Monthly Archives: April 2013

Day Seven – Fish Sauce

IMG_2662

Oh no….fish sauce. Most people cringe when they hear the term (unless, of course, if you have grown up in South East Asia). I am here to advocate for this amazing condiment!

First, I would like to point out that I purchased this tiny bottle of fish sauce at Jay International on South Grand for under a dollar. So, if you are not completely convinced after my pleading – then you have no excuse not to drop 70 cents on a minuscule bottle of this delicious liquid.

Fish sauce originated thousands upon thousands of years ago, and is perhaps the worlds first condiment. It was made by letting small fish ferment in the sun and collecting the liquid – these days it is basically the same, but much more scientific and clean. (BTW, fermented foods are very good for you.) Though fish sauce has a very strong odor, when incorporated in a soup or sauce the smell is pretty much undetectable, but the wonderful umami flavor remains. I secretly use fish sauce in a lot of unpredictable ways – try it out!

+++++

30 Days of Ingredients is part of a Kickstarter Campaign for our upcoming book, Shop Like A Chef. The culinary guide book to St. Louis promises to get you out of the mega-store and into the small local shops full of exciting ingredients and inspiring products.

If you would like to learn more about Shop Like A Chef, please check us our here and here – and don’t hesitate to contribute to our Kickstarter. And, as always, Keep Cooking!

+++++

Day Six – Dried Porcini Mushrooms

IMG_2666

Dried mushrooms are a busy cook’s good friend! These porcinis, less than $10, are an easy and flavorful addition to lots of meals which can just hang out in you pantry until you need them. Cooking a chicken breast? – make a quick mushroom cream sauce, making a soup? – throw in some mushrooms for a meaty texture, need a fast appetizer for a friend’s party? – rehydrate mushrooms and puree with cream cheese and garlic, great with crackers!!

I purchased these dried porcinis at Viviano’s and Sons on The Hill, a quaint neighborhood that is the last remaining refuge of Italian culture in St. Louis. Viviano’s is about as old-school as you can get down to the family portraits on the walls. For all your Italian grocery needs – The Hill is the place to go, enjoy a gelato and swing by Volpi for some salami.

+++++

30 Days of Ingredients is part of a Kickstarter Campaign for our upcoming book, Shop Like A Chef. The culinary guide book to St. Louis promises to get you out of the mega-store and into the small local shops full of exciting ingredients and inspiring products.

If you would like to learn more about Shop Like A Chef, please check us our here and here – and don’t hesitate to contribute to our Kickstarter. And, as always, Keep Cooking!

+++++

A little love from Feast.

Here is a tiny piece on our Kickstarter from Feast StL.

me in my kitchen feast fried chicken

Day Five – Tahini (Sesame Paste)

IMG_2656

Tahini, most popularly used in hummus, is actually a really wonderfully diverse ingredient. Made of toasted and ground sesames – this golden brown paste is deliciously rich in mouthfeel, but subtle in flavor. I like to add it to salad dressings, to cole slaw (instead of mayo), try it on pasta (with garlic, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper), or mix it with roasted vegetables (lots of people are fond of roasted cauliflower and tahini!).

I know you have a bottle of tahini in the condiment neverland…pull it out and use it!

This jar of tahini was purchased at The Vine on South Grand, they have a small Lebanese market and cafe (the shistawook and falafel are to die for!).

+++++

30 Days of Ingredients is part of a Kickstarter Campaign for our upcoming book, Shop Like A Chef. The culinary guide book to St. Louis promises to get you out of the mega-store and into the small local shops full of exciting ingredients and inspiring products.

If you would like to learn more about Shop Like A Chef, please check us our here and here – and don’t hesitate to contribute to our Kickstarter. And, as always, Keep Cooking!

+++++

Day Four – Jamaica (or Dried Hibiscus Flowers)

IMG_2660

I first learned about the culinary use of hibiscus flowers when I lived in Mexico. There my boss used to make Jamaica (the Spanish word for Hibiscus Flowers) Enchiladas – the bitter and tart flavor of the rehydrated flowers compliments the savory smokey enchilada sauce. Jamaica also makes a great drink (just steep in water and add sugar!).

I got this package at El Torito on Cherokee Street – one of the oldest and biggest Mexican grocery stores in the city. Cherokee is the heart of the the city’s Little Mexico, housing two large groceries along with many Mexican and Central American restaurants and host to the the annual Cinco de Mayo festival.

+++++

30 Days of Ingredients is part of a Kickstarter Campaign for our upcoming book, Shop Like A Chef. The culinary guide book to St. Louis promises to get you out of the mega-store and into the small local shops full of exciting ingredients and inspiring products.

If you would like to learn more about Shop Like A Chef, please check us our here and here – and don’t hesitate to contribute to our Kickstarter. And, as always, Keep Cooking!

+++++

Day Three – Chigger Creek Smoking Wood

IMG_2659

I picked up this big bag of Pecan Wood at Baumann’s on Manchester, an old school butcher still churning out pork steaks, jerky, and smoked chicken wings. In talking to Charlie behind the counter, I learned the finer points of backyard grill smoking.

Yes – I have smoked before – A LOT, but I have actually never smoked on a grill. I have always used a smoker. Charlie informed me, “just soak the wood for an hour and throw it right on your coals – that’s it!” He said you could even just keep a bucket next to the grill, filled with wood and water – and the wood is ready whenever you need it.

Smoking wood adds a great flavor to anything grilled, be it meat or vegetable. This wood is from Chigger Creek near Columbia, MO. And go ask Charlie some questions – he’s got answers.

+++++

30 Days of Ingredients is part of a Kickstarter Campaign for our upcoming book, Shop Like A Chef. The culinary guide book to St. Louis promises to get you out of the mega-store and into the small local shops full of exciting ingredients and inspiring products.

If you would like to learn more about Shop Like A Chef, please check us our here and here – and don’t hesitate to contribute to our Kickstarter. And, as always, Keep Cooking!

+++++

Day Two – Weidner Honey

IMG_2672

A pretty bottle of Wiedner Honey

Weidner Honey is a wonderful example of the local products you can find in this town, and local honey is known to be good for those who suffer from seasonal allergies.

I got this gorgeous local honey at Local Harvest Grocery – Kirkwood a few days ago. As I was checking out, I was told about a wonderful BeeKeeping Class on May 14 & 21. This class will be taught by Isabee’s, who sell beekeeping equipment at LH.

Local Harvest, started in South City in 2007, is a purveyor of all things local! It is sort of a cross between grocery store, health food store, and farmer’s market.

IMG_2673

The back of the bottle – you can sort of tell, but there is a cute picture of a bee hive

+++++

30 Days of Ingredients is part of a Kickstarter Campaign for our upcoming book, Shop Like A Chef. The culinary guide book to St. Louis promises to get you out of the mega-store and into the small local shops full of exciting ingredients and inspiring products.

If you would like to learn more about Shop Like A Chef, please check us our here and here – and don’t hesitate to contribute to our Kickstarter. And, as always, Keep Cooking!

+++++