Be well…

Bruno

Garden 2020 – Update #1

Summer is definitely upon us in St. Louis! Temperatures have been in the 90’s for the past couple of weeks but there has been good soaking rainfall weekly. The plants are looking healthy and have started producing. If you enlarge the photos you’ll see some Cherokee Purple tomatoes and Jalapeno peppers coming in. I’ve already harvested some chard and basil to use in various recipes. The wildflowers are doing well too. The only thing that looks kind of scraggily is my patch of herbs. The sage and chives came back fairly well, however the tarragon and oregano didn’t. I’m letting them go to seed in hopes that I’ll have stronger and fuller plants next year.

Here are a few photos taken on July 9th:

garden2 July 9 2020

garden1 July 9 2020

garden3 July 9 2020

garden4 July 9 2020

garden5 July 9 2020

Happy Gardening!

Bruno

 

Garden 2020

garden2 June 14 2020 photos taken June 14th

garden1 June 14 2020

What a pleasure it is to be outside again playing in the dirt! The last several months have been crazy to say the least as a result of  Covid 19. I’m hoping this will be a good gardening year to temporarily take my mind off of  virus related news.

Again, I’ve shrunk the amount of veggies going into the enclosure this year. Less plants and only what has produced well in past seasons. St. Louis had a lot of rain in May but now there’s been a good stretch of dry weather allowing the plants to get well established.

In the garden this year are: 4 Cherokee Purple and 4 Cuore Di Bue tomatoes, 4 Swiss chard, 2 Padron and 2 Jalapeno peppers. In the pots are Genovese and Thai basil.

Green thumbs up!!

Bruno

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