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Oct 02, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Baked: Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies

October 1st, 2014

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As a child, I loved those Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, and I have always wondered what it would be like to make them from scratch. This recipe offers the same smooth, buttery crunch, but instead of a classic chocolate filling, I paired them with a pumpkin spice ganache in honor of the upcoming fall. After all, it’s October, which means we’re about to be inundated with pumpkin-flavored everything. This rich pumpkin white chocolate cream makes for a perfect fall dessert, and should you have some leftover, it’s sinfully delicious as a spread or straight off a spoon when no one is looking.

Be careful not to over-bake these delicate cookies; mine turned out browner than I expected. As soon as the edges start to brown, they’re done. You want these to be pale white, not quite as dark as the photo above. Enjoy and happy baking!

Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from a Bravetart recipe
Makes about 15 cookies

¾ oz. cornstarch
8 oz. flour
4 oz. butter, room temperature
3½ oz. sugar
2 oz. corn syrup
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼. tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
¼ oz. powdered milk
1 egg
2 egg whites
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped

• Preheat the oven 300 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
• In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and flour together. Set aside.
• In another large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, corn syrup, baking soda, salt, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamed, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat well.
• Add 1 egg white and half the flour-cornstarch mixture, beating on low until combined. Add the remaining egg white and the rest of the flour-cornstarch mixture until combined. Pour the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip attached.
• Pipe the batter onto the lined baking sheets, creating strips about 2 inches long and ½- inch wide, gently pressing the batter down a bit with the tip while piping so the cookies do not become too thick.
• Bake 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges of the cookies are just slightly brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.
• Meanwhile, heat the heavy cream, brown sugar and pumpkin puree in a medium saucepan over low heat for a few minutes, stirring, until the mixture combines and just comes to a simmer. Add the white chocolate and let sit for 1 minute, then whisk to combine until smooth. Transfer the melted ganache to a bowl and let cool at room temperature 30 minutes, then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled.
• To assemble the cookies, whip the ganache with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Smear a dollop of ganache on the bottom of a cookie, then press the bottom of another cookie on the ganache to sandwich them together. Repeat until all the cookies are used. The sandwich cookies will keep, refrigerated, for several days.

Sneak Peek: BaiKu Sushi Lounge

October 1st, 2014

In July, The Scoop broke the news that Café Pintxos at Hotel Ignacio in Midtown was being reconcepted as BaiKu Sushi Lounge. Under the direction of Brad Beracha, owner of now defunct sushi restaurant Miso on Meramec and Araka, BaiKu has come to life. The restaurant is now open for dinner and will offer lunch service beginning Oct. 6.

The sushi menu is extensive. It features specialty nigiri and sashimi, Hawaiian fish flown in daily, a selection of eight specialty rolls and unique chilled appetizers. The sushi bar is manned by BaiKu’s executive sushi chef, Soung Min Lee, formerly sushi chef at Miso as well as Central Table Food Hall. Joining Lee behind the counter is his brother, sous chef Soung Ho Lee.

Hot dishes at BaiKu are prepared in the kitchen at Triumph Grill, which adjoins the first floor of the hotel. Warm appetizers include creatively prepared bites like lobster shumai (Chinese-style dumplings), lettuce cups holding steamed Hawaiian blue prawns and steamed buns. Larger plates feature Korean-style hanger steak, Alaskan salmon and Hawaiian snapper.

BaiKu offers a variety of noodle dishes; guests can choose between soba, udon or ramen, the latter made locally by Midwest Pasta Co. The hot food menu was developed by Triumph executive chef Josh Norris. A native of Maui, Norris said he grew up eating a number of these dishes during his youth on the island.

Premium sake headlines beverage offerings. Rounding out the drink selection are more than 50 beers – including five Japanese brews – and wines chosen for their ability to pair with sushi. Here’s what’s in store at BaiKu:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Breakfast is focus at soon-to-open Cabana on The Loop

October 1st, 2014

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{From left, Cabana in The Loop owners Latoshia “Hope” Morrow, Wendell Bryant and head chef and general manager Nicole Griffin}

 

Cabana on The Loop is about to unlock doors as soon as this Saturday, Oct. 4, at 6100 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop. Situated at the corner of Rosedale Avenue in the space most recently occupied by Horseshoe House, Cabana on The Loop will offer American cuisine rooted in Southern cookery. The eatery will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily – the latter by reservation only – but the focus will be on morning fare.

The restaurant is a project by husband-and-wife team Wendell Bryant and Latoshia “Hope” Morrow. “We always wanted a family restaurant,” Bryant said. Cabana on The Loop will indeed be a family affair; Bryant’s cousin Nicole Griffin will take on the dual role of directing kitchen operations and managing the restaurant. A graduate of L’Ecole Culinaire, Griffin helped open Southern-inspired SoHo in The Grove in 2012. After a culinary stint in Phoenix, she returned to St. Louis to manage the downtown location of Rib Shack and run her own private catering company.

 

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{The cereal bar at Cabana in The Loop will feature 20 cereals displayed in dispensers around the bar.}

 

At Cabana in The Loop, Griffin will return to a down-home cooking style similar to that from her yearlong tenure at SoHo, including shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and chicken and waffles. Look also for a number of omelets, such as the Soul Food Omelet that features collard greens and smothered turkey. Morning mainstays like pancakes are on the menu, as is build-your-own French toast. If diving into a bowl of cereal is your wake-me-up meal, Cabana in The Loop will open your eyes with its cereal bar, featuring 20 varieties behind the bar. Customers can add toppings such as chocolate chips, M&Ms or pecans. “It’s something different that The Loop doesn’t have,” Griffin said.

 

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 {Cabana in The Loop’s shrimp and grits are plated with crisp turkey bacon.}

Lunch items include a few salads with house-made dressings, appetizers like honey-glazed onions, and a variety of chicken wings, sandwiches, burgers and wraps. When dinner service is added, that menu will change weekly. Cabana in The Loop will not serve alcohol. The new eatery’s initial hours of operation will 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Its tropical name comes not from the cuisine, Bryant said, but from a longing for an unfulfilled island getaway. “We wanted to take a vacation for so long, but we can’t do it,” he said, adding that besides opening a restaurant, the couple is expecting their third child in November.

 

-photos by Michelle Volanksy

 

 

 

 

 

Extra Sauce: Sauce Pumpkin Beer Hunt Instagram Contest

October 1st, 2014

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It’s the season for bonfires, cable-knit sweaters and for die-hard devotees, that greatest of St. Louis beer traditions: pumpkin beer. With more than 15 area brews to choose from, you’ve got your pick of the pumpkin patch.

Prove your love for pumpkin beer this month during our Sauce Pumpkin Beer Hunt Instagram Contest. Here’s how it works:

1. Follow @SauceMag on Instagram.

2. Work your way through our Sauce Pumpkin Beer Hunt Check List (click here for a printable version) and get drinking! Each time you enjoy a pumpkin beer from the list, take a photo of you with your brew and tell us what you’re drinking and where on Instagram. Tag @SauceMag use the #SaucePumpkinBeerHunt hashtag so we know you checked another off your list.

3. When you’ve finished your last beer, tell us in your final post. The first Sauce follower to correctly complete the Sauce Pumpkin Beer Hunt challenge by Friday, Oct. 31 at noon receives a $100 gift card to Craft Beer Cellar.

Must be 21 or older to participate and to claim the prize.

 

Just Five: Potato Soup

September 30th, 2014

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Soup: it’s universal, comforting, tasty, satisfying and above all, it’s easy as … well, soup. Everyone should have a simple recipe like this one in his or her arsenal. After all, a basic soup is little more than boiling water, chopping up a few veggies and letting it simmer away until it’s time to eat.

This potato serves as a base recipe for any number of variations. Consider adding carrots or leeks with your celery and onion. Use vegetable or chicken stock instead of water; change up the spices. Then, let your guests gild the lily with grated cheddar cheese, chives and crisp bacon.
Potato Soup
6 cups

4 Tbsp. butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
4 russet potatoes, roughly peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
4 cups water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and celery until the onions are translucent. Stir in the thyme and potatoes.
• Add 4 cups water, enough to just cover the potatoes, and the evaporated milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, them immediately lower the heat to medium. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are soft. Remove from heat.
• Use an immersion blender to purée the potatoes to the desired consistency, or use a blender and work in batches. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Black Bean and Veggie “Sushi”

September 29th, 2014

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It’s officially fall, but it sure doesn’t feel like it yet. We just can’t bring ourselves to start roasting squash when it’s 80 degrees, but our options feel limited when our favorite summer produce starts disappearing from the farmers market.

Lucky for us, this recipe is perfect any time of year, and it’s a great way to use up those odds and ends in your refrigerator. Did we mention there’s no cooking required? Just smash a cup of cooked black beans with half an avocado and some sesame oil and chile oil for heat. Then smear the purée onto a flour tortilla and add a sheet of nori and cabbage, carrot and bell pepper for color and crunch. Channel your inner sushi chef, roll tightly and slice.

Get the full recipe for this vegan sushi recipe here.

-photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: Parker’s Table amps up specialty food focus with new staff

September 29th, 2014

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Customers at Parker’s Table have long enjoyed the artisan food offerings that owner Jon Parker carries at his Richmond Heights boutique wine shop, from dried bulk pastas to fine cheese and specialty European condiments. Now, a recent addition to the staff is set to bring patrons even more options when shopping at 7118 Oakland Ave.

New shop manager Karl Runge joined the crew at Parker’s Table earlier this month. Runge comes from Whole Foods Market, where he worked as specialty team leader for wine, beer and cheese for more than a decade, most recently at the Whole Foods location in Brentwood. Prior to that, Runge lived in Richmond, Virginia, working for retailers similar to his new employer.

“It’s in my roots to work at a place like Parker’s Table,” Runge said. “My duties are going to revolve around the cheese case and food selection in the shop. We’ll be bringing on lots of fun, new products. The shop has expanded over the years. We have more room to bring in new stuff from local producers and from further afield. We want to round out the fact that we have a great wine selection with food.”

Runge will also draw on his knowledge of specialty food in the coming months as Parker’s Table prepares to open a kitchen. The Scoop reported in January that Parker’s Table would add a bakery component to the business; Runge said the bakery is still a question mark, but the shop’s full kitchen will offer a daily lunch menu featuring many of the same ingredients sold on its shelves. “It will be more grab-and-go than a dining area or cafe,” he said. Look for lunchtime fare to roll out in January 2015.

 

Guide to Drinking 2014: Cider Comes Back Hard

September 29th, 2014

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While the craft beer boom continues to brew, it’s hard to ignore the presence of its up-and-coming cousin, craft cider. Sometimes barrel-aged, generally artisanal, and often naturally gluten-free, these fermented apple beverages are being produced not only by cider-focused establishments such as Crispin, California Cider Co., and Colorado Cider Co., but also by many craft breweries as a beer alternative.

Local breweries such as Urban Chestnut and Schlafly have made hard ciders readily available to the market, while others like Crown Valley Brewing regularly experiment with recipes for seasonal releases. Looking for a sweet way to enjoy the remainder of summer? Grab some cider, find some sunlight, sit back and swill.

2012 Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie
Unfiltered and unpasteurized, this French “cider under cork” smells of green apple, while the flavor profile packs a bittersweet punch of bleu cheese and honey. Its effervescence holds a subtle funk and natural sweetness that doesn’t linger on the palate.
Fields Foods, 1500 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.3276, fieldsfoods.com  

Apple Knocker Hard Knocks
Fermented in American oak barrels with Belgian yeasts by Illinois cider house Apple Knocker, Hard Knocks boasts the flavors of deliciously tart apples and citrus. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, try its cousin, Sweet Knockers.
The Wine and Cheese Place, all locations, wineandcheeseplace.com

Urban Chestnut Bushelhead
Wine-like, full of apple aroma and flavor with big alcohol warmth, this local cider truly is apple juice for grown-ups. Try Bushelhead on draft at Bailey’s Range with the restaurant’s cinnamon ice cream, and you will taste perfection.
Bailey’s Range, 920 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.241.8121, baileysrange.com  

Schlafly Hard Apple Cider
Complete with a robust Granny Smith apple aroma, a crisp, almost effervescent mouth feel and a slightly dry palate, this refreshing hard cider on draft at Schlafly Bottleworks is perfectly balanced for even the pickiest of cider drinkers.
Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.241.2337, schlafly.com  

Ace Pineapple Cider
The California Cider Co.’s pineapple cider is deliciously sweet up front with a tart finish. The wonderful pineapple scent gives summer patio drinking a touch of the tropics. This seasonal has been flying off the shelves; if you see a bottle, nab it.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Guide to Drinking 2014: The Kilgore Method

September 28th, 2014

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Planter’s House co-owner and crack barkeep Ted Kilgore spills his drink-mixing secrets.

In my 16 years as a bartender, I have accumulated hundreds of books on cocktails, spirits and bartending in pursuit of making the best cocktail possible. While I’d found lots of differing opinions, none seemed to offer a definitive answer.

Then one day, I found myself mixing five different Sidecar recipes trying to determine the “correct” one. By the end, I realized I had developed my own set of formulas and rules. These formulas offered consistent balance and structure, and placed the drink in a flavor profile range that the majority of my customers enjoyed. I’ve found that the most popular cocktails follow the “sour” formula. If you learn this formula, you can make and create a host of fabulous drinks.

Basic sour recipe
2 oz. base spirit (gin, whiskey, vodka, etc.)
1 oz. sweet (simple syrup, liqueur, agave, etc.)
¾ oz. sour (lemon, lime, etc.)

Now that you have the basic formula, apply it to other classic cocktails:

Margarita
2 oz. tequila
1 oz. triple sec
¾ oz. fresh lime juice

Tom Collins
2 oz. gin or vodka
1 oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
Club soda

Starting to see the connection? Now that we have the formula, let’s apply my rules and method.

Start with high-quality ingredients, or at least the best you can get your hands on. The idea is to make the best possible drink you can, whatever the circumstances.

Measure ingredients (except anything carbonated or bubbly) into your shaking vessel without ice. (I like to use Oxo angled measuring cups.) Next, you’ll want a shaker big enough to hold plenty of ice and that has a clean seal. (I use two-piece metal Boston shakers.) Add cold, fresh, hard ice, as much as you can fit into the smaller half of the shaker. If using a cobbler shaker (the three-piece variety with a small top that looks like a cap), fill it all the way up.

Now shake. The most important thing to remember is to shake a minimum of 17 seconds. At 17 seconds, you will have reached the point at which the ice and the ingredients (now diluted about 30 percent) are around the same temperature (28 to 33 degrees). The harder the shake, the more air that enters the drink, providing a lighter mouth feel.

Using a mesh strainer, pour into a chilled glass. You can fine-strain through a tea strainer if you wish to eliminate tiny ice shards – useful when serving the drink “up,” but less necessary when it’s served over ice anyway. Garnish with something fresh and pretty. Drink and (of course) repeat.

By the Book: Mark Bittman’s Chicken and Dumplings with Lots of Peas

September 27th, 2014

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You don’t argue with Mark Bittman. The longtime New York Times food columnist literally wrote the book on how to cook everything (along with more than a dozen other titles) and how he’s back with his latest culinary textbook, How to Cook Everything Fast.

Here’s Bittman’s claim: you can make just about anything – from beef stew to shrimp paella – in 45 minutes or less with a few simple adjustments. In this 1,054-page tome, breakfasts, salads, soups, stews, meat and more are all sped up, without resorting to packaged mixes or precooked, preservative-packed shortcuts.

As with most of his books in the How to Cook Everything lineage, a good 40 pages at the beginning are not focused on recipes or inspirations, but good old kitchen know-how. Never learned how to peel and slice a mango? How many pans do you actually need in your kitchen? Bittman never forgets that at the end of the day, he’s writing for the home cook and that everyone has to start somewhere. He’s even got tips for the most efficient way to organize your kitchen (if you’re Type A like that).

 

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Unlike traditional cookbooks, Bittman insists that home cooks throw mise en place – that most revered of professional chef prep techniques – out the window. “(Mise en place) is also completely impractical when you’re working along or even have a little help. Doing all the prep ahead of time often leaves you twiddling your thumbs, waiting for food to cook,” he writes. Instead, Bittman advocates “real-time cooking,” combining ingredient prep and cooking in the most efficent order while preparing a dish. To that end, his recipes are color-coded; black text means cook, and blue text means prep while cooking. Since many dishes require bringing water to boil, simmering vegetables or occasionally stirring, it makes sense to multitask during this time. Watched pots never boil, after all.

 

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Chicken and dumplings are a fall favorite in my family, but seldom do we take the time to actually make it at home. Simmering a chicken stew and creating our own pillowy dumplings is time-consuming and definitely not an option on a weeknight after an hour in traffic. But Bittman insisted I could get this done, from scratch, in 45 minutes or less. Challenge accepted.

 

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Bittman employs a few time-saving tricks for the traditional chicken and dumplings recipe. First, cut the chicken up into bite-sized pieces instead of letting whole breasts and thighs poach slowly. To get that all-day simmered flavor, invest in great chicken stock or break out some of your DIY stock from the freezer.

 

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After simmering the vegetables and the chicken until cooked through (only about five minutes, thanks to their small size), the recipe instructs you to remove them from the stock and set aside. This gives the dumplings plenty of room to puff up and steam in the liquid.

 

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It’s tempting to skip the dumplings and use a quick box mix or frozen; don’t. These came together in a snap, and all the ingredients (flour, butter, yogurt, baking powder and baking soda) were already in my kitchen. However, pay close attention to the liquid. Bittman advises maintaining a gentle bubble, but in my zeal to be efficient, I started washing dishes and that bubble turned to boil. Thankfully, half of the puffy dumplings survived and the ones that didn’t made a wonderful thickening agent.

 

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The vegetables and chicken are tucked back under the dumplings along with three hefty cups of frozen peas (and in my case, chopped mushrooms by special request). Once the peas have warmed through, it’s ready to serve. The hearty stew was thick and packed with vegetables and chicken thanks to the rich stock (and, admittedly, my dumplings-turned-roux). The dumplings were amazing; light as a feather with a gentle tang from the yogurt. It was, as Bittman said, comfort in a bowl – and it all came together in 45 minutes on a Thursday night.

 

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Chicken and Dumplings with Lots of Peas
4 servings

6 cups chicken stock
1 large onion
2 medium carrots
1 celery stalk
1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 cup flour, plus more as needed
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. butter (keep it in the fridge)
½ cup yogurt or buttermilk
3 cups frozen peas

• Put 6 cups chicken stock in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Trim, peel and chop the onion; add it to the pot.
Trim, peel and slice the carrots and chop the celery; add them to the pot.
Chop the chicken and add it to the pot.
• Add 4 sprigs thyme, a sprinkle of salt, and lots of pepper to the pot. When it boils, adjust the heat so the mixture simmers gently but steadily. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.
• Combine 1 cup flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon baking soda in a food processor. Cut up 3 tablespoons cold butter and add to the food processor.
• Pulse a few times to blend the butter into the flour mixture. Add ½ cup yogurt or buttermilk and pulse until the mixture just forms a ball. Sprinkle a little flour onto your cutting board, turn out the dough and knead it 10 times.
• When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a bowl with a mesh strainer or slotted spoon (fish out the thyme). Adjust the heat so the stock bubbles gently and never boils.
• Drop about 8 heaping tablespoons of biscuit dough into the stock and cover. Cook, adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle bubble, until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through (a toothpick will come out clean), 12 to 15 minutes.
• Nestle the chicken and vegetables underneath the dumplings and add 3 cups frozen peas. Cook until the peas are warmed through, a minute or 2, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

What’s your trick to speed up your cooking process? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of How to Cook Everything Fast.

 

 

 

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