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Archive for July, 2016

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

From the closure of a Botanical Heights restaurant to a Sneak Peek of a new breakfast spot in Crestwood, here’s what went down last week in the STL restaurant scene, in case you missed it.

 

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1. Nearly two years after first flipping on the fryers, Old Standard Fried Chicken will shutter its doors after brunch service on Sunday, July 31. Owner Ben Poremba announced the closure July 26.

2. Brentwood will have a new place to get its java jolt come Aug. 1 when Coma Coffee opens at 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd., in University Tower.

 

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3. A new tide has rolled in at Demun Oyster Bar. Fifteen-year kitchen veteran Dan Sammons began his tenure as executive chef July 25. Sammons brings a range of experience from corporate operations chef at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood to working the kitchens at Berkeley, California’s eatery, Revival Bar & Kitchen.

4. Raise a glass to St. James Winery – it brought home the Missouri Governor’s Cup for the second year in a row. The winery was awarded the 2016 prize for its semi-dry white vignoles. St. James’ vignoles took the prize out of more than 308 wines submitted from other state vineyards.

 

From left, co-owners Billy Oziransky, Mary and John Bogacki

 

5. Don’t hit the snooze button if you live or work off Watson Road. Yolklore, the newest addition to the Crestwood food scene, hosts its grand opening this Sunday, July 31 at 8958 Watson Road. Co-owners Mary and John Bogacki and Billy Oziransky are dishing up slew of breakfast items, pastries, coffee and smoothies.

6. St. Louis Craft Beer Week kicked off Friday, July 29, and there is an abundance of beer-related events around the city that boast what we brew best. Celebrate the five- anniversaries of four STL breweries with the Class of 2011 Collaboration Beers.

 

By the Book: Hey There, Dumpling! by Kenny Lao and Genevieve Ko

Friday, July 29th, 2016

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Don’t let the silly illustrations and goofy photos fool you. Kenny Lao and Genevieve Ko’s Hey There, Dumpling!: 100 Recipes for Dumplings, Buns, Noodles, and Other Asian Treats is a seriously good cookbook. Among some cute asides and cringe-worthy exclamations (Peking duck dumplings: “We’re bringing sexy quack with this one!”) are satisfying recipes and helpful tips for amateurs.

I didn’t choose Hey There, Dumpling! to make a noodle dish. After trolling for that interesting-but-not-painful recipe sweet spot, I settled on Thai Green Curry Dumplings, which called for some ingredients that are atypical in my kitchen but not enough to make it cost prohibitive or hard to find what I needed in town. Lao recommends Twin Marquis dumpling wrappers, which I found at Jay’s International Food Co. on South Grand. Their toothsome texture and flavor make using wonton wrappers for dumplings a thing of the past.

The recipe was simple, clear and made for some complex layers of flavor in a cute little package. The only moment of confusion came when trying to decipher the folding instructions, which had less than helpful illustrations. Falling back on some previous pierogi experience, I created my own dumpling shape, which worked fine. More important, they tasted great – fresh and zingy with a hint of heat. Before this, I’d never made an Asian recipe I’d be happy to be served in a restaurant.

Skill level: Easy to intermediate. The dumplings are more labor intensive than difficult, and the book offers clear instructions and helpful tips.
This book is for: Dumpling lovers, obvi.
Other recipes to try: Classic pork and Chinese chive dumplings, mushroom dumplings, Szechuan chicken dumplings
The verdict: As much as it pains me to say it, Talde’s pretzel dumplings won the day. The Thai green curry flavors were amazing, but nothing beats a salty, fried nugget of pork fat dipped in mustard.

 

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Thai Green Curry Dumplings
45 dumplings

1 lb. (455 g.) Napa cabbage, cored and finely chopped
2¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 lb. (455 g.) fatty (80/20) ground pork
1 Tbsp. minced fresh lemongrass
1 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh galangal or ginger
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
1½ tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp. freshly grated lime zest
1 tsp. minced fresh green Thai chile
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1-lb. (455 g.) package round dumpling wrappers
Dr. Tan’s Chile Dip (optional)

• In a fine-mesh colander, mix the cabbage and 2 teaspoons salt. Let stand while you get everything else ready, at least 10 minutes. Grab handfuls of the cabbage and squeeze as hard as you can to get rid of all the liquid.
• Transfer the dried cabbage to a large bowl and add the pork, lemongrass, galangal or ginger, shallot, coriander, lime zest, chile, pepper, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Use your hands to work all the ingredients together until well-mixed. It’s best to use your hands because you can get everything incorporated into the meat without making the pieces of meat too small.
• If you have time, cover and refrigerate the filling until nice and cold, up to 2 days. The filling will be easier to spoon into your wrappers when it’s chilled.
• When you’re ready to cook, follow the wrapping and frying instructions.
• Serve the dumplings with Dr. Tan’s Chile Dip, if desired.

Prep the Deck
• Get a foot or so of a work surface nice and clean. Your kitchen counter works fine. A big cutting board does, too.
• Have a flat plate or rimmed pan lined with waxed paper or parchment paper ready. This is where you’re going to put your finished dumplings. If you’re planning on freezing the dumplings right away, use a rimmed pan, but be sure to use on that fits in you freezer. (I’ve totally zonked on that before and used a pan bigger than my freezer.)
• You need a pack of round flour dumpling wrappers, sometimes labeled potsticker or gyoza wrappers. You can buy them in regular supermarkets nowadays. If you can’t find them there, they’ll definitely be at your nearest Asian grocery. They should be 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm) in diameter, thin enough to flap around, and whitish. (The yellow ones are for wontons and have egg in the dough; don’t use those.) Each pack should have 40 to 50 wrappers, the number you’ll need for my filling recipes. (I especially like the Twin Marquis brand, but have also used TMI Shanghai-Style wrappers with success.) Wrappers are easiest to fold and seal when they’re at room temperature, so take them out of the fridge first. If you bought them frozen, throw them in the fridge overnight or just set them on the counter until they’re room temp. It doesn’t take too long – like 30 minutes or so. And have a damp kitchen towel handy so you can keep the wrappers moist while you’re wrapping. If they dry out, they’ll crack while you’re rolling.
• Set out a bowl of water next to the wrappers. You’ll use this to seal the dumplings. I know some people who mix beaten egg or egg white with water, but I like to keep it simple. And water works.
• Finally, your filling. You’ll want a bowl of it all mixed up and ready to go. Set this bowl after your wrappers and bowl of water and before your pan. It’s easiest to work with cold filling, so if you can, make it ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to start wrapping. Have a spoon, measuring tablespoon, butter knife, small offset spatula, or a pair of chopsticks ready for scooping the filling.

It’s a Wrap
• Open the wrapper packet, take out five, and cover the rest with a damp towel.
• Lay out the wrappers like ducks in a row.
• Dip your finger in the water and wet ½ inch (12 mm.) of the rim of each wrapper. You want it moister than a licked envelope, but not actually wet. The water will get the wrapper to stick to itself later, but too wet and it’ll make the wrapper soggy and unfoldable.
• Scoop a fat tablespoon (basically a level tablespoon) of filling into the center of each wrapper. You can sorta eyeball it once you measure out one. The more filling you use, the harder it is to wrap, but the more satisfying the dumpling is. If you’re new at this, start with a little less filling, I like to scoop the filling with a regular spoon and push it off so that it ends up in a tiny football shape. It’s easier to fold the wrapping around this than a golf ball shape.

Crescent Moon Fold
• Fold down the centerline of the wrapper along the long axis of the football-shaped filling glob/dollop.
• Keep sealing the edges of the wrapper, moving out from the center, until they’re sealed to the ends.
• Gently curve the dumpling into a crescent shape by pulling the ends toward each other.
• Make sure the edges are really stuck together.

Fry, Fry Again
• First, get the right pan. Choose a nonstick skillet with a lid you can pick up easily with one hand because you’re gonna need to flip it later. So well-seasoned cast-iron is great if you’re jacked.
• Coat the bottom of the pan with oil. I like using canola oil or another neutral oil. For a 12-inch (30.5-cm.) pan, that’s about 2 tablespoons. The oil will pool in a nonstick pan, but will spread out later.
• Start arranging the dumplings belly-to-belly in supertight concentric circles in a rosette shape. You should have one outer ring, one inner ring, and a few in the middle.
• Add 3 tablespoons water to the pan, set over medium heat, and cover. By starting with a cold pan, you’re not under any pressure to arrange those dumplings quickly. And you don’t have to deal with the whole cold-water/hot-oil scary splatter.
• Just let them cook now, rotating the pan every once in a while if you know your stove’s heat is uneven. Because there’s hot oil and water mixed in there, you want to keep the lid on tight to avoid getting burned. Don’t be scared of the popping you hear. That sound means the bottoms are getting nice and fried while the fillings and tops steam.
• What you’re waiting for is the water to evaporate. When it does, the sound under the lid will change from bubbly pops to a pretty serious steady crackle. Lift the lid away from your face and peek to see if the pan’s dry. If it is, take off the lid. If not, cover again. This step takes about 7 minutes with fresh dumplings and about 10 minutes with frozen ones. If you worried about whether they’re cooked through, you can use a meat thermometer to take the temp of one (the USDA says 165 degrees is what you need for meat) or poke one open from the top and peek inside. Try not to cut it all the way and let the juices spill out, though.
• After you’ve uncovered the dumplings, turn off the stove. Jerk the pan a little to give it a good shake and see if the dumplings are stuck or if they slide a little. If they seem stuck, shake the pan a little more to unstick them or slide a spatula under them to separate them from the pan.
• Center a heatproof plate that’s bigger than the pan over the pan. Put on oven mitts to protect your hands. Holding the pan and the plate tightly, flip them both together. Do it fast! Lift off the pan and voila! It’s a beautiful dumpling tarte tatin!
• Right when the dumplings are done, they’ll be really stuck together. I’m totally fine with that and think it’s fun to pry them apart. If you let them sit for 5 minutes or so though, they pull apart much more easily. And, at that point, the fillings aren’t burn-your-mouth hot. If you’ve gotta do a lot of batches to serve them all at the same time, tent the plate loosely with foil and place in a 200 degrees oven. I prefer to invite everyone into the kitchen and let ‘em eat while I keep frying.

Dr. Tan’s Chile Dip
½ cup (120 ml.)

½ cup (120 ml.) rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 small fresh Thai chiles, split lengthwise.

• In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients. If you have time, cover and refrigerate the mixture overnight. Pick out and discard the chiles before serving. The dip can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Reprinted with permission from Stewart, Tabori & Chang

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

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Think you should be on this list? Prove it. Follow and tweet @SauceMag.

 

Sneak Peek: Yolklore in Crestwood

Friday, July 29th, 2016

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Don’t hit the snooze button if you live or work off Watson Road. Yolklore, the newest addition to the Crestwood food scene, hosts its grand opening this Sunday, July 31 at 8958 Watson Road. As The Scoop reported in April, co-owners Mary and John Bogacki and Billy Oziransky are dishing up slew of breakfast items, pastries, coffee and smoothies.

The Yolklore crew utilizes ingredients from local farms and vendors like Buttonwood Farms, Mushrooms Naturally and Rolling Lawn Farms for their takes on breakfast classics like biscuits and gravy, a mushroom frittata and egg sandwiches.

A seasonal cream puff (peaches and cream puff to start), gooey butter cake and chocolate cake for breakfast are among sweeter options. Drawing on Mary’s Bogacki’s skills as a pastry chef, whole cakes – gooey butter, cheesecake, blueberry coffee cake and chocolate chunk cookie cake – are available to order as are special occasion sweets.

Yolklore’s coffee comes from Dubuque Coffee Co. in Brentwood. In keeping with the owners’ focus on sustainability, Yolklore offers a $5 monthly coffee club where members receive a designated coffee cup that receives unlimited refills for $1 per visit.

Yolklore is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those rushing to work can swing through the drive-thru, which is open during business hours and offers the same menu as the dining room. Here’s a sneak peek inside:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Drink This Weekend Edition: Class of 2011 Collaboration Beers

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

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St. Louis Craft Beer Week kicks off tomorrow, July 29, and there is an abundance of beer-related events around the city that boast what we brew best.

This year’s highlight is the fifth-anniversary celebration of the four breweries that opened in 2011: 4 Hands Brewing Co., The Civil Life Brewing Co., Perennial Artisan Ales and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. The Class of 2011 has marked the milestone with a major collaboration effort that involved ingredient sharing, recipe building and brew days with representatives from each brewery. The result: a beer from each member of the Class of 2011 that’s slightly outside of its wheelhouse and showcases the diversity of our beer scene.

All four collaboration beers debut tomorrow from 5 to 9 p.m. at the St. Louis Brewers’ Picnic, a free STLCBW kickoff event hosted by Baileys’ Restaurants. You can also join the Class of 2011 Collaboration Tour on Aug. 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. with free shuttle service between the four breweries, and the beers will be on draft in the breweries’ tasting rooms throughout STLCBW.

Ever the diligent drink writer, I ran around the city sampling these beautiful beers and gathering tasting notes for you eager imbibers. Here’s a taste of what’s to come from the Class of 2011:

1. 4 Hands Brewing Co. brewed an incredibly satiating and mildly bitter Pilsner with UCBC’s house lager yeast. Notes of biscuit, grass, lemon and pepper dominate the nose, while soft floral and pepper notes complement bright citrus and soft stone fruit on the palate. You won’t stop at just one.

2. Perennial Artisan Ales brewed a dry-hopped Kölsch with Galaxy hops from 4 Hands and Mandarina Bavaria hops from UCBC. It has massive hop aroma, juicy tropical fruit and grass on the palate with a mild grain presence and medium body. Session IPA drinkers, get ready – this is right up your alley.

3. The Civil Life Brewing Co. made an American IPA complete with a fantastic caramel malt backbone, clean bitterness, strong notes of pineapple and mango on the nose, and juicy tropical flavors paired with bright citrus round out the palate. By far, the most assertively hoppy beer to come out of Civil Life’s brewhouse and so worth the try.

4. Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. brewed an India Brown Ale fermented with house ale yeast from Civil Life, El Dorado and Galaxy hops from 4 Hands and flaked oats and chocolate spelt from Perennial. This medium-full bodied, dark ruby colored brew is full of flavor. Herbal and spicy notes dominate the aroma, while stone fruit, toffee and light nutty notes complement the seemingly bitter palate.

The Scoop: St. James Winery takes the Missouri Governor’s Cup again

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

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Raise a glass to St. James Winery – bringing home the Missouri Governor’s Cup for the second year in a row. The winery was awarded the 2016 prize for its semi-dry white vignoles. St. James’ vignoles took the prize out of more than 308 wines submitted from other state vineyards.

“We didn’t feel much pressure to win this year after winning last year,” said Peter Hofherr, St. James Winery chairman and CEO. “We’ve had a three-year run that have been pretty good. We’ve won five international wine contests in the last two years.”

The competition took place in Columbia, Missouri on July 19 and 20. The Missouri Wine Competition is judged by the top wine and beverage experts from around the nation. Only Missouri wines are judged in this competition – those that received best-in-class honors were considered for Governor’s Cup.

“For our family and for the winery, this win means a lot,” said Hofherr. “We’re trying to push Missouri grapes and wines in a direction of high quality.”

The award for the best Norton varietals, the C.V. Riley Award, went to Noboleis Vineyards in Augusta for their 2014 Norton. Other wineries that took home best-in-class awards include:

• Edg-Clif Farms & Vineyard for rosé
• Stone Hill Winery for dry white and dessert/fortified wine
• Montelle Winery for grappa
• Noboleis Vineyards for a dry red
• Pirtle Winery for sparkling

A complete list of all medalists can be found here.

 

Baked: Broccolini Melt

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

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These broccolini melts are perfect for any meal or cut into smaller pieces for appetizers. Broccolini is similar to its cousin broccoli, but it has longer, thinner stems and a subtler flavor. Imagine gently sauteed, crunchy broccolini with garlic, onions and copious amounts of cheese, all atop a lovely piece of toast. It’s like a healthier version of grilled cheese. Customize with different types of bread and cheese, or make it extra decadent with an egg on top. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Broccolini Melt
Adapted from a recipe at Smitten Kitchen
4 servings

1 lb. broccolini, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. water
Kosher salt to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 small or medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
⅓ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
8 thin slices cheddar cheese
8 slices sturdy bread, toasted

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the broccolini and water and season with salt. Cover with a lid or damp paper towel and microwave 2 to 3 minutes, until the broccolini is tender but crunchy. Drain well and pat dry, then chop into ½-inch pieces.
• In a saute pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic begins to brown. Add the broccolini and cook 2 minutes, seasoning with additional salt.
• Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the balsamic vinegar, pecorino and red pepper flakes, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then arrange the bread. Evenly divide the broccolini mixture among the bread, the top each with a slice of cheddar. Bake 8 minutes, until the cheese melts and bubbles on top.

The Scoop: Old Standard Fried Chicken to close

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

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Nearly two years after first flipping on the fryers, Old Standard Fried Chicken will shutter its doors after brunch service on Sunday, July 31. Owner Ben Poremba announced the closure today, July 26.

“It is a business decision,” Poremba said. “It wasn’t doing what we wanted it to do or fitting in with our general strategy.”

Poremba opened the fried chicken restaurant in Botanical Heights across the street from his two flagship restaurants, Elaia and Olio, in October 2014. Sauce reviewed the restaurant in March 2015.

Poremba, who also owns Parigi and co-owns La Patisserie Chouquette, said the space at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., will not sit idle long. He will announce a new concept, as well as any personnel changes or transitions, in the next week or so.

It’s been a busy year for Poremba. He opened his Italian concept, Parigi, in Clayton in February, and in June, he handed the executive chef role at Elaia and Olio to Ben Grupe in order to shift his focus from chef to restaurateur.

 

-photo by Michelle Volansky 

 

 

The Scoop: Coma Coffee to open in Brentwood

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

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Brentwood will have a new place to get its java jolt come Aug. 1 when Coma Coffee opens at 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd., in University Tower. Siblings Corbin and Macy Holtzman have tapped Kaldi’s veteran Chad Denney to head up the roasting program.

“There is demand for a coffee shop in the building,” said Macy Holtzman. “People in St. Louis are developing a taste for really good coffee thanks to other industries like the craft beer movement.”

Upon opening, Coma will serve mainly beans from Ethiopia, El Salvador and Colombia with plans to rotate its selection based on customer reaction and sourcing. Holtzman said the 50-seat shop will focus on speed, serving drip coffee and espresso drinks. Whisk will provide grab-and-go pastries at the shop.

Growth is the goal for the Holtzmans, who also own a roasting facility at 4013 Papin St., in The Grove and plan to eventually open a tasting room there that will offer pour-overs and other third-wave coffee brewing methods, as well as opportunities to learn about coffee production and roasting. “We hope to be one of the top quality roasters in St. Louis,” said Holtzman said. “We want people to know our brand and know that we’re doing everything at a high level.”

 

Meatless Monday: Avocado Enchiladas

Monday, July 25th, 2016

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Go beyond guac tonight. We swapped traditional meat fillings for creamy avocado in enchiladas. Create a smoky sauce, then gently season avocado with lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno and spoon it into tortillas with a sprinkling of cheese. Roll up, pack in a baking pan and smother in enchilada sauce and bake until hot and bubbly. Click here for the recipe.

 

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