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Oct 24, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drink This Weekend Edition: It Doesn’t Get Better

October 23rd, 2014

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The Bee’s Knees is a classic gin cocktail with origins in Prohibition, when booze was terrible (yes, even gin) and extra ingredients were added to cover up the taste of the inferior spirit. The result included a deliciously easy cocktail called The Bee’s Knees. I winterized it with barrel-aged gin (I use Smooth Ambler), which mellows out the cocktail and adds a malty component. You can find whiskey-barreled Woodside honey and gin barrel-aged bitters at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton.

It Doesn’t Get Better
1 serving

½ cup whiskey-barreled Woodside honey
¼ cup hot water
2 oz. barrel-aged gin
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers gin barrel-aged bitters
Lemon twist for garnish

• In a small bowl, stir together the honey and hot water until dissolved to create a honey syrup.
• Fill a Boston shaker with ½ ounce honey syrup, the gin, lemon juice and bitters. Shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with lemon twist.

Natasha Bahrami is a member of USBG St. Louis and co-owner of Natasha’s Cafe and The Gin Room.

The Scoop: Juniper chef de cuisine Ryan McDonald to join Truffles Restaurant and Butchery

October 23rd, 2014

The meat case is filled with various cuts of locally and regionally sourced beef, pork, lamb and chicken.

{The meat case at Truffles Butchery}

 

After a year as chef de cuisine at Juniper, Ryan McDonald is joining the team at Truffles and Butchery as executive sous chef.

It’s a reunion of sorts. McDonald worked briefly at Truffles before he took the position at Juniper, and he has previously worked with Truffles executive chef Brandon Benack, sous chef Israel Rodriguez and general manger and wine director, Aleksander Jovanovic at Hubert Keller’s former steakhouse Sleek.

McDonald will man Butchery two days a week, assisting head butcher Andrew Jennrich in the newly opened shop. The remainder of his time will be spent helping Benack to expand and rework menu items at Truffles. “He’s definitely going to have plenty of freedom and room to bring his own touch to the menu,” Jovanovic said. “Both Brandon and Ryan have very deep backgorunds in Southern cooking.”

“I’m excited to be able to collaborate and renovate the menu,” McDonald said. “I’m especially excited about the charcuterie and getting my hands on butchering whole cows.” Truffles’ Butchery specializes in whole-animal butchery sourcing from local and regional farms. The shop also sells house-made side dishes and condiments and offers a sandwich menu.

McDonald said his time at Juniper taught him skills essential to taking on a leadership role in the kitchen. “Juniper is the first place where I was able to take the reins and have freedom to cook the food that I wanted to cook,” he said. “(Juniper) helped me develop and mature into more of a chef than a cook.”

Juniper chef-owner John Perkins said he could not comment on who would replace McDonald at his Central West End establishment, but that his former CDC’s talents would serve him well at Truffles. “Obviously Ryan was really important to the growth of Juniper over the past year, and I expect that he’s going to do very well at Truffles and into the future, whatever that ends of looking like,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 5 p.m. Oct. 23 with a comment from Juniper chef-owner John Perkins.

Extra Sauce: Companion’s Josh Allen enters bread battle to compete in World Cup of Baking

October 22nd, 2014

Every four years, the world goes wild for international competition. Participants train endlessly, all vying for the chance to represent their countries on the grandest of stages. No, we’re not talking about the Olympics or the World Cup. We’re talking about a more delicious and mouthwatering sport: the World Cup of Baking, or the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.

The top three bakers from each country’s team will gather in Paris in March 2016 to be judged on bread, Viennese pastries, a savory sandwich presentation and an artistic piece. But before they go head-to-head in international competition, they have to make their national team. St. Louis’ own Josh Allen, owner of Companion, is one of 15 bakers fighting for a coveted spot tomorrow and Friday, Oct. 23 and 24, at the next round of competition in Providence, Rhode Island. If selected, Allen will be the first St. Louis baker to compete in the World Cup.

Since August, Allen has spent nearly every Friday at the Ladue Companion Cafe from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., elbow-deep in dough, testing new recipes and learning along the way. We popped by one of his final practice sessions to get the inside look at how a baker prepares for the tryout of a lifetime.

Allen is required to present five types of bread: a traditional and decorative baguette, a sourdough-based option, a nutritional loaf, and two freestyle breads of his creation. All five must be completed in eight hours and match precise weight and shape requirements.

 

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Since the judges will taste the bread straight from the oven, Allen has changed his usual methods, which focus on preparing bread consumed 12 hours later. “(I) found that the amount of thyme or rosemary has to be cut way back because it’s so floral initially,” Allen said.

Allen wanted to create breads that stand alone, almost as a meal. Each bite should be a sensory overload, he explained.

 

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The nutritional bread (pictured below), which contains more than 50 percent whole-grain flour, has the comforting aroma of chamomile dust. Mixed throughout the dough are quinoa and wild rice, as well as sweet-tart, crunchy pomegranate seeds.

 

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The classic baguette (below) is Allen’s favorite.

 

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Allen elevated the average sourdough (below) by using semolina flour studded with fennel and sesame seeds and brown butter to gild the lily.

 

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The first freestyle bread (below, left) is an ode to fall: chunks of apple and toasted walnut are folded into a thyme- and apple cider-infused rye dough topped with barley for crunch. He kicks up the heat with his second freestyle bread (below, right): an airy polenta bread with briny green olives, aromatic rosemary, bright orange zest, and a zip of red pepper.

 

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Allen expects to hear the results of this round in two weeks or so. If he succeeds, he will move to the final round of competition in March 2015, when the top three compete again to earn the coveted bread baker slot on the three-person team. “I’m as ready to go as I can be,” Allen said the day before competition. “There’s no telling what will resonate with the judges … I’m very excited about it. It’s been a great experience, but it’s been enough work that you want to do well.”

Spencer Perinkoff blogs at Whiskey and Soba

-story and photos by Spencer Pernikoff

Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try right now

October 21st, 2014

Welcome to Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.

 

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1. They are literally paying it forward at Rise Coffee House in The Grove. The Coffee for the People free board is an array of cup insulators tacked to a bulletin board. Each one offers a free drink – for the right person. For instance, a customer can purchase pay for and write on the insulator “bottomless cup for anyone job-searching,” orffering liquid refreshment for the beleaguered soul who finds and redeems it. More ambiguous designations include things like a free cup “for a short poppy amongst the tall ones.” It’s a nice way to spread a touch of kindness and good karma.

 

2. Dessert for less than a dollar? That’s right in this cheapskate’s wheelhouse. Hyde Park’s Sun Cafe & Market offers peanut butter bombs for a meager 50 cents each. These cute little jawbreaker-sized guys taste like extra-dense, moist peanut butter cookies.

 

3. Pumpkin-flavored foods of autumn, you may have just met your match. The Patch Burger at Stacked is ground chuck topped with bacon, goat cheese and sweet potato puree that was braised in Ferguson Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale. Can hamburger and pumpkin be friends? The Patch Burger is the October Burger of the Month at Stacked, so you have just a two more weeks to try it out.

 

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4. Building your own sushi roll is a tech-filled good time at Flying Rolls. You choose the roll size, wrap, protein (crab, tuna, yellowtail, etc.), rice (white or brown), veggies and sauce (eel sauce, orange sauce, lemon mayo, etc.) and punch it all into the touchscreen kiosk in the dining room. The sushi chef behind the counter makes it to order for $7 to $9.

 

5. I Scream Cakes’ Kerry Soraci is having fun with fall. New beer-based autumn flavors of ice cream at the shop include Butter Pecan Ale made with Ferguson Brewing’s Pecan Nut Brown Ale and brown butter. Goat Figure is a mix of pumpkin ice cream made with Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale and pumpkin puree, plus Baetje Farms goat cheese and a citrus-fig swirl. Chocolate Milk Stout Ice Cream incorporates 4 Hands’ Chocolate Milk Stout and a caramel swirl. They’re $2.69 for a cone at I Scream, but you can order them a $6 flight of four mini waffle cones at the St. Louis Brewers’ Guild Harvest Festival at Lafayette Park Nov. 1 or the Ballpark Village Brew Fest Nov. 8.

 

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6. We like the prices of the new no-frills breakfast items at the United Provisions’ Dining District – and the mix-and-match options. You might try an egg sandwich, picking from various cheeses, meats, tomatoes, spinach, etc., on a bagel, croissant or biscuit, starting at $2.50. They also have “eggs in a basket,” two over-easy eggs on toast ($4), biscuits with sausage gravy ($5), biscuits with a pomegranate butter ($4) and a full selection of coffee drinks. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.

 

7. Drinking margaritas is dangerous. One is a muscle relaxer; two are an invitation to board the fun train to parts unknown. They’re that much harder to resist down at Margs for a Mission at Hacienda Mexican Restaurant. Every Monday, the capacious eatery’s newly renovated margarita and tequila bar donates $1 from every margarita sale and $5 from every cocktail pitcher sale will be given to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Also on Mondays, dig into $2 street tacos to soak up the booze.

 

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8. The new Happy Hour Madness at Central Table includes some sweet deals. From 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, flights of three beer tastes or three wine tastes are $5. Half-off happy-hour treats include full-size, shareable portions of mussels ($6.50), calamari ($6), Margherita pizza ($6), meatballs ($4.50), prosciutto and burrata on warm flatbread ($4.50), and blistered shishito peppers with ponzu sauce and black sesame seeds ($4.50).

 

9. Other pumpkin coffee drinks bow down before the Baked Maple Pumpkin Latte ($3.75 to $4.75) at Kaldi’s. That’s because the local roaster uses real baked pumpkin puree and steams it with cinnamon, maple syrup, cinnamon syrup and milk for an authentic pumpkin experience. It’s topped with whipped cream and fresh-grated nutmeg, and it’s available at all Kaldi’s locations.

 

10.There are plenty of wine shops that pour free samples, but Vino Gallery is half wine shop, half art gallery, so you can ogle artsy stuff while you sip. Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., the CWE shop pours three or four different bottles for complimentary tastings. (Pinot noirs find their way to the tasting table often during fall.) While you’re ogling, ask to see the cool Coravin wine opener, which uses a hollow needle and argon gas to remove wine from bottles without actually opening it, leaving its character intact for next time.

Harvest Festival 2014

October 20th, 2014

St. Louisans turned out in droves to celebrate Harvest Festival at Laumeier Sculpture Park on Sunday, Oct. 19. Check out all the fun from this gorgeous fall day!

 

 

Meatless Monday: Veggie Hash

October 20th, 2014

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This Meatless Monday, eat your veggies in a quick-cooking medley of Brussels sprouts, spinach and new potatoes sauteed in a touch of olive oil. As with all hashes, an egg is always a wise choice, whether over-easy, fried or poached. Get the recipe for this quick vegetarian meal here.

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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