Archive for the 'Food' CategoryPage 3 of 14

Rye Pain au Levain Revisited

Same recipe and procedure as in my last post. Only this time I made 2 small loaves, 35 minute total bake time and rotated the loaves front to back after 20 minutes. Same great results… this recipe is a keeper!

Happy Baking!


Rye Pain au Levain Batard

This is a very delicious bread… crisp crust, airy crumb and nice sour rye flavor! The only deviations I made from the recipe was making one big batard instead of 2 small ones. Also I did not have the steamer used, so after sliding the dough into the oven onto my pizza stone I poured a cup of water into a metal container placed on the bottom of the oven. Next time I’ll try making 2 small loaves to see if this is the optimal method. The recipe came from Bread Cetera. Click here for the recipe.


Coming soon to a garden near me… Spring and veggie season!


Garlic Rosemary Knots

Garlic Rosemary Knots   (recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)


3 tablespoons butter (melted)

2/3 pizza dough recipe (click here for recipe)

3 tablespoons garlic (minced)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped)


1) Make pizza dough (add butter, garlic and rosemary into bowl prior to mixing in flour)

2) Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12 inch square then cut lengthwise into 8 ribbons. Roll each ribbon to round out the edges then tie each one into a knot. Place them on a parchment paper lined sheet pan, loosely cover w/ plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour until slightly puffed. 

3) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake knots until cooked through and golden (approx. 20 – 25 minutes).

4) Remove from oven and let cool or serve warm – your preference.

Yield: 8 knots


Savor the goodness!


Bannetons and Bread

I bought myself some new kitchen toys to help w/ my bread baking experiments. I did a lot of shopping around at various kitchen stores in St. Louis but couldn’t find a banneton for an affordable price – most places were charging around $40 for a single round one. I found a store online that sold me four bannetons of various shapes and sizes for just over $40 (the price included tax, shipping and an $8 wholesale charge for purchases under $50). I love my new toys!

I used the smallest round banneton a couple of days ago while I attempted to resolve the problem I’ve been experiencing w/ a bread recipe. I didn’t resolve the problem of the bread bursting open at a slash point and altering the shape, but I like the way the boule looks when using a banneton despite it being malformed! On attempt #6 of this recipe I extended the final proof to 4 hours and baked the bread at 460 degrees F for 36 minutes. I’m going to put this recipe on the shelf until Spring and warmer ambient kitchen temperatures in hopes to finally get the results I’m seeking. Until then I’ll experiment w/ new recipes using my new toys…

Happy Baking!


Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! Here are a few photos from the Christmas feast I attended:

Signing off until next year

Wishing you a fantastic, food filled 2015!!


Sourdough Boule Two Ways

Peter Reinhart‘s Basic Sourdough Boule (click here for recipe)

Weekend Bakery’s Tartine Style Boule (click here for recipe)

Both breads are delicious! The first bread (Peter Reinhart’s sourdough) had a tighter crumb compared to the Tartine style sourdough. I attribute this to the shaping method as well as not using stretch and folds when making the dough. In his book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter Reinhart demonstrates a pinching method to make a boule shape. The Weekend Bakery recipe uses stretch and folds in their dough recipe and in the shaping method. 

I’ve made the Tartine style bread 3 times and continue to have problems w/ the loaf splitting open at one of the slash points which causes the boule to lose its round shape. Since the ambient temperature of my kitchen tends to be cool this time of year I may need to increase the final proofing time. This has worked for me w/ other doughs when baking in wintertime, so I’m hoping this will provide the solution.

Both breads are time consuming but worth the effort!

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!!


Final Harvests 2014 and Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

This morning we had our first frost here in St. Louis, so for me it’s the end of the gardening season for 2014. I harvested the remaining bounty on 10/30 because the forecast for this morning was in the low 30’s. I just checked the outside temperature and it’s 31.8 F. It’s been a great growing season! The jalapenos I harvested on 10/18 were pickled and the ones in the photo from 10/30 will be candied. Below are photos of the plentiful pickin’s and the pickled peppers (with an easy recipe if you’re flush with peppers too).

harvest 10/18

harvest 10/30

pickled peppers


Pickled Jalapeno Peppers (recipe adapted from


30 medium jalapeno peppers (sliced into rings)

3 tablespoons fresh oregano (chopped)

3 tablespoons fresh chives (chopped)

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon (chopped)

3 large cloves garlic (crushed)

3 tablespoons kosher salt

9 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar

2 1/4 cups water


1) Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, oregano, chives and tarragon in a saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stir in jalapenos and remove from heat. Let mixture cool.

2) Pack peppers into jars using tongs, cover w/ vinegar mixture and refrigerate until needed.

Yield: 3 pints

I hope your garden bounty was plentiful too!!


Rigatoni a la Bruno (aka Rigatoni w/ Shrimp and Carrot/Zucchini Ribbons in a Garlic White Wine Sauce w/ Fresh Tomatoes and Oregano)


Rigatoni a la Bruno


1 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons fresh oregano (chopped)

2 medium tomatoes (diced)

1 pound large shrimp (20-35 count)

6 carrots and 2 medium zucchini (sliced into ribbons slightly less than 1/8 inch thick using a hand-held mandoline slicer)

! pound rigatoni

4 cloves garlic (chopped)

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste


1) In a large saute’ pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the garlic, pepper flakes, white wine and oregano; over medium heat reduce mixture to 1/4 cup then add tomatoes and shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes more until shrimp turn pink – set aside and wipe out pan

2) Meanwhile, bring pasta water to a rolling boil add 2  tablespoons salt to the water then add rigatoni and cook until al dente (taste after 8-10 minutes)

3) While rigatoni is cooking add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to saute’ pan and quickly saute’ the carrot ribbons (salt and pepper to taste) adding the zucchini ribbons after carrots have softened a bit and saute’ until zucchini is just warm – set aside

4) Strain rigatoni then put in saute’ pan, fold in shrimp mixture, then gently fold in carrots and zucchini

5) Place in large dish and serve w/ the Parmesan cheese


Buon Appetito!



3 Grain Boule w/ Sesame Seeds

Bob’s Red Mill no longer makes their 7 grain mix. At least I’m assuming they no longer make it because I looked in 4 different stores that carry their products and I couldn’t find it. Yes, I’m disappointed but as a result I was motivated to create my own blend of grains. To my surprise, the flavor of this bread is actually better than the one using the 7 grain mix. I guess it’s true, necessity is the mother of invention!

3 Grain Boule w/ Sesame Seeds


1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup Bob’s Quick Cooking Bulgur

1/4 cup coarsely ground cornmeal

1/4 cup rolled oats

1 cup wheat flour

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/4 cups water (tepid)


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 flours, grains, sesame seeds and salt

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

4) Slowly add the flour mix while using your free hand to blend together

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). The dough should have at least doubled in size when ready to shape

8) Remove dough from bowl and form into a ball (boule) shape, dust top w/ flour, place on pizza peel dusted w/ cornmeal, cover w/ plastic and let rise for 45 minutes (i.e., second rise)

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

10) When second rise is complete, brush boule w/ water, dust w/ flour, then slash top of boule w/ a serrated knife

11) Slide boule 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 20 minutes reduce temperature to 375 degrees F and rotate bread front to back for even baking; bake for another 15 – 20 minutes

13) Remove bread from oven and tap the bottom; if it make a hollow sound it’s ready!

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


Happy Baking!



Posole w/ Lamb Shanks

According to Wikipedia, pozole (more commonly referred to as posole in the United States) is a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. It used to have ritual significance. Since maize was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions. The conjunction of maize (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mesoamericans believed the gods made humans out of masa (cornmeal dough).

I spotted this recipe in the December 2013 edition of Food & Wine magazine. Traditionally posole is made w/ pork, however this recipe called for lamb shanks which appealed to me because I have a freezer full of grass-fed lamb from Missouri. It also sounded like a fantastic cold weather dish. It was so good that most of the friends I had over to partake in eating this posole asked for second helpings! I served the posole w/ sautéed kale and cornmeal bread for soaking up all the goodness.  Click here for cornmeal bread recipe.

Posole w/ Lamb Shanks (recipe adapted from Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten, Athens, Georgia)


6 lamb shanks

1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

1 large red onion, diced

5 celery ribs, diced

4 medium carrots, diced

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

8 dried pasilla negro chiles, stemmed, 4 chopped

3 quarts low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Two 15 ounce cans of hominy, rinsed and drained

One 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cilantro, sliced avocado and lime wedges for serving


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2) In a large cast iron pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the lamb shanks w/ salt and pepper. Place 3 shanks in the pot and cook over moderate heat until browned all over. Transfer to a baking dish. Repeat the procedure w/ the remaining 3 shanks.

3) Add the garlic and half each of the onion, celery and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden. Stir in the cinnamon, oregano, 1 teaspoon of the cumin and the chopped chiles. Add the lamb shanks and any juices, then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours until the lamb is very tender.

4) In a heatproof bowl, cover the remaining chiles w/ 2 cups boiling water; soak for 30 minutes.

5) Transfer chiles and 1 cup of the liquid to a food processor; puree until smooth.

6) Transfer the lamb shanks to the baking dish and loosely tent w/ foil. Strain the broth and discard the solids.

7) Wipe out the pot. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pot, add the remaining onion, celery and carrots, then cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden. Stir in the chile puree, coriander, hominy, pinto beans and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cumin and cook for 2 minutes.

8) Add the strained broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and season w/ salt and pepper. Add the shanks to the pot and cook until just heated through.

9) Serve the posole in bowls, passing the cilantro, avocado and lime wedges at the table.

Yield: 6 servings


Buena Fortuna!