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Oct 20, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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By the Book: Michael Ruhlman’s Poached-in-a-Bag Egg Sandwich with Caramelized Onion and Roasted Red Pepper

October 18th, 2014

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I love eggs. In my opinion, few things can’t be improved with the addition of a golden runny yolk, no matter how tired the trend may be. It’s my go-to protein for breakfast (and often for dinner, too), yet Michael Ruhlman’s love for eggs makes mine look like pure indifference. In fact, the prolific culinary writer (who will visit St. Louis for a Celebrity Chef Series dinner Nov. 20) penned a cookbook entirely dedicated to this essential ingredient: Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient.

Enter the egg flowchart. To better document all the ways an egg could be used, Ruhlman created a massive diagram that breaks down its seemingly infinite preparations. Is it cooked whole or separated? In the shell or out? Are you making a batter or a dough? Whipping a meringue or binding meatballs? The flowchart is so large, it can’t even fit on a two-page spread of Egg. Instead, it comes as a 5-foot poster folded neatly in the back of the book. It’s so comprehensive (and beautiful), I wanted to frame and hang it in my kitchen for inspiration. With all the options presented in this book – from seafood roulade to marshmallows to an ale and rum flip – I chose one of my favorite egg presentations: a poached egg sandwich.

I know, egg sandwiches are not exactly earth-shattering. After all, nearly every fast-food joint around has some form of egg-sausage-cheese combo for breakfast. But few recipes highlight the natural flavor of an egg better than breakfast dishes, and the technique Ruhlman used to poach the eggs intrigued me.

 

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Perhaps 25 percent of my poaching attempts succeed. Somehow, I manage to keep the whites tight, not puncture the yolk and transfer it to a plate with a semi-cooked center. Then, my next egg fails miserably. Ruhlman covers the traditional poaching technique, but he also shared a second, far simpler, method. Just pop the egg in a zip-close bag and let it poach without actually touching the simmering water. Though I’d heard of this method before, temperature and times varied wildly and I’d never actually attempted it. But if anyone could help me get it right, it’s Michael Ruhlman.

 

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The process is simple enough. While the water comes to boil, add a few drops of olive oil to a sandwich-sized zip-top bag and smush the plastic to spread it around, making sure to get the oil into the corners. Then, crack the egg into a small bowl and gently slide it into the bag, working it into a corner so it looks like a mini pastry bag. Twist it closed and seal with a zip-tie (or if you happen to cook at the Sauce office, a paper clip). Plop the eggs into the simmering water, set your timer for 4 minutes and be patient. I found that occasionally turning the bags to rotate the eggs helped them poach more evenly.

 

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When the timer rang, the eggs slipped out of the plastic and came to rest gently on top of my English muffin. Granted, they weren’t as pretty as you’d find at brunch around town – the whites were a hilarious conical shape, like my sandwich wore a hat. Still, I’ll take perfectly cooked (if awkwardly shaped) over my pot of over-boiled egg whites any day. Bring on the Benedicts!

 

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As for the rest of the sandwich, it’s a classic but perfect combination. Always use an English muffin over toast (“… the holey crumb helps catches the yolk when you bite into it,” Ruhlman said) and add a splash of white wine vinegar to make the caramelized onions and peppers sing. Forget the sausage, cheese and bacon. When you have a perfectly oozing golden yolk and sweet caramelized onions and peppers, you don’t need anything else.

 

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Poached-in-a-Bag Egg Sandwich with Caramelized Onion and Roasted Red Pepper
4 servings

4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. butter, plus more for the English muffins
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, charred black over a glam or under a broiler, then peeled and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. red or white wine vinegar
4 English muffins

• If you wish to cook your eggs ahead of time, bring a medium pot of water to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat so that water is gently simmering; prepare an ice bath (half ice, half water). Put 1 teaspoon olive oil into each of 4 small plastic bags, then crack an egg into each bag. Twist each bag closed and secure it with a twist-tie. Lower the bags into the simmering water and cook 4 minutes. Transfer the bags to the ice bath and put the whole thing in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. At that point, return the bags to simmering water for 90 seconds to reheat before serving.
• When you’re ready to prepare the sandwiches, heat the butter over medium heat and saute the onion gently till nicely browned and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the red bell pepper to reheat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and then add the vinegar.
• Toast and butter the English muffins.
• If you haven’t made the eggs ahead of time, cook them now as described above. Divide the onion-pepper mixture among the four muffin bottoms. Place a cooked egg on each – they will slip easily out of their oiled bags. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and top with the muffin tops. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Little Brown and Company

What’s your favorite way to use an egg and why? Whole and fried? Separated and baked or whipped into a meringue? Scrambled into an omelet? Tell us in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Egg.

The Scoop: Cooper’s Legendary American Pub opens in St. Charles

October 17th, 2014

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The heat is rising in St. Charles as Cooper’s Legendary American Pub settles in downtown. The new eatery opened Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 140 N. Main St., replacing Eros Eclectic Greek Taverna, which closed Aug. 18. First-time restaurant owners Bill and Jeanne Komlose and Lori Schneider took over the space and introduced a new menu that gives new meaning to the term hot wings.

“We’re bringing out the wings and setting them on fire right in front of the customer, flambé style,” Bill Komlose said. In addition to this firey dish, Cooper’s will offer other “elevated bar food,” including a white cheddar mac-n-cheese topped with fried spinach, shrimp poached in a Guiness broth and burgers topped with custom butters. Whipping up this new pub grub is 20-year-veteran chef John Nunley, who Komlose said essentially came with the building. Nunley was the chef at Eros for the last two years and agreed to man the helm at Cooper’s. Joining him as sous chef is Le Cordon Blue graduate Patrick Kelley.

A full bar features 11 beers on draft, including local favorites like Urban Chestnut and 4 Hands, as well as more options in bottle. Patrons can also choose from an evolving wine list and full liquor selection. Cooper’s can seat 50 inside and another 40 on the patio, a key factor point when they owners chose the space. “What sold me on this place was the patio,” Komlose said. “People say it’s the best patio on Main Street. It is well landscaped and has great river views.”

Cooper’s Legendary American Pub is open Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Tweet Beat: The week’s best tweets from #STL foodies

October 17th, 2014

Are you following us on Twitter? Come on, get Saucy @saucemag

 

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schlaflybrewer
Man what I wouldn’t give for a @Schlafly #beer to go with this. #NYC

https://twitter.com/schlaflybrewer/status/522465109785202688/photo/1

MurdarioStomp
someones asian food smells far better than my pbj #starving and now i am craving bahn mi so #A4 #currytofu #amazing #vegan

theandyhille
let’s all congratulate @jonathanmoxey on his promotion to the position of train conductor for @PerennialBeer!

LigayaFigueras
Phil Marshall headed to @beardfoundation house for @cookingkid @thelibertinestl dinner on Fri. He’s such an insider. http://www.saucemagazine.com/blog/?p=35238 

SeanCollinsSTL
“…like a fat kid loves cake.”  @Chouquettestl @SimoneFaure https://twitter.com/SeanCollinsSTL/status/522417180814479360/photo/1

nhereford
Everyday at 4 pm cst; @nichestlouis we taste the whole entire menu. #thecarnage show far https://twitter.com/nhereford/status/522134564546695168/photo/1

dparseliti
R&D night at @thegoodpiestl with @jayeedoubleeff . Down the rabbit hole we go.

oliostl
“This is my third chicken of the day. I’ve been eating chicken since I walked through the door. Look at me! I look like a chicken!” #chefben

Think you should be on this list? Follow us and let us know @saucemag

Raise your voice: Nominations open for James Beard Awards

October 17th, 2014

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Calling all opinionated St. Louis foodies! The prestigious James Beard Foundation has put out a call to the public, requesting nominations for its annual awards. Here’s your chance to call out your favorite chef and restaurant. Click here to register and nominate. Don’t delay – submit your culinary nods before Dec. 31, 2014.

St. Louis is no stranger to the James Beard Foundation. In fact at this very moment, St. Louis is heating up the kitchens at the James Beard House in New York City. The Libertine executive chef and co-owner Josh Galliano cooks there tonight, Oct. 17. Though you can’t grab a seat at that esteemed table tonight, you can pull up a seat at The Libertine bar starting at 5 p.m. for a special happy hour where guests can watch Galliano in action on a live-stream from the James Beard kitchens.

St. Louis made waves on the JBFA stage earlier this year, too. Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and the newly opened Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co., and Gerard Craft, chef-owner of Niche Food Group (including Niche, Pastaria, Taste and Brasserie) were both finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category.

 

 

 

The Weekend Project: Halloween Candy

October 16th, 2014

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When the Sauce editors suggested DIY Halloween candy for this month’s project, I almost went into a Pinterest meltdown. Dan and I love to cook, but homemade candy is one challenge we have intentionally avoided for more than a decade, thanks to one nightmarish incident years ago.

My mom and I used to make Christmas candy when I was kid, and it was a fun holiday tradition I took up again as a young adult. I was just starting out with very little money, so making English toffee and pecan pralines seemed the perfect, personalized Christmas presents. That is, until the year the candy curse struck.

Suddenly, it didn’t matter what new candy thermometers I purchased or what fresh ingredients I bought, my candy never finished with the right texture. The first batch of toffee never hardened; the next batch burned despite my careful attention. Even the pralines failed! Instead of creamy, maple meltaways, I had gloppy maple goo that would have worked better as slime to gross out trick-or-treaters. I was so frustrated that I never made candy again.

Until now. The gauntlet was thrown, so Dan and I resolved to master a couple of candy recipes easy enough to conquer in a weekend and tasty enough to dazzle even the pickiest young ghouls. While you can’t exactly give out homemade candy to those costumed goblins at your door, these make for fine homemade fare at your Halloween party.

 

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The “All for One and One for All Bar” is a riff on Dan’s favorite commercial candy bar (guess which), the only one he actually eats at Halloween. Chocolate encases this cheater’s version of nougat, a simple mixture of melted marshmallow cream and chocolate that comes together in a cinch. The key to this recipe is high-quality chocolate, as its simplicity highlights the quality of the ingredients. You may have to practice to get your glazing technique down (make sure that nougat is very frozen so it doesn’t melt in the hot glaze), but don’t sweat the details – eating the mistakes is part of the fun!

This taffy recipe proved the greater challenge. The first batch worked beautifully, but when our photographer Michelle Volansky came to shoot the process one rainy day, the taffy failed miserably. After further research and slight tweaks to batches three and four, the recipe was finally victorious, and the failed taffy taught me what to look for in a bad batch.

 

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Pulling taffy is an easy process that simply takes patience and maybe a partner to save your arms. Just grasp the ends and pull it into long ribbon, then fold it half and pull again. Continue for at least 10 to 15 minutes, until the taffy has a satiny texture and begins to form ridges. The idea behind pulling taffy is to aerate the candy; you’ll actually see it lighten in color as more air is incorporated. It’s done when it achieves a lighter shade and holds it shape.

 

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Taffy will roll into your desired shape, but if left unwrapped, it oozes back into a Flubber-like pool. If you’re struggling to roll the taffy into a rope, let it rest on the greased cookie sheet to cool for a few minutes while you work with another piece. Away from the heat of your hands, the taffy will be more malleable and easily rolls into a rope for slicing.

These recipes are a cost-effective treat for your family or a unique activity to do with friends. We hope you enjoy pulling pumpkin pie taffy or dipping your own candy bars as much as we relished vanquishing our haunted candy past.

The Gameplan
Day 1: Make the chocolate candy bars.
Day 2: Make the taffy.

The Shopping List*
2½ cups (15 oz.) Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips, divided
7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
1 cup corn syrup
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2¼ tsp. ginger
2¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 29-oz. can pumpkin purée
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

*This list assumes you have milk, canola oil, butter, salt, sugar, eggs and cinnamon. If not, you will need to purchase these items, too.

 

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The “All for One and One for All” Bar
Makes about 30 bite-sized pieces, or 20 “fun-size” bars

2½ cups (15 oz.) Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk (2 percent or whole)

● Line the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
● In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave ½ cup chocolate chips on high 20 to 30 second bursts, stirring until completely melted. Pour the chocolate into the bottom of the loaf pan and use a rubber spatula to spread gently into an even layer.
● In another microwave-safe bowl, melt the marshmallow cream and another ½ cup chocolate chips on high 30 to 45 seconds, until the chocolate softens in the cream. Stir well to combine and pour it over the chocolate, using a rubber spatula to spread gently into an even layer. Freeze the loaf pan until the chocolate is set, 20 to 30 minutes.
● In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave another ½ cup chocolate chips on high 20 to 30 second bursts, stirring until completely melted. Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and pour the melted chocolate over the hardened marshmallow cream, using a rubber spatula to spread gently into an even layer. Freeze again to set, another 15 to 20 minutes.
● Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate glaze. In a narrow coffee mug, microwave the remaining 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon milk on high in 20 to 30 second bursts. Stir until the milk is completely incorporated and the chocolate is thin enough to glaze the bars. Add another 1 tablespoon milk if needed to thin the glaze. Set aside.
● Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and remove the loaf pan from the freezer. Lift the parchment paper to remove the candy bar from the loaf pan and place it on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the candy bar into 1-inch slices, then cut each slice in half. Stab a mini candy bar with a fork, dip it into the milk chocolate glaze to coat and place it on the baking sheet to set. Gently remove the fork and repeat until all the candy bars are glazed.
● Candy bars will keep several weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

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Pumpkin Pie Taffy
Makes about 50 1-inch pieces

Canola oil for greasing
1 cup corn syrup
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. butter plus more to grease
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. pumpkin pie filling* (recipe follows)
5 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. nutmeg

Special equipment: a candy/deep-fry thermometer

● Grease a 9-by-12-inch rimmed cookie sheet with canola oil.
● In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, bring the corn syrup, cornstarch, butter, salt, water, and sugar to boil over high heat, stirring from time to time, until the mixture reaches 260 degrees (hard ball stage). Remove from heat and stir in the pumpkin pie filling, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Pour the taffy onto the greased cookie sheet and let cool until it is easy to handle, at least 10 to 15 minutes.
● Use a sharp, greased knife to divide the taffy evenly into 5 pieces. Lightly grease your hands with oil or butter and roll 1 piece into a ball, then pull it a few inches, fold over and pull again. Repeat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the taffy has a satiny texture and begins to form ridges. The color will lighten and the taffy will hold its shape when done.
● Roll the taffy on the greased cookie sheet into a rope 1 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces using buttered scissors or a sharp knife. Roll each piece of taffy into a sphere.
● Place each piece in center of a 2-by-4-inch piece of parchment paper, wrap and twist to close, or cut a 6- to 8–inch piece of parchment paper and place a piece of taffy in the center. Tightly wrap the parchment around the sphere and twist to make a “ghost,” dotting the sphere with marker to make eyes and a mouth. Repeat the pulling and cutting with the remaining taffy until all the candy is wrapped. Taffy will keep, wrapped, at room temperature for several weeks.

 

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Pumpkin Pie Filling
Makes 2 9-inch pies

● In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine 1 29-ounce can pumpkin purée, 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon ginger.

*Doctoring canned pumpkin makes for a phenomenal pumpkin pie filling. Use what you need for the taffy, the bake the rest with a simple crust for a third Halloween dessert. Get the recipe for a basic pie crust here.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Drink This Weekend Edition: Perennial and New Belgium’s Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout

October 16th, 2014

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Collaboration beers between St. Louis brewers are nothing new, and we’ve been fortunate enough to try a number of tasty beverages brewed between friends. However, Perennial Artisan Ales recently took collaboration to a new level by partnering with craft beer industry veteran, New Belgium Brewing.

This brew came about thanks to the friendship between the Perennial crew and New Belgium’s Lauren Salazar, who happens to be a fan of Perennial’s stouts. It makes sense, then, that the partnership resulted in the Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout, part of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series. To put the craft beer giant’s size – and the collaboration’s significance – into perspective, New Belgium produced more of this one beer than all the beer Perennial makes in a year.

Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout pours as a rich, pitch-black masterpiece with a head that puts off the delicious aroma of baker’s chocolate and dark fruit esters. The creamy mouth feel makes this beer a decadent treat, and the slight salty touch complements the sweet chocolate, a combination that sets your taste buds firing. Weighing in at 9 percent ABV, this one is sure to keep you warm this fall and winter.

Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout can be found at most beer bars and bottle shops, along with the tasting room at Perennial. In addition, you can hang out with the fine folks who collaborated on this beer tonight, Oct. 16 at SoHa from 4 to 6 p.m. and at Bridge from 7:30 to 9 p.m., where they’ll pair small plates with beers from both breweries. Tomorrow, Oct. 17, Salazar and Perennial brewmaster Phil Wymore will hang out at iTap’s Central West End location from 3 to 6 p.m.; join them to try a number of New Belgium and Perennial beers, including this fantastic new collaboration.

Eric Hildebrandt is the moderator and ambassador for STL Hops. Find him on Twitter at @EricSTL6.

 

Baked: Macaron Cake

October 15th, 2014

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A macaron cake can be many things. It could be a cake decorated with macarons. It could be a layer of macarons inside a cake (note to self: try this). But today, a macaron cake means a giant, delicious, cake-sized macaron. When my friend requested this for his birthday, I was excited for the challenge, but I never expected it to be so tasty. I ended up making it twice in two days because we couldn’t get enough!

Even if you’re new to making macarons, this recipe is slightly less stressful since the focus won’t be on those pesky “feet”. If your macaron cracks or looks ugly, it can easily be masked with a pile of fresh fruit and a gentle sift of powdered sugar. It’s far less fussy than making traditional French macarons, but it’s still a show-stopping stunning dessert. (A quick note: You must weigh the ingredients for the macarons; the measurements are that exact.)

The Earl Grey cream filling pairs perfectly with a pistachio macaron base. If you don’t want to indulge in bergamot extract, you can easily substitute vanilla or experiment with any flavor. I imagine this would be delicious with some zesty citrus extracts or even rose or lavender. Enjoy and happy baking!
Macaron Cake
8 servings

For the macarons:
100 g. egg whites (about 3 eggs)
35 g. granulated sugar
200 g. powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
80 g. almond flour
40 g. pistachio flour (available here)

For the filling:
3 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
1½ tsp. bergamot extract (available here)
1 tsp. ground Earl Grey tea leaves
Fresh berries for garnish

Special equipment: a candy or deep fry thermometer

• Use an 8-inch plate to trace 2 circles on pieces of parchment paper with a dark marker. Flip them over and place on two baking sheets. Set aside.
• To make the macarons, whip the egg whites and sugar on high using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff. The egg whites should not move when the bowl is turned upside-down.
• Sift the powdered sugar, almond flour and pistachio flour into the bowl and fold in the ingredients, gently removing air from the batter so it flattens and slowly spreads after mixing. Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.
• Hold the bag perpendicularly a few inches above the circle on the baking sheet. Staring at the center of the circle, slowly pipe the batter in a spiral, leaving a tiny amount of space for the batter to spread and combine to create a disc.
• Hold the bag in the same manner over the second baking sheet, but this time, outline the circle. Pipe another circle just inside the first to create a ring, leaving the center empty.
• Firmly tap each baking sheet on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the batter rest 20 to 30 minutes, until the tops are dry to the touch.
• Move the oven rack to the center and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the baking sheets in the center of the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon to let some air escape. Bake the ring 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through so it bakes evenly. Bake the circle 24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through so it bakes evenly.
• Carefully slide the parchment paper off the baking sheets and onto the counter to let the macarons cool completely before touching.
• Meanwhile, make the filling by placing the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer.
• Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and do not stir. When the mixture reaches exactly 232 degrees, turn the stand mixer on high and drizzle the syrup into the bowl. Beat 1 or 2 minutes until combined, then let rest until it reaches room temperature.
• Beat in the butter, bergamot extract and tea leaves on high until the mixture comes together in smooth, frosting-like consistency, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the cream into the pastry bag and set aside.
• Once the maracons have cooled, gently place the serving plate on top of the disc-shaped macaron and invert it onto the plate. Peel off the parchment paper and pipe the pastry cream in a circle to cover the entire base. Gently lift the ring-shaped macaron off the parchment paper, peeling it as you go and supporting the bottom with your hands. Carefully place the ring atop the pastry cream.
• Fill the hole in the center with fresh berries and sift powdered sugar over the top. The macaron cake will keep, covered, 1 to 2 days.

The Scoop: Chef Bob Brazell launches catering business, revamps The Corner Cup menu

October 15th, 2014

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Chef Bob Brazell, former executive chef at Athlete Eats, has recently launched Snack STL, a catering business that will also offer the occasional pop-up dinner. Brazell said he hopes to collaborate with other local chefs and food purveyors, and menus will vary widely depending on the event.  “I enjoy cooking everything from Southern to Korean to Thai to Mexican,” Brazell said.

At Athlete Eats, Brazell created clean, low-carb, high-energy foods as the restaurant’s executive chef. Before that he cooked at Entre, Monarch and Niche and worked as a personal chef to professional athletes like Sam Bradford.

Brazell also plans to consult for area restaurants, beginning with a new menu at The Corner Cup in Dogtown that focuses on specific dietary needs and lifestyles. The rotating menu has lots of vegan, vegetarian and paleo choices using only locally sourced meats. Diners can also build their own burritos, omelets and breakfast sandwiches.

“We have a really great group of regulars now, and we’re interested in driving people here from all over St. Louis who are interested in quality and locally sourced food,” said Joe Buechler, general manager at The Corner Cup.

New menu highlights include apple-cinnamon French toast topped with caramelized apples and candied walnuts and drizzled with a coconut milk-horchata glaze, paleo pumpkin pancakes topped with toasted cashews and a coconut maple glaze, and a breakfast meatloaf made from grass-fed beef and topped with an egg from Cock and Bull Farms.

The Corner Cup chef Sean Gibson phased in the new menu two weeks ago, served 7 a.m. to noon Thursday through Monday. One staple that won’t change is Buechler’s house-made granola bars, packed with nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter, honey, toasted oats and a vegan protein. The Corner Cup has also added catering, delivering “meetings to go,” with coffee and pastries, and Buechler said he will soon add hot onsite breakfasts as well.

-photo by Greg Rannells

 

Sneak Peek: Old Standard

October 14th, 2014

Ben Poremba's newest restaurant, Old Standard, specializes in his favorite food: fried chicken. Located at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., Old Standard opens to the public Oct. 20.

 

We’ve been craving fried chicken since restaurateur Ben Poremba announced nearly a year ago that he was opening a chicken shack. The restaurant, Old Standard, is located at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., in Botanical Heights, which is anchored by his other eateries, Elaia, Olio and Chouquette. After much renovation to the historic space (It was once a police horse stable.), and a fried chicken research tour that took him to more than 500 eateries around the country, Poremba will open Old Standard’s doors to the public Oct. 20.

Poremba sources chicken from Miller Poultry in Indiana, which raises hormone- and antibiotic-free poultry on an all-vegetable diet. After brining the bird, it is battered and cooked in a pressure fryer. Diners can get their fried chicken half, whole or a la carte – thigh, half-breast or leg. While fried chicken is a main event at Old Standard, guests can get a taste of the South in snacks and sides, many of which feature crispy vegetables and briny pickles to counter the fattiness of fried chicken. A selection of breads and desserts round out the food offerings.

The bar puts a spotlight on American whiskey and soda. Old Standard carries 50 whiskeys, nearly half of which are bourbons. Whiskey-based cocktails are also available. Beer lovers can choose from 10 canned beers (buckets of beer are served in sturdy Coleman lunch boxes) or opt for Old Standard’s proprietary beer on draft, a Pilsner brewed by Urban Chestnut. Teetotalers (and kids) won’t be disappointed in the drink options. Old Standard stocks two dozen bottled sodas and six house-made ones in flavors like rose water-toasted almond and stone fruit-spice. A trio of house-made lemonades and iced teas featuring blends by the London Tea Room, keep the drink vibe on the Southern map.

Old Standard will be open daily. Initial hours will be Monday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to midnight and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with lunch added in six to eight weeks. Here’s what to expect when Old Standard opens doors next Monday:

 

 

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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

Just Five: Halloween Pasta

October 14th, 2014

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Squid ink pasta looks more dramatic than it tastes. Its slight brininess is stronger in fresh pasta than in dried, and it’s intensified even more in this dish thanks to anchovy paste, but mostly it tastes of garlic and sweet cooked squash. Delicata squash is perfect for this dish thanks to its thin, edible skin (no peeling required!) and quick cooking time.

This pasta is the perfect meal for your ghouls and goblins before they head out for a night of trick-or-treating. Noodles black as night are studded with orange crescent moons and plenty of garlic to keep the vampires at bay. Of course, it’s also adult enough to be the entree at a themed dinner party served with goblets of blood red wine. Drape a black lace cloth over the table and string some fake cobwebs around a candelabra for a festive, fun Halloween night.

 

Halloween Pasta
4 servings

1 delicata squash
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for tossing
Kosher salt to taste
8 oz. squid ink pasta*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. anchovy paste
¼ cup shaved Parmesan or pecorino cheese

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Trim the ends off the delicata squash, slice it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Slice into ½-inch crescents. Toss the squash with olive oil to coat and salt to taste, and place them in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water and drain the noodles.
• In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and stir until fragrant, then add the roasted squash and saute 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water and toss gently to coat, about 1 minute. Top with the cheese and serve.

*Squid ink pasta can be found at Parker’s Table.

 

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