Archive for the 'Friendship' Category

Posole w/ Lamb Shanks

According to Wikipedia, pozole (more commonly referred to as posole in the United States) is a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. It used to have ritual significance. Since maize was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions. The conjunction of maize (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mesoamericans believed the gods made humans out of masa (cornmeal dough).

I spotted this recipe in the December 2013 edition of Food & Wine magazine. Traditionally posole is made w/ pork, however this recipe called for lamb shanks which appealed to me because I have a freezer full of grass-fed lamb from Missouri. It also sounded like a fantastic cold weather dish. It was so good that most of the friends I had over to partake in eating this posole asked for second helpings! I served the posole w/ sautéed kale and cornmeal bread for soaking up all the goodness.  Click here for cornmeal bread recipe.

Posole w/ Lamb Shanks (recipe adapted from Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten, Athens, Georgia)

Ingredients:

6 lamb shanks

1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

1 large red onion, diced

5 celery ribs, diced

4 medium carrots, diced

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

8 dried pasilla negro chiles, stemmed, 4 chopped

3 quarts low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Two 15 ounce cans of hominy, rinsed and drained

One 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cilantro, sliced avocado and lime wedges for serving

Procedure:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2) In a large cast iron pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the lamb shanks w/ salt and pepper. Place 3 shanks in the pot and cook over moderate heat until browned all over. Transfer to a baking dish. Repeat the procedure w/ the remaining 3 shanks.

3) Add the garlic and half each of the onion, celery and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden. Stir in the cinnamon, oregano, 1 teaspoon of the cumin and the chopped chiles. Add the lamb shanks and any juices, then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours until the lamb is very tender.

4) In a heatproof bowl, cover the remaining chiles w/ 2 cups boiling water; soak for 30 minutes.

5) Transfer chiles and 1 cup of the liquid to a food processor; puree until smooth.

6) Transfer the lamb shanks to the baking dish and loosely tent w/ foil. Strain the broth and discard the solids.

7) Wipe out the pot. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pot, add the remaining onion, celery and carrots, then cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden. Stir in the chile puree, coriander, hominy, pinto beans and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cumin and cook for 2 minutes.

8) Add the strained broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and season w/ salt and pepper. Add the shanks to the pot and cook until just heated through.

9) Serve the posole in bowls, passing the cilantro, avocado and lime wedges at the table.

Yield: 6 servings

 

Buena Fortuna!

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

Lamb and Mushroom Pizza w/ Sourdough Crust

Last night’s dinner w/ friends. Recipe furnished upon request…

May your stomach always be happy!

Bruno

“Green Eggs and Ham” – Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops w/ Wasabi Tobiko on a Bed of Lemon Vinaigrette Dressed Frisee Salad

*click photo to enlarge

Made this appetizer w/ some friends and thought I’d share the photo that one of my friends snapped that evening. This dish used to be on the menu at Remy’s back when Ben Davis and Ivy Magruder were the chefs there. It’s a delicious way to start off a great meal! We had red wine braised swordfish w/ roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed Swiss chard for our main course. Dessert was fresh berries w/ cookies. Wines of evening were a 1986 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac w/ dinner and a Mount Pleasant port w/ dessert. Thank you Paul and Laurie for bringing these great wines!!

Bon Appetit!

Bruno

 

Pears Poached in Red Wine w/ New Caledonian Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise

I was able to kill 2 birds w/ one stone… I’ve been wanting to try a new dessert recipe and at the same time try out some unusual vanilla beans that I received as a Christmas gift. I had a few friends over for dinner recently, so for dessert we had poached pears w/ a creme anglaise made w/ some of these unique vanilla beans. It was a great combination and a delicious finish to a fun evening! Next I will have to try another dish using the vanilla beans from Reunion Island. Stay tuned…

*Pears Poached in Red Wine w/ New Caledonian Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise

*pear recipe adapted from one developed by Beatrice Peltre


Ingredients (for the pears):

6 Bosc pears

1 cup sugar

4 cloves

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

1 bottle dry red wine

1/2 lime

water

Procedure:

1) In a large bowl, combine the water and lime juice. Peel the pears, keeping the stems intact. Cut a small slice from the base of each pear so the fruits sit without toppling. Drop each one into the water; set aside.

 2) In a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears, combine the wine, sugar, anise, vanilla, clove, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

3) Add the pears and additional water to cover the pears. To keep the pears submerged in the poaching liquid, cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the saucepan and set it on the surface of the liquid. Place a small plate on top of the paper so it presses the pears into the liquid.

4) Simmer the pears for 25 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a skewer. They may need 5 to 10 minutes longer if they were not ripe.

5) Remove the saucepan from the heat. Leave the fruit to cool completely in the poaching liquid.

6) Transfer the pears and their liquid to a large container. Refrigerate for at least several hours and as long as 3 days (the longer they steep in the liquid the darker and fuller flavored they will get).

Ingredients (for the creme anglaise):

4 New Caledonian vanilla beans (mine were small but for normal size beans use less)

1/2 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1 pint half & half

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) Put the creme in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Yield: 6 servings

 

This was a delicious and light dessert. I hope you enjoy it. We sure did!

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.

Leg of Lamb Stuffed w/ Morel Mushrooms, Acorn Squash, Garlic and Rosemary

I recently had a few friends over for a birthday celebration. On the menu was stuffed leg of lamb; Swiss chard and leek gratin; rigatoni pasta w/ pureed acorn squash, roasted pistachios, parmesan and brown butter; and last but not least a delicious strawberry shortcake. Many wines were savored w/ the meal as well as a cognac w/ the dessert. The weather was beautiful, and the company was a lot of fun which made the meal even more of a pleasure!!

lamb dinner3

Leg of lamb stuffed w/ morels, acorn squash, garlic and rosemary

lamb dinner1

lamb dinner2

Swiss chard and leek gratin

lamb dinner4

The showcase wine of the evening

lamb dinner6

Strawberry shortcake

Thanks to Bob for photographing the evening while I cooked, and to Mary for bringing dessert so I didn’t have to provide one!

Here’s to being born… here’s to life!!

Bruno