Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Roasted Basque Chicken

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roasted Basque chicken2

Every week during this pandemic, I have been doing a cooking project to feed my belly w/ good eats. Lately, because of the frigid weather I’ve been craving richer, heavier meals (think creamy pasta). The last few days have been spring-like, so my cravings have turned to lighter fare. One of my favorite ways to find new recipes is to look at images on the internet of what I’m craving, and if the image is mouth-watering, hopefully I’ll find a link to the recipe. Here’s a link to the original recipe by Gemma: Basque Roast Chicken (Chicken Basque Style Recipe) | Caribbean Green Living.

My add-ons, substitutions and omissions: I did not use the Noubess seasoning; substituted the whole chicken w/ 3 1/2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs; only used 6 cloves of garlic (pressed), and added 2 large carrots (sliced), and 3 jalapenos (quartered lengthwise and sliced). Total cooking time was 57 minutes. I loosely tented the chicken w/ foil after 30 minutes (removing the foil for the last 15 minutes) and turned on the broiler for the final 2 minutes. It was delicious served over fragrant jasmine rice.

Happy cooking!

Bruno

A Nontraditional Thanksgiving

I decided to host Thanksgiving for a few friends this year. An unusual lasagna recipe caught my eyes, so I decided to give it a try for our holiday meal. I made a few slight variations from the original recipe, such as using shitake mushrooms, and parmesan instead of mozzarella. Also, I have two layers of the filling, instead of just one. The finished product was apparently a hit because my friends asked for the recipe. Sylvia Fountaine is the recipe creator. Click here for her original recipe: Polenta Lasagna with Smoky Red Pepper Sauce! – Feasting At Home.

For dessert, we enjoyed one of my favorite childhood treats, Apple Brown Betty, which was a perfect match for the Haut-Armagnac being poured. 

Here are a few pics of the food…

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Happy Holidays!

Bruno

Cuban Chicken Casserole; Garlicy Green Beans w/ Chives and Red Bell Pepper

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Cuban chicken casserole2

Garlicy green beans1

Garlicy green beans2

I’ve been cooking my way through some recipes from a cookbook on Mexican, South American and Caribbean food. The Cuban chicken casserole recipe sounded delicious. With the pureed corn topping and the combination of other ingredients that I really enjoy, I had to find out how the finished product would taste. Well, it tasted fantastic! The corn crust and raisins added a touch of sweetness to balance w/ all the savory ingredients. I will definitely be making this again! It will be a great dish to serve when I have a few friends over for dinner. 

The green bean recipe is something I put together to have a vegetable side that would pair up well w/ the casserole. 

Goes well w/ both a Vouvray from the Loire region of France or a Cotes du Rhone white that’s Viognier dominant. 

Cuban Chicken Casserole (adapted from The Complete Mexican, South American & Caribbean Cookbook by Milton, Fleetwood and Filippelli)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

1 pound chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)

1 celery stalk (cut in large pieces)

2 carrots (cut in large pieces)

2 bay leaves

5 cloves 

10 black peppercorns

1 large yellow onion (medium dice)

2 tomatoes (medium dice)

2 hard-boiled eggs (chopped)

1/2 cup pitted green olives (chopped)

1/2 cup raisins

1 tablespoon bottled capers (drained)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt 

For the topping:

3 cups corn kernels (I used canned)

1 teaspoon sugar 

3 eggs (beaten)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 

salt and black pepper

Procedure:

1) Cut chicken breasts in half and trim fat off thighs; Place bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns in cheesecloth pouch and tie closed.

2) Put chicken, spice pouch, celery and carrots in a large pot, cover w/ water and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove chicken from liquid and let cool before shredding. (You can save the poaching liquid, celery and carrots for soup).

3) Make the topping: Puree corn kernels in food processor. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat; stir in pureed corn and sugar, add salt to taste, then cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and comes away from sides of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes then slowly stir in the eggs a little at a time. 

4) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

5) Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent. Remove from heat. Fold in the hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, capers, raisins, shredded chicken and red pepper flakes. Salt to taste. Make sure ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. 

6) Spoon the mixture into a deep 8 x 10 baking dish and press it down to level out. Spread the corn topping over the top of the mixture w/ a spatula. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown, rotating front to back halfway through the baking (it took about an hour in my oven for the topping to get nicely browned). Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes before serving. 

Yield: 6 servings

Garlicy Green Beans w/ Chives and Red Bell Pepper

Ingredients:

3/4 pounds green beans (ends trimmed if necessary)

1 red bell pepper (seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise)

3 large garlic cloves (pressed)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon fresh chives (cut into 1 inch pieces)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

Procedure:

1) Bring a pot of water to a boil and add green beans and cook for 5 minutes until beans are tender. Strain beans in a colander.

2) Over medium heat, melt butter in a large pan then add olive oil. 

3) Add the garlic and saute’ for 1 minute, then add the bell pepper, chives and oregano and saute’ until bell pepper softens (approx. 5 minutes). Add the green beans, continue to saute’ for another minute to warm the beans. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Yield: 3 servings

 

Please get vaccinated so we can get past this pandemic. To your health…

Bruno

Spatchcocked Turkey Breast Roasted w/ Veggies

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Believe it or not, I’ve never made turkey until a couple of weeks ago! Since I missed my turkey fixes this past holiday season due to the pandemic I’ve been craving it lately. I decided to start small and just make a turkey breast instead of  the whole bird. It’s been super cold here in St. Louis so it’s the perfect time to fire up the oven. A good pair of kitchen shears is essential for this recipe. You’ll see what I mean when you spatchcock the breast.

Spatchcocked Turkey Breast Roasted w/ Veggies

Ingredients:

7 pound turkey breast (fresh, skin on and bone in)

1 pound carrots (cut into large pieces)

2 yellow onions (cut into large pieces)

1 red bell pepper (cut into large pieces)

2 jalapenos (halved and thinly sliced)

1 head garlic (cloves peeled and crushed)

2 pound butternut squash (cut into large pieces)

1 pound crimini mushrooms (halved)

1 1/2 tablespoons oregano (for veggies)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (for veggies)

1 1/2 tablespoons salt (for veggies)

**plus more salt for rubbing on turkey 

Mixture for brushing on turkey:

4 cloves garlic (pressed)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons chives (chopped)

1 1/2 tablespoons butter (melted)

Procedure:

1) Spatchcock turkey breast, pat dry and rub salt on and under skin; place in baking dish then put in fridge uncovered for 4 hours to air dry.

2) 1 hour prior to roasting, remove turkey from fridge to take chill off.

3) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

4) Prep veggies, place in roasting pan then toss w/ olive oil, oregano and salt.

5) Place turkey on veggies and brush oil mixture under skin, then skewer skin (to prevent from retracting) and brush remaining oil mixture on skin.

6) Put turkey and veggies into oven (on middle rack); after 1/2 hour reduce temperature to 350 degrees F, loosely tent turkey w/ foil and continue roasting until internal temperature of turkey is 155 degrees F and juices run clear (check temperature occasionally during roasting; remove foil from turkey 20 minutes before it’s done; turn oven to broil for last 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to crisp turkey skin).

7) Remove turkey and veggies from oven; place turkey on cutting board and let rest uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes (internal temperature will rise to 165 degree F).

8) With oven still on broil, stir veggies and return to oven for 5 minutes or until veggies are browned in spots, then remove from oven.

** Total roasting time for turkey: 1 hour and 55 minutes (approx. 16 1/2 minutes per pound).

Serve w/ brown rice or your starch of choice. 

Stay warm and eat well!!

Bruno

Spicy Beef w/ Pappardelle 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

Sourdough Boule w/ Sesame Seeds (new recipe)

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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

Pasta w/ Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Asparagus

Pasta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Asparagus - Copy

So, a few years ago my sister-in-law ask me if I knew how to make a pasta w/ mushroom sauce. We attempted to create a recipe and had mediocre results. Ever since then I’ve been developing new recipes and finally have come up w/ a keeper!

Pasta w/ Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Asparagus

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta

12 ounces crimini mushrooms (sliced, then cut slices in half)

1 head garlic

2 chicken sausages (sliced, then quartered)

1 teaspoon rosemary (chopped)

1 teaspoon sage (chopped)

1/3 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup half & half

1/3 cup goat cheese

1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 pound asparagus spears (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)

salt to taste

Procedure:

1) Roast garlic in oven until soft; squeeze out cloves, then crush cloves into goat cheese

2) Cook asparagus spears until tender (approx. 3 minutes); set aside

3) Saute’ sausage in sauce pan until slightly browned; set aside

4) Saute’ mushrooms in sauce pan until they have softened

5) Add herbs, goat cheese mixture, pepper flakes, sausage, broth and half & half to mushrooms

6) Place sauce pan over medium/low heat and whisk together sauce, salt to taste and keep warm until pasta is ready

7) Cook pasta until “al dente”; fold sauce and asparagus into pasta and serve immediately

Yield: 4 servings

 

Happy Easter!

Bruno

Sourdough Boule w/ Flax & Sunflower Seeds

A new bread for a new season. This bread is a keeper… nice crunchy crust and an airy, chewy crumb. The seeds added some nice texture too! I used the same recipe as in my previous post on rye pain au levain but shaped it differently and exchanged the rye flour for equal parts flax and sunflower seeds. I made one large boule and baked it for 52 minutes (internal temperature reached 206 degrees F).

I experienced the same problem w/ the bread bursting at the seams and distorting the shape from the excellent oven spring. Next time I’ll try making 2 smaller loaves to see if this resolves the problem.

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sourdough boule with flax and sunflower seeds2

Happy baking…

Bruno

Bean & Escarole Stew w/ Spiced Pastry Crisps; Pear Tart w/ Quince Glaze

A comforting dinner for a cold winter night w/ friends.

The bean stew tasted better than it looks in the photo. There was no time for food fluffing… I had party guests arriving at any minute! Kalamata rather than Castelvetrano olives were used.  I browned some ham chunks for the non-vegetarians to add to their stew if desired. The stew recipe also called for garlic rubbed rustic bread toast which I substituted w/ the spiced pastry crisps. They’re very easy to make… just roll out some pastry/pie dough, cut into slivers and sprinkle w/ harissa spice blend and freshly grated parmesan, then bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

 Bartlett pears were used for the tart although after grocery shopping I learned they are not the preferred choice for baking. Supposedly they don’t hold up well when baked, but the tart turned out fine.

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Navy Bean and Escarole Stew (recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 heads garlic

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion – chopped

1 fennel bulb – chopped

1 1/4 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

3 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 bay leaves

3 cups dried navy beans soaked overnight, drained

8 oz. crumbled feta cheese

1 1/2 cups kalamata olives, pitted and halved lengthwise

1 head escarole, leaves torn into 2 inch pieces

Procedure:

1) Smash garlic cloves w/ the flat side of a chef’s knife.

2) Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven, add garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until golden (approx. 5-7 min.).

3) Add onion and fennel, season lightly w/ salt, cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent and onion and fennel are browned around the edges (approx. 10-15 min.).

4) Add lemon zest, rosemary and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until rosemary is very fragrant (approx. 3-5 minutes).

5) Add bay leaves, beans, 1 teaspoon salt and 12 cups of water; bring to a simmer.

6) Partially cover pot, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer stew until beans are creamy and tender all the way through (approx. 60-80 minutes).

7) Add olives to stew, then add escarole in batches, letting it wilt slightly before adding more; simmer until escarole is tender (approx. 3-5 minutes).

8) Pluck out bay leaves, adding more salt if necessary (keeping in mind the feta is salty, so don’t over season).

9) Serve stew w/ feta and spiced pastry crisps on the side.

Yield: approx. 6 servings

Pear Tart w/ Quince Glaze (recipe adapted from About Food)

Ingredients:

Your favorite pastry dough (I made enough for 2 discs so I could make the pastry crisps for the stew)

5 pears – peeled, cored and sliced lengthwise 3/8 inch thick (I cut the slices in half so it would be easier to arrange in the tart)

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup quince jelly

Procedure:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Roll out 1 disc of dough so that it’s large enough to line a 10 inch tart dish. Carefully place dough into tart dish by rolling it up on rolling pin and unrolling into dish and letting it settle into corners – don’t press or stretch dough to avoid shrinkage while baking ; evenly trim excess dough from edges of dish.

3) In a bowl, add sugar and lemon juice, then add pear slices and toss so that all slices are coated w/ the lemon/sugar mixture.

4) Arrange the pear slices in concentric circles on the tart dough as neatly as possible.

5) Place tart on middle rack in oven and bake until crust is a nice golden brown (approx. 50 minutes); rotate tart in oven halfway through for even baking.

6) While tart is baking, place quince jelly and 1/8 cup water in a small pot and cook over low heat to dissolve and thicken into a syrup consistency.

7) When tart comes out of the oven, evenly brush quince glaze onto the pears.

8) Serve tart warm or at room temperature (w/ a nice snifter of Armagnac to warm you and your guests up on a cold winter night!).

Yield; 6 to 8 servings depending on how you slice it!

 

Happy New Year!!

Bruno