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Sunday, January 19, 2014



Chicago is great anyone would be right in staying there for a long vacation or forever, but we must proceed on, leave the great lake and head south. Our destination is St. Louis, MO. You'll drive mostly the interstate 55 south, passing through Joliet, Bloomington, Springfield once you get to Collinsville you're just 12 minutes to downtown St. Louis. Here you find the Worlds largest Catsup Bottle 170 ft. The tall water tower was built in 1949 by the W.E. Caldwell Company for the G.S.
Suppiger catsup bottling plant - bottlers of Brooks old original rich & tangy catsup. In August of 2002 the bottle was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Brooks Tangy Old Original Catsup once made at the bottling plant here is still available in supermarkets in the St. Louis area so be sure to pick up a supply during your visit.

Driving the final 12 miles into downtown St. Louis can be a little tricky as here several interstate highways meet, 55 meets up with the 44 southwest, the 70 North and the 64 heading northwest to Kansas City.  Of course the main attraction of the downtown core is the Gateway Arch kind of a doorway to the west, is the tallest man-made monument in the United States (630 feet high) that's three and three quarters the
height of Niagara Falls.

Beginning with an idea in 1933 by Luther Smith, the arch was meant to be the crown jewel of the St. Louis downtown core and waterfront, it took a while to build through many trials and a war but the arch was complete and ready to greet the public June 10th 1967. You may take a special cable type car to the top and enjoy the spectacular views of the city and the Mississippi, waterfront and river, you will have to lie on your belly along the window ledge to see the views, but they are well worthwhile even for a person my size, not flattering but you're experiencing a great view.
Once you leave the arch hurry over to 10st and into Park Avenue Coffee for a true St. Louis treat, your own slice of a "Gooey Butter Cake, " they say they have 76 flavors of this dense yellow coffee cake.  Strangely, you can get a slice of this special cake in bakery, markets and restaurants throughout St. Louis yet outside the city it has hardly even been heard of. It is said to have begun (like many great dishes) as a mistake in a bakery during the depression era, one butter was exchanged for another, the cake is a yeast raised with rich buttery topping. Although there is a cheat version using yellow cake mix and cream cheese it is not the St. Louis Gooey Butter cake. This truly is a must try in the city, see recipe below.

If coffee and Gooey Butter Cake isn't your what your in the mood for then maybe you should go for pizza, not just any pizza but St. Louis pizza. Where Chicago loves the deep dish pizza, St. Louis has a passion for a thin crust style pizza topped with an oregano tomato sauce and Provel cheese. What is Provel cheese you ask (so did I when I moved to Missouri) well it is a cheese unique to the city. More often than not the St. Louis pizza is baked in a rectangle shape and then cut into squares, thus allowing the pizza to be heavily coated with various toppings and the Provel cheese.

The cheese is said to be a blend of cheddar, Swiss and Provolone developed in the 1940's by Roma Grocery (then known as Costa Grocery) with the assistance of the Hoffman Dairy of Wisconsin. Now the cheese is produced by a Kraft owned company. This cheese is excellent in soups, sauces and pasta dishes, but is absolutely needful in the making of the famous St. Louis Gerber sandwich. A french loaf is spread with garlic butter, topped with ham and Provel then sprinkled with paprika before it is broiled to perfection.  Another (perhaps more famous) sandwich in the St. Louis area is the Prosperity Sandwich, said to be a snub at  President Hoover's constant Depression-era promise that "prosperity is just around the corner" the sandwich is served open faced and hot. Believed to be a St. Louis answer to the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich. If you're really in a mood for a different sandwich, then try the other of the St. Louis sandwiches called the St. Paul. This is a sandwich offering from Chinese restaurants, made with mung bean egg foo young, a hamburger patty, mayonnaise, lettuce, onion and dill pickle. Some use chopped shrimp, cooked pork, turkey or chicken instead of the hamburger patty, then all is placed between two slices of very fresh (soft) white bread (not toasted). Said to created by Steven Yuen at Park Chop Suey in Lafayette Square in the 1940's to attract Americans into his restaurant , it is said he named his sandwich after his home town St. Paul Minnesota.

Do you know what Patent #DRP 37435 refers to, well if you visit the Kemp Auto Museum in St. Louis you will find out (It is the first German patent for the motor car), here you will find the finest collection of the world's best cars, it houses a premium Mercedes Benz display of cars in one location. Leaving the car museum you will want to head over to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and enjoy a "concrete", the forerunner of Dairy Queen's Blizzard the Concrete is a mixture of frozen custard mixed with your choice of candy, fruit, or nuts. Frozen custard was a Coney Island treat that became a quickly sought after treat Ted Drewe open his first store in 1930 and has operated a location since. Frozen custard is a mixture of 18% and 35% creams (AKA half & half cream and whipping cream), egg yolks, sugar, and flavorings (much like French vanilla ice cream) whipped like ice cream, but incorporating less air than ice cream but more air than sherbet.

Gooey Butter Cake

For the cake
3 tablespoons milk at room temperature
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the topping
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnishing

Make the cake dough: In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves allow to rest until the yeast becomes foamy.

Cream the butter, sugar and salt, scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture in equal thirds, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.  Knead the dough into a smooth dough, about 10 minutes.

Press the dough into a greased 9x 13x2-inch baking dish. Cover dish with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Make the gooey topping: Heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, whisk corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Cream the butter, sugar and salt until light. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternate adding the flour and corn syrup mixture again in thirds, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.

Spoon the topping in large dollops over the risen cake and spread it in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, the cake will rise and falling slightly in the center and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in the center when done. Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.

Before you head to the "Hill" you may need another product invented in St. Louis to help you enjoy dinner and that is Tums. Jim Howe, a pharmacist in St. Louis, Missouri, developed Tums in the basement of his home while treating his wife's indigestion, while on a cruise some passengers experienced indigestion Mr. Howe gave them his tablets and the were a huge hit giving Tums the exposure they needed and resulting that they are now the number one  choice of the people today, available in assorted sizes and flavors.
In our next writing we will continue in St. Louis looking at barbecue, the Hill and of course more beer.


2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dark corn syrup
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons water
16 ounces whole tomatoes (diced into fine pieces)
6 ounces tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon crushed basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme

2 cups of Provel cheese, shredded  or the cheese mixture listed below.
Italian Seasoning
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon thyme

Crust: Mix until thoroughly combined - Divide the dough in half, shape into a round ball and roll out paper thin.

Sauce: Combine together and it's ready to use - do not pre-cook the sauce! This Makes enough sauce for about four (4) 12" pizza pies, so that should give you some idea of how much to use on each pizza.
Cheese: Toss until cheeses and smoke flavoring are completely incorporated. Typically it's enough cheese for two (2) 12" pizza pies, but if you like extra-cheese you'll want to make more.

Seasonings: Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and blend well. Sprinkle on the cheese.
Bake in a preheated 450 F oven for 10-12 minutes, remove from oven slice into squares and serve.

Cheese Mixture:
1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon liquid hickory liquid smoke
Blend the cheeses together, sprinkle with the liquid smoke, use as required.


Serves 4
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces Provel cheese, shredded (2 cups)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 (3/4-inch-thick) slices rustic white bread
8 ounces thinly sliced roast turkey
8 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
2 tomatoes, cored, cut into 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices, and patted dry

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, shallot, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in now-empty saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1/2 cup cheddar, mustard, Worcestershire, and pepper; set aside.
Adjust oven rack 5 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Arrange bread slices on prepared baking sheet and broil until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Divide mushroom mixture between toasted bread slices. Arrange 2 ounces turkey, 2 ounces ham, and 2 slices tomato over mushrooms on each slice of toast. Spoon 1/2 cup cheese sauce evenly over each sandwich and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar. Broil until cheddar is browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve.


1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup granulated sugar
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1.  Heat the half + half, sugar, and  vanilla beans and pod in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly to avoid a skin forming on the top of the mixture.  Turn off the heat when the mixture is just about ready to start simmering – the mixture should coat the back of a metal spoon.

2.  Beat the egg yolks by hand or in a stand mixer until slightly thick.  Slowly drizzle in about half of the half + half mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly tempering the cream. 

3.  Pour the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining half + half mixture and heat on low or medium-low heat until thick, stirring constantly.  DO NOT BOIL.

4.  Pour the custard into a bowl with the heavy whipping cream and stir to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing on the top of the cream mixture.  Chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.  

5.  Following the manufacturer's directions, freeze in an ice cream maker until it reaches your desired consistency, about 20-30 minutes.  Place mixture in an airtight container and freeze in freezer to harden for at least 8 hours.


4 eggs
Salt and pepper
1 c. Mung bean sprouts
2 scallions, chopped
1 t. Soy sauce
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. Cornstarch
4 Hamburger patties cooked  or 1/4 c. Chopped ham with  1/2 c. Chopped, cooked shrimp
8 slices white bread
Shredded lettuce
Bread and butter pickles
Oil for frying

Put 1 T. Cooking oil in a wok and stir fry the bean sprouts and scallions for four to five minutes. Remove and let cool.

Whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper, the sauces and the cornstarch. Fold into the cooled bean sprouts. Stir in the ham and shrimp (if using instead of the hamburger).

Lay out the bread slices, spread well with mayonnaise, and have the shredded lettuce and pickles at the ready.

Put an inch of oil into the wok. Get it hot. Pour in 1/4 c. of the egg mixture. Fry for two minutes, flip and fry one minute more. Remove from oil, let drain, place on a slice of bread, top with the the hot hamburger, lettuce and pickles, serve.

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