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Jul 26, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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By the Book: Erin McKenna’s Carrot Bread

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

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As fellow gluten-free and dairy-free diners can attest, eating with dietary restrictions is easier said than done. At restaurants, we must ignore our friends’ barely-concealed cringes as we deconstruct an entree to conform to our needs. At home, we spend hours scouring niche food blogs for our next meal. Perhaps the biggest test of my willpower, though, is when an unknowing waiter places an overflowing bread basket in front of me. After years of coveting that basket of forbidden gluten, I was thrilled when my editor Catherine Klene dropped a copy of Bread & Butter: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes to Fill Your Bread Basket by my desk.

Sauce interns get to try a lot of food on the job, and my editors always search for something I can eat among the loot, usually only to be foiled — a slice of cake might be gluten-free, but not dairy-free, or vice versa. That’s why McKenna’s book, featuring indulgent recipes that are gluten-free and vegan, seemed the perfect end to a semester-long quest for “something Tori can eat.”

McKenna, who also passed on the bread basket for two decades due to a gluten sensitivity, now runs BabyCakes, a gluten-free vegan bakery with locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Orlando. Based on recipes pioneered in her bakery, her new cookbook begins with a break down of basic ingredients and baking tips invaluable to those new to specialty baking. From there, her book is broken up into chapters by category: morning treats, breads (of course), sandwiches, pizza and focaccia, kids’ recipes, international cuisine, puff pastries and tarts, snacks, dips and dressings (including vegan butter!), and desserts. While the pain au chocolate looked tempting, I chose the carrot bread because it looked both doable and delicious.

 

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McKenna’s recipes are straightforward and concise throughout, usually taking no more than a page of text punctuated with beautiful photos and colorful design. Her carrot bread calls for walnut oil or coconut oil, vegan sugar, gluten-free baking flour (we used Cup 4 Cup), arrowroot, xanthan gum, shredded carrots and optional chopped walnuts. Gluten-free home cooks already have most of these items in our kitchen pantries.

As an amateur baker, I found McKenna’s instructions easy to follow. The only painstaking part of the baking process was shredding all those carrots. Next time, I’ll do this the night before or use the shredder attachment on a food processor. Also be aware that this recipe takes some time – as a yeast bread, the dough needs an hour to rise, and then requires another 35 minutes in the oven. Keep a good book on hand or start trolling the Internet for more niche foodie blogs.

Despite these few bumps, I found the finished product to be well worth the wait. For someone who hasn’t eaten bread, much less homemade bread, in quite some time, McKenna’s carrot bread truly was a treat. I found the bread to be spongy and light, with a slight texture and crunch from the walnuts. Though the book claims that even non gluten-free and vegan people will love this recipe, my Sauce coworkers claim they could tell the difference. Still, for those gluten-free and vegan among us, this carrot bread is a real indulgence.

 

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Carrot Bread
Makes 1 7-by-4-by-3-inch loaf

3 Tbsp. walnut oil or melted unscented coconut oil, plus more for the pan
1½ cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
4 Tbsp. vegan sugar
2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
2 Tbsp. arrowroot
½ tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1½ tsp. salt
2 cups firmly packed shredded carrots
¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

• Lightly grease a 7-by-4-by-3-inch loaf pan with oil.
• In a small bowl, combine the oil, warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir once and set aside to proof until it bubbles, about 10 minutes.
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, arrowroot, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour in the yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir until it is the consistency of cake batter. If the dough is too thick, add additional warm water one splash at a time. Fold in the carrots and the walnuts (if using). Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan, cover with a dish towel, and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Bake the bread for 20 minutes, and then rotate the pan 180 degrees. Bake until the crust is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
• Let the bread cool in the pan for 1 hour before slicing.

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter

What’s the most creative recipe you’ve used to accommodate someone’s dietary restrictions? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Erin McKenna’s Bread & Butter.

The Scoop: Total Wine & More to open its first Missouri locations in Brentwood, Town & Country

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

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Liquor superstore Total Wine & More recently announced plans to open two locations in the St. Louis-area this fall, as reported by the St. Louis Business Journal. The national chain will open one store at 90 Brentwood Promenade Court in Brentwood and another at 13887 Manchester Road in Town & Country. Both locations are currently awaiting licensing approval from the state of Missouri.

Edward Cooper, vice president of public affairs and community relations, said these two locations will be the first Total Wine & More stores in Missouri. The Maryland-based company currently operates 114 locations in 16 states. The 15,000-plus-square-foot superstores will offer approximately 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers. Each store will also have a wine education center to be used for ongoing staff training and classes for consumers on wine, beer and spirits. It will also be available for local community groups to book at no cost to host private events.

After establishing four successful stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Cooper said the company began to look at other Midwest markets. “We knew that the St. Louis area was terrific for lovers of wine, beer and spirits, so that’s where we concentrated our real estate efforts and expansion efforts,” he said. “There are also customers … that are adventurous and looking for something new, whether it be a cool craft beer or a really interesting wine or spirit that they haven’t seen before.”

Cooper said Total Wine & More’s educated service team sets the liquor store apart, with employees receiving extensive training in wine, beer and spirits. “When customers come into the store, they’ll encounter a team member – or two or three – who is very well-versed in the beverage alcohol world and can help them find what they’re looking for,” he said.

 

 

 

The Scoop: Beer-focused 99 Hops House to open doors at Hollywood Casino

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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Get ready to choose your next round from 99 (-ish) different brews when 99 Hops House opens doors at Hollywood Casino in the first week of April. This is the second location for the beer-centric sports bar; the original is located in another Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Food and beverage manager Rhaisha Dobbs said the sports bar offers around 100 different brews – 20 draft and 80 bottles – including local offerings like Schlafly, Six Row and Urban Chestnut. The restaurant has even gotten into the collaboration game, partnering with O’Fallon Brewery to make its original Hollywood Ale, which will be served in the restaurant and on the casino floor.

The food menu consists of pub grub classics like nachos, wings, hefty burgers, ribs and more, all with suggested beer pairings. Look for other local brews to make appearances as ingredients, such as the beer cheese soup made with Schlafly pale ale and O’Fallon’s amber ale in the batter for the fried cod sandwich. “We tried to stay with things our guests are going to be familiar with, plus we get to support our local industry,” Dobbs said.

Guests can forgo blackjack and slots for 99 Hops House’s dartboards, shuffleboards and Golden Tee video game, or they can kick back with a brew and watch the pros on one of 20 TVs scattered throughout the restaurant.

99 Hops House will be open Mondays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Fridays from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant will typically be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, opening for special events in the adjacent concert venue.

 

 

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