Archive for the 'Food' CategoryPage 3 of 12

Presto, Pesto!

Pesto in a jiffy! My basil rebounded well after the hellish summer temperatures we had here in St. Louis. So happy to have a nice batch of pesto for the fall and winter months. The pistachios in this recipe add an additional layer of flavor and complexity to traditional pesto. Try it and see for yourself!

Basil Pesto (recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients:

6 cups fresh basil (packed)

1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated)

1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup pistachios

9 medium sized garlic cloves

salt + pepper to taste

Procedure:

1) Combine the basil in with the pine nuts and pistachios; pulse a few times in a food processor.   

2) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. 

3) Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. 

4) Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse again until blended. 

5) Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Yield: Approximately two 16 oz. jars

Go Green!

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.

Cherry Gelato w/ Dark Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnuts

 

‘Tis the season… for gelato!! Especially since it’s blazing hot here in port St. Louis. We’ve had ten days of temperatures over 100 degrees F in June/July and the forecast is calling for temperatures over 100 degrees in the upcoming week! I would say it’s time to dust off the ice cream maker and start making freezing cold desserts!! 

One of my favorite fruits is sweet black cherries. They’re now in season and in their honor here’s a tasty gelato recipe. Gelato is also a super delicious treat when the sweltering heat has you craving something cool. Your friends and family will love you that much more when you share this scrumptious seasonal dessert w/ them! 

My taste testers enjoyed this flavor, however next time I make it I’ll make some minor changes. Depending on which ingredient hit your tongue first (i.e., cherry, hazelnut or chocolate), that was the initial predominate taste.  In order for the cherries to be the dominate flavor, I will reduce the amount of chocolate to 2 1/2 ounces, and the hazelnuts to 1/3 cup.

Here’s the original recipe:

Cherry Gelato w/ Dark Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnuts

Ingredients:

1 pound black cherries (pitted)

6 egg yolks

3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (roughly chopped)

1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts (roughly chopped)

3/4 cup sugar

1 quart 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) Cut cherries in half, place in a food processor and puree; stir puree into the gelato mixture, blending well, and 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 and chocolate when mixture starts to freeze

7) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container, stir to evenly distribute hazelnuts and chocolate, 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

 

Celebrating summer… just wish it wasn’t so damn hot here!

Bruno

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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lamb dinner2

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

Bursting Bread Conundrum Solved!

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conundrum solved4

In a previous post dated Feb. 5th, 2012, I lamented about having a problem w/ my bread bursting at the slash point. Well, the problem has been solved!

The bread in the photos above was made when the ambient temperature in my kitchen was 72 degrees F.

I think it may have been that during the colder months I didn’t proof the bread long enough before popping it in the oven. I did some research and it points to underproofing because in the warmer months I don’t have this problem. Someone suggested it was possibly due to the way I was shaping my loaves, however I shape the bread the same in both cold and warm months so I think not letting the dough proof long enough during the colder months is the culprit. It makes sense because dough takes longer to ferment and proof in lower temperatures and my kitchen was around 64 degrees F when I was baking during the winter.

Celebrating beautiful (and crack free) bread!!

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).

pizza party1 2012

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

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pizza party3 2012

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 party10 2012

Pizza #2 fresh from the oven

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pizza party12 2012

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!

heart soup1

 

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:

Christmas1 2011

Christmas2 2011

Christmas3 2011

Christmas4 2011

Christmas6 2011

Christmas7 2011

 

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…

Thanksgiving1 2011

Byron, Mackenzie, Michelle  and Dave

Thanksgiving2 2011

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