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  SAUCE MAGAZINE
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Nov 18, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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In This Issue

5 mind-blowing brining recipes to make now

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

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Brining is the secret technique behind many of your favorite restaurant meat dishes. A simple way to both season and prevent meat from drying out, the standard brine equation is a cup of kosher salt and a half-cup of sugar in a gallon of water. You can introduce a wide range of adjunct to that base – try herbs or hot peppers or change the sugar to molasses. Whatever flavor profile you try, the magic of osmosis will render your dish salted and succulent. Try out this technique with anything from green tomatoes to DIY pastrami:

Recipe: Grilled Brined Shrimp

Recipe: Brined Chicken Wings

Recipe: Turkey Roulade

Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

Recipe: Pastrami

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Anne Marie and Dan Lodholz are longtime contributors to Sauce Magazine. 

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Meals That Changed My Life: Gian Nicola Colucci at Cielo

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

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Cielo executive chef Gian Nicola Colucci fell in love with food as a kid growing up in Turin, Italy. When he left Turin for the first time at 24 to work at Lidia Bastianich’s Felidia in New York, the city opened his eyes to foods and cultures he’d never experienced. Since then, he has worked at luxury hotels that have taken him all over the world and picked up influences from Capri to Hyderabad before landing at the Four Seasons in St. Louis. Here, he shares four meals from four countries that changed his life.

Turin, Italy
“My family [raised] rabbits. In Italy, the city where I grew up – Turin – rabbits are the famous ingredient. [My father] cooks rabbit with potato and tomato; it’s something unique, and today when I try to make it the same way it never comes out like his. I don’t know what he does to it. He doesn’t braise or anything – he puts all the ingredients together in a wood-burning oven, and 40 minutes later he takes it out and it’s perfect! Color, flavor, taste, texture, perfect. I say, ‘How you do that?’ and he says, ‘I don’t know.’

“I do the same – I don’t miss any ingredients – but the result is different. Then I try to sear the meat, roast the potato before, but some ingredients don’t completely cook or overcook; the color’s not there. I do it in the exact same oven. When he cooks, he doesn’t pay the attention I pay, but it’s perfect. Maybe one day he’ll tell me his secret. But it’s him – it’s just him. Food is really particular; a magic situation can happen from the beginning to the end, and even with the same ingredients different people give different results.”

Le Bernardin, New York, 1997
“We went to Le Bernardin – it was a kind of crazy moment of emotion. It was my first time in a three-Michelin star restaurant. What I remember is this parsnip truffle soup combined with escargot that was an explosion of flavor. The soup was creamy. Sometimes I joke with my guys that French people just [add] cream to make everything perfect. It was creamy, but the parsnip flavor was strong; a touch of garlic was there. The combination with the snails was amazing. That, for sure, is a plate you remember. When you do something correct, people come back for that plate. For that plate, I want to go back.”

Japan, 2011
“In Japan, I discovered matcha. Of course you can see this ingredient in the United States, but when you go there, you taste matcha in different kinds of items. I remember this matcha store where you can buy the tea, but you can taste [it in] their gelato, sweet items, cookies. That was really nice, to taste how one ingredient can be used in different items. There, I can tell you I tasted matcha in the right way.

“For chefs, it’s important to understand the ingredient, the flavor and how to use it in your style so that it makes sense, so everything is connected completely. Sometimes now in my gelato I use matcha tea; I use it in pastas. You can operate anywhere in the world if you’re able to open your mind, learn and accept different influences.”

Alain Ducasse, Monte Carlo, 2004
“We went out for dinner at Alain Ducasse in Monte Carlo at this beautiful hotel, Louis Cannes. It was a kind of dream to go there to eat. Each plate had a huge component of vegetables, but presented in a different way. At that time, vegetables for me were just a side. I realized that vegetables were the main ingredients – all the other components were the sides. Something changed in my mind – I never thought of that.

“He did a fillet of turbot (a flat fish, really common in Europe with a white, flaky meat, really sweet) with different roots, vegetables, foam, a base sauce and cream. The vegetables became the main component. The fish was there – it was OK, but all the components he put with different textures and combinations and consistency made the plate special, unique. From that moment, I said, ‘I want to change my concept.’ I continue today to increase vegetables in my plates.”

Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

Meera Nagarajan is art director at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
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• Meals That Changed My Life: Mike Randolph

• Meals That Changed My Life: Christy Augustin

Eat This: Pork Belly BLT at Capitalist Pig

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

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We reject wimpy bacon strips and sad translucent tomatoes. We only accept the best – in this case, the Pork Belly BLT at Capitalist Pig. Two thick layers of house-smoked pork belly bacon get cozy with sweet tomato jam, fresh green leaf lettuce and a swipe of rich chipotle aioli. Precisely assembled inside a sturdy Companion brioche bun, each bite yields the perfect balance of salt, smoke, sweet and crunch. Never settle.

Photo by Izaiah Johnson

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

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Sauce Magazine: November 2017

Eat This: Vegetable Samosa at Everest Café & Bar

• Eat This: Root Vegetable Tagine at Olio

Make This: Curried Turkey Waldorf Salad

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

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Come November, all we can think about is The Bird. However, when we’ve had just about enough, often the bird still isn’t done with us. Curry some favor with this Indian-inspired Waldorf salad.

In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups diced or chopped cooked turkey, 1 cup diced Granny Smith apple, ¼ cup chopped cashews and ¼ cup chopped celery.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons chopped green onion, 1 tablespoon mild curry powder and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until coated. Serve on a bed of lettuce or with crackers or toast points.

For a slightly sweeter version of the dish, add 1 tablespoon Major Grey’s Chutney to the dressing.

Photo by Julia Calleo 

Dee Ryan is a longtime Sauce contributor who also writes Just Five. 

Related Content
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• Sauce Magazine: November 2017

What I Do: Mandy Estrella of Plantain Girl

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

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Mandy Estrella didn’t grow up with pernil and plantains – it wasn’t until she married a Dominican man after culinary school that she fell in love with the cuisines of Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. That passion prompted Estrella to launch Plantain Girl, a Caribbean catering service that’s popped up at places like Crafty Chameleon, Six Mile Bridge Beer and, most recently, Anew. Here, Estrella talks education, sweet plantains and respecting another culture’s cuisine.

 

“I learned how to cook most things more so out of necessity when we moved back here, because the food wasn’t here. [My ex-husband] would constantly complain, ‘The food is not here – there’s nothing to eat.’ He knew how to cook some things, so I was able to take what I learned and start learning new things.”

“Oxtail was another thing you couldn’t find. We used to go to Soulard Market, and they had the whole tails. … You couldn’t find them in a regular supermarket. It was so expensive, which was crazy because the reason these cultures adapted these foods is because it was so cheap.”

“I’m not trying to misappropriate someone’s food culture. I have to be very cautious of this. I didn’t know if people were going to perceive it correctly. I didn’t know if [Hispanic] people would be like, ‘You’re just trying to make money off our food.’ … As long as the food is correct, they’re just thrilled anyone is making it.”

“I went to work at a bank for a few years. It’s the only job I had outside of a restaurant, and it was the most boring experience of my life. I was just sitting there. I found myself bothering account holders at other people’s desks because I was so bored. … I just kept thinking, ‘I have to have a 401(k). I have to have insurance. I have to sit at a desk. That’s what everybody does.’ I lasted about two years, and then I said, ‘I can’t do it.’”

“Most of what I’ve been doing so far is one big giant test kitchen. … It’s trying to figure out in St. Louis: what do people want to eat, which foods do they know, which foods do they not understand – that they’re not even going to order. It’s trying different things I haven’t cooked before and getting the recipes correct, putting it in front of Hispanic people to try and say, ‘Yes, that’s correct,’ or ‘No, you probably needed to do this.’”

“Sweet plantains are always on the menu. Even if [customers] don’t want them, I make them because I just know if it’s not put in front of them, they aren’t going to request it. When you put it in front of them they go, ‘This is fantastic!’ I know – I know!”

“[A woman] contacted me about catering at her home for her husband’s birthday. They’re both Venezuelan, and all their friends are Venezuelan and Colombian. So we did that in her home. It went great, and then six days later, they were at our popup at Anew, eating. … I was like, ‘You probably still have leftovers in your fridge and you’re up here buying food again.’ And they ordered probably five times more food than they needed and took it home with them.”

“I usually have 23 independent thoughts in my brain at all times. It’s tough to keep it all straight.”

Catch Plantain Girl at The Cuban Café pop-ups, Nov. 10 to 12 and Nov. 16 to 18 at Anew in Grand Center.

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine.

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: November 2017

• What I Do: Bernie Lee of Hiro Asian Kitchen

• What I Do: Alisha Blackwell-Calvert of Reeds American Table

Hit List: 4 new places to try this November

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

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1. St. Louis Soup Dumplings
8110 Olive Blvd., University City, 314.445.4605, Facebook: Soup Dumplings STL

If you’ve tried the xiao long bao at Private Kitchen, you probably freaked out as much as we did when owners Lawrence Chen and Emily Yang opened a soup dumpling shop a couple doors down. And St. Louis Soup Dumplings does not disappoint. We like the unctuous, almost-sweet beef dumplings, swimming in a rich broth and hand-folded in perfectly thin and tender wrappings. Pull up a chair and wait for a complimentary bowl of broth before your bamboo steam basket of bliss arrives. If you’re new to xiao long bao, don’t worry. Yang may check that you’re correctly consuming your dumplings: first, scoop a dumpling into your spoon, then break it open and sip the broth before eating the rest.

 

2. The Capital Grille
101 S. Hanley Road, Clayton, 314.725.0930, thecapitalgrille.com

From flawless steaks and perfectly cooked fish to, yes, a creamy blue cheese wedge, The Capital Grille offers exactly what a steakhouse should. The service is impeccable; the decor is luxe; the lighting is dim. But what really delivers is the food. The classic wedge salad was equal parts fresh and rich, and a dry-aged Kansas City strip came gorgeously pink and tender. The savory seared halibut with sake-braised mushrooms and miso butter fell into flakes at the mere suggestion of a fork. A steakhouse should feel this expensive – and this one is worth every dollar.

 

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3. BLK MKT Eats
9 S. Vandeventer Ave., St. Louis, 314.304.8420, blkmkteats.com

The coastal trend of sushi burritos has finally hit St. Louis at BLK MKT Eats. Each menu item can be made as a burrito-sized sushi roll wrapped in nori or a bowl with seasoned rice and greens. First-timers should try the OG Fire with a choice of spicy salmon or tuna, Persian cucumber, crispy shallots and tempura crunchies, masago, jalapeno and a creamy, slightly spicy sauce. Lox lovers shouldn’t miss the Swedish Fish made with Scandinavian cured salmon and served with a lemony Yuzu Gold sauce. Ravenous? Order Seoul Delicious Nachos with sticky glazed chicken bites atop addictive house wonton chips with a jumble of greens, kimchi slaw, carrots, house-made BLK MKT pickles, crispy shallots and tempura crunch, scallions and a gochujang mayo. With rapid assembly-line service, we’ve found our new grab-and-go lunch spot.

 

4. Extra Brut
16 S. Bemiston Ave., Clayton, 314.669.9170, extrabrutstl.com
It’s nearly impossible to screw up a Champagne and oyster bar, but Extra Brut makes most look shoddy in comparison. Next door to sister restaurant Louie’s Wine Dive, this Friday- and Saturday-only hideaway sports no exterior signage. Grab a seat at the swanky, candle-lit bar and order a bottle of the Slovenian Rubela for an interesting, balanced bubbly with savory notes from the diverse list of international sparkling wines. Along with a mixed dozen from the rotating raw oyster menu, do not miss the charbroiled umami-packed oysters Bienville. These shockingly rich shells stuffed and baked with bechamel, shrimp, bacon and cremini mushrooms will carry you through to another bottle.

 

Photos by Michelle Volansky

Trendwatch: What’s on your plate and in your glass in St. Louis now

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

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1. Hit the Links
Cherokee Street may soon be known for more than authentic Mexican fare and hipsters. A slew of restaurants filling, smoking and serving sausages are staking out their territory. Last month, chef-owner Ari Jo Ellis opened The Cut, offering house-made sausages from a window inside Fortune Teller Bar. Frankly Sausages co-owners Bill and Jamie Cawthon are putting the finishing touches on Frankly on Cherokee in the former home of Calypso Cafe, where they’ll dish out their famous food truck sausages and expand the concept. Finally, Vista Ramen chef-owner Chris Bork will lend a hand to neighbor Earthbound Beer later this year when he helms the kitchen at the brewery’s new location with a menu of smoked sausages, meats and sandwiches.

2. Restaurant Redux
Nostalgic ’90s sitcoms aren’t the only thing getting a reboot. Beloved St. Louis landmarks and eateries have seen new life in 2017. The iconic Bevo Mill has been transformed into the German-accented Das Bevo, while just down Gravois Avenue, longtime restaurant family the Grbics introduced Balkan-American fare to South City staple Lemmons when they reopened it as Lemmons by Grbic in May. And another longstanding restaurateur will soon revitalize a hometown favorite when Michael Del Pietro reopens Del Pietro’s, an updated version of his parents’ hallowed eatery that will feature original classics like Spaghetti a la Angela, Beef Sotto and Chicken Burko.

 

From left, Nudo House co-owners Qui Tran and Marie-Anne Velasco

 

3. Ready for Your Close-Up
Love posting food and drink on Instagram? Several places around town are making it easier to garner likes with spaces tailor-made for photo-ops. Strike a pose in front of the oversized red logo at Nudo House or the red carpet-esque step and repeat logo wall at Beyond Sweet. For a more whimsical backdrop, do some time in the penalty box at Center Ice Brewing, which features the reclaimed door from the late, great St. Louis Arena.

4. Outsourced
Breweries are sticking to what they know best – making beer – and bringing on award-winning eateries to run their tasting room kitchens. Earlier this year, 4 Hands Brewing Co. partnered with James Beard Award-winning chef Kevin Nashan and his chef de cuisine John Messbarger to create a new Peacemaker Lobster & Crab-inspired menu with peel and eat shrimp and a brisket po’boy. 2nd Shift Brewing Co. recruited Guerrilla Street Food to sling its Filipino fare from its tasting room kitchen, and Vista Ramen chef-owner Chris Bork recently aligned himself with fellow Cherokee Street denizen Earthbound Beer to helm the food program at its new brewery later this year.

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5. Coconut Crush
Coconut milk is the perfect starting ingredient for a plant-based yogurt because of its high fat content and super-rich texture; it’s delicately sweet, tangy and vegan. Vegetarian spot SweetArt uses coconut yogurt in a parfait layered with maple-sweetened granola and fresh fruit. In the past, it’s been on the menu at Sardella, also layered in a parfait with granola and dried fruit. Along the savory route, Confluence Kombucha used coconut yogurt in a tzatziki served with “crab” cakes, mango chutney and horseradish kimchi.

Nudo photo by Michelle Volansky 

Related Content
Trendwatch: Guide to Drinking 2017 Edition

Vista Ramen will helm kitchen at new Earthbound location

Michael Del Pietro to open family’s namesake eatery

Eat This: Vegetable Samosa at Everest Café & Bar

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

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If you haven’t tried the Vegetables Samosa at Everest Café & Bar, it’s time to check your priorities. Deep golden-brown pyramids of house-made pastry are filled with velvety smashed potatoes studded with peas and onion and fragrant with coriander. The crunchy, tender pockets are perfectly seasoned and delightful on their own, but the accompanying red tamarind sauce adds a sweet, tangy highlight.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Heather Hughes is managing editor at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
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What I Do: Bernie Lee of Hiro Asian Kitchen

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

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Leaving everyone and everything you know to come to the United States and pursue a dream is the quintessential immigrant experience. Hiro Asian Kitchen owner Bernie Lee’s story is no different. After leaving Malaysia to study, learn the culture and improve his English in St. Louis, Lee seized the opportunity to open his own restaurant (609 Restaurant & U Lounge).

Now Lee serves some of the city’s best Asian fusion at Hiro, where he has slowly added Malaysian dishes he grew up eating. At first, he wanted to have a business that welcomed all people. Now, it’s become a place where he can share his culture.

 

“You just have to learn how to survive. When I was in [college], one of my classmates told me I spoke the worst English he ever heard in his life. It was so embarrassing. I didn’t know how to express myself. In my class, I was always the last pick [in a group presentation] because they thought I didn’t speak well. I spoke six other languages they didn’t even understand. But it forced me to be better.”

“I’m Malaysian-Chinese. My parents are first-generation Malaysian-Chinese. My grandparents in the 1940s were refugees. They escaped from China, from the revolution, very young – 15, 16, 17. They were very poor, and as refugees, what do they know? They worked. They had tons of babies – work, have a baby, work, have a baby. Refugees, they all have to go through the same things. It’s never easy.”

“The motivation behind 609 was I was not treated nicely at a bar one day. I was bullied in public. I told myself someday I need to create a place where everybody is welcome. Two years later, I had an opportunity to open my own place. To be honest, I was 27, I was young. I said, ‘Screw it, let’s do it! If I fail, I fail.’”

“Americans only eat fish fillet. No bone! No skin! No head! No tail! Nothing! So that’s what I had been taught. Only fillet. So, this is what I know. I had opened 609 and one day I thought, ‘Why don’t we do whole fish?’ People said, ‘No, no, no. Nobody will touch that!’ All right. One day I went to [a local restaurant], and it’s all white folks, and they tell me, ‘Our most famous dish is a red snapper.’ I said, ‘OK, let’s order that.’ It came out whole fried red snapper! Everyone was ordering it, loving it, no problem. You go to this restaurant, pay $30 for a whole crispy fish – it’s just salt, pepper that’s it – you think it’s a great dish. The whole fish in an Asian restaurant, people say, ‘Oh, hell no.’ And I bet they would not even pay $15 for it. It drives me nuts. That’s why for Malaysian Week we [had] whole fish. Head, tail, bone, everything. This is how we eat it back home and that’s how it should be.”

“Just cook it the way you want it. I tell the kitchen, don’t worry how people will like it or not like it. If they don’t like it? Fine! Sorry! Pick another one. I’m very proud of them.”

“Even though the plate is nice, it still has the flavor that reminds them of home. The chicken clay pot [at Hiro], the origin is from Taiwan; we cook it Taiwanese style. This is a dish like meatball pasta – everybody makes good meatball pasta, but when you eat it you go, ‘Oh, my mom’s is better.’ One woman ordered it, and I saw she was crying. I asked if she was OK, I thought she maybe burned herself. She said, ‘No, this dish reminds me of my mom.’ Her mom had passed away. She said, ‘We ate this when we were kids, this is exactly what my mom would cook.’”

“You have to trust yourself. You have to believe in your culture. If you believe, you can deliver. If you don’t believe, there’s no point.”

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Meera Nagarajan is art director at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: October 2017 

• Best of Brunch 2017

• What I Do: Alisha Blackwell-Calvert of Reeds American Table

 

Make This: Fennel and Carrot Gratin

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

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The trick to a great gratin is uniformly sliced vegetables. Spend minimal time and energy by prepping this fantastic sweet and savory side dish with a mandoline.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a mandoline to cut 3 fennel bulbs horizontally and 3 peeled large carrots diagonally into ¼-inch slices.

In an oiled shallow baking dish, layer a third of the fennel, then half of the carrots. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon orange zest. Top with another third of the fennel, the remaining carrots, more salt and pepper, then the remaining fennel.

Sprinkle the top with ½ cup freshly grated pecorino, ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons fresh thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the vegetables are tender and the top is golden brown, a little more than 1 hour. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Photo by Julia Calleo

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Just Five. 

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