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Aug 30, 2015
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Extra Sauce: 5 Patriotic Desserts for Your July Fourth Barbecue

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

Admit it: We’re all sick of the sheet cake decorated with strawberries and blueberries to look like the American flag. Impress your barbecue guests with these red, white and/or blue desserts that will satisfy any patriotic sweet tooth.




1. There’s nothing more American than pie – unless you put that pie in a Mason jar. Use pre-made crust to quickly assemble these individual Blueberry Pies in Jars and screw on the lids for easy transport.




2. A few drops of red food coloring turns these plain muffins into decadent Red Velvet Cream Cheese Muffins. Bonus: You probably have most of these ingredients already in your kitchen.




3. Turn those red velvet muffins into cake and fold it up into a frosting-smothered Red Velvet Roll. Swap those candy cane crumbles for blue sprinkles and no one will know you transformed Christmas into Independence Day.




4. Accommodate a vegan guest – or avoid turning on the oven – with this no-churn, berry-packed Vegan Blueberry Ice Cream made with coconut cream.




5. We love crisps; they’re the ultimate lazy baker’s dessert. In this Peach and Raspberry Crisp, golden peaches and rosy raspberries create a vibrant red hue tucked beneath a buttery crust.


- Pie jar and ice cream photos by Carmen Troesser, all others by Amrita Rawat


Extra Sauce: Urban Harvest STL talks sustainable rooftop farming downtown

Monday, April 6th, 2015



In 2011, a band of urban agriculture enthusiasts formed Urban Harvest STL and created a downtown community garden to grow food closer to where they work and live. But when their lease expired two years later, they needed a new plot of land. Finding no space available on the ground, they decided to look up.

Urban Harvest recently began construction on a new Food Roof Farm on top of a two-story building at the corner of 14th Street and Convention Plaza. Mary Ostafi, founding director of Urban Harvest STL, shared how the rooftop farm went from vision to reality.

What inspired you to start Urban Harvest when you moved to St. Louis five years ago?
I have always lived in very suburban or urban environments and I’ve always been very interested in growing food and having even more control of my health through that method. It just kind of happened when I got to St. Louis.

We were yearning for more green space and somewhere to enjoy the outdoors in the middle of the city. We had a desire to grow our own food, and we took it upon ourselves to create that opportunity.

How will the Food Roof Farm operate?
We are going to hire a part-time farm manager to run the farm. It will primarily be a CSA model. On a weekly basis, members come to farm and pick up a box of fresh produce that is in season. We’ll donate a portion of the harvest to the St. Patrick Center teaching kitchen. We’ll be integrating a community garden into the roof, so some gardeners will be growing food for themselves. And we’ll have a partnership with a local school a few blocks away – Lafayette Preparatory Academy – interested in having space to teach students. It will be a demonstration farm for everyone in the community to plug into in different ways.

What will you grow?
We’ll be growing all kind of vegetables and flowers and herbs and a pollinator garden. The primary focus is really on food: everything from tomatoes and lettuces to kale and root vegetables, like carrots, onions and garlic … We have been and will continue to grow organically without any pesticides or herbicides.

Will space constraints affect the farm?
We need to be more efficient with how we grow food, so we’re looking at different growing methods besides typical farm rows. We’re trying to grow vertical and leverage that space as much as possible.

What are the benefits of urban farming?
Conventional means of agriculture and the transportation associated with the shipping of food can be very environmentally intensive. There’s a growing need to cultivate and provide access to food and reduce the environmental impact of food system, and also to foster a connection between people and the local food system.

You raised $33,000 through crowdfunding organization Rally St. Louis to kick-start this project. What’s the fundraising plan going forward?
We will continue to rely on local businesses and local foundations beyond the Rally Saint Louis campaign. So far the local community has been pretty supportive. We have enough money for the build-out but not all the necessary projects, like the beehive, chicken coop and hydroponic towers.

The plan is for the CSA to pay for the garden, definitely sustain the farm manager position, rent and utilities. We would love to be able to scale up and create more jobs, like a greenhouse manager and youth education director.

What do you hope for the Food Roof Farm in the next five years?
I think five years from now we would really like to see the Food Roof Farm thriving as a demonstration and outreach and education arm of urban agriculture. By that point we will learn what growing methods work best on a rooftop and scale it up on more rooftops downtown. This is really our pilot. We hope people will learn from this project and take it back to their living situation and figure out how to grow food.

Learn more about Urban Harvest STL and sustainable urban agriculture in St. Louis at Central Conversations: Urban Farming on Wednesday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library downtown. Click here for more information about this free event. (Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of Central Conversations.)

Editor’s note: This post was updated at April 8 at 10 a.m. It. originally stated that the Food Roof Farm is located on top of a three-story parking garage. It also stated that the Food Roof Farm would have hydroponic power.





Extra Sauce: 14 weird questions from St. Louis gardeners

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

In our April issue, we picked Glenn Kopp‘s brain for tips and tricks to make our home gardens as fruitful as MoBOT’s William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening, where he serves as horticulture information manager. But Kopp isn’t the only helpful Master Gardener on staff. Each spring, a whole team of gardening experts at MoBOT’s Horticulture Answer Service fields hundreds of questions from St. Louis-area gardeners – including a few oddball ones that catch even these seasoned professionals off-guard. Here, the MoBOT team shares 14 of the strangest queries ever received:

1. What is the name of the plant that has pink flowers on it?

2. I don’t remember where the sun comes up – is it the east or the west?

3.  Can I use birth control pills and put them on my plants to fertilize them?

4. Q: How do I kill a pine tree?
A: Why do you want to kill it?
Q: Because I want it taken away.
A: Why not have someone come in and cut it down and take it away?
Q: My brother-in-law will do that, but only after it has died.

5. Q: What is the round fuzzy thing growing on my red bud tree trunk? Maybe a bug? What to do?
A: Put on a pair of gloves and pull “things” off.
Q: Oh, I couldn’t do that! Couldn’t I just hit the things with a hammer?

6. My big black oak is dropping its acorns! Does that mean it is going to die?

7. Is it too late to bring my geraniums in? (Call date: Feb. 2)

8. Do you have reproduction facilities?

9. I put my poinsettia in the closet on Sept. 15. Can I take it out now? It doesn’t look good. Why doesn’t it bloom? (Call date: Dec. 8)

10. I have a hole in my yard. What do I do?

11. I have a plant that’s too tall. The bottom leaves fall off and it grows from the top. What is it? What do I do to make it shorter?

12. How do you keep birds out of trees?

13. Can you tell me when photosynthesis will occur this year?

14. I understand there’s a new spray for sweet gumball machines?

Do you have a pressing gardening question? Call MoBOT’s Horticultural Answer Service at 314.577.5143 to get one-on-one help from a Master Gardener.

Extra Sauce: A chat with Lidia Bastianich

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015



Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich has made a career preparing, exploring and educating others through Italian-American cuisine. Now she returns to St. Louis for Falling in Love … In Five Courses, an annual five-course dinner to benefit students at St. Louis Community College. Bastianich will oversee the dinner, which takes place this Saturday, Feb. 28 at Four Seasons Hotel, with help from area chefs Gianni Colucci of Cielo, Casey Shiller of Jilly’s Cupcake Bar and STLCC culinary students.

Here, Bastianich shares her thoughts on the St. Louis culinary scene, the importance of culinary education, and who she turns to when she needs a little help in the kitchen.

This event supports the students at St. Louis Community College. Why is this something you wanted to be involved in?
What appeals to me is the education of young people that don’t have the opportunity to make a jump to a four-year college right away. This is such a great stepping stone.

You’ll be speaking with some of these culinary students before the event. What lessons are most important for them to learn?
You have to leave the door open. Culinary school is not just hands-on training … It is the possibility of opening a business, a restaurant, a store. It is the possibility of becoming a culinary teacher, of being a journalist on food, of writing cookbooks … teaching children.

You’ve been to St. Louis many times over the years. What are some of your favorite things about our city?
I connect because of the deeply-rooted Italian immigrant history that it has, from The Hill to the different restaurants, bocce playing, Yogi Berra comes from there … There are a lot of Italian-isms, if you will … I had a great time at Rigazzi’s, Trattoria Marcella, Cunetto House of Pasta, Giovanni’s on the Hill, Charlie Gitto’s.

What are your thoughts on the St. Louis food scene?
I think that it’s a vibrant city as far as food. They enjoy their wine … they’re into food, the markets… I think it has joie de vivre.

People seem to be more into food now than ever before, not just dining out but cooking, too. To what do you attribute that?
Many things: the press, the writing on food, all the exposure: television, Internet, social media. Food is all over, and the understanding and importance of food for our health … And beyond that, the pleasure that food gives us. Food is a venue for nurturing somebody, for loving, for expressing a kind of affection. So it has become a social medium. I remember I had the first restaurant in ’71, it was “OK, a quick dinner and then let’s go to a show.” Now, dinner is the show.

What new projects are you working on?
My third children’s book just came out (Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidias Egg-citing Farm Adventure). … I’m working on a master cookbook that’s going to be out in the fall. It is a compilation of over 400 recipes, a glossary, traditions, instructions and all of that.

What are you cooking right now?
Soups. My 94-year-old mother lives with me. I make soups and freeze them so when I’m traveling she has her meals ready. … In this weather, it is all about soup and braised meats. Before I left, did a big pot of braised ribs. So there you have the ribs are falling off the bone, but also the sauce, and then I package it for Grandma and she has a meal.

You’re an authority on Italian-American cooking, but when you branch out, whom do you look to for advice?
I can call up Jacques (Pepin) and say “Hey, Jacques…” But when I kind of venture a bit out, certainly Rick Bayless for Mexico … Ming Tsai if I’m going to have Chinese problems, or Indian… Madhur Jaffrey is my friend also. So I’m covered.

Editor’s Note: Sauce is a sponsor of Falling in Love … In Five Courses.

Extra Sauce: 5 swoon-worthy desserts for Valentine’s Day

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

For some, Valentine’s Day is a day to spend with your sweetheart. For others, it’s a day to spend sprawled on the ground in the fetal position, nursing a half-empty bottle of cheap wine and force-cuddling Tibbles, your neighbor’s cat. Either way, desserts for Feb. 14 are a must. Here, 5 delicious treats and your significant other, human or otherwise, will love:




1. According to Beyoncé, there’s nothing quite like being drunk in love – or drunk off 30 of these Pomegranate Mojito Cupcakes.




2. Inspired by those petite fancy French desserts from the bakery down the street, this giant pistachio and berry Macaron Cake proves size really does matter.




3. This 12-serving Chocolate Crepe stuffed with fruit and boozy whipped cream is the perfect indulgence for a crowd – or just you and Tibbles. No judgment.




4. What’s better than a warm chocolate chip cookie? One that you pull out of the oven Half Baked and eat straight from the pan.




5. Skip the fire hazard and bake a S’mores Pie in the comfort and warmth of your own kitchen instead.

-cupcake and crepe photos by Jonathan S. Pollack; cookie photo by Carmen Troesser


Extra Sauce: Your top 4 Cajun and Creole restaurants

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Mardi Gras weekend is upon us, which means we’re diving into po’boys, gumbo, jambalaya and all our favorite NOLA-inspired dishes. Last year, you voted for your favorite Cajun and Creole restaurants during our 2014 Readers Choice Awards. Here, your top 4 spots to let the good times roll:



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Extra Sauce: Team Sauce’s favorite chicken wings

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Chicken wings are ubiquitous on a Super Bowl spread. We’re all for making our own, but nothing can beat our favorite restaurants, bars and barbecue joints. Here’s where Team Sauce goes when we’re craving chicken wings:



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Did we pick one of your favorites? Are we out of our minds? Who did we miss? Tell us your go-to chicken wings in the comments below and find our favorites here: Three Kings Public House, Cleveland-Heath, Planter’s House, St. Louis Wing Co., Hiro Asian Kitchen and Bogart’s Smokehouse.


-Three Kings photo by Greg Rannells; Bogart’s photo by Carmen Troesser



Extra Sauce: 5 recipes to win your Super Bowl party

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest unofficial American holiday of the year, and as with all our holidays, it comes with it’s own traditional menu of delicious eats. Step up your game day grub with five recipes for our favorite football food:


1. Get smoky with a big pot of Smoked White Bean Chili. (And before you cry foul, we’ve got the traditional red chili fans covered, too.)


2. Pulled Pork and pigskin are a classic combination, and ours simmers all day in a root beer-chile sauce.


3. Fire up the grill and savor the sweet heat of Harissa Honey Hot Wings.


4. No harissa? No problem. These Honey Sriracha Wings require just five key ingredients, including that bottle of rooster sauce in your fridge.


5. Fear not, vegan and vegetarians – even meat-heads will drool over these Macho Cauliflower Poppers. Sharing is optional.


-chili photo by Michelle Volansky; pulled pork photo by Greg Rannells; cauliflower poppers photo by Carmen Troesser; harissa wings photo from Balaboosta by Einat Admony

Extra Sauce: 12 healthy recipes to help keep New Year’s resolutions

Monday, January 5th, 2015


{Seven-Grain Salad with Italian Sausage, Peppers and Capers}

Pledging to eat healthier in 2015 is a noble endeavor, but one cannot live on poached chicken breasts and lettuce alone. Here, 12 nutritious – and delicious – recipes to help maintain your New Year’s resolve.



{Poached Salmon with Mustard Sauce}

1. We all know fish is packed with heart-healthy fats, but some landlocked Midwesterners are still leery of cooking it themselves. This recipe for Fish en Papillotte is a foolproof method for cooking perfect fish fillets every time. Steam is also used to make this Poached Salmon slathered with a quick and easy mustard sauce. Ready for more a more advanced (but still super simple) cooking method? Quickly pan-sear a halibut fillet and serve with a textural medley of sides in this recipe for Halibut with Grapefruit Fennel Slaw.


2. Ramp up your protein intake sans meat with beans and other legumes. A spiced bowl of Curried Sweet Potatoes and Lentils makes for a quick, filling meal , or toss quinoa and lucky black-eyed peas in a spicy lime dressing for a Red Quinoa and Black-Eyed Pea Salad. Stomach growling? Pack together these Lentil, Chickpea and Quinoa Burgers to sate even the most famished appetite.



{Kale Caesar Salad}

3. Still can’t get enough kale? Try a Kale Caesar Salad that eschews anchovies for seaweed. If you’re pressed for time, this Shrimp and Citrus Salad comes together in less than 10 minutes and adds a citrus spark to winter with grapefruit (adding some chopped avocado would not go amiss either), and humble roots can brighten any frigid January day in a Beet and Carrot Salad.



{Warm Mushroom Salad}

4. If crunchy raw salads scream “rabbit food” to you, opt for a lettuce-less creation instead. Try a Warm Spiced Roasted Root Vegetable Salad studded with briny feta and crunchy pepitas or saute a mess of woodsy mushrooms for this Warm Mushroom Salad. We love to dig into this Seven-Grain Salad filled with Italian sausage, peppers and salty capers  (and yes, it counts as a salad!). the idea of


Extra Sauce: Ligaya Figueras Predicts 2015 Trends

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

The time has come once again when we food fanatics weigh in on the edible landscape of the year ahead. But first, let’s take a quick look back to my 2014 predictions.

Illinois has, indeed, been a hotspot, especially for craft breweries. This year saw breweries launch in Belleville (4204 Main Street Brewing Co.), Edwardsville (Recess Brewing) and O’Fallon (Peel).

Last year, I also speculated we’d see more all-veg restaurants with sophisticated plates. Small Batch, Seedz Café and Lulu’s Local Eatery brick-and-mortar on S. Grand Boulevard joined the small club of places to grab a meat-free bite. So did Five Bistro chef-owner Anthony Devoti’s five-week veg-centric pop-up this summer, Root & Vine.

Among local food trends, we’ve become thoroughly versed in ancient grains, but this was farro’s breakout year, and cauliflower is still having a fine run as a faux steak. The liquid stars of 2014 have been cherry alcohol and house-made soda and tonics.

What will 2015 bring? Here’s what I read in the booze-infused tea leaves (tea cocktails – you should try one):




1. Bitter greens get big.
We’ve been won over by raw kale salads and crispy kale chips. But there are more bitter greens than the big K. At Death in the Afternoon, dandelion greens and chicory currently fill the bowl of a spicy Vietnamese grilled beef salad, and the restaurant’s Cobb salad is studded red with a blend of radicchio and its Italian cousin, Treviso. Get ready for dandelion pesto, collard chips and chicory in puntarelle salads.



{Root celery soup with sorrel sorbet at Niche}


2. Regionalism migrates to the Midwest
What Nordic chefs at places like Noma and Dill are doing in cooking with foods native to their area tundra territory has attracted attention because it’s sustainable and a reminder that food is about place. Locally, Scratch Brewing’s indigenous beers are an example of this movement, called regionalism. On the food side, Gerard Craft and his team at Niche are breaking new ground in sourcing ingredients from the Show-Me state. At that restaurant, it’s out with citrus (because it doesn’t grow here) and in with local foods that hold citrus flavors. It means sourcing Missouri-grown wheat from Richard Knapp to make bread. Craft is even on a quest to find Missouri salt, once an important industry for this state. It’s one thing to source locally. Going native takes that a step forward. Look for more chefs to help shape what Made in MO cuisine looks like.





3. Low-gravity beers keep things sessionable – and tasty.
Craft beer fans have spoken: they want to occupy bar stools for hours. However, for a drinking session to last that long, the brew’s gotta be low in alcohol. A lager with no personality won’t suffice because beer nerds want character, too. Of the two dozen craft beers on tap at The Side Project Cellar, 10 are 6-percent ABV or lower, and three of those – Side Project Grisette, Side Project Saisonnier and The Civil Life  Milk Stout – clock in at less than 5 percent.



{Chef-owner Ben Poremba at Old Standard, his new fried chicken shack}


4. The fried chicken run has just begun.
Quality options abound for Sunday fried chicken dinners, and you can even find expertly prepared fried chicken at ethnic restaurants. Chicken shack Old Standard is but two months old and another, Byrd & Barrel, is slated for early 2015. If fried chicken follows the 2014 trend of whiskey bars, we’re going to see a lot more restaurants giving us the bird.



{Bread service at Scape}

5. Better bread is rising.
Restaurants aren’t taking their bread for granted anymore. And we’re not passing up the bread course when the basket is filled with flaky buttermilk biscuits and moist cornbread accompanied by thoughtful jams and compound butters. We’ve been wowed by the bread selection at Old Standard and Juniper, as well as the complimentary rosemary focaccia at Cucina Pazzo. Scape just upped its bread service with fresh baked focaccia, lavash and pretzel sticks served with white bean puree, olive tapenade and whipped butter. Watch for more in-house baking programs to rise.

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