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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


                                                               ART BY COJANA SMITH

Staying in St. Louis is always complicated as there are so many great hotels, my favorite however is the
Mayfair, I love old historic places especially hotels. Their histories and culinary offerings set the standards for which all others strive to achieve.  I began my career at such hotels (Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper, Alberta and The Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg.)  Historic hotels have great personalities whereas most modern hotels are cookie cutter styling the old hotels spoke of elegance, class and the highest quality. The Mayfair is one such hotel, the choice of actors, actresses, Presidents  what is exactly what the owner Charles Hess wanted as his clientele, only the finest for his customer no matter their standing, if they stayed at the Mayfair then the experience stayed with them due to service that
exceeded even the wildest expectation.  These historic hotels became so in cuisine as well,  may create dishes that are held by chefs as the standard today, some one hundred years later are still the standard. The Mayfair's contribution is a dressing known simply as Mayfair dressing, a versatile condiment that is excellent on salads, with fried foods, fish, chicken and seafood.

Every major community has special areas settled by those coming from other countries in search of a better life for their children and their children. Many cities today are so multinational that a visitor can experience the world just by visiting the neighborhoods. St. Louis, of course, is no different the foreign influences are rooted deep within Oriental , German, Polish, Mexican, Irish all are part of the makeup of this great city.  There is one community, however that has truly made an international name for itself, that being the Italian community.
"The Hill" a delicious area of dining and entertaining and a must visit when in St. Louis in fact you haven't experienced the city without visiting the hill.

The Hill has some of the finest Italian restaurants not only in St. Louis but in America. The neighborhood can be located just off the Interstate 44 along Shaw Ave. Bordered by  Lilly Ave. and MacKind Ave.  contains immaculate prewar homes, various shops, bakeries, tattorias and of course the restaurants. The Italian food here is that kind that warms the heart and the stomach, for the family or the romantic The Hill has something for everyone. Famous waiters Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola are from the hill, they lived on the same street across from each other, sure they were famous baseball players but they were waiters before the baseball careers. Joe's brother Mickey was actually the first to experience what would become one of St. Louis' gifts to the world, that being the toasted ravioli. Mickey was seated at the bar in Oldani's (now Mama's On The Hill) when chef Fritz accidentally dropped the little pillows of pasta into hot oil instead of hot water, Mickey ate them instead of tossing them out and declared them a hit, soon thereafter every restaurant on the Hill served toasted ravioli and now are found on menus throughout the world. Depending on the region the ravioli are filled with what is local to the area,seafood in the northeast,chicken in the southwest, beef and cheese on the prairies. The ravioli are lightly breaded then deep fried, served with marinara sauce and garnished with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Did you know the hot dog on a bun, hamburger in a bun, cotton candy, peanut butter, Dr. Pepper and canned chili are all foods that were created in St. Louis.

Next St. Louis Barbecue.


1 quantity          Tomato Pasta Dough (follows)
1 tbsp   15 ml    olive oil
¾ lb      345 g    shredded beef chuck
2 oz      60 g      minced prosciutto 
3          3          eggs
½ tsp    3 ml      each of basil and oregano
½ cup   125 ml  freshly grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup 125 ml milk
1 cup    250 ml  flour
2 cups  500 ml  fine bread crumbs seasoned
4 cups  1L         vegetable oil

For Sauce
2 tbsp   30 ml    butter
2 tbsp   30 ml    flour, all purpose
1 cup    250 ml  half & half cream
2 cups  500 ml  fresh marinara sauce

Process the pasta as directed. Roll out into thin sheets. Cover with a moist cloth until required.

Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the beef. Drain oil and allow the beef to cool in a large mixing bowl. Blend into the cooled beef the prosciutto, 1 egg, seasonings and cheese.

Place tablespoon amounts of filling evenly over a sheet of dough, moisten the dough surrounding the filling with a little water. Place a second sheet of dough over the first. Cut between the filling with a scalloped edge pastry cutter. Freeze for 1 hour.

Mix the milk with the remaining 2 eggs.

Dip the ravioli into the flour, then the egg mixture and into the bread crumbs. Place back in the freezer for another hour or until required.

Heat the vegetable oil to 350F, fry the ravioli in small batches, Serve with hot with the sauce.
For the sauce:

In a sauce pan, heat the butter, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes over low heat. Add the cream and simmer into a very thick sauce. Whip in the Marinara, simmer for 20 minutes..   


2          2          eggs
¼ cup   60 ml    tomato paste
1 tbsp   15 ml    olive oil
2 cups  500 ml  semolina flour
ice water, only if required

Blend the eggs, tomato paste and oil together. Place in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the flour. Knead into a smooth ball (add ice water if required), Knead the dough for 15 minutes and allow to rest for an additional 15 minutes. Roll out the dough. Lightly dust with flour, fold in three, and roll out again. Repeat 6 to 8 times.
Now pass the dough through the pasta machine setting the rollers gradually down until you reach the desired thickness. The result should be a smooth sheet of dough ready to process as you require.
Pass through a pasta machine, or cut by hand to desired size. If processed by hand, simply roll the dough and cut into thin strips for noodles (fettucini) or into wider strips for lasagna, cannelloni, ravioli, etc.
Process as any of our recipes direct.
NOTE:  Use only enough flour to prevent sticking while rolling.

1/2 chopped large onion,
1 stalk celery,
1 clove, peeled garlic,
2 -[2oz] cans flat anchovies,

4 whole fresh, cold egg yolks,
1 cup corn oil
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sparkling wine or champagne,
2 tablespoons prepared mustard,
1 tsp cracked black pepper

In a food processor, add the onion, celery and garlic and puree. Add the anchovies and egg yolks, then with the machine running, add the oils very slowly to emulsify.  Finally, add the wine, mustard and pepper, blend for 1 minute or until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt. Reserve and store refrigerated for up 7 days. Yields 3 cups.

CK’s Dr, Pepper & Jack BBQ Sauce

1 cup Dr. Pepper soda
1 pound fresh peaches
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion such as Vidalia
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeño with seeds

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Jack Daniels Sour Mash bourbon
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 Tbsp Chef K Seasonings

Heat the soda in a small sauce pan and reduce to 1/3rd cup.
Coarsely chop the peaches.
Cook onion, jalapeño, and a pinch of kosher salt in oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add reduce Dr.Pepper, the peaches and remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peaches are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Purée in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Here is the bun, but read up on the Perfect Hamburger at

Dough Enhancer

1 cup wheat gluten
1/2 cup diastatic malt powder
2 tablespoons lecithin granules
1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals
2 tablespoons powdered pectin
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Mix together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For 100% whole grain breads, use 3
Tablespoons per loaf. Add to your recipe along with the flour.

Burger Buns 
Makes 8 /4-inch to 5-inch burger buns
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dough enhancer (above)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Black and white sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds (optional)


1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours and dough enhancer with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on the counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. (You may also use a stand mixer for this, eliminating the need for a bench scraper. You want the dough to remain slightly tacky, as the more flour you add, the tougher they will be when baked.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated with nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on the oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds ( I used both sesame and poppy seeds), if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


900 g (2 lbs) lean ground beef
45 ml (3 tbsp) safflower oil
2 jalapeños, seeded, diced
1 Spanish onion, diced
500 ml (2 cups) tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced

250 ml (1 cup) beef broth
500 ml (2 cups) V-8 juice
15 ml(1 tbsp)cumin
15 ml (1 tbsp) chili powder
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) cheddar cheese, grated
Tortilla chips

In a Dutch oven or a large kettle, fry the beef in the oil.  Add the pepper and onion.  Sauté until tender.
Add the tomatoes, broth, juice and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes.
Pour chili into bowls, garnish with tortillas and cheese and serve.

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