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Feb 24, 2018
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Sauce Celebrity Chef Series Presents an Evening with Edward Lee

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013


Join Sauce Magazine, in partnership with Left Bank Books, for the next Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event with Edward Lee.

Lee, chef-owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, Ky., came to national attention as a three-time James Beard Award Finalist for Best Chef: Southeast and as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef: Texas. At this intimate event, which takes place at Taste, Lee will mingle with guests over passed hors d’oeuvres as he discusses and signs his first book, Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen. The cookbook features 130 dishes that meld Lee’s Korean heritage with his French culinary training and Southern home.

Tickets, available here, are $50 each and include Smoke & Pickles-inspired hors d’oeuvres prepared by the chefs at Taste, a Bourbon Sweet Tea cocktail featuring Jefferson’s Bourbon, and a copy of Smoke & Pickles.

What: A conversation and book signing with chef Edward Lee, food and drink

When: Aug. 13 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Taste, 4584 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.1200

Only 60 tickets are available for the event, which is expected to sell out quickly.



By the Book: Lou Rook’s Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels in a Spicy Tomato Vermouth Broth with Grilled Crusted Bread

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The Chesterfield Valley wasn’t always The Chesterfield Valley. When I was a kid, that area was grassland and soccer fields as far as the eye could see. Oh, and there was The Smokehouse Market. After two or three hours of running after a black-and-white speckled ball (or away from it, in my athletically inept case), my prize for the energy exerted was lunch at The Smokehouse Market. We’d go up to the counter and stand on our tippy toes to order a smattering of house-made items, forming makeshift sandwiches out of fresh cheeses and roasted vegetables on thickly sliced whole-grain bread. Dessert was a chocolate chip cookie from the counter right next to the cash register that my sister and I had to split. When the flood devastated the area in ’93, I worried that my beloved lunchtime market had gone with it. Indeed, it had filled with several feet of water, as had Annie Gunn’s restaurant that sat next to it. But fortunately, Tom Sehnert, who owned both eateries, planned to rebuild.

Enter chef Lou Rook. Together, Rook and Sehnert created a new concept for Annie Gunn’s – one that infused fine-dining reliability with farm-to-table roots. After a series of slow changes to the menu, everything from the meat to the produce to the cheese came from local farms, and the food that Rook created using these ingredients was fantastic. Twenty years later, chef Rook has released his first cookbook, Rook Cooks: Simplicity at Its Finest, filled with many of the mainstay dishes that have made Annie Gunn’s worthy of a trip to Chesterfield for even the most jaded critics of West County.

As we finish up our month of cooking from cookbooks penned by St. Louis culinary stars, I was ecstatic to cook from one of my very favorite chefs in town (Bonus: Chef Rook is an incredibly nice guy.). This recipe for mussels epitomizes what I believe Rook is trying to accomplish with this book: quality yet easy-to-find ingredients that are prepared simply to provide big flavor. (I must note that not all of the recipes in this book do so, such as those which call for making stocks and sauces that, on their own, would take many hours and dollars.) And boy did this one deliver. The 1/3 cup of minced garlic and the full tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes tossed into the broth made for a load of flavor that tickled my taste buds with every bite. While milder palates may prefer to knock the garlic and pepper flakes down a few notches, my heat-loving household happily sopped it up with the grilled bread I served alongside.

For the tomatoes, Rook recommends the only canned tomatoes that you should ever buy: San Marzanos, available at just about any corner grocery. I opted for the white wine I had in the fridge, but if you happen to have vermouth lying around, by all means pop it open for this savory and spicy broth. I do wish Rook was a bit clearer on the rest of the ingredient list, however. After all, what exactly is pure olive oil and did I really need it? A call to Extra Virgin, An Olive Ovation in Clayton quickly answered that question: “Mussels will taste better with extra virgin,” owner Marianne Prey quickly affirmed. And what is clam broth? A little research proved that it’s just the juice that canned clams are packed in. The grilled bread mentioned in the title of Rook’s recipe was left out of the recipe completely, but figuring out how to make it proved easy.

The instructions, however, were fairly spot-on, especially the note on how to de-beard the mussels and smoothing out the sauce with a touch of honey. It worked like a charm. The only tweak I’d recommend: more mussels. With a 28-ounce can of tomatoes and a full 2 cups of clam broth, this broth was begging for more of those meaty little prizes inside the shell. Next time, I’d double the number of mussels and make this a meal for four.

Twenty years after the flood, I’m still a regular at both of Rook’s eateries as they both continue to hold a special place in my heart. On the day my boyfriend and I brought home our first puppy, we sat on the patio at The Smokehouse and ate fresh cheese and roasted vegetable sandwiches. While The Valley may now just, unfortunately, be The Valley, Annie Gunn’s and The Smokehouse Market remain the gems among a breathtakingly large line of chain restaurants. And that makes this cookbook a treasure of its own.

Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels in a Spicy Tomato Vermouth Broth with Grilled Crusted Bread
2 Servings 

24 Prince Edward Island Mussels
¼ cup pure olive oil
1/3 cup minced garlic
1 Tbsp. red peppercorn flakes
1/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 28-oz. can crushed tomato, preferably San Marzano, Muir Glen or your homemade crushed tomatoes
2 cups clam broth (Note: I used the juice from canned clams.)
Italian parsley
Basil (optional)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey (optional)
Kosher salt, to taste
Butter (optional)

• Scrub the outer shells of the mussels and de-beard them. Set the mussels aside.
• Add the pure olive oil to a 4-quart stockpot and begin heating the oil on high heat.
• Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook them to a light toast.
• Deglaze the pot with the vermouth, then add the crushed tomatoes and clam broth. Let the pot simmer for 30 minutes.
• Add the mussels and steam them until they open.
• Lift the mussels out of the sauce with a strainer or slotted spoon and place them onto a platter or into two bowls.
• Finish the sauce with Italian parsley, basil, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and salt to taste.

• Spoon the sauce over the top of the mussels and garnish to your liking with fresh herbs.


  1. To de-beard mussels, simply use a rag to pull the beards from the mussels while you are washing them. The beard is the part of the mussel that hands outside of the shell.
  2. If the sauce seems a little on the acidic side, smooth it out with honey.
  3. Prince Edward Island is world-renowned for their high-quality mussels with distinctive flavor – they truly do set the standard. The broth can be made in advance and can hold up to a week in the refrigerator.
  4. Butter is always good in anything, so you can add a little to finish the sauce if you would like.

Recommended Beverages:
Light lager, wheat beer, riesling, Gewürztraminer or Missouri Traminette

What’s your favorite memory from The Smokehouse Market or Annie Gunn’s? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Rook Cooks. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Joe, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won him a copy of Stone Soup Cottage: A Vignette of Seasonal Recipes. Joe, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

By The Book: Helen Fletcher’s S’mores Tart

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

For the second book in our local cookbook series, I baked from Helen Fletcher’s European Tarts: Pastries Like a Pro; Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking. During an interview with Fletcher, who was featured in February’s Cook’s Books, she impressed me with her kindness and humility; but what really wowed me was her resume. When I was assigned her book, written by a woman who bakes pastries for Tony’s and is basically St. Louis’ version of Julia Child, I figured me and my kitchen were in for some failures.

Boy was I wrong. This recipe for the S’mores Tart literally took me six minutes to make. Granted, I cheated by buying a graham cracker crust (rather than making my own with Fletcher’s recipe), yet, even if I made it, this would still be an easy recipe.

And if it hadn’t been easy (some of her other recipes look more challenging), she includes links to the book’s website for how-to photographs. Not only did Fletcher hold true to her cookbook’s promise that this was a “divinely doable dessert with little or no baking,” the dessert tasted decadent and delicious.

I mean, marshmallows, heavy cream, chocolate and peanuts? This couldn’t have tasted bad.

My only concern? Fletcher claims that the pie serves 10 to 12. Fletcher might want to add a note there – “Pie serves 10 to 12 if you don’t allow yourself to stand in front of your open fridge with a fork in hand in the middle of the night. In that case, pie serves three.” 

S’mores Tart
10 to 12 servings

A true delight for young or old, this is quickly made and quickly eaten! I have been told that s’mores don’t have nuts in them. All I can say is, mine does!

Plain Graham Cracker Crumb Crust (recipe follows)
¾ cup, whole, shelled peanuts (85 g. or 3 oz.)
2 cups mini-marshmallows (85 g. or 3 oz.)
1 cup 40% cream (heavy cream)
12 oz. milk chocolate (340 g.)

• First, make the crust.
• Place the peanuts and marshmallows evenly in the crust. Set aside.
• Bring the cream to a boil, submerge the chocolate, and set aside for 5 minutes.
• Stir to melt the chocolate, whisking to smooth completely. Pour over the peanuts and marshmallows, which will rise to the top. Chill to set. Release.

9-inch Graham Cracker Crumb Crust

½ cup unsifted powdered sugar (55 g. or 2 oz.)
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (buy them in crumbs or run the crackers through a food processor) (170 g. or 6 oz.)
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (114 g. or 4 oz.)
½ tsp. vanilla
1 quiche pan

• Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the crumbs, mixing well. Add the butter and vanilla and toss with a fork until the crumbs are completely coated.
• Spray the bottom of the quiche pan and press 2/3 of the crumbs (200 g. or 7 oz.) evenly over the bottom of the pan. Distribute the crumbs evenly against the sides. Press firmly against the sides.
• Add the remainder (160 g. or 5 2/3 oz.) to the bottom of the pan and press firmly.

What’s your favorite no-bake dessert and why? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a signed copy of European Tarts: Pastries Like a Pro; Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Jason whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won him a copy of Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars. Jason, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

Thursday Giveaway: The clock is ticking!

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Love free stuff? We have good news! Today we’re giving away the book To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by cocktail historian Philip Greene. This book, highlighted in last week’s Drink This Weekend Edition, will keep the literary lush in your life quite entertained with liquor-filled stories about Papa Hemingway, his novels and even recipes for drinks referenced in his works.

All you have to do is answer this question in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. Then, we’ll pick a winner and announce him or her via the blog and Facebook. What’s your favorite Hemingway inspired drink and/or Hemingway boozy character (Hint: They all are!) from one of his books?

Entries start NOW and last until noon. ***The literary nerds on staff are in love with you all! But, Chuck Groth, you are our winner. Everyone else, thanks for playing! Check back in next Thursday!***

Lou Rook’s cookbook recommendations

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Last minute shopping? Grab a copy of the new cookbook Rook Cooks by Annie Gunn’s longtime chef Lou Rook. You can find it at The Smokehouse Market, Annie Gunn’s and Kitchen Conservatory.

For Rook, cookbooks haven’t influenced his cooking as much as they have inspired it. “As a chef, you use cookbooks when you don’t have time to go out to dinner or travel – in order to explore new cuisines,” he said. “You read through them to get your inspiration.” So when creating his own cookbook, he resisted the temptation to make something his peers could “ooh” and “aah” over and instead created a guide for you and me. “There’s not 10,000 ingredients needed, no crazy apparatuses. There are therapeutic aspects to cooking; it’s about wine and song. I tried to make this a fun book.” Here, a few of Rook’s favorite reads for getting his mind moving.

A Man and His Meatballs: The Hilarious But True Story of a Self-Taught Chef and Restaurateur by John LaFemina “This is a story of this gentleman in New York City who wanted to own a restaurant. The book is about his vision for it and the trials and tribulations in how he got there; it’s a great read – more of a for-fun one. For me, it’s both a memoir and a cookbook – he ends each chapter with great, basic recipes.”

Ducasse Flavors of France by Alain Ducasse with Linda Dannenberg “I was fortunate enough to eat at one of [Ducasse’s] restaurants in France. He takes a more modern approach, well, a little bit more modern approach to Old World cooking, while keeping the French basics still in mind. It has beautiful photos, too.”

The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook: A Consuming Passion by Patrick O’Connell “This comes from probably the No. 1 inn in the United States. When they first founded the restaurant, 30 years or so ago, all they did was fry chicken and people would drive in for it from Washington, D.C. Now, they own basically the whole town. The book has simple cooking techniques that use quality ingredients. They’re the best at making sure that food is still food. I love the pictures: this rural town in Virginia, the countryside, old barns, sheep, cows … the recipes are incredible, too.”

— photo by Greg Rannells

Sanctuaria bartender Matt Seiter launches cocktail book this week

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Area bartenders continue to shake things up. Last Friday, The Scoop announced that Ted Kilgore was opening a cocktail bar in Lafayette Square. This week, the drinker’s delight is the launch of Matt Seiter’s cocktail book, Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars.

Seiter is the bar manager for Sanctuaria, a restaurant and bar located in The Grove that has developed a reputation for outstanding cocktails. In the first part of the book, Seiter offers background information about the beverage program he developed at Sanctuaria, from the spirits that the bar team uses to the creation of the Sanctuaria Cocktail Club to the 150-drink menu created specifically for that club. The remainder of the book is comprised of recipes, which are divided into three sections. The first section, Libations of Our Creation, features 70 original cocktail recipes. The middle section, Old Timers, is made up of 80 classic drink recipes. And the final section, Home Cooking, includes handfuls of recipes for making juices, infusing spirits and preparing tinctures and other ingredients to outfit a craft cocktail bar.

Seiter’s writing (and some of the boozer quotes he includes) is lively and engaging while photography by Jacqui Segura, Jenna Elizabeth Grissom and Egan O’Keefe brings the 250-page book to life. And since each of the 150 cocktail recipes are accompanied by a photo – such as Kentucky Island and Cinco de Punto (pictured, from left to right)  – when preparing a cocktail, you can use the images to help judge whether your finished version looks anything near as good as Seiter’s.

The hardcover book with a three-ring binder design will be available for purchase at Sanctuaria and online at sanctuariastl.com for $25 plus tax beginning Tuesday, December 11. However, if you can’t wait until tomorrow, a few tickets remain for the release party at Sanctuaria, which begins tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets ($45 for Sanctuaria Cocktail Club members, $50 for non-members) include a copy of the book, plus all you can eat and drink. For ticket information, call 314.535.9700.

Commentary: I first began writing about Seiter (pictured with his parents Kathy and Bill Seiter) in 2010. As the spirits columnist for Sauce, I consider Matt Seiter to be an integral component to the craft cocktail movement in St. Louis. He co-founded the St. Louis Chapter of the United States Bartender Guild and adheres to a philosophy that bartending is a noble profession. In creating the Sanctuaria Cocktail Club, he’s found a way to apply his love of teaching to the world of drinking by encouraging – never demanding – hundreds of imbibers to become educated while they whet their whistle. I am honored that Seiter mentioned me in his book as “The first public figure to notice what I was doing and recognize the ingenuity of it. She helped propel my career in ways I couldn’t.” Seiter is one of a number of the talented bartenders in this community that make it exciting to stay on this beat.


Niche, Zingerman’s have St. Louis in bacon daze

Friday, May 7th, 2010

050710_nicheGerard Craft devotees are well aware that the chef has an affinity for bacon. So, too, does Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Ann Arbor, Mich., institution Zingerman’s Delicatessen and author of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon. Pair the pork paramours, and you can understand why the bacon dinner held last night at Niche sold out within six hours of its announcement.

After having snagged seats at this four-course bacon bonanza, Sauce agrees with Craft and Weinzweig that bacon can, indeed, secure a spot in any meal – from start to finish. It began with a melt-in-your-mouth house-cured lardo drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with walnuts, then moved to the innovative Hangtown Fry (pictured above), made of an egg-ramps purée, fried oyster and bacon caviar (the preparation for this alone deserves an article unto itself) all stuffed into an eggshell. Next was our fave of the night, bacon hash, a composition of crispy jowl, locally grown micro greens, peas and a poached egg, placed atop toasted Companion bread. Bits and Grits Waffles involved a grits-based waffle topped with smoked pork belly, and a touch of maple jus served with clam chowder, an airy clam foam, baby carrots and pea shoots from Claverach Farm. Suffice it to say that dessert – bacon ice cream rolled inside chocolate cake, drizzled with bacon chocolate gravy and served with a wedge of pork fat brittle – was hardly a gammon.

An animated Weinzweig led the bacon enthusiasts through the annals of bacon and the storied beginnings of Zingerman’s. He’ll be doing the same today from noon until 2 p.m. at Straub’s at 8282 Forsyth in Clayton, where customers can pick up a signed copy of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon and grab a bite of Weinzweig’s Cheese-Bacon Scone, a recipe featured in the book.

– Ligaya Figueras

Photograph by Ligaya Figueras

Lemongrass & Limes – and the national limelight

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

050410_naam“I honestly didn’t know who all was going to be interviewed for the book – I feel even more humbled and touched to be amongst the restaurant giants,” local cooking instructor and cookbook author Naam Pruitt told us.

She was discussing Rick Smilow and Anne E. McBride’s Culinary Careers, which Clarkson Potter is releasing today. That 360-page trade paperback features 89 two- to four-page profiles of a vast array of food-industry pros, including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Rick Bayless, David Chang – and Pruitt herself.

The book bears the subtitle How to Get Your Dream Job in Food With Advice From Top Culinary Professionals. Chapters in its main, career-path section focus on topics ranging from pastry and baking to wine and beverages to media, marketing and public relations.

The profile of Pruitt – who previously published Lemongrass & Limes, a lovely 126-page hardcover devoted to Thai cuisine – appears in a chapter covering education. In it, she details the typical day of a cooking instructor, her responsibilities in that position, her creative process, her vocational likes and dislikes, and other subjects.

“Naturally, I felt extremely honored to be asked for my opinion and outlook on what I do,” she said. “I always feel privileged to be able to share my love of food with the world. Whether we are chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors or cooking-class teachers, I believe we all want the same thing: to provide the highest quality and the best service and to cultivate inspiration while making a difference to our customers.”

Celeb vegan chef coming to Brentwood

Friday, March 26th, 2010

032310_talronnenThere must be something in the air … and local vegans likely couldn’t be happier. Following Bryant Terry’s two-day appearance at Washington University early this month, a second nationally acclaimed vegan chef will visit St. Louis late next month: Tal Ronnen.

Ronnen – author of The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat – will hold a free product demo and book signing at the Brentwood Whole Foods Market April 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. The Tuesday demo will involve Gardein, a line of plant-based meat substitutes made from soy, wheat and pea proteins, as well as various other vegetables and grains.

Besides the Whole Foods event, Ronnen’s visit here will include a workshop at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. His best-selling 240-page Conscious Cook appeared last October from William Morrow.

Campus cooking – and competing – the vegan way

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

030310_firstplaceSaucy congrats to Washington University student sous chefs Joanna Wang and Julia Wong, as well as chef Gary Suarez and manager Cathy Causey, who won last night’s first North vs. South Champion Chef Competition there. The hour-long event focused on preparing dishes using tempeh and occurred in Danforth University Center’s Tisch Commons. The competition honored a two-day visit to the campus by acclaimed vegan soul-food chef and writer Bryant Terry (whose latest book, Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy and Creative African-American Cuisine, just appeared). The winning team plated Roasted Onion-Glazed Tempeh and Braised Tempeh Ragout & Soy Roulade. Judges for the competition included Terry himself and Sauce publisher Allyson Mace.

Left to right: Cathy Causey, Julia Wong, Joanna Wang and Gary Suarez

Photo courtesy of Washington University

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