Archive for the 'Food' Category

First Tomatoes 2020

St. Louis has been pummeled by rain during the past week. We’ve had several torrential downpours and many of my tomatoes were starting to split open from the excessive water. I decided to harvest the nearly ripe ones yesterday before they were ruined. Some were already starting to rot at the spots where they were touching each other. After cutting away the bad spots from a big tomato, I made a caprese salad for lunch today with mozzarella di bufala that I picked up at the wine shop where I work. Drizzled w/ an aged balsamic vinegar from Italy and served w/ tuna packed in olive oil… life was good as I momentarily forgot about the pandemic that is ravaging Missouri and St. Louis as well as the rest of the country! Tonight’s dinner will be a curried pork stir fry which will include some garden fresh tomatoes and Thai basil. Looking forward to more goodness!

Here are a couple of photos taken yesterday (August 1st):

tomatoes1 2020

tomatoes2 2020

Be well…

Bruno

Garden 2020

garden2 June 14 2020 photos taken June 14th

garden1 June 14 2020

What a pleasure it is to be outside again playing in the dirt! The last several months have been crazy to say the least as a result of  Covid 19. I’m hoping this will be a good gardening year to temporarily take my mind off of  virus related news.

Again, I’ve shrunk the amount of veggies going into the enclosure this year. Less plants and only what has produced well in past seasons. St. Louis had a lot of rain in May but now there’s been a good stretch of dry weather allowing the plants to get well established.

In the garden this year are: 4 Cherokee Purple and 4 Cuore Di Bue tomatoes, 4 Swiss chard, 2 Padron and 2 Jalapeno peppers. In the pots are Genovese and Thai basil.

Green thumbs up!!

Bruno

Sourdough Boule w/ Sesame Seeds (new recipe)

sourdough boule with sesame seeds1

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

Lamb & Pork Meatballs w/ Berbere Seasoning and Pepper Jam Glaze

lamb and pork meatballs2

 

lamb and pork meatballs1

Mission: As requested,  create “something decadent” to bring to a friend’s party.

Since my search for a specific Morrocan spice blend was unsuccessful I decided to go w/ a berbere seasoning that I found at World Market. Berbere is an Ethiopian spice mix that typically includes chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella and fenugreek. The mix I purchased also included paprika.

I worked the berbere seasoning directly into the ground pork & lamb along w/ a bit of salt, formed it into bite size balls, then browned them in a cast iron skillet. Finished w/ my fresh pepper jam… mission accomplished!

Bon appetit!

Bruno

Garden Bounty 9/11/19

garden bounty 9-11-19

Summer’s winding down so I’m taking advantage of the remaining days of fresh picked produce. Hope you are too!

Yum, yum….

Bruno

Tomato Still Life

tomato still life 8-7-19

These beauties were picked from the garden yesterday. The one on the left is a Cuore Di Bue and on the right is a Cherokee Purple. I love the beautiful colors!

Bruno

First Tomato… and Caprese

Picked the first tomato of the season a couple of days ago. The first to ripen was a Cuore Di Bue (ox heart) shown in the first photo below. It was huge, but was more of a standard shape. The second photo of the green tomato looks more like a heart to me. In the third photo I placed it next to a 1 cup measuring cup so you can get a better impression of how big the ripe one is. It made for a delicious caprese salad for my dinner last night!

 

Photos taken on 7/23/19:

first tomato2 2019

first tomato1 2019

first tomato3 2019

caprese1 2019 Caprese with aged balsamic vinegar/olive oil drizzle and a sprinkle of black pepper/Maldon sea salt

caprese2 2019

 

Looking forward to more summer yums in the near future…

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

San Francisco and Sonoma

I visited family and friends in Northern California last week. The weather was fantastic, the food was delicious and my overall experience was top notch! While in San Francisco, I visited my favorite art museums – SFMOMA and The de Young. I also tried a couple of new restaurants – Piccino and Burma Superstar. I highly recommend both!

In Sonoma, my friends took me to Gloria Ferrer Vineyards the afternoon I arrived. We sampled some of their delicious sparkling wines and snacked on some local cheeses. A wonderful way to start the weekend! The next morning we drove to Petaluma for breakfast at Hallie’s Diner. Delicious omelets! Later that day my friend treated me to a vintage biplane ride to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. What a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience!! For dinner we grabbed a grilled chicken meal at El Brinquito Meat Market. What a great deal – a whole grilled chicken, beans, rice, tortillas and spicy sauce for a mere $20. This was washed down w/ a couple of bottles of local wines. Heavenly!!

Here are a few snapshots of my wonderful trip:

SF1 10-16-18 My view in S. F.

SF2 10-16-18

Sonoma1 10-19-18 My view in Sonoma

Sonoma2 10-19-18

Sonoma3 10-19-18

Sonoma4 10-19-18

Sonoma5 10-19-18 Me

Sonoma6 10-19-18 My gracious hosts, Dan and Lorraine

Sonoma7 10-19-18 The view from the tasting terrace

Sonoma1 10-20-18 Biplane ride

Sonoma3 10-20-18

Sonoma2 10-20-18 Approaching S.F. and the Golden Gate

Sonoma4 10-20-18 Nice shot!

Sonoma5 10-20-18 The delta

Sonoma7 10-20-18 Sonoma scenery

Sonoma8 10-20-18 Landing…

Sonoma9 10-20-18

Bon Voyage!

Bruno

1989 Chateau Margaux

A great wine deserves a great meal to go with it!  On the menu: Filet mignon w/ shaved black truffles and a merlot/porcini sauce; rosti potatoes; roasted Brussels sprouts w/ agrodolce. For dessert: Frost Bitten Ice Riesling w/ assorted cookies and Brie.

wine dinner2 2017

wine dinner1 2017

brie wine dinner 2017 (Brie)

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Bruno