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Jan 21, 2018
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘June 2016’

Make This: Strawberry-Cucumber Salad

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

MakeThis_Jun16

 

Perfect for a summer brunch or as a steak dinner side, this salad’s sweet-tart dressing complements the berries and cucumber like a string of pearls with a seersucker sundress. In a medium bowl, combine 1 pint thinly sliced strawberries, 1 peeled and thinly sliced English cucumber and ½ cup chiffonaded basil. In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup creme fraiche*, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon honey and ½ teaspoon lemon zest. Drizzle the dressing over each salad and top with ¼ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts, evenly divided among the salads.

*To make your own creme fraiche, combine 1 cup cream and 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a glass jar. Cover and store in a warm spot 8 to 24 hours, or until thickened. Refrigerate and use within 12 days.

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

What I Do: Reine Bayoc of SweetArt

Monday, June 13th, 2016

WhatIDo_Jun16

 
Step inside SweetArt during a bustling Saturday afternoon, and you’ll find it hard to believe co-owners Reine and Cbabi Bayoc had never worked in a restaurant when they opened in 2008. Cheerful staff pipe frosting onto mini cupcakes and prep vegetables behind the counter while they chat with regulars. Others dine at a community table, surrounded by Cbabi Bayoc’s colorful, family-focused artwork. The Bayocs’ recipe for success: hard work, relentless optimism and a vegan menu that delights omnivores and herbivores alike. Here, Reine Bayoc shares her thoughts on baked goods, honest conversation and serving more than great cupcakes.

 

Starting out
“It worked in the beginning because it had to. We spent all our money to open this, and we didn’t take out a loan. We had three kids and a couple hundred dollars left. When you’re in that sort of do-or-die situation, you do. So we did.”

On vegetarian and vegan food
“We don’t put out anything unless it tastes delicious. It’s not one of those ‘It’s delicious – for vegan.’ It has to be delicious, period.”

Mom’s buttermilk biscuits
“On Saturdays we have these biscuits … that remind me of my mother’s biscuits, and they are the best baked good in the shop. … I’ve had people come in and say, ‘This is better than Popeye’s!’ And look, to black people, when you come in and say a biscuit is better than Popeye’s – what? That is a spectacular biscuit.”

Beyond sweets
“It’s so not about cupcakes and cookies. People come here (when) they could go anywhere and they come here for a reason. … That’s the energy that we are trying to create. Everyone has a day; some people have really long days. Everyone has a life, and some people have really hard lives, and they come here to release a little bit.

Fostering dialogue
“We have people from all walks of life and all nationalities and ethnicities who feel comfortable (here). And I don’t know how that happens. I don’t know if it’s the art, I don’t know if it’s (the) cupcakes, I don’t know if it’s the staff, but they come and they feel safe, so I feel like that made it easier for us to have those open dialogues (about) racial issues.”

Pursuit of perfection
“Everything evolves. Even our traditional baked goods evolve. I’ve changed probably 90 percent of our recipes in the last year. I’m constantly pushing it just a little bit further.”

On confidence
“In the beginning I questioned myself so much because I didn’t go to culinary school. (I thought), ‘Oh, but I’ve worked really hard and I think I’m good at this and people seem to like it.’ … Now there is no ego in this. I come in, I put on my apron, I get to work, and I don’t question myself. If I think it’s good, it’s good.”

 

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Meals That Changed My Life: Christy Augustin

Monday, June 6th, 2016

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Like a free dessert on your birthday, meals sometimes come with an unexpected extra. Pint Size Bakery co-owner Christy Augustin’s most memorable dining experiences came with a complimentary side of “Aha!” From staring down sprinkle cookies in Granite City to wiggling her toes in the warm Key West sand, here are the meals that changed her life.

 

Mrs. Siebold’s Bakery, Wood River, childhood
“The sprinkle cookies were (what) I had to have, always. Every time we’d go in, I’d stare at the case, eye-level with the cookies, and I had to have one. They were the one thing I knew we had to have at Pint Size. That memory of the smell of the bakery and the enjoyment and excitement – I love that. Mrs. Siebold’s is gone now, but I see it as part of Pint Size’s mission to carry on the old-fashioned bakery that welcomes children and makes things for kids or the kid in you.”

Chez Panisse Café, Berkeley, California, 1999
“It is the first time I remember being awakened by flavor. At that time, California cuisine was still getting out there in the world. (My husband Matt and I) had a lasagna that was just sliced tomatoes, pesto and cheese with fresh pasta, and the dessert was an apple or pear lightly cooked with a light syrup. Before I just ate to feed myself, not really for the enjoyment. And I had never thought much about where my food comes from, but here it was part of the conversation, and was even printed on the menus. It completely changed my perspective.”

Blue Heaven, Key West, Florida, 2002
“My husband and I eloped on a sailboat in Key West, and we went that night to a restaurant called Blue Heaven. It wasn’t anything fancy, but there was a swing in a tree and my feet were in the sand and we ate shrimp and crab and Key lime pie. That meal was the start of my life moving forward instead of being a kid and just doing whatever pleased me. I don’t remember much about the food, but it was making a conscious decision that my life was going to mean something.”

Home, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2004
“When Julia Child died, (my friends and I) did an homage to her. We were trying to cook this elaborate meal in her honor using what was seasonal. We made this torte with layers of ham and cheese and peppers and spinach wrapped in puff pastry. We made coq au vin and green beans amandine. Somebody brought profiteroles and we had chocolate mousse and a savory crab soufflé. We thought we were all so fancy. It was the pinnacle of our friendship.”

 

-illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

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