Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

Persimmon Gelato w/ Lebkuchen Chunks

persimmon-gelato1

A seasonal treat for a perfect ending to your holiday feast. My taste testers seemed to like it, so this recipe is a keeper!

I always see persimmons in the grocery stores this time of year and have wanted to try making a gelato flavored w/ them. I used the Fuyu variety. If you decide to try this recipe, make sure you select ripe persimmons, otherwise they will be astringent.

Lebkuchen are a German holiday cookie that originated in Nuremberg over 600 years ago. They’re soft gingerbread w/ additional nuts and spices. I found the ones I used in this recipe at Trader Joe’s. You could easily substitute the Lebkuchen w/ ordinary soft gingerbread, or leave them out if you’re not a fan of the gingerbread flavor. Personally, I love gingerbread, not only because of the flavor, but also because it brings back fond childhood memories of Christmastime!

Persimmon Gelato w/ Lebkuchen Chunks

Ingredients:

4 Fuyu persimmons (peeled and pureed in food processor)

1 cup sugar

6 egg yolks

1 quart half & half

3/4 cup sugar iced Lebkuchen (cut into 1/2 inch chunks)

Procedure:

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 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) In a food processor puree the persimmons, then pulse in some of  the gelato mixture to thin. Stir puree into the remaining gelato mixture, blending well, and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

6) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding the Lebkuchen chunks when mixture starts to freeze.

7) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container, stir to evenly distribute the Lebkuchen chunks, 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 

Happy and delicious Holidays!!

Bruno

 

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

Ingredients:

1 cup Asian basil leaves (packed)

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 quart half & half

1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)

Procedure:

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!

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

Butternut Squash Gelato w/ Candied Pecans

 

A tasty seasonal flavor that is a yummy ending to your holiday meal! The pecans were given to me by a neighbor whose parents have pecan trees in their back yard in southern Missouri.

Butternut Squash Gelato w/ Candied Pecans

Ingredients:

1 quart half & half

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 cup candied pecans (see procedure below)

2 cups roasted butternut squash pulp (see procedure below) 

Procedure:

For candied pecans:

1) Roast pecans in 300 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, then let cool

2) Combine 1 cup sugar and 1/8 cup water in saucepan

3) Boil to 333-335 degrees F (sugar will be amber at this point), occasionally brushing sides of pan w/ water to prevent crystals from forming, remove from heat immediately then add pecans and stir until they are well coated

4) Pour onto baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper and quickly separate pecan halves w/ 2 forks (I began using my fingers because using the forks was too slow to separate the pecans before the sugar hardened)

5) When cool, roughly chop w/ a large knife or break pecans into large pieces w/ fingers; place in an airtight container

For roasted butternut squash:

1) Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds

2) Line a sheet pan w/ parchment paper and place squash, cut side down, on pan

3) Roast squash at 425 degrees F for 50 – 60 minutes until pulp is soft

4) Let cool, then scoop out pulp

For gelato:

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 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) In a food processor, pulse 3 cups of the gelato mixture into the butternut squash puree to thin, then stir puree into the remaining gelato mixture, blending well, and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight 

6) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions adding the candied pecans when mixture starts to freeze

7) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container, stir to evenly distribute the candied pecans, 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 

 

May 2014 bring you good fortune… and good eats!!

Bruno

Cornmeal Bread 2 Ways (Boule and Rolls)

This is an easy bread to make for your holiday festivities and it tastes great too! It goes well w/ roasted turkey, vegetables, pasta or whatever you’re cooking up. The cornmeal adds a nice texture and flavor to ordinary rolls or a boule. I like to slice the boule, wrap it, then put it in the freezer. That way it stays fresh and is readily available when I need a couple of pieces of bread to toast.

Cornmeal Bread 2 Ways:

Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/4 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon dry active yeast

 additional cornmeal for dusting pizza peel

Procedure:

1) Place yeast in a large bowl and pour 1/4 cup tepid water over the yeast; let sit until it becomes foamy (about 5 minutes)

2) In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal and salt

3) Add olive oil and remaining 1 1/4 cups tepid water to the yeast

4) Slowly add the flour mixture to the yeast while using your free hand to incorporate it w/ the yeast

5) Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes (add more flour a little bit at a time if dough is too sticky)

6) Form dough into a ball and place back into the large bowl (dust the bottom of the bowl w/ flour before placing dough into it); dust top of dough ball w/ flour and cover bowl w/ plastic wrap (I use a shower cap that I got from a hotel – it fits snugly over the bowl)

7) Let dough ferment (i.e., first rise) for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature (if your kitchen is too cold, place bowl in unlit oven w/ the light on – the temperature is usually 70 degrees F. During the winter months, let dough rise for 1 3/4 hours). The dough should have at least doubled in size when ready to shape

8) Remove dough from bowl, split in half, then form  half the dough into a ball (boule) shape, split the rest of the dough in half and form 2 small round rolls, then dust tops w/ flour, cover w/ plastic and let rise for 45 minutes (1 hour during winter months)

9) Meanwhile,  preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees F

10) When second rise is complete, slash top of boule and rolls w/ a serrated knife

11) Slide boule and rolls onto pizza stone, then mist sides of oven w/ water (I use a spray bottle) and quickly close oven door. For the first 2 1/2 minutes of baking mist the sides of the oven every 30 seconds – this delays crust formation and allows the bread to rise rapidly and evenly

12) After 10 minutes, rotate rolls front to back for even baking and bake for 10 additional minutes. Remove rolls from oven, tap the bottoms; if it makes a hollow sound they’re ready. Leave boule in at 450 degrees for 10 more minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F, rotate boule front to back and bake for 10 additional minutes. Tap bottom as you did w/ rolls to determine readiness.

13) Allow bread to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing

Yield: 1 small boule and 2 rolls (or make one large boule or 4 rolls if you’d like)

 

It’s gotten cold and snowy here in St. Louis so I’m enjoying baking because it warms up the house. Having fresh, homemade bread around is an added bonus!

Happy Baking…

Bruno

Thanksgiving 2013

Here are a few photos of the Thanksgiving feast I attended at a friend’s house. I contributed the cornmeal bread as requested. Thanks for your hospitality Pamela!

Turkey

Cornmeal bread

Sweet potatoes w/ lemons

Roasted root vegetables

Carved turkey

Dressing

Fingerling potatoes

I hope you all had a pleasant holiday. I’m thankful for having such a great group of friends!

Bruno

Christmas Dinner 2012

Here are a few photos from Christmas dinner at a friend’s house. The lighting was low so the color and sharpness aren’t very good (except the salad photo which was taken in the kitchen), but at least you can see what we feasted on. There was butternut squash soup,  Boursin potato gratin, roasted veggies, a salad w/ candied walnuts, pears and gorganzola cheese, pecan pie and chocolate truffles! I brought the boneless leg of lamb stuffed w/ crimini mushrooms, fresh chestnuts, garlic, rosemary, thyme and apricots soaked in Calvados. I also made a merlot sauce w/ porcini mushrooms. Everything was delicious and the evening was a lot of fun!!

** click on photos to enlarge

Hoping your 2013 is filled w/ peace, joy, health and happiness!

Happy cooking…

Bruno

Cranberry Gelato w/ Roasted Hazelnuts

Thinking of bringing something to your friends’ holiday party but not sure what? Well, here’s a treat that is sure to satisfy everyone’s  sweet tooth and is fairly easy to whip up. The color is kind of Christmasy too! I made this gelato for Thanksgiving, but I’m sure your friends wouldn’t frown upon you if you showed up at their holiday meal w/ this in hand…


Cranberry Gelato w/ Roasted Hazelnuts

Ingredients: (for cranberry sauce)

12 ounces fresh cranberries

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon lime juice

Procedure: (for cranberry sauce)

1) Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; maintain at a slow boil for 5 minutes

2) Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 15 minutes until sauce thickens

3) Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes; refrigerate overnight

Ingredients: (for gelato)

1/2 cup sugar

6 egg yolks

1 quart half  & half

1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts (roughly chopped)

1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce

Procedure: (for gelato)

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 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) In a food processor, blend together cranberry sauce and gelato mixture,  then chill in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight

6) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding the hazelnuts  when mixture starts to freeze

7) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container, stir to evenly distribute hazelnuts, 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

Happy Holidays!

Bruno

 

Sourdough Wheat Baguettes

If you’re not sure what to bring to your friend’s house for Thanksgiving, here’s an idea. Not as time consuming as some baguette recipes and the results are delicious. If you’re not careful you may eat them all up before you head out to your Thanksgiving feast!!

 

Sourdough Wheat Baguettes  (recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients:

5/8 cup lukewarm water

1 cup sourdough starter

1 cup wheat flour

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon dry active yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Procedure:

1) In a large mixing bowl, stir everything together to make a rough dough. Then start to knead (using a stand mixer, or your hands), adding only enough additional flour as necessary; a slack (sticky) dough makes a light loaf.

The dough will probably stick to the sides of the bowl (or your work surface) at first; scrape it off the sides, and continue kneading for about 7 minutes in a stand mixer; or 8 to 10 minutes by hand.

2) Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.

3) Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into three equal pieces, then shape each piece into a 14 inch long loaf.  Here’s how:

Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape it into a rough log. Fold it lengthwise, and use the heel of your hand to press the edges together. Fold it lengthwise again, and again press the edges together; you’ll notice that during this folding process, the dough has naturally lengthened.

Turn the log over so the seam side is down, and gently roll it into a 14 inch long loaf.

4) Place the loaves onto the back of a baking pan lined w/ parchment paper dusted w/ corn meal and dust loaves w/ flour before covering. Cover them gently w/ plastic wrap, and let them rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until they’re nice and puffy. (I used a couche under the parchment paper to give my baguettes support during the second rise)

5) Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven and pizza stone to 450°F.

6) When the loaves are ready for baking remove the plastic wrap and make three diagonal slashes in each loaf, cutting about 1/4 inch deep w/ a serrated knife.  Carefully slide the loaves w/ the parchment paper onto the pizza stone. Bake the baguettes for about 25 minutes, or until they’re a rich golden brown.

7) Remove the loaves from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing. (To get the exterior crunchy again at your friend’s house, place in a 325 degree F oven for 4 or 5 minutes)

 

Eat well, drink well and be thankful for all the goodness in your life!

Bruno

 

Tomato, Swiss Chard and Onion Panade

My contribution to a friend’s Bastille Day party (we celebrated late). Everyone brought some type of French dish – we had mussels Provencal, coq au vin, gratin of potatoes, the panade, and for dessert, chocolate mousse and a rustic peach tart. You can make the panade a day ahead and refrigerate, then pull out of the fridge an hour before baking to take the chill off… or you can bake it the same day you make it. This dish has great layers of flavors, and to me reflects not only southern French cooking but also the delicious bounty of summertime! I wish I could say all the veggies that went into the panade came from my garden, but I can say that some of the chard did as well as all of the basil and thyme, and that’s better than nothing!!

Here’s the recipe:

Tomato, Swiss Chard and Onion Panade (adapted from Food & Wine)

Ingredients:

8 garlic cloves – minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

4 1/2 pounds Swiss chard – stemmed and sliced 1 1/2 inches wide

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions -thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1  one pound loaf of good quality crusty rustic bread  (a day old) – sliced 1/4 inch thick

5 pounds beefsteak tomatoes – sliced 1/4  inch thick

9 ounces Gruyere cheese – shredded

basil – fresh

salt and freshly ground pepper

Procedure:

1) In a large pot of boiling water, cook chard for 2 minutes then drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water.

2) In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and thyme and cook over moderately low heat until softened (about 12 minutes). Add the garlic, chard and white wine and simmer over moderately high heat until the wine is reduced to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes). Season w/ salt and pepper.

3) Butter a 14 inch diameter x 3 inch deep baking dish.

4) Line the bottom of the dish w/ some bread slices, top w/ some of the slices of tomato and basil leaves then season w/ salt and pepper. Spread half of the chard/onion mixture on top and sprinkle w/ 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat the layering once again. Finish w/ a layer of the tomatoes and sprinkle w/ remaining cheese.

5) Carefully pour the vegetable broth into the casserole and press w/ a large spatula.

6) Cover the dish w/ foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.

7) One hour before baking, remove the casserole from the refrigerator.

8) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

9) Loosen the foil on the casserole and bake in the upper third of the oven for 45-50 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is slightly browned. Remove the casserole from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

 

I think Julia Child would have enjoyed this French dish to celebrate her 100th birthday. I hope her and my mom cook this together in heaven someday. I think they would have enjoyed each other’s company and love of French cooking.

Bon Appetit!

Bruno

P.S. – With this newer version of WordPress you can once again click on the photos to enlarge the image.