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Archive for September, 2014

Just Five: Potato Soup

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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Soup: it’s universal, comforting, tasty, satisfying and above all, it’s easy as … well, soup. Everyone should have a simple recipe like this one in his or her arsenal. After all, a basic soup is little more than boiling water, chopping up a few veggies and letting it simmer away until it’s time to eat.

This potato serves as a base recipe for any number of variations. Consider adding carrots or leeks with your celery and onion. Use vegetable or chicken stock instead of water; change up the spices. Then, let your guests gild the lily with grated cheddar cheese, chives and crisp bacon.
Potato Soup
6 cups

4 Tbsp. butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
4 russet potatoes, roughly peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
4 cups water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and celery until the onions are translucent. Stir in the thyme and potatoes.
• Add 4 cups water, enough to just cover the potatoes, and the evaporated milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, them immediately lower the heat to medium. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are soft. Remove from heat.
• Use an immersion blender to purée the potatoes to the desired consistency, or use a blender and work in batches. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Black Bean and Veggie “Sushi”

Monday, September 29th, 2014

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It’s officially fall, but it sure doesn’t feel like it yet. We just can’t bring ourselves to start roasting squash when it’s 80 degrees, but our options feel limited when our favorite summer produce starts disappearing from the farmers market.

Lucky for us, this recipe is perfect any time of year, and it’s a great way to use up those odds and ends in your refrigerator. Did we mention there’s no cooking required? Just smash a cup of cooked black beans with half an avocado and some sesame oil and chile oil for heat. Then smear the purée onto a flour tortilla and add a sheet of nori and cabbage, carrot and bell pepper for color and crunch. Channel your inner sushi chef, roll tightly and slice.

Get the full recipe for this vegan sushi recipe here.

-photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: Parker’s Table amps up specialty food focus with new staff

Monday, September 29th, 2014

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Customers at Parker’s Table have long enjoyed the artisan food offerings that owner Jon Parker carries at his Richmond Heights boutique wine shop, from dried bulk pastas to fine cheese and specialty European condiments. Now, a recent addition to the staff is set to bring patrons even more options when shopping at 7118 Oakland Ave.

New shop manager Karl Runge joined the crew at Parker’s Table earlier this month. Runge comes from Whole Foods Market, where he worked as specialty team leader for wine, beer and cheese for more than a decade, most recently at the Whole Foods location in Brentwood. Prior to that, Runge lived in Richmond, Virginia, working for retailers similar to his new employer.

“It’s in my roots to work at a place like Parker’s Table,” Runge said. “My duties are going to revolve around the cheese case and food selection in the shop. We’ll be bringing on lots of fun, new products. The shop has expanded over the years. We have more room to bring in new stuff from local producers and from further afield. We want to round out the fact that we have a great wine selection with food.”

Runge will also draw on his knowledge of specialty food in the coming months as Parker’s Table prepares to open a kitchen. The Scoop reported in January that Parker’s Table would add a bakery component to the business; Runge said the bakery is still a question mark, but the shop’s full kitchen will offer a daily lunch menu featuring many of the same ingredients sold on its shelves. “It will be more grab-and-go than a dining area or cafe,” he said. Look for lunchtime fare to roll out in January 2015.

 

Guide to Drinking 2014: Cider Comes Back Hard

Monday, September 29th, 2014

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While the craft beer boom continues to brew, it’s hard to ignore the presence of its up-and-coming cousin, craft cider. Sometimes barrel-aged, generally artisanal, and often naturally gluten-free, these fermented apple beverages are being produced not only by cider-focused establishments such as Crispin, California Cider Co., and Colorado Cider Co., but also by many craft breweries as a beer alternative.

Local breweries such as Urban Chestnut and Schlafly have made hard ciders readily available to the market, while others like Crown Valley Brewing regularly experiment with recipes for seasonal releases. Looking for a sweet way to enjoy the remainder of summer? Grab some cider, find some sunlight, sit back and swill.

2012 Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie
Unfiltered and unpasteurized, this French “cider under cork” smells of green apple, while the flavor profile packs a bittersweet punch of bleu cheese and honey. Its effervescence holds a subtle funk and natural sweetness that doesn’t linger on the palate.
Fields Foods, 1500 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.3276, fieldsfoods.com  

Apple Knocker Hard Knocks
Fermented in American oak barrels with Belgian yeasts by Illinois cider house Apple Knocker, Hard Knocks boasts the flavors of deliciously tart apples and citrus. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, try its cousin, Sweet Knockers.
The Wine and Cheese Place, all locations, wineandcheeseplace.com

Urban Chestnut Bushelhead
Wine-like, full of apple aroma and flavor with big alcohol warmth, this local cider truly is apple juice for grown-ups. Try Bushelhead on draft at Bailey’s Range with the restaurant’s cinnamon ice cream, and you will taste perfection.
Bailey’s Range, 920 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.241.8121, baileysrange.com  

Schlafly Hard Apple Cider
Complete with a robust Granny Smith apple aroma, a crisp, almost effervescent mouth feel and a slightly dry palate, this refreshing hard cider on draft at Schlafly Bottleworks is perfectly balanced for even the pickiest of cider drinkers.
Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.241.2337, schlafly.com  

Ace Pineapple Cider
The California Cider Co.’s pineapple cider is deliciously sweet up front with a tart finish. The wonderful pineapple scent gives summer patio drinking a touch of the tropics. This seasonal has been flying off the shelves; if you see a bottle, nab it.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Guide to Drinking 2014: The Kilgore Method

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

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Planter’s House co-owner and crack barkeep Ted Kilgore spills his drink-mixing secrets.

In my 16 years as a bartender, I have accumulated hundreds of books on cocktails, spirits and bartending in pursuit of making the best cocktail possible. While I’d found lots of differing opinions, none seemed to offer a definitive answer.

Then one day, I found myself mixing five different Sidecar recipes trying to determine the “correct” one. By the end, I realized I had developed my own set of formulas and rules. These formulas offered consistent balance and structure, and placed the drink in a flavor profile range that the majority of my customers enjoyed. I’ve found that the most popular cocktails follow the “sour” formula. If you learn this formula, you can make and create a host of fabulous drinks.

Basic sour recipe
2 oz. base spirit (gin, whiskey, vodka, etc.)
1 oz. sweet (simple syrup, liqueur, agave, etc.)
¾ oz. sour (lemon, lime, etc.)

Now that you have the basic formula, apply it to other classic cocktails:

Margarita
2 oz. tequila
1 oz. triple sec
¾ oz. fresh lime juice

Tom Collins
2 oz. gin or vodka
1 oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
Club soda

Starting to see the connection? Now that we have the formula, let’s apply my rules and method.

Start with high-quality ingredients, or at least the best you can get your hands on. The idea is to make the best possible drink you can, whatever the circumstances.

Measure ingredients (except anything carbonated or bubbly) into your shaking vessel without ice. (I like to use Oxo angled measuring cups.) Next, you’ll want a shaker big enough to hold plenty of ice and that has a clean seal. (I use two-piece metal Boston shakers.) Add cold, fresh, hard ice, as much as you can fit into the smaller half of the shaker. If using a cobbler shaker (the three-piece variety with a small top that looks like a cap), fill it all the way up.

Now shake. The most important thing to remember is to shake a minimum of 17 seconds. At 17 seconds, you will have reached the point at which the ice and the ingredients (now diluted about 30 percent) are around the same temperature (28 to 33 degrees). The harder the shake, the more air that enters the drink, providing a lighter mouth feel.

Using a mesh strainer, pour into a chilled glass. You can fine-strain through a tea strainer if you wish to eliminate tiny ice shards – useful when serving the drink “up,” but less necessary when it’s served over ice anyway. Garnish with something fresh and pretty. Drink and (of course) repeat.

By the Book: Mark Bittman’s Chicken and Dumplings with Lots of Peas

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

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You don’t argue with Mark Bittman. The longtime New York Times food columnist literally wrote the book on how to cook everything (along with more than a dozen other titles) and how he’s back with his latest culinary textbook, How to Cook Everything Fast.

Here’s Bittman’s claim: you can make just about anything – from beef stew to shrimp paella – in 45 minutes or less with a few simple adjustments. In this 1,054-page tome, breakfasts, salads, soups, stews, meat and more are all sped up, without resorting to packaged mixes or precooked, preservative-packed shortcuts.

As with most of his books in the How to Cook Everything lineage, a good 40 pages at the beginning are not focused on recipes or inspirations, but good old kitchen know-how. Never learned how to peel and slice a mango? How many pans do you actually need in your kitchen? Bittman never forgets that at the end of the day, he’s writing for the home cook and that everyone has to start somewhere. He’s even got tips for the most efficient way to organize your kitchen (if you’re Type A like that).

 

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Unlike traditional cookbooks, Bittman insists that home cooks throw mise en place – that most revered of professional chef prep techniques – out the window. “(Mise en place) is also completely impractical when you’re working along or even have a little help. Doing all the prep ahead of time often leaves you twiddling your thumbs, waiting for food to cook,” he writes. Instead, Bittman advocates “real-time cooking,” combining ingredient prep and cooking in the most efficent order while preparing a dish. To that end, his recipes are color-coded; black text means cook, and blue text means prep while cooking. Since many dishes require bringing water to boil, simmering vegetables or occasionally stirring, it makes sense to multitask during this time. Watched pots never boil, after all.

 

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Chicken and dumplings are a fall favorite in my family, but seldom do we take the time to actually make it at home. Simmering a chicken stew and creating our own pillowy dumplings is time-consuming and definitely not an option on a weeknight after an hour in traffic. But Bittman insisted I could get this done, from scratch, in 45 minutes or less. Challenge accepted.

 

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Bittman employs a few time-saving tricks for the traditional chicken and dumplings recipe. First, cut the chicken up into bite-sized pieces instead of letting whole breasts and thighs poach slowly. To get that all-day simmered flavor, invest in great chicken stock or break out some of your DIY stock from the freezer.

 

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After simmering the vegetables and the chicken until cooked through (only about five minutes, thanks to their small size), the recipe instructs you to remove them from the stock and set aside. This gives the dumplings plenty of room to puff up and steam in the liquid.

 

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It’s tempting to skip the dumplings and use a quick box mix or frozen; don’t. These came together in a snap, and all the ingredients (flour, butter, yogurt, baking powder and baking soda) were already in my kitchen. However, pay close attention to the liquid. Bittman advises maintaining a gentle bubble, but in my zeal to be efficient, I started washing dishes and that bubble turned to boil. Thankfully, half of the puffy dumplings survived and the ones that didn’t made a wonderful thickening agent.

 

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The vegetables and chicken are tucked back under the dumplings along with three hefty cups of frozen peas (and in my case, chopped mushrooms by special request). Once the peas have warmed through, it’s ready to serve. The hearty stew was thick and packed with vegetables and chicken thanks to the rich stock (and, admittedly, my dumplings-turned-roux). The dumplings were amazing; light as a feather with a gentle tang from the yogurt. It was, as Bittman said, comfort in a bowl – and it all came together in 45 minutes on a Thursday night.

 

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Chicken and Dumplings with Lots of Peas
4 servings

6 cups chicken stock
1 large onion
2 medium carrots
1 celery stalk
1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 cup flour, plus more as needed
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. butter (keep it in the fridge)
½ cup yogurt or buttermilk
3 cups frozen peas

• Put 6 cups chicken stock in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Trim, peel and chop the onion; add it to the pot.
Trim, peel and slice the carrots and chop the celery; add them to the pot.
Chop the chicken and add it to the pot.
• Add 4 sprigs thyme, a sprinkle of salt, and lots of pepper to the pot. When it boils, adjust the heat so the mixture simmers gently but steadily. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.
• Combine 1 cup flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon baking soda in a food processor. Cut up 3 tablespoons cold butter and add to the food processor.
• Pulse a few times to blend the butter into the flour mixture. Add ½ cup yogurt or buttermilk and pulse until the mixture just forms a ball. Sprinkle a little flour onto your cutting board, turn out the dough and knead it 10 times.
• When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a bowl with a mesh strainer or slotted spoon (fish out the thyme). Adjust the heat so the stock bubbles gently and never boils.
• Drop about 8 heaping tablespoons of biscuit dough into the stock and cover. Cook, adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle bubble, until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through (a toothpick will come out clean), 12 to 15 minutes.
• Nestle the chicken and vegetables underneath the dumplings and add 3 cups frozen peas. Cook until the peas are warmed through, a minute or 2, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

What’s your trick to speed up your cooking process? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of How to Cook Everything Fast.

 

 

 

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

Friday, September 26th, 2014

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

 

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Corinn4545
Oh man it’s officially fall! #molassesSammies (@ Pint Size Bakery & Coffee)

libertine_tori
Class all the way @thelibertinestl @urbanscribe @Claytonite
https://twitter.com/libertine_tori/status/514963041671081985/photo/1

blakedell
Shake Shack please “@Pigpicker: @ianfroeb I asked, he smiled…”

Pigpicker
A couple Cardinal fans, hanging out by @UncleCharlie50 ‘s smoker.  pic.twitter.com/quZT2deh4b

dhmeyer
Memorable pizza, pasta, and hospitality from @GerardFCraft and team from @PastariaSTL . Not sure if I went out or came home. Awesome!

GerardFCraft
So @nichestlouis turned 9 yesterday! Where has the time gone!
https://twitter.com/GerardFCraft/status/514942279510163456/photo/1

aspinlea
And I totally think @urbanchestnut needs a woman #beergeek working for them…#lessbeards #morebeauty

daniellesmyname
First pumpkin of the season thanks to @ParkAveCoffee @tara_nesbitt #fuel #coffeechronicles

 

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

Drink This Weekend Edition: Oregon’s Bounty

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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As summer berries turn to fall apples and pears, I like to adjust simple, classic cocktails to introduce fall’s best flavors. This Oregon’s Bounty is a take on a classic Tom Collins. I’ve adapted the recipe to use Ransom Old Tom gin; it’s malty base and crisp herbal notes create a richer mouth feel than its sister, London Dry. It also pairs well with pear liqueur and a homemade honey syrup. This cocktail gets its name from the use of Ransom and Clear Creek spirits, two Oregon-based distilleries; both the gin and the pear liqueur are available at Lukas Liquor.

Oregon’s Bounty
1 serving

1 cup honey
½ cup hot water
1 oz. Ransom Old Tom gin
1 oz. Clear Creek Pear Liqueur
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish
Thyme sprig for garnish

•In a small bowl, stir together the honey and hot water until dissolved to create a honey syrup.
• To a Boston shaker, add ½ ounce honey syrup, the gin, pear liqueur and lemon juice. Add ice and shake briefly. Strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the lemon twist and thyme sprig.
• Store the remaining honey syrup, refrigerated, up to 1 month.

Justin Cardwell is a member of USBG St. Louis and general manager at BC’s Kitchen.

The Scoop: New food truck Le Camion Bistro aims to take diners’ palates around the world

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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Truckies, get ready – another restaurant on wheels is set to drive onto the St. Louis scene. Le Camion Bistro, literally “The Bistro Truck” in French, will debut Tuesday, Sept. 30 at Washington University and will highlight a wide range of international cuisine, as reported by Feast Magazine.

Originally a certified public accountant, Brundage decided to pursue a new direction after retirement. Encouraged by friends wowed by his dinner party dishes, Brundage opened a small catering company in 2012 before deciding to take his show on the road. “A truck is smaller and less complicated than a restaurant,” he said. “Rather than jump into an overwhelming situation, I thought I’d take my lumps and start smaller in the truck.”

Despite its French name, Brundage doesn’t limit Le Camion Bistro to a particular style of cuisine. Brundage’s far-reaching menu was inspired by his exploration of different cuisines, as well as the many places he has lived around the U.S. “My food comes from a lot of different areas. I take classical dishes from all over like Argentina, France, even the Middle East, and make them my own,” he said. “I’ve been around the block …  I’ve been exposed to a whole bunch of cuisines and eaten all sorts of food.”

Look for those influences in menu items like arepas topped with pork or chicken and avocado, bourbon-braised beef brisket and paninis filled with roast beef and peppers, roast chicken and fig jam or roast chicken with tomato and mozzarella.

Le Camion is set to roam the streets of St. Louis, hitting up spots like Washington University, Wells Fargo and Citygarden. Brundage anticipates that Le Camion will reach St. Louis County once he obtains the permit.

The Scoop: Racanelli’s New York Pizzeria to open fifth location in The Loop

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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{Racanelli’s owner John Racanelli}

 

A slice of the Big Apple is coming to the Delmar Loop thanks to John Racanelli, owner of Racanelli’s New York Pizzeria, who will open his fifth storefront at 6314 Delmar Blvd., in November.

Racanelli learned the art of pizza-making growing up in an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx. “I learned to make pizza the old-fashioned way,” he said. “We make everything from scratch using the best products.” His brothers, Vito and Sam Racanelli, were also inspired by their food-oriented Italian upbringing, opening Onesto Pizza & Trattoria in South City and later Mad Tomato in Clayton, which is still owned and operated by Vito Racanelli.

The first Racanelli’s Pizzeria storefront was opened two decades ago in University City, which was later transformed into Market Pub House in 2010 and is still owned by John Racanelli.

The menu will remain consistent with the offerings found at the Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Central West End and St. Peters locations. While slices of hand-tossed, New York-style pizzas are the house specialty (Racanelli’s personal favorite: sausage, mushroom and jalapeno with extra cheese, cooked well-done), other crowd-pleasers include parmigiana heroes topped with a generous ladle of fresh tomato sauce, sandwiches on house-baked focaccia and house-made calzones and strombolis.

Construction crews began work on the new storefront in mid-September in the space that formerly housed the vintage designer clothing shop, Timeless Authentic Garments. Racanelli expects two dozen seats inside and an additional 10 to 15 seats outside. The new location will also offer dine-in, carryout and delivery.

 

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