We bring you the treasured family recipes from some of St. Louis' movers and shakers that wrote in to our 2012 FEAST 50.

Pearl Onion Relish

By Carole Goldfeder

Courtesy of Mark Richman, owner and president, Skeleton Key

This simple yet delicious condiment is great with roasted turkey or beef tenderloin. It keeps well for two to three days in the refrigerator or up to two months in the freezer. Consider doubling the recipe when serving at parties, as it goes fast!

  • 2 lbs pearl onions
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup + 4 tsp dry sherry
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

| Preparation | Cook onions for 3 minutes in a pot of boiling water to loosen the skins. Remove the onions from the water. Remove and discard the skins. Combine the cooked onions, raisins, honey, ¼ cup sherry, water, butter and thyme in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Stir in toasted almonds and 4 tsp dry sherry. Serve immediately.

Virginia's Fern Tarts

Courtesy of Stephen Wancha, director of food and beverage, Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis

“My grandmother used to make the most amazing fern tarts and passed the recipe down to my mother,” says Stephen Wancha, director of food and beverage, Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. “The flaky dough of the pastry shell with the raspberry jam and drizzle of chocolate is, to me, nostalgia in a shell.”

Yield | 2 dozen |


  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups coconut
  • ½ cup raspberry jam
  • 24 unbaked tart shells

Vanilla Icing

  • 1 Tbsp soft butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 square unsweetened chocolate

| Preparation – Tarts | Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cornstarch and salt. Mix in melted butter, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Fold in coconut. Spoon about ½ tsp jam into each unbaked tart shell. Fill 2/3 full with coconut mixture. Bake on for 20 minutes. Remove oven and set aside to cool.

| Preparation – Vanilla Icing | Combine butter, sugar, milk and vanilla extract and frost tarts with icing. Melt chocolate and drizzle thin lines of chocolate over iced tarts. Draw a clean knife cross-wise through the chocolate lines to make a pattern.

Pizza Bread

Courtesy of Angela Antkowiak, associate producer, Living St. Louis

“I come from a big Italian family on my mother’s side. Eating is pretty much a religion for them and certain recipes have been in the family since they pulled into Ellis Island in the 1900s,” says Angela Antkowiak, associate producer, Living St. Louis. “My favorite recipe is also the most simple: my great-aunt’s pepperoni bread. There are only four ingredients: pizza dough, olive oil, pepperoni and fresh mozzarella. I get all of the ingredients from DiGreggorio’s on the Hill.”

Yield | 6 loaves |

  • 3 lbs pizza dough
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • ¼ lb thinly sliced pepperoni
  • 3 to 4 cups fresh mozzarella, divided

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Divide pizza dough into six portions. Roll each portion into a rectangle about the size of a baking sheet. Brush 1 Tbsp olive oil onto each sheet of dough. Divide pepperoni and cheese evenly among sheets. Roll each sheet up like a scroll and place on two baking sheets. Place on both oven racks and bake until the dough is golden-brown and cheese begins to bubble out the sides. Cool and serve.

The Pelly Tamale

“The way this dish is described on the menu at Diablitos is funny: It was smuggled in to America by my family from Cuba, and it was Castro's favorite tamale!” says Wil Pelly, chef at Diablitos and Sanctuaria. “When I was a kid, our family would pick any old Saturday and gather in my grandmother’s kitchen and make so many tamales you could feed an army. Each one hand made and hand wrapped.”

Yield | 8 large tamales |

  • 2 cups masa harina*
  • 2¼ tsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3¼ cups water
  • 1/3 cup soy oil
  • 1 1/3 cups creamed corn
  • 8 banana leaves*
  • 1½ cups shredded pork or chicken
  • salsa verde

| Preparation | Mix the masa harina with chile powder and salt. Stir in the water, and then add the oil. Mix until the dough forms a firm ball. Incorporate the creamed corn and mix thoroughly; it will be the consistency of thick mud. Divide tamale dough into 8 pieces. Place each piece in the center of a banana leaf. Crease the dough with the side of your hand (like a karate chop!) and place the meat in this crease. Wrap the leaf to encase the mixture and steam, covered, in a water bath for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let the tamales firm in the covered steamer for another 10 minutes. Serve with salsa verde on the side.

* Masa harina and banana leaves can be purchased at most Mexican specialty grocers.

Basil Pesto

By John Carney, John Carney Show

“My father was a big pesto person, so I tend to make it a lot. When my garden basil is cooperating, that is,” says John Carney, host of the John Carney Show. “Over the years I have switched things up by substituting the traditional pine nuts and Parmesan with some other combos. Try pistachios and Asiago or walnuts and Jarlsberg. You can even mix some parsley in with the basil. But always be sure to use decent olive oil.”

Yield | ¾ cup |

  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • ¼ tsp salt

| Preparation | With the motor running, add the pine nuts and garlic through the feed chute into the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely minced. Add the olive oil and pulse 3 times. Add basil, Parmesan and salt to the processor bowl. Process until finely minced, scraping down the sides. Refrigerate leftovers and use within 1 week.

Summer Vinaigrette

Courtesy of Nathan Bennett, chef and co-owner, Hendel’s Market Café

“My late grandma’s salad dressing is a classic in our family,” says Nathan Bennett, chef and co-owner, Hendel’s Market Café. “She would find or grow the freshest, crispiest lettuce; throw in homegrown tomatoes and bell peppers; and toss with her salad dressing. The dressing was never poured over.”

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup oil

| Preparation | Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously. Toss with your favorite salad for a perfect start to a summer meal.

Mom’s Meatloaf

Courtesy of Rachel Witt, executive director, South Grand Community Improvement District

“My mom taught me to cook young, and by the third grade I was making dinner for my entire family,” says Rachel Witt, executive director, South Grand Community Improvement District. “My favorite recipe, then and now, is my mother’s meatloaf. What makes this recipe so special to me is the fact that I use my great grandmother’s chopping board and an old-fashioned chopper to chop and combine all my ingredients.”

Serves | 6 to 8 |

  • 2 slices bread, processed into breadcrumbs (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350°F. Add bread through black pepper to a large mixing bowl and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Place meat mixture in an oven-safe loaf pan. In a small bowl, combine ketchup and brown sugar and spread over top of meatloaf. Cook for 1 hour.

Cheese Enchiladas and Pinto Beans

By Susan Earnest

Adapted by Maddie Earnest, co-owner, Local Harvest Grocery and Local Harvest Cafe & Catering

“I love my mom's cheese enchiladas and slow cooked pinto beans,” says Maddie Earnest, co-owner, Local Harvest Grocery and Local Harvest Cafe & Catering. “She slow-cooked the pinto beans with a ham hock and served them with warm tortillas, a little sour cream and cheese. I loved these growing up. They’re also great alongside her enchiladas. When I asked my mom if I could share her recipes with Feast readers, I cracked up to learn that her cheese enchilada recipe was from good ol' Betty Crocker. But over the years I’ve made some changes to the sauce to make it my own.”

Serves | 4 |

Pinto Beans

  • 1 lb dry pinto beans
  • 1 to 2 ham hocks
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt

Cheese Enchiladas

  • 2 Tbsp + 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 15-oz can diced tomatoes, juice reserved
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • salt
  • ¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 to 3 roasted green chiles
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • safflower oil for frying

| Preparation – Pinto Beans | Soak beans overnight. Place them in a stock pot with the ham hock, onion and garlic. Season to taste with salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until beans are soft and flavors have melded, about 2 to 3 hours. Adjust seasoning if needed.

| Preparation – Cheese Enchiladas | Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown 2 Tbsp onion in oil. Add diced tomatoes, ½ cup of the reserved juices, spices, 1 tsp salt, Tabasco and chiles. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Place ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining onion and Cheddar. Season to taste with salt and set aside. Coat the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish with enchilada sauce. Heat a large skillet and fill ¼ full of frying oil. When the oil is hot, dip a tortilla briefly in the oil to soften and then dip it in enchilada sauce. Fill with the onion and cheese mixture, roll it up and place it in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, cover with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.


Courtesy of Florian Kuplent, co-founder/brewmaster, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

“My mom’s recipe for Apfelstrudel is fantastic,” says Florian Kuplent, co-founder/brewmaster, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. “I make this for special occasions, and everybody always loves it!”


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water


  • 3 lbs sour apples, such as Granny Smith
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups heavy cream

| Preparation – Dough | In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, egg, oil and salt. Slowly add water and mix until a smooth dough is formed. Add more flour is the dough is too moist. Cover and let sit for 1 hour. Divide dough into two halves. Roll out each half into a very thin, square sheet about 12 inches on each side. Set each sheet on a kitchen towel.

| Preparation – Filling | Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a roasting pan and set aside. Peel, core and shred apples. Add shredded apples to a large bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and set aside. Spread sour cream evenly on both sheets of dough. Sprinkle with apples, sugar, cinnamon and raisins. With the help of the kitchen towel, roll up the dough and place both rolls onto the greased roasting pan. Pour heavy cream over the rolls and bake until golden-brown, about 45 minutes. Can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Hot Fruit Compote

By Marilyn Lipton

Courtesy of Ann Sheehan Lipton, owner, Winslow’s Home

“My husband Randy grew up having his mother’s hot fruit compote at the holidays,” says Ann Sheehan Lipton, owner, Winslow’s Home. “It’s very ‘50s: canned fruit, toasted macaroons, slivered almonds. Marilyn Lipton is one of my favorite people on the planet, but she suffers from advanced stages of Alzheimer's. I miss her every day. Randy often does the preparation for this dish at the holidays which brings her memory closer to all of us.”

  • 12 macaroons, dried and crumbled
  • 4 cups canned fruit (peaches, pears, apricots, dark pitted cherries, pineapple), well drained
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sherry
  • ¼ cup melted butter, plus more for greasing

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2½-quart casserole dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of crumbled macaroons. Layer remaining macaroons and fruit, finishing with macaroons on top. Sprinkle with almonds, sugar and sherry. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Pour melted butter over the hot compote and serve immediately.