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May 03, 2015
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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: Gastón Acurio’s Mixed Ceviche

May 2nd, 2015

When I held up Peru: The Cookbook to a trio of Peruvians at a recent dinner party, I was met with shrieks with delight. “¡Ay, Gastón Acurio!” Acurio is a superstar in his own country, but his culinary influence reaches much farther. He owns nearly four dozen restaurants around the globe, including La Mar in San Francisco and Miami. With Peru: The Cookbook (to be released May 18), Acurio makes Peruvian cuisine even more accessible to the English-speaking cook.

My dinner pals salivated over the 500 recipes in this compendium of classic Peruvian dishes. There were so many they longed for – lomo saltado (beef stir fry), tacu tacu (a patty of rice and mashed beans, often served with breaded steak or a fried egg) and especially fish dishes. We agreed that ceviche showcases the fresh flavors of Peruvian cuisine. Among the 30 ceviche recipes in the cookbook, Acurio’s mixed ceviche – squid, white fish, prawns, octopus and scallops – appealed most to the seafood lover in me.

 

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Although ceviche is usually a dish of raw fish or seafood marinated in acid, Acurio’s recipe cooks the squid and octopus and blanches the prawns. The upside to this method is that it shaves a lot off the marinade time.

 

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While I prepped the seafood, a friend got a workout juicing the lemons. The recipe calls for the juice of 20 small lemons. As it happened, the Asian market where I purchased fresh produce for this recipe only sold lemons the size of a fist. In the end, seven of these humongous lemons produced the equivalent of 2½ cups juice, which I poured over the chopped seafood.

 

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Ceviche is often enhanced with the flavors of onions, corn, chiles and culantro, a relative of cilantro. True to tradition, Acurio’s recipe called for all of these. While I didn’t intend to deviate from his recipe, the Asian market threw another wrench in my plans. The only sweet potato was a Japanese variety, and fresh corn was unavailable so I settled for a can of baby corn, I don’t think Acurio would mind the Japanese inflection I added to the ceviche since Japanese is one of many international cuisines that has Peruvian culture over the years. “These people arrived in Peru with their memories, their ingredients, their techniques, and they started mixing with the locals,” said Acurio in one interview.

The dish was delicious. The flavors were fresh and bright. The produce lent crunchy texture to the chewy seafood medley. If you haven’t already jumped on the Peruvian culinary bandwagon that is gaining traction in the U.S., once you get your hands on Acurio’s book, you, like his compatriots, will shriek, “¡Ay, Gastón Acurio!”

 

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Gastón Acurio’s Mixed ceviche
4 servings

5½ oz. squid, cleaned
1 6-oz. white fish fillet
12 shrimp (prawns), blanched
7 oz. cooked octopus, thinly sliced
12 scallops, cleaned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
2 tsp. chipped limo chile
Juice of 20 small lemons
1 tsp. chopped culantro or cilantro leaves
2 or 3 ice cubes
1 red onion, sliced into half-moon crescents
1 corncob, cooked and kernels removed
Half sweet potato, boiled and cut into 8 slices

• Put the squid in the boiling water for 40 seconds. Drain and cut in ¼-inch rings.
• Cut the fish into ¾-inch cubes and place in a bowl with the shrimp, squid, octopus and scallops. Season with the salt and pepper. After 1 minute, add the garlic and limo chile. Mix together well.
• Pour over the lemon juice and add the culantro or cilantro leaves and ice cubes. Stir and let stand for a few seconds. Add the red onion and remove the ice cubes. Mix together and adjust the seasoning to taste.
• Serve in a large shallow bowl with cooked corn kernels and boiled sweet potato slices.

Reprinted with permission from Phaidon

What is your most memorable experience with Peruvian cuisine? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Peru by Gastón Acurio. 

 

 

The Scoop: Beer bottle shop to open on Cherokee Street

May 1st, 2015

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There’s no shortage of places on Cherokee Street to kick back with a beer or cocktail, but stopping to pick up a six-pack of craft brews on the way home is a bit of a challenge. Co-owners Justin Harris and Ryan Griffin aim to change that when they open Saint Louis Hop Shop at 2606 Cherokee St., this month, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

A longtime craft beer enthusiast, Harris said that Saint Louis Hop Shop shop will supply St. Louisans with a wide selection of canned and bottled brews from local favorites like 4 Hands, Schlafly and Urban Chestnut. “We want to get as many (beers) from the city as we can,” he said. “We’re looking for something from everyone that does … bottling or canning.” Harris also wants to bring in a selection of national and international craft brews.

The 850-square-foot shop will also have a small tasting area with four taps, enabling customers to sample beer from breweries who don’t bottle, like The Civil Life and Modern Brewing. “We didn’t really want a huge space,” Harris said. “We wanted somewhere that was small, but gave us room to grow into. As we expand our selection, we can make sure we always have the freshest beer available to our customers.”

The duo chose Cherokee Street as home to Hop Shop because of its location in St. Louis city, as well as the vibrant cultural scene and cooperation among business owners in the neighborhood. “Cherokee (has) a different vibe. (It) is so authentic, and so much culture,” he said. “Everybody is so willing to work with each other and help each other out.”

 

 

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

May 1st, 2015

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

 

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emwng
Happy hour! ‪@thelibertinestl
https://twitter.com/emwng/status/593913638257201152/photo/1

guerrillastreet
First big delivery to the new restaurant space today! ‪#gsfrestaurant
https://twitter.com/guerrillastreet/status/592842070357839873/photo/1

etoiline
Had lunch outside for the first time this year. What a lovely day! (Thanks ‪@bombayfoodtruck for the yums!)

hegarrett
You know ‪@PappySmokehouse is the best when you see a Pappy’s St Louis bumper sticker in Texas. ‪@Pigpicker

ironstef
Stepped on my cat. No longer need coffee.

bmox
Don’t read frozen pizza nutrition facts > don’t read the comments

WhiskeyAndSoba
Probably not a surprise to anyone, but I just ate at ‪@nichestlouis and it was outstanding. Thanks ‪@nhereford ‪@BrianLagerstrom ‪@sbosborn!

peggytaylor
When a cocktail is named The Lord Taylor, I order it. ‪#sundayfunday @ Cucina Pazzo by Justin ‪https://instagram.com/p/185EhTiHln/ 

 

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

Drink This Weekend Edition: Morning in Baja

April 30th, 2015

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Tequila is delicious in so much more than margaritas, but incorporating it into the home bar can be a challenge. I prefer reposado tequila, which is aged in oak barrels from two to 12 months. Avoid tequila labeled “gold,” which can have as little as 49 percent tequila and contain additives like caramel coloring.

This cocktail combines that reposado tequila with a soft, subtly sweet vermouth and a fruity ruby port to create a perfect patio drink with depth and a bright finish. You can easily turn this cocktail into a party punch by multiplying all the ingredients by eight and adding 16 ounces dry sparking wine.

 

Morning in Baja
1 serving

1 oz. reposado tequila
1 oz. Dolin blanc vermouth
1 oz. ruby port
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
3 thin strips cucumber, for garnish

• Stack the tequila, vermouth, port, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake 15 to 20 seconds, then strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with cucumber strips.

Justin Cardwell is a member of USBG St. Louis and general manager at BC’s Kitchen.

The Scoop: Stubborn German Brewing to open next year in Waterloo, Illinois

April 30th, 2015

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West County recently received word that it would soon have a new brewery to call its own, and next year, Illinois residents will add one to its ranks, too. High school sweethearts Chris and Tammy Rahn are making the move from homebrewing to opening a brewery in their hometown of Waterloo, Illinois. Stubborn German Brewing looks to open doors at a soon-to-be-determined location in 2016. In the meantime, the Rahns can be found in Forest Park at St. Louis Microfest May 1 and 2, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Chris Rahn said the couple has looked to open a place for the last two years and is now eyeing a location in downtown Waterloo where they will serve multiple styles of mostly German-influenced beers.

“I’m stubborn like that,” Rahn said. “German-style lagers are more difficult to do well, to make them as crisp and refreshing as they should be. Lagers take more finesse to do right, and that makes it more of a fun challenge.”

Having started with a single Mr. Beer homebrew kit 10 years ago, Rahn now plans to brew 93 gallons at a time, including a selection of four to six rotating seasonal brews, as well as year-round offerings like Stubbornfest (an Oktoberfest), Fountain Creek Kolsch, Old Ledger Lager, Blitzkrieg IPA and Schitzengiggles (a dark, dunkel-style lager).

The Scoop: Standard Brewing Co. to come to Maryland Heights in August

April 30th, 2015

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Craft beer is coming to West County this August. As Jeff Harlan and Jeff Jones of J2 Brewing plan to open Standard Brewing Co. in the old Fudruckers space at 12322 Dorsett Road in Maryland Heights, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

“We want to make Maryland Heights a mecca for craft beer in West County,” said Harlan. “There is potential for a serious nightlife scene here.”

The ample space in the former burger chain will allow at least 150 thirsty drinkers inside and 40 outside to sample Standard’s offerings, which will start with an IPA, Hefeweizen, blond ale and a stout. Future offerings will include an Oktoberfest and an English brown ale. Other local craft brews will be available on tap, as well as a selection from area micro-distillers and Missouri wineries.

Regardless of the brew, Harlan said he aims to set the standard for each beer. “If you’re drinking our IPA, it is a good, solid IPA,” he said. “Our stout will hit the mark in the stout class of beer.”

The details of the restaurant side are in the works, but Harlan is looking to create a fresh take on artisanal pizza and salad with every dish complementing the beer.

First Look: Kingside Diner

April 30th, 2015

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Kingside Diner, a new restaurant from Herbie’s Vintage ’72 owner Aaron Teitelbaum, is now open in the Central West End. Located in the former Lester’s space at 4651 Maryland Ave., adjacent to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Kingside serves breakfast all day, plus burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, salads and blue-plate specials.

Kingside looks to offer a modern take on classic diner fare, and most items ring up around $10. Many ingredients are made in-house, and dishes sport creative twists, such as French toast turned into a waffle or the massive Thanksgiving All Year sandwich, which piles quintessential Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixin’s between slices of bread. Such ideas are the work of Chris Vomund, promoted this week to executive chef for both Kingside and Herbie’s. (Vomund was executive chef at the now defunct The Nest, and briefly worked at Eleven Eleven Mississippi before joining Teitelbaum at Herbie’s.)

Beverage offerings include coffee and espresso-based drinks featuring Wild Horse Creek coffee, a specialty brand from local roaster Ronnoco. Once the restaurant’s liquor license is approved, it will also offer a full bar, and late May will see the launch of a dessert menu with a full range of shakes and floats.

The decor at Kingside stays true to the diner’s name with photos of chess matches adorning the walls of the 90-seat main dining area. Vintage travel chess sets sit on display near a stairwell that leads to a second floor patio with an additional 30 seats. Kingside has also partnered with its neighbor, the St. Louis Chess Club, which will offer occasional classes in one of the restaurant private dining rooms.

Here’s a first look at what to expect when you eat at Kingside Diner.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Baked: Chocolate Cherry Cake

April 29th, 2015

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I made this simple cake for a friend who loves chocolate-covered cherries. Though it’s never been my favorite combination, they complement each other well, and this cake tempers the sweetness with strong brewed coffee and tart buttermilk. Frozen cherries add a nice tang to the chocolate, too. This rich cake is ideal paired with a post-dinner glass of red wine and great conversation. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Chocolate Cherry Cake
Adapted from Lady and Pups
Makes 1 9-inch cake

1 cup sugar
¾ cup strong brewed coffee
¾ cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cup flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. plus a pinch kosher salt, divided
8 oz. frozen, pitted cherries, thawed and roughly chopped
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
Chocolate shavings or sprinkles, for garnish

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan or cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
• In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the canola oil, coffee, buttermilk, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and ¾ teaspoon salt until just combined, then fold in the cherries. Pour the batter into the pie pan.
• Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Let cool completely.
• Meanwhile, prepare the ganache by bringing the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chocolate chips and the remaining pinch of salt. Remove from heat, cover and let rest 2 minutes. Whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Let cool completely.
• Turn the cake out of the pan and onto a serving platter. Drizzle with the cool ganache and garnish with chocolate shavings or sprinkles before serving.

The Scoop: Rollin Around pops up at St. Louis events with egg roll stand

April 29th, 2015

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Often served as a side at carryout Chinese restaurants, egg rolls take center stage at Rollin Around, a new food stand that specializes in egg rolls with fillings like Philly cheesesteak, Buffalo chicken and pizza.

Co-owners Robert and Megan Hickman said their idea for the unconventional fillings came when they wanted to try a new, yet kid-friendly meal at home. “We wanted to do something different for dinner, but we have kids, so we still wanted it to not be messy,” said Robert Hickman. “We wanted to make sure that our kids could walk around the house or watch a movie while eating these.”

The kitchen experiment started at their dinner table, but quickly moved to Hickman’s workplace, then family parties and launched as a business this April. Hickman, who attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in St. Louis, has previously worked at The Stadium at Lumiere Casino (now Ozzie’s Sports Bar & Grill), Frank & Helen’s in University City and Two Shamrocks in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Currently, the Hickmans have 20 different egg rolls on their menu with fillings ranging from meatballs to teriyaki to chicken cordon bleu. Currently Rollin Around fries egg rolls to order at St. Louis-area events, and customers can also order frozen egg rolls delivered to their homes. The Hickmans are currently fundraising to purchase a food truck. “We’re catered to the family environment, and we want to be the most family-friendly food truck you can find,” he said.

 

 

The Scoop: Peculiar Penguin serves up NOLA-inspired fare, baked goods in Tower Grove South

April 29th, 2015

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A restaurant serving up New Orleans-inspired fare with a decidedly non-NOLA name has opened shop in Tower Grove South: Peculiar Penguin opened doors April 17. The 700-square-foot space is located at 4005 Utah St., as reported by Feast Magazine.

Tower Grove residents and co-owners Michael Catalanotto and Tess Baklor took over the kitchen when the owners of next-door AM Trading Co. announced they were closing their adjacent bakery, Annie Moons. “I was a customer at Annie Moons on more than a few occasions and when I found out they were closing their kitchen, I decided right then that it wasn’t really going to close,” Catalanotto said. “I wanted to take over.”

Peculiar Penguin is his first experience running a restaurant, but he has worked in the kitchens of The Dam, South City Diner and Café Eau at The Chase Park Plaza. The menu is a nod to Catalanotto’s roots with Southern Louisiana dishes like slow-cooked red beans and rice, andouille sausage and cornmeal-breaded catfish. Plenty of a la carte options are available; look for dishes like fried green tomatoes, cornbread, pecan-crusted okra and baked macaroni and cheese. “We’re trying to keep everything below $10,” he said.

The space’s baking history gets a nod, too. A rotating selection of cakes, breads, cookies and scones changes daily. Beverage options are on the healthy side, including selections from The London Tea Room, Confluence kombucha and fresh ground Chauvin Coffee. In true New Orleans fashion, Catalanotto hopes to offer crawfish boils on the 20-seat patio. Another 24 seats are available inside Peculiar Penguin.

And just how did the restaurant get such a peculiar moniker? It’s fairly simple. Catalanotto said Baklor already owned the website peculiarpenguin.com, currently under construction. Peculiar Penguin is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

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