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Apr 24, 2014
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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Baked: Caramel Croissant Bread Pudding

April 23rd, 2014



This bread pudding will not be taken lightly. Stale croissants are smothered in caramel sauce blended with bourbon and infused with lapsang souchong, a variety of black tea available at The London Tea Room. It’s topped (twice) with chopped pecans and milk chocolate chips, then drizzled with maple syrup. The tea adds a smoky complexity to the caramel that’s almost akin to bacon (something I’ve considered adding next time – and there will be a next time). This bread pudding is not overly sweet, so serve it with maple syrup if you prefer it sweeter.

The whole thing is easily put together and can even be made the night before a great brunch. I can’t wait to make this again, this time served warm with some vanilla ice cream. Enjoy and happy baking!

Caramel Croissant Bread Pudding
4 to 6 Servings
Adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson

2 large day-old croissants
¾ cup milk
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
¼ cup lapsang souchong tea
¾ cup sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. bourbon (or vanilla extract)
Handful milk chocolate chips, divided
Handful toasted pecans, chopped, divided
Maple syrup or ice cream, to finish

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Tear the croissants into large chunks and place in a 9-inch pie pan or 8-inch square pan. Set aside.
• Bring the milk and cream to a simmer in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat until it almost reaches a boil. Stir in the tea, reduce heat to low and steep 5 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and steep another 10 minutes. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the tea-infused milk into a bowl and set aside. Discard the tea leaves.
• Swirl the sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water in a saucepan to help dissolve the sugar. Caramelize the mixture over medium to high heat until it turns a deep amber color, about 3 to 5 minutes.
• Remove the pan from the heat and add the tea-infused milk, whisking quickly to ensure the caramel doesn’t harden. (If it gets too thick, warm over low heat and stir until melted.) Set aside to cool slightly.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and bourbon. Then whisk the eggs into the warm caramel (Be sure the caramel is warm, not hot, or the eggs will cook.). Immediately pour the mixture over the croissants and let soak 10 minutes.
• Sprinkle with half the chocolate chips and pecans. Bake 20 minutes until bread pudding is set. Top with remaining chocolate chips and pecans. Serve warm with maple syrup or vanilla ice cream.

The List: Moll’s Cup No. 3 at The Good Pie

April 23rd, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.




At its most basic, Moll’s Cup No. 3 is a refreshing highball. Or, perhaps, a boozy fruit cocktail. But to us, it’s the epitome of what it means to be handcrafted. The cocktail gets its inspiration from a Pimm’s Cup, a British tippler that combines gin-based Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur with club soda or ginger ale plus lots and lots of fresh fruit. For his version, bartender Jeffrey Moll Jr. makes his own liqueur by flavoring bourbon with sweet Dubonnet, cinnamon and bitter orange peel; carbonates it with ginger-infused water and a house-made pastis; and bottles the cocktail in individual servings. Why bottle? When you order Moll’s Cup No. 3, Moll needs time for the final step: fashioning all that fruit into an edible work of art.

6665 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.899.9221, thegoodpiestl.com

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

6 Foodie Finds at St. Louis Earth Day

April 22nd, 2014



This year marks the 25th anniversary of St. Louis Earth Day Festival, which takes place Sunday, April 27. The day’s festivities kick off at 11 a.m. on The Muny grounds near the Pagoda in Forest Park. According to Earth Day Network, St. Louis Earth Day is now ranked the second largest such celebration in the nation. Along with the festival’s traditional focus on education, art, music, crafts and food, there are a few new foodies finds we’re excited for.

1. Come to the festival a day early for Earth Day Eve. At this family-friendly evening, find food, beer and music in the Earth Day Cafe area.

2. At this year’s festival, eight Green Dining Alliance members ­– Atomic Cowboy, The Dam, Handlebar, Lulu’s Local Eatery, Onesto Pizza & Trattoria, Traveling Tea, Urban Eats Cafe & Bakery and Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop – will offer their sustainable dining choices. These restaurants have been certified “green” for their commitment to reducing, recycling and composting restaurant waste; operating facilities with efficiency; and sourcing sustainable food, to-go ware and cleaning supplies.

3. Food vendors will not use high-fructose corn syrup, highly processed foods or transfats. All serving containers, cups and utensils will be either compostable or recyclable.

4. Reusable bamboo cutlery will be available for $15, so you can “reduce your forkprint” during the festival and all summer long.

5. Schlafly will serve an organic pale ale along with its usual favorites. All of its beer will be served in a souvenir cup that is reusable and recyclable, and it can be refilled at a discount.

6. Pick up your pre-ordered rain barrels from RainReserve, just in time for the spring gardening season at the festival’s Recycling Extravaganza. This is a collection event for hard-to-recycle items, including the DEA Medication Take-Back Initiative, carpet and “anything with a cord.” Check the take-back list here.

For more information about fun events and services happening during St. Louis Earth Day (Dog washing! Bike valets! Free shuttles!), visit its website.

-photo courtesy of St. Louis Earth Day

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of St. Louis Earth Day. Sara Graham is a Steering Committee Member of the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance.

By the Book: Amy Thielen’s Beet-Pickled Eggs with Hot Mustard Dust

April 22nd, 2014



I never really understood the definition of Midwestern cuisine, despite growing up in southwestern and southern Illinois. I knew and loved New England fare, Southern Sunday suppers and Tex-Mex combo platters. But hash browns, stuffed pork chops and grilled rib-eye? Those aren’t cuisine; they’re just dinner.

Amy Thielen’s The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes points out that I’m not the only one – Midwesterner or otherwise – to overlook these hearty regional dishes. “Over the years, so many dishes that originated in the Midwest have been flung into the world and reclaimed by everybody as just ‘American,’” Thielen writes. “And we’re fine with that, we really are.”   

Though her recipes hearken to regions of the Midwest a tad north of here (Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc.,), it’s understandable. She spent three years living in a blip of a Minnesota town with no electricity, foraging many of her ingredients in the surrounding woods. Still, many recipes like butter-basted walleye, baked fried chicken, “fancy” meatloaf with bacon and mushrooms, and Swedish pancakes rang true to many dishes I’ve seen for years on local mom-and-pop restaurant menus.


The book is divided into sections like dips, party food and drinks; lake fish; sides; potatoes and onions; projects; and early-day baking. Like any good St. Louisan, I immediately looked for St. Louis-style pizza (Thielen calls it Cracker-Crust Pizza, and though I didn’t seen Provel cheese on the ingredient list, she gets points for effort.), pork steaks (Barbecued Pork Butt Steaks), and toasted ravioli (nope). Still, two out of three is nothing to scoff at.


I made Thielen’s Beet-Pickled Eggs with Hot Mustard Dust for two reasons. First, the classic bar snack is a perfect example of all the foods I wouldn’t touch as a child: hard-boiled eggs, pickles and mustard. Second, my family had plenty of post-Easter hard-boiled eggs just begging to be pickled.




The recipe is pretty straightforward: make pickling liquid, hard-boil eggs, seal and refrigerate overnight. The hardest part was making my own honey Dijon mayonnaise, which was a snap in the food processor.




Thielen uses a beet to give the eggs their vibrant pink hue; unfortunately, she didn’t specify which variety. The beet I snagged from the grocery store turned out to be the striped kind, which, while beautiful to look at, didn’t have as much pigment as its red cousin. (I do chalk up this error somewhat to my ignorance of beet exteriors.)




Since I didn’t get to color eggs this Easter (and I can’t leave well enough alone), I consulted a recent Sauce blog post to see what other shades I could create using natural dyes. The post advised using purple cabbage water to create blue-green egg shells, so I made another batch of Thielen’s pickling liquid, subbing purple cabbage for the beet.




The next day, my striped beet eggs were a pale, salmon pink, and my purple cabbage eggs were, well, purple. Not exactly the colors I was going for, but they were still stunning. What’s more, the pickling left each bite spicy-sweet and addictive when smeared with a healthy dollop of that mustardy homemade mayonnaise. With so much flavor packed into one bite after just 24 hours, I can’t wait to see how intense they will taste this weekend – if they last that long.




Amy Thielen’s Beet-Pickled Eggs with Hot Mustard Dust
Makes 12 eggs

1 medium beet
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
5 small dried red chiles
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp. coriander seeds
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 eggs, preferably farm-fresh
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1½ Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

• Wash the beet, trim the ends and slice it into ½-inch thick rounds. Pour 3 cups water into a saucepan and add the beets, vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, chiles, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds and ¾ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat and let cool at room temperature. Pour the pickling liquid into a large storage container and chill it in the refrigerator.
• Set the eggs in a 2-quart saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the water to a gentle simmer, boil for 1 minute, remove from the heat and leave the eggs in the water for 8 minutes. Drain the eggs, crack the shells against the side of the pan and cover them with fresh cold water. Peel the eggs underwater and add them to the cold pickling liquid. Let steep in the pickling liquid in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 7 days.
• For the mayonnaise, pulverize the yellow mustard seeds in a spice-devoted coffee grinder until fine but not powdered. Set aside.
• In a food processor, combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water and buzz to combine. With the machine running, add the canola oil drop by drop until an emulsion forms, then add the rest of the canola oil and the olive oil in a very thin stream. Season with 4 teaspoons of the ground mustard seeds, the honey, the Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.
• To serve the pickled eggs, blot them dry on paper towels, cut each one in half, and set on a platter (a deviled egg platter if you have one). Drop a small spoonful of honey-mustard mayonnaise over the yolk of each egg, and sprinkle generously with the remaining hot mustard dust.

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter Publishers

What’s your favorite way to use up hard-boiled Easter eggs? Tell us about it in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of The New Midwestern Table.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Megan, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of The Homesick Texan’s Family Table. Megan, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

The List: Tim Nuell at Pastaria

April 22nd, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.


{Tim Nuell eats a plate of Bucatini All’ Amatriciana at Pastaria while chatting with Henry Mitchell and Evelyn Dick.}

Meet the best server in St. Louis: Pastaria’s Tim Nuell. With 15 years of restaurant experience, he knows his food, he knows his wine, and he knows how to read people. He’s casual with a drop of formality and friendly without being in your face. The best part about having Nuell as a server is that he makes me feel like every decision I make is the best idea he’s ever heard.

Me: “I’ll have the pistachio ravioli.”
Nuell: “Excellent choice.”
Me, to self: “Wow, that is an excellent choice.”

His secret to providing great service? “I really love what I’m doing. There’s no false pretense. Also, Gerard [Craft, Pastaria’s chef-owner] is so passionate about giving people a good experience and that rubs off on everyone.”

7743 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.6603, pastariastl.com

-photo by Laura Miller

The Scoop: Strange Donuts confirms second location in Kirkwood

April 21st, 2014


Kirkwood is about to get a little stranger. Strange Donuts co-owner Corey Smale confirmed that its mysterious second location will open at 107½ E. Argonne Drive, in Kirkwood, as reported by Real/TimeSTL and Feast.

The popular Maplewood doughnut shop, known for unique flavor collaborations with local chefs, announced its second shop in March. Since then, rumors of its location have flown around Twitter. Smale initially intended to keep the address hidden until opening day, but now that the secret is out, he spoke highly of Strange Donuts’ new home.

“When we came to Maplewood, we were very lucky in the sense that we were welcomed into a community that is very supportive of small businesses,” he said. “Kirkwood was the right opportunity at the time … The space was right and the community over there is really strong and they are pro small business.” Smale plans to open doors in Kirkwood sometime in July.

-photo courtesy of strangedonuts.tumblr.com

Meatless Monday: Gringo’s Vegetarian Tacos

April 21st, 2014


Vegetarian options abound at Gringo, which makes it the perfect destination for a Meatless Monday meal. Bonus: Its two vegetarian tacos are also vegan.

The tofu taco uses local MOFU tofu marinaded with poblano peppers and is seared to a charred, crisp exterior. The taco is topped with a spicy sauce made with toasted nuts, chiles and garlic, and finished with a sweet, crunchy mango-jicama salsa. It’s a delicious balance of savory-sweet heat. The calabaza con hongos taco is a mellower a mix of yellow squash, zucchini and Ozark Forest mushrooms.




If you’re dining at Gringo, don’t miss the table-side guacamole, which has a spicy kick from jalapenos and poblano peppers. It goes well on everything at Gringo, from tortilla chips to tacos to chilaquiles (pictured), which are great to share with vegetarian friends.


The List: Pulled Chicken Sandwich at Windowsills Cafe & Marketplace

April 21st, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.



Sandwiched between a Dierbergs and a salon in an Ellisville strip mall is the humble yet hardly forgettable Windowsills Cafe & Marketplace. Step inside this cute counter-service cafe, and order its pulled chicken sandwich with Alabama white sauce. Smoked, hand-pulled chicken is piled on a house-made kaiser bun with lettuce and tomato and drizzled with white barbecue sauce that’s like a mayonnaise dressing with an acidic kick. It’s simple but delicious. While you’re there, don’t forget to leave room for every dessert ending in the word “pie.”

1326 Clarkson/Clayton Center, Ellisville, 636.527.6400, windowsillscafe.com


-photo by Carmen Troesser

Drink This Weekend Edition: Hoppy Spring at iTap

April 18th, 2014


Spring finally looks as though like it’s here to stay. Celebrate its arrival Saturday at International Tap House‘s Hoppy Spring. Beginning at noon, iTap’s locations in Chesterfield, Central West End and Soulard offer up a variety of hoppy libations, including some on cask.

Cask beer has a gentler carbonation level and usually shows a more complex flavor and aromatic profile. Many beers will be available at all locations, but some are specific to each bar. Odds are you won’t safely be able to make it to all three bars in one day, so I’ve tapped a must-try pick from each.

iTap Central West End: Charleville Brewing‘s Ale Mucho Hoppo on cask

A medium-bodied Imperial IPA, Ale Mucho Hoppo weighs in at 9 percent and is a hazy orange color. Upon smelling this beer, you’ll definitely pick up citrus fruit and herbal notes. Serving this on cask nicely rounds out the mouth feel. The earthy, sweeter notes balance out the intensity of the hops. The best part about this beer is that even at 9 percent, it doesn’t come across boozy.

iTap Chesterfield: 2nd Shift Brewing‘s Brew Cocky on cask

I really can’t say enough about the IPAs 2nd Shift puts out, and Brew Cocky is one of its best. This Imperial IPA is a sneaky 9.5 percent thing of beauty. With big aromas of pineapple, grapefruit and mango, along with some caramel sweetness, this one begs you to drink it. Served on cask, the softer carbonation brings out slightly more bitter grapefruit notes and some pine resin.

iTap Soulard: 4 Hands’ Brewing Co.‘s Contact High on cask

Leading the charge as one of my favorite spring releases is Contact High. A 5 percent, hopped-up wheat beer, this one is accessible to both IPA lovers and those who don’t like over-the-top hops. This is not your typical wheat beer. Brewed with orange zest and just the right amount of hops, it’s a citrus lover’s dream.

DIY Easter Egg Dyes

April 18th, 2014



Have you ever noticed most Easter treats take something from nature and make it, well, a little unnatural? Chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, jelly beans and eggs that are either plastic, creme-filled or dyed bright blue … not exactly how Mother Nature intended.

This year, add a little natural back to your Easter festivities with natural egg dyes. Local Harvest Café and Catering shared few tips on how to color eggs using plant-based ingredients easily found in most kitchen.

“It’s a fun thing to see that you can create your own colors,” said Local Harvest owner Maddie Earnest. “It’s a neat thing for the kids to see, and the grown-ups will have fun, too.”

So before you gnaw the ears off your chocolate bunny or count your jelly beans as a vegetable, have some fun with these DIY dyes. Follow the instructions below, or click here for a handy printout from Local Harvest’s Lisa Carrico.

Naturally Dyed Eggs
For pink: 1 cup beet water and 1 Tbsp. vinegar
For blue-purple: ½ cup frozen blueberries, thawed and smashed, and 2 Tbsp. vinegar
For red: 1 cup red onion skin water and 1 Tbsp. vinegar
For yellow: 1 cup warm water, 1½ Tbsp. tumeric and 1 Tbsp. vinegar
For orange: 1 cup yellow onion skin water and 1 Tbsp. vinegar
For blue-green: 1 cup purple cabbage water and 1 Tbsp. vinegar

• Hard-boil eggs at least 1 week old and let cool completely.
For blue-purple and yellow only: Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add 2 to 4 cups  chopped dye material and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, 15 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain the dye into a small, deep container.
• For each color, fill a small, deep container with the chosen dye. Submerge the hard-boiled eggs in liquid and refrigerate, checking occasionally until the desired color is achieved.
• When the egg reaches the correct shade, gently lift it from the dye and place it on a wire rack to dry. (The color will not set until the eggs are completely dry.) Colored eggs will keep in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

 -photo courtesy of Lisa Carrico


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