Grilled Steak Sandwiches with Chimichurri and Bell Peppers

Note from a Housewife

GrSteakSandChimiBelP
Dinner tonight, August 31, 2014
Absolute delicious sandwich, can be eaten for lunch or for dinner, yummy !
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Grill-Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Rosemary

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I cooked this a few Saturdays ago. I bought two whole chickens, removed the backbones and rubbed them down with fresh garlic, fresh lemon juice, kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper. I let them rest in the fridge for four hours.

Then I lit my gas grill (yes, I know I am going against my purist view by using gas instead of charcoal, but you try fitting two whole split birds on my tiny charcoal grill/smoker), and over medium-high heat, placed oiled whole, split garlic and rosemary sprigs. I reduced the heat to medium, and placed the prepared chicken on top of the aromatics.

I cooked the birds over the slow-burning garlic and rosemary for about 40 minutes, until the thighs “temped” at 160. The carryover cooking took it beyond 165, so don’t worry about under-cooking. I then charred green onions, and once the chicken had rested at least 10 minutes, I carved and we devoured.

Vietnamese Pork Chops with Pickled Watermelon Salad

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This recipe was adapted from the August issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/vietnamese-pork-chops-with-pickled-watermelon

This was the first time I have pickled watermelon. I can’t say I was a big fan. The flavors were a little overwhelming. Too much vinegar, I think. Anyway, the pork was delicious. I went against the traditional “purist” way and used my gas grill. I think the Grill Gods were forgive me, because I got a near-perfect char on the pork and the overnight marinade gave it great flavor. The flash-fried shallot on top may have been the best part!

Happy cooking and eating! 

Sugarfire Smokehouse in St. Louis

 

The location in St. Charles, MO

                                                           The location in St. Charles, MO

Sugarfire Smokehouse has been getting a lot of attention lately. I would venture to say it is the talk of the town among foodies in the St. Louis area the past several months. After salivating over all the talk for far too long, we finally visited the St. Charles location on Monday evening. All of the hype was spot on. 

There are also locations in Olivette and O’Fallon, Missouri. Sugarfire won “Best New Restaurant” in 2013 in the St. Louis-based Riverfront Times magazine. They were also noticed by RFT as having one of the best five burgers in St. Louis. After trying one, I concur. 

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The interior of the St. Charles location is pretty cool. Kind of a cross between a diner, a cafeteria and a roadside BBQ, which is exactly what it is. All food is ordered cafeteria style and the tables are mostly communal, so you can see how much others are enjoying their meal as well. 

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The extensive menu sports the traditional BBQ offerings, i.e; brisket, ribs, pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad, slaw, fries and a plethora of house-made sauces. But Sugarfire offers so much more. 

Pork belly Hushpuppies with jalapeno jelly. Yes, pork belly. They were delicious, but could have used more pork in them. My friend Charlie had the “Big Muddy”: Brisket “debris”, smoked sausage, horseradish sauce, BBQ sauce, lettuce and pickles. He said it was amazing. I had a single burger with pimento cheese and housemade bacon. Unreal! 

We also tried the pork ribs, the pulled pork and the house fries. All were great. Among the offered sauces, I thought the Peachy was too sweet and I did not care for the horseradish-based white sauce, but the “Dragon’s Breath” was quite good and so was the “Coffee Sauce”. 

Other offerings at Sugarfire include salads, other sandwiches, salmon and housemade desserts. I cannot wait to get back and try some more. 

The staff at Sugarfire in St. Charles was very friendly and helpful to first time diners.

      The staff at Sugarfire in St. Charles was very friendly and helpful to first time diners.

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Half-rack Pork Ribs with House Fries and Baked Beans.

                                 Half-rack of Pork Ribs with House Fries and Baked Beans.

Pulled Pork with Potato Salad and Green Bean Casserole.

                                   Pulled Pork with Potato Salad and Green Bean Casserole.

The amazing Sugarfire Burger with Pimento Cheese and Housemade Bacon.

              The amazing Sugarfire Burger with Pimento Cheese and Housemade Bacon.

Notice that the meals are served on half-sheet pans. I thought that was pretty cool. Very rustic. I highly recommend a visit to Sugarfire Smokehouse. This was one of the best meals I have had this year. 

 

 

 

La Bonne Bouchee Bakery & Patisserie in Creve Coeur, MO

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I paid my first visit to La Bonne Bouchee in Creve Coeur, MO on Friday evening. Despite driving by the establishment several times over the years and using their products often in my professional life, I have never been to the retail outlet. I did not even realize that the business included a cafe. I just purchased some pastries from the bakery side on this visit. Perhaps I can visit the cafe at a later time. 

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As a big fan of macaroons, I was delighted to see quite a plethora of the little beauties in the display case. I ordered half a dozen, salted caramel, peanut butter and Nutella among them. I was a little disappointed though when I learned after ordering that they were purchased from New York. Combined with the fact that they were sold for over a dollar each, were barely a bite and were on the dry side despite being flavor-able, they were a letdown.

I also ordered some mini cinnamon rolls, which my son devoured before I could taste them. He liked them well enough obviously. 

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I definitely need to get back soon and try some of the gorgeous cakes, pies, tarts and eclairs La Bonne sells. I just need to make sure they are prepared in house before I decide what I want. 

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Festival of Nations at Tower Grove Park in St. Louis

 

 

 

 

The Festival of Nations in Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis

              The Festival of Nations in Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis

 

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This was our first trip to the annual festival. Despite the heat index at over 100 degrees, we had a great time and ate some great food. We also knew some of the staff working the Filipino stall. 

The Filipino food stall

                                                                     The Filipino food stall

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Pancit from the Filipino food stand.

                                                          Pancit from the Filipino food stand.

Siapao (AKA BBQ Pork in a steamed bun. Delicious!

                                             Siapao (AKA BBQ Pork in a steamed bun.) Delicious!

Beef Empanada from the Argentinian food stand

                                                Beef Empanada from the Argentinian food stand

The combo platter from the Ethiopian food stand. I don't remember what it was called, but it was delicious. It included stewed beef, lentils and vegetables.

The combo platter from the Ethiopian food stand. I don’t remember what it was called, but it was delicious. It included stewed beef, lentils and vegetables.

The crowds at the Festival of Nations enjoying the ethnic foods and warding off the stifling heat.

The crowds at the Festival of Nations enjoying the ethnic foods and warding off the stifling heat.

Ferguson Farmer’s Market…Yes, That Ferguson

Hahn Farms has been a part of the market for many years.

                                      Hahn Farms has been a part of the market for many years.

 

With all of the negative news about the city of Ferguson, Missouri, it is easy to forget how beautiful the city is and how wonderful the people that live there are. Living less than five miles away in the city of Florissant, I have been going to this market for the last several years. I am even working with a couple of colleagues and the market manager to open my own stall in the near future. I hope to sell Filipino food during market hours.

PieCraft offers some amazing baked pies in several sizes. I always buy the bite-sized ones so I can try several at a time.

PieCraft offers some amazing baked pies in several sizes. I always buy the bite-sized ones so I can try several at a time.

 

Hahn Farm, Thies Farm and EarthDance Farm are three of the regular vendors that I visit nearly every Saturday. EarthDance is actually located in the Ferguson city limits. There are also several prepared food and craft vendors at the market every week. The Omelet stand is the earliest non-farmer stand that I can remember.

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Here is a view of the market from New Florissant Road.

Here is a view of the market from New Florissant Road.

So I hope that Missourians and others around the country that have heard nothing but bad news about Ferguson for the past couple of weeks will remember that this is a wonderful community. Come on out if you’re in the area and support the market and the farmers.  

PieCraft sells some great hand pies.

                                                                    PieCraft sells some great hand pies.

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                                               An omelette at the market? Why not?

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Pancit Behon

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My wife made this traditional Filipino dish last evening. It was delicious as usual. She gets the Behon noodles from Seafood City in University City, Missouri. She first boils pork and then stir-fries it with bell peppers, celery, onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage and soy sauce. She seasons it with fresh-ground black pepper before serving. She eats hers over steamed jasmine rice, just like most Filipinos do. I like mine as is. 

Hendel’s Market Cafe’ in Florissant, MO

 

The front of Hendel's Market Cafe'.

The front of Hendel’s Market Cafe’.

 

The spread at Hendel's.

                 The spread at Hendel’s.

Hendel’s Market Cafe’ in Old Town Florissant, Mo started as a grocery and general store way, way back in 1873. The Hendel family bought the store in 1915 and continued to operate the location as a specialty grocery and butcher shop for the next 78 years. 

In November, 1994, Ed Bennett bought the building and transformed it into a restaurant. In February, 2009, 700 square feet of space was added to expand the restaurant. Hendel’s has been considered one of the premier dining destinations in North St. Louis County for many years.

My wife and I paid our third overall visit to the restaurant last Friday. We have previously gone for diner and lunch once each. Each visit has been memorable. This time we were celebrating the birthday of a friend and colleague with two additional friends. 

On previous visits, we have enjoyed the Salmon BLT, Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Raspberry Pork, among other dishes. This last visit, we tasted the Pulled Pork Pizza and Crab Stuffed Mushrooms as appetizers, and shared the Wedge Salad and BBQ Tacos. We followed up this abundant lunch with two desserts from Pastry Chef Lia; an intense Lemon Tart and Apple Bread Pudding. Both were amazing.

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                  The Pulled Pork Pizza

The Pulled Pork Pizza featured a flatbread topped with the pork, mozzarella cheese, chipotle aioli, caramelized onions and red peppers. The Mushrooms included herb cheese and garlic cream. They were very garlicky, but definitely in a pleasant way. Both dishes were great.

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

        Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

The Wedge Salad

                  The Wedge Salad

The Wedge Salad was actually hearts of Romaine lettuce topped with buttermilk ranch dressing, Bleu cheese, bacon, tomatoes, eggs and chives. The BBQ Tacos included the same pulled pork, which was very tender and favorable, BBQ sauce and slaw, and served on flour tortillas. My only criticism is that I think the tacos would be even better served on corn tortillas. Well-seasoned, crispy wedge potatoes were served on the side.

BBQ Tacos

                         BBQ Tacos

Service was attentive and crisp. Water, tea and Cokes were replenished before having to be requested. I was tempted to order one of the few wines offered by the glass, but opted for a caffeinated beverage. With all the food I consumed, even a little wine may have sent me back home for a nap, and we had a ballgame to get to.

I mentioned Chef Lia earlier because she has made it to the final round of TLC’s Next Great Baker, which airs on Tuesday evening. I admit I would not be aware of the show or the chef if it were not for that banner hanging over the restaurant’s porch out front. The restaurant is hosting a block party on Tuesday evening to celebrate Lia’s success. She will be present and signing autographs. 

Bread Pudding and Lemon Meringue Tart

Bread Pudding and Lemon Meringue Tart

Heldel’s Market Cafe in located at 599 St. Denis St. in Florissant, MO. They are open for brunch on Sunday from 9-2, closed on Monday, and open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 11-9. 

Sweet Potato Fries with Banana Ketchup

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I made these fries earlier this summer as a snack for my boys. I liked them as much as they did. The sweet potatoes came from the Hahn Farm stand at the Ferguson Farmer’s Market. There was a mix of orange and white-fleshed tubers. The flavor of each was very similar. 

I fried the potatoes in the (classic?) French style: starting from raw, cooking in canola oil over medium heat for about 20 minutes, then increasing the heat to medium-high and cooking until crispy. I have found this technique makes the best fry. It is also quite easy because it involves only one pot. There is no need to blanch and shock the potatoes prior to frying.

The ketchup was made from commercial ketchup mixed with mashed, ripe bananas and plenty of brown sugar. I also added some chili sauce to add some heat to the sweet. 

Awesome! Try it out!