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Feb 23, 2018
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Archive for August, 2016

By the Book: Ms. American Pie by Beth M. Howard

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016




Full disclosure: I didn’t like this cookbook. In the introduction, author Beth Howard claims she’s not a big fan of recipes. This was evident in her instruction: no mention of preheating an oven, inexact time estimates and her insistence that chilling dough before rolling is an unnecessary time suck. More experienced home cooks can handle these vague instructions, but Howard touts this book as a guide for those afraid to bake pies at home.

All that said, this messy BLT pie was delicious: A half-shortening, half-butter crust filled with local tomatoes, a full pound of Geisert Farms bacon, Marcoot Jersey Creamery cheese and fresh backyard basil, topped with more cheese and mayo. I nixed the optional lettuce garnish, since I’d just pick off the warm wilted iceberg anyway.

However, as I was patching up holes in my warm crust on a humid August afternoon, I grumbled at how much easier it would have been with chilled dough. When the finished filling soaked through the bottom of the pie, I knew a thicker crust could stand up to so much liquid. Sometimes those “fussy pie rules” make the difference between great and phenomenal.

Skill level: Intermediate. Explore all the fillings available, but stick to your favorite pie crust recipe.
This book is for: Experienced pie bakers looking for new ideas
Other recipes to try: Pulled-pork hand pies, Atlantic Beach Pie, Shaker Orange
The verdict: Despite poor instruction, quality ingredients took this pie to the top.



Blind-Baked Crust (recipe follows)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 large tomatoes (Romas are OK), sliced and de-seeded but not peeled
½ to 1 lb. bacon (or more if you love it), fried till crisp, drained and chopped
½ cup chopped fresh basil
3 green onions (i.e. scallions) thinly sliced
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise

Shredded lettuce (optional)

• Prepare the Blind Baked Crust: Before baking, poke the bottom of the crust with a fork, then sprinkle Parmesan on the bottom and baked uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
• Prepare the Filling: In the pre-baked pie crust, layer the tomatoes, fried bacon pieces, basil, green onions, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper and ½ cup Parmesan.
• In a small bowl, mix the cheddar and mayo, then spread over top of pie.
• Sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top.
• Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
• Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.
• Serve warm or cold. For the real BLT experience, top with shredded lettuce.


Basic Pie Dough (For a Single-Crust Pie)

¼ cup (½ stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks
¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
1 ¼ cups flour, plus at least ¼ extra for rolling
Dash of salt
Ice water (fill a ½ cup but only use enough to moisten dough)

• In a deep, large bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour and salt with your hands until you have almond- and pea-sized lumps of butter.
• Then, drizzling in ice water a little at a time, “toss” the water around with your fingers spread, as if the flour were a salad and your hand were the salad tongs. Don’t spend a lot of time mixing the dough, just focus on getting it moistened. Translation: With each addition of water, toss about four times and then STOP, add more water, and repeat.
• When the dough holds together on its own (and with enough water it will), do a “squeeze test.” If it falls apart, you need to add more water. If it is soggy and sticky, you might need to sprinkle flour onto it until the wetness is balanced out. The key is to not overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t!
• Now divide the dough into two balls (or three, if your pie dishes are smaller) and form each into a disk shape.
• Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface. Roll to a thinness where the dough seems almost transparent.
• Measure the size of the dough by holding your pie plate above it. It’s big enough if you have enough extra width to compensate for the depth and width of your dish, plus 1 to 2 inches overhang.
• Slowly and gently – SERIOUSLY TAKE YOUR TIME! – lift the dough off the rolling surface, nudging flour under with the scraper as you lift, and fold the dough back. When you are sure your dough is 100 percent free and clear from the surface, bring your pie dish close to it and then drag your dough over to your dish. (Holding the folded edge will give you a better grip and keep your dough from tearing.
• Place the folded edge halfway across your dish, allowing the dough of the covered half to drape over the side. Slowly and carefully unfold the dough until it lies full across the pie dish.
• Life the edges and let gravity ease the dough down to sit snuggly in the dish, using the light touch of a finger if you need to push any remaining air space out of the corners as you go.
• Trim excess dough to about 1 inch from the dish edge (I use scissors), leaving ample dough to make crimped, fluted edges.


Blind-Baked Crust

• Prepare Basic Pie Dough recipe for a single-crust pie, then roll and crimp the edges.
• Prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust with a fork.
• Lay a large piece of foil over the top and fill with pie weights (or beans, rice, coins, chains, screws – anything to weight down the crust to keep it from puffing up or shrinking.)
• Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Remove the weights and foil, turn oven down to 375 degrees, and continue baking for another 5 minutes or more, to brown the bottom of the crust.

Note: The weights hold the crust in place as it bakes, keeping it from shrinking as the moisture evaporates. If it does shrink, it, it will rattle around in your pie dish, and thought it will be smaller than you had hoped, it will still taste good.


Reprinted with permission from MBI Publishing 


Hit List: 3 new places you must try this September

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016



1. Nathaniel Reid Bakery: 11243 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, 314.858.1019, Facebook: Nathaniel Reid Bakery

Pastry chef Nathaniel Reid has won international accolades for his sweet treats, but it wasn’t until August that he opened his own shop serving sweet and savory breakfast pastries, sandwiches, colorful tarts and cakes. Start your day off right with a sweet almond croissant, or grab a sandwich for lunch, like the roasted turkey with havarti cheese on a flaky plain croissant. For dessert, treat yourself to The Jarmo, pistachio cake topped with dollops of house-made pistachio cream and fresh berries, or The Amber, a dome of buttery mousse draped in caramel and ringed with pecans.

2. Twisted Tree Steakhouse10701 Watson Road, Sunset Hills, 314.394.3366, twistedtreesteakhouse.com

Starters are standouts at Twisted Tree. Try the onion rings, which have a crackling crust that clings to the onions with each bite. Crab rangoon seems out of place on a steakhouse menu, but was piping hot, oozing with cream cheese filling and served with two dipping sauces: apricot sweet-and-sour and zingy mustard. Salads are served family-style with sides of crumbled feta, freshly fried croutons and a trio of dressings (the onion-y, slightly sweet house vinaigrette was the winner). Don’t miss the luscious, tender prime rib; get it with a side of mac and cheese, where al dente noodles are swathed in a sharp white cheddar sauce and topped with crispy breadcrumbs. Don’t skip the house-made desserts. A giant slice of almond-y white wedding cake slathered with white buttercream came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Get the cheesecake (which has a sugar cookie crust) with the fresh, bright strawberry sauce.

3. Coma Coffee Roasters: 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd., Richmond Heights, 314.250.1042, comacoffee.com

Coma Coffee Roasters is waking up Richmond Heights. Espresso-based classics are available, but its lightly roasted drip option will please palates with no sugar or milk required. Iced coffee fans will dig the 18-hour cold brew, a deep, rich sipper perfect for tackling the 3 p.m. slump. Enjoy the last days of summer with the Coma affogato – espresso poured over Serendipity bourbon ice cream – or go tart with Lyfe, where a shot of bitter espresso mingles with pomegranate juice over ice in this earthy, balanced treat.

-photo by Michelle Volansky 

Baked: Beef and Cheddar Hand Pies

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016



I made these hand pies for fun one day, when I wanted to bring something tasty to a picnic but without the fuss of plates and utensils. Working with pie dough can sometimes be frustrating, it’s worth it. The end result is a buttery, flaky crust with a savory, meaty filling on the inside. Since the filling is precooked, you can sample and adjust it to your preferences. Enjoy and happy baking!


Beef and Cheddar Hand Pies
Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
4 servings

½ lb. 80-20 ground beef
½ white onion, thinly sliced
½ Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper or red chili flakes to taste
1½ cups shredded cheddar
1 batch pie dough, thawed (Recipe here.)
Flour, for dusting
1 large egg, lightly beaten

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the beef with onions and garlic, breaking up the meat until it begins to brown and the onion soften, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain some of the fat from the skillet.
• Stir in the Worcestershire, mustard, salt and pepper. Remove from heat, stir in the cheese and set aside.
• Sprinkle a large flat work surface with flour and roll out the pie dough to ¼-inch thick. Use a 4½-inch round cookie cutter to cut 16 circles from the dough, rolling the dough out as needed.
• Place 8 dough circles onto the baking sheet. Place 1½ tablespoons beef filling in the middle of the circles, leaving a ½ inch of dough clear around the edges. Cover each with the remaining 8 dough circles, pressing around the edges of each with a fork to seal. Use the fork to poke a few holes in the top of each hand pie to vent.
• Brush the beaten egg over the tops of each hand pie.
• Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are browned. Let cool a few minutes before eating.

The Scoop: Ben McArthur leaves J. McArthur’s kitchen, Will Volny steps in

Monday, August 29th, 2016



{Chef Ben McArthur}


A little more than a year after opening his first restaurant, chef Ben McArthur has left J. McArthur’s An American Kitchen. The announcement was posted on J. McArthur’s Facebook page yesterday, Aug. 28.

Co-owner Kathleen Bibbins said McArthur has “decided to pursue some other opportunities.” McArthur opened the Lindenwood Park restaurant in July 2015 with Bibbins (his stepmother) and his father, John McArthur. Bibbins said she and John McArthur will continue their ownership with a new chef at the helm, Will Volny.

“He’s going to carry on with the original concept that’s been developed,” Bibbins said, “He was recommended to us by a lot of people.”

Volny, who most recently served as chef at Bixby’s, said J. McArthur’s farm-to-table focus aligns with his own desire to work with area producers. “Over the last three years, I’ve build a lot of relationships with farmers doing the CSA at The Libertine and working at Bixby’s,” he said.

While regulars can rest assured that J. McArthur’s popular scallops entree isn’t going anywhere, Volny intends to add a few regular menu items like a steak and a burger.

Ben McArthur did not immediately return requests for comment.


Meatless Monday: Zucchini Parmesan Soufflé

Monday, August 29th, 2016



Zucchini takes an elegant turn in this Zucchini Parmesan Soufflé. Mix this grated summer squash with rich egg yolks and cheese, then gently fold in fluffy egg whites. Bake 30 to 40 minutes (no peeking!) and carefully remove this billowy, burnished meal from the oven. Click here for the recipe here.



The Scoop: City Foundry to open in Midtown 2018

Friday, August 26th, 2016



The Cortex in Midtown will soon be home to a food hall and market. City Foundry is planned to include three brick-and-mortar restaurants as well as 20 food kiosks set to open around Labor Day of 2018.

The project, which is being developed by Lawrence Group, is part of a $340 million development that will include creative office space, apartments, retail shopping and outdoor space that will connect to Great Rivers Greenway.

Brad Beracha, known for area restaurants including BaiKu Sushi Lounge, Triumph Grill and City Diner, has been tapped for director of culinary services. “I’m really excited to create a culinary community here,” Beracha said. “There’s so much talent in St. Louis; I’m looking forward to getting everyone under one roof.”

The list of restaurants expected for the space will be announced soon. Follow Sauce on social media for the latest.

The Scoop: Shisha to open in former SOHO space

Friday, August 26th, 2016



Yet another new establishment is opening doors in The Grove. Co-owners Ricky Barakat and Ahmad Salameh are putting the finishing touches on Shisha at 4229 Manchester Ave., the former home of SoHo Restaurant and Lounge. Barakat said they hope to host a soft opening by mid-September.

“The Grove took me back to the Delmar Loop area 10 years ago,” Barakat said. “When you go into The Grove, all you see are locally owned businesses.”

Barakat said they are currently renovating the 5,200-square-foot space to accommodate 100 diners for a Mediterranean-inspired menu. The owners and kitchen team are developing recipes for beef, chicken and fish shawarma served traditionally wrapped in pita or as panini, gyro sliders, falafel and more.

Shisha will also boast a full bar and a patio with 40 seats where patrons can enjoy hookah outside, a favorite pastime for Barakat and Salameh. “We love food and love to smoke hookah… it’s a soothing type of thing,” Barakat said. “We wanted to incorporate what we do … bring (those things) to everybody.”

Development in The Grove has boomed in recent weeks. Beth Styles announced the arrival of her kitchen goods store, Lemon Gem, late last week, and Intoxicology co-owners Andy Foerstel and Melissa Pfeiffer are opening their spirits shop and bar supply store this fall.

The Weekend Project: Pita

Friday, August 26th, 2016



We don’t even want to move during St. Louis summers, much less spend hours over a hot stove or oven. Inspired by the cuisine of the sunny Mediterranean, these recipes for pitas and two refreshing dips revive you for exciting warm weather adventures. Simple tzatziki brings together the cool flavors of cucumber, mint and lemon with the tang of a good yogurt. If you are feeling ambitious, you can make your own yogurt, or get creative and change up the herbs with whatever looks good in the garden. Dill, chives and oregano all make interesting and savory variations.

The roasted eggplant-mushroom dip is also childlike in its simplicity but surprisingly filling. It is one of my favorite dishes to take to a party or have around for lunch on the go; make a lot because it never lasts long. This dish is also ripe for creativity. Try roasting other vegetables and adding them to the blend.

The Gameplan
Day 1: Prep the pita dough.
Day 2: Bake the pitas. Make the dips.

The Shopping List*
1 package yeast
4½ cups bread flour
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 cucumber
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh dill
5 to 7 cloves garlic
2 lemons
2 to 3 cups cubed eggplant
2 cups chopped mixed mushrooms
1 bunch fresh parsley
½ tsp. cumin

*This list assumes you have canola oil, olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those items, too.




Pita Bread
8 pitas

2 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 package (about 2½ tsp.) active dry yeast
4½ cups bread flour
2 tsp. kosher salt

Day 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook attachment, combine the water, oil and yeast. Let the yeast proof 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbles begin to form on the surface.
• With the mixer on medium speed, add 1 cup flour and mix thoroughly 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing each thoroughly before adding the next. Add the salt.
• Continue to knead the dough on medium-high speed 2 to 4 minutes, until it forms a ball on the hook and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with oiled plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
• Place a pizza stone or cookie sheet in a cold oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
• Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 3-ounce pieces.
• Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough into 1/8-thick circles. Let rise on the work surface 20 minutes.
• Working in batches if needed, use a large, heatproof spatula to slide the pitas onto the pizza stone. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until puffed and slightly brown but still soft. Repeat with the remaining pitas, if needed. Cover them with clean towel to keep warm until time to serve with dips.




3 cups

2 cups Greek yogurt or homemade yogurt
1 cup peeled, finely diced cucumber
¼ cup minced mint
¼ cup minced dill
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ tsp. kosher salt

• Day 2: Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt. Serve with pitas.


Roasted Eggplant-Mushroom Dip
3 cups

2 to 3 cups cubed eggplant
2¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
8 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cups chopped mixed mushrooms
2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 to 6 cloves raw or roasted garlic
¼ cup parsley, chopped
½ tsp. cumin
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

• Day 2: Cube the eggplant and toss in a colander with 2 teaspoons salt. Place the colander over a bowl and let the water drain from the eggplant, about 30 minutes.
• Place a large skillet over high heat until it just begins to smoke. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Working in batches, add a layer of eggplant and saute until browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and let cool. Add another 2 tablespoons canola oil and repeat with the remaining eggplant. Set aside and let cool.
• Working in batches, add 2 tablespoons canola oil and add a layer of mushrooms. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and saute until the release their water and are browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and let cool. Add another 2 tablespoons canola oil and repeat with the remaining mushrooms. Set aside and let cool.
• In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic, olive oil, parsley and cumin until combined. Add the eggplant, mushrooms, lemon juice and zest and pulse again until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pulse again to desired consistency. Serve with pitas.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Pomegranate-Coffee Tonic Shrub Cocktail at Sump

Friday, August 26th, 2016



There’s no guilt in a (nonalcoholic) morning cocktail, especially when Retreat Gastropub’s Tim Wiggins teams up with Sump Coffee for a Pomegranate-Coffee Tonic. The third coffee cocktail collaboration Wiggins has developed for the coffee shop this summer, this juicy, sweet-tart treat is made with fresh pomegranate juice, pomegranate syrup, dried hibiscus and Sump cold brew, served over Fever Tree tonic.

It’s a great introduction to the bold flavors of a coffee shrub cocktail, with a little less vinegar intensity than the previous two drinks (a Cascara Fizz and Honey Burundi Julep), and more refreshing sparkle from the tonic. Marrying the bright, floral sweetness of hibiscus-inflected pomegranate with the earthy, caramel depth of Sump coffee, each sip will call for another to figure out how this unlikely couple can work so well. Sump barista Connor Usry said it best: “It tastes like a chocolate covered pomegranate seed.”

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

Friday, August 26th, 2016

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

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