Archive for the 'Friendship' CategoryPage 3 of 7

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!!

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

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Swiss chard and leek gratin

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The showcase wine of the evening

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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

Pizza Party!

 

I had a few friends over for a pizza party not long ago. The following photographs of the evening were taken by my friend Bob of Moth Studios (w/ my new camera which does a better job w/ photos in low light than my other camera).

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Pizza #1 – mozzarella, sliced tomato, mushrooms, oregano, garlic and parmesan

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Pizza #1 ready to eat

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Chris’ cucumber salad w/ red bud blossoms

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Salad #2 – baby kale, spinach and Swiss chard

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Rolling out the dough

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Pizza #2 – mozzarella, sliced potato, sage, butternut squash, garlic, parmesan and capocolla

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Enjoying the evening

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Pizza #2 fresh from the oven

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Capocolla

 

Dessert was Mary’s berry cobbler a la mode that was so delicious we forgot to snap a photo!

Happy Cooking…

Bruno

 

Providing Unconditional Love…

That’s the feeling I get from my furry friends and good food… not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year!

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truffles and brie1 feb 5 2012

Cheers…

Bruno

 

Christmas 2011

Greetings! I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas. I was invited to a friend’s house for a delicious feast! The menu was tomato/dill soup; beef tenderloin w/ a dijon/balsamic crust; potatoes w/ artichokes and leeks; sauteed corn;  Swiss chard and leek gratin (my contribution); and field greens w/ roasted beets and goat cheese. Dessert was a pecan pie. Here are a few photos of this delicious meal:

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May 2012 be filled w/ great food, great friends and happiness!!

Bruno

 

 

Thanksgiving 2011

I hope everyone had a delicious and relaxing Thanksgiving w/ family and friends. I know I did thanks to my friends Michelle and Byron! Michelle cooked up a feast of turkey, roasted root veggies, green bean casserole, stuffing and gravy. For dessert we had pumpkin pie and my gelato. Michelle made the turkey using a new technique of cooking the turkey the day before, carving it, then placing it back in the roasting pan w/ the cooking juices to be reheated the next day. Not only was it tender and juicy, it saves a ton of time on the day of Thanksgiving!

I snapped a few pics of the feast in between bites…

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Byron, Mackenzie, Michelle  and Dave

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My plate of goodies

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Kaiko waiting for stuff to fall off the table

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After the goodness

 

Thanks again for your hospitality Byron and Michelle!!

Bruno

Pumpkin & Acorn Squash Gelato w/ Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Candied Bacon

Pumpkin & Acorn Squash Gelato

This is what I’m bringing as my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast that I attend at one of my friends’ house this year (no official invitation yet). I’ll also be taking along a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau.

I’ve tried dark chocolate w/ bits of bacon in it and really liked the flavor combination. I wasn’t sure about putting bacon in this gelato flavor but figured if I sweetened the salty bacon by candying it, the end result might work. Well, after I finished my photo session I had to sample the product just in case it was a losing recipe. I ate what you see in the photo above and I must say it actually was pretty tasty! I hope my friends think so too!!

Pumpkin & Acorn Squash Gelato w/ Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Candied Bacon 

Ingredients:

2 cups pumpkin and acorn squash puree (I used 1 cup of each)

1 cup sugar (plus 1/2 cup for candying bacon)

6 egg yolks

1 quart half & half

1/2 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds

6 slices thick cut applewood smoked bacon

Procedure:

** click the following link to a previous post for instructions on how to roast pumpkin/squash and on candying; click here

 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 in 3 cups of the gelato mixture to the pumpkin/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) Cook bacon (not too crispy), remove excess grease w/ paper towels, cut into 1/2 inch squares, then candy and break into 1/2 inch squares

7) Roast pumpkin seeds and let cool

8) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions adding the roasted pumpkin seeds and candied bacon when mixture starts to freeze

9) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container, stir to evenly distribute pumpkin seeds and candied bacon, 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 

 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal w/ great friends and family. Remember, it’s Thanksgiving so eat as much as you want… you can work the extra pounds off later:-)

Bon appetit!!

Bruno

 

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Gelato w/ Candied Pistachios

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I ran this new flavor by my tasting panel (i.e., some  friends) and the consensus was YUM… especially the candied pistachios which were surrounded by a deep caramelized sugar flavor and crunchiness. I must agree, those candied pistachios were so over the top good it was hard for me to stop snacking on them while I was churning up the gelato :-) 

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Gelato w/ Candied Pistachios

Ingredients:

1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios

6 egg yolks

1  Madagascar vanilla bean

1 quart half & half

1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup sugar for candying pistachios

Procedure:

1) Candy pistachios and let cool

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; slit vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into half  & half  and place bean in too, then  heat until scalded removing bean when done

4) Very slowly whisk 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 and promote rapid cooling

6) Once cool, refrigerate mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight

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

8) While mixture is churning, coarsely chop candied pistachios

9) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container, stir in candied pistachios (making sure they are distributed evenly throughout the mix) 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 

Enjoy!

Bruno

Strawberry Gelato w/ Caramelized Bananas

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It’s definitely summertime here in St. Louis, so this means it’s time to try out some new gelato flavors! I had a couple of friends over for pizza the other night and served this gelato for dessert. The consensus was this recipe is a keeper. The sweetness from the strawberries and caramelized bananas allowed me to reduce the sugar in the mixture.

Strawberry Gelato w/ Caramelized Bananas

Ingredients:

1 pound strawberries pureed and seeded (pass through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds)

6 egg yolks

2 bananas – sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch slices

1 quart half & half

3/4 cups sugar

sugar for caramelizing bananas (you will need a torch to do this)

Procedure:

1) Remove leaves from strawberries, quarter the berries then puree in 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 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 and promote rapid cooling. Stir in strawberry puree

6) Once cool, refrigerate mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight

7) Place sliced bananas on a sheet pan, sprinkle w/ sugar then torch like you would creme brulee (save 1/4 of the caramelized bananas for garnishing, or snack on them while churning gelato – your choice!)

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

9) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container, stir in 1 1/2 of the caramelized bananas (making sure they are distributed evenly throughout the mix) 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 

Cook’s notes: Despite the very light pink color of the gelato, it had a distinct strawberry flavor. Bananas are a classic combination w/ strawberries  – caramelizing them lended a bit more complexity to the blend.

Eat gelato, stay cool! 

Bruno 

Asparagus and Prosciutto Tart

I made this tart a couple of weeks ago when I had some friends over for dinner. I wanted to make something using the fresh asparagus from my garden.  The tart accompanied a roasted chicken that was flattened by removing the backbone for quicker cooking. I tucked some garlic and pepper flake sauteed arugula under the skin to boost the chicken’s flavor. The juices from the chicken made the butternut squash w/ sage in the roasting pan taste extra good! For dessert we had “floating islands” (merengue floating in a pool of creme anglaise) made by one of the guests who is an aspiring pastry chef.  This meal was totally delicious!! 

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Asparagus and Prosciutto Tart (adapted from a recipe by Cassandra Vires)

Serves | 6 to 8 |

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 4 oz prosciutto  (torn into long pieces)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (dry roasted)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz whole milk ricotta
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon  (zested w/ a microplane)
  • pate brisee crust  (par-baked in a 9 inch pie dish)

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut off and discard the rough ends of the asparagus. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the asparagus lengthwise, creating long ribbons. Toss with  prosciutto, pine nuts and oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta, cream, eggs and lemon zest. Fold in half of the asparagus mixture. Spread evenly over the bottom of the prepared crust and bake until filling is set and crust is golden brown (about 30 minutes).

Remove from oven and top with remaining asparagus mixture. Tent with foil and return to the oven for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until asparagus is cooked through. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Happy Cooking!

Bruno