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Feb 11, 2016
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Just Five: Pasta with Braised Onion Sauce

February 10th, 2016



Alchemy: The medieval forerunner of chemistry based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir. See: braised onions.

Cooking onions over low heat for a long time is one of the most magical food tricks around. Also it’s simple to do – it only requires patience. Those pesky tears resulting from slicing onions will be transformed into tears of joy when you taste this super simple pasta dish. With a great flourish and an abracadabra, dinner is served.


Pasta with Braised Onion Sauce
4 servings

½ cup (1 stick) butter
1½ lbs. (about 3 to 4) yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup Marsala wine or Madeira
1 lb. spinach fettuccine or other long noodle pasta
¼ to ½ cup grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

• In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute about 10 minutes, until evenly coated in butter and softened. Add the salt* and stir well. Reduce the heat to low and slowly caramelize, stirring occasionally, 35 to 45 minutes, until the onions are jammy.
• Stir in the Marsala and cook 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from heat. Set aside.
• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and add the pasta to the skillet over medium heat. Toss to coat.
• Divide the pasta evenly among 4 bowls. Serve with Parmesan cheese and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

*Stubborn onions refuse to caramelize? Add 1 tablespoon sugar with the salt to urge the process along.


The Scoop: Steve’s Hot Dogs is coming to The Pageant

February 10th, 2016



Hard rock and hot dogs will come together when Steve’s Hot Dogs opens its third location in Suite 100 at The Pageant on March 4. Steve’s Hot Dogs owner Steve Ewing has known the concert venue owners Joe Edwards and Pat Hagin for years and combined with the momentum of the other two Steve’s Hot Dog’s locations, he said the time and new space were right for expansion.

“This has been in the works for a couple of years,” Ewing said. “It took a minute to figure out how to physically fit in the venue, but we did and have enough resources of time and money to get a third location going.”

Food will be prepared at The Hill location of Steve’s Hot Dogs and transported to The Pageant for service. Ewing said Steve’s Hot Dogs will serve a more limited menu from its brick-and-mortar locations in the city, but it will offer the Gorilla Mac-n-Cheese, Chicago-style dog and the Waffle Dog. The Loop location will also honor the word of the day and other promotions.

Hot dogs will be sold from 6 p.m. until midnight on nights when shows are schedule. Diners can sit in the 20-seat space or take their dogs to the Halo Bar or into The Pageant.



The Scoop: Cugino’s to add brewery, Narrow Gauge Brewing

February 9th, 2016



Many know Cugino’s Italian Bar & Grill for its extensive draft list, but soon the restaurant will host a new option in local beer. Narrow Gauge Brewing is scheduled to begin production early this spring, operating out of a space inside the Florissant restaurant.

A joint venture between Cugino’s co-owners Ben Goldkamp, Dave Beckham and brewer Jeff Hardesty, Narrow Gauge will offer a hop-heavy list of brews for exclusive distribution at Cugino’s. The restaurant, located at 1595 N. Highway 67, has begun renovations to provide both a brewing space and tasting room. After switching Cugino’s to a craft beer-focused bar in 2012, Goldkamp and Beckham began making connections at local beer events, including then-homebrewer Hardesty.

A side dining area is scheduled to become the Narrow Gauge tasting room separate from Cugino’s bar. A six-barrel system will be installed below the brewery in repurposed banquet hall, and Hardesty said there is room to expand. Hardesty said beer offerings will include hop-forward styles like India and American pale ales, as well as darker beers such as the robust Old Town Porter.



First Look: Boundary

February 9th, 2016



Boundary at The Cheshire opened doors yesterday, Feb. 8 at 6300 Clayton Road, in the space formerly known as The Restaurant. As The Scoop reported in December, The Restaurant at The Cheshire closed in January for significant renovations and a complete rebranding. Boundary aims to move away from The Restaurant’s identity as a special-occasion spot, toning down the formality of the space by replacing Tudor wood details with exposed brick, expanding the bar into the dining room and adding green and tan leather couches.

The bar and food menus have also been overhauled, replacing traditional courses with more fluid categories like To Share, And Then Some, Hot and Cold, Raw Bar and For the Table. The menu ranges from perfectly executed rainbow trout to homey poutine.

“The point is to make the food approachable, comfortable, shareable,” said executive chef Rex Hale. “Make it so you can come in no matter what the occasion.”

For now, Boundary is open with limited hours: Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Beginning Feb. 22, it will open for lunch at 11 a.m., and on Feb, 28 Boundary will open for brunch on Sundays at 9 a.m. Here’s a First Look at what to expect at The Cheshire’s newest eatery:


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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

Meatless Monday: Vegan Beer Cheese Soup

February 8th, 2016



Conquer the cold weather with this Beer Cheese Soup. Potatoes, carrots and celery work with the vegetable broth to create a hearty base. This thick, rich soup gets its cheese-like flavor from nutritional yeast flakes and miso paste. A hearty glug or two of Urban Chestnut’s Apotheosis finishes this winter warmer. Get the recipe here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser



The Scoop: Former J. Buck’s chef Patrick Viehmann steps into Seamus McDaniel’s

February 8th, 2016



Former J. Buck’s executive chef Patrick Viehmann took his experience at the now-shuttered Clayton restaurant to Dogtown in January when he joined Seamus McDaniel’s as general manager. Viehmann said he plans to keep Seamus’ family traditions alive and said he hasn’t changed the Dogtown institution since his arrival.

“One thing I don’t want to do is make an abundance of changes to a restaurant that has already succeeded,” Viehmann said, adding that some patrons may have feared he would shake things up. Viehmann said he will keep the integrity of the food, staff and overall feel of Seamus, but he is working on additions to the menu.

Owner Susan Venincasa said Viehmann will balance his abilities and customer expectations. “He made a commitment to me to enhance Seamus with his skills and experience, but to keep the menu and integrity the same,” Venincasa said. “I’m very excited for him to be here.”



Make This: Cajun Pasta

February 8th, 2016



St. Louisans find their inner Cajun each year at Mardi Gras, but we also have a strong Italian heritage. Combining these two culinary juggernauts is as simple as this dish. To a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, then saute 1 small chopped onion, 1 sliced green bell pepper, 1 sliced red bell pepper, 2 cloves minced garlic, 12 ounces thinly sliced andouille sausage and 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning* until the onions become translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 1 cup white wine and 2 tablespoons tomato paste, then cook until the sauce reduces by half, about 3 minutes. Add 1 pint heavy cream, bring to a low boil then turn down the heat to low and let the sauce reduce about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare 1 pound farfalle or campanelle pasta according to package directions. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if needed, then remove from heat. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

*To create your own version of Cajun seasoning “Bam!” combine ¼ cup smoked paprika, ¼ cup kosher salt, 2 tablespoons each freshly ground black pepper, ground white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, 1 tablespoon each thyme, cayenne, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon each turmeric, cumin, mace and celery salt.

-photo by Greg Rannells

By the Book: “Magpie” by Holly Ricciardi

February 8th, 2016



I made a mistake when I chose Magpie to cook from this month. I cannot make pies – never have been able, never will be able. But the book, a collection a recipes from Philadelphia’s Magpie Artisan Pie Boutique, looked so appealing, I was convinced I could.

The notion of making my own pie crust was scary, but I went for it. I definitely rolled it too thick, and despite baking it longer than instructed, it still wasn’t fully cooked. But the crust wasn’t the reason my Chocolate Blackout Pie didn’t work. The filling of milk, Valhrona cocoa powder (which I couldn’t find), egg yolks, espresso powder, sugar and cornstarch lacked the expected rich depth of flavor. It reminded me of Swiss Miss chocolate pudding – nothing wrong with that, but not the “chocolate knockout” I hoped for. Not even the chocolate cake crumb topping could deliver on such a promise. I guess I’ll continue to leave the pie baking to the experts.

The Rundown
Skill level: Moderate.
This book is for: Pie lovers with the experience to make them.
Other recipes to try: I doubt I’ll make a pie any time soon, but the herb-goat cheese quiche could tempt me. Maybe.


Chocolate Blackout Pie
1 9-inch pie

½ recipe Magpie Dough for flaky pie crust, chilled overnight (Recipe follows.)
2½ cups whole milk
6 Tbsp. Valrhona cocoa powder
2 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp. fine salt
4 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups crumbled chocolate cake (Recipe follows.)
Lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, for serving

• Roll, pan and flute the dough as directed in the pie crust recipe. Then fully prebake the crust. Set the pan on a wire rack and let the shell cool to room temperature while you make the filling
• Whisk the milk, cocoa, and powdered coffee together in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Keep warm over very low heat.
• Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl. Add the yolks and whisk until smooth and pale. Immediately measure out 1 cup of the hot milk mixture and slowly add it to the yolk mixture, pouring in a thin stream and whisking constantly.
• Turn the heat under the saucepan back up to medium. Slowly add the tempered yolks into the pan, pouring in a thin stream and whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens to a pudding consistency and a few large bubbles rise to the surface, about 5 minutes.
• Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Let cool until slightly warm, about 5 minutes, stirring often. (Don’t cool it all the way or it will begin to set – if this happens, gently rewarm to remedy.)
• Scoop the filling into the prepared pie shell, spreading evenly and smoothing the top. Top with the crumbled cake, pressing gently into the surface of the filling Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight (at least 12 hours and up to 3 days) before slicing and serving. Serve with whipped cream.


Magpie Dough for Flaky Pie Crust
2 9-inch pie crusts

2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. fine salt
¾ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes and frozen
¼ cup vegetable shortening, preferably in baking stick form, frozen cut into ¼ inch pieces, and put back in the freezer
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. ice cold water

• Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse the machine 3 times to blend. Scatter the frozen butter cubes over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine 5 to 7 times, holding each pulse for 5 full seconds to cut all the butter into pea-size pieces. Scatter the pieces of frozen shortening over the flour-and-butter mixture. Pulse the machine 4 more 1-second pulses to blend the shortening with the flour. The mixture will resemble coarse cornmeal, but will be a bit more floury and riddled with pale butter bits.
• Turn the mixture out into a large mixing bowl and make a small well in the center. If you find a few butter clumps that are closer to marble size than pea size, carefully pick them out and give them a quick smoosh with your fingers. Pour the cold water into the well. Use a curved bowl scraper to lightly scoop the flour mixture up and over the water, covering the water to help get the absorption started. Continue mixing by scraping the flour up from the sides and bottom of the bowl into the center, rotating the bowl as you mix and occasionally pausing to clean off the scraper with your finger or the side of the bowl, until the mixture begins to gather into clumps but is still very crumbly.
• Lightly gather the clumps with your fingers and use your palm to fold over and press the dough a few times, until it just begins to come together into a single large mass. It will be a raggedy wad, moist but not damp, that barely holds together; this is exactly as it should be – all it needs is a good night’s rest in the fridge.
• Divide in two to make two single crust pies.
• No ifs, ands, or buts, the dough must have its beauty sleep. That means 8 hours in the refrigerator at the very least. Extra rest is just fine; feel free to let the wrapped dough sit in the fridge for up to 3 days before rolling.
• To prebake the shell, chill the panned, fluted piecrust in the freezer until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.
• Preheat the oven to 375 with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut an additional 13-by-13-inch square of parchment.
• Set the pan on the lined baking sheet. Set the square of parchment in the pie shell and gently smooth it into place, pleating as needed to fit it up against the bottom and sides of the shell. The edges of the paper will project beyond the rim of the pan; just leave them standing straight up.
• Fill the shell to the top with the dried beans. Gently stir the beans around with your fingers to ensure that there are no air pockets. Top up with more beans as needed to come level with the top of the fluted edge of the piecrust.
• Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake the shell for 25 minutes.
• Set out a wire rack and alongside it a mixing bowl. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and set it on the rack; bring together the points of parchment and carefully lift out the beans and transfer them to the bowl.
• Slide the baking sheet back into the oven and bake the crust another 10 minutes for fully prebaked. Cool on a wire rack.


Chocolate Cake
1 8-inch square cake

¼ cup unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing baking dish
¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for flouring baking dish
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fine salt
6 Tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup brewed coffee
½ cup whole milk
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract

• Preheat the oven to 325 with a rack in the center. Butter and flour an 8 x8-inch baking dish.
• Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
• Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the coffee, milk and sugars, mixing until dissolved and combined. Whisk in the egg and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture.
• Pour the batter into the prepped pan and bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert on to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
• The cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a freezer bag, and frozen up to 1 month.

Reprinted with permission from Running Press Book Publishers

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

February 7th, 2016

From sneak peeks of new restaurants to hometown beer victories to a mouth-watering new issue, here’s everything that went down in the STL culinary scene last week, in case you missed it.


1. Our February issue hit stands Monday, featuring everything we love right now from bread to Scandinavian spirits to a swoon-worthy triple-chocolate croissant from La Patisserie Chouquette. Click above to read online for free now.




2. We shared 4 new restaurants you absolutely must try this month, including Porano Pasta, Moya Grill, Nami Ramen and Midtown Sushi & Ramen. Check out the Sauce Hit List.




3. Companion has invited the public into its baking process on Feb. 2, when doors opened at its new Maryland Heights campus.

4. A taste of China, India and the Mediterranean is slated to open at the end of March when first-time restaurant owner Venkatesh Sattaru welcomes diners to Absolute BBQ – Indian Wish Grill.




5. After four months of renovation, the space in The Chase Park Plaza that formerly housed Eau Bistro, which closed on Nov. 3, 2015, has been transformed into The Preston.

6. Meat lovers in Mehlville and beyond have a new place to get their fix. Co-owners Wes Smith, CJ Baerman and Shawn Orloski opened Ol’ School Smokehouse at 7565 S. Lindbergh Blvd., on Monday, Jan. 25.




7.  True, St. Louis isn’t exactly in love with the NFL at the moment, but we’ll take any excuse to slather wings in hot sauce and eat with reckless, sloppy abandon. Here, 4 chicken wing recipes to win the Super Bowl spread.

8. McArthur’s Bakery Café will whip up a lot more frosting next month. The 60-year-old St. Louis institution announced Feb. 4 that it will add another bakery and cafe at 6630 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop.





9. Meet Patrick Devine, assistant pastry chef of Simone Faure’s La Patisserie Chouquette in Botanical Heights and learn about his love of challenging technique and crowd-pleasing sweets.

10. It was a good start to February for the St. Louis beer scene as several breweries, restaurants and retailers took home RateBeer awards at the website’s annual festival and awards show last weekend, Jan. 30 and 31.


-Porano photo by Greg Rannells, Patrick Devine photo by Carmen Troesser, Companion photo by Meera Nagarajan, The Preston photo by Michelle Volansky 

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

February 5th, 2016

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