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Jan 28, 2015
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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The Scoop: Chris DiMercurio nabbed for exec chef position at HandleBar

January 28th, 2015

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{From Russia With Love, a flatbread of smoked salmon, greens, dill, creme fraiche, pickled onion and caviar by HandleBar’s new executive chef Chris DiMercurio}

 

In the last six months, keeping track of chef Chris DiMercurio’s whereabouts has been a bit like playing “Where’s Waldo?” DiMercurio, among the handful of chefs who launched Element, left that restaurant in the summer to work in the kitchen at Old Standard. By mid-November, he joined Cassy Vires at Home Wine Kitchen, but that stint was short, as the Maplewood restaurant closed at the end of 2014. So where’s DiMercurio now? HandleBar.

The new executive chef at HandleBar joined the culinary team at The Grove restaurant a little over a week ago, according to owner Tatyana Telnikova. “I needed somebody a little more fresh, passionate, professional and with a vision,” Telnikova said. “Chris really fits all of that. He’s talented, we get along well, and he’s easy to communicate with. He became available since Home Wine Kitchen closed, so I reached out to him.”

DiMercurio will work within the confines of HandleBar’s Russian-inspired fare, and Telnikova said she’s looking forward to what DiMercurio has to offer, particulary his creativity and experience with a farm-to-table style of cooking that relies on sourcing locally.

Currently, DiMercurio is experimenting with new dishes, many of which are landing in HandleBar’s menu as specials. “He made this flatbread called called from Russia with Love. It’s a spin on the restaurant’s redfish pizza, but prepared in a slightly different way and served with caviar on top,” Telnikova said. Another recent creation includes a creamed cauliflower soup with green apples, and DiMercurio has his eyes on building a Russian-inspired burger.

HandleBar will roll out a new menu in March. Besides a new bill of fare, patrons can expect a new cocktail menu that puts whiskey in the spotlight and a fresh look to the space. To prepare, HandleBar will close the last week of February to refinish its floors and give the bar a facelift. Doors reopen March 1.

The Scoop: Tiny Bar to open downtown in April

January 27th, 2015

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Downtown St. Louis will gain an itty bitty bar this spring. Tiny Bar will be set up a 250-square-foot shop in the lobby at 1008 Locust St. The bar, set to open in April, is a joint venture between Aaron Perlut (pictured), Andrew Barnett and Brian Cross of public relations firm Elasticity and the building’s owner Daniel Cook, as reported by St. Louis Business Journal. Elasticity is located on the third floor of the same building.

“It was a really instinctive decision in that Dan was trying to find a use for the space,” Perlut said. “We really wanted to create a very unique space that would complement what’s already downtown and serve high-quality beverages.”

True to its name, The Tiny Bar will seat just eight to 12 people, and Perlut said Tiny Bar will serve wine, five local craft beers on draft and top-shelf liquor and cocktails. We’ve been working with (co-owner) Ted Charack from Planter’s House to create a drink menu. We certainly won’t be relying on any of the (Elasticity) owners’ expertise for that stuff.”

 

 

Chef Grams: Behind the scenes with #STL chefs, bartenders, farmers and more

January 27th, 2015

We could scroll through Instagram all day, ogling food pics that make our mouths water and our stomachs growl. (We’ve even been known to share what we’re eating, drinking and cooking from time to time.) Some of your favorite St. Louis chefs, brewers, baristas, bartenders, farmers and more are sharing snaps of weird ingredients, funky creations and hilarious behind-the-scenes antics; here, some of our favorite moments shared this month.

 

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Row 1, from left: farmhausstl: Fishing in Venice, Louisiana | natehereford: 2015 mantra | vincentvandoughnut: Doughnuts win again

Row 2: karlweathers: Mmmmm hop rubbing..my hands: they sticky, but smell sooooo good. #ICBG | chef_cassy: Next week @junipereats … Fried bologna sandwiches. #jennyhead | bmansuniverse: This is what happens when someone doesn’t fill your bread into the walk in like you asked

Row 3: fernandezlisa25: It’s important on these cold days to take time to stretch and practice some poses to ensure optimal work. @joestein2 is towards the end of his day, so he is in corpse pose, and @annalee0712 is trying not to fall over. | hiroasiankitchen: HIRO Magic Situation #potstickers #hirostl #stl #stleats #stlfood #stlculinary #eatlocalstl #foodpics | suchandsuchfarm: Jive prefers his water straight from the tap #jiveturkey #turkey #farmlife

Row 4: fatt_samm: Perfect example of my killer decision making skills! #learnmylesson #itsnotaglasscaseofemotion #badbadbadbadbadchoice | schlaflybeer: Our friends throw amazing parties. So honored to be apart of it. #Wolpertinger | bolyardsmeat: Business in front, party in the back #minimeathead

 

Should your favorite chef be on this list? Share their behind-the-scenes Instagrams with #saucechefgrams and follow @SauceMag for delicious insider photos, too!

Meatless Mondays: Vegetarian Beef Stew

January 26th, 2015

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Meat-based stews can take hours of simmering to turn tough cuts into tender morsels. Vegetarian stews, on the other hand, can come together in less than an hour. Our Vegetarian Beef Stew is as filling as its inspiration, without all that time-consuming stew meat. Chunks of rutabaga, potatoes and carrots are simmered in tomato-based broth that holds surprising depth of flavor thanks to tomato paste, red wine and molasses. A pound of seitan adds more heft and stands in for the beefy texture, and frozen corn adds a pop of sweetness. Get the recipe here.

 

 -photo by Kristi Schiffman

The Scoop: The Wine Merchant prepares to move to larger location

January 26th, 2015

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After 20 years on South Hanley Road, The Wine Merchant will relocate just two blocks away at 7817 Forsyth Blvd., as reported by St. Louis Business Journal. Wine Merchant vice president Jason Main said plans to move the specialty shop first surfaced in spring 2014 when a developer approached shop management.

Rehab to the space, the former home of First National Bank, began in late fall. “There will be an amazing level of rehab,” Main said. “The interior will be mezzanine style. We’re getting a new computer system, a new wine rack and liquor cabinet. It will be the coolest wine shop in St. Louis.”

Other building improvements include two second-floor event spaces. Main said the rooms, which will seat about 30 people each, will be used for more frequent, enhanced classes, winemaker symposiums and private tastings. “People call up and want a class for eight people,” Main said. “The new space will mostly be able to accommodate that. We’re also talking about adding Sunday classes. We’re in uncharted territory. We’re going to take it slow and see what develops and what the public wants.”

While some elements are expanding, the shop’s extensive selection of wine and cheese will remain the same “We like to keep it seasonal,” he said. “All of our employees have tasted the wines, and … we taste everything before we buy it.”

Look for The Wine Merchant to move into its new building in late spring or early summer.

 

 

By the Book: Alice Medrich’s Ricotta Cheesecake with Chestnut Crust

January 24th, 2015

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Alice Medrich’s new book Flavor Flours poses an intriguing question: What if wheat flour didn’t exist? Though I’ve used almond flour for baking (and engaged in a brief foray with spelt), I haven’t delved deeply into non-wheat flours before. Still, I’ve had success with Medrich’s recipes in the past, and so I thought if anyone could walk me through the technicalities of coconut flour, rice flours and others, she could.

The book is divided into eight chapters discussing everything from oat flour to buckwheat and teff. I selected a stunning-looking ricotta cheesecake with a chestnut-flour crust. Of course, on the next page (after the beautiful photos) was this note: Patience Required. “I’ve never made a cheesecake that did not improve with at least a full 24 hours, if not 48 hours, of mellowing in the fridge before serving,” Medrich writes. This supposes the baker to possesses enough will power to not touch a cheesecake staring her in the face every time she opens the refrigerator. Patience should be called for up front, along with the springform cake pan, food processor and other special equipment.

 

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Tracking down the ingredients proved more difficult than the recipe itself. After several phone calls, my coworker wisely suggested trying DiGregorio’s Market on The Hill. After all, chestnut flour is often used in Italian desserts, she reminded me. Rice flour was an easier find; a bag of Bob’s Red Mill was quickly located at my neighborhood supermarket.

The dough for the crust comes together in a snap, though it looks much wetter than a typical tart dough. Molding it to the pan takes some work (sort of like spreading cold peanut butter), but keep at it and use a piece of plastic wrap and a water glass as Medrich suggests to get an even thickness.

 

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My patience was first tested during the parbake. My kitchen smelled like the fire-roasted chestnuts heralded in The Christmas Song, and I had to remember I was not allowed to eat the crust prior to pouring the thick, lemon-flecked ricotta filling. Back into the oven again, and then, against my better judgement, not into my mouth but into the refrigerator.

The final product was worth every agonizing minute. The buttery crust, nearly chocolate brown after two rounds in the oven, was deeply nutty and contrasted beautifully with the rich, savory ricotta studded with slivered almonds and pine nuts. Medrich’s brilliance came through for me once again, though I must confess: We only waited 24 hours, not her prescribed 48, before slicing. Everyone has their limits, after all.

 

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Alice Medrich’s Ricotta Cheesecake with Chestnut Crust
12 servings

For the crust:
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (115 g.) chestnut flour*
¼ cup (40 g.) white rice flour or 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. (40 g.) Thai white rice flour
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. (75 g.) sugar
Scant ½ tsp. salt
9 Tbsp. (130 g.) unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. (45 g.) cream cheese
1 egg yolk mixed with a pinch of salt and ½ tsp. water, for the egg wash

For the filling:
3 cups (665 g.) whole-milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup (150 g.) sugar
1 Tbsp. white rice flour
1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. chopped candied orange or lemon peel or golden raisins
2 Tbsp. slivered almonds, toasted
¼ cup (30 g.) pine nuts, toasted

Equipment:
Food processor fitted with the steel blade (optional)
9-by-3-inch springform pan or cheesecake pan with removable bottom
Baking sheet
Handheld mixer

• To make the crust by hand, put the chestnut flour, rice flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended. Add the butter chunks and cream cheese. Use a fork or the back of a large spoon to mash and mix the ingredients together until all are blended into a smooth, soft dough.
• To make the crust in a food processor, put the chestnut flour, rice flour, sugar, and salt in the food processor. Pulse to blend. Add the butter chunks and cream cheese. Pulse until the mixture forms a smooth, soft dough. Scrape the bowl and blend in any stray flour at the bottom of the bowl with your fingers.
• The dough may seem much softer than other tart doughs. Use the heel of your hand and then your fingers and/or a small offset spatula to spread the dough all over the bottom of the pan. Press it squarely into the corners of the pan with the side of your index finger to prevent extra thickness at the bottom edges, and press it as evenly as possible about halfway up the sides of the pan. Have patience; there is just enough dough (although you may not think so at first). If there is too much dough in one place (or hiding in the corners of the pan), pinch or scrape it off and move it elsewhere. Spread or smear it smooth with the spatula. Here’s a final trick for a perfectly even crust: Press a sheet of plastic wrap against the bottom and up the sides of the pan and lay a paper towel on top. Set a straight-sided flat-bottomed cup on the towel; press and slide the cup all over the bottom and around the sides to smooth and even the surface. Leave the plastic wrap in place. Refrigerate the pan for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight and up to 3 days.
• Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• Peel off the plastic wrap and place the pan on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, checking after 15 to 20 minutes. If the crust has puffed up on the bottom, press it back down carefully with the back of a fork. Continue baking until the crust is golden brown with darker edges. Remove the pan from the oven but leave the oven on. Brush the bottom and sides of the crust carefully with a thin coating of the egg wash. Return the pan to the oven for 2 minutes to set the egg wash. Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 20 minutes or until you are ready to finish the cake. The crust can be wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.
• Set the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
• To make the filling, beat the ricotta with the sugar, rice flour, and vanilla with the handheld mixer just until well blended. Beat in the eggs one by one, just until blended. Mix in the candied orange peel or raisins, the almonds, and pine nuts. Scrape the batter into the crust. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 (degree symbol) F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted about 2 inches form the edge of the pan comes out clean. The center should still be jiggly. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack before unmolding. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours (48 hours is even better) before serving. Leftovers keep, covered and refrigerated, for another few days.

*Chestnut flour is available at DiGregorio’s Market.

Reprinted with permission from Artisan Publishing

What’s your favorite non-wheat flour to work with and why? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Flavor Flours.

 

The Scoop: Tony’s to open casual downtown cafe, Tony’s A.M.

January 23rd, 2015

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{Vince Bommarito Jr.}

 

Tony’s Restaurant has relaxed its dress code, but if those nice tablecloths still intimidate you, you may feel more at home at the Bommarito family’s forthcoming casual cafe, Tony’s A.M., it’s opening mid-February at 10 S. Broadway, as reported by the St. Louis Business Journal, and will be located just down the street from the downtown icon of Italian cuisine. Tony’s A.M. will operate under the direction of Tony’s executive chef, Vince Bommarito Jr.

Hours will be 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and prices between $3 and $10 at the counter-service cafe, which will serve made-to-order breakfast and lunch, plus desserts by Tony’s pastry chef Helen Fletcher. Morning options will include breakfast sandwiches and pastries by Fletcher, while the lunch menu will feature hot and cold sandwiches made from fresh-roasted turkey, ham and roast beef, plus salads and three soups.

The new eatery won’t serve alcohol, but local roaster Chauvin Coffee will provide coffee service and craft a special blend for Tony’s A.M., which will also sell Chauvin beans.

Bommarito said wasn’t planning to open a morning restaurant, but he agreed to it when the building’s management company offered him the space. He anticipates the cafe will draw customers from the building’s other tenants, which include law and accounting firms, and which will gain around 200 new people next month when architecture firm HOK moves in.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

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

January 23rd, 2015

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

 
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WhiskeyAndSoba
Seafood charred rice at ‪@MaiLeeSTL tonight. The besssst!

nutritionemily
Why have I never made couscous before? Way better than quinoa

LVehlewald
Sitting w/ brilliant minds ‪@SugarFireSmoke ‪@saltandsmokestl ‪@PappySmokehouse sippin bourbon. For work. I’ve arrived.

KellieHynes
My salad spinner top just flew off mid-spin, hurling wet Romaine all over the floor & walls. That almost never happens w/ cheeseburgers.

citychickenstl
My man is crafting some amazing cocktails w/ celery bitters while I cook a pork dish that is pretty fantastic ‪#teamwork ‪#stouthouse

justicestlouis
Just realized I went the whole day without eating meat. Unless you count eggs. Or chicken.

schlaflybrewer
Tom Flood ‪@dankopman ‪@ottoatschlafly and I had a fab. lunch ‪@PeacemakerSTL last Friday; Total 91 years at ‪@Schlafly. pic.twitter.com/FejEQSKl0z

YatesStates
ATTN: Pork lovers
Don’t sleep on the Golden Pig cocktail ‪@tastebarSTL, pretty much tastes like sweet, boozy, rauch-y bacon fat.
Think you should be on this list? Follow us and let us know @saucemag

The Weekend Project: Bread & Butter

January 22nd, 2015

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A new year always heralds hope of new beginnings and personal improvement. We vow that this year, we’ll cook better: healthier and more often, tackling more projects and challenging ourselves in the kitchen.

Yet three weeks into January, we find ourselves losing resolve. Who has time to embark on ambitious cooking resolutions while juggling work, laundry, bills and the trials of everyday life?

Thankfully, the most impressive and satisfying kitchen creations are usually the most flexible. This month’s Weekend Project is simpler than it seems. Baking your own bread and even whipping your own butter requires just a few minutes of actual activity on your part. If you can stir ingredients together and exercise patience, you’ll have warm loaves of ciabatta and Kugelhopf (an eggy European loaf studded with bacon and onion) smeared with freshly whipped butter on the table by Sunday dinner.

Bread making, that ancient practice of bringing flour and salt to life with yeast and water, is such a basic task, but it is one that can produce great works of beauty and endless variations. Bread is also extremely forgiving. Don’t have the right type of flour? Use a different one. Don’t have exactly an hour to wait around for it to rise? No worries, just toss it in the refrigerator to rise slowly and return to it the next day.

Bottom line: No excuses, people! Here, four simple rules to ensure success with any yeast bread:

 

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Proof your yeast to determine if it’s alive. To do so, take a small amount of the liquid used in the bread recipe (usually water or milk) and warm it to 95 to 115 degrees. You want the liquid warm enough to activate the dormant yeast but not so hot that you kill it. Stir in the yeast granules, and if desired, add a tablespoon of flour, honey or sugar to feed further. Then, simply let the yeast wake up and get the bubbly party started!

After five to 10 minutes, the yeast should be foamy with bubbles and soft brown lumps on its surface. It may even produce a sweet fermented aroma. If nothing has happened after 10 minutes, throw the jar or packets out and buy a new jar, which will keep at least a year in the refrigerator or freezer.

(A quick note on yeast: For the following recipes, be sure to purchase yeast labeled “active dry yeast,” not the “rapid rise” or “bread machine type.”)

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Don’t panic if you can’t babysit your dough all afternoon. A longer rise simply allows the bread to take on a richer more complex set of flavors as the colonies of yeast continue to grow. If you decide to extend your rise, cover the dough with a greased piece of plastic wrap instead of a towel to prevent the top from drying out.

Dough can even be prepared the night before baking. Simply cover it with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This slows the yeast’s metabolism so it will rise more slowly. The next morning, let the dough return to room temperature about 30 minutes before you work with it.

Want to speed things up? Find a nice warm spot to let the dough rest, and it will double in size in just 30 to 45 minutes. And if you’re really rushed, yes, you can just bake the bread. You’ll be amazed at how much it rises simply from a trip to the oven.

 

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Salt is critical to great flavor; in fact, the dough should taste a bit salty before you bake it. Just be sure you don’t add the salt until the last addition of flour, as it will slow the yeast growth. You can even add salt while kneading the dough to give the yeast a headstart.

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Consider the recipe a guide to ingredient amounts, not dogma. After proofing the yeast and adding other enriching ingredients (eggs, flour, butter, etc.), add the flour one cup at a time, mixing continuously until you achieve lightly sticky consistence you can knead. Flour is sensitive to humidity, so the amount may change each time you bake. Use less flour for lighter, airier loaves; use generous amounts of heavier flours for denser, Eastern European-style bread.

 

The Game Plan
Day 1:
Make the compound butters. Make the starter (biga) for the ciabatta.
Day 2: Make the ciabatta. Make the Kugelhopf.

The Shopping List*
1 quart heavy cream
3 anchovies
3 cloves roasted garlic (DIY here)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme)
½ tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 scant Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. active dry yeast
7 to 9 cups bread flour
8 slices bacon
1 onion
5 eggs

*This list assumes you have kosher salt, all-purpose flour, vegetable oil, olive oil, milk, butter and freshly ground black pepper. If not, you will need to purchase those items, too.

 

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Anchovy Garlic Butter
Makes 1 cup

2 cups heavy cream
1-2 cups ice water (with ice cubes)
1 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. kosher salt
3 anchovies, finely minced
3 cloves roasted garlic, finely minced

Day 1: Pour the cream into a blender and whip on high speed until the fat solidifies into yellow butter and separates from the white liquid, 20 to 40 minutes, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
● Place a fine mesh sieve over a mixing bowl and line with cheesecloth or a clean linen towel. Pour the separated mixture through the sieve, collecting the buttermilk into the mixing bowl below. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze the butter to remove any additional liquid. Reserve the buttermilk for another use.
● Return the butter to the blender with the ice water. Wash the butter by blending 3 minutes, then pour the mixture through the strainer again, squeezing to remove any excess liquid. Discard the liquid.
● Place the butter into a mixing bowl and add the salt, anchovies and roasted garlic. Mix together until thoroughly combined. Store the butter, refrigerated, in an airtight jar up to 6 weeks or frozen 3 to 6 months.

 

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Herbed Butter
Makes 1 cup

2 cups heavy cream
1-2 cups ice water (with ice cubes)
1 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme)
½ tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest

Day 1: Pour the cream into a blender and whip on high speed until the fat solidifies into yellow butter and separates from the white liquid, 20 to 40 minutes, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
● Place a fine mesh sieve over a mixing bowl and line with cheesecloth or a clean linen towel. Pour the separated mixture through the sieve, collecting the buttermilk into the mixing bowl below. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze the butter to remove any additional liquid. Reserve the buttermilk for another use.
● Return the butter to the blender with the ice water. Wash the butter by blending 3 minutes, then pour the mixture through the strainer again, squeezing to remove any excess liquid. Discard the liquid.
● Place the butter into a mixing bowl and add the salt, herbs and garlic. Mix together until thoroughly combined. Store the butter, refrigerated, in an airtight jar up to 6 weeks or frozen 3 to 6 months.

 

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Ciabatta
Makes 2 loaves

1 tsp. dry active yeast, divided
1¼ cup warm water (95 to 115 degrees), divided
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing
2 cups bread flour
1½ tsp. kosher salt

Day 1: To make the biga, or starter, stir together ½ cup warm water and ½ teaspoon yeast in a small bowl and let sit 5 to 10 minutes until foamy. Add the all-purpose flour and mix thoroughly to create a small ball of dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight.
Day 2: Remove the biga from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
● Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, pour the remaining ¾ cup warm water and ½ teaspoon yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir together and let sit 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
● Add the biga, 1 cup bread flour and the olive oil and mix thoroughly with a large wooden spoon. Add the remaining 1 cup bread flour and the salt and mix again for 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will appear soupy. Cover with a clean towel or oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 1½ hours.
● Wipe down a clean surface with a damp towel and cover with piece of plastic wrap so it sticks to the wet surface. Dust the plastic wrap with all-purpose flour and scrape the dough onto the floured surface. Use floured hands to divide the dough into 2 halves. Form the dough into 2 10-by-4-inch rectangles.
● Lightly grease a sheet tray with olive oil. Pick up the sides of the plastic wrap and flip the loaves over onto the tray. Sprinkle the dough with more flour, then cover with a clean, floured kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place 1½ hours.
● Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the loaves 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust nut brown and the loaves sound hollow when knocked. Let cool on a breadboard or cooling rack.
● Serve with Herbed Butter or Anchovy Garlic Butter. Bread will keep, wrapped in plastic, 3 to 4 days or wrapped in paper, up to 1 week.

 

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Kugelhopf (Bacon and Onion Bread)
Makes 1 loaf

2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 scant Tbsp. dry active yeast
1¼ cups warm milk (95 to 115 degrees)
8 slices bacon, cut into ¼-inch lardons
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 cups bread flour
2/3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
5 eggs
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper, ground

Day 2: Generously coat a large mixing bowl and a bundt pan with 1 teaspoon each vegetable oil and set aside.
● In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the warm milk and let rest until bubble and foaming, 5 to 10 minutes.
● In a large steel or cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and translucent, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan while sauteing. Remove from heat and scrape the bacon, onions and rendered fat into a bowl to cool. Set aside.
● Add 1 cup flour to the proofed yeast and milk and mix thoroughly using a large wooden spoon about 1 minute. Add another 2 cups flour 1 cup at a time, stirring thoroughly between each addition.
● In small bowl, beat the eggs, then add them and the butter to the dough. Mix thoroughly, then add the salt and pepper and mix again. Add the remaining 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring thoroughly between each addition. Stir in the cooled bacon, onions and grease into the dough until incorporated.
● Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead 3 to 5 minutes until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the dough has a smooth, elastic surface. Place the dough in the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 45 to 60 minutes.
● Punch down the dough and move it to the bundt pan. Cover with the plastic wrap and let rise again until dough reaches the top of the pan, 45 to 60 minutes.
● Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the bread 40 to 45 minutes until the loaf is brown on the bottom and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn the bread out onto a breadboard or cooling rack to continue cooling.
● Serve with Herbed Butter or Anchovy Garlic Butter. Bread will keep, wrapped in plastic, 3 to 4 days or wrapped in paper, up to 1 week.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Drink This Weekend Edition: Charlie Chaplin and tea cocktails at Blank Space

January 22nd, 2015

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{The Charlie Chaplin at Blank Space}

If you dig the inside baseball of the drinking industry, chances are you’ve made your way over to Motown Mondays at Cherokee Street’s Blank Space. The slow-jam sesh at the visual and performing arts venue, according to owner Kaveh Razani, is a confab of the city’s drink-mixing minds and fertile ground for collusion, invention and hip-gyrating fun.

Seeking reinvention, Razani (whose brother Mazi Razani is a partner at Blueprint Coffee) recently called in an industry favor and consulted with cocktail guru Joel Clark at The Purple Martin nearby. The idea was to wed Blank Space’s estimable tea program and its liquor selection, the bottles of which have been gathering dust on a shelf.

“I’ve always wanted to do tea before I wanted to do liquor,” Razani said, explaining that whatever Blank Space is, its customers seldom view it as a drinking destination. He and Clark set out to change that.

“(Kaveh) said, ‘I want to make hot tea cocktails,’” Clark said. “I said, ‘I’ve never seen anybody do that. Let’s do it.’”

The result is a six-item roster of cocktails of a type you won’t find elsewhere in St. Louis, all of them are available hot or cold. Clark described the 20 hours of R&D that went into perfecting what essentially amounts to an ice-less, shaken cocktail. The necessary dilution that comes from ice now is provided by tea.

Clark had help from others – he lost his sense of smell after a seizure – and mixes drinks now using second opinions and a finely tuned sense of dead reckoning.

The spirits are mixed, shaken and strained before fresh hot tea is poured over the top. (Razani sources from the local ReTrailer mobile teamaker and San Francisco importer Vital Tea Leaf.) I tried the Charlie Chaplin – named for a tattoo on Clark’s forearm – a mix of apricot brandy, sloe gin, lime juice and sweet Drop It Like Its Hot hibiscus tea. Garnished with a floating lime wheel, the cocktail is a lovely shade of magenta, bracingly tart and warm all the way down. Also available is the toddy-like Brooklyn Cocktail, made with rye, dry vermouth, Maraschino liqueur, Fernet and mint tea.

You don’t have to wait until Motown Monday to drink the fruits of industry collaboration, mind you. Just be sure to get there this weekend, before the next great idea is conceived.

 

 

 

 

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