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Apr 18, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Bourguignon

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

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No one sneers at vegetarian cooking like the practitioners of classic French cuisine. Their recipes are so sacred, their art so carefully considered, that any substitution is viewed as an insult to the French people as a whole. Kelp powder in your veggie bouillabaisse? C’est scandaleux!

So when I was assigned boeuf bourguignon to vegetize, I turned to an old friend to help me get a handle on the spirit of this continental conundrum: Julia Child’s 1961 classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It’s here that Julia described this stew as “Certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.”

On the surface, boeuf bourguignon is a simple red-wine-and-beef stew, a peasant dish whose root vegetables and undistinguished cuts of meat reveal a surprising depth of flavor. In recent years, this classic has been revived, joining the ranks of haute cuisine and being relegated to that class of dishes set aside for special occasions – the season of which we are trekking through full steam. So let’s get to the dirty work, shall we?

To read more about how Beth Styles vegetized this classic beef dish, click here. To get cooking right now, click here for the recipe.

-photo by Kristi Schiffman

Guide to the Holidays: Gifts for the Starter Kitchen

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

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From pans and knives to stick blenders and spice grinders, the kitchen can be an overwhelming place for those just beginning their culinary journey. And while the tools to make meals are certainly paramount, a kitchen is also a place where function and style cozy up like cream and sugar, allowing inhabitants to express themselves through more than the power of a hot pan.

For those who learn best outside the pages of a book, a Gourmet Cooking Class at the Alpenhorn Gasthaus in Hermann is sure to incite and inspire. On weekdays, chefs Kate and Adrian offer hands-on cooking classes featuring seasonal produce. Once you learn to cook your gourmet four-course meal, enjoy it with paired wines. Afterward, consider booking some spa time to ease those well-worked culinary muscles. $95 per person. Advance registration required. Alpenhorn Gasthaus, 179 E. Highway 100, Hermann, 573.486.8228, alpenhorngasthaus.com

To see more great starter kitchen gifts for the budding chef in your life, click here.

 
 

In This Issue: Vegetize It – Feel-good Brownies

Friday, August 16th, 2013

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It seems like once August rolls around, we fill the remainder of summer with a frenzy of picnics and barbecues. And while burgers, brats and beer are certainly the holy trinity of these outdoor get-togethers, there is one more “b” that makes a frequent appearance, thanks to the person who realizes we’ll need something sweet to balance the savory. That we’ll need brownies … vegan brownies.

That’s right. This month we’re taking things a step further by not just omitting meat, but all animal products. And if there is one thing I’ve learned about tweaking baking recipes, it’s that keeping it simple is the way to go.

For this brownie recipe, three dairy components needed replacing: eggs, butter and chocolate chips. Since eggs would be used more for thickening (instead of leavening), I tried two ways to replace them. The first was to use one ripe, mashed banana for every egg, but the flavor of the fruit was way too strong. Round two: applesauce. It’s something a lot of baking recipes call for to add extra moisture, and it has a similar thickness to whisked eggs without tainting the flavor of the final dish. All of these traits worked perfectly in this dish.

As for the butter, it’s like the bacon of the meat world; you just can’t find something that gets the exact same taste and texture. So I hit the “easy” button and picked up a tub of Earth Balance buttery spread, which is available at most grocery stores around town.

I treated the chocolate much the same as the butter, although my fingers were crossed that I could find something besides carob, a member of the pea family frequently substituted for chocolate whose taste I’ve never been able to swallow. Luckily, while walking down the “healthy eating” aisle at my local supermarket, I found non-dairy chocolate chips made from cocoa, which are every kind of “free” you can imagine: dairy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, soy-free … and the list goes on.

So there I was, my three ingredients replaced. I went home to double-check my research before I started baking. And it’s a good thing I did.

To read more about the surprising facts Beth Styles discovered when creating these vegan, feel-good brownies, click here.

- Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

Vegetize It: Monte Cristo sandwiches

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

 

My first encounter with a Monte Cristo sandwich wasn’t that long ago. I was visiting my best girls in Los Angeles, and we had decided to do something we’d never done in the six years we lived out there: go to Disneyland. By midday, we’d spun in the teacups, screamed in the Tower of Terror and had our picture taken in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Famished, we turned in to the first restaurant we spotted: Cafe Orleans.

Click here to read how Beth Styles turned a Monte Cristo vegetarian in our June issue.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser 

Meatless Monday: Cold Noodle Salad with Spicy Sesame Sauce

Monday, June 10th, 2013

 

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being a vendor at Art Fest in Richmond Heights. Some of you might have put two and two together, but for those who haven’t, let me quickly complete the equation. Besides stuffing my face all over St. Louis and writing about it for Sauce, I also own a mobile business in which I sell cute vintage things out of a 1960 travel trailer.

See? I told you it’d be quick. Anyway … at this particular event, I knew that we (the vendors) would be getting a lunch, which my brain translated into a bag of chips and a soggy sandwich. So when I was handed a brown box filled with this fresh noodle salad, I was over the moon. It had udon noodles, carrots, lettuce, tofu (bonus!) and a wonderfully spicy sesame dressing that I poured over every bit.

I went home that day knowing I had to recreate it for the summer days ahead, and now, well, here we are! Hope you enjoy!


Cold Noodle Salad with Spicy Sesame Sauce
4 servings

12 oz. extra-firm tofu
7 oz. udon noodles
4 Tbsp. sesame oil
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 hearts of romaine, torn into 1-inch pieces
4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup torn cilantro leaves

• Place 6 layers of paper towels on a plate. Remove the tofu from the package and place onto the paper towels. Cover with another 6 layers of paper towels, then place a heavy skillet on top. Let it sit until ready to assemble the salad.
• Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a pot. Add the udon noodles and cook 12 minutes.
• Meanwhile, in a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha and garlic. Set aside.
• Once the noodles are cooked, drain and spray them with cold water until they’re cooled to room temperature. Keep in a colander while slicing the tofu.
• Remove the tofu from the paper towels and slice in half horizontally (making it half as thick). Take those two pieces and cut each into 12 more pieces (or smaller if you want).
• Place the drained noodles in a large bowl. Give the sauce a quick whisk and then pour half of it over the noodles.
• Stir well to make sure all the noodles are covered, then add the romaine, carrots, tofu and the rest of the sauce. Stir again to combine. Top with torn cilantro.
• Place the salad in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s chilled to your liking.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Summer Seitan Tacos

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

 

I remember one of the first times I went with my now-husband (then-boyfriend) to visit his family in Texas. I had just flipped the vegetarian switch, and now, here I was, going into the lion’s den of meaty cuisine, where nothing is quite right until you slap some beef or bacon on it. We would go out to eat, and I’d be the crazy lady asking the servers if things had been cooked in beef or chicken stock, something they didn’t even think to know because … who cares?

So it’s a testament to my in-laws that, after all those embarrassing questions, they still accepted me into their family with open arms. And now when we go visit, they even scout menus ahead of time to make sure there is something for their quirky daughter-in-law to consume. One of my favorite places down there is a chain (gasp!) taco place called Torchy’s, which serves these amazing mushroom tacos topped with cheese and lettuce and an avocado cream that’s out of this world. Each bite is packed with layer upon layer of flavor, and it’s the standard to which I now hold all vegetarian tacos.

For this recipe, feel free to omit the seitan if soy substitutes still freak you out (although you will miss that meaty texture it gives). And grilling the corn before adding it to the peas would definitely kick things up a notch. But whatever you do, don’t skip the avocado dressing.


Summer Seitan Tacos
Makes 4 to 6 tacos

For the avocado dressing:
1 large ripe Hass avocado, pitted and roughly chopped
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. lime juice
¼ cup water
¼ tsp. salt

• In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients for the avocado dressing.
• Process until smooth and creamy, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt, if needed.
• Pulse a couple times to combine. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the red cabbage slaw:
¼ head red cabbage, shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
3 green onions (white and green parts), chopped
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup olive oil
1½ Tbsp. agave nectar
¼ cup cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot and green onions.
• In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, olive oil and agave.
• Pour the liquid over the cabbage mixture and stir to combine.
• Add the cilantro, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine again.
• Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

For the seitan:
8 oz. seitan strips
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground paprika
½ tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. vegetable oil
½ onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Juice of ½ lime

• Drain the seitan strips. Discard the liquid and place the strips in a medium bowl.
• Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, chili powder and garlic. Stir to make sure the seitan is evenly coated.
• Set aside at room temperature to allow flavors to marry. Meanwhile, prepare the taco filling.
• To cook the seitan, heat the vegetable oil over medium or medium-high heat in a small nonstick skillet. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
• Add the reserved seitan mixture and lime juice, stir to combine, and cook until seitan is evenly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm until serving.

For the taco filling:
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
5 oz. frozen corn
1 cup water
¼ cup chopped cilantro
6 soft-taco-size flour tortillas (check ingredient list to make sure they don’t have lard, or use corn tortillas)

• While the seitan is marinating, heat the vegetable oil in a large stainless skillet over medium or medium-high heat.
• Add the onion, garlic and jalapeño, then season with salt and pepper. Stir, then let the mixture cook until the onions are softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
• Add the black-eyed peas, corn and water. Turn the heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat back to medium-high and simmer until the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes.
• Add the cilantro, then taste the mixture and season again with salt and pepper if needed. Remove it from the heat while you cook the seitan.

Toppings:
4 oz. goat cheese crumbles
3 radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
Sriracha

• To assemble the tacos, put a tortilla on a plate. Top with the slaw, then the black-eyed pea and corn mixture, seitan, goat cheese and radishes (if using).
• Drizzle with avocado dressing and drops of Sriracha.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Summery Spring Vegetable Soup

Monday, May 20th, 2013



Part of our mini-tour through Paris, London and Dublin involved a little reprieve into the countryside with a two-night stay in Bath. In Bath, the pace was slower, there weren’t so many cars to dodge and we never had to hop on and off The Underground. Yet, there was still a plethora of history and architecture to admire every day — and delicious food to eat!

My favorite place was a little tea room called Bea’s, which was recommended to us by a local resident. When we walked in, it was like stepping back into the 1940s: lots of vintage lace and embroidered tablecloths, a mixed assortment of vintage teacups and saucers stacked on tea carts and comfort food that was simple but flavorful.

We ate many things during that visit, but what left a lasting impression on me was the soup. Big chunks of carrot and potato simmered with herbs and spices in a light vegetable broth that wasn’t too heavy for these suddenly spring-turned-summer nights. In my version, I couldn’t help but add a slew of other vegetables too, but the final feel of the dish stays true to its inspiration.

Summery Spring Vegetable Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings

5 cups vegetable stock
2 medium unpeeled potatoes (any kind you prefer), halved and sliced
1 large unpeeled carrot, sliced
¼ cup uncooked brown rice
2 Tbsp. butter
1 leek, sliced
8 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 stalks asparagus, tough ends removed, sliced in 1-inch pieces
2 cups chopped spinach
3 cups milk

• In a large pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Add the slices of potatoes and carrots and the rice. Reduce to a simmer and cover.
• Cook until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.
• Meanwhile, in a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the slices of leeks and mushroomss and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute the vegetables until just tender, and then add the entire contents of the pan plus the asparagus and spinach to the potato-carrot mixture in the pot.
• Add the milk, and season again with salt and pepper to taste.
• Simmer, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Serve in bowls with slices of crusty bread.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Butternut Squash with Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Monday, May 13th, 2013



On our first night in London, we had just arrived by car from the Portsmouth seaside and were beyond tired (Reversing all the traffic rules you’ve ever known while driving somewhere you’ve never been will do that.). Unfortunately, we were also very hungry, so we dropped our bags at the hotel and wandered down the street to the first pub we could find. It was called The Prince Edward Public House and Kitchen, and at first glance, it looked like a typical pub — dark wood, a bar brimming with beer options, bowls of pistachios and lots of TV screens showing lots of “football.”

Then we ordered dinner, and, suddenly, the word typical no longer applied. I ordered the butternut squash, which arrived tender, wrinkly and stuffed with arugula, roasted cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. On the side was an asparagus-mushroom pilaf. Instead of slicing the squash lengthwise as we often do over here, this one was sliced off at the neck, leaving the bottom, bowl-like third an edible serving vessel. And the flavor the chef was able to get into all that orange-y flesh was astounding. Hopefully I’ve done it justice!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
2 servings

2 small butternut squashes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 pinches salt
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
2 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
Olive oil
2 oz. goat cheese
1 handful arugula

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• Cut the neck off each squash, leaving just the bowl-shaped bottom. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
• Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick spray and place the squash bowls on it. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each squash, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Brush the rim of each bowl with olive oil.
• Put the squashes in the oven and let them roast until the sides start to wrinkle and the insides are very tender, about 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the sizes of the squashes.
• Meanwhile, in a bowl, coat the cherry tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet and then place in the oven 10 minutes before the squashes are finished.
• Once the squashes and cherry tomatoes are properly roasted, remove from oven, but keep oven on. Set tomatoes aside. Pour out all but a teaspoon of butter from each squash bowl, and then place 3 to 4 quarter-size pieces of goat cheese (about 1 ounce) in each one. Return them to the oven and roast another 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese softens.
• Remove from oven and place 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes in each bowl, followed by a few arugula leaves, then the rest of the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
• Serve with salad or rice pilaf.

Meatless Monday: Spring Spinach Salad

Monday, April 29th, 2013



Last week my husband and I returned from the trip of a lifetime (Although I’m hoping it will happen at least once more!). We spent 17 days roaming around Paris, London and Dublin, getting our fill of art, history and, most importantly, delicious, mind-blowing food. The camera on my phone hardly rested as I snapped photos of my meatless meals throughout the trip. For the next few weeks, I thought it would be fun to try and recreate some of my favorites.

This week I’m starting with one of the best salads I’ve ever had. It came from a little cafe in Paris called Le Petit Cler, situated on a cobblestone pedestrian road among shops and flower stalls (Yes, it was as dreamy as it sounds.). Although simple in ingredients, the freshness and flavor of this spinach-based dish had me practically licking the bowl.

Spring Spinach Salad
4 Servings

For the Salad:

8 cups baby spinach, washed and patted dry
4 cups trimmed, halved and blanched green beans
12 Campari tomatoes, quartered
Dressing (recipe follows)
2 cups prepared brown lentils
2 cups freshly shaved Parmesan
4 large eggs, soft-boiled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• In each of 4 bowls, place 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup of green beans and 3 quartered tomatoes. Drizzle with 1/8 cup of dressing (or more to taste) and stir to combine.
• Top with ½ cup of shaved Parmesan, followed by 1 egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Dressing:
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. sugar
1 minced garlic clove
1/8 tsp. salt
8 grinds black pepper

• Place all of the ingredients in a lidded jar. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for about 1 minute.
• Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 45 minutes to let the flavors marry.

Meatless Monday: Kale “Caesar” Salad

Monday, April 22nd, 2013



Like so many dishes that have become staples in international cuisine, the history of the Caesar salad – and who first brought it to life – isn’t 100-percent clear. The most widely accepted story circles around Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who lived in San Diego and opened a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico during Prohibition. According to his daughter, Cardini created the salad on a particularly busy night when supplies had run out.

In the many decades since that fortuitous night, chefs, home cooks and foodies the world over have adapted the classic into too many variations to count, but the original recipe, interestingly enough, didn’t even use the anchovies that are standard in today’s version. So, technically, this vegetarian could have just told you to buy some vegetarian Worcestershire, leave out the little fish and call it a day. But that’d be too easy.

Instead, I’m going to put you to work, starting with making your own croutons, which, if you haven’t done so already, couldn’t be simpler. And once you taste a fresh batch from the oven, you won’t even glance at the bagged variety again, especially since this DIY project is the perfect way to use up that day-old bread currently drying out on your counter. As for the dressing, I chose to go with the creamy, mayonnaise-based variety to help balance the bitterness of the kale. (Yes, the nutrient-packed green is in here … and it’s raw … and you’ll like it.) And pinch-hitting for the anchovies will be another edible from the murky waters below: kombu. This dried Japanese seaweed supplies that force of fishy flavor that vegetarians and carnivores come to expect with a Caesar salad. Meat-a-tarians can just close their eyes and pretend it’s the real deal.

Find the recipe for Kale “Caesar” Salad, here.

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