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Andrew Veety
Interests: Architecture, Biking, Beer Culture, Cigars, Cooking, Drumming, Environmental Issues, Grilling, Green Technology, History, Homebrewing, Investing, Photography, Pizza Making, Politics, Sandwiches, Science, Slow Food, St. Louis, Technology
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Hi Andris My friend Jonathan is a great photographer, I'm lucky that he works for pizza. That pepperoni pie had a mix of mushrooms (portobello, oyster, shiitake). The cheese is ball mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano. Little bit of olive oil and cracked red pepper. These were the 2nd and 3rd pies I've baked on the steel. Looking forward to making more. Cheers. amv
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2012 on First Look At The Baking Steel at Andrew Mark Veety
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I've been making pizzas at home for a really long time. To be honest, I thought my pizzas were pretty good. I enjoyed throwing down all kinds of pizza styles; thin crust, Neapolitan, pizza bianca, pies with dough made with fall honey, and even deep dish Chicago styles. However, I never really thought my pizzas were great, no matter how quickly they got eaten. It's pizza after all. In the persuit of great pizza, I've bought all kinds of tools for making pies at home, from stones in all shapes and sizes to an interesting mod to a Weber Kettle Grill called the KettlePizza; a tool that has potential, but is difficult to use. Recently I saw a review of a new product called the Baking Steel on the pizza-centric site Slice, and the results Kenji Lopez-Alt was getting in his home oven was enough to motivate me to contribute to a Kickstarter Campaign the makers of the Baking Steel were holding (now closed) to get my hands on a half inch thick model, a massive slab of steel that weighs in at 30 pounds. The idea behind the Baking Steel originates from a mention in the epic cookbook set Modernist Cuisine, where it was suggested that a baking pizzas at home on a slab of metal would produce a superior product to pizzas baked on stone. It makes sense if you think about it. Stone heated by fire in a wood oven does an amazing job baking pies, because of the temperatures - ranging from 600 to 900 degrees - they are able to reach. A home oven though will typically max out around 500, so while a stone in your oven might turn out a decent pizza, you will be hard pressed to replicate the product that a wood fired oven will produce. Swapping out your stone for metal - in this case steel - ups the firepower (or more specifically energy in the form of heat) a home pizza maker can direct at their pies. So far, my experience with the switch from stone to steel has been excellent. My pies are baking 25% faster. Thes have crisper and well chared collars and skirts, and are approaching the chewy texture that I've been trying to create at home for years. Truth be told, I'm nowhere near the end of my experiment with the Baking Stone, but I think enough of the product so far to say, if you want to make better pizzas at home, it's worth looking into. Check out these photos of some recent pies I baked on a Baking Steel, provided by Jonathan Pollack. The proof, it would seem, is in the pizza: I received no compensation or consideration for this post. This is not intended to be an advertisement. I just love great pizza. When I find a tool that helps me make great pizza, I want other folks to know about it. If you have used the Baking Steel, tell me about it in the comments section of this post. I've love to hear from you. Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2012 at Andrew Mark Veety
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Every once in a while a friend finds themselves outside of the cozy confines of St. Louis and on the trail of a burger that the parishioners of the Church of Burger (juicy, salty, and exquisitely charred be thy name) need to know about. My friend Matthew Ward (a gentleman of the finest order, collector of diverse tallents and interests - and most importantly - purveyor of tasty adult beverages for StewedSTL) recently found himself back in his home state of Texas, digging into one of the finest burgers in the Lone Star State. He reports: I was recently visiting a friend in Dallas, when our discussion turned to plans for Sunday brunch. His first suggestion was a cozy, long-lived neighborhood wine bar/bistro nearby (in the hip Lower Greenville area): the Grape. And—oh yeah, he mentioned—they have the best burger in Texas. Texas, monthly Texas Montly, the self-proclaimed “national magazine of Texas” covers life, politics, and culture in the state. While there’s much to recommend the publication, particularly if you are a current or former Texan (and I do fall in the latter group), the magazine’s always meant one thing to me: Barbecue. The magazine is famous for its yearly list of the top 50 barbecue joints in Texas. Texas is a (self-evidently) a big state, and it’s a state that takes the cuisine of barbecue seriously, so Texas Monthly’s list represents the crème de la crème of the state’s unique barbecue heritage. Thus it was that when Texas Monthly in 2009 decided to establish a definitive list of the best of another Texas favorite, the hamburger (paywalled; sorry), I took notice—burgers being, if not at the top of my list of favorite foods, certainly in my personal top five[1]. The Grape But that was several years ago, and, although if you had asked me what the best burger in Texas was, I would have probably remembered that it belonged to a Dallas bistro, the subject hadn’t crossed my mind in some time. Having been reminded of this, I quickly made my preference for a visit to the Grape known, texted Andrew to let him know the opportunity I had before me to honor the Church of Burger, and set my heart on the #1 burger in Texas. It was quickly established that, given the lack of parking in the neighborhood, a half-mile walk on a warm Texas September afternoon was the most effective way to reach our destination. I had twisted my ankle a few days prior due to a literal misstep, but for the best burger in Texas, I decided it was worth my while to man up. As I mentioned, the Grape is cozy. There’s probably not much need to dwell on the place, but I’ll mention that I ordered a glass of Côtes du Rhône (in retrospect, something big and Californian might have been a better fit), and quickly claimed my burger. I’ll also note that I was very impressed with service at the Grape, which was friendly and efficient. My needs were generally anticipated and met with no effort on my part. The staff didn’t have the creepy, ninja-like manner of some high-end restaurants, but it was the kind of service that’s so good that you only realize it in retrospect. Burger architecture The burger in question is the Grape’s “Classic Cheeseburger”[2]. At the time of the publication of Texas Monthly’s list, the burger was only available as part of the restaurant’s Sunday brunch menu; thanks to the media attention, it’s now also available for Sunday and Monday dinner[3], and listed prominently as “‘Best Burger in Texas’ —Texas Monthly”, with the “classic cheeseburger” designation listed in smaller type below. The burger arrived partially open-faced. Here are the burger’s constituent elements[4], starting from the bottom: the lower portion of the burger’s pain au lait bun house dijonnaise 10 oz., house-ground chuck-eye Vermont white cheddar house-cured peppered bacon the upper portion of the bun, askew Salad stuff was piled to the side: Texas hydroponic Bibb lettuce Lemley tomato Red onion Nathan’s half-sour horseradish pickles This is the Church of Burger, not the Church of Fries, but the accompanying fries bear mention: I thought they were pretty much perfect. They were clearly fresh cut, in a size that gave the perfect balance of golden crisp fried outside and warm, soft potato inside. The outside was fried to a wonderful crisp (perhaps double-fried?). So far, so good. Eating I grabbed the lettuce and tomato and assembled the burger (eschewing the onion as a matter of personal taste), noting that the lower portion of the bun already seemed soaked with burger runoff and dijonaise. I gave the whole assembly a squeeze to compact it to the point that I could take a good first bite, and laid into the thing. The best thing about the burger was its juiciness. The meat was clearly high quality, with a good, natural beefiness, but it was by no means lean. Between that, the natural juiciness of the perfect medium rare to which the burger was cooked (just as I requested), the dijonaise, and the extra fat of the melted cheddar, I was thankful for the availability of a stout, cloth napkin. In St. Louis terms, I found it somewhere between the classy restraint of the Five burger, and the joyful, fatty hedonism of the Home Wine Kitchen cheeseburger. Most of the rest of the elements played second fiddle to that wonderful juiciness. The bun (at least the top part) was firm enough to stand up to the mass of burger, but not crusty, and had a pleasant sweetness. The dijonnaise mainly offered texture; I didn’t notice much mustardy sharpness. The bacon and cheese added some needed saltiness, the tomato a burst of acidity, and the perfectly-sized lettuce leaves a freshness that cut through the fat. The pickles, though, managed to stand out, adding useful elements of sweet, sour, and horse radish sharpness. I had some complaints, though. In particular, the beef struck me... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2012 at Andrew Mark Veety
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It's been a while since my last ramen post, and in that time I've not only learned a fair amount about noodles, I've made and eaten countless variations of the dish. However, I had yet to try my hand at making tonkotsu - pork bone broth - ramen, until recently. This was by far the hardest broth I've ever attempted at home, and while it was far from perfect, I was glad I gave it a go. I started with 4 pounds of sectioned pig trotter and 2 pounds of pork neck, cuts that would expose a decent amount of bone and marrow during the 16 hour boil needed to prepare a tonkotsu broth. To this base I added smoked pork belly, garlic, and chard leeks, onions and ginger. I boiled, and boiled, and boiled these ingredients until a 20 quart stock pot contained 3 quarts of the milky, yellow broth you see above. Combined with dashi, sea salt, a bit of soy and chili oil, this broth was tasty, but in my option it far from anything I'd call authentic tonkotsu. There is work to do here for sure. To top some fresh ramen noodles I picked up in the refrigerator section of a local Asian market I added thick slices of pork belly that I rubbed in Chinese 5 spice powder and brushed with char sui sauce, quick pickled shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, and a soft boiled egg. Many thanks to Jonathan Pollack for the photos. Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2012 at Andrew Mark Veety
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I had a chance to smoke a few pork shoulders over the weekend for my son's 3rd birthday party. The highlight for me was a chance to play with root beer as the base of a brine for the pork. To start I diluted root beer by half and then added whole cinnamon sticks, coriander seed, black and white peppercorns and whole allspice. After the brine I made a really nice rub for the shoulders that would complement the flavor of root beer without overshadowing it. I went light on the salt and brown sugar - the shoulders got that from the brine - and added black and while pepper, chili powder, fennel, oregano, cumin, these great dehydrated red and green peppers that I pulverized in a spice grinder, onion powder and finally garlic powder. I smoked these shoulders over apple and pecan for about 10 hours, then rested them for an hour and a half before pulling the pork into strips of moist meat and larger chunks. Many thanks to Jonathan Pollack for the photos, they look as good as this pork tasted. Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2012 at Andrew Mark Veety
Thanks for stopping by to check out our race site, if you plan on day of registration, please keep in mind that we can only accommodate around 100 riders. We had 70 riders pre-register. This means we have 30 slots open. Let's fill them, but keep in mind that once... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2011 at Tour de Moose
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Hello again, fellow Tour de Moosers. It’s that time of year again; time to laugh with your friends, feel the wind in your hair, have some delicious beverages, and celebrate the 1st anniversary of Moose’s 40th birthday. By now, you probably are familiar with these sweet faces. If you need... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2011 at Tour de Moose
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I recently had the chance to cover the 2011 Hamburger Hop - a burger showdown hosted by Bon Appetit in Chicago - for St. Louis Magazine. True, there were 17 burgers to try that night, but I also made time for lunch at Blackbird, a really early dinner at Avec and several coffees from Intelligentsia. Anyway, enough about my gluttonous day in Chicago, check out my take on the event and pictures from this massive burger event that took place on the roof of the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Chicago Skyline Surrounding Millennium Park, Judges Table, Tent Brisket Burger by Ryan Kikkert, Benny's "Double Double" Burger by Benny's Chop House, Prep at the Rosebud Steakhouse booth. Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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There is no getting around it; I’ve really neglected this site in the past few months. As I have a gap between projects, I figure today is as good as any to share what I’ve been up to and what I have planned for the rest of the year. The Personal: At the peak of this summer’s heat I shaved my beard, to lackluster reviews from friends, my son and my wife. Therefore this summer I grew a beard, providing comfort and solace to all who know me. My apologies to those who were taken aback by my shaven visage, rest assured I didn’t want you to see my gobbler - heretofore known as my “second” and “third” chin – I was honestly tired of sweating and looking to do something about it. Hopefully we can forget this happened until next summer, when I decide to shave it off again. My son recently turned two and is justifiably taking up more of my personal time. While I am a dad and a blogger, this is not a “daddy blog” so when I’m busy with my son, I’m usually not creating content for this site. My wife has been busy running her interior design business, and besides being supportive of her, I’m exceedingly proud. This summer she completed one space, is putting the finishing touches on two kitchens and was rehired by an existing client to redesign their living room, bedrooms and bathrooms. She also spent two months designing the space and hand-made all the decorations for this year’s Art of Food, a yearly fundraiser for our chapter of Slow Food. Personally I thought the space looked as great as the food and I’m really happy we got the chance to participate. All in all, our family is a busy one. Lastly, with it being fall, I’m back to my regular job helping to organize the Tour de Moose, a biking pub crawl in its seventh year. It goes without saying that if you are in St. Louis; I think you should register to ride in it. The Podcast: Along with my co-hosts, we’ve completed seven episodes of StewedSTL, a podcast we started to document the food and drink scene in St. Louis. Truth be told, it is so much easier to talk for 90 minutes than write, so much of my blogging energy finds its way on the show. Hopefully you have gotten a chance to check Stewed out. Past episodes included interviews with Evan Benn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Adam Tilford of Milagro Modern Mexican, Eric Scholle from Farmhaus and Ian Froeb from the Riverfront Times. With respect to each of our guests, each show we’ve done has been great, but the show with Ian has been my personal favorite to date. Please check it out if you are looking for someplace to start listening. What I've Been Up To: The Church of Burger project opened the door to multiple writing opportunities that I’m still working though and on. This fall I’ll be on assignment (and traveling) for St. Louis Magazine’s on-line blog Relish and I’ll have two pieces in an upcoming issue of Feast Magazine. Also, I was asked to judge a hot wing competion, which was an awesome (and hot) experience. Lastly I’ve got a few more projects in the planning stage that I’m pretty excited about as well. Details hopefully to follow. So What About This Blog? True, my posts have become less frequent; however I have no intention of abandoning this site. I will readily admit that I’m having trouble figuring out how to make it fit into all the things I have going on – without it becoming a collection of links to work I’m doing in other places. I spent 2010 writing about restaurants – mostly burgers – and I wanted to roll that momentum into a new topic, pizza. The idea didn’t work the way I envisioned and I ended up wandering away from project. At the same time I found myself writing more about cooking, which is where this blog started back in 2008. While I’m sure I’ll continue to write about the food that I make at home, I don’t want to have a blog dedicated to it. My goal is to rehab what this site “is” and how I’ll use it to complement all the other things I have going on, with content that is strong enough to stand on its own. After all, without trying to do good work here, in my own space, I’d never have had the chance to do good work for others. And there friends, is the rub. I know I have to do something; I’m just not sure what that something is. I do know that the day I feel like I’m tossing a bunch of shit up here for the sake of posting something is the day I should probably shut it down. Thankfully, this is not that day. More to follow, I hope you check back in. Cheers. amv Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
Howdy. Moose has been busy planning this year's Tour de Moose. It's gonna be great. Stay tuned for more details and registration. Until the, check out this video of awesome things happening on and around bikes. Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2011 at Tour de Moose
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UPDATE: Congratulations to Scott Ferguson! Evan and I selected your submission as the winner of the "Brew In The Lou" contest. Thanks to everyone for the entries. Hey St. Louis, Craft Beer Week runs from July 30th - August 7th with meet ups, tastings, dinners and beer releases that celebrate the past, present and future of craft brewing in our fair city. This year's events were pulled together though the efforts of people and businesses here in town, touching all the corners of our great craft beer community. Their work to pull off this special week is a tribute to the great culture of brewing and beer we have here in St. Louis. I hope you get out and check out as many events as you can. To get in the spirit of the week, I've arranged to give away an autographed copy of "Brew In The Lou" by St. Louis Post-Dispatch beer columist Evan Benn. The theme for for this contest is "Person, Place and Pint". Evan and I are looking to hear from you about the moment when a craft beer changed your perspective on the beer that you drink. Contest Details: This contest is for a copy of "Brew In The Lou", written and autographed by Evan Benn. This contest will run from from 12:00PM CST on July 28th to 12:00PM CST on August 4th. Submissions will only be accepted from the comments section of this post. Your entry must include your story, your name and a valid email address. Only one submission will be accepted per person. Evan and I will select and announce a winner from the submissions received on August 5th. To learn more about Evan's book, check out a great interview my friend and fellow StewedSTL co-host Mike Sweeney from STLHops did with Evan. Best of luck! Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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If you are like me, you can mark out the boundaries of the phases in your life with packages of instant ramen. When I was young and poor, instant ramen was a source of cheap calories, a meal that fit into a budget centered more around the procurement of twelve packs and drum sticks than nutrition. My ramen intake centered on packets of Maruchan brand instant ramen, bought by the case for less than a few dollars and stashed into "my" cabinet in a kitchen shared with three other people and the bands that floated in and out of our basement studio. When I was young and not so poor, instant ramen was a source of quick calories that fit a schedule centered around long work days and commutes that consisted of walking, buses and subways. For stowing lunch and dinners away in messenger bags and desk drawers, my ramen preference became noodles in styrofoam cups. The all-in-one package was easy and quick, cleanup consisted of rinsing off a pair of cheap chop sticks in the water fountain down the hall from my cube before tossing them back into a drawer for another day. Now I am older and more middle class than I'd like to admit. As such, instant ramen has not been a part of my life beyond quick moments of recall when I happen to catch that scene in Elf when a poor Zooey Deschanel tucks into a bowl after a day's work. For me, Deschanel captures the visage of "every person," at the beginning of the journey twoard whom they will eventually become, sitting in the same position in front of the tv, in the same secondhand chair with a blanket tossed over the back to hide tears and stains in its well worn fabric, the same bowl of instant noodles doing its level best to compensate for a diet that's been missing since you've moved out of your parents' home. I've been thinking about noodles since issue one of Lucky Peach, a new quarterly magazine from David Chang, made its way into my mailbox. From front to back, the issue is all about ramen. Actual ramen, found in small, out-of-the-way noodle joints. Bowls of ramen served in cities to far away for even my lunch hour because sadly, there are few, if any authentic bowls of ramen to be found in St. Louis. Sandwiched in the middle of the ramen issue of Lucky Peach is an article by by Ruth Reichl called "Instant Ramen Showdown", a quick-and-dirty analysis of the best of the best when it comes to packaged ramen noodles. Reichl's piece got me thinking about instant ramen and I set out to do my own instant ramen showdown, with a twist. Instead of just finding the best instant noodles - Reichl did an excellent job of that in her research - I would look at the best flavors within her top pics for those who insist on digesting noodle-based sodium bombs, a easy and tasty way to step up your instant ramen at home and then finally I would attempt to make a bowl of instant ramen that would satisfy my desire for real ramen here in St. Louis. The Set-up: Over the course of a month I consumed eighteen different styles and flavors of instant ramen sourced from Global Foods Market in Kirkwood and Jay's International Food in South City. In addition to noodles that did not make Reichl's list I completed a sampling of flavors and noodles from her top picks; Sapporo Ichiban Japanese style noodles, Nong Shim shin ramyun and Myojo yakisoba noodles. Step One - My Picks For Best Flavored Instant Ramen: For my money, Sapporo Ichiban is fine for weekday lunches at your desk, but it is the worst of Reichl's picks, however in her defense she did not care for them much either. The noodles reminded me of Maruchan and Top Ramen and the flavor packets were unbelievably salty, rendering any individual flavor like miso, chicken or beef more of an afterthought than a highlight. Instant noodles and flavors from Nong Shim and Myojo proved to be vastly superior to Sapporo; however superiority comes at a price. Nong Shim rings the register at $0.80 a package and Myojo breaks the bank at $3.00 vs around $0.50 for a package of Sapporo. My personal favorites were the Spicy Gourmet from Nong Shim and Oriental Flavor Noodles from Myojo. The noodles from Nong Shim were thick, chewy and my favorite for flavor, however they did not hold up as well over time in broth vs the noodles from Myojo. Flavoring for the Spicy Gourmet comes from two packages; the first is a soup base, the second a collection of dried vegetables. The soup is spicy, but not to the point of discomfort. Salt, while abundant, is not the dominating flavor. The yakisoba from Myojo were thinner but of the highest quality of all the noodles I sampled, reminding me the most of noodles you would find at a ramen shop. The package recommends eating these noodles without a broth (many times yakisoba is stir-fried and served as a warm noodle dish) but I found the flavors originating from four small packets (a viscus clear oil, soup base, seasoning and dried vegetables) made for a broth that nicely complemented the noodles. In the end I was looking at noodles as much as broth flavors and for me (as well as Reichl in her article) the noodles from Myojo came out on top. While they are not as tasty overall as the noodles from Nong Shim, they held their shape and texture in longer exposures to broth and that would be key to the next steps in my search. Step Two - The You Can Do Better Instant Ramen Now is the part where I suggest that you buy instant ramen and throw away everything in the package except the noodles in an attempt to make a dish that while not... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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I'm really excited that Justin and Danielle from Yellowtree Farm recommended me to the Post Dispatch for an article on home cooks and local farmers. Justin and Danielle hooked me up with a collection of once in a lifetime ingredients to make a pizza bianca that celebrates the best that late June and early July gardens have to offer. Here is my recipe for this great pizza, give it a try in your kitchen and let me know how it turns out. Many thanks to Jonathan Pollack for the great pictures of a once a season pie. Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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I was lucky to have Jonathan Pollack's camera at a party we threw this past weekend for my son's second birthday. Here are a few of the dishes we shared with our friends. In the foreground we have a salad of green beans, thin sliced onion and spring cherry tomatoes. This dish had a simple balsamic vinaigrette spiked with honey -- honey was the theme of my son's party -- for some additional sweetness. In the background I have a simple slaw with red and yellow cabbage, shallots, carrots and minced quick pickles that I made the day before. The slaw had a vinegar base, made with white wine vinegar I infused with salad burnett for a distinct "cucumber" flavor that contrasted nicely with the cabbage. I prepared two kinds of pork for this barbecue, sourced from Caw Caw Creek Farms in South Carolina. Below is a plate of Caw Caw Creek keilbasa, smoked in hickory and cherry woods. Next is pulled and chopped Caw Caw Creek pork shoulder, smoked for about 14 hours in hickory and cherry woods. I made two barbecue sauces for this dish. The first was a tomato based sauce, made sweet from the addition of honey and brown sugar. The second was a vinegar based sauce with a base of habanero chilis and fresh Georgia peaches. My wife made two cakes that played into the honey theme - bee hives -- paired with honey and ginger cookes in the shape of bees. A judicious addition of honey to the cake gave each hive a great caramelized color and made for a dish that was moist, sweet and perfect for a little boy's second birthday. Happy birthday to my little man and thanks to everyone who stopped by to make his second birthday one to remember. Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
StewedSTL is a podcast that I've started with my friends Mike Sweeney, Bill Burge and Kelli Best-Oliver. The goal is simple; discuss food and drink in St. Louis. To do this, we've loaded up on technology (creating a great sounding show is not cheap), found a studio (or rather a basement with a bar) and we're combining what we think about eating and drinking in St. Louis with what people in the industry actually know. Then we're drenching the entire show with a judicious application of choice adult beverages (literally, we let our guests choose what we drink) to create an unfiltered and unfettered view into dining and entertainment in our fair city. I'm really excited about this project and I really hope you check it out. Downloads are available at StewedSTL and in the podcast section of iTunes. You can follow StewedSTL on Twitter and Facebook. On nights when we record, we use Twitter to engage with our audience, answer questions and gather real time feedback that we weave into our show. Some Background: Since we released our 0.5 podcast on May 23rd, our project has been the focus of articles in the Riverfront Times and Feast: Meet StewedSTL, the New St. Louis Food Podcast - RFT New StewedSTL Podcast to Open Dialogue on St. Louis Food Scene - Feast Our 1.0 podcast was recorded on June 6th with special guest chef Josh Galliano who shared his thoughts on a variety of topics, took questions from our listeners and told the story of how he found himself cooking in St. Louis, via an exodus from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It was a great evening of conversation, and while it is a bit long (it runs to about 2 hours), I think we captured an evening of compelling conversation. I hope you download it, pour yourself a drink (we were drinking a bottle of Black Maple Hill 8 Year bourbon if you'd like to drink along) and listen to it while you are working in your own kitchen, on your commute or as you run off last nights dinner. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
Scott / Lucy - Please let me know how yours turned out. Kimberly - Anything that helps a plane ride is a-ok in my book.
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Today I had the pleasure to join a cross-section of the St. Louis food blogging community for the Share Our Strength National Bake Sale -- a coast to coast, one day effort to raise funds to fight childhood hunger in our country. Bloggers from all over St. Louis pitched in and made baked goods to sell, and I'm pleased to report that we vastly exceeded our fund-raising goal. The baking talent on display today was something to see -- tables covered two tiers deep with cookies, bars, cupcakes, muffins, bread, pies, cakes and my personal contribution, soft pretzels spiked with roasted garlic. I've been practicing these pretzels all week and I expect them to quickly become a regular around the house for parties and night time snacking. While the process is a bit cumbersome and time consuming, the end product is soft, chewy and salty -- with a hint of roasted garlic that grows stronger with time. For me, they are worth the extra effort, and because they freeze well, they trump any snack you are going to find in the freezer section. My pretzel recipe is based on Alton Brown's modified bagel/pretzel formula, which produces a great soft pretzel. Alton's recipe starts with: 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 package active dry yeast 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted I've taken this recipe and changed it a bit with the addition of a tablespoon of honey and roasted garlic, mashed with a fork and blended with olive oil -- infused with an essence of garlic from roasting -- before combining it with the dough. Besides my additions the process and times required to make these pretzels do not deviate from the original recipe. The key to Alton Brown's method is a bath in baking soda and simmering water, which along with a thin coat of egg wash applied before baking help to achieve a brown exterior. The quick dip also helps set the pretzel, ensuring that it has that soft and chewy interior that is the hallmark of a good soft pretzel. I also think the additional sugar -- in this case honey -- helps with the browning as well. I noticed a distinct difference in color between batches made with and without it. I'm glad that these pretzels worked out and that so many people enjoyed them. More than anything though, I'm glad that our community of St. Louis food writers came out to support this great cause. Many, many thanks to you for donating your time and talents to support this event. Many thanks as well to my co-organizers for this event, Stefani Pollack (Cupcake Project) and Kimberly Henricks, (Rhubarb and Honey) who did an amazing job -- and the lions share of the work -- to make today a success. Kudos are due to them. Lastly, but no less importantly, many thanks to Jonathan Pollack for the photos. They look delicious, as always. Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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I'm excited to have been asked to be a judge for the first ever St. Louis Wing Ding competition, hosted by United Cerebral Palsy Heartland. The simple yet lofty goal is to discover who has the best chicken wings in St. Louis from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm, on May 26, August 25th at Crestwood Court. Among the local restaurants in competition are The Market Public House, 11 Mile House, J. Buck's The St. Louis Wing Company and The Highway 61 Roadhouse. Tickets are $25 per person (kids under 6 get in free!) for unlimited wings and 2 beverages. For more information and tickets, please click here. Funds raised at the Wing Ding will support UCP Heartland’s programs and services for children and adults with disabilities and their families. Programs include the Adult Activity Program, Employment Resources (supported employment), Residential Services, Early Childhood Intervention, Family Support Services including respite care, Summer Camps, and our Autism Resource Center in Maryville, Illinois. UCP Please join me at this fun event and support UCP Heartland on August 25th! About UCP Heartland "For many of our consumers, the services that UCP Heartland provides are the only ones available to meet their unique needs. Faced with multiple and significant disabilities, our participants experience complications with many activities of daily living. But, as we witness each and every day, these challenges do not limit their desire to experience independence, productivity or full citizenship. With funds raised at Wing Ding, we can continue to provide the highest quality of programs and supports while advancing the independence, productivity, and full citizenship of individuals with developmental disabilities, helping to create a life without limits for people with disabilities right here in our community. Heartland’s mission is to provide the highest quality of programs, services and supports while advancing the independence, productivity and full citizenship of individuals with disabilities. UCP Heartland is a proud partner of United Way of Greater St. Louis." Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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I've started to keep a tumblr diary for all the little things that I find, read or eat during the week. With any luck the quick thoughts, dishes I ate and pictures I accumulated along the way will make for a a disjointed yet interesting weekly post. Porter's Fried Chicken Depending on who you talk to, Porter's is serving up the best fried chicken in St. Louis. I'd suggest listening to the folks who will tell you it's not to be missed. Skip the sides (or even eating at Porter's) and focus on crisp and flavorful chicken, perfect eaten warm from the box or cold from the fridge. My preference is to alternate between Crystal's hot sauce and honey between pieces. I last wrote about Porters in August of 2008. Pizza Toppings / Garnish / Relish I make this topping a few hours before I begin tossing pizzas. Start with a base of sea salt, minced garlic, crushed red pepper and good olive oil. Add herbs like marjoram or oregano, always fresh and rough chopped to expose their natural oils to the mixture. Drizzle over your pizza before sending it into the oven. Pizza Made With YellowTree Farm Fall Honey On the topic of pizza, I used honey from my CSA this week to replace sugar in a pizza dough. Give it a read, then give it a go in your oven. Garlic And Dill Quick Pickles My two year old son seems to have my love of pickles in his DNA. Rather than serving up the erie green pickles found at the grocery store, I try to make a batch of quick pickles every few week or so. Dill, garlic, salt, onion powder, water and white wine vinegar make for a treat that quickly vanishes from the fridge. Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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Of all the things I've found tucked away in my weekly Yellow Tree Farm CSA bag, its the dark amber fall honeycombs pictured above that have captured my interest and my taste buds. With a flavor profile that is deep, earthy and less "sugary" than summer honey, this fall honey has had a well used tasting spoon in its jar since I brought it home a few weeks ago. I've been slowly draining this sweet stash, topping bread with it for my son, adding it to salad dressings and offering samples to visitors whenever I can find the chance. I recently used this honey as a replacement for sugar in a pizza dough recipe I've been working on: 16 oz bread flour 10 oz room temp water 2 Tbsp sugar (or honey) 1 tsp salt 1 tsp yeast Using a standing mixer, combine ingredients and work until a dough ball is formed and then transfer to a flour dusted counter. Divide into two and ball. Reserve each to its own gallon size Ziploc bag and drizzle olive oil over the ball. Toss inside the bag to coat. Allow to rest on the counter for an hour and then move to the warmest part of your fridge for a minimum of 24 hours. The key to this dough is a low and slow ferment. Allow to sit at room temp for a few hours before baking on a preheated stone in a 450 to 500 degree oven for between 8 and 11 minutes. Word of advice, whenever attempting a pizza recipe, adjust temps, times and stone placement to meet how your own oven functions. Sometimes a small change can make all the difference in the pies you turn out. The results: This first pie is made with a simple tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, red and orange peppers, portabella mushrooms and kale and chard taken from my garden. This pie is all about heat, starting with a base of spicy bbq sauce and monterey jack cheese. Next comes scallion, guanciale that I made earlier this spring, raw jalapeno peppers and spicy carnitas (slow braised and then fried pork shoulder) that I had left over from a recent taco night. About this post Yellow Tree Farm is a family owned, biointensive, urban homestead located in St. Louis, Missouri. The farm provides produce to some of the finest restaurants in town, runs a local CSA and is a vendor at the Maplewood Farmers Market. I am a proud member of the Yellow Tree Farm CSA. This post is part of a planned a series highlighting the fine ingredients that come in their weekly delivery. Yellow Tree Farm has been an advertiser on this site since January 2011 Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
I do think you can make the simple packets of Kool-aid with whatever sweetener you want. These fine fund raising lads were using a mix with the sweetener already in it.
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I've started to keep a tumblr diary for all the little things that I find, read or eat during the week. With any luck the quick thoughts, dishes I ate and pictures I accumulated along the way will make for a a disjointed yet interesting weekly post. I'd be interested in knowing what readers think of this new idea. The Beast in a Box from Salume Beddu. This sandwich was so good, I may have cried half way though eating it. Simply, it is the best sandwich I've had this year. Interestingly enough I enjoyed it at the best lunch I've had this year. You need to get to know this dish, sooner rather than later. Salami Pizza at The Good Pie. I was lured (again) into the ongoing conversation about the Good Pie in the STLBites forum. The quick and dirty of the issue is that many in our fair city believe that the Good Pie is actually a Bad Pie. I happen to believe it's an excellent example of the pizza style. This argument has gone on for over 21 pages and 300 replies. I continue to be on the right side of this argument. A good chunk of St. Louis continues to be on the wrong side. I anticipate this weeks conversation changed the minds of exactly zero people. Oh well. Here is to the next 21 pages of this argument. Beef kabob and falafel from Cafe Natasha. Cafe Natasha may have the best beef shish kabob in St. Louis. Even when temped rare to medium rare, the outside is crisp while the inside remains moist, tender and flavorful. Simple advice for those getting their kabob to go, savor every last drop of the juice thrown off on the trip from Natasha's kitchen to your table. Natasha's falafel is usually a favorite of mine. Spice, sauce and fried balls of chick peas make for a sandwich that I consume so fast that several bites include bits of the paper that each falafel is wrapped in. Not so much this time, the sauce was lacking and falafel was dry, for me, the texture was decidedly off this week. Yellow Tree Farm Quail Eggs Rain has dominated the weather forecast for the last week and a half, but I made the best of it by heading out to the Maplewood Farmers Market to pick up my Yellow Tree Farm CSA. Besides bamboo shoots, quails and chicken eggs, I ended up with 37 quail eggs. The plan is to pickle them. It promises to be an adventure. Pasta with asparagus, onions and roasted tomato. For dinner this week I made this simple pasta dish of sautéed onions, asparagus and roasted tomatoes over linguine. Reserved liquid from the roasted tomatoes, a few ladle-fulls of pasta water and good olive oil make a sauce that does not overshadow spring asparagus, which should be showing up at the market soon, if it has not already. Farmers' Larder kielbasa I am part Polish. My wife is part Polish. We have a ritual in our home called Polish night were we eat the foods that our families introduced us to when we were my son's age. Roasted potatoes, broccoli (most likely not Polish, but good for you) and sauerkraut are the supporting cast for kielbasa from the Farmers' Larder, a local charcuterie vendor at the Maplewood Farmer's Market. This is the kielbasa I remember from growing up. The snap of a natural casing, outstanding local beef and pork, just a hint of marjoram and a finish that is all garlic. A steal at $9.00 a package. First Taste of Kool-aid Kool-aid is not a big part of our lives and until this week, it was unknown to my son. However, some neighborhood kids were selling grape Kool-aid as a fund raiser for the victims of the recent weeks tornadoes here in Missouri. Who can say no to that? Son, meet high fructose corn syrup. It tastes good, right? Don't get used to it. Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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Few dishes provide the week night dinner punch of the frittata -- a dish that is so easy to prepare that it should be in every home cooks arsenal. A frittata is essentially an open faced omelet that is cooked over low heat on the stove top before being finished off in a hot oven -- or better yet -- under the rocket hot heat of a broiler. Beyond being criminally easy to prepare, a frittata is also a magnet for the odds and ends that you find floating around your fridge between trips to the market. The vegetables you didn't use a few nights ago, that last bit of cheese from last weekends mac-n-cheese -- they all get a reprieve from being unceremoniously tossed into the compost or garbage -- because they all have the potential to contribute something to a frittata. For this dish I combined fresh ingredients -- a giant morel mushroom and the thin shoots from the hop rhizome from this weeks CSA delivery -- with ingredients I already had in my fridge -- Yellow Tree Farm eggs, grated Prairie Breeze cheddar cheese, onions, spinach and some tomatoes that I had roasted off a few days before. It was a menagerie of flavors for sure, but that's kinda the point of a week night frittata. Highlights were the smokey morels, foraged from around St. Louis within the last day or so and the mellow green and asparagus profile of spring hop shoots. Within a few weeks, these particular flavors will be gone for the rest of the year. However, I'm already thinking about sharing them with friends this time next spring. About this post Yellow Tree Farm is a family owned, biointensive, urban homestead located in St. Louis, Missouri. The farm provides produce to some of the finest restaurants in town, runs a local CSA and is a vendor at the Maplewood Farmers Market. I am a proud member of the Yellow Tree Farm CSA. This post is part of a planned a series highlighting the fine ingredients that come in their weekly delivery. Yellow Tree Farm has been an advertiser on this site since January 2011. Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety
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Mitsuba -- also known as Japanese Wild Parsley -- is the base for this unique spring pesto. Slightly bitter and reminiscent of celery, mitsuba is combined in a food processor with walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shallot, the zest and juice of a lemon, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and rice wine vinegar to make this delicious neon green pesto. Spread thick on crusty garlic bread or use as the base for a sauce for pasta -- simply thin out the pesto with a ladleful of pasta water and toss with extra virgin olive oil to coat. About this post Yellow Tree Farm is a family owned, biointensive, urban homestead located in St. Louis, Missouri. The farm provides produce to some of the finest restaurants in town, runs a local CSA and is a vendor at the Maplewood Farmers Market. I am a proud member of the Yellow Tree Farm CSA. This post is part of a planned a series highlighting the fine ingredients that come in their weekly delivery. Yellow Tree Farm has been an advertiser on this site since January 2011. Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2011 at Andrew Mark Veety