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Archive for January, 2012

By the Book: Jean-Georges’ Sliders with Russian Dressing and Yuzu Pickles

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

bookcoverSMALLIMAGEWelcome to By the Book, a new weekly online column in which we try our hand at recipes from some of the many amazing cookbooks that come across our desks. We thumb through, pick a dish and then get cooking – revealing the recipe we chose and the results of our culinary journey. Scroll to the bottom of the post to find out how you can win a copy of the featured book and to see last week’s By the Book winner.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten started his career at the age of 16 working as an apprentice at L’Auberge de l’Ill – a three Michelin-star-rated restaurant near his home in France. His first task there was plucking the feathers from pheasants that were still warm from the hunt. He recalled this day as being the first time he knew he wanted to be a chef. But he developed his signature style of incorporating Eastern flavors into his food when he started working at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. In the daytime he would make classic French dishes, and at night, he would eat the local food (like tom yum gai) and sample spices and herbs that were new to him, both of which still influence his restaurants today.

In his new book, Home Cooking with Jean-Georges (Check out page 31 of the February issue of Sauce to see our review of this book.), Vongerichten provided recipes for classic French fare like a Niçoise salad and a croque madame, but he also incorporated dishes with Asian influences like slow-cooked salmon in miso-yuzu broth. I decided to make a dish that incorporated flavors both east and west, so I made sliders (I mean, does it get more American than that?) with Russian dressing and yuzu pickles. It was different and flavorful, sweet and sour and spicy and fatty – everything you could want from a single dish. Would I make them again? Absolutely, except next time, I’d throw on a little cilantro, a little less ketchup and a bit more heat! Also, yuzu can be hard to find. In this book, Vongerichten noted that if the fruit is not readily available, you can buy yuzu juice, which can be found in Asian markets. He warns that the potency goes away with time and suggests that you buy a small bottle of the stuff. I couldn’t get my hands on it, so as a substitute I used 1 part lemon juice and 1 part lime juice. The flavor was great.


Sliders with Russian Dressing and Yuzu Pickles
12 Servings

The dressing and pickles here are magic – they make the burger. Sometimes, I make full-size burgers with 7-ounce patties, but I generally prefer sliders. That way, you can eat more of everything else you serve on the side. The best burger meat comes from aged beef chuck that is freshly ground by your butcher.

2¾ pounds freshly ground beef chuck, preferably aged
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 slices pepper Jack cheese
12 mini kaiser or brioche rolls, split
Russian Dressing (recipe follows)
12 small Boston lettuce leaves
Yuzu pickles (recipe follows)
24 tomato slices, from about 6 smaller tomatoes

Heat your grill to medium-high. Use a lightly oiled kitchen towel to carefully grease the grill grate.

Form the beef into 12 patties 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Generously season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. During the last minute of grilling, top each burger with a slice of cheese.

Grill the cut sides of the rolls alongside the patties until golden brown and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate.

Spread a generous layer of dressing on both sides of each roll. Arrange the lettuce on the bottom of each roll, cupped sides up (to capture the mouthwatering meat juices). Transfer the patties to the lettuce-lined buns and immediately top each with a thin layer of tomatoes and then pickles. Season the tomatoes with a little salt. Cover with the buns’ tops and serve immediately.


Russian Dressing
Makes about 2½ cups

When I decided to open my first steakhouse, I knew I needed to have this sauce. Not for a burger, but for a sliced tomato salad. I wanted to riff on the classic by incorporating French cornichons for pickles and Asian ingredients like miso and sriracha. The result is intensely flavorful. I love this over slow-baked salmon, but also enjoy it on sandwiches. I’ve even used it in place of mayo in chicken salad and as a dip for crisp, thin onion rings.

10 cornichons (2 ounces)
1 large egg yolk
3 Tbsp. white (shiro) miso
2½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2/3 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1¼ cups ketchup, preferably organic Heinz (Note: I thought this was too much for my taste; I’d start with ½ cup and then add more to your taste.)
2 tsp. sriracha – (Note: I thought this wasn’t enough, but I like it spicy! Add more to your liking.)

Combine the cornichons, yolk, miso, mustard, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water in a food processor. Pulse until the cornichons are just chopped. With the machine running, add the oils in a steady stream until the mixture is emulsified. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the ketchup and sriracha until fully incorporated. The dressing can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Yuzu Pickles
Makes about 3 cups

I love a good bread and butter pickle, so I decided to create my own version. While I don’t have the classic spices here, my blend of rice vinegar and yuzu juice approximates the same acidity of the original. These are terrific with (or on) sandwiches. Of course, I like to eat them straight too.

1 large European cucumber (1 pound)
2 fresh green Thai chiles, halved lengthwise – (Note: I couldn’t find Thai chiles in my regular grocery store, so I subbed them for Serrano chiles.)
1¾ cups Japanese rice vinegar
2 tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbsp. yuzu juice  (Note: I used 1 part lemon juice and 1 part lime juice.)

With a vegetable peeler, remove strips of cucumber peel lengthwise ½-inch apart to create vertical strips. Use a mandoline or a very sharp knife to cut the cucumber crosswise into 1/8-inch slices. Transfer to a non-reactive container

Combine the chiles, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Stir the yuzu juice into the chile mixture and pour over the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

“Reprinted from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Copyright (c) 2011.  Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.”


For a chance to win a copy of Home Cooking with Jean-Georges, tell us about the most unusual burger you’ve ever had in the comments section below.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Marvis and Mark S., whose comments on last week’s By the Book column have won them each a signed copy of Bluestem, The Cookbook. Marvis and Mark S., keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew regarding your prize!

The Scoop: Vito Racanelli parts ways with Onesto

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

013112_onestoVito Racanelli, chef-owner of southern Italian restaurant Mad Tomato in Clayton, has parted ways with his other restaurant, Onesto Pizza & Trattoria. Racanelli’s decision to break with Onesto leaves business partner Craig Stenson in control of the pizzeria in the Princeton Heights neighborhood of South City.

“I was spread too thin,” explained Racanelli last evening during a preview dinner for Mad Tomato’s new winter menu. “I want to focus on this restaurant alone. You have to come here if you want to see me,” he said. Racanelli opened Mad Tomato last May. (See Michael Renner’s New and Notable review of Mad Tomato here.)

Apart from focusing on the house-made pastas and other rustic cuisine at Mad Tomato, Racanelli is launching a charitable giving initiative via monthly events and special promotions at the restaurant. His goal for 2012, he told guests, is to donate $10,000 to local charities. The first of these events will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, with 20 percent of lunch and dinner proceeds benefiting Caring For Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides resources for children involved in the family court system in the St. Louis area.

— Photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: “Meat” Pie

Monday, January 30th, 2012

013012_meatlessmondayWe know what you’re thinking – another vegetarian column, really? Just give us a minute. Meatless Mondays is a movement that’s building across the country, one built not around a hatred of meat or a stance against the way animals are treated but rather a love for vegetables – and the health benefits that come along with them. While the Meatless Monday concept hasn’t quite picked up in St. Louis yet, we’re here to show you just how easily it could. From meat-free recipes to make at home to dishes around town that let the veggies truly shine – welcome to Meatless Mondays, a new weekly online column.

During a recent trip to Australia, I was inundated with shops and markets offering up various versions of a local delicacy: the meat pie. One establishment that caught my attention was Pie Face – a bakery filled with pint-sized pies, each with its own ‘facial’ expression made in frosting on the top layer of crust. Crowds of people lined the sidewalks in front of Pie Face, mouths watering for the meat-filled pastry.

Of course, I can understand a little food-born passion. The golden crust and juicy filling would be a rich, tempting treat – unless you’re a vegetarian. So when I returned home to St. Louis, I decided to try my hand at a vegetarian version: a meat-less pie. I know what you’re thinking – a ‘no meat’ meat pie – doesn’t that defeat the purpose of enjoying one at all? Not when your soy substitute can mimic the taste and texture of the real thing – not to mention boast half the fat and calories and just as much protein. So I used my favorite ground beef soy substitute made by Boca for the filling, adding tomatoes, onions and green peppers for an even bigger flavor punch. I also put in some spices – black pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper – to pack some southern style into the pastry. I added the filling to my usual pie-crust recipe handed down to me by my grandmother, an original southern belle. The result was a filling and scrumptious, kicked-up veggie version of Australia’s lauded meat pie.

“Meat” Pie
2 9-inch pies

2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
½ cup ice cold water

1 lb. ground beef soy substitute
1 onion, finely chopped
1½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tomato, diced
¼ cup green peppers, finely chopped

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• First, make the crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
• Add the shortening gradually until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
• Stir in the water gradually until you are able to form a ball with the mixture.
• Divide the dough in half and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
• Roll out each ball on a clean, floured surface until it is a ½ inch or so larger than the 9-inch pie pans. Shape the crusts into the pie pans, cutting off any crust hanging over the edges with a knife and crimping the edges with your thumb and opposite forefinger. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
• Meanwhile, make the pie filling: In a large skillet, cook the ground beef substitute over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until it completely thaws and becomes tender.
• Add the onions, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
• Remove from heat and add the garlic, tomatoes and green peppers. Then cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
• Transfer the meatless pie filling into the pie crust and smooth with a spatula. Serve immediately.

Baked: Ispahan Pudding Cake

Monday, January 30th, 2012

012412_BakedOne of my favorite pastry chefs is Pierre Hermé, the Frenchman who lifted the macaron to new heights with unique and inspired flavor combinations. Hailed as the Picasso of pâtissiers, Hermé created the Ispahan – a delicate combination of rose, raspberries and lychees – and put it in macaron form for Ladurée (the oldest macaron bakery in Paris). Hermé continues to experiment with these flavors in ice creams and other pastries.

I wanted to try to make my own unique version of an Ispahan dessert that would be unlike any other. I’ve recently been enamored with the idea of a pudding cake. There’s something wonderful about having a soft cake on top with warm pudding on the bottom. When I recently made a lemon pudding cake, all I could think about was how to adapt it to an Ispahan flavor. Although the lemon tones were delicious, the cake was very strong and better suited for the summer months. I wanted something a bit more delicate and refined, perhaps a cake that would make a great Valentine’s Day dessert.

After several attempts, I came up with this recipe. The result is a very soft rose-scented cake with bits of lychee in the pudding on the bottom. The raspberries on top are the perfect complement to the rose and lychee notes. I also reduced the sugar in the overall recipe to allow the fruit flavors to shine.

Although I added just a few raspberries on top of each ramekin simply for aesthetics, my friends added several more afterwards, just because the combination was so delightful.
A side note: I used canned lychees for this and generally find them to be just as delicious as fresh lychees. If you can get your hands on fresh lychees, though, by all means use them.

Ispahan Pudding Cake
Adapted by Amrita Rawat from a recipe by Carla Hall
6 to 8 Servings

4 egg yolks, reserving whites for later use
2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
¼ cup canned lychee juice
2 Tbsp. rose water
2 drops rose extract
1 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
3 lychees (finely chopped or mashed)
2 drops rose extract
1 cup milk
4 egg whites
Fresh raspberries for garnish

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray about 6 to 8 ramekins (Depending on size, you may need more.) with a nonstick spray.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the butter until blended.
• To the yolk mix, add the lychee juice, rose water, rose extract and milk.
• Add in the sugar, flour and salt, and whisk until smooth.
• In a separate, clean bowl, beat the egg whites until just stiff.
• Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk batter in three parts.
• Pour the combined mixture into the prepared ramekins.
• Transfer the ramekins to a roasting pan.
• Pour enough hot water into the pan to cover the bottom inch of the ramekins. Place the pan in the oven.
• Bake for 35 minutes or until puffed and golden.
• Let the ramekins cool for about 15 minutes.
• Adorn with raspberries and serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: These last up to 3 days in the fridge; microwave for 20 seconds to re-warm.

The Scoop: Pastry chef Christy Augustin to open Pint Size Bakery in South City

Monday, January 30th, 2012

013012_augustinBakery addicts, get ready to fill your bellies: Talented local pastry chef Christy Augustin, who spent time manning the desserts at King Louie’s and Sidney Street Cafe, is opening her own shop in South City. Pint Size Bakery will offer house-made breads and pastries that “change with the seasons and our most fickle whims,” according to its website. Real butter, unbleached flours and farm-fresh eggs are all part of the bakery’s from-scratch philosophy.

An exact location and opening date have yet to be announced. On Jan. 22, however, Augustin posted on the Pint Size Bakery blog that, “We have been working on this dream of a tiny little bakery and coffee shop for years and it is beginning to come to fruition. Check back here often for updates and progress. For now, all I have to say is that it is happening … that it will be cute and cozy in South City … that you will want to come by everyday.”

Augustin’s career includes time spent working in New Orleans at The Ritz-Carlton and at Bayona, Susan Spicer’s celebrated restaurant that is housed in a 200-year-old Creole cottage in the French Quarter. Locally, the native St. Louisan was a pastry chef at the now-defunct King Louie’s and, most recently, at Sidney Street Cafe, a role that she discussed with Sauce in early 2008. Augustin left Sidney Street in 2009 to teach at Le Cordon Bleu in St. Peters.

— Photo by Josh Monken

Drink This Weekend Edition: Mix up your mixers with this trio of sodas

Friday, January 27th, 2012

012712_sanbitterThere are days when you get home from work and have a hankering for a cocktail, yet anything more than two ingredients feels like a chore. Jack and Coke. Vodka tonic. Bo-ring. If you’re tired of the same-old, same-old, here’s a quick solution: Discover a new mixer. This weekend, we’re offering three sodas to shake things up. And if you want to abstain from alcohol, no problem; these beverages are just as tasty as solo sippers. (Insert a straw if you want it deluxe. Make it a bendy straw if you need to make life more exciting.)

Sanbitter This teeny, tiny bottle is best suited for Campari-lovers. Sanbitter is an Italian nonalcoholic aperitif soda bottled by San Pelligrino. It’s bitter, as the name implies, so don’t get all huffy and proclaim you weren’t warned. Wanna mix with it? Stir up a less boozy, effervescent version of a Negroni: Instead of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, sub the latter with Sanbitter. A fine alternative: Top a glass of not-too-expensive bubbly with Sanbitter, ¼ to ½ ounce, depending on your palate. Now sip again. Better, eh? Grab a 10-pack at J. Viviano & Sons on the Hill.

Freez peach soda Who knew the Lebanese made such good carbonated beverages? I recently discovered Freez-brand soda during a scour-the-aisles trip to Global Foods Market in Kirkwood. Freez produces a line of 15 fruit-flavored sodas, including hibiscus and cranberry, but the best tasting – whether for solo sipping or cocktail mixing – was peach. It’s light and refreshing, round with peach flavor plus a touch of banana at the finish. Pair it with vodka (I tried gin. Not so great.) if you’re going for a quick-fix highball.

Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost in Pomegranate with Hibiscus This one covers the basics for all the purists out there who want zero extracts and all-natural pure cane sugar. There’s a lot of ginger going on, but not too much pomegranate or hibiscus; perchance these were added to please the antioxidant crowd. Regardless, it’s a fine ginger ale – and one that likes rum in the glass. Again, Global Foods Market is where you can find this bottle.

Urban Chestnut wins big on Ratebeer.com

Friday, January 27th, 2012

012712_urbanchestnutA hefty pat on the back goes to Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., which was recently praised by Ratebeer.com as one of the top new brewers (Wait for it.) in the world. Of the 1,473 new breweries that registered with the site in 2011, the top-ranked breweries were Urban Chestnut at No. 5; California’s High Water Brewing at No. 4; Haymarket Pub & Brewing in Chicago taking third; Yorkshire, England’s Magic Rock Brewing as runner-up; and Anchorage Brewing Co. in Alaska taking the number one spot. Cheers!

Tweet Beat: The week’s best tweets from STL foodies

Friday, January 27th, 2012

080610_twittericonAre you following us on Twitter? Come on, get Saucy @saucemagazine

woke up in a mad dash for class and burnt my tongue on oatmeal #collegeproblems

Well, it was as I suspected. We have ourselves a ROOSTER!

Nothing like getting a pig delivered at 1 am on a Tuesday. Looking forward to Cochon Memphis. Thanks Carl Blake!! http://www.rustikroosterfarms.com/Rustikroosterfarms/Welcome.html

Crappy rainy day+ sh*t mood = I’ll be in the kitchen. Cooking is my drug! #FoodIsLove

Why haven’t I been cooking my tortillas in bacon fat forever?

Since when is orange soda caffeinated! Thanks for stealing my sleep, @SunkistSoda. I’m switching back to #Whistle

At any given daytime moment, 40% of my timeline is talking about food.

Currently obsessed with finding someone to have high tea with.

Must.eat.cake. Which may signal its time for bed.

Think you should be on this list? Follow us and let us know @saucemagazine

Wash U. gets an A+ for ethnic/kosher fare

Friday, January 27th, 2012

012612_washuWashington University has long held court as one of the nation’s top schools, academically. And now it’s getting more than just scholarly accolades. The only college in the country to score 10 out of 10 on a survey by collegeprowler.com, Wash U narrowly beat out Brandeis – a Jewish-sponsored college – as the campus with the most palatable kosher and ethnic dining options.

Some cuisine-specific spots on campus include L’Chaim (hot items from a certified kosher kitchen), WUrld Fusion (tandoori ovens, Indian and global cuisine), Ciao Down (pizzas and pastas) and ¡OSOGood! (South-of-the-border fare).

Wash U also offers busy (or lazy) students a service called Webfood, an online ordering system that allows users to “build a meal” from their computers and schedule a pickup.

Stocking Up on clementines

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

012512_clementinesAre you as confused about the weather as I am? I keep running to the grocery store on these occasional 60-degree days looking for watermelon and fresh heirloom tomatoes only to find ruby beets and hearty kale. But there is one fruit that’s bringing a little bit of summer cheer to these chilly winter months: clementines.

I’ve always been a fan of this tiny, easy-to-eat winter snack, bringing home whole bushels of them, taking handfuls to work, even keeping them in my car, purse and desk (Just don’t forget they’re there!). But I’ve recently discovered the myriad ways to use clementines in culinary confections that are sure to brighten up even the most blustery winter day without lending the cloying sweetness of summer snacks.

When searching for clementines, forgo political correctness. Buy the imported Spanish varieties instead of the Cuties from California. They’re bigger and have fewer seeds and more juice, which makes them perfect for baking.

This recipe is enough to turn even the most passionate panna cotta-hater (my aunt) into a panna cotta believer. It has enough creamy spice to be a rich winter dessert, but the citrus glaze keeps it bright, cheerful and delicious.

Panna Cotta with Clementine Glaze
6 Servings

Panna Cotta
1/3 c. skim milk
1¼-oz. packet unflavored gelatin
2½ cups heavy cream
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

Clementine Glaze
2/3 cup white sugar
½ cup water
One whole clove
Three whole allspice
8 clementines, in segments
2 Tbsp. Cointreau

Candied Lemon and Clementine Peels
1/3 cup clementine zest
¼ cup lemon zest
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

• First, make the panna cotta: Pour the skim milk into a bowl and gently mix in the gelatin. Set aside.
• Stir the heavy cream, ½ cup of sugar, ground cinnamon and ground cloves together in a saucepan over medium heat.
• Carefully bring to a boil, then stir in the milk and gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved.
• Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
• Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and pour into individual ramekins.
• Cool, uncovered, at room temperature. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
• Meanwhile, make the clementine glaze: Bring 2/3 cup of sugar, ½ cup of water, 1 whole clove and 3 whole allspice to a boil in a separate pan, stirring regularly for 4 to 5 minutes.
• Add the clementine segments and Cointreau, stirring well. Set the pan aside to cool.
• Once cool, remove the whole spices, transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve, and reserve the liquid.
• For the garnish, blanch the two citrus zests to remove the bitterness of any leftover pith by dunking the zest in boiling water and then ice water three times.
• Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes a simple syrup. Add the blanched zest and cook until the peels are transparent, about 5 minutes. Drain the zest and spread it on a parchment sheet until you’re ready to serve.

To serve: Turn out the panna cotta onto plates or into a glass and drizzle with the clementine glaze. Top with candied orange and lemon peels.

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