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Archive for May, 2015

By the Book: Carla Kelly’s Strawberry Basil Scones

Saturday, May 30th, 2015



I used to be an avid baker, but things changed a few years ago after I started a small kitchen fire with an errant kitchen towel. Since that not so holly-jolly Christmas, I’ve taken an extended hiatus from baking, but after spying this recipe for summery strawberry basil scones, I decided my stomach would overpower my fear.

Carla Kelly’s book, Vegan Al Fresco, is a collection of vegan recipes meant to be consumed at picnics and on patios. They also seem simple to prepare and boast versatility; the strawberries in these scones, Kelly claimed, can be replaced with blueberries.




Strawberry and basil are a classic combo, and both are available in abundance at farmers markets right now. And while the recipe is techincally vegan, the only changes from a traditional scone recipe is soy milk in place of cow’s milk and canola oil in place of butter. All other ingredients are available in any baking aisle, so I didn’t have to hit three different specialty shops hunting down an obscure dairy substitute.




I began the recipe with high hopes and an empty stomach. First, I chopped the strawberries and basil, which smelled divine. Then I combined the soy milk and the apple cider vinegar, a vegan substitute for buttermilk. The soy milk immediately began to bubble, but don’t fret – it’s suppose to do that. The reaction is meant to create the tangy flavor notes buttermilk provides.




Whisking in the jam, sugar, oil and extract was pretty straightforward, and left a pink milky mixture with chunks of jam throughout. Don’t mix the batter too thoroughly; the chunks of strawberries and jam throughout the scones are the tastiest part.




Rather than shaping the dough and then slicing it into triangles, Kelly advocated scooping 1/3-cup portions onto the baking sheet, hence their more freeform shape. They required only 15 minutes in the oven – perfect, since I was hungry now.




The finished product was light and cakey, more like a strawberry bread than a denser, crumbly scone. They also lacked the berry and basil punch I expected, though I quickly remedied that with a thick smear of strawberry jam on top. Next time I make these summer treats, I’ll add more sugar and jam to up their sweetness – even if that loses my outdoor fete a few healthy points.


Strawberry & Basil Scones
10 scones

1 cup (250 ml.) plain soy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. strawberry jam
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. strawberry or vanilla extract
2 cups (500 m.) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 m.) whole wheat pastry flour
3½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup (125 ml.) finely diced fresh strawberries, about 8 medium
2 heaping tsp. finely chopped fresh basil

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a large bowl, combine the soy milk and vinegar. Let it thicken for 5 minutes. Stir in the jam, sugar, oil and extract and whisk to combine and eliminate large lumps of jam.
• Sift in the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix to just combine. Gently fold in the strawberries and basil.
• Portion the dough into 10 scones with a 1/3 cup (80 ml.) measure. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
• Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to complete cooling, or serve warm.

Reprinted with permission from Arsenal Pump Press

What’s your favorite use for seasonal strawberries? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Vegan Al Fresco.



Drink This Weekend Edition: Something for the Fire

Friday, May 29th, 2015



Mezcal and sherry are as appropriate a pairing as Missouri float trips and inordinate quantities of alcohol. With that in mind, I present a fantastic campfire cocktail that can be prepared and enjoyed in a Solo cup. (Of course in less rustic circumstances, the drink can be made as shown.)

First, make a large batch before you leave for camp minus the lime juice. Citrus will lose its bite over time, so if it will be more than a few hours before the festivities begin, I’d leave it out of the batch and squeeze some limes as your friends start the campfire.

Once the drink is concocted, add the desired amount to your cup, throw in some crushed ice and use a locally foraged twig (now it’s a craft cocktail!) to agitate the drink. Hold the stick between your palms and move your hands back and forth as if you were a Scout starting a fire. This is essentially how you swizzle a drink. There is some science behind how long to swizzle, but in this situation just give it a good swig after a few seconds. If it is too boozy or sweet, swizzle more. If it tastes like the last watery sip of a nearly empty whiskey and soda, you’ve gone too far. Drink it quickly and try again.


Something for the Fire
1 serving

½ oz. lime juice
1½ oz. Pedro Ximénez sherry
2 oz. mezcal (I recommend El Buho and Del Maguey Mezcal Vida.)
3 dashes Angostura bitters

• In a serving glass, combine all the ingredients. Add crushed ice and swizzle about 15 seconds. Taste and swizzle a few seconds more if too sweet or boozy.

Matt Osmoe is a member of USBG St. Louis and a bar manager at Blood & Sand.

The Scoop: Mi Caribe set to open in Midtown’s Coronado Ballroom

Friday, May 29th, 2015



The flavors of the Caribbean will spice up Midtown when Mi Caribe opens at the Coronado Ballroom at 3701 Lindell Blvd., in a few weeks. The restaurant and bar, serving Dominican, Cuban and Puerto Rican fare, is the first owned by Johnny Martinez, a former pitcher and scout for the Cleveland Indians, and Warren Duval, a mortgage banker.

Martinez, a native of the Dominican Republic who loves to cook, said it’s always been a dream of his to open a restaurant. He’ll be working in the kitchen with some of his family members, who have experience in the restaurant industry.

Islanders eat a lot of pork, Martinez said, so it will make several appearances on the menu, along with traditional beef and chicken stews, shrimp, rice dishes, empanadas and mofongo, a mashed, fried-plantain and shrimp dish. “Caribbeans are crazy about it,” Martinez said.

Other highlights include ropa vieja, a dish of shredded flank steak, and steak palomilla, a thin cut of sauteed steak served on bread, which Martinez hopes will appeal to hamburger fans. Unlike Jamaican food, Dominican food doesn’t make much use of chili powder, Martinez said; instead, expect to taste sofrito, a mirepoix of garlic and vegetables. There will also be whole fried fish – eyeballs and all. “I don’t know how people are going to accept that,” Martinez said.

Rum is the spirit of the islands, and there’s plenty of it available on the drink menu, which features Cuba Libres, daiquiris, piña coladas, mojitos and rum punch. The beer list includes Presidente, a Dominican brew Martinez said is hard to come by in the U.S.

Duval said they picked the Coronado spot, last occupied by Mexican restaurant Chuy Arzola’s, because of its Midtown location, big patio and attractive architecture.

Mi Caribe will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the bar staying open until 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The restaurant will serve brunch on Sunday.

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

Friday, May 29th, 2015

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


Eat me! ‪#NationalBurgerDay

St. Louis! ‪#STL RT ‪@esquire And the best bar city in America is… ‪http://esqm.ag/6011CLBt

I like my beds the way I like my candy, king sized

If it were possible to marry places, I would book the chapel for ‪@CornerPub_Grill in a second bc wow we are a match made in heaven

A huge thank you to Cleveland Heath, The Block and Five Bistro for your continued faith in my program!!! Couldn’t do this without you guys!!

Wish every day could be a winery day, but if you can’t get to a winery, ‪@robustwinebar is the perfect… ‪https://instagram.com/p/3G-io6sham/ 


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

The Weekend Project: Eggs Benedict

Friday, May 29th, 2015



Possibly the most popular brunch dish out there, eggs Benedict is simple to DIY at home – right down to the Canadian bacon. Admittedly, this project takes longer than a weekend, but the prep work is so minimal, it can easily be accomplished in just a few minutes at the start of your week.

There are four elements to a classic eggs Benedict: an English muffin, Canadian bacon, a poached egg and luscious hollandaise. Pick up a pack of your favorite English muffins (or go all-in with the DIY concept) and some farm fresh eggs (try our plastic wrap method for a perfect poach every time). This weekend, tackle a finicky mother sauce and fire up the smoker (or not) to make Canadian bacon.




The five mother sauces, as defined by the great Auguste Escoffier, are espagnole (roux and brown stock), velouté (roux and blonde stock), bechamel (roux and dairy), tomato and hollandaise. Hollandaise is considered the most difficult because it contains both egg yolks and butter. If your mixture is too hot, the yolks can become scrambled eggs, and the butter can separate if you aren’t careful. Our method uses a simple double boiler for near foolproof results.




What Americans call “Canadian bacon” is a cured, smoked pork loin; the rest of the world refers to this as “back bacon.” What Canadians actually consider Canadian bacon isn’t smoked at all. The pork loin is called “peameal bacon,” named so because the cured meat was rolled in ground, dried yellow peas to prevent bacterial growth.





Today, Canadians use cornmeal instead of ground peas, but the name remains. The only difference between Canadian bacon and peameal bacon is what you do with the loin after it is cured: smoke it or dredge it in cornmeal. We provide both options below.


The Gameplan
Prep: Brine the pork loin for the Canadian or Peameal Bacon.
Day 1: Prepare the Peameal Bacon or smoke the Canadian Bacon.
Day 2: Make the Hollandaise Sauce. Assemble the Eggs Benedict.

The Shopping List*
½ cup grade-B maple syrup
4 cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
20 sage leaves
2½ tsp. pink salt or Insta Cure No. 1 (optional)
1 6- to 8-pound pork loin
½ cup corn meal
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
½ tsp. white pepper
¼ tsp. paprika
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
7 fresh eggs
2 English muffins (DIY English muffins here)

*This list assumes you have salt and a lemon at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those items, too.




Canadian or Peameal Bacon
Makes 6 to 8 pounds

1 quart water
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup grade-B maple syrup
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 sprigs thyme
20 sage leaves
2½ tsp. Insta Cure No. 1 or pink salt (optional)
1 6- to 8-pound pork loin, cut in half
½ cup corn meal

Prep: In a large stockpot, combine all water, salt, maple syrup, garlic, thyme, sage leaves and Insta Cure No. 2, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat to dissolve the salt. Remove from heat and pour into another large stockpot and add 1 quart ice. Let cool until the ice melts.
• Place each of the pork loin halves in a 1-gallon zip-top bag. Pour about 1 quart brine into each bag to cover the meat. Divide the garlic, thyme and sage leaves evenly between the bags. Seal and remove all the air. Place the bags on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate at least 5 days.
Day 1: Place a baking rack on top of baking sheet.
• Remove the meat from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. Place the pork loin on the racks and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
• To make Peameal Bacon, pour the corn meal on a large plate or rimmed baking sheet. Dredge the meat in the corn meal, coating it completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Peameal Bacon will keep refrigerated up to 1 week.
• To make Canadian Bacon, preheat a smoker to 225 degrees. Smoke the pork loin until a thermometer inserted in the center of the meat reaches 145 degrees, about 3 hours. Let cool. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Canadian Bacon will keep refrigerated up to 1 week.





Hollandaise Sauce
Makes 2 cups

4 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. white pepper
¼ tsp. paprika
3 egg yolks
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, diced
Juice of ½ lemon

Day 2: In a small saucepan, add the water, vinegar, salt, pepper and paprika. Bring to boil over high heat and reduce by half, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into a large metal or glass bowl and set aside.
• Prepare a double boiler by filling a 4-quart saucepot with 2 inches water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
• Place the bowl over the saucepot, add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth and silky, about 30 seconds.
• Remove the bowl from heat and whisk in ¼ cup butter until smooth. Return the bowl to the heat, add another ¼ cup butter and whisk until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the remaining ½ cup butter. Return the bowl to the heat as needed to melt the butter and emulsify the sauce, but take care not to overheat the hollandaise or the sauce will break.
• Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside. Rewarm over the double boiler before serving if needed.





Eggs Benedict
4 servings

8 ¼-inch-thick slices Peameal or Canadian Bacon (recipes above)
4 fresh eggs
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 English muffins, split and toasted (DIY English muffins here)
Hollandaise Sauce (recipe above)

Day 2: Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the Peameal or Canadian Bacon until browned, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and fry 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
• Fill a large saucepot with 2 inches water and the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Gently add 2 eggs to the water and poach 3 minutes, until the whites are just set, but the yolks are still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and let dry on paper towels. Repeat with the 2 remaining eggs.
• Place 1 English muffin half on each serving dish. Top each with 2 slices Peameal or Canadian Bacon and 1 poached egg. Spoon the desired amount of Hollandaise Sauce over each Benedict and serve.


-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Scoop: Taste Budz Take Out hits the road with a food truck

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

052815_tastebudzTaste Budz Take Out, a primarily carryout restaurant with a storefront at 280 DeBaliviere Ave., has rolled out a food truck. Taste Budz Express, which made its debut in early April, offers up a lunch menu with popular offerings from the restaurant, including made-to-order burgers, BLTs, fish sandwiches, onion rings, wings, Phillies and more.

Taste Budz Express rolls through both St. Louis City and County, although co-owner Eric Tomlin said he has mainly set up shop in North County thus far. Tomlin said he wanted to open a food truck ever since he opened his brick-and-mortar in May 2014. “(I’m excited) being able to get the taste of (my) food and restaurant out to different clients,” he said.

Spring proved the perfect time for Tomlin to focus on the food truck’s opening, as the DeBaliviere location is currently closed due to The Loop Trolley construction. He said he hopes to re-open the brick-and-mortar Taste Budz by September.

The Scoop: The Good Pie to become Randolfi’s

Thursday, May 28th, 2015



{The Good Pie owner Mike Randolph}


The Good Pie is changing concepts and names. Owners Mike and Liz Randolph announced today, May 28, that their Neopolitan-style pizzeria located at 6665 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, will soon become Randolfi’s, a trattoria serving up southern Italian fare. The Good Pie will close the end of June for interior design changes and reopen in early August.

Gnocchi, clams and pancetta, homemade bucatini and meatballs … these are just a few of the dishes Mike Randolph grew up eating with his Italian family, dishes he plans to offer at Randolfi’s. “I’ve always cooked that kind of food at home, but was timid to do it in a restaurant setting,” Randolph said. “We are six years into The Good Pie. It was time to evolve beyond that (pizza) concept.”

Randolph also wanted to pay homage to his late father and the paternal side of his family, particularly with the new name. When his Italian great-grandfather immigrated to the U.S. nearly a century ago, immigration officers changed his last name from Randolfi to Randolph.




{Margarita pizza at The Good Pie} 


The Good Pie pizzas lovers can still get their Neopolitan pizza fix. Randolfi’s menu will include four mainstay pizzas – Margarita, marinara, white fennel sausage and pepperoni – as well as one rotating pie. Additional items will include antipasti like meat and cheese plates and a white bean dip; three daily house-made pastas; a risotto; and a gnocchi dish. Larger wood-roasted entrees like chicken with pesto and a rib-eye for two will be served with oven-roasted sides like rapini or carrots. “It’s really simple food – what, to me, is soul food. It’s the stuff I love to eat,” he said.

The Good Pie’s barman Jeffrey Moll will lead the beverage program at Randolfi’s, where cocktails will center around Italian spirits. Look also for carafes and wines by the glass and a tightened “less esoteric” beer list than The Good Pie’s current offerings.

The redesigned interior will offer the charm of a southern Italian trattoria with warm hardwood floors, red-checkered tablecloths and old photos of the Randolfi family and its native village of Atina, Italy.

Randolph will host preview dinners of Randolfi’s fare during July at Half & Half, his breakfast and lunch eatery in Clayton.

-photos by Greg Rannells 


Baked: Browned Butter-Green Tea Cake

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015




This loaf is simply scrumptious. Browned butter and vibrant matcha powder elevate a humble, classic pound cake to a nutty, more elegant counterpart. This dense loaf tastes better the day after its baked and the flavors have a chance to develop, so try to show restraint. A dish like this works for any time of day. It’s fabulous at breakfast or brunch; I’ve served it in the afternoon with tea, too. You can even slice and wrap leftovers and freeze them up to a month, then thaw on a whim and serve with ice cream for a simple, quick dessert.


Browned Butter Green Tea Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan
Makes 1 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan

½ cup (1 stick) butter, plus more for greasing
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 scant Tbsp. matcha powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. sea salt
1¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
½ Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup (80 ml.) heavy cream

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan.
• In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter in a saucepan, swirling occasionally, until it the solids begin to brown and it smells nutty, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
• In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, matcha powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
• In another large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs until pale, about 1 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract until incorporated, then the heavy cream. Use a spatula to gently fold in the in the dry ingredients. Fold in half the browned butter until incorporated, then repeat with the remaining butter.
• Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (If the top of the cake browns too quickly, tent the top with foil.)
• Let the cake cool completely, then gently remove from the loaf pan. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature 12 to 24 hours before serving.

Make This: Peas and Pancetta with Tortellini

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015



Peas and pancetta are a timeless Italian combination. Here, the duo gets a dash of French flavor that’s nothing less than magnifique. Prepare 1 pound cheese tortellini according to package instructions. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook ½ cup diced pancetta until crispy, about 4 minutes. Add 1 thinly sliced small shallot and saute 1 minute. Add ¼ cup fresh orange juice and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Raise the heat to medium-high, add 2 cups fresh peas and simmer until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and 1½ tablespoons butter. Season with salt, if desired. Toss with the tortellini and serve immediately.


-photo by Sherrie Castellano




By the Book: Colby and Megan Garrelts’ Blueberry Oat Breakfast Cake

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015



Usually I love a challenging recipe. The kind of recipe that calls for 7,000 ingredients (half of which have to be ordered online), requires more mixing bowls and utensils than I own and takes days to prepare. Love those. But sometimes an avid home cook needs a break. Colby and Megan Garrelts’ Made in America: A Modern Collection of Classic Recipes is that kind of return to honest, simple cooking. This is a collection of Midwestern soul food that called up childhood memories, family traditions and reminded me that delicious food is restorative and refreshing long after it leaves the palate.




The Garrelts both hail from the Midwest – he from Kansas, she from Chicago – and together own Rye and Bluestem in Kansas City. Colby is a co-executive chef and a James Beard Award-winning chef, while Megan also serves as co-executive chef and a James Beard Award-semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. (Sidebar: This accomplished culinary couple is coming to The Restaurant at The Cheshire on Mon., June 8 for the next installment of the Sauce Celebrity Chef Series.)




Knowing full well that I will never be an award-winning chef, I was delighted to find Made in America was full of accessible recipes for those of us who have not been recognized by the James Beard Foundation. I chose to treat some special people to the Blueberry Oat Breakfast Cake. Cake for breakfast? Sounds like a plan.




The ingredients list was straightforward, and I picked up everything I needed at just one store. The directions were easy to follow and intuitive. I particularly liked that the cake can be assembled the night before, then baked the next morning while your coffee brews. Of course, I could not wait, so I baked it right away.

The result was a perfect start to the day – a mildly sweet, lemony cake texture with juicy blueberries that burst slightly during baking and a rich and hearty streusel topping. Perhaps a new tradition has been born.




Blueberry Oat Breakfast Cake
Makes 1 8-inch square cake

Oat Streusel
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

¾ cup granulated sugar
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. buttermilk
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
2 pints fresh blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1 cup heavy cream, whipped up to soft peaks for serving

• To make the oat streusel, place the brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer the streusel mixture to a medium bowl and gently fold in the oats. Set aside in the refrigerator. (You may transfer the streusel to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 1 month.)
• To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan and set aside.
• Combine the sugar, butter and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the mixture until light and fluffy, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla to the creamed butter mixture and mix to combine.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing. Transfer the cake batter to the prepared cake pan, using a spatula to spread the cake batter evenly. Once the batter is evenly spread across the bottom of the cake pan, use the spatula to smear the batter up the sides of the pan, coating the entire inside of the cake pan. Spread the blueberries across the top of the cake batter, then sprinkle the oat streusel topping evenly over the blueberries to cover. (The cake can be prepared to this point and refrigerated, covered, overnight.)
• Bake the cake until it is golden brown along the edges and the center begins to bubble from the blueberries, about 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before slicing into wedges; the cake will sink slightly in the center from the weight of the berries. Serve at room temperature or warm slightly before serving, topping each slice with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Reprinted with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing

What’s your go-to make-ahead breakfast dish? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of Made in America by Colby and Megan Garrelts.



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