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Seeing St. Louis through the eyes of a visitor

All are flexible. And since I am a resident, geography is also flexible since I'll be doing the driving! Tower Grove is already on the list, and the Hill after that, more for the grocery stores than the restaurants (her husband is Italian and fluent so that should be fun).

Jul 22, 2014
botanica in Great Plains

Seeing St. Louis through the eyes of a visitor

Hi all,

My BFF is coming to visit from Ontario in September, and she and I spend inordinate Gmail text talking about food - cooking it, eating it, buying it, growing it. She's only here for the weekend, and we've already decided that we want to cook one meal together. This leaves, well, one dinner out, two breakfasts and one and a half lunches (she leaves at noon Sunday). What do you recommend? I take the food here for granted and while I certainly have my favorite spots, it's hard for me to think outside my own lens. I'd love to hear what you all think. I'm also open to any foodie destinations that you recommend - for instance, we love wine and cheese so I'll probably take her to the Wine Merchant. Other ideas?

Jul 22, 2014
botanica in Great Plains

Office Party Food/Drinks/Darts Spot in STL?

I'm looking for a good pub-type place to host a casual office party of about 15 people. We'd like the food to be decent, the beverage selection to be good (a variety of mixed drinks and wine/beer would be great, but we'd settle for one thing done well, like a microbrewery) and ideally some space to spread out and play darts or pool, etc. This is a long-running tradition and we like to do a different place each year - we've done Blueberry Hill, Fitz's, Tap Room. Suggestions? Thanks!

Dec 10, 2012
botanica in Great Plains

Morningstar Vegetarian Italian Sausage Discontinued?

Does anyone know if the Morningstar Vegetarian Italian sausage (brat style) have been discontinued? I can't seem to find them but can't imagine they'd go away -- they were fabulous.

Jul 03, 2012
botanica in General Topics

Cooking with Clams

This is probably a dumb question, but when you're cooking with clams, do they always have to be live? Assuming I don't get them out of a can, anyway? I'm very squeamish about the idea of boiling them -- is there any other way to kill them before tossing them into the bubbling water?

Oct 06, 2011
botanica in Home Cooking

What's the new tapas? Looking for a party theme.

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'm going with the soup idea -- maybe I'll do a Mexican chili, an Indian pumpkin soup and an Italian fish stew. Then guests who want to bring a side dish can bring something from one of those cuisines.

Oct 06, 2011
botanica in Home Cooking

What to bring back from Spain? [moved from Home Cooking board]

If you can find it (I looked while i was there but no luck), you might pick up some piment d'espelette. It's a Basque region red pepper, and it can be found in parts of Spain (I believe La Tienda sells it, though it's quite expensive there). It's got such a unique aroma and flavor -- i really wished I could find some. And if you do see it, please report back and let me know where!

Oct 06, 2011
botanica in Spain/Portugal

What's the new tapas? Looking for a party theme.

As the title suggests, I'm looking for ideas for an upcoming party. We're throwing a housewarming/welcome autumn party in a couple of weeks, and weather permitting it will be an indoor/outdoor gathering, with an outdoor fire. We're expecting about 14 people. What's new and exciting in party themes? Or what's old but needs to come back to life? I'd obviously prefer something that's not overly stressful. Casual is good, and finger food is always good too. I don't think we'll formally sit down together -- more of a mingling atmosphere. Oh, there are some vegetarians and fish-only eaters, so we want to have at least some options for them. And we have access to a really great fish market. Okay, I'll take my answer off the air....

Oct 04, 2011
botanica in Home Cooking

Best way to dry greens before freezing?

I have an overabundance of mustard greens in the garden, and I'm planning to chop and blanch them and then freeze them for making Indian saag. But I assume I have to dry them well before I put them in the freezer or the water will burn them, right? How can I remove the water after I've blanched them? I plan to FoodSaver seal them, if that makes any difference. Thanks!

Jun 04, 2011
botanica in Home Cooking

Should I cut the tops off beets and kohlrabi for storage?

Just bought a bunch of each from the local farmer's market, and I'm wondering if I should cut the greens off before putting them in the fridge for storage? Thanks!

Jun 04, 2011
botanica in Home Cooking

St. Louis: need to know best thin-crust pizza - by Sat NOV 06, please

Pizza Tivoli is only okay - they're great people and the place is cozy, and the do a nice job with the crust, but the ingredients are not fresh or local. In the middle of August their tomatoes tasted like cardboard, which is a shame. I like Il Vicino, but I don't know if they are local. There's only one here, but I've heard a rumour that they have a few other locations across the country. But the crust is thin and crisp, the ingredients are premium, and they have a lot of interesting variety. They also have a great Caesar salad.

-----
Il Vicino
41 N Central Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63105

Nov 06, 2010
botanica in Great Plains

Boquerones in St. Louis?

Where can I find boquerones in the St. Louis/St. Louis Co area? I'm looking for them on restaurant menus and also to buy for home use. Thanks!

Nov 06, 2010
botanica in Great Plains

Store-bought creme fraiche?

I've been seeing creme fraiche more and more in the store. I generally make my own using buttermilk and cream, but I'm curious about the store bought stuff. Is it any good? What does it taste like? Can you tell a difference between it and the stuff you'd make at home?

Oct 01, 2010
botanica in Home Cooking

Sushi in St. Louis?

thanks for the link. for some reason i never have luck when i search the chow boards -- i have better luck searching on google (it brings up chow often enough). anyway, if anyone else has thoughts, please share!

Aug 14, 2010
botanica in Great Plains

Augusta, Missouri and Katy Trail

It's a gorgeous bike trip -- one of our favorites. As for the wineries, in Augusta Montelle is a must-stop for the gorgeous view -- plus you can get food there and sit on their stunning deck. Mt. Pleasant has gone corporate and they are rather stingy with their tastings (even though you have to pay for it) and their staff is not warm and welcoming either. The wine was great when Mark Baehmann was making it but I think it's gone down in quality since he left. I'd give it a miss. August winery has a small tasting room but really friendly staff and their wine has won some awards recently - I think the wine is probably better than Montelle's. Augusta Brewing is a brew house (obviously) and pub and is right on the trail - another good place to get food.

Aug 13, 2010
botanica in Great Plains

Sushi in St. Louis?

The last post to these boards about St. Louis sushi was in early 2009 and things change quickly (both the quality of the fish and also the number of restaurants). What are the current favorite sushi spots in St. Louis, both for service and, obviously, for the fish? How are the prices? And are any of those all-you-can-eat sushi lunch buffets any good?

Aug 13, 2010
botanica in Great Plains

Best Crab Cakes in St. Louis?

What are your favorites? I'm looking for real crab, obviously, but also some element that makes the cakes stand out, a great sauce or flavor or unusual ingredients.

Aug 05, 2010
botanica in Great Plains

dressing to use with smoked apple salad?

These are great ideas. I had thought about the bacon dressing, but I don't eat meat. I've been wondering if "facon" would work - we'll see. I also love the apple cider vinegar idea. Mellicita, I actually have a smoker and use it to make the apples. In theory you could do it on a regular grill, using mesquite wood, but there is no cool smoking area on a regular grill and you don't really want to cook the apples through, but only give them that smoked flavor.

May 26, 2008
botanica in Home Cooking

Farberware stainless steel

Any good? I ask because I just inherited a relatively new (looks little used at all) set of stainless steel Farberware from my sister, who doesn't cook at all. I know it's not the best of the best, but in terms of general cooking -- deglazing, stocks, etc -- how will this perform? Should I be happy, or should I keep my eye on other, more expensive stainless steel pieces?

May 24, 2008
botanica in Cookware

making sushi ginger?

the question about what to do with lots of ginger reminded me that i've been meaning to ask: does anyone have a recipe for the pickled pink ginger that they serve with sushi? we make sushi at home a lot, but i've been buying the ginger in tubs (for $4 each!!!) and would love to know how to make my own.

May 24, 2008
botanica in Home Cooking

green garlic versus garlic chives

I've been reading a lot about green garlic lately, the nascent bulbs pulled up before they get much bigger than a thumb. I love the idea of it, but I also hate to waste what will become whole heads of garlic, and I can't quite make myself yank one out to try it. I did pick up some garlic chives from the nursery the other day, and I"m wondering, how are those different? Will the chive plants become bulbs, and are they basically the same as the big garlic in my garden? Or were those planted from seeds, and how does this make them different? (The garlic in my yard, of course, was planted as a bulb).

May 24, 2008
botanica in Home Cooking

dressing to use with smoked apple salad?

Now that it's smoker/grilling season, I'm looking for a dressing to use with a salad we like to make. I used smoked apples, bleu cheese, and mixed greens. I've been using Drew's smoked tomato dressing, but I'd like to use a homemade dressing instead. Does anyone have thoughts on what might work well on this salad?

May 24, 2008
botanica in Home Cooking

Menu for Food Snobs

These responses are great. The intent is a little of both. I'm having dinner for a group of friends; half of them are foodies, the other half are food snobs and can, at times, get silly about it. So I want to make an impressive meal but I also don't mind poking a bit of fun at them, even if only half of them (the non-food snobs of the group) get it. It's all good natured, except that now and then I want to yell "shut up!" at one or two of them. :)

May 16, 2008
botanica in Home Cooking

new recipe websites/blogs?

I like these two:

Becky and the Beanstock http://beckyandthebeanstock.com

She's eating her way through a year's worth of heirloom beans, but the recipes are diverse and imaginative and the writing is funny. Photos are okay but seem to get getting better. Recipes are mostly easy and use a lot of whole foods.

Gluten-free Girl http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/

I'm not gluten-free (nor do I ever wish to be!) but her recipes are good, and a lot of them sidestep gluten all together and therefore there is no call for gluten-alternatives. She uses beautiful ingredients, and her writing is passionate and winding and fun to read.

May 16, 2008
botanica in Home Cooking

Menu for Food Snobs

Say I want to prepare a really snobby, lavish menu. For food snobs of the worst sort. I want my menu to be over the top. What should I include???

May 16, 2008
botanica in Home Cooking

Buying Mesquite Flour?

Does anyone know where to get it? I know Native Seeds/SEARCH sells it, but I'd like to find a few more options if possible.

May 15, 2008
botanica in General Topics

Removing Rust from Cast Iron Skillet

What's the easiest way to do it? It's just a small spot, happily. Also, is rust dangerous? Thanks!

May 13, 2008
botanica in Cookware

Late night dining in STL?

Following up with my own post, in case anyone is wondering. We ended up at Erato, which does serve food late, but I just don't like the atmosphere or service now that it's under new ownership. But we almost went to Atomic Cowboy, which also does serve food after 10 (which is late for STL standards.... sigh).
--
Save Our Plants: Eat Them!
http://beckyandthebeanstock.com

May 12, 2008
botanica in General Midwest Archive

Emeril-ware good ware?

Thanks for the replies. Yes, i wouldn't give them a strike mark off the bat just because they're made in China -- that doesn't necessarily mean lower quality. Thank you, Kelli, for the CR rating -- that carries a lot of weight for me. I have a chance to buy a set, used but in beautiful shape, for $100. It's an unbeatable price, but it's more equipment than I'll use since mostly I want the saute pans and the stock pot.

May 02, 2008
botanica in Cookware

Emeril-ware good ware?

I'm in the market for stainless steel cookware, and I have the opportunity to buy some Emerilware pieces. is this a good line? I am not sure what I'm supposed to be looking for -- I can feel that cookware varies in weight, but what am I aiming for? Also, in the Emerilware there is a band of copper running around the bottom -- is this for show, or does this actually contribute to performance? Thanks.

May 01, 2008
botanica in Cookware