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Mar 19, 2018
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Archive for February, 2013

This week, Stacy Schultz is obsessed with …

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

{The Diavolini sausage at Salume Beddu typically comes with a warning: It’s super, crazy spicy. That’s no problem in my house, though, where Sriracha is a stand-in for ketchup. I like to crumble and saute this chile-and-pimentón-laden charcuterie into fresh pasta with garlicky greens, shallots and a little fresh cheese, but you can roll it into breakfast tacos, use it to spike a homemade tomato sauce or even brown it with veggies. However you prepare it, this spectacularly spicy sausage is proof that great meals start with great ingredients. * Besides, Salume Beddue, you can find the Diavolini at Schnucks in Des Peres.}

{In the mornings, I try to stick to something that wakes up my eyes and my metabolism. This bowl o’ steamy goodness does the trick. I combine ½ cup of old-fashioned oats with ¼ cup of cold water and a pinch of salt, and pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes. A pinch of cinnamon, a dash of chopped nuts and a handful of pomegranate seeds – aka my juicy little jewels – and I’m sated until the day’s first taste test.}

{I’ve always read The New York Times, but these days, I’m loving anything by Hungry City columnist Ligaya Mishan. Her description of food is so engaging, it always leaves me with a “Why didn’t I think of that?” feeling. To her, shrimp isn’t plumping as it grills, it’s “placidly curling;” chicken wings aren’t crisp, they’re “blistered and coppery;” and “scarlet ribbons of meat” aren’t dancing atop a hot griddle, their fat is “hissing and collapsing.” Read a story; she’ll either inspire you to get writing or get eating.}

The Scoop: Chip Bates named exec chef at Half & Half

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Half & Half officially has an executive chef. While chef-owner Mike Randolph (pictured, far right) has always overseen operations at all three of his restaurants – Half & Half, The Good Pie and Little Country Gentleman – Half & Half has not had an executive chef, until now.

Randolph shared news that Chip Bates (pictured, far left), who had been sous chef at Little Country Gentleman, has been appointed as executive chef at Half & Half, the breakfast-brunch spot in Clayton. Since Bates will be solely focused on preparing morning fare, Randolph also noted that he has hired two other individuals to round out the culinary crew for dinner-only Little Country Gentleman. Look for Bates’ spring menu to debut in early April.

Drop. Swap. Grow. hosts annual seed swap this Saturday

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

It’s hard to imagine readying our gardens when it’s snowing outside, but perhaps now is the time for some magical thinking. This Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., Drop. Swap. Grow., in partnership with Slow Food, is hosting its 3rd Annual Seed and Tool Swap. The event, held in the basement of The Word at Shaw, located at 4265 Shaw Blvd., is free, but you must register in advance to participate. Per the organization’s request, don’t bring expired seeds. Both store-bought seeds and those harvested from your garden are welcome, but organic and heirloom seeds will surely make you a hit. If you have any new or gently-used tools, bring those for swapping as well.

In addition to the swap, several speakers will share their wisdom, including Jenny Murphy from Perennial. Murphy will show attendants how to creatively reuse household items in the garden. For more information about the event, click here.

The Scoop: Mission Taco Joint opens tomorrow

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Mssion Taco Joint has announced its official opening date: tomorrow, February 28. Hours for the restaurant, located at 6235 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, will be Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. If  you missed our sneak peek from yesterday, head on over to our Facebook page.

Baked: Cherry-Chocolate Red-Wine Bundt Cake

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Fruit plus chocolate is not my favorite combination, especially dark chocolate. Therefore, when I set out to make this cake, I thought I was being so clever because I wouldn’t want to eat it at all. Boy was I wrong.

Red wine isn’t just the ideal accompaniment to a hearty meal. It also adds the most delicious touch to any chocolate cake. The result is always moist and the flavors become more complex. Every time I make a red-wine cake, I wonder why I don’t do it more often.

As far as the addition of fruit, I’ve had my hands on some cherry concentrate for a while now and wanted to use it somewhere, somehow. Also, my Bundt pan hadn’t been touched in nearly a year, but this somber weather was inspiring me to use it once again for a rich, dark cake perfect to nosh on in the depths of winter. It also helps that this is a one-bowl recipe and you can have it in the oven in minutes.

Feel free to swap out the cherries for other fruits, or skip them altogether. Just don’t skimp on the red wine. Enjoy, and happy baking!

Cherry Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake
Adapted by Amrita Rawat from a recipe originally published in Food & Wine
1 9-inch Bundt cake

Nonstick cooking spray
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1¾ cups granulated sugar
Zest from 1 orange
2 sticks butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup almond flour*
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup red wine
¼ cup cherry concentrate (or replace with ¼ cup red wine)
1 cup dried cherries
2 oz. finely chopped semisweet chocolate

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Prepare a 9-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and flour.
• Pour the sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the orange zest. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar.
• Add in the softened butter and beat using an electric mixer or whisk until fluffy.
• Add in the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla, beating well after each addition.
• Gradually add in 1½ cups of all-purpose flour as well as the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
• Using a spatula, fold in the red wine, cherry concentrate, dried cherries and chocolate.
• Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and dry. Remove from the oven and let the pan cool.
• When the pan is cool enough to handle, un-mold the cake and let it cool further on the rack.
• Serve with sweetened whipped cream or powdered sugar sifted over the top.

* Available at Whole Foods Market, 1601 S. Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood, 314.968.7744, wholefoodsmarket.com. Alternatively, you can pulse whole almonds in a food processor until they reach a powdered form.

Drink This: Three beers that won’t kill your diet

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Still holding on to your New Year’s resolution eating habits? Here are a few beers that won’t kill your diet. Although lighter, these brews still offer enough intensity to keep the attention of any palate.

Batch 19 Pre-Prohibition Style Lager
This golden American lager pours with a nice bubbly head, and its effervescence helps to draw out the subtle aroma of a grainy bread. The first sip has a surprising amount of earthy, grassy hops with some citrus and caramel layers. It finishes with a crisp, dry tingle that reminds you that this light beer won’t destroy your diet.

Guinness Draught
I’ll say it again: Just because a beer is black doesn’t mean it’s heavy! Guinness is the classic example where the low alcohol (less calories) and dry body (less residual sugar) are offset by roasted malt and nitrogenation to create full flavors of chocolate, cream and coffee in a beer that has two calories less per 100 milliliters than Budweiser.

Berliner Style Weisse, Brettanomyces Lambicus Special Edition
The Berliner Style Weisse Bier from Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof is one of my favorite styles. Full of lemon, tropical fruits, stone fruits and a rich, malty, wheaty mid-palate, they are very dry and rarely stronger than 3-percent ABV. The natural acidity in these tart session beers make you feel like you’re drinking something closer to Champagne.


By the Book: Lou Rook’s Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels in a Spicy Tomato Vermouth Broth with Grilled Crusted Bread

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The Chesterfield Valley wasn’t always The Chesterfield Valley. When I was a kid, that area was grassland and soccer fields as far as the eye could see. Oh, and there was The Smokehouse Market. After two or three hours of running after a black-and-white speckled ball (or away from it, in my athletically inept case), my prize for the energy exerted was lunch at The Smokehouse Market. We’d go up to the counter and stand on our tippy toes to order a smattering of house-made items, forming makeshift sandwiches out of fresh cheeses and roasted vegetables on thickly sliced whole-grain bread. Dessert was a chocolate chip cookie from the counter right next to the cash register that my sister and I had to split. When the flood devastated the area in ’93, I worried that my beloved lunchtime market had gone with it. Indeed, it had filled with several feet of water, as had Annie Gunn’s restaurant that sat next to it. But fortunately, Tom Sehnert, who owned both eateries, planned to rebuild.

Enter chef Lou Rook. Together, Rook and Sehnert created a new concept for Annie Gunn’s – one that infused fine-dining reliability with farm-to-table roots. After a series of slow changes to the menu, everything from the meat to the produce to the cheese came from local farms, and the food that Rook created using these ingredients was fantastic. Twenty years later, chef Rook has released his first cookbook, Rook Cooks: Simplicity at Its Finest, filled with many of the mainstay dishes that have made Annie Gunn’s worthy of a trip to Chesterfield for even the most jaded critics of West County.

As we finish up our month of cooking from cookbooks penned by St. Louis culinary stars, I was ecstatic to cook from one of my very favorite chefs in town (Bonus: Chef Rook is an incredibly nice guy.). This recipe for mussels epitomizes what I believe Rook is trying to accomplish with this book: quality yet easy-to-find ingredients that are prepared simply to provide big flavor. (I must note that not all of the recipes in this book do so, such as those which call for making stocks and sauces that, on their own, would take many hours and dollars.) And boy did this one deliver. The 1/3 cup of minced garlic and the full tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes tossed into the broth made for a load of flavor that tickled my taste buds with every bite. While milder palates may prefer to knock the garlic and pepper flakes down a few notches, my heat-loving household happily sopped it up with the grilled bread I served alongside.

For the tomatoes, Rook recommends the only canned tomatoes that you should ever buy: San Marzanos, available at just about any corner grocery. I opted for the white wine I had in the fridge, but if you happen to have vermouth lying around, by all means pop it open for this savory and spicy broth. I do wish Rook was a bit clearer on the rest of the ingredient list, however. After all, what exactly is pure olive oil and did I really need it? A call to Extra Virgin, An Olive Ovation in Clayton quickly answered that question: “Mussels will taste better with extra virgin,” owner Marianne Prey quickly affirmed. And what is clam broth? A little research proved that it’s just the juice that canned clams are packed in. The grilled bread mentioned in the title of Rook’s recipe was left out of the recipe completely, but figuring out how to make it proved easy.

The instructions, however, were fairly spot-on, especially the note on how to de-beard the mussels and smoothing out the sauce with a touch of honey. It worked like a charm. The only tweak I’d recommend: more mussels. With a 28-ounce can of tomatoes and a full 2 cups of clam broth, this broth was begging for more of those meaty little prizes inside the shell. Next time, I’d double the number of mussels and make this a meal for four.

Twenty years after the flood, I’m still a regular at both of Rook’s eateries as they both continue to hold a special place in my heart. On the day my boyfriend and I brought home our first puppy, we sat on the patio at The Smokehouse and ate fresh cheese and roasted vegetable sandwiches. While The Valley may now just, unfortunately, be The Valley, Annie Gunn’s and The Smokehouse Market remain the gems among a breathtakingly large line of chain restaurants. And that makes this cookbook a treasure of its own.

Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels in a Spicy Tomato Vermouth Broth with Grilled Crusted Bread
2 Servings 

24 Prince Edward Island Mussels
¼ cup pure olive oil
1/3 cup minced garlic
1 Tbsp. red peppercorn flakes
1/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 28-oz. can crushed tomato, preferably San Marzano, Muir Glen or your homemade crushed tomatoes
2 cups clam broth (Note: I used the juice from canned clams.)
Italian parsley
Basil (optional)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey (optional)
Kosher salt, to taste
Butter (optional)

• Scrub the outer shells of the mussels and de-beard them. Set the mussels aside.
• Add the pure olive oil to a 4-quart stockpot and begin heating the oil on high heat.
• Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook them to a light toast.
• Deglaze the pot with the vermouth, then add the crushed tomatoes and clam broth. Let the pot simmer for 30 minutes.
• Add the mussels and steam them until they open.
• Lift the mussels out of the sauce with a strainer or slotted spoon and place them onto a platter or into two bowls.
• Finish the sauce with Italian parsley, basil, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and salt to taste.

• Spoon the sauce over the top of the mussels and garnish to your liking with fresh herbs.


  1. To de-beard mussels, simply use a rag to pull the beards from the mussels while you are washing them. The beard is the part of the mussel that hands outside of the shell.
  2. If the sauce seems a little on the acidic side, smooth it out with honey.
  3. Prince Edward Island is world-renowned for their high-quality mussels with distinctive flavor – they truly do set the standard. The broth can be made in advance and can hold up to a week in the refrigerator.
  4. Butter is always good in anything, so you can add a little to finish the sauce if you would like.

Recommended Beverages:
Light lager, wheat beer, riesling, Gewürztraminer or Missouri Traminette

What’s your favorite memory from The Smokehouse Market or Annie Gunn’s? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Rook Cooks. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Joe, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won him a copy of Stone Soup Cottage: A Vignette of Seasonal Recipes. Joe, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

The Scoop: Traveling Tea moving to hot block in Maplewood

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Local tea purveyor Traveling Tea is moving to Maplewood. Owner Kateri Meyer is leaving her space in Benton Park and making a new home at 2707 Sutton Ave., as reported by Feast. This block of Sutton Avenue, a side street off of Manchester in downtown Maplewood, has become quite a hot spot in the food and drink scene. Other venues on the block include Pie Oh My!Orbit Pinball LoungeMaya Cafe, The Wood, Encore Baking Co. and Clean Eating Living Well.

Meyer is hoping to open her new digs the first week of April. She projects to be open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the meantime, teetotalers can find her custom, organic and fair-trade tea blends and brewed teas on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the farmers market at Washington University School of Medicine.

Sneak Peek: Mission Taco Joint

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013


Mssion Taco Joint is expected to open to the public any day now. While brothers and co-owners Adam and Jason Tilford shared details about the menu a few weeks ago, we’ve been itching to see some of those words on paper become edible. Yesterday, the Tilford brothers (who also own Barrister’s, Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen and Milagro Modern Mexican) gave Sauce a taste of what customers will encounter when they order fare from St. Louis’ newest taco joint. The restaurant, located at 6235 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, has not announced its opening date. Watch for that news to be posted in The Scoop in the next week or so. When doors do open, hours will be Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. For a sneak peek of what you’ll find at Mission Taco Joint, head on over to our Facebook page.

— Photo by Michelle Volansky

Giveaway: The clock is ticking!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Love free stuff? What about beer? We have good news! Today we’re giving away two tickets (value: $35 each) to 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s Lupulin Carnival. This annual celebration of the hop will include beer tastings,  sideshow performances, live art, live music, a photo booth and more. The carnival is Saturday, March 2, from 2 to 6 p.m at 4 Hands, located at 1220 South 8th Street.

To enter to win, click here and answer the question in the instructions. 

***This giveaway has closed. Thank you for your entries! Now… if only it WAS spring! Melissa Grubbs, you are our winner! Look for an email from the Sauce crew.***

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