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Dec 15, 2017
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Recipe: Bubble Thyme

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

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I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: two of my favorite words are “Champagne float.” Few things are fancier than a Champagne cocktail. It makes a lady feel more ladylike and a gent feel more debonaire. A recent “middle-aged brain” moment left me with more honey than I needed, and after my third cup of honey-sweetened tea, I decided a honey-based cocktail was in order.

While bourbon and honey was the most obvious choice, I took a risk to see what happened when honey and lemon met the piney taste of gin. Adding thyme was a natural bridge between these flavors. (I tried marjoram-infused honey syrup, but it just didn’t quite complement the flavors as nicely.) This is an easy and festive party cocktail. Top the drink with bubbly as you serve.

 

Bubble Thyme
2 servings

¼ cup honey
¼ cup water
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
3 oz. gin
1½ oz. lemon juice
4 oz. Champagne or prosecco

• Make a thyme-infused honey syrup by combining the honey, water and thyme sprigs in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let cool.
• Strain into a jar with a lid; discard the thyme sprigs. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
• In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the gin, lemon juice and 2 ounces honey syrup Shake hard 20 seconds, strain into 2 cocktail glasses and top each with 2 ounces Champagne. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Recipe: Pear and Currant Compote

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

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One of my favorite items to take to holiday gatherings is an interesting jam or compote to accompany a cheese board. Consider recipes of years past: spiced carrot jam, onion jam and, if you want to go way back with me, bacon jam. I love bringing the host something delicious in a pretty glass jar, something they can put out immediately on a cheese tray or add to their holiday meal later.

This combination of pears, ginger and currants is perfect when paired with goat cheese, mascarpone or sharp cheddar. It is equally delicious on pork tenderloin sandwiches or with smoked or roasted turkey. The black pepper enhances the pungent crystallized ginger, and the texture is lovely with bits of chewy currant and ginger in each bite.

This recipe is pretty forgiving. You can use a mix of ripe and underripe pears, though you may have to add water or more orange juice to reach your desired consistency. This is closer to a compote than a jam, but you can use an immersion blender or food processor for a smoother texture.

 

Pear and Currant Compote
2 cups

3 cups diced ripe pear, peeled and cored
¾ cup sugar
½ cup currants
¼ cup minced crystallized ginger
Zest and juice of 1 medium orange
½ cup water, as needed
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer the pears, currants, sugar, ginger, orange juice and zest 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water as needed, until the pears are softened.
• Mash the pears with a potato masher to reach the desired consistency, and stir in the black pepper. Let cool, then store in a sealed jar up to 2 weeks.

Photo by Michelle Volansky

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Make This: Sicilian Meatballs

Friday, December 1st, 2017

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These happy little appetizer bites taste like Sicilian Christmas.

Using your hands, mix together 1 pound ground pork, ¼ cup currants, ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, 1 beaten egg, 2 tablespoons orange zest, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and ½ teaspoon ground cloves. Shape the mixture into 22 to 24 meatballs – about 1½ tablespoons each.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place about 8 meatballs in the skillet, leaving space between them, and cook 2 minutes. Flip the meatballs, cover the skillet and cook another 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Serve warm.

To make a simple dipping sauce, combine 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce (we like Contadina Extra Thick & Zesty), ¼ cup dry red wine, ½ teaspoon ground fennel, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, and salt and pepper to taste in a small saucepot. Place over medium heat until warm, then serve.

Photo by Julia Calleo

Dee Ryan is a longtime Sauce contributor who also writes Just Five. 

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Recipe: Holiday Shrub

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

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This shrub’s garnet hue and seasonal aromatics make it a gorgeous hostess gift or party cocktail. To serve, mix one part shrub into four parts prosecco, or use the same amounts mixed into ginger ale or sparkling cider for a mocktail. For a festive nightcap, mix the shrub with two ounces bourbon as you sit by the fire.

 

Cranberry Shrub
2 cups

1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water, divided
¼ cup orange peel (avoid the white pith)
3 whole cloves
4 whole peppercorns

• In a large saucepan, combine the cranberries, vinegar, sugar, ½ cup water, orange zest, cloves and peppercorns and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, until the cranberries begin to burst, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover and let cool to room temperature.
• Pour the mixture into a large mason jar or other airtight container, cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
• Strain the mixture into a bowl through a fine mesh-sieve. If the mixture is too thick, pour the remaining ¼ cup water over the solids in the sieve. Press the solids with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to remove any more liquid. Shrub will keep, refrigerated, up to 2 months.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Recipe: Muhammara Dip

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

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Dear Ben Poremba,

You are a wealth of inspiration to me. I cannot dine at one of your restaurants (Nixta, Olio, Elaia, Parigi, La Patisserie Chouquette…) without learning something about flavors, service, presentation and ambience. Each time, I go home inspired to try and recreate a dish or two at home.

The flavors at Olio speak to me the most. If you put a plate of bread and yummy dips in front of me, especially if there’s a cocktail involved, you will win my heart forever – or at least for a couple of hours. Olio’s muhammara dip is perfect in its simplicity: the gorgeous color, the silky texture and clear, but nuanced flavors. The best part is there are only three – three! – ingredients listed on the menu: piquillo peppers, walnuts and pomegranate molasses. It’s like you’re begging me to turn it into a Just Five. Well, my dear, I’ve done it.

Until we meet again,
Dee

 

Muhammara Dip
Inspired by a recipe at Olio
2 cups

¾ cup whole walnuts
1 12-oz. jar roasted piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers, drained
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses or lemon juice
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil

• In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 5 minutes.
• Place the walnuts, peppers, molasses, garlic, cumin and salt into a food processor and pulse until smooth. With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Serve with warm pita or pita chips.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Make This: Curried Turkey Waldorf Salad

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

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Come November, all we can think about is The Bird. However, when we’ve had just about enough, often the bird still isn’t done with us. Curry some favor with this Indian-inspired Waldorf salad.

In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups diced or chopped cooked turkey, 1 cup diced Granny Smith apple, ¼ cup chopped cashews and ¼ cup chopped celery.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons chopped green onion, 1 tablespoon mild curry powder and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until coated. Serve on a bed of lettuce or with crackers or toast points.

For a slightly sweeter version of the dish, add 1 tablespoon Major Grey’s Chutney to the dressing.

Photo by Julia Calleo 

Dee Ryan is a longtime Sauce contributor who also writes Just Five. 

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Recipe: Chickpea-Sweet Potato Patties

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

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The vegetarian versus omnivore battle went down in my home all summer. I’m pretty comfortable cooking vegetarian meals thanks to my own no-meat stint in college, and really, it’s easier than ever these days. However, I’ve recently uttered the sentence, “I think there’s some veggie burgers in the freezer” more than I should. While I’m sure that those patties are healthier than a case of belly bombers, the fact is, they are microwaveable processed food – something I’m not a fan of in general.

I’ve made falafel patties before with considerably more ingredients and used an egg to bind, but I wondered if I could vegan-ize them. I spoke our local queen of green, STL Veg Girl Karyn Dugan, and we kicked around a couple of ideas. I settled on trying sweet potatoes as both a flavor booster and a binder. She couldn’t sell me on “dry frying” though. Baby steps…

This dish packs a protein punch with quinoa and chickpeas. I served these patties with a little hot sauce or garlic aioli (definitely not vegan!), but I have also eaten them for breakfast alongside a little salad and vinaigrette. They are a little crumbly, so take care when flipping.

 

Vegan Chickpea-Sweet Potato Patties
6 servings

2 cups chopped kale
1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained and liquid reserved
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups cooked quinoa
2 Tbsp. olive oil

• In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade, add the kale, chickpeas and sweet potato and pulse until a smooth paste is formed. If the mixture is dry, add the reserved chickpea liquid 1 tablespoon at a time, but no more than ¼ cup.
• Add the cumin, salt and pepper and pulse a few more times. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and fold in the quinoa.
• Scoop ⅓ cup mixture and form into ½-inch thick patties. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
• In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook the patties about 4 minutes per side, flipping carefully to keep them from falling apart.

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Dee Ryan is a longtime Sauce contributor who also pens Make This

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Recipe: Parsnip-Carrot Puree

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

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This recipe was inspired by a parsnip side my husband ordered recently at The Crow’s Nest in Maplewood. When I told the owner how fantastic it was, she told me it would soon be off the menu, which meant it was even more important that I figure out how replicate it at home.

This dish will be prominently featured at our Thanksgiving table this year. I added carrots to the parsnips for a little color (and the whole “you never see rabbits wearing glasses” thing). I love this dish served silky smooth, but I respect that some people prefer a little texture in their mashes. You do you, Boo.

 

Peppery Parsnip-Carrot Puree
Inspired by a recipe from The Crow’s Nest
4 servings

2 cups (about 1 lb.) peeled, chopped parsnips
1 cup (about ½ lb.) peeled, chopped carrots
1 cup whole milk
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. white pepper

• Place the parsnips, carrots, milk and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and slowly bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer 8 minutes, until the vegetables are easily pierced with a fork.
• Carefully pour the vegetables and milk into a blender or bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Add the butter, black pepper, salt and white pepper and puree until the mixture reaches the desired smoothness. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Recipe: Cider Pulled Pork

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

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October is a month of seasonal limbo is St. Louis. Summer is technically over, and fall is flirting with us. I know I still have good garden-fresh tomatoes, but I also kind of want stew. This is a good time for pulled pork. Its starring role in backyard barbecues across St. Louis helps me hold on to summer, while the combination of apple cider, maple syrup and the warm spices in harissa fulfills my need for flannel-wearin’ food. Serve it alongside mashed potatoes or with polenta on a cooler day, or if the sun’s out, between a bun with coleslaw.

 

Cider Pulled Pork
6 to 8 servings

6 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups apple cider, divided
¾ cup maple syrup, divided
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, divided
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. harissa paste, divided

• Preheat a large nonstick skillet over high heat.
• Liberally season the pork shoulder all over with salt and pepper. Sear the pork about 3 minutes per side until browned, then place in the insert of a slow cooker.
• In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups apple cider, ½ cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons mustard and 2 tablespoons harissa. Pour it over the pork. Cover and cook on high 6 to 8 hours.
• Remove the bone from the meat and discard. Skim the excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid and discard or reserve for another use. Use forks to shred the meat, then cover and cook on low 20 to 30 minutes.
• Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a saucepot over medium-high heat, bring the remaining 1 cup cider and the remaining ¼ cup maple syrup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer at least 20 minutes, swirling the contents of the pot occasionally, until it begins to thicken. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 teaspoon harissa paste.
• Place the pulled pork on a serving platter, leaving most of the liquid behind. Serve the pork drizzled with the glaze.

 

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Make This: Fennel and Carrot Gratin

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

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The trick to a great gratin is uniformly sliced vegetables. Spend minimal time and energy by prepping this fantastic sweet and savory side dish with a mandoline.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a mandoline to cut 3 fennel bulbs horizontally and 3 peeled large carrots diagonally into ¼-inch slices.

In an oiled shallow baking dish, layer a third of the fennel, then half of the carrots. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon orange zest. Top with another third of the fennel, the remaining carrots, more salt and pepper, then the remaining fennel.

Sprinkle the top with ½ cup freshly grated pecorino, ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons fresh thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the vegetables are tender and the top is golden brown, a little more than 1 hour. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Photo by Julia Calleo

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Just Five. 

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