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Archive for May, 2014

By the Book: Francine Segan’s Pasta with Zesty Horseradish-Tomato Sauce

Saturday, May 31st, 2014




Ever since my dad sneaked horseradish into my corned beef sandwich when I was 6, I’ve craved the delectable root. So when my editor, Ligaya Figueras, assigned me to prepare Francine Segan’s Pasta with Zesty Horseradish-Tomato Sauce, I jumped at the opportunity. Horseradish and pasta – what could possibly go wrong?

Segan’s cookbook, “Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy,” contains beautiful pictures that attempt to shatter the modern American idea of what Italian pasta is. Through the gorgeous photos and minimal ingredients, the book made cooking haute Italian cuisine very simple. (I’ve bookmarked her recipe for pasta sushi as a must-try.)




The ingredients are simple, but I substituted multigrain rotini for pasta al ferretto. As an avid knitter, I do want to try the aforementioned “knitting needle pasta” soon, but the rotini served its purpose well.  I recommend a lighter colored pasta if you’re going for looks, thought. The dark beige breadcrumbs and sauce blended right the wheat pasta.




I made homemade breadcrumbs using a store-bought loaf. Next time I’ll use a food processor, because tearing pieces of bread into smaller pieces of bread ad infinitum was a little exhausting and still didn’t result in a fine crumb.




I learned a nifty trick to help peel the tomatoes: Before placing them in boiling water, cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. After a quick dip in the hot water, the skin practically falls off in your hands.

Once I had softened the onions and mixed the tomatoes in, I covered the pan and set to chopping the walnuts. The walnut-breadcrumb mixture smelled absolutely heavenly, even though the amount of oil called for in the recipe gave it an overwhelming olive oil flavor.




After the time had passed for the sauce to simmer and my pasta was al dente, I finally cracked the lid to look at all the tomato-onion goodness. To my surprise, the onion-tomato ratio was incredibly skewed. The sweet onion overwhelmed the tomatoes, even though I had added almost twice the amount Segan called for. Once I tossed the pasta in the sauce, it was virtually invisible among the noodles.




Hoping for the best, I topped the dish with the breadcrumb mixture and fresh horseradish from Ligaya’s garden. I was apprehensive about a full of tablespoon of the pungent root on top of my pasta, but surprisingly, it still wasn’t enough to sate my appetite, and I wanted to add even more. The horseradish lent itself well to the dish, but don’t be stingy, since there is no horseradish elsewhere in the recipe. The sauce, which looks ruby red and delicious in the cookbook, looked sad and watery when tossed with my pasta. Next time, I’ll add even more tomatoes and a little extra salt to add more flavor. Extra sauce never hurt anyone, and when liberally topped with walnut breadcrumbs and fresh horseradish, it probably has healing powers –even if just to clear your sinuses.




Francine Segan’s Pasta with Zesty Horseradish-Tomato Sauce
4 servings

1 lb. fresh tomatoes
1 sweet onion, finely minced
5 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/3 cup homemade coarsely ground breadcrumbs, toasted
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 lb. pasta al ferretto or any pasta
Fresh horseradish

• Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds, then remove them with a slotted spoon. Peel, deseed, and dice the tomatoes.
• In a wide saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons oil and cook the onions until very soft, about 5 minutes. Stir the tomatoes into the onions and cook, covered, on very low heat for about 20 minutes.
• Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs, walnuts and 2 tablespoons oil in a small nonstick pan, and cook on medium-high heat until the breadcrumbs are dark golden. Set aside.
• Boil the pasta in salted water until it is al dente. Drain and stir into the tomato sauce until well combined, adding a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water if needed. Sprinkle with walnut-breadcrumb mixture and serve. Top with a tablespoon or two of fresh horseradish grated on a cheese grater.

Reprinted with permission by Stewart, Tabori & Chang

What’s the most unconventional pasta dish you’ve ever eaten? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of “Pasta Modern.” We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, congratulations to Lu, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of “My Italian Kitchen.” Lu, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.


Drink This Weekend Edition: The Mission Paloma, featuring Stiegl Radler at Mission Taco Joint

Friday, May 30th, 2014



The first radler I ever drank was poured into a humongous one-liter glass and passed across the table to me at a biergarten in Bavaria by my late cousin Otto. He spoke sparse English and had cycled some 40 kilometers from Munich to sit with me in his Lycra jersey and graying, mussed-up helmet hair. I mention this last part because “radler” – a half-half mix of beer and German lemonade, not unlike a shandy – actually means “cyclist,” owing doubtlessly to the beer’s aptness as a thirst quencher after long rides. I was there on a get-to-know-the-family visit, exhibiting my clumsy German and trying to keep the conversation fluid. Mostly we just sipped in silence. But weltering there in the August heat, contending with the discomfort of all things lost in translation, there was no better refreshment for us.

Here in St. Louis, Stiegl’s Radler (Goldbrau and grapefruit soda) now has a tap handle at Mission Taco Joint on the Loop, and with a $5 price tag, is an easy way to squelch the impending oppression of summer. You might also try it in the Mission Paloma, one addition to the new summer cocktail menu the bar program is rolling out Tuesday, June 2. (A few change-ups to the food menu are also in store.)

Replacing pure grapefruit soda for sweet, citrus-inflected beer, Mission’s twist on the familiar cocktail is subtle, and a bit revelatory.  The recipe combines two ounces of Sauza Blue Reposado tequila and half-ounce of agave simple syrup over ice in a salt-rimmed pint glass, which is then filled with Stiegl Radler. The result is a pale yellow, frothy libation that begins with a trace of smoke and skims onward to its bright, citrusy denouement – a little like a margarita, only cheerier.

“This was almost a gimme from our distributor (of Stiegl),” said Jimmy Menousek, bar manager at Mission. “We heard ‘grapefruit’ and ‘beer’ and instantly thought, Paloma!

The Mission Paloma is quick to assemble and a worthy antidote to muggy afternoons in June, so don’t be shy about ordering a sneak peek for yourself this weekend, before the official unveiling. We’ve got it on good authority that the bartenders will happily oblige.

“Radler’s taking baby steps here (in St. Louis),” Menousek said. “But I’m confident once people start trying it, it will catch on.” I’ll raise my glass to that, and to Otto, peace be with him.



Sneak Peek: Que Sazon Food Truck

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Earlier this month, Que Sazon food truck announced it was gassing up to hit the streets, and now the newest food truck in town is set to make its debut Sunday, June 1 at Citygarden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Que Sazon serves up South American cuisine inspired by the dishes and flavors of owner Fabian Ocampo’s Colombia. Ocampo, who co-owns the truck with his wife, Julie Ocampo, and his mother, Elizabeth Ortiz, said many of the dishes borrow from his mother’s and grandmother’s recipes. And he won’t have to look far to ensure their authenticity; his mother is lending a hand in the kitchen, too.

The Que Sazon menu is divided between arepas, empanadas and empanadillas. Most dishes are served with house-made sauces like a sweet mango barbecue sauce (with a spicy kick); three varieties of chimichurri sauce, including a chimichurri mayo; salsa guiso, a fresh blend of onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and saffron; and a spicy aji pique.

Arepas, handheld cornmeal disks, are split and stuffed with a variety of meats (shredded beef, chicken, chorizo or roasted pork that was marinated three days), beans and more. Flaky, crisp empanadas are filled with the expected (chicken and chorizo), and the unexpected, like the weird-yet-wonderful flavor combinations in the Che, an Argentinian-style empanada filled with ground beef, a hard-boiled egg and briny green olives. In the mood to sample? Try empanadillas, the empanada’s smaller cousin, where thin, corn tortillas hold about three bites of chicken or beef, potatoes and salsa guiso. And vegetarians need not worry; there are meatless arepa, empanadas and empanadilla options, too.

Fresh fruit can be found all over the Que Sazon menu, from plantains both crispy and sweet, diced mango dotting arepas and salad, and glasses of maracuya, a sweet-sour passionfruit juice perfect on a hot day. On the beverage side, the truck will also offer South American sodas like Guarana from Brazil, Jarritos from Mexico and Inca Kola from Peru.

Here’s a look at what to expect when Que Sazon rolls downtown this Sunday:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Breakfast and lunch cafe Whitebox Eatery to open in Clayton

Friday, May 30th, 2014


The space at 176 Carondelet Plaza in Clayton is getting a new tenant. Whitebox Eatery, a breakfast and lunch concept, is slated to open in the spot formerly occupied by Stratton’s Café in late July or early August.

Whitebox Eatery is a venture headed by Brendan Marsden, co-owner of Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant and online wine, spirits and beer boutique Clink. The restaurant will be open daily, offering quick service, with counter ordering and food delivered to the table (on china, not plastic) by servers. To accommodate patrons pressed for time, Marsden plans to incorporate a rapid pick-up system that allows customers who place an order online or via phone to pick up their food packaged in white box carryout containers.

Breakfast offerings will include house-made pastries, breakfast sandwiches and a few hearty plates, plus doughnuts by Vincent Van Doughnut, an area food truck co-owned by Marsden’s brother, Brian Marsden. Lunch will consist primarily of sandwiches, salads and house-made soups. Marsden compared the fare to a chef-driven elevated Panera Bread, featuring as much organic and local ingredients as possible. An area chef has been tapped to helm the kitchen, but the individual’s name will be announced at a later date.

A limited selection of beer and wine will be available, including the sale of bottles for off-premise consumption, which may appeal to building employees and guests of nearby hotels.

Besides the 110-seat cafe, Whitebox will operate a kiosk in the plaza lobby for building employees. Danishes, bagels, grab-and-go items and coffee will be available at the kiosk. Whitebox will also offer delivery throughout Clayton, as well as catering.

Marsden said the restaurant’s name references the construction and real estate term for a “white box,” a space with a concrete slab floor, a finished ceiling, walls prepped for painting, lighting, and heating and cooling systems. He anticipates opening doors – after giving the space a makeover that will leave it contemporary” and sleek, yet casual.



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

Friday, May 30th, 2014

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


Here’s one for all the lady’s out there http://instagram.com/p/oYWmucHrpn/

I’m going to Montreal today to eat a truck load of Foie Gras, buy t shirts from famous restaurants, and run to the top of a mountain.

#STL@TheWacoKid_:@Schlafly, toasted ravioli, and Cardinals baseball on the radio. pic.twitter.com/2kmP0Vdvsk

Egg McMuffins are hyper international! English Muffins, Canadian Bacon, and Eggs….that’s Australian right?

Who the hell asks for a snow-cone at Ted Drewes?!?!?

Headed to STL 250. Gussied up and ready to serve. pic.twitter.com/Z9mP6cYP5M

I always feel a little self-conscious when I ask a farmer if I can buy all of something. Plus I pre-ordered more pic.twitter.com/lg1ymnRTWy

@cookingkid I’m still full from yesterday! We got shanked by @JoshuaPoletti pic.twitter.com/Tr3FcVX9O5

Players from the Bosnian National Soccer Team are hanging on the patio at our Crescent cafe #stl pic.twitter.com/TosVp8QfpJ


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

Raise a glass to National Negroni Week with an Americano

Thursday, May 29th, 2014



It’s National Negroni week, which means bartenders all over St. Louis , including me, is most likely throwing their own spins on this Italian cafe classic. But before we recreate a staple in the bartender’s arsenal, let’s stop and appreciate the origins of this beloved cocktail.

The Negroni and its lesser-known siblings, the Boulevardier and Old Pal, are all derived from the 1860s Italian cooler Americano, a favorite of many cocktail connoisseurs. “I’ve always been enamored with the sorts of long drinks you find in European cafes,” wrote bar manager and beverage blogger Jeffrey Morganthaler. “They’re light, palate cleansers, appetite awakeners and thirst quenchers.” The Americano is no different. Bitter, citrusy, fizzy and refreshing as hell, it’s perfect for a spring afternoon.

Courtesy of The Libertine’s Ben Bauer
1 serving

1½ oz. Campari
1½ oz. Cinzano sweet vermouth
Soda water
Orange slice to garnish

• Pour the Campari and sweet vermouth into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with the soda water and stir. Garnish with the orange slice.

Ben Bauer is a member of USBG St. Louis and a bartender at The Libertine.

Wheatless Wednesday: Earth and Sea Bowl

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014


I love all things earthy, but I’m also in love with the bounty of the sea. When they all come together in one big bowl, it’s a miracle meal. Add chopsticks and a couple glasses of wine, and this mung bean salad becomes a food-inspired game of Operation.

Filling bowls like this one make me feel wholesome, healthy and complete. Having ventured to many macrobiotic cafes over the years, I have come to realize that some of the best balancing meals are those that incorporate hearty green vegetables, root vegetables, beans, grains and seafood. This Earth and Sea Bowl serves up a variety of nutrient-dense ingredients. Feel free to modify the various components to create your own macrobiotic meal.

Earth and Sea Bowl
4 servings

1 cup dried mung beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped spinach
1/3 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup sunflower sprouts
¼ cup parsley, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to coat
2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. halibut fillet
1 lb. sea scallops
2 large sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch slices
1 bunch asparagus

• Prepare mung beans according to package instructions and place them in a medium mixing bowl. Add garlic, cucumber, spinach, hemp seeds, sunflower sprouts and parsley.
• In another small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the mung bean mixture and stir well. Set aside.
• Prepare a grill for direct heat.
• Lightly coat the halibut, scallops, sweet potatoes and asparagus with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Grill the sweet potato spears, flipping every 15 minutes until lightly browned. Add the asparagus and grill until browned and slightly crisp, about 7 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
• Grill the halibut about 5 minutes, then flip and cook another 5 minutes until it reaches desired firmness. Remove from the heat, slice the halibut into 4 equal pieces and set aside.
• Grill the scallops 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and grill another 2 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.
• To assemble the bowls, divide the mung bean salad evenly between 4 deep bowls. Top each with grilled sweet potatoes, asparagus, scallops and halibut.



Sneak Peek: Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar opens doors Friday, May 30, just in time to offer a sweet trade-off when those days of 90-degree, 99 percent humidity hit. Located just steps from its sister establishment Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Café at 8509 Delmar Blvd., in University City, the ice cream bar aims to be a destination for epicureans searching for a frozen treat.

Chefs Casey Shiller and Dana Holland have created a lineup of nearly 20 ice cream flavors, including classic, monthly creations and cupcake-inspired ones. (Keep an eye on the Sauce Facebook page for your chance to join Sauce in choosing one of Jilly’s July creations.) Customers can enjoy their frozen dessert in a bowl, cupcake waffle cone (made from Jilly’s cupcake batter), sugar cone, or a two-scoop side-by-side cake cone. The shop also offers sundaes; build your own or choose from one of five signature sundaes.

You could grab a cone and go, but the space at Jilly’s is so bright and cheery, you should linger and enjoy. Near the entrance is a smattering of two-top tables. An adjoining party room, which holds seating for 70, features wood chairs, tables and a bar rail by local green builder Mwanzi. (The party room is available to patrons when not reserved for special events.) A mounted collection of vintage spoons and ice cream scoopers and silver frames around the menu boards are just a few of the creative décor touches by local design company Worn Vintage Rentals.

The ice cream bar will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Here’s what’s in store when Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar opens Friday.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Just Five: Quick Strawberry Balsamic Shrub

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014



Alert: This will be the summer of the shrub. These fruit syrups preserved with vinegar are popping up in bars all over St. Louis, and they are simple to make at home, too. When it comes to spirit combinations, the sky is the limit. Choose your base flavor from stone fruit, berries, citrus or herbs, add a tart vinegar (cider, champagne, balsamic, red wine, etc.) and sugar. A true shrub is a day-long process akin to canning or preserving, but this recipe gets you from berry to beverage in less than 30 minutes.

I love the combination of berries and balsamic vinegar, and since strawberries are everywhere right now, this was an easy choice. I used it as the base in four cocktails, each with a different spirit: gin, bourbon, vodka or dark rum. The vodka drink tasted like regret; it reminded me that I just don’t like vodka. The bourbon was too strong for this variety, but it would be wonderful with a peach shrub. The dark rum was a bit too sweet for me, but I managed to drink it all – in the name of research. But the gin? Well, Baby Bear, the gin was just right. If you’re not a drinker, shrubs also make sweet-tart, refreshing sodas.

Quick Strawberry Balsamic Shrub
Makes 1½ cups shrub

1 lb. strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ cup sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Gin (optional)
Soda water (optional)

• Place the strawberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons water into a saucepan over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing the berries with a spoon.
• Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the mixture, pressing the fruit with a spoon and scraping the bottom of the sieve to remove all the juice. Discard the solids. You should have about 1½ cups. Shrub will keep refrigerated 7 to 10 days.
• For a cocktail: Pour 1½ ounces of strawberry shrub into a tall glass with ice. Add 2 ounces gin and stir well.
• For a nonalcoholic beverage: Pour 1½ ounces of strawberry shrub into a tall glass with ice. Add ½ cup soda water and stir to combine.



DIY condiments to wow at your Memorial Day barbecue

Monday, May 26th, 2014


It happened; you were designated to bring the boring bottle of ketchup to today’s Memorial Day barbecue. But why settle for boring bottles when you could whip up one of our homemade condiment recipes? Not only will they impress friends and family, they will also mask the taste of potentially charred burgers and hot dogs.

Check out a slideshow of haute condiment recipes, including a tarragon mayonnaise to take your home fries to the next level, spicy stout mustard for your bratwurst, a sweet-savory ketchup that shows Hunt’s what’s what, horseradish butter for a spicy and savory corn on the cob, and roasted green chile sauce for your pork steak.

In a pickle for other condiments to surprise and intensify your typical barbecue fare? We’ve also got recipes for Barbecue Flavored Cryo-pickled Onions that will improve even the blandest of burgers and simple bread-and-butter pickles kids will love. Happy Memorial Day, St. Louis!

-photo by Greg Rannells

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