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Feb 20, 2018
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Archive for April, 2013

By the Book: Christophe Felder’s Crème Brûlée Vanille au Zeste de Citron Vert

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Christophe Felder’s Patisserie is an encyclopedic tome of French pastry. Wanna learn to make croissants or macarons? The book has complex recipes like these, broken down step-by-step and interspersed with process photos to guide you along the way (particularly useful for novice bakers). The vast collection of French desserts in this book is impressive alone. I chose to make crème brûlée because, surprisingly, I’ve never made it, and I’ve always loved it. It’s a quintessential French dessert but so much easier than the odyssey that is Marronnier (chocolate-chestnut layer cake) on page 346.

Many crème brûlée recipes have you bake the custards in a bain marie, which is a water bath, but this one didn’t, which I thoroughly appreciated. It’s always a pain to set those things up, and I inevitably spill water everywhere. Instead, the recipe instructs to place the custards in a 200-degree oven for an hour and fifteen minutes.

When they came out, I was excited that they were solid but trembling slightly in the middle – just like the recipe described.

The recipe does not tell you to chill the custards but to just let them cool completely. Well, my impatience got the best of me. I chilled one in the freezer for about 30 minutes and then brûléed the top under a broiler. It was not good. The custard was still loose, and because it wasn’t completely chilled, it still had a really strong egg taste, like a vanilla-citrus-scented soft scramble. Weird.

However, the next day, I tried another custard and the time-alone-to-itself period made a difference. The custard had a chance to condense; albeit, still runnier in texture than the thick, velvety versions I’m used to, it was much better. Perhaps an hour and fifteen minutes was not long enough to make it set in my oven. The flavor improved overnight too … less eggy and a lot more like the flavor of well … crème brûlée.

Crème Brûlée Vanille au Zeste de Citron Vert
(Lime-Vanilla Crème Brûlée)
Serves 4

Special equipment: individual gratin dishes

2½ vanilla beans
1 cup milk
5 eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
½ lime
½ cup light brown sugar

• Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife. Bring the milk and vanilla seeds and beans to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let infuse.
• Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a bowl. Whisk the sugar into the egg yolks, just until the sugar dissolves. The mixture should not pale in color.
• Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
• Add the cream to the egg yolk-sugar mixture, whisking until smooth. Then whisk the cooled milk into the mixture until smooth.
• Using a citrus zester, remove the colored zest from the lime in fine julienne strips, leaving the white pith. Or use a vegetable peeler and cut the zest into julienne strips with a knife.
• Divide the zest among the grain dishes. Ladle the custard into the dishes
• Depending on the size of the ramekins, bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, just until the custard is slightly wobbly. Let cool completely.
• Sift ½ of the brown sugar in an even layer over the custards. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. Or broil the custards on the top shelf of the oven. Sprinkle the crème brûlées with the remaining brown sugar and caramelize again.
• Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Rizzoli International Publications.

What’s your favorite dessert to order out and why? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy Patisserie. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

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

The Scoop: Tree House announces pastry chef hire

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

In mid-April, The Scoop reported that the soon-to-open vegetarian restaurant Tree House had hired John Intrieri as its executive chef. The lunch and dinner spot, located at 3177 S. Grand Blvd., has since hired Victoria Lopez (pictured) as its head pastry chef. Lopez attended Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving to St. Louis in 2009. Since then, Lopez has worked at Black Bear Bakery on Cherokee Street and Bixby’s in the Missouri History Museum. Her familial Puerto Rican influences work their way into her desserts, adding another dimension to Tree House owner Bay Tran’s Vietnamese background and Intrieri’s South American and Italian roots. All three are first-generation Americans and are excited to call on the cuisine of their respective heritages, along with their familiarity of American culture, in order to offer a menu with truly global flavors.

Look for Tree House to open by mid to late May.

What to Drink: Little Country Gentleman’s No. 1 stunner

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Cocktails at Little Country Gentleman aren’t given names, just numbers. The tally of creations at the seven-month-old restaurant now stretches into the 20s, but it was No. 1 that left a lasting impression way back in week 1 (Just ask your server if you don’t see it on the menu.). Wild Turkey rye whiskey, Busnel Calvados VSOP cognac, Green Chartreuse, house-made sweet vermouth and Luxardo Fernet. Potent? Oh, yes. But the amber color is so pure, deep and elegant, the sweet and savory flavors so perfectly balanced, that we yield to temptation. Sip slowly, and it remains a complete gentleman.

Little Country Gentleman, 8135 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.725.0719, littlecountrygentleman.com

For more from The List 2013: The people, places, dishes and drinks we love, click here.

— photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Month in Review: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013


As we say goodbye to another month, we’re crossing our fingers that April’s abundance of showers really will bring a few flowers. May means ball games, al fresco dining (and drinking!), the reopening of farmers markets and, hopefully, your thriving gardens. But before our next issue hits newsstands tomorrow, we take a look back at some of our favorite stories, recipes, dishes and drinks from April.

Vegetize It columnist Beth Styles got back to salad’s roots with a kale Caesar that turns to seaweed for a taste of the sea; bar-happy couple Ted and Jamie Kilgore gave us inspiration for brunch-time sipping; a familiar face put gourmet twists on some old favorites; spirits columnist Ligaya Figueras told you about a bold, bittersweet liqueur that’s picking up steam behind the bar; we showed you how easy it is to stock your pantry with homemade salts; we went all Buddy the Elf on the perfect pancake stack; we gave you a glimpse of the new taqueria that has everyone talking; you proved that you really, really like us; New and Notable reviewer Michael Renner gave us a seat at his table at The Cheshire’s chic new spot; we proved that sorghum is the new maple syrup; we told you why the Big Muddy had us at hello; managing editor Stacy Schultz revealed what she’ll do for a great cup of coffee; associate editor Julie Cohen paid respect to all things New York Magazine; we tried not to eat the entire Swedish crumb loaf from Federhofer’s; a couple creative bartenders brought the grill to your glass; art director Meera Nagarajan fantasized about summers in Provence; contributing writer Byron Kerman tracked down a stellar slice of pizza; we offered a peek into the coolest pop-up yet; Baked columnist Amrita Rawat welcomed spring with fruit-forward cupcakes; we revealed the trends we’ve got our eyes on; we found the best seat at downtown’s new MX Theater; and a culinary couple announced that they will celebrate spring Spanish style.

Meatless Monday: Spring Spinach Salad

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Last week my husband and I returned from the trip of a lifetime (Although I’m hoping it will happen at least once more!). We spent 17 days roaming around Paris, London and Dublin, getting our fill of art, history and, most importantly, delicious, mind-blowing food. The camera on my phone hardly rested as I snapped photos of my meatless meals throughout the trip. For the next few weeks, I thought it would be fun to try and recreate some of my favorites.

This week I’m starting with one of the best salads I’ve ever had. It came from a little cafe in Paris called Le Petit Cler, situated on a cobblestone pedestrian road among shops and flower stalls (Yes, it was as dreamy as it sounds.). Although simple in ingredients, the freshness and flavor of this spinach-based dish had me practically licking the bowl.

Spring Spinach Salad
4 Servings

For the Salad:

8 cups baby spinach, washed and patted dry
4 cups trimmed, halved and blanched green beans
12 Campari tomatoes, quartered
Dressing (recipe follows)
2 cups prepared brown lentils
2 cups freshly shaved Parmesan
4 large eggs, soft-boiled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• In each of 4 bowls, place 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup of green beans and 3 quartered tomatoes. Drizzle with 1/8 cup of dressing (or more to taste) and stir to combine.
• Top with ½ cup of shaved Parmesan, followed by 1 egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Dressing:
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. sugar
1 minced garlic clove
1/8 tsp. salt
8 grinds black pepper

• Place all of the ingredients in a lidded jar. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for about 1 minute.
• Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 45 minutes to let the flavors marry.

The Scoop: Scottish Arms kitchen sees departure of exec chef, return of Carl Hazel

Monday, April 29th, 2013

W. Hunter DiLeo is no longer the executive chef at The Scottish Arms. Last Thursday was DiLeo’s final day at the restaurant where he was hired in November for the top kitchen spot. DiLeo stated that he is pursuing different interests and expects to take a position at another area restaurant.

Returning to the Central West End restaurant is a face already familiar with The Scottish Arms: Carl Hazel (pictured). Hazel helmed that kitchen until leaving for Eleven Eleven Mississippi in March of last year. Earlier this month, The Scoop reported that Hazel’s tenure at the Tuscan-inspired restaurant in Lafayette Square had come to an end. His plans, he stated then, were to be a consultant chef erstwhile developing a business plan to open his own restaurant.

According to Hazel, his return to The Scottish Arms is “temporary – on a kind of a consulting basis. [Owner Ally Nisbet] is bringing me back in to streamline a bit, get the farm-to-table program back up and running. He has a great crew in the kitchen right now,” said Hazel, calling the staff “pretty talented” and “on fire for food.” “My responsibility is administrative, instructional – showing these guys, getting them fired up about the local farm-to-table stuff, getting that program implemented back into the menu.”

Hazel was back in the Arms’ kitchen this past Saturday and stated that he expects to be there for at least the next three months. “In three months, we’ll revisit that, to see where Ally’s at – and me with my business plan. It might be a permanent or semi-permanent thing. We’ll take it slow.”

The Scoop has been unable to reach Scottish Arms owner Ally Nisbet for comment regarding the changes.

Update 4.29.13: In a statement issued today, The Scottish Arms owner Ally Nisbet stated that the departure of chef W. Hunter DiLeo was “mutually agreed upon” between the two parties. Nisbet also confirmed that Hazel will be working at The Arms as a consultant. “I have a huge amount of respect for Carl. We worked together establishing our farm-to-table concept years ago, and he has a huge amount of respect from the team here and, of course, our guests. He brings with him a wonderful passion for food and he will be a great inspiration to an already very talented team in the kitchen.” Nisbet noted that Hazel has already begun to finalize dishes for the spring menu that will debut at the restaurant next week.

— photo by Carmen Troesser

Calçotada: From Catalonia (and New York), with love

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

In honor of spring’s arrival, husband-and-wife chef team Wil and Lisa Fernandez-Cruz are hosting their first annual Calçotada Festival on Sunday, May 19th at Starr’s, located at 1135 S. Big Bend Blvd., in Richmond Heights. Calçotada is an idea borrowed from a yearly traditional festival bearing the same name that originated in the town of Valls, situated in Catalonia, Spain.

After a long winter, the festival celebrates the advent of spring and the fresh food that comes with it. This is achieved by wood roasting calçots (spring onions native to Valls), sausage and lamb, and dipping them (without utensils) into an earthy romesco sauce (all while drinking porróns of free-flowing rosé). Lisa was first introduced to the festival while working at Savoy in New York City, which celebrated Calçotada for nearly 20 years. When Savoy closed, Lisa moved to its sister restaurant Back 40, which also celebrated the festival. “We would bring in loads and loads of people – it’s just the most fun event ever. It’s like everyone coming out from under their rock in order to celebrate spring with so much food and wine,” Lisa said.

The Fernandez-Cruz’ moved to St. Louis from NYC late last summer to be closer to Lisa’s family and to open The Restaurant at the Cheshire, where the two worked as executive chef and executive pastry chef. Weeks ago, Lisa realized that this spring was going to be the first in many years that she didn’t celebrate Calçotada. “One of my friends suggested I throw the party here, and I wanted to, but I knew our house wasn’t big enough.” That’s when she and Wil decided, why throw a party just for their friends when they could throw an event big enough so that the community could come, too.

After six months working for The Cheshire, both Lisa and Wil left their posts, with Wil now running the kitchen at Washington U.’s fine-dining campus restaurant Ibby’s. “Our first six months here were pretty much nonstop work, and we didn’t have a chance to meet anyone in our community,” Lisa explained, adding how both she and Wil were raised in big families where food was always a communal celebration. “We just figured the St. Louis community would enjoy doing the same thing. It’s kind of something I want to pass on. Maybe people will feel inspired and throw their own Calçotada parties next year.”

This inaugural event starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. The Fernandez-Cruz’ don’t have an end time in mind – perhaps when the rosé runs dry. Tickets are $50 and include food and all-you-can-drink rosé. Seating is communal, both indoors and outdoors, but if groups want to sit together, they can indicate so on the ticket order, available here.

— photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Perfect Morning Routine

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

In theory, it’s easy to be romanced into a stroll around Forest Park when the sun is shining and the trail is lined with the buds of spring. But what’s really worth kicking the covers off on a sleepy Sunday morning? A great cup of coffee. And thanks to Kaldi’s new hand-brew bar, I’m happy to slip on my sneakers to take a walk around (arguably) our city’s most beautiful park whether the Mercury climbs to 100 or drops all the way down to 20. The pot of gold at the end of my six-mile rainbow: a piping hot carafe of hand-brewed pour-over coffee and a cupful of yogurt parfait complete with granola, fresh mint, berries and a layer of spoonable, lickable, craveable citrus-vanilla yogurt. The hour that follows is spent sipping, scooping and some of the finest people-watching in town. So that’s where you’ll find me just about every weekend – I’m the one in the corner with a dirty spoon, a sleepy dog and an empty mug.

Kaldi’s, 700 DeMun Ave., Clayton, 314.727.9955, kaldiscoffee.com

For more from The List 2013: The people, places, dishes and drinks we love, click here.

— photo by Greg Rannells

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

Friday, April 26th, 2013

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

do you think bears find us in the woods in our sleeping bags and think “oooh, Hot Pockets.”

I just saw a wild turkey in downtown #STL near @SLLIS pic.twitter.com/2L5eJh4kSO

Our maple sap beer is finally ready! On tap for one week only, then we’re holding back the rest to try in 6 months. http://scratchbeer.com/?p=150 

I’m really excited about this, but @bombayfoodtruck is braving the rain and they are setting up right now in our parking lot! #ECFoodTrucks

At the car dealership getting a new tire. Just dumped half of my complimentary coffee on my crotch. So I got that going on.

Chefs dinner…. Tomato and basil linguini with pecorino romano and a fried black chicken egg pic.twitter.com/HySloM8qq0

I have a new pastime: Eat @Pigpicker BBQ for lunch. Wait half an hour. Run 6 miles…. Every experience is different! Check it out

Just done watching  Bourdain’s ‘Layaway’ in Chi. Chicago I love you. St. Louis, with Josh Galliano by my side, I can’t wait to feed you.

Heading west with a sixxer of canned @Schlafly IPA, a corduroy coat, and Flogging Molly. Look out Chesterfield!

What, you don’t sauté your asparagus in duck fat? Well, you’re doing it wrong.

Recipe development for Ramen Pop Up (RPU). PFG pork belly. Few minor changes and it will be money! pic.twitter.com/tTrNV4rYLR

That surreal moment when the singer from one of your favorite bands is the bartender at the bar you’re at? @patrickbkmku

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

Drink This Weekend Edition: Get your oeno on at Centennial Wine Expo

Friday, April 26th, 2013

I’m willing to bet that I know what local wine connoisseurs are daydreaming about right now: those fabulous pours in store for tonight at the Centennial Wine Expo. This is the inaugural year for the event, which takes place this evening from 6 to 9 p.m. at Moulin event space at 2017 Chouteau Ave., but one that is anticipated to become an annual wine affair.

Get your oeno on because general admission ticketholders (Sorry, VIP tickets are sold out.) will have the opportunity to sample wines from around the world – nearly 150 wines in total – from 15 area wine distributors. Most of the wines are currently only available to restaurants or specialty wine shops. Grab that tasting sheet and keep track of your favorites, for you can order any of the wines in a mixed case format. Complimentary nibbles like cheese and crackers will be available, but if you need to fill your belly, just head to Vin de Set or PW Pizza, both located inside the building, before or after the event.

Scott Gaghan, Centennial Wine Expo founder and wine director for 1111 Mississippi and Vin de Set, explained the impetus for the event. “We decided to do it because we’ve had a good level of success with our beer festival that we do on an annual basis.” He continued, “We wanted to give an opportunity to have the St. Louis wine market get together. There is few and far between where the general public can do a tasting of this size for this price point.” The cost of admission, he pointed out, equated to what someone “can easily spend on a bottle of wine.” And, he added, “The general public has the opportunity to purchase [wine] at aggressive retail pricing.”

Thirsty? General admission tickets are $38.66 and can be purchased here or at the door. But wait, why buy one ticket when you can get two for free? Head here, to enter to win two tickets to this event. Our giveaway will be running until 1 p.m. today. We will announce our winner here and on Facebook, and we’ll send you an email if you’re the lucky winner.

***This giveaway has ended. Kent Ritzel, you are our winner! Look out for an email from the Sauce crew. Everyone else, thanks for playing! Check in next Friday for another drinking-inspired giveaway!***

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