Archive for the 'Photographs' Category

Rainbow Over Chicago – 10/7/17

Chicago rainbow 10-7-17

This is what I saw after my early dinner in Chicago last weekend. I guess my pot o’ gold was the wild mushroom and roasted garlic pizza I had at Bar Siena that evening!

May all your days be golden…

Bruno

 

2 Grain Seeded Bread

This bread was made w/ pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds, as well as bulgur and coarse ground corn meal. It has a tight crumb, coarse texture and lots of flavor. Great for morning toast or afternoon sandwiches. I rate it yum!

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2 grain seeded bread2

From my hearth to yours…

Bruno

Pollinator’s Paradise

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pollinator's paradise2

This year’s zinnia patch…

Be the first to spot the Monarch butterfly and hummingbird (hint- they’re in the same photo right next to each other). Click on photos for a better view!

Colorfully yours,

Bruno

Morel Envy

My brother sent me this photo that he snapped at his local farmers market. I wish I had some of these beauties. They would be great in a mushroom cream sauce w/ pasta!

morels 2016

Happy Foraging!

Bruno

The Gastronomique Tour: Week 2 – Switzerland

The second and final week of my tour lands me in Switzerland to sample some of its delicacies (food and drink), and more importantly, visit w/ my cousins, some of whom I haven’t seen since 2004. My home base was Delemont, the town where my mom grew up and where most of my cousins still live. It’s close to the Alsace region of France so we visited a couple of beautiful towns just across the border – Kaysersberg and Colmar. Other stops were Lucerne (famous for its covered bridge), Vercorin and Grimentz (two alpine villages in the Valais region). Grimentz is one of the best preserved Swiss alpine villages in that region. 

One of my cousins introduced me to Damassine, a delicious eau de vie made from damson plums. It quickly became one of my favorite after dinner drinks, having a great aroma and flavor in addition to aiding in the digestion of wonderful meals. One evening we sautéed 2 types of local fresh trout purchased at the Delemont farmers market and of course we finished the meal w/ a bit of cheese and Damassine!

While in Vercorin, my cousin prepared a tradition meal called Assiette Valaisanne, which typically is a platter loaded w/ local cured meats, local cheeses, butter, thin slices of a dense rye bread called seigle, sliced fruit, nuts, cornichons and tomato wedges. This is served w/ wines produced regionally. It makes a delicious meal. Click here for an example.

It was hunting season while I was in Switzerland, so most restaurants offered seasonal dishes made w/ fresh game meat. I was fortunate to sample some venison and chamois prepare a couple of different ways during some of our meals out. One chef slowly braised chamois for 18 hours and served it w/ local mushrooms, spaetzle, seasonal vegetables and fruit. Another preparation was a roulade of venison breast stuffed w/ ground venison and served w/ red cabbage and spaetzle. Both were delicious!

When in Switzerland, I always hope to eat Raclette (a Swiss specialty). It’s one of my favorite ways to eat cheese. A picture is worth a thousand words as you will see in the photos of the Raclette lunch we ate at a cousin’s home one day.

I hope you enjoy these choice photos as much as I enjoyed my short time in Switzerland!

P1010958 Kaysersberg

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P1010985 Vineyards in Alsace

P1010986 Colmar (aka – “Little Venice”)

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P1020031 Very slow braised chamois at L’Etoile in Moutier

P1020038 After dinner at L’Etoile

P1020051 Lucerne

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P1020095 Delemont (my mom grew up in the building on the right – her dad’s bakery was on the bottom level)

P1020101 One of the many colorful fountains in Delemont

P1020148 Delemont farmers market

P1020130 Our trouts for the evening are the filets on the right

P1020143 Mushrooms galore

P1020209 Downtown Delemont

P1020213 Waiting for the Raclette

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P1020214 Yum!

P1020281 Vercorin

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P1020250 Grimentz

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P1020269 Our lunch spot in Grimentz

P1020276 On the menu…

P1020271 Veggie lasagna

P1020272 Braised venison

P1020273 Venison roulade

Au revior et a bientot j’espere!

Bruno

The Gastronomique Tour: Part 2, Week 1 – Armagnac

The second installment of my European adventure takes place in the town of Eauze, France, where we were fortunate enough to visit the Armagnac producer, Marquis de Montesquiou. They normally don’t give tours but my brother told them I was coming all the way from St. Louis and was a fan of their Armagnac, so they made an exception. Our guide was the maître de chais (cellar master), Eric Durand. He was kind enough to take 1 1/2 hours out of his busy day to show us around and explain the Armagnac production process.

Armagnac is an eau de vie, like Cognac, but different in that it is distilled only once using a continuous distillation process. This process captures more of the esters from the fermented grapes and results in a more flavorful end product. Eric also noted that the oak barrels in which Armagnac is aged has a looser grain than the barrels used for aging Cognac, allowing the Armagnac to absorb more flavors from the barrels than Cognac.

Our tour culminated w/ a tasting of the house reserve Armagnac that dates back to 1900. If I remember correctly, Eric explained that with every vintage there is some excess Armagnac that won’t fit into the barrels used for that year’s production. This excess was placed in select barrels and is a blend of all vintages dating back to when Marquis de Montesquiou was founded. How fortunate we were to taste something that rare! My friend said he had never seen as big a smile on my face as when that golden nectar touched my taste buds! My brother commented to Eric that I’m now spoiled for life because no other Armagnac will taste as good as this house reserve. So true… so true!!

Here are a few photos from our visit:

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P1010792 “La Cathedrale” (the cathedral) where the barrels are housed

P1010797 Inside “La Cathedrale”

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P1010801 The large blending barrels (w/ a normal sized barrel in the foreground for perspective)

P1010812 The large blending barrels and the lab

P1010808 A label on one of the blending barrels

P1010802 A label on one of the normal sized barrels (noting the vintage, grape type, farm of origin, etc…)

P1010815 Markings on one of the normal sized barrels

P1010804 Maitre de Chais, Eric Durand, explaining the distillation process

P1010816 Inside the lab

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Bob's Agen photos4 The moment of glory!

 

Thank you Eric for such a memorable experience!

A votre sante’…

Bruno

The Gastronomique Tour: Part 1, Week 1- Southwestern France

How do I edit a fantastic 2 week vacation during which I snapped 670 photos?… Not easily!

To sum it up, seeing family I hadn’t visited since 2004 was so enjoyable I wish I had more time to be w/ them. I definitely won’t let so much time pass before my next visit.

My first stop was Southwestern France. I landed in Bordeaux and spent the first week exploring the region surrounding Agen, the city where my brother and his wife live. This region is filled w/ great food and beautiful countryside which encompasses many well preserved medieval villages.

This post and the ones to follow will provide a visual taste of my experiences…

P1010639 Agen’s organic farmers market

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P1010661 Gavaudun

P1010683 Biron

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P1010712 Monpazier

P1010732 Bonaguil

P1010739 Rocamadour

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P1010839 Foie gras museum

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P1010873 Josephine Baker’s old house (Chateau des Milandes)

P1010881 Beynac

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P1010919 Our picnic spot (Roque – Gageac)

P1010920 Decadent picnic food

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A bientot!

Bruno

 

Can You Spot the Goldfinches?

A pair of goldfinches stop by in my yard from time to time to snack on the zinnias. They’re beautiful and fun to watch as the pull the petals off the flowers to get to the seeds. I was drinking my morning cups of coffee the other day and spotted them in action through the kitchen window. Can you spot them? The female is a bit more difficult to see in the photos but she’s there! (click the pics to enlarge for easier spotting)

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Goldfinches2

Goldfinches3

Goldfinches4

Happy Birding!

Bruno

December/January Travel Photos

Meteor Crater, Arizona

 

Extinct Volcanos near Toluca, Mexico

 

Mono Lake, California

 

St. Louis, Missouri

 

Happy Travels…

Bruno

Aerial View of Half Dome

Photo snapped at 2:30 pm Pacific time at an altitude of 30,000 feet while we were descending towards San Jose, California on October 25th. The lighting was just right to create good shadows to accentuate Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Happy Hiking (or climbing)!

Bruno