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Feb 21, 2018
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Archive for October, 2012

Sneak Peek: Elaia and Olio

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Elaia and Olio are opening in early November. The restaurant and wine bar, located at 1634 Tower Grove Ave., at the intersection of McRee Ave., have been highly anticipated for a number of reasons. Both are projects by well-respected chef-proprietor Ben Poremba, co-owner of Salume Beddu. Poremba has nabbed talented advanced sommelier Andrey Ivanov from 33 Wine Bar, knighted him GM and handed him the reins to work his wine magic. Another reason we’re watching Elaia and Olio? The adjoining venues – both located in historic buildings (a nearly century-old home and a former gas station) – may well be key components for urban renewal in the once blighted McRee Town neighborhood now known as Botanical Heights, particularly as Elaia and Olio will soon be joined by patisserie Chouquette, right across the street.

Olio will quietly open to the public this Friday, November 2, followed by Elaia on Sunday, November 11. When regular hours of operation commence on Tuesday, November 13, doors will be open at Elaia Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.; and at Olio Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

For an inside look at Elaia and Olio, visit our Facebook page.

— Photos by Michelle Volansky

Just Five: Chicken with Smoked Paprika and Green Beans

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

My 14-year-old: “Mom, this is good. No, really. It’s good.”
Me: “Really? Not too spicy, not too weird?”
My 14-year-old: “Mom. For real. GOOD. Can I have some more?”
Me: //pumps fist in air//

And so went the conversation at my house after I made this dish. I was having a classic “working mom Monday” and did not have time to make a stop at the store to buy anything exotic for this dish. Therefore, skinless boneless chicken breasts (which my kids always request) and green beans were going to be my two main ingredients. And you know, sometimes simple is best (That’s what we tell ourselves when we are this close to putting ANOTHER frozen pizza in the oven, am I right?).

When I got home, I stared at the spice rack, looking for ways to doll up my two ingredients. I love the beautiful brick color of paprika, so I grabbed my smoked paprika, threw some oil in a skillet, slivered up some garlic and made a garlic-and-smoked-paprika-infused oil in which to cook the chicken and green beans. I still had one ingredient to play with. And here is where things can work with you or against you. Lemon? Honey? Wine? Chives? The dish was nice as is; the garlic was not too overwhelming, almost sweet, as was the paprika, so honey was out. I liked the idea of chives or other fresh green herbs, but it really needed an acid to brighten up the flavors. I went with sherry vinegar – not as sweet as balsamic and more complex than red wine vinegar. This dish may not knock your socks off, but it made a 14-year-old girl give her mother a hug AND a high five. And that, my friends, makes it a keeper in my book.

Chicken with Smoked Paprika and Green Beans
4 Servings

3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
¼ cup sherry vinegar (Red wine vinegar is an acceptable substitute.)

• Pour the olive oil into a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and paprika and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
• Season the cubed chicken with salt and pepper and then add it to the skillet, coating all of the pieces with the infused oil. Cook for about 4 minutes.
• Stir in the green beans and vinegar and cover the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes and serve.

The Scoop: Butler’s Pantry president planning pastry shop in The Loop

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Richard L. Nix Jr., president of the St. Louis-based catering company Butler’s Pantry Catering & Events, and his wife, Elizabeth, are opening an Italian pastry shop in The Loop. The shop, Piccione Pastry, will be located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Delmar and Skinker Boulevards.

Piccione (pronounced “pi-chō-nee”) will offer single-serve Italian pastries as well as Italian coffees and sodas. Among the Piccione signature items future sweet-toothed patrons can expect are eight varieties of cannoli, bombolini made to order, numerous types of Italian cookies, tiramisu, ricotta cheesecake, cassata cake (a liqueur- or juice-soaked sponge cake layered with ricotta, candied fruit and/or chocolate and topped with marzipan and whipped cream), and other specialty cakes.

At the culinary helm of Piccione will be Martin Lopez, who has worked as executive pastry chef at Butler’s Pantry for the past six months. Lopez, a career chef, is a 1987 graduate of the New England Culinary Institute and former owner of Chantilly Cake Co., which he opened in Alton, Ill., in the mid-1990s. Lopez explained that while his pastries will be recognizably Italian in form, he plans to put his own spin on things. (After all, he’s the son of an Italian mother who fused her native cuisine with Mexican flavors when she married her Mexican husband and moved to Mexico City, where Lopez was born.)

Richard Nix explained that his pastry project has been in the works for the last two years. The Italian word Piccione, meaning “pigeon,” is also the last name of his Italian grandmother, Grace Piccione, who once operated the now-defunct Varsity Theatre in The Loop. “We kind of have a family history on Delmar,” Richard Nix said. He’s optimistic that Piccione’s location at the busy corner of Delmar and Skinker Boulevards will attract customers. “It’s like being at the corner of Main [Street] and Main [Street],” he explained. Since the shop will stay open until 11 p.m. – and later on weekends – he also hopes to draw some of The Loop’s nightlife crowd, even without a liquor license.

Activity inside the empty space at 6197 Delmar Blvd., which was most recently occupied by a barbershop, will begin in December. The target opening date for the 40-seat shop is March 1, 2013, upon the addition of a kitchen and interior design, the latter tasked to Elizabeth Nix and designer Mark Herman of Mark, Inc. (Herman also worked on Butler’s Pantry venues including Palladium Saint Louis near Lafayette Square and Bixby’s inside the Missouri History Museum.) “It won’t look like a traditional pastry shop,” Richard Nix said. “You have to keep it in the neighborhood; the neighborhood is so edgy.”

— Photo courtesy of Richard L. Nix Jr.

By the Book: The Art of Preserving’s Blueberry-Citrus Preserves

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

I liked how in The Art of Preserving by Rick Field, Lisa Atwood and Rebecca Courchesne, there were the usual suspects of ingredients like strawberries for strawberry jam as well as some unexpected ingredients like kiwi, pomegranates and kumquats. The book offers ways in which to use the preserve: in crepes, as glazes or in baked goods like muffins. And most of the recipes don’t call for a ton of ingredients; they rely on the strength of flavor of seasonal produce, making them easy on the wallet.

In the August Issue of Sauce, we ran a story called Jam Session that was laden with pretty photos of preserves, including blueberry-lavender jam from Harvest chef-owner Nick Miller. It was lovely, almost black-looking with bright magenta hues where it was spread thin. Maybe that’s why I chose to make the blueberry-citrus preserves out of this book – or maybe it was because this recipe was so simple, I just couldn’t pass it up.

Now, I know it’s almost November and all … it’s probably not the best time to make blueberry preserves. However, I can always find those little gems and, with the help of some sugar and a lot of orange and lemon flavor, I thought it would be enough to brighten those berries up and make them shine. And they do. This preserve is sweet and citrusy with deep berry flavor.

Blueberry-Citrus Preserves
Makes 5 half-pint jars

2 oranges
2 cups (1 lb./500 g.) sugar
8 cups (2 lb./1 kg.) blueberries, stems removed
½ cup (4 fl. oz./125 mL) fresh lemon juice

Have ready hot, sterilized jars and their lids.

• Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 1 of the oranges in strips about 1 inch (2.4 centimeters) wide. Remove as much pith as possible from the strips, and then cut them crosswise into thin strips. Cut both oranges in half and squeeze enough juice to measure 1 cup (8 fluid ounces/ 250 mL).
• In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and orange juice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is bubbling.
• Add the blueberries, lemon juice and zest strips. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes. The mixture should consist of whole berries floating in a dark, thick syrup.
• Using a slotted spoon, divide the hot berries among the jars. Ladle the syrup over the berries, covering them completely and leaving ¼ inch of head space. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the head space, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.
• Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Reprinted with permission from Weldon Owens. 

What’s your favorite memory of making jam? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of The Art of Preserving by Rick Field, Lisa Atwood and Rebecca Courchesne. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Colleen, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won him/her a copy of The Country Cook’s Kitchen. Colleen, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.


Meatless Monday: Enjoying the harvest at Schlafly Bottleworks

Monday, October 29th, 2012

While the drought certainly put a damper on summer favorites like tomatoes (and my front lawn), with sunny days and an adequate amount of rain during September and October, the fall harvest is in full bloom. If you’re craving some locally grown veggies but you don’t have a garden, don’t worry. Schlafly Bottleworks has its own garden and a menu tailored to showcase the produce. That’s right; the people at Bottleworks are kicking backyard farming up a notch with Gardenworks, a seventh of an acre urban farm right next to the microbrewery. Next time you head to Bottleworks, before you sit down for your meal, take a self-guided tour and check out the beds where thousands of pounds of produce are grown and used in menu items for both Bottleworks and the Schlafly Tap Room.

After touring this verdant garden before my Meatless Monday meal, I knew I had to have a high concentration of those freshly grown greens on my plate. Couple the fruits of Schlafly’s labor (I’m talkin’ veggies, though the brews qualify, too.) with wholesome grains, and you’ve got yourself a salad that you can be proud to call dinner. In the Quinoa and Greenwheat Freekah Salad (pictured), protein-packed white quinoa and greenwheat freekah (a roasted green grain) get lightly dressed and studded with black beans, juicy tomatoes and crisp cucumbers. Herbs fresh from the garden brighten up the flavor of this grain salad that is piled atop leafy greens.

Can’t make it to Bottleworks for the harvest before the nighttime frosts begin? No worries; enjoying the Vegetarian Thai Curry made with root vegetables grown under the heaters on the patio, will do just fine, too.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Trick or treat? Can you get tell me how to get a drink on Sesame Street?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Politics makes for Halloween fodder. Last year, my own son dressed as a down-and-out Wall Street occupier. This year, we’ve heard about the run on Big Bird costumes, what with the poor creature from peace-loving Sesame Street having been surreptitiously caught in the middle of a battle between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. The affable character’s wings are getting yanked so hard on both sides; he might just get his big yellow flappers ripped off.

Kill Big Bird? Now that would be a topsy-turvy world. But so is one where Big Bird sets down his teddy bear, Radar, and picks up a cocktail. Then again, Halloween is about make-believe, so you can pretend the night away on this particular holiday. And at that Halloween party, be sure that when you raise a glass of Big Bird Punch, you toast the 42-years-and-running TV show that most likely defined your childhood and taught you bipartisanship, otherwise known as getting along. (Editor’s note: Neither this article nor this drink has been endorsed or approved by the Children’s Television Workshop.)

Big Bird Punch
Courtesy of Sanctuaria’s Joel Clark
20 4-oz. servings

30 oz. Hayman’s Old Tom gin
15 oz. lemon juice
15 oz. pineapple juice
7½ oz. Yellow Chartreuse
7½ oz. cinnamon syrup (recipe follows)
Yellow pansies (optional garnish)

• Combine all of the ingredients in a large container and dilute with ice to taste.
• Once the punch reaches the desired dilution, strain it from the leftover ice and either transfer it to a large punch bowl and serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
• For added yellow color, float yellow pansies or other edible flowers in the punch bowl.

Cinnamon syrup

5 cinnamon sticks
10 oz. water
1 cup sugar

• Break each cinnamon stick into 3 sections crosswise.
• Combine all of the ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil.
• Once the liquid reaches a boil, immediately remove it from heat and let it sit for 20 minutes.
• Discard the cinnamon sticks.
• Strain the syrup through a colander lined with cheesecloth into a bowl.

Note: This recipe yields slightly more syrup than the amount called for in Big Bird Punch, but when preparing the punch, be sure to only use 7½ ounces.

Sneak Peek: The Restaurant at The Cheshire Inn

Friday, October 26th, 2012

For the last couple years, renovations have been underway at The Cheshire property. The historical hotel at 6300 Clayton Road, including Fox & Hounds Tavern, reopened late last summer. Now, renovations to the 27,000-square-foot structure located just east of the hotel are almost complete. The Restaurant, an upscale yet casual, 200-seat restaurant and bar offering American cuisine prepared in an open kitchen complete with a spit rotisserie, wood-burning oven and smoker, is slated to open on November 5. Basso, which means “low” in Italian and is located under The Restaurant, is scheduled to open on December 15. This Italian gastropub will feature 32 draft beers, an Italian wine list, house-made pizzas and small plates. Above Basso and The Restaurant is another concept: Upstairs, a private event space. Upstairs, also set to open on November 5, will seat around 150 and fit 275 people for cocktails. Lastly, The Market at the most eastern end of the property is set to open in January. When The Market debuts, people will be able to grab a coffee, glass of wine, sandwich, soup and salad along with items for later such as bottles of wine and house-made breads and pastas. Interested in catching a glimpse of the food and space at The Restaurant? Head over to our Facebook page to take a look.

— Photos by Michelle Volansky

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

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Are you following us on Twitter? Come on, get Saucy @saucemag

I didn’t steal from the slightly ajar vending machine, paid for my popcorn, and pushed it shut. And got a defective bag for my honesty. #boo‬

Now that ‪@5Bistro‬ taught me how to properly poach an egg, I feel like a zen master of that small detail in the kitchen

I had a pretty fantastic night of ‪@climbsoill‬, ‪@4HandsBrewery‬, and sausages by ‪@cookingkid‬, and seeing so many of my favorite people!

Lori – “It’s a two Popsicle night.”

My belly is full of fried rice and the package has been mailed. Lunch was super success!

The English Ale yeast I’m harvesting is about as thick as liquid concrete. ‪#hurryupplease‬

When Chris is gone at class all evening, I enjoy pork chops and reality television.

It’s not unreasonable to want Lion’s Choice for breakfast… Right?

‪@knashan‬ I had to describe the kielbasa today as ‘chorizo de Poland.’ I thought you’d be proud of me.

HOAGIE CITY has lost another letter on its sign. It is now HO IE CITY and still delicious.

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

Thursday Giveaway: The clock is ticking!

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Love free stuff? Already stressing about holiday shopping? We have good news! Running through December, we will be doing giveaways every Thursday. Today we are giving away a Ronco 5-tray Food Dehydrator. All you have to do is tell us about the first ingredient you would dehydrate and how you would use it in a dish. Write your comment in the section below, on our Facebook wall or on our Twitter feed. Then, we’ll pick our favorite. Entries start NOW and last until 4 p.m. We’ll announce the winner later this afternoon. 

Tikka Tikka Taco: Only 10 days left to donate!

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Either through an email from a friend hoping to buy an underwater robot or a Facebook post by that ex-coworker wanting to film a documentary about pirates, you’ve probably heard of Kickstarter by now. Since 2009, according to Kickstarter’s website, “over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.” As a backer making a pledge, besides those warm, fuzzy feelings of altruism, the best part about donating is that the risk is minimized. If the Kickstarter doesn’t make its goal during the allotted time (up to 60 days), you don’t pay. Additionally, under Kickstarter’s terms of use, creators are required to make good on all rewards promised or refund any backers whose rewards they can’t fulfill.

While it’s inspiring to read stories about aspiring entrepreneurs from around the country, lately, we’ve been most excited about Kickstarters in the St. Louis area, particularly those in our favorite form: the edible. Marcoot Jersey Creamery, a local cheese maker, recently needed a commercial cheese press in order to expand its repertoire. Thanks to Kickstarter, Marcoot met its goal last month, and now we can look forward to traditional cheddars and colby cheese. Also noteworthy is the board game Viticulture. Based on creating and expanding a vineyard in Tuscany, Viticulture combines strategy with a love of wine. From Stonemaier Games, a local company, Viticulture blew through its fundraising goal of $25,000 to rake in more than $65,000. Last year, John Perkins of Entre: underground and Events by Entre also successfully used a Kickstarter-esque approach in order to fund a new hood for an event space kitchen.

One of the latest local Kickstarters making us salivate is Tikka Tikka Taco. Brothers Michael and Shaun Swaleh are looking to bring modernized Indian street food (pictured) to the people of St. Louis. But first they need a food truck. Depending on whether they buy a new or used truck, the amount of money and time they will need before hitting the streets will vary. However, with The Sausage Syndicate’s ready-to-roll truck newly on the market, if the Swaleh’s reach their goal of $60,000 within the next 10 days, their future food truck purchase might just happen faster than they ever imagined. But time is running out. Check out Tikka Tikka Taco’s Kickstarter and catch the KTVI-Fox2 news segment for more information.

With these increasing opportunities for locals to garner attention and support for their creative edible ideas, we have even more assurance that the future of the St. Louis food scene will continue to be bright.

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