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Dec 01, 2015
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By the Book

By the Book: “Cairo Kitchen” by Suzanne Zeidy

Friday, November 27th, 2015



Being a sucker for beautiful food photography, there were at least six dishes in each of the nine chapters in Suzanne Zeidy’s Cairo Kitchen that I wanted to make for this final round of the Middle Eastern cookbook battle. I had to narrow it down. I considered that in the next few weeks there will be many potluck dinners and parties to which I will need to bring a side dish. With an eye toward keeping it somewhat light and healthy, I wisely settled on the Honey-Spiced Carrot Salad.

The recipe came together in a snap and only required about 15 minutes in front of the stove to boil water and blanch carrots. The rest of the ingredients were easy to procure, and I had most of the required spices and dressing ingredients in my pantry already.

The end result was a bright salad with a touch of warm spice from the cinnamon and nutmeg. although the texture may have been less grainy had it been have whisked together first instead of dressing the carrots with individual ingredients then mixing. Lemon juice provided an acidic balance to the honey and olive oil, while the carrots and raisins kept the salad pleasant but not overly sweet. Heads up to anyone inviting me for dinner: I’m bringing this salad.

Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate. The directions are thorough and easy to follow.
This book is for: Anyone wanting to feast on beautiful pictures and try beautiful food. The recipes vary from fried street food to hefty stews to sunny salads.
Other recipes to try: Oven-roasted Vegetables, Almond Semolina Cake
The Verdict: While the Honey-Spiced Carrot Salad came together well, it was not as complete and cohesive as last week’s eggplant. For this By the Book battle, Zahav takes top prize.




Honey-Spiced Carrot Salad
4 to 6 servings

500 g. carrots, peeled and sliced
50 g. raisins
2 Tbsp. walnuts, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander, plus extra leaves to garnish
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
2 Tbsp. honey
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. olive oil

• Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and prepare a large bowl of iced water. Blanch the carrots in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and place in the iced water to stop the cooking and retain the bright color.
• Meanwhile, soak the raisins in lukewarm water for 15 minutes until softened, then drain.
• In a large bowl, mix together carrot, raisins, walnuts, the chopped coriander and dill.
• Season with the cinnamon, allspice, honey, lemon, olive oil and salt, to taste. Toss all together and garnish with fresh coriander.



By the Book: “Zahav” by Michael Solomonov

Monday, November 23rd, 2015



I never cook  eggplant at home because my mom makes the best eggplant. Why mess with perfection? Still, I decided to make chef Michael Solomonov’s fried eggplant with tehina and pomegranate seeds from the Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking for one key reason: It looked like the gorgeous cover of Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Thankfully, it also tasted as amazing as it looked.

The dish took a little prep work, as I needed to salt the eggplant and let it sit overnight to draw out extra moisture. Eggplant skin can be thick and tough, but Solomonov instructs you to peel just half of the eggplant skin so it looks striped. This lessens the resistance when eating but keeps the vegetable intact when cooking. Details like this set you up for success, which makes me trust the recipes that I haven’t tried yet.

The tehina (the same ground sesame paste Americans call “tahini”) was a rich nutty sauce combining the paste with the sharp raw garlic and a bright lemon juice. I drizzled it and molasses atop the sliced eggplants, then sprinkled it all with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. The whole dish reminded me of a savory sundae, perfectly balanced with a sweet, acidic bite.

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate. These recipes are written perfectly. Anyone that can follow instructions can cook from this book.
This book is for: Anyone. No really. With nine chapters covering everything from vegetables to soup to rice to grilled meats, anyone can find something to try in this book.
Other recipes to try: Hummus or fried cauliflower with herbed labneh
The verdict: This simple dish offered more complexity than the Turkish kofte, earning it frontrunner status in our Middle Eastern By the Book battle. Check back next week when Zahav takes on our final contender.





Fried Eggplant with Tehina and Pomegranate Seeds
6 servings

2 large eggplants
Kosher salt
Canola oil, for frying
1/3 cup Basic Tehina Sauce (recipe follows)
3 Tbsp. carob molasses
½ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup shelled pistachios

• Remove 4 vertical strips of skin from each eggplant with a peeler, leaving the remaining skin attached. Trim the ends and cut the eggplants into ¾-inch-thick rounds. Generously season both sides with salt and place on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to catch any drips. Refrigerate overnight.
• Heat ½ inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wipe both sides of each eggplant slice with a paper towel to remove surface moisture and excess salt.
• When the oil is shimmering but not smoking add the eggplant slices in a single layer, working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet. Fry the eggplant on each side until dark brown, about 5 minutes per side. You want the eggplant to be seriously dark on the outside and creamy on the inside, so be patient. When the skillet starts to seem dry, add more oil as needed. Remove the eggplant slices from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
• Place the eggplant on a platter and spoon the tehina sauce on top. Drizzle with the carob molasses and scatter the pomegranate seeds and pistachios on top.

Basic Tehina Sauce
Makes about 4 cups

1 head garlic
¾ cup lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
1½ tsp. kosher salt
2 generous cups tehina
½ tsp. ground cumin

• Break up the head of garlic with your hands, letting the unpeeled cloves fall into the blender. Add the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt. Blend on high for a few seconds until you have a coarse puree. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow.
• Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Add the tehina to the strained lemon juice in the bowl, along with the cumin and 1 teaspoon of the salt.
• Whisk the mixture together until smooth (or use a food processor), adding ice water a few tablespoons at a time to thin it out. The sauce will lighten in color as you whisk. When the tehina seizes up or tightens, keep adding ice water, bit by bit (about 1½ cups in total), whisking energetically until you have a perfectly smooth, creamy, thick sauce.
• Taste and add up to 1½ teaspoons more salt and cumin if you like. If you’re not using the sauce immediately, whisk in a few tablespoons of ice water to loosen it before refrigerating. The tehina sauce will keep a week refrigerated, or it can be frozen for up to a month.


Printed with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

By the Book: “Essential Turkish Cuisine” by Engin Akin

Friday, November 13th, 2015



I snatched Essential Turkish Cuisine up the moment it hit Sauce HQ. A few of my good friends are Turkish citizens studying or working here in St. Louis, and I knew they would tell me exactly authentic Engin Akin’s recipes actually were. Akin’s book certainly starts out on the right note with an extensive explanation of the evolution of Turkish cuisine from its ancient roots in the steppes of Mongolia to the heyday of the Ottoman Empire to today’s modern republic.

I chose (or rather, my friends chose) to try a traditional Turkish köfte, or meatball, recipe. Kadınbudu köfte translates to “lady’s thigh kofte,” a dish that dates back to the Ottoman days of lavish palace banquets. A blend of ground lamb and ground beef are mixed with chopped onions, fresh parsley and cooked rice (instead of breadcrumbs), then dipped in flour and egg and fried until golden. Unlike Italian meatballs, these required cooking half the meat first, then combining it with the remaining raw meat and other ingredients before frying. While I don’t know that it changed the overall flavor, the oblong kofte cooked to an even tenderness with the juices sealed in thanks to a thin layer of golden egg.

This simple dish packed a surprisingly amount of flavor and served as a perfect appetizer before a dinner party. It also received the offical seal of approval from my Turkish host, who declared it to be as good as her grandmother’s. It doesn’t get much more authentic than that.

The Rundown
Skill level: Intermediate Though the recipe are simple, the book gives an entire overview of everything from lentil soup to whole roast fish to desserts, so familiarity with a variety of cooking methods is required.
This book is for: A Turk abroad looking for a taste of home or an American looking to travel in their own kitchen.
Other recipes to try: As recommended by my friends – zucchini pancakes (mücver), oven-baked flatbread (pide), Turkish dumpling (mantı) or semolina cake in syrup (revani).
The verdict: By a narrow 2-1 vote, the Engin Akin’s kofte trumps Maureen Abood’s buttery hushweh.




Lady’s Thigh Kofta (Kadınbudu köfte)
6 servings

1/3 cup (35 g.) medium-grain rice
2 onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 lb. (910 g.) lean beef, or a combination of lean beef and lean lamb (the combination will taste better)
¼ cup (5 g.) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and black pepper
½ tsp. ground coriander
1/3 cup (40 g.) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
Olive oil for frying

• Cook the rice in ½ cup (120 ml.) water.
• Cook the onions in half of the butter over medium heat until softened.
• In a separate pan, saute half of the meat in the remaining butter, until all the liquid evaporates.
• In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the rice, onion, sauteed and raw meets, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and add the coriander.
• Remove egg-size pieces from the meat mixture and roll them one by one between your palms into elongated balls. Let sit for 30 minutes.
• Then roll the balls in flour and then in the egg. Heat ½ inch (12 mm.) of oil in a frying pan and fry the kofta over medium heat until golden on all sides and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or warm.

Reprinted with permssion from Stewart, Tabori & Chang

By the Book: “Rose Water and Orange Blossoms” by Maureen Abood

Thursday, November 5th, 2015



Middle Eastern food transcends borders; one nation’s cuisine melts into its neighbor’s. They all have their own versions of standards like hummus, kebabs and baklava. For a Lebanese take on classic Middle Easter fare, I picked up Rose Water & Orange Blossoms by food writer and blogger Maureen Abood. The dishes are interspersed with heartwarming, engaging anecdotes and plenty of tips, serving suggestions and even ingredient brand names, which can be helpful when shopping unfamiliar international aisles.

This accessible text covers the spectrum of Lebanese cooking from avocado tabbouleh to zaatar. Straightforward and well written, most of her recipes are weeknight friendly, yet special enough to serve guests. With that in mind, I decided to prepare a classic meat and rice dish called hushweh that Abood described as “perhaps the most beloved Lebanese dish that my family has ever served anyone. Its buttery goodness will bring peace and calm in the face of adversity, and will soothe a weary soul.” Sold!

The recipe is made in three parts. The buttered nuts took just moments to prepare, and the roasted chicken, though delicious on its own and as good as any I’ve ever prepared, can be easily substituted with a store-bought rotisserie chicken (with only a 5-pound bird available to me, it took almost 90 minutes to roast).

The predominant flavor of comforting dish is butter scented with cinnamon. I’m not sure it would feed 12 as a main, but with an accompanying vegetable (sauteed spinach is perfect) and the suggested salad, pita and hummus, it would be plenty. While buttery and satisfying, I wanted to boost the flavor profile of the dish. I reheated my leftovers in a skillet, which yielded some nice crunchy bits. I finished it with a hefty dose of lemon juice to balance the richness, plus a large handful of chopped fresh parsley and a touch of fresh mint, which not only gave the entree a lighter touch, but also added a much-needed splash of color to the beige dish.

The Rundown
Skill level: Though perfect for an inexperienced cook, anyone will appreciate Abood’s detailed instruction and her inviting approach to simply complex recipes.
This book is for: If you’re looking for entry into the world of Middle Eastern cuisine, ingredients and menus, this book covers all the bases and then some.
Other recipes to try: Zaatar-roasted tomato crostini with labneh, fried kibbe with mint butter, sticky date cake with warm orange blossom-caramel sauce.
The verdict: Check back next week when Rose Water and Orange Blossoms takes on Zahav.




Hushweh (Chicken Rice Pilaf with Butter Toasted Almonds)
12 servings

For the chicken:
1 (3- to 4-lb./1.35 to 1.8 kg.) free-range chicken
1 large yellow onion, quartered
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. granulated garlic powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
Few grinds of black pepper

For the rice:
4 Tbsp. salted butter, divided
1 lb./450 g. ground beef chuck or lamb
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Few grinds of black pepper
1 cup/190 g. parboiled long-grain white rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)
2 cups/475 ml chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick
¾ cup/110 g. Butter Toasted Almonds (recipe follows)

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• Pat the chicken dry. Place it in a large roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with the onion. Rub a couple of tablespoons of oil evenly over the skin and season the chicken all over lightly with paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
• Roast the chicken until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees in the thigh on an instant read thermometer, about 1 hour. Baste the chicken every 15 minutes with its juices while it roasts.
• Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 4-quart Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground beef and season it with the ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Cook the meat, stirring constantly and using a metal spoon to crumble it into small pieces until no trace of pink remains, about 5 minutes.
• Stir the rice into the meat until it is completely coated with its juices. Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, tuck in the cinnamon stick, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all of the broth is absorbed.
• Transfer the roasted chicken to a cutting board and when it is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Shred the chicken into 1-inch pieces.
• Remove the cinnamon stick and add the chicken, ½ cup of the toasted nuts, and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the hot rice mixture, stirring to combine. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and serve immediately.

Butter Toasted Pine Nuts and Almonds
½ Tbsp. salted butter
1 cup/110 g. slivered almonds or whole pine nuts
Fine sea salt, to taste

• Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir the nuts to coat them with the butter and continue stirring constantly until the nuts are golden brown. Keep a close watch over the nuts; they can burn quickly once they begin to brown.
• Transfer the nuts to a bowl while they are still warm and salt them lightly. When they have cooled to room temperature, store the nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a month or in the freezer for up to one year.

Reprinted with permission from Running Press

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

New food trucks are getting ready to roll down St. Louis streets longtime hometown favorites are seeing new life. ICYMI, here’s the latest in the STL food scene last week:




1. Frankly Sausages, a gourmet sausage truck, will hit the town in November, offering a classic food pairing with the Lou’s favorite beverage. Get the Sauce Scoop on owner Bill Cawthon’s upcoming project.

2. Winter may be coming, but that won’t stop die-hard food truck fans. If house-made sausages aren’t your thing, check out STL BLT, which aims to fire up the griddle Dec. 1. Click here to learn more on the Sauce Scoop.




3. Cherokee Street staple Black Bear Bakery announced yesterday, Oct. 27, that it will suspend its storefront operation, effective Nov. 1. Find out where the owners will bake and sell their loaves on the Sauce Scoop.

4. Long-shuttered California Do-Nut Co. at 2924 South Jefferson Ave., will re-open under the same name in January 2016 with first-time restaurant owner Felinna Love manning the fryer. Click here to find out what’s in store on the Sauce Scoop.




5. Seattle-based pizza company MOD Pizza plans to open a total of five store in the St. Louis area next year in Ellisville, Kirkwood, St. Charles, Wentzville and Cottleville. Find out why its expanding to STL in the Sauce Scoop.

6. Two weeks after the curtain fell on Absolutli Goosed, it rose again on Brickyard Tavern. Find out what’s in store for at the neighborhood bar and grill in the Sauce Scoop.




7. We found 10 delicious deals and sweet steals available around STL for $10 or less from places like 4 Hands Brewing, The Libertine, Pint Size Bakery and more. Find out where on Budget Crunch.

8. We baked a stunning Olive Oil Sweet Wine Cake from The Violet Hour Cookbook, and now we’re giving away a copy of this reigning champion. Get the full story in By the Book.

By the Book: “The Violet Bakery Cookbook” by Claire Ptak

Thursday, October 29th, 2015



Before learning who the author Claire Ptak was, or noticing that the forward was written by the famous Alice Waters, I chose The Violet Bakery Cookbook because it is beautiful. Its bright, colorful photos of the entire baking process – from piles of fresh fruit to crumb-ridden, half-cleared tables – made me want to get in a (Kinfolk-styled) kitchen and bake (wearing a very expensive apron). Based on the recipes used in Ptak’s London bakery, the book offers savory and sweet options for any meal. Most will probably call your name while flipping through the book, but don’t let the apparently effortless rosewater madelines tumbling out of their charmingly worn molds fool you. These recipes are complicated, written by a professional who doesn’t need to wash her own dishes.

I chose to bake the olive oil sweet wine cake because it was sadly too late for many of the fresh summer fruit options, but it seemed too soon for molasses recipes. It also sounded simple and more approachable than say, apricot kernel upside-down cake. When I read how many components I’d have to whip separately, I felt less affection for Ptak and her wild blackberry-picking jaunts in the English countryside. “All our lemons at Violet come from the Amalfi coast of Italy.” I’m so happy for you, Ptak.

But once I accepted that I’d be reducing the wine, separating the eggs and folding things into other things, cake-baking became more enjoyable. Though some steps seemed entirely unnecessary (like measuring ½ cup sugar into two separate bowls only to dump them into other bowls immediately), as a whole, every painstaking detail showed itself in the complex sweetness and silky crumb of this delightful cake. It can be eaten for breakfast, an afternoon snack or an evening dessert. It can stand on its own, be accompanied by the berries and whipped cream Ptak recommends, or I’m planning on making a chocolate sauce for my next go-round. Yes, I will make this cake again, and you should too. Put on some music, cancel your plans, and enjoy the process.

The Rundown
Skill level: Intermediate. The recipes are complicated, but the clear instructions should get most bakers through without a hitch.
This book is for: People who value taking the time to do things right as much as getting a final product, and/or those willing to do the hard work necessary for the best final product.
Other recipes to try: Wild blackberry crumble tart and apricot kernel upside-down cake
The verdict: This book beats Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook soundly. The crumb cake had great texture, but suffered from bad cook time directions and couldn’t touch the flavor of Ptak’s cake.






Olive Oil Sweet Wine Cake
Makes one 23-cm (9 inch) cake, which serves 8 to 10

150g (2/3 cup) sweet white wine, such as Moscato d’Asti or Sauternes
1 tablespoon honey
zest of 1 small orange
50g (3 tablespoons) vegetable oil
150g (2/3 cup) mild olive oil
200g (1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs, separated
200g (1 cup) sugar
oil, for greasing the pan
whipped cream, for serving
berries, for serving

• Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C/340 degrees F (150 degrees C/300 degrees F convection). Brush a deep 23-centimeter (9-inch) cake pan with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
• In a small heavy-bottomed pan, reduce the wine over medium heat by two-thirds until you have 50 grams (¼ cup). You can roughly eyeball this, but do weigh it before you add it to the cake mixture. Take off the heat and then add the honey and orange zest. Set aside to cool.
• Measure out the two oils into a jug and set aside. Measure the flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and whisk together, then set aside.
• Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another. Take two more bowls and measure out 100 grams (½ cup) sugar into each bowl. Add the sugar from one bowl to the yolks and whisk together immediately or it will become grainy. Use a stand mixer on high speed, if you have one, so that you can get the yolks pale and fluffy and forming ribbons. Lower the speed to medium and continue whisking as you slowly pour in the oils, as if forming a mayonnaise. Once all the oil is incorporated, turn up the speed for a minute or so. Gradually whisk in the reduced wine mixture.
• Sift the flour mixture over the oil mixture and gently fold it together. Now in a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining 100 grams (½ cup) sugar until they form soft peaks. Fold them gently into the yolk mixture and pour into your prepared cake pan. Smooth the top with an icing spatula or rubber spatula and bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until set and springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
• Allow the cake to cool completely before turning it out of the pan. Serve with lightly whipped cream and berries. This cake is also delicious the following day.

Reprinted with permission from 10 Speed Press

By the Book: ‘Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook’ by Sarabeth Levine

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Welcome to the new By the Book, where the Sauce editors choose a monthly theme and pit cookbooks in a head-to-head battle to see who comes out on top. And the winner? We hand the champion over to you in a By the Book Facebook giveaway. This month, we’re tackling all things sweet. Last week, Chocolate Pot de Crème couldn’t stand up to the fruit-packed Blueberry Apple Pie from Pastry by Nick Malgieri. Today, it takes on Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook by Sarabeth Levine.




Having brunched at Sarabeth’s on New York’s Upper East Side many mornings, I was excited to get my hands on Sarabeth Levine’s latest cookbook, Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch, and Baking. She’s packed 12 chapters with easy-to-follow recipes fit for novices or more experienced home cooks looking to fill their repertoire with options for everyday breakfasts to a weekend entertaining menus.

Levine walks readers through basic techniques for common but tricky recipes such as clarified butter, blintzes, omelets and even the hard-boiled egg, but she also challenges cooks to more ambitious projects like a yeast-risen Hungarian coffee cake similar to babka and streusel-encrusted French toast. I found her recipes precise and well written, and I appreciated the simple but stunning photographs. Thankfully, most ingredients are easily accessibly, and she rarely calls for any equipment not found in the standard kitchen. She also provides the ingredient weight in grams, as well as cup measurements for those of us who prefer to use a scale to take the guesswork out of measuring.

I decided to test her quintessential New York Crumb Cake. Her goal was to find the perfect proportion of cake to crumb topping, and she achieved it beautifully with a stunning crumb topping. She calls for superfine sugar in most of her baking recipes, and I think it helped the recipes stand apart. The texture was light with a fine, delicate crumb, thanks to the sour cream-based batter. Watch your baking time carefully, though – my cake was overbaked after 55 minutes. I tend to take my cakes out of the oven when a few dry crumbs appear on a toothpick, not when it comes out clean as instructed.

The Rundown
Skill level: Perfect for the beginner or advanced home cook.
This book is for: Cooks looking for basic everyday to company-ready brunch entrees.
Other recipes to try: Cranberry Cream Scones, Double Salmon Rillettes
The verdict: Levine’s classic crumb cake took down Malgieri’s blueberry and apple pie thanks to its light texture, generous cinnamon topping and buttery sour cream cake.

New York Crumb Cake
10 to 12 servings

Crumb Topping
1½ cups (213 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (65 g.) superfine sugar
⅓ cup (65 g.) packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
8 Tbsp. (114 g.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups (284 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1⅓ cups (261 g.) superfine sugar
⅔ cup (152 g.) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch chunks, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
1 cup (242 g.) sour cream

• Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 by 9 by 2-inch cake pan and tap out the excess flour.
• To make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, superfine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and vanilla and mix with your fingers until combined and crumbly. Set aside.
• Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. In a small bowl, rub the vanilla into the sugar. In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar mixture and continue beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often with a silicone spatula, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
• Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with two additions of the sour cream, scraping the sides of the bowl and beating briefly after each addition. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the spatula. Squeeze handfuls of the crumb topping, then break into small clumps and sprinkle the entire surface of the batter with the clumps and crumbs.
• Bake until the crumbs are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
• Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before serving. The cake can be stored in the pan, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to days.

Reprinted with permission from Rizzoli Publishing

By the Book: ‘Chocolate Chip Sweets’ by Tracey Zabar

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Welcome to the new By the Book, where the Sauce editors choose a monthly theme and pit cookbooks in a head-to-head battle to see who comes out on top. And the winner? We hand the champion over to you in a By the Book Facebook giveaway. This month, we’re tackling all things sweet. Last week, we baked up a Blueberry Apple Pie from Pastry by Nick Malgieri. Next up: Chocolate Chip Sweets by Tracey Zabar. 




Chocolate Chip Sweets: Favorite Recipes from Celebrated Chefs has a wonderful theme: chocolate chips in everything. The recipes come from different chefs including Thomas Keller and Marea’s Michael White, and some of the recipes come from the writer, Tracey Zabar.

The recipe I chose was chocolate pot de crème with salted peanut crumble. Usually I love a pot de crème, but to be frank, this recipe from Matthew Neele of Wallsé just didn’t work. Its instructions lacked detail; for example, it tells the readers to make a custard, but makes no mention of what temperature the stove should be at, how long it to complete the task or how to temper the eggs. Speaking of eggs, the 20-serving recipe called for 10 egg yolks and five additional eggs – I couldn’t properly thicken the custard over heat without scrambling.

Even after refrigeration, the pots de crème never set. The end result was akin to a rich melted chocolate ice cream topped with crunchy salted peanuts. It was delicious, but the texture was far too viscous. I wouldn’t make it again, and I’d be nervous to try other recipes from the book given the lack of detailed instruction.

The Rundown
Skill level: Advanced. Since the recipe instructions are inconsistent, beginner bakers may struggle.
This book is for: People who love chocolate, especially in chip form.
Other recipes to try: Sicilian Pistachio Torta with a chocolate chip filling
The verdict: Pastry beats this book. No matter how much I love chocolate desserts, the recipes have to be clear and they have to work. This one didn’t.




Chocolate Pot de Crème with Salted Peanut Crumble
20 servings

Chocolate pudding:
7½ oz. (1¼ cups) dark chocolate, such as Valrhona Manajari, coarsely chopped
3 cups heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
10 large egg yolks
5 large eggs

• Place 20 small coffee cups or mini parfait glasses on your work surface.
• In a heatproof bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, place the chocolate, and set aside.
• In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and sugar. With a small paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the pan. Add the bean, and simmer.
• In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks and eggs until combined. Now slowly add the egg mixture to the simmering cream and stir continuously, making sure not to curdle the eggs. Remove and discard the vanilla bean. Once the cream thickens, pour it over the reserved chocolate, and whisk at low speed until light and fluffy.
• Pour the pudding onto the prepared coffee cups or mini parfait glasses, and place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours, until firm.

Salted Peanut Crumble

4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup milk solids (powdered milk)
1 cup crushed peanuts
1 Tbsp. Maldon sea salt
Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or curls, for garnish

• Preheat the oven to 325. Line a half-sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
• In a small, deep saucepan, melt the butter. Add the milk solids and stir until combined and golden brown.
• Scrape the mixture onto the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the crumble from the oven and let cool completely on the pan. Add in the peanuts and salt. Spoon a bit of this crumble on top of each pudding and garnish with chocolate chips. Now grab a spoon and put your phone on silent.

Reprinted with permission from Rizzoli International Publications



By the Book: ‘Pastry’ by Nick Malgieri

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Welcome to the new By the Book, where the Sauce editors choose a monthly theme and pit cookbooks in a head-to-head battle to see who comes out on top. And the winner? We hand the champion over to you in a By the Book Facebook giveaway. This month, we’re tackling all things sweet. First up: Pastry by Nick Malgieri. 




Pastry sets out to rehabilitate people who have sworn off DIY pastry due to traumatic experiences like making flavorless, unrollable dough. Author Nick Malgieri is your cheerleader, creating approachable, basic pastry recipes (including a number of gluten-free options) that are a balanced mix of sweets and savories, as well as strudels and even a quick puff pastry.

As pie recipes go, this one was straightforward and did not require expert skill. A few variations are suggested: crumb topping instead of a double crust, omitting the apples for a blueberry-only version or substituting raspberries and blackberries for the blueberries. In short, the rules are flexible.

The result was delicious, but ugly – though admittedly that has everything to do with my inability to make visually appealing pie. While it may not have looked good, it did taste good. The jammy blueberry filling was a thick, sweet counterpoint to the tart Granny Smiths, and the all-butter crust was flaky and mildly sweet.

The Rundown
Skill level: Beginner. The recipes require common ingredients, tools and equipment. Also, the subtitle is Foolproof Recipes for the Home Cook.
This book is for: Folks wanting to give pastry and dough-making another go after failing miserably in the past.
Other recipes to try: Mississippi Chess Pie
The verdict: TBD. Check back next week when we pit Pastry against Chocolate Chip Sweets.




Blueberry and Apple Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie, about 8 servings

2 9-inch pie crusts made from Sweet Pastry Dough (recipe follows)
2 pints blueberries, rinsed, dried and picked over
¾ cup sugar
4 Tbsp. water or apple juice
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 lb. (2 large) Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored and cut into 3/8-inch dice
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Milk for brushing
1 to 2 tsp. sugar

• Combine 1½ cups blueberries, the sugar and 2 Tbsp. of the water in a medium saucepan. Set over low heat and cook, stirring often, until the blueberries have become very juicy and the sugar has dissolved. Mix the cornstarch with the remaining water, then stir in about a third of the blueberry juices. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan, return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and clear, about 3 minutes.
• Remove from the heat, scrape the filling into a medium bowl and stir in the spices. Let cool.
• Set a rack at the lowest level in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
• Fold the remaining blueberries and the diced apples into the cooled filling.
• Scrape into the pie crust and spread evenly. Dot with butter and arrange the top crust. Attach, flute and pierce the top crust. Brush with milk and sprinkle with the sugar.
• Place the pie in the oven and decrease the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until the curst is baked through and the juices are actively simmering, about 45 minutes.
• Cool the pie on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

Sweet Pastry Dough
Makes 2 single-crust pies or tarts or 1 double-crusted pie

2 cups (260 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)
1/3 cup (75 g.) sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick / 112 g.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 12 pieces
2 large eggs

• Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse several times at 1-second intervals to mix.
• Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is finely mixed throughout the dry ingredients and no visible pieces remain.
• Use a fork to beat the eggs enough to break them up and add to the bowl. Pulse again until the dough almost forms a ball; avoid pulsing too much or the dough might become too soft.
• Invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead together 3 or 4 times to make it smooth.
• Divide the dough into 2 pieces, form them into disks, and wrap each in plastic. Chill for a couple of hours before rolling.
• Before rolling the dough, place it on a floured surface and gently knead until smooth and malleable. Form into a disk again before beginning to roll.

Reprinted with permission from Kyle Books

By the Book: ‘Drinking with the Saints’ by Michael P. Foley

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Welcome to the new By the Book, where the Sauce editors choose a monthly theme and pit cookbooks in a head-to-head battle to see who comes out on top. And the winner? We hand the champion over to you in a By the Book Facebook giveaway. In honor of our annual Guide to Drinking, we’re kicking the new BTB off with cocktail books. Last week, we shook up a Detroiter from Cocktails on Tap. Next up: Drinking with the Saints by Michael P. Foley.




Drinking with the Saints is for those interested in Catholic history or those looking for an excuse to drink every night – in fact, both might be required. Organized as a calendar, drink recipes are paired with saints’ feast days and short biographies. Ranging from classic and vintage cocktails to themed inventions, most are simple but require a fully stocked bar.

I chose to make the Green Ghost cocktail; on a Thursday afternoon, it sounded refreshing with gin, Green Chartreuse and lime juice. Also (full disclosure) I know the author of Drinking with the Saints and was privy to tastings while he developed the lengthy book. I remembered the Green Ghost as a perfectly tart cocktail.

Reminiscent of a Last Word with gin, Green Chartreuse and lime juice, the Green Ghost has no Maraschino liqueur to sweeten and soften the in-your-face, herbaceous tag team of gin and Chartreuse. I enjoyed the tangy cocktail, but would have preferred a milder gin to the Beefeater we had available at Sauce HQ. Something like Hendrick’s would provide a better backdrop for the alluring complexity of Green Chartreuse and fresh citrus.

The Rundown
Skill level: Beginner. Recipes are simple and straightforward, but some drinks do demand ingredients you’ve never heard of.
This book is for: People interested in saints and cocktails – Catholic drinkers’ coffee tables.
Other recipes to try: For a crowd, make the complex but balanced Prompt Succor Punch, which includes gin, Yellow Chartreuse, Herbsaint and citrus.
The winner: Cocktails on Tap. Even for saints, the complexity of the Detroiter was hard to beat.




Green Ghost
1 serving

2 oz. gin
½ oz. Green Chartreuse
½ oz. lime juice

• Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake 40 times. Strain into a cocktail glass.


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