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Feb 28, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Just Five: Simplest Lamb Ragu

Friday, February 24th, 2017

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Winter Sunday morning. Slide feet into slippers. Put on coziest sweatshirt. Pour coffee. Sear lamb. Add sauce. Let simmer. Decide what to drink with dinner later. Serve next to a cozy fire.

 

Simplest Lamb Ragu
4 servings

1 lb. lamb stew meat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 chopped shallots
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 24-oz. jar marinara sauce
1 cup water, plus more as needed
½ cup ricotta*

• Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering
• Add the lamb and sear on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and Italian seasoning and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
• Add the marinara sauce and water, cover and simmer on low heat 2 to 3 hours, adding more water if the ragu appears dry.
• Stir in the ricotta right before serving. Serve over cooked polenta, pasta or with rustic bread.

*Ricotta is salty; be judicious when salting the lamb.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and regularly pens Make This.

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Just Five: Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

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The few people I talked to about this recipe visibly recoiled. I get it: Tofu is not the most thrilling ingredient, especially when it comes to dessert. I was in this camp. Heck, I sewed and carried the flag for this camp. My favorite tofu preparation is when it’s taken a nice long oil bath and is covered in a delicious sauce. So I was surprised when I tasted this decadent, thick and creamy dessert. Silken tofu’s texture is a lot like custard: quite different from the firm and extra firm tofu I cook with.

High quality chocolate is key (remember, tofu is not known for its overwhelming flavor). Look for Ghirardelli, Scharffen Berger or Valrhona, and do not overcook it. I added cinnamon for my fifth ingredient, but a little almond or orange extract would also be nice, or a touch of cayenne pepper along with the cinnamon could make this a great version of Mexican chocolate pot de creme.

 

Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Inspired by a recipe from Mark Bittman
6 to 8 servings

¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup water
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. high quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 lb. silken tofu
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

• In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, water and salt to a boil over high heat until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
• Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, microwave another 30 seconds, stir again until melted.
• Combine the brown sugar syrup, melted chocolate, tofu, vanilla and cinnamon into a blender and mix on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides as needed, until completely smooth. Pour the pudding into 6 to 8 ramekins and chill 15 to 30 minutes until set. Serve.

Photo by Michelle Volansky

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The Scoop: Tiny tea shop Teatopia opens on Cherokee Street

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

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Looking for an alternative to your daily cup of joe? Check out Teatopia, which opened its doors at 2619½ Cherokee St., on Monday, Jan. 30, as reported by the Riverfront Times.

Owner Reginald “Reo” Quarles said he looked at more than 20 spots on his quest to open Teatopia, but none seemed quite right. Then he ran across the small Cherokee space, the former home of The Little Dipper sandwich shop. With just room enough for three tables, “it was a perfect fit.” Its diminutive size makes it easy for one person to operate, a definite benefit since Teatopia is basically a one-man show, with Quarles handling most of the daily duties.

Teatopia offers a wide variety of teas – 40 at last count – including varieties from Sri Lanka, India and other Asian countries, available to sip on site. Quarles also has created custom tea blends, like chocolate chai made with black tea, vanilla white chai and chocolate. He can also make custom blends to suit individual tastes. One-ounce containers of tea leaves are available to purchase and brew at home.

Teatopia also has a food menu, featuring salads, wraps and a selection of baked goods. Even some of the food is tea-focused, including a tea vinaigrette and tea-infused cream cheeses. “I was attracted to the tranquility of tea, the calming effect of tea,” said Quarles, who is also a vegan and martial artist. “It’s like all of what I believe in coming together.”

Quarles said his first few days of business have been good, and the Cherokee Street community has been receptive. “Everyone has welcomed me with open arms,” he said.

 

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Make This: Tiramisu Pizza

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

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Live la dolce vita with this tiramisu-inspired dessert pizza. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a powdered sugar-dusted work surface, roll 1 pound prepared pizza dough into a ½-inch-thick round. Bake on a lightly oiled pizza pan 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked through. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup espresso and 1 tablespoon dark rum. Poke the crust all over with a fork and brush with the espresso mixture. Let cool completely. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together ⅓ cup sugar and 3 room-temperature egg yolks 6 minutes on high speed. Add 8 ounces mascarpone and mix 2 minutes. Spread the mascarpone mixture over the crust and dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Photo by Julia Calleo

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Just Five: Onion Jam

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

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Onion jam: a phrase that will either horrify or intrigue you. When I brought a jar to a party recently, one woman wrinkled her nose and asked if I was joking, while the host (a true gourmand) merely raised an eyebrow and smiled. After the woman bid farewell, we agreed good riddance to that riffraff.

While this is a lovely accompaniment to a cheese tray, it shines brightest in a panini. This sweet jam with a hint of bitterness from coffee is quite magical when paired with gooey cheese. It would also be delicious served alongside pork tenderloin or roast chicken.

 

Onion Jam
2 cups

¼ cup olive oil
3 large white onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary*
1 cup sugar
¼ cup brewed coffee
½ cup white or regular balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and saute 10 to 15 minutes, until they soften and start to brown. Add the rosemary and saute 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
• Sprinkle the sugar atop of the onion mixture, but do not stir. Let the sugar melt, 6 to 7 minutes.
• Stir in the coffee and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.
• Remove and discard the rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let cool. The jam will keep, refrigerated, up to 2 weeks.

*If you want to keep rosemary leaves out of your jam, wrap the sprig in kitchen twine to hold it together.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and regularly pens Make This.

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Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Ditch the croutons and pump up the volume on your soups and salads with this crunchy, savory topper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup old-fashioned oats, ½ cup slivered almonds, ½ cup raw sunflower seeds, ⅓ cup grated Parmesan, ¼ cup raw sesame seeds, 2 Tbsp. chopped rosemary, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg white until frothy, then add it and ¼ cup olive oil to the oat mixture. Toss to combine. Pour onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Let cool, then break into chunks. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

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Just Five: Rubis Bulles Cocktail

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

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Champagne is probably my favorite cocktail ingredient. I love a French 75, Black Velvet or a Kir Royale. They make me feel like I’m in a pretty cocktail dress wearing ridiculous shoes and laughing at the most charming stories that my adorable friends are telling – even if I’m just binge-watching Chopped in my pajamas.

Combine Champagne with gin, vodka and Lillet, a French aperitif with strong citrus notes, and you have a bubbly take on a classic Vesper cocktail. I add blood orange juice to give the drink wonderful color. Hosting New Year’s Eve? You can easily batch this into a punch for the party.

 

Rubis Bulles Cocktail
2 servings

1 Tbsp. hot water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. blood orange juice
1 oz. Hendricks or Nolet’s gin
2 oz. Champagne
2 blood orange peels, for garnish

• In a small bowl, make a simple syrup by combining the hot water and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
• In large mixing glass, add 4 to 5 ice cubes, the Lillet, blood orange juice, gin and ½ ounce simple syrup. Strain into 2 Champagne flutes, top each with 1 ounce Champagne and garnish with a blood orange peel.

 

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Just Five: Chicken with Porcini and Cherries

Friday, December 9th, 2016

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During a recent cleaning frenzy (there were mice – I don’t want to talk about it), I unearthed a jar of dried porcini mushrooms that got shoved to the back of my pantry. I also came across a jar of dried cherries during my epicurean archeological dig, and just like that, a recipe was born. Earthy porcini infuses the cooking liquid, and dried cherries add texture, as well as a sweet and tart bite. H/t mice.

 

Chicken and Porcini and Cherries
4 servings

2 cups chicken stock
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dried cherries

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• In a medium sauce pot, bring the chicken stock to a simmer over medium heat. Add the porcini mushrooms, cover and remove from heat.
• In a large oven-safe skillet, warm the oil over medium heat and saute the leeks 5 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, the place skin side-down in the skillet. Sear 3 minutes, then flip and sear another 3 minutes. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and mushrooms, then add the cherries and simmer 3 minutes.
• Place the skillet in the oven and cook 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve, spooning the pan sauce over the chicken.

 

 

Make This: Thai Noodles with Gai Lan

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

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Skip the Thai takeout and put this dish on the table in 15 minutes flat. In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over 14 ounces rice stick noodles and let sit 7 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles then toss them with 2 tablespoons sesame oil. In a small bowl, combine ⅓ cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1½ tablespoons chile-garlic sauce, 1 tablespoon grated ginger and 2 teaspoons rice vinegar. Set aside. In a large skillet or wok over high heat, warm 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the noodles to the skillet with 6 cups roughly chopped gai lan. Saute 2 minutes, then stir in the sauce and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Garnish with ⅓ cup each chopped basil, cilantro and mint; ¼ cup chopped peanuts; and lime wedges.

 

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Photo by Greg Rannells

Just Five: Broccoli Soup

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

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In my house, broccoli is king of the vegetables. We eat it steamed, roasted, stir-fried, raw or covered in cheese (duh). This simple broccoli soup includes tarragon, which created a house divided. Those 40 and older liked the slight hint of anise the scant amount of fresh tarragon added to the soup. However, the 20-and-younger contingent thought it might die from eating what it ascertained to be the equivalent of an entire bag of black licorice. The same group agreed that an alternate version, made with a couple fresh basil leaves in lieu of tarragon, was delicious. And still, the king remains on his throne.
Broccoli Soup
3 to 4 servings

1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup minced shallot
1 lb. (about 5 cups) chopped broccoli, stems and florets
3 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed
¼ cup cream cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped tarragon or basil, plus more for garnish
¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

• In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli and cover, reducing the heat to medium-low. Simmer 15 minutes then remove from heat.
• Use an immersion blender or carefully pour the contents of the pot into a blender pitcher. Add the cream cheese, tarragon, salt and pepper and puree 30 seconds. Add more stock as needed to reach desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Serve garnished with fresh tarragon and crusty bread.

 

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Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and regularly pens Make This.

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