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Jan 21, 2018
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Extra Sauce: DIY Easter Egg Dyes

Friday, April 18th, 2014



Have you ever noticed most Easter treats take something from nature and make it, well, a little unnatural? Chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, jelly beans and eggs that are either plastic, creme-filled or dyed bright blue … not exactly how Mother Nature intended.

This year, add a little natural back to your Easter festivities with natural egg dyes. Local Harvest Café and Catering shared few tips on how to color eggs using plant-based ingredients easily found in most kitchen.

“It’s a fun thing to see that you can create your own colors,” said Local Harvest owner Maddie Earnest. “It’s a neat thing for the kids to see, and the grown-ups will have fun, too.”

So before you gnaw the ears off your chocolate bunny or count your jelly beans as a vegetable, have some fun with these DIY dyes. Follow the instructions below, or click here for a handy printout from Local Harvest’s Lisa Carrico.

Naturally Dyed Eggs
For pink: 1 cup beet water and 1 Tbsp. vinegar
For blue-purple: ½ cup frozen blueberries, thawed and smashed, and 2 Tbsp. vinegar
For red: 1 cup red onion skin water and 1 Tbsp. vinegar
For yellow: 1 cup warm water, 1½ Tbsp. tumeric and 1 Tbsp. vinegar
For orange: 1 cup yellow onion skin water and 1 Tbsp. vinegar
For blue-green: 1 cup purple cabbage water and 1 Tbsp. vinegar

• Hard-boil eggs at least 1 week old and let cool completely.
For blue-purple and yellow only: Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add 2 to 4 cups  chopped dye material and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, 15 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain the dye into a small, deep container.
• For each color, fill a small, deep container with the chosen dye. Submerge the hard-boiled eggs in liquid and refrigerate, checking occasionally until the desired color is achieved.
• When the egg reaches the correct shade, gently lift it from the dye and place it on a wire rack to dry. (The color will not set until the eggs are completely dry.) Colored eggs will keep in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

 -photo courtesy of Lisa Carrico


7 Fat Tuesday indulgences around town

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Need one final gluttonous fling before Lenten fasting kicks in? We’ve got a slew of Fat Tuesday treats from joints across the city serving up Mardi Gras-inspired fare. From king cake cupcakes to Creole meatloaf, you’ll plenty of deacdent treats that will have you loosening your belt a few notches. You may be full, but it isn’t called Fat Tuesday for nothing.



1. Head to the Hill for a Jambalaya Mardi Dog from Steve’s Hot Dogs. This twist on the hot dog features a spicy andouille link on a jambalaya-smeared roll. Finally, jambalaya you can eat with your fingers without getting messy. (well, not too messy).

2. After polishing off your spicy dog, cool down with a Lil’ French King Cake from Pint Size Bakery. These four-inch cakes are made with homemade puff pastry, raspberry jam, house-brandied cherries and a smooth vanilla glaze.

3. Beat that afternoon slump with a cup of coffee from Café Ventana in Midtown, and enjoy a free beignet to boot. Not a coffee drinker? Not to worry. Any purchase you make comes with a complimentary beignet today.




4. For a slimmer take on Fat Tuesday, head to Hiro Asian Kitchen for its Mardi Gras special salad. The Mardi Gras color combination of green kale, purple cabbage, spicy golden walnuts and cranberries prove that even the health-conscious can celebrate Fat Tuesday.

5. To be truly decadent, head to Juniper’s Fat Tuesday Feast. For $20, enjoy a traditional crawfish boil with house-made andouille, potatoes, corn on the cob and cornbread washed down with Dixie beer.



6. Dash to Lubeley’s Bakery for a Jumbo Hurricane Cupcake. We know, we know – you may think you’re too full, but consider these rum-soaked cupcakes a post-meal cocktail.

7. Power through your food coma for a late-night Creole Mardi Gras pizza from Epic Pizza in Soulard. This finger-licking pizza with Creole sauce, mozzarella, andouille sausage, blackened chicken, green peppers and red onions is an ideal end to a truly Fat Tuesday.

Will you still be feeling the Mardi Gras mood tomorrow? For more creative Cajun dishes year-round, try out Riverbend Restaurant and Bar’s Creole Meatloaf, or The Kitchen Sink’s Cajun Gyro. While it may no longer be Fat Tuesday, you can still eat like it is.


13 Gluttonous Mardi Gras Recipes

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Mardi Gras: that one holiday of the year devoted to entirely to excess. We love it so much that we spread that decadence out over a full weekend of gastronomical indulgences. So before you commit to Lenten promises that will torture you until Easter, here are 13 decadent dishes worth the guilt.



1. Combining Creole seasoning with dark beer, this Everything-in-the-Crisper Jambalaya is perfect for a Mardi Gras-themed meal or a stick-to-your gut dinner before an evening of drinking.

2. Surely one pound of sprouts is enough to redeem this Parmesan-garnished Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pasta, right?

3. Three ingredients make the Peanut Butter Bacon Sandwich of your drunken dreams.



4. Southern Fried Chicken takes a three-day process to complete, but that crispy, Creole-spiced skin is so worth it.

5. Too lazy to butcher? Try a Deep-Fried Whole Chicken.

6. St. Louis weather is still a far cry from spring. Warm up with these tender Braised Short Ribs served over savory hominy stew.



7. True, this creamy Fonduta Mac-n-Cheese made with Riesling and lobster meat is not your mom’s mac-n-cheese. It’s better.

8. Go ahead, have a beer with dinner … then a slurp a Budweiser Milkshake for dessert.

9. Spice up your after-dinner indulgence with a peanut-butter Oreo treat that features a kick of cumin, cayenne and spicy toppings like chocolate-chipotle sauce. This PBJ Blaster Pie may blast a hole in your diet, but you’ve got 40 days to make it up to yourself.



10. Challenge yourself to make a dessert of Caramelized Apples with Foie Gras Ice Cream and spiced walnuts, then reward yourself with sweet, spicy, creamy, crunchy seconds.

11. Brownie mix, booze, bacon and caramel make for a Bacon-Bourbon Brownies for the novice baker. Do you really want to give up chocolate for Lent?



12. If Serendipity’s house-made toasted marshmallow ice cream isn’t enough to convince you, indulge in a Gimme S’mores St. Louis Sundae topped with oatmeal cookie crumbles, hot fudge and vanilla toasted marshmallows. I see you reaching for your spoon.

13. We can’t promise you won’t regret this Cinnamon Bread Pudding chock-full of raisins and cranberries and topped with a glaze of maple syrup and Jack Daniels. But after all, isn’t that the point of Mardi Gras?

-Jambalaya, fried chicken, caramelized apples and mac-n-cheese photos by Carmen Troesser; s’mores sundae photo by Greg Rannells 




By the Book: Nathalie Benezet’s Melting Chocolate Cakes

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014



Nathalie Benezet’s Le Petit Paris: French Finger Food takes a bite-sized look at French cuisine. Teacup-sized bowls of onion soup, beef tartare on tiny toasts and foie gras burgers far too dainty to be called sliders grace the pages of this cookbook. I opted to try her mini Melting Chocolate Cakes, small but sophisticated chocolate loaves that make cupcakes look uncouth. Besides, any recipe that calls for equal parts butter, chocolate and sugar is A-OK with me.




After melting and mixing butter, sugar and chocolate the recipe called for four eggs. Now ordinary eggs would have done the job, but this recipe required something special – the last four eggs from executive editor Ligaya Figueras’ chickens Perrault and Cacciatore, who were slain by an opossum this weekend. RIP Perrault and Cacciatore – we made these gooey chocolate cakes in your honor.




This dessert is all but gluten-free, with one teaspoon of flour among all 12 cakes. While I’m no expert on wheat-less baking, it seems that a simple substitution of almond flour might allow these desserts to be enjoyed by a gluten-free friend.

Then you sit. And wait. And wait. The longest moment of my Monday was the 30 minutes spent breathing in that heavenly chocolate scent as the cakes cooled. I’ll admit, my mini cakes didn’t sink the way I wanted. Their centers were resolutely firm, but the middles sagged slightly as if they pitied me for failing the “melting” part of Nathalie’s Melting Chocolate Cakes.

Regardless, these treats were moist and decadently fudgy. They toed the line between traditional desserts, too gooey to be simply cake and too delicate to be brownie. Their texture and taste is distinctly buttery, but the single-serving trays make it easier to eat just one.

Just kidding. It’s still difficult to eat just one.




Nathalie’s Melting Chocolate Cake
Makes 12 mini loaves

200 g. (7 oz./scant ¾ cup) butter, cubed
200 g. (7 oz./scant ¾ cup) dark (bittersweet) chocolate, (at least 70 percent), broken into pieces
200 g. (7 oz./scant ¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. flour

• Preheat the oven 350 degrees.
• Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted.
• Transfer to a large mixing bowl with the sugar, stir with a wooden spoon and leave to cool a little.
• Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Finally, stir in the flour and mix well.
• Pour the cake batter into 12 mini loaf cases and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the centers are set but still a little wobbly.
• Turn the oven off but leave the cakes inside for another 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
• You can store these covered in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days. Take out 30 minutes before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books

What’s your favorite one-bite sweet or savory treat? Tell us about it in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Le Petit Paris. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Kalila, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Seriously Bitter Sweet. Kalila, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!


The Scoop: Barbecue joint Doc’s Smokehouse and Catering opens in Edwardsville

Monday, February 24th, 2014


Edwardsville is on a roll. Doc’s Smokehouse and Catering opens doors today, Feb. 24, at 1017 Century Drive, adding to a growing roster of new Edwardsville eateries and bars like newly opened Brevan’s Patisserie and soon-to-join Recess Brewing.

Doc’s is the fulfillment of a longtime goal for co-owners Doc and Susan Richardson, who thought of opening their own restaurant long before they began a competitive barbecue career in 2007. After winning their first barbecue competition, the husband and wife team competed across the country and eventually became certified Kansas City Barbeque Society judges and representatives. For the last four years, the Edwardsville-area residents have operated a catering company, The Q Factor, serving dishes that will soon appear on their restaurant menu.

“People always ask, ‘Where’s your restaurant?” said Susan Richardson. “Now we can say, ‘It’s here!’”

The roughly 2,000-square-foot space seats 47 and features a hybrid of Memphis and Kansas City-style barbecue, including house specialties like thick-cut spare ribs and a brisket ranked 14th a 2011 national competition. Traditional barbecue menu items will be accompanied by the occasional twist, like a barbecue chimichanga featuring pork, beans, queso and barbecue sauce. Sauces, rubs and sides will all be made in-house, as well as pies made by Susan.

In the future, the Richardsons hope to host classes for backyard grill masters, but for , Doc’s focus is on opening their doors. “Our whole philosophy is that it’s all about the guest,” Richardson said. “Our vision is that when guests walk in the door they’ll feel at home.”

Doc’s Smokehouse and Catering is open daily for lunch and dinner service beginning at 11 a.m. The Richardsons’ catering business has been renamed Doc’s Smokehouse Catering upon the restaurant’s opening and offers an expanded menu.





Soundbites Extra: 14 St. Louis-area CSAs

Friday, February 21st, 2014



After learning about the hows and whys of CSAs on today’s Soundbites on St. Louis Public Radio, you may be considering joining your own neighborhood CSA. Below are 14 organizations that fit every need, from the occasional half-share of produce to a full weekly shares of produce, eggs, meat and more. Know another great area CSA that should be on this list? Share it in the comments below.

Produce Only

Backdoor Harvest
Location: St. Louis or your backyard
Products: Produce
Membership: Year-round
Pick Up: Farmers have the option to tend in their own backyard or to become a Cropless Member and receive produce that someone else grew.

Location: Ferguson
Products: Produce
Membership: Full-shares May through October. Members are asked to volunteer four hours each month on the farm.
Pick Up: Ferguson Farmer’s Market

LaVista CSA Farm
Location: Godfrey, Ill.
Products: Produce
Membership: Full and half-shares March through November. Members are asked to volunteer three hours each month on the farm.
Pick Up: Edwardsville, Ill., and Garden Heights Nursery in Richmond Heights

Riverbend Roots Farm
Location: Alton, Ill.
Products: Produce
Membership: 25 weeks, half-shares available
Pick Up: Illinois: At the farm and Edwardsville, Ill. Missouri: Central West End, Chesterfield, Clayton Farmers Market, Creve Coeur, Forest Park, Kirkwood, Ladue/Richmond Heights, Maplewood, Schlafly Farmers Market, Tower Grove, University City, Webster Groves

Seeds of Hope Farm
Location: Spanish Lake
Products: Produce
Membership: May through November. Subsidized shares available for households earning at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level.
Pick Up: Overland, Spanish Lake

Shared Bounty CSA
Location: Troy, Mo.
Products: Produce
Membership: Full and half-shares, May through October
Pick Up: At farm, home delivery (additional fee)

Three Rivers Community Farm
Location: Elsah, Ill.
Products: Produce
Membership: Full and half-shares mid-May to mid-November
Pick Up: At farm, Maplewood, Tower Grove, University City and Edwardsville, Ill.,

Yellow Wood Farms
Location: Hermann
Products: Produce
Membership: Full and half-shares for 30 weeks. Membership includes access to The Family Harvest Mercantile’s local meat, eggs, dairy, baked and canned goods, and frozen, out-of-season produce.
Pick Up: Kirkwood, University City

Produce, Eggs and Poultry

Dry Dock Farm CSA
Location: Silex, Mo.
Products: Produce, herbs, eggs (Dry goods, meats, cheese available an additional fee.)
Membership: Full and half-shares, May through October. Winter shares include four deliveries during November and December.
Pick Up: Chesterfield, Creve Coeur, Des Peres, Kirkwood, Ladue, Lake St. Louis, Webster Groves, Wildwood, home delivery

Our City Farm
Location: St. Louis
Products: Produce, poultry, eggs
Membership: 24-week, spring-summer session starts in May. Subsidized memberships available for those who qualify.
Pick Up: At farm

Produce, Eggs, Poultry and Other Produce

Danjo Farms
Location: Moberly, Mo.
Products: Produce, eggs, meats, baked goods
Membership: Year-round (summer shares and winter shares available)
Pick Up: Mercy Hospital/New Ballas Road, St. Anthony’s Medical Center/Tesson Ferry Road

Fair Shares Combined CSA
Location: Fair Shares farmers are located from Hermann to Greenville, Ill.
Products: Produce, dairy products, dry goods (baked goods, coffee, chocolate, pasta, cheese, granola), herbs, meats, nuts
Membership: Full and half-shares available year-round
Pick Up: St. Louis, Kirkwood, University City

Maude’s Market CSA
Location: Maude’s Market farmers and producers are located throughout Missouri and Illinois.
Products: Produce, meat, dry goods
Membership: Seasonal or monthly shares available year-round
Pick Up: Dutchtown

Vesterbrook Farm
Location: Clarksville
Products: Produce, meats, eggs, dry goods such as maple syrup, olive oils, grains, jams and jellies
Membership: Available year-round
Pick Up: Pick up days and times are confirmed at sign-up. Home or office delivery available for additional fee.



The Scoop: Giuseppe’s Ristorante to close, focus on catering

Monday, February 10th, 2014



Giuseppe’s Ristorante will celebrate a bittersweet Valentine’s Day; Feb. 14 marks the final day of service at the restaurant at 4141 S. Grand Blvd., in the Dutchtown neighborhood.

Giuseppe’s is closing to shift its focus on catering, according to a press release. Giuseppe’s vice president Eric Stockmann said the closing of the restaurant marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the company.

“The restaurant and the building that we’re in – that chapter is over,” Stockmann said. “But the new chapter is the same food, sauces and meatballs. We’re just going to carry it to people instead of having them come to us.” The company plans to sell the building on South Grand and move its catering operation to a “location that will enhance its opportunity for growth,” according to the release.

While Giuseppe’s currently caters to hospitals and corporations, Stockmann would like to see the company expand its catering operation to include weddings and other special events. Its catering menu has expanded beyond traditional Italian dishes to now include Mexican, Asian and American cuisines.




Vito’s in the Valley reopens after winter storm damages

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014



It’s a good day to be a pasta lover in West County. Vito’s in the Valley reopens today after winter storm damages Jan. 6 forced the restaurant to temporarily close. A burst water pipe filled the dining room with 2,000 gallons of water; just 16 days later, the restaurant is open for business.

Vito’s in the Valley opened in October 2013; the original Vito’s Sicilian Pizzeria & Ristorante has been open in Midtown nearly 20 years. Vito’s in the Valley owner Giovanni LaFata is delighted that the restaurant is up and running a few days ahead of the anticipated reopening this weekend. “I’m just so happy to be reopened so we can run a great restaurant in Chesterfield,” LaFata said. “I have a smile on my face right now.”

To celebrate the reopening, Vito’s in the Valley is offering 10 percent off bottles of wine and half-price appetizers tonight. If you can’t make it to Chesterfield Valley for today’s reopening, the food and drink specials will continue through weekend.

EarthDance to add home gardening to apprenticeship program

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014



EarthDance’s organic farming apprenticeship program begins its sixth year with an added twist: home gardening. For the last five years, EarthDance has equipped its apprentices with the practical skills and business savvy to start organic farming ventures of their own. This year students will leave with added skills they can use in their home gardens.

Program director Rachel Levi said the new home gardening element offers urban dwelling apprentices the chance to start farming in their own yards, without having to leave the city. “We have observed that many apprentices have commitments that make it difficult to start farming in the immediate future,” Levi said. “So we wanted to add more to the program for them.”

One new feature is Seven Generations Garden, a smaller space that apprentices will work on in addition to the traditional program of fieldwork, classes and visits to local farms. The garden will give apprentices the opportunity to learn about garden-scale agriculture through techniques like companion planting, sheet mulching and space-saving methods. These classes this year also will include home garden design and edible landscaping, so urban and suburban farmers can put their coursework to use in their own backyards.

Those interested in organic farming and home gardening who can’t commit to a full apprenticeship can attend individual classes Tuesday evenings starting in May. Individual classes are $20 each; apprenticeship tuition is $750. More information and a class schedule will be available online.



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