Archive for the 'Food' CategoryPage 3 of 13

Cornmeal Bread 2 Ways (Boule and Rolls)

This is an easy bread to make for your holiday festivities and it tastes great too! It goes well w/ roasted turkey, vegetables, pasta or whatever you’re cooking up. The cornmeal adds a nice texture and flavor to ordinary rolls or a boule. I like to slice the boule, wrap it, then put it in the freezer. That way it stays fresh and is readily available when I need a couple of pieces of bread to toast.

Cornmeal Bread 2 Ways:

Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/4 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon dry active yeast

 additional cornmeal for dusting pizza peel

Procedure:

1) Place yeast in a large bowl and pour 1/4 cup tepid water over the yeast; let sit until it becomes foamy (about 5 minutes)

2) In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal and salt

3) Add olive oil and remaining 1 1/4 cups tepid water to the yeast

4) Slowly add the flour mixture to the yeast while using your free hand to incorporate it w/ the yeast

5) Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes (add more flour a little bit at a time if dough is too sticky)

6) Form dough into a ball and place back into the large bowl (dust the bottom of the bowl w/ flour before placing dough into it); dust top of dough ball w/ flour and cover bowl w/ plastic wrap (I use a shower cap that I got from a hotel – it fits snugly over the bowl)

7) Let dough ferment (i.e., first rise) for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature (if your kitchen is too cold, place bowl in unlit oven w/ the light on – the temperature is usually 70 degrees F. During the winter months, let dough rise for 1 3/4 hours). The dough should have at least doubled in size when ready to shape

8) Remove dough from bowl, split in half, then form  half the dough into a ball (boule) shape, split the rest of the dough in half and form 2 small round rolls, then dust tops w/ flour, cover w/ plastic and let rise for 45 minutes (1 hour during winter months)

9) Meanwhile,  preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees F

10) When second rise is complete, slash top of boule and rolls w/ a serrated knife

11) Slide boule and rolls onto pizza stone, then mist sides of oven w/ water (I use a spray bottle) and quickly close oven door. For the first 2 1/2 minutes of baking mist the sides of the oven every 30 seconds – this delays crust formation and allows the bread to rise rapidly and evenly

12) After 10 minutes, rotate rolls front to back for even baking and bake for 10 additional minutes. Remove rolls from oven, tap the bottoms; if it makes a hollow sound they’re ready. Leave boule in at 450 degrees for 10 more minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F, rotate boule front to back and bake for 10 additional minutes. Tap bottom as you did w/ rolls to determine readiness.

13) Allow bread to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing

Yield: 1 small boule and 2 rolls (or make one large boule or 4 rolls if you’d like)

 

It’s gotten cold and snowy here in St. Louis so I’m enjoying baking because it warms up the house. Having fresh, homemade bread around is an added bonus!

Happy Baking…

Bruno

Thanksgiving 2013

Here are a few photos of the Thanksgiving feast I attended at a friend’s house. I contributed the cornmeal bread as requested. Thanks for your hospitality Pamela!

Turkey

Cornmeal bread

Sweet potatoes w/ lemons

Roasted root vegetables

Carved turkey

Dressing

Fingerling potatoes

I hope you all had a pleasant holiday. I’m thankful for having such a great group of friends!

Bruno

Garden Update # 5 – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow!

What a difference a day (or week) can make. While I was out of town we had our first frost on October 25th. My garden went from green to brown, colorful to drab. As you will see in the photos below, most of the plants didn’t survive the frost and my flowers went from technicolor to no color overnight. I can’t complain. This has been one of the best years I’ve had in my garden despite the not so ideal (cool and wet) conditions. I harvested what remained on the wilted plants – one ripe and many green tomatoes, one tiny butternut squash, lots of habanero and jalapeno peppers and a nice pile of Swiss chard. Thanks Mother Nature!

 

Goodbye garden. See you next year!

 Bruno

Same Eight Grain Boule, Different Design

I was in the mood for a change, so here’s what popped up! For the recipe, follow this link: Eight Grain Boule 

Happy Baking!

Bruno

Garden 2013 – Update #4 – September Harvest

The 2013 growing season is winding down. It has been a pleasure walking out to my garden this year to check the progress of my babies!

I snapped a few photos on September 7th, the day that most fruit was ripening nicely. The photo of this year’s bounty was taken on September 16th. In that photo there is Swiss chard to the left, ancho, New Mexican and jalapeno peppers in the center and the lone butternut squash on the right. In the background are Speckled Roman, Marvel Stripe, Black Krim and Gold Medal tomatoes.

Still to come are more tomatoes, jalapeno and habanero peppers, and hopefully another butternut squash. I planted more spicy lettuce mix a couple of days ago now that the weather here is cooling off. Looking forward to munching on more garden bounty in a couple of weeks!!

Here are the photos:

 

 

Hoping your garden is growing awesomely too!

Bruno

First Tomatoes of 2013

 

These beauties are called Speckled Roman tomatoes (harvested on 7/29). Here’s the description of them from the pack of seeds – “Intriguing paste tomato with orange & yellow stripes! Yummy flavor, very meaty, excellent for sauce, canning and freezing.”  I found them to be slightly sweet w/ a light acidity. Pineapple tomatoes are sweeter but they take much longer to ripen. I definitely will be growing these again next year! The prettiest tomatoes I’ve ever grown!! As you can see in the last photo, the interior has a lot of meat and very little juice and seeds. I’m sure they would be great for a sauce, but I prefer just slicing my homegrowns and making a tomato salad or putting them in a sandwich!  

Lovin’ this year’s crop!

Bruno

Lamb and Mushroom Pizza w/ Sourdough Crust

Last night’s dinner w/ friends. Recipe furnished upon request…

May your stomach always be happy!

Bruno

Lettuces – Up Close and Personal

The lettuce mix I’m growing this year is so beautiful I had to share a couple of close up photos!

(click photos to enlarge for a better view)

Loving the greens!

Bruno

“Green Eggs and Ham” – Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops w/ Wasabi Tobiko on a Bed of Lemon Vinaigrette Dressed Frisee Salad

*click photo to enlarge

Made this appetizer w/ some friends and thought I’d share the photo that one of my friends snapped that evening. This dish used to be on the menu at Remy’s back when Ben Davis and Ivy Magruder were the chefs there. It’s a delicious way to start off a great meal! We had red wine braised swordfish w/ roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed Swiss chard for our main course. Dessert was fresh berries w/ cookies. Wines of evening were a 1986 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac w/ dinner and a Mount Pleasant port w/ dessert. Thank you Paul and Laurie for bringing these great wines!!

Bon Appetit!

Bruno

 

Pistachio Gelato & Pistachio Brittle

This post is in memory of my dad who loved pistachio gelato. I remember being in Venice w/ him at a gelateria, and even w/ so many flavors to choose from, he of course picked pistachio! So here you go papa. With love, your son.

This recipe is based on one from Martha Stewart w/ a few variations. The main variations are: 1) I used six egg yolks, compared to Martha’s five, to give my gelato additional richness; and 2) My version leaves in the ground pistachios for a boost of flavor and a nice textural element. I’m guessing that Martha strained out the pistachios to get a smoother, more elegant finished product, much like many French sauce recipes require removing bits of shallots or mushrooms prior to serving for that very reason.

I made the pistachio brittle to use as a garnish because I think it’s fun to eat and delicious too! The brittle reminded me of a funny and true story: My childhood dentist would sometimes have a bowl of peanut brittle sitting on the table in her waiting room. I don’t know if she was just being nice to her sugar loving clients, or guaranteeing return business to fill all the cavities this created!

Pistachio Gelato (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound pistachios (unsalted and shelled)

1 quart half & half

6 egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

Procedure:

1) Coarsely chop pistachios in food processor.

2) Place pistachios in a heavy pot w/ the half & half  and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover w/ lid and let mixture steep for 2 hours.

3) Strain pistachios from mixture using a fine mesh sieve, pressing down firmly on solids. Reserve pistachios.

4) Return half & half to pot and scald, then remove from heat.

5) In a metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow.

6) Very slowly whisk half & half into egg/sugar mixture so as not to curdle the mixture.

7) 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.

8) Stir in reserved pistachios and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

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

10) 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

 

Pistachio Brittle

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup pistachios (shelled and unsalted)

3 1/2 tablespoons water

Procedure:

1) Put sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pot and boil until light amber in color (333 – 335 degrees F on a candy thermometer), brushing inside of pot w/ water occasionally to prevent crystals from forming; stir in pistachios.

2) Quickly pour onto a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper and let cool.

3) Break brittle into large pieces and store in an airtight plastic container, placing a piece of parchment paper between each layer.

 

Happy cooking…

Bruno