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Sep 22, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Celebrity chefs

By the Book: Edward Lee’s Curry Pork Pies

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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Edward Lee is the Brooklyn-bred son of Korean immigrants who has grown to become an acclaimed chef. He’s a three-time James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef: Southeast, an alum of Top Chef: Texas and the chef-owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, Ky. His debut cookbook, Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, is a must-have for adventurous cooks, Top Chef junkies and anyone who wants insight into the mind of a chef whose creativity is redefining American food. (Lee will be in St. Louis Aug. 13 to discuss the book at the next Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event. Details and ticket information can be found here.)

There are so many dishes in Smoke & Pickles that showcase his ability to seamlessly tie together Korean and southern cuisines. I wavered between cooking up southern fried rice and a meatloaf sandwich made with bourbon and Coke. Then I spotted his recipe for curry pork pies. Who can resist a handheld savory meat pie?

The ingredients list may be a bit long, but none of the items are out of the ordinary. If you have a well-stocked kitchen, the goods are probably already in your fridge and pantry. Nor is the technique tough. For the pie filling, all you’ve got to do is saute meat and veggies – along with fresh ginger and garlic – then spike it with flavor using chicken stock, curry powder, soy sauce and a bit of S&P. While the filling is tasty as-is, I love ginger so much that next time I plan on doubling the prescribed 1 ½ tablespoons. Ditto for the 2 teaspoons of curry powder.

 

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There are home cooks who can boast about their pie crust-making skills, and those who take the storebought route because they view it as faster and fail-safe. I will never claim “perfect crust” status, but I still make my own because homemade always tastes fresher, and I love the Zen moment when my hands massage flour, butter and shortening into a cornmeal-like texture.

 

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My biscuit cutter has gone AWOL. But I think Lee would have given a slow, southern nod of approval if he’d been present when I used a screw cap from a Mason jar to punch out the rounds.

 

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The hardest part of this entire recipe is the waiting. Those mini-pies bake for 15 long minutes and are supposed to cool for 10 even longer minutes. Leave the house. Take a walk. Burn off some calories. When you come back, you’re going to finish every last one.

 

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Curry Pork Pies
12 Servings

Filling:
½ cup bacon, chopped
¾ lb. ground pork
¾ cup onions, chopped
¼ green bell pepper, diced
¼ cup carrots, diced
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour
¾ cup chicken stock
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Pie crust:
10 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cubed, plus softened butter to grease muffin tin
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. kosher salt
2/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
8 to 10 Tbsp. ice water
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. whole milk

• To make the filling: Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 3 minutes, until the bacon is lightly crisped and some of the fat has rendered out.
• Add the ground pork, onions, bell pepper, carrots, ginger and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have started to soften and the pork is cooked through.
• Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and pork and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, curry powder, soy sauce, salt and pepper, stir well, and cook for about 2 minutes. Has the liquid cooked off but the filling still looks moist? Good. Transfer it to a bowl and let cool in the refrigerator while you make the crust.
• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with a little soft butter. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.
• To make the pie crust, measure the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the shortening and butter and, using a fork or your fingers, work them into the flour until you have a granular texture (like cornmeal). If the butter starts to soften, stop and chill the mixture in the refrigerator. Add the water gradually and work it in just until the mixture clumps together to form wet dough; don’t overwork the dough. Dust with a little extra flour and divide the dough in half. Shape into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes before rolling out.
• Remove one disk of dough from the fridge and put it on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 15-by-20-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass jar, punch out 12 5-inch rounds of dough, rerolling scraps if necessary.
• Line the prepared muffin tin with the dough rounds. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg with the oil and milk in a small bowl. Brush the inside of each crust with some of the egg wash to seal it, reserving the remaining egg wash for the top crusts.
• Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the chilled filling into each pie crust.
• Roll out the second disk of dough on the floured surface about 1/8-inch thick. Using a slightly smaller biscuit cutter or a 3-inch ring mold, cut out 12 rounds. Drape a round over each pie and use your fingers to crimp the edges together.
• Brush the top with the reserved egg wash. Use a fork to poke holes, or a sharp paring knife to cut an X, in the top of each pie.
• Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pies are puffed and golden; you should see a little bit of the juices bubbling up through the holes. This will make you hungry, so take them out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins to prevent them form crumbling. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permissions from Artisan Publishers

Which local chef would you nominate to go on Top Chef and why? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Ben, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Michael Symon’s Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers. Ben, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

 

 

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.

 

 

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents an evening with Marcus Samuelsson

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013



Join Sauce Magazine, in partnership with Left Bank Books, for the latest Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event with chef Marcus Samuelsson! Samuelsson is the award-winning chef-owner of Red Rooster Harlem as well as several other restaurants in New York and Stockholm, Sweden. During his impressive career, he has written four cookbooks, received the James Beard Foundation’s coveted Rising Star Chef Award and won Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Chef Samuelsson will chat with the audience over dinner as he discusses and signs his new memoir, Yes, Chef.

Tickets, available here, are $80 and include a 3-course dinner with wine and beer along with a signed copy of Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef.

What: Dinner, conversation, reading and book signing with chef Marcus Samuelsson

When: Monday, June 3 – 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: Monarch Private Event Space, 7401 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 314.769.9595

Seating is limited. This event will sell out!

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents an evening with Marcus Samuelsson

Thursday, May 16th, 2013



Join Sauce Magazine, in partnership with Left Bank Books, for the latest Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event with chef Marcus Samuelsson! Samuelsson is the award-winning chef-owner of Red Rooster Harlem as well as several other restaurants in New York and Stockholm, Sweden. During his impressive career, he has written four cookbooks, received the James Beard Foundation’s coveted Rising Star Chef Award and won Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Chef Samuelsson will chat with the audience over dinner as he discusses and signs his new memoir, Yes, Chef.

Tickets, available here, are $80 and include a 3-course dinner with wine and beer along with a signed copy of Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef.

What: Dinner, conversation, reading and book signing with chef Marcus Samuelsson

When: Monday, June 3 – 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: Monarch Private Event Space, 7401 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 314.769.9595

Seating is limited. This event will sell out!

UPDATED: Cochon Tour and Celebrity Chef Tour coming to St. Louis, Four Seasons to host both events

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Food enthusiasts, mark your calendars! Cochon and the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour are both coming to St. Louis this year. This marks the first time that the pork-tacular Cochon will hit the Gateway City, and the second time in two years that St. Louis has landed on the Celebrity Chef Tour circuit.

Founded in 2008, Cochon is a national event series focused around heritage breed hogs. Cochon brings the public in conversation with top chefs, farmers and others in the food community who support a more sustainable food system.

Cochon-St. Louis will be held Sunday, August 25, at the Four Seasons, St. Louis and hosted by Cochon founder Brady Lowe. Participating chefs include: Fabrizio Schenardi (executive chef of the Four Seasons, St. Louis), Kevin Nashan (chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe), Kevin Willmann (chef-owner of Farmhaus), Gerard Craft (chef-owner of Niche, Brasserie, Taste and Pastaria), and a mystery guest – a celebrated chef from outside of St. Louis – whose identity will be revealed at a later date. A total of 550 tickets will be available for this event. ***Update: Tickets are now available for purchase and cost $125 for general admission and $200 for VIP. Find them here.***

Looking for a more intimate Cochon experience? On Saturday, August 24, the Four Seasons is hosting a special meet and greet dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant Cielo, which will feature dishes prepared by Lowe, Schenardi and the mystery chef. The four-course, all-inclusive meal costs $85 a person. To nab one of the 100 seats available for this event, make a reservation at Cielo.

The Celebrity Chef Tour is an on-the-road version of a dinner at the James Beard House, which is the “perfomance space” in New York City for visiting chefs. Last year, the event took place at Sidney Street Cafe. This year, the Four Seasons will host the event, slated for Thursday, September 19. Although the lineup of the seven or eight participating chefs is still being finalized, the following chefs are confirmed: Fabrizio Schenardi, Kevin Nashan, Kevin Willmann, Lou Rook (chef of Annie Gunn’s), Mark Richardson (executive chef for the Four Seasons, San Francisco and former chef of the now defunct Aujourd’hui in Boston) and Jeffrey Wurtz (executive pastry chef at Le Cirque in New York City). Tickets for the all-inclusive dinner cost $160 a person and will be available for purchase here. Approximately 170 tickets, which go on sale in late April, are available for the event.

An added bonus will be a cocktail reception held Wednesday, September 18, on the terrace of the Four Seasons Hotel. Tickets are $65 a person and include an evening of cocktails, wine and appetizers while you mingle with the participating celebrity chefs. A total of 125 tickets are available for the event. Reserve yours now by calling Cielo.

An Interview with Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

If you’re anything like us, Deb Perelman is no stranger to your kitchen. We’ve been following the home cook behind the celebrated food blog Smitten Kitchen for years. So when we found out that Perelman was going to be featured in our Sauce Celebrity Chef Series next month, where she’d be demonstrating recipes from her new The Smitten Cookbook and enjoying lunch, we couldn’t hold back our excitement. We quickly set up an interview to chat with Perelman about everything Smitten Kitchen. Read on to see what she had to say about finding inspiration, writing tips for aspiring bloggers and her own celebrity moment.

Apparently, you couldn’t hold back your Smitten Kitchen excitement either, as Perelman’s Sauce Celebrity Chef Series sold out in mere days! Wasn’t able to snag a ticket to the event? You can still catch Perelman as she signs her cookbook at the downtown location of Left Bank Books on March 1 at 7 p.m. And keep an eye out for the blog next month as we cook from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and give a copy away to one lucky reader in our By the Book column.

I noticed there isn’t a lot of overlap between your blog and your book.
I was very concerned that the book would be a value for people who have read the blog for a long time. If it was all the same or sounded the same – well, people have been getting that for free. So I decided that no more than 15 percent of the blog could be in the book, I wanted to make it overwhelmingly new. And I stuck with that.

Did you choose the most popular items from the blog as part of the 15 percent?
[Laughs]. No, or else they would all be chocolate and peanut butter. I chose recipes that best fit the section that I was working on. Like my favorite way to prepare broccoli and my mom’s apple cake – recipes I just wanted people to have.

Going back to chocolate and peanut butter. The first thing I ever made from your blog was your recipe for chocolate peanut butter cake. I made it for a party, and I must say, the compliments I received on that thing truly made me feel like a capable cook for the very first time.
I think that cake was the first thing that broke my server. Sometimes it takes things like peanut butter cake to realize that you need a better server.

It’s so impressive to find great photography, writing and cooking all in one. Were you interested in one before the other? Or did they build off of each other?
Well, my photography comes third and writing second. I’m always been interested in artsy fartsy things; I love taking pictures; I take them of everything. I love Instagram, and I’ve always enjoyed writing – it was never hard for me – but the cooking is my love.



Where do you get your inspiration for the recipes you create?
Mostly cravings. It starts with being hungry. But it also starts with being out somewhere and having something I like or don’t like and figuring out how I might change it. Or if I find a combo I love, but the preparation is really fussy, I wonder if there is a way to pare it down. Or just from things I’ve always wanted to make – like how could you combine the tastes of hummus and carrots? And then figuring it out.       

Any books that you go to for inspiration?
I know it’s an obvious answer but Mastering the Art of French Cooking [by Julia Child]. Onions seem so boring, but browned onions are amazing. The book takes the simplest ingredients and then lovingly coaxes out the most intense deliciousness out of them.

Along with your great recipes, I think one reason people are so attracted to your blog and book is for your writing. Any tips?
I like a voice that is not too writerly but natural. At first, it’s hard not to sound like other people’s ideas of what you should be – you paint in a way you were taught to paint. Finding your voice is a process; it’s not like one day you achieve it. You gradually become more comfortable putting your mark on it. I don’t have a proper writing background, so I just try to write how I speak – for it to sound like a conversation. I like to picture my mom talking on the phone with a long yellow cord that stretched across the kitchen so that she could talk to a friend while cooking. Recipe writing has always been very succinct, write as little as possible, but rather than three sentences, sometimes mine can be three paragraphs. When you are a nervous cook, it helps to have description. I like to know that the dough is supposed to be sticky or that it will taste too salty but will turn out all right.

I love that you stress the everyday ingredients, so that a home cook doesn’t need to break the bank when buying ingredients, but do you have a favorite luxury ingredient?
I have a bunch. If I’m making a spinach quiche with four other ingredients, that’s a good time to use frozen spinach, but if it’s for a delicate salad and it’s the main ingredient, that would be a good time to splurge and get the best from the market. I think good recipes should transcend good ingredients, but it’s also about figuring out when it’s worth it to splurge. Like I have a workday olive oil for something like cooking an egg, but then I also have a really nice olive oil that I use for finishing. I mostly work with regular unfancy butter, but I love the European stuff with higher butterfat. But why make a layer cake with the most expensive butter? Save that for when you’re really going to taste it.

How much do you have to adjust your cooking now that you have a 3-year-old son?
It changes every week. In the last two weeks, my son has wanted to help me cook which has seemed to make him more excited about eating, but I say that and last night he helped and then he only ate one bite. I have two kinds of cooking now, and they don’t always overlap. Where most of my recipes come from is when I’m wondering what will happen when I make this with this and that – my experimental cooking. With a kid though, we have to put out proper meals. Before my son, it was, ‘Oh honey, I just made this carrot soup, let’s eat it for dinner with a hunk of bread.’ But if I do that now, my son will probably just skip the soup, eat the bread and then I haven’t really fed him properly. I started to have dinner panic around his first birthday. But you figure it out. The tricky thing for me is to stay inspired and to not have to cook the same-old, same-old.

I always think my future children will never be the kids who only eat mac n’ cheese, but I have a feeling I’m going to be completely humbled.
We all are. And nobody’s failing. If that’s what the kid wants to eat, they are going to be fine. I try to find something in the middle. For each meal I try to do a carb, a protein, a cold veg and a cooked veg, and I try to make only one a little scary.

Your blog has been successful for a while, but now with the book, have you had any celebrity moments?
[Laughs] Today, actually. I was at coffee with a friend; we go to this place all the time, and I was sitting by the window and this girl walked by, stopped, and whispered that she knew who I was. I was a little embarrassed. It’s okay though. The people who do come up to me have all been very normal, very nice people – I like it, I really do. Sometimes I forget this will happen, until it does again.

With the success of your cookbook, are you planning on keeping the blog going?
Yes. Forever if I can. As long as it’s fun and enjoyable, and there’s stuff to put up there. My plan is to keep making the site as good as I can. 

— photos courtesy of Deb Perelman

Top Chef: The Tour coming to St. Louis on June 30

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Bravo TV’s Top Chef is on the road again. The popular “cheftestant” showdown hit the road in May for its fifth annual mobile tour, and St. Louis is the final stop on a 15-city circuit that features a live, interactive cook-off between two former Top Chef contestants in front of fans and a panel of judges.

On Saturday, June 30 at Soulard Farmers Market, chefs Edward Lee and Kenny Gilbert will go head-to-head in a culinary battle for area fans. Lee, who appeared on the cable show in Season 9, is the chef-owner of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Ky., and a 2011 James Beard Foundation Award finalist in the Best Chef: Southeast category. Gilbert, corporate chef of 50 Eggs Restaurant Group in Miami, appeared on the show in Season 7. The free event will also include games, prizes and opportunities to meet both Lee and Gilbert.

Pre-registration tickets are gone, but walks-ins are still welcome. Just show up the day of the event, when remaining seats will be available on a first come, first-serve basis. Demo times are 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. More information about Top Chef: The Tour 2012 is available on Bravo’s website.

— Images courtesy of Bravo

By the Book: Adam Perry Lang’s Man Steak with Thyme Zinfandel Salt

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I tend to leave grilling for someone else; the whole “getting the coals hot” during an endless St. Louis summer has always sounded like a sweaty pain. But Memorial Day was approaching, barbecue legend Adam Perry Lang was coming to town for Sauce’s Celebrity Chef Series and learning to grill just seemed appropriate. I decided it was now or never.

To me, barbecuing has always had this manly connotation. Of course, my unwillingness to step up to the grill has only helped perpetuate this stereotype. So I figured if I was learning to grill, I might as well go dramatic. Enter: “The Man Steak.”



Note: Do not call your butcher and ask if he has any “man steaks” in stock because you will get laughed at – big time. Per the butcher at Straub’s suggestion, I brought Perry Lang’s new cookbook, Charred & Scruffed: Bold new techniques for explosive flavor on and off the grill, into Straub’s with me. I somewhat redeemed myself, as three butchers puzzled over Perry Lang’s beautiful photos (of an imposing, round, four-inch-thick, six-pound steak he titled the “man steak”). They conceded my confusion; Perry Lang never actually gives the cut of his steak. The butchers decided that Perry Lang intended this Fred Flintstone-esque slab of meat to be the end of sirloin with the round bone attached. Can’t find it? Don’t worry; any large cut of steak will do. Just make sure it’s thick, so the cooking methods and seasonings compute.



I ended up with a 4.22-pound cut of Top sirloin, and my results were incredible. A large steak will be pricey, but mine fed a dinner of four adults with enough for at least three more people – or a weekend of steak and eggs for my husband and me. I loved the basting brush idea, especially because I just planted an herb garden. I tied rosemary and thyme to a wooden spoon and it worked great! Bonus: My guests were very impressed.



As for the Thyme Zinfandel Salt, well, I waited until the last minute to prepare that section of the recipe, figuring, like the Four Seasons Blend, that the small amount of ingredients would be easy to throw together. Oops. No dehydrator or an extra 12 hours to spare. Instead, I threw the mixture on a pan at 450 degrees. It sort of burned, it sort of looked weird, but it tasted great. Since the salt lasts up to a month, I think it’s worth putting the time into making it properly. But if you cheat, it turns out just fine.



It wouldn’t be fair to say this was my most successful grilling moment. After all, it was my only. But after this steak, I might as well retire. I’ve peaked.

Before we get to the recipe, let us tell you how you can meet Adam Perry Lang himself. Join us this Friday, June 15 at Mike Shannon’s Steaks & Seafood as the barbecue legend discusses and signs his new book for the next installment of the Sauce Celebrity Chef Series. Local barbecue king Mike Emerson (the guy behind Pappy’s Smokehouse) will be preparing a finger-lickin’-good barbecue lunch inspired by Perry Lang’s book using local meats. Tickets include food, beer and a copy of Charred & Scruffed ready to be signed by Mr. Perry Lang. For more information and how you can nab tickets, click here.



Man Steak with Thyme Zinfandel Salt
6 to 8 Servings

1 6-lb. “man steak” or a large, thick steak
¼ cup Four Seasons Blend (recipe follows)
1 Tbsp. fleshly ground black pepper
An herb brush (directions follow)
Basic Baste made with the acid component (recipe follows)
Board Dressing (recipe follows)
Thyme Zinfandel Salt (recipe follows) for finishing or similar finishing salt

• Preheat the grill to medium-low.
• Season the beef all over with the Four Seasons Blend and black pepper, then lightly moisten your hands with water and rub the seasonings into the meat. Allow to stand for 10 minutes to develop a “meat paste.”
• Put the beef on the clean (unoiled) grill grate and cook, without moving it, for 1 minute. Turn, grabbing the bone portion with your tongs, baste with the herb brush, and cook for 1 minute. Turn the steak, baste with the herb brush, and continue to cook, turning the meat every 2 minutes or so (The Hot Potato Method*) and basting each time you flip it, for 17 more minutes. The meat may stick and tear a bit, but this is OK, even desirable – the sticking and tearing is what I call “meat scruffing.” The surface should begin to crust after scruffing. (For newer grills, where less sticking and tearing occurs, or for increased surface area, score with a knife.) Transfer the steak to a large platter and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
• Meanwhile, clean and oil the grill grate.**
• Put the steak back on the grill and cook, turning and basting it every 4 minutes, until the internal temperature registers 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for rare, 25 to 35 minutes.
• Meanwhile, pour the board dressing onto a cutting board (or mix it directly on the board). Finely chop the tip of the herb brush and mix the herbs into the dressing.
• Season the steak on both sides with the thyme salt, transfer to the cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
• To serve, slice the meat ¼ inch thick, turning each slice in the dressing to coat, and arrange on plates. Pour the board juices over the meat and finish with a sprinkling of the thyme salt.

* According to Perry Lang: If asked to reduce my approach to grilling to just two words, they would be ‘hot potato.’ I treat meat on the grill as if I were handling a hot potato. When it gets really hot on one side (every couple of minutes), I flip it onto the other side. This is contrary to what many chefs do as they seek to create dark grill marks, but I couldn’t care less about grill marks. I have been served plenty of food with nice grill marks that did nothing to disguise a poor cooking job and a lack of flavor and texture.

** I didn’t do this step.

Four Seasons Blend
Makes approximately 1 cup

1 cup sea or kosher salt
2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

• Combine the salt, black pepper, garlic salt and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer to a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and pulse to the consistency of sand. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Herb Basting Brush
Rather than using an ordinary basting brush, I prefer to make my own by securing a bunch of herb sprigs (rosemary, sage or thyme, or a combination, or other herbs, depending on what you are cooking) to a dowel, the handle of a wooden spoon or a long-handled carving fork. The herb brush flavors the baste, releases oils into the crust as it builds and eventually becomes a garnish for the Board Dressing. Plus, it looks really cool and makes people think ‘Food!’ when they see you using it.

Basic Baste
Makes approximately 4 cups (if using the acid component)

Fat Baste
1¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
10 Tbsp. (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup rendered fat from the meat being cooked (optional)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. grated garlic (use a microplane) or garlic mashed to a paste
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. grated Spanish onion (use a microplane)
2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Acid Component (optional)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup white wine vinegar

• Combine all the ingredients for the fat baste in a 2-quart saucepan and bring just to a simmer; remove from the heat. For the best flavor, refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for 1 to 2 days. (Reheat over low heat to melt the butter before using.)
• For recipes that use the optional acid component, whisk it into the fat baste before using, or reserve it to add later; as specified in the individual recipe.

Board Dressing
Combine 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. You can improvise here, adding grated shallots or garlic (use a microplane), finely chopped chiles, chopped scallions, and/or other chopped herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and sage. The secret flavorful last ingredient is the tip of the herb basting brush, chopped very fine and mixed into the dressing. After being in contact with the hot meat while it cooked, the rosemary, sage or thyme will have softened a bit and released some aromatic and flavorful oils. I mix the herbs into the board dressing, then slice the meat, turning each slice in the dressing. Then I pour the resulting board juices over the meat when I serve it. 

Thyme Zinfandel Salt
Makes approximately 1 cup

1 cup sea or kosher salt
1/3 cup zinfandel
1 Tbsp. dried thyme

• Combine the salt and wine in a bowl, stirring until slushy.
• Spread the salt mixture out in a thin, even layer on a parchment-lined dehydrator tray and dry in a dehydrator at 105 degrees for 12 hours. Alternatively, spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet, put in a convection oven set at the lowest setting, prop the door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon, and let dry completely, about 12 hours.
• Finely grind in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and dry for another 2 hours.
• Transfer the salt mixture back to the grinder, add the dried thyme, and pulse to the consistency of sand.***
• Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

What’s your rule of thumb when making steak on the grill? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a signed copy of Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column. And don’t forget to buy your ticket to meet Mr. Perry Lang this Friday!

And now, we’d like to congratulate Courtney, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Ripe. Courtney, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

 

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents an afternoon of brainy barbecue with Adam Perry Lang

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Adam Perry Lang is Mario Batali’s “go-to-brother for meat and fire.” David Chang attests that “no one knows more about cooking food over fire” than Perry Lang. And now we get the pleasure of hearing from the grill master himself smack dab in the middle of barbecue season.

At his three restaurants in London, New York City and Las Vegas, and in his new book Charred & Scruffed: Bold new techniques for explosive flavor on and off the grill, the classically trained chef explores the meats and “co stars” we love to cook over the coals. From spackles to brines to buttery bastes, his theories and practices make barbecue a complex science. But Perry Lang breaks his process down, giving home cooks the ability to wow their friends with such dishes as smoked pork shoulder with lime coriander salt in their very own backyards.

For Sauce’s next Celebrity Chef Series presented in partnership with Left Bank Books, join us  on Friday, June 15 at Mike Shannon’s “Outfield” patio downtown from noon to 2 p.m. Get tickets here. Perry Lang will discuss his grilling techniques and sign his new book, Charred & Scruffed. Tickets, priced at $45, will include a to-be-signed copy of Charred & Scruffed and a three-course barbecue lunch prepared by Pappy’s Smokehouse’s Mike Emerson and inspired by Perry Lang’s recipes using ingredients from Rain Crow Ranch, Todd Geisert Farms and Straub’s. Varieties of Shock Top beer will be paired with each course. Gelateria del Leone is providing dessert.

Visit eventbrite.com for Adam Perry Lang tickets and more information. Seats are limited.

The Scoop: James Beard Foundation Award escapes Gerard Craft yet again

Monday, May 7th, 2012

As the James Beard Foundation Awards were announced from New York’s Lincoln Center this evening, our local food community kept its fingers crossed in hopes that Gerard Craft, chef-owner of the Niche family of restaurants, would finally walk away with one of the culinary community’s highest honors. Unfortunately, Craft, a three-time finalist and four-time semifinalist in the foundation’s Best Chef: Midwest category, did not take home the medal. The title went to Tory Miller of L’Etoile in Madison, Wis.

Other chefs vying for the Best Chef: Midwest title were: Colby Garrelts of Bluestem in Kansas City, Mo., Justin Aprahamian of Sanford in Milwaukee, Wis., and Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market in St. Paul., Minn.

— Photo by Greg Rannells

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