Cannabis Cupcakes Cookbook Giveaway, Right in Time for 4/20 [CONTEST]

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All this could be yours.
Last year Gut Check offered a 4/20 survival guide, and a list of the six best St. Louis restaurants that deliver delicious munchies to your doorstep.

This year, we're giving away one copy of Cannabis Cupcakes: 35 Mini Marijuana Cakes to Bake and Decorate to ensure at least one reader gets baked on April 20.

The cookbook includes recipes for "boosted butter" and vegan-friendly "souped-up sunflower oil," as well as 35 sweet and savory cupcake, muffin and dessert recipes to incorporate said special ingredients into, including espresso cupcakes, carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, lemon and poppy seed muffins, and even "pizza" cupcakes.

Ready to win this baby and get to baking? Click the jump for entry details and contest rules.

Update: Congrats to commenter jsydneysmith, who logged the winning comment: "Kumar for being a thinker; tipping the cops off about a fake shooting to bust Harold out of jail to grab burgers."

See also:
-Dude, It's The Top Six Delivery Restaurants For 4/20, Check It Out
-Gut Check's Survival Guide for 4/20

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At Basso, Nationally Acclaimed Chef Patrick Connolly Pays Homage to St. Louis' Divisive Provel Cheese

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Not everyone gets the joke at first, admits Patrick Connolly, the executive chef of Basso (7036 Clayton Avenue; 314-932-7820), the new gastropub inside the renovated Cheshire hotel. The "Emo Cover Band" is just another of the pizzas on the restaurant's menu -- the last one listed, in fact, after the classic margherita, the cheese-laden "Stretch Armstrong" (buffalo mozzarella and strecchino), the over-the-top "Donald" (duck egg, truffle butter, shaved lardo).

Then the diner says the name of the pizza out loud. Or she reads over the ingredients: sausage, cippolini onions, pancetta, mushrooms, poblano chiles and...something called "Basso Provel"?

Commence the chuckling and slapping of foreheads. "Emo Cover Band" -- as in a tribute to St. Louis' very own Imo's Pizza.

See Also:
- The 15 Best Imo's Pizza Photos on Instagram
- Gut Check Chows Down on Imo's New Provel Bites

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Wait, Should We Be Eating Organic Food or Not?

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Does the organic seal automatically make them worth $3.99 a pound?
Researchers at Stanford University published a study earlier this week that knocked proponents of organic food on their collective ear. Turns out that organic food, while far more expensive than conventionally-produced food, isn't any healthier.

But now that the foodies have had a chance to read the Stanford study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, they've started to squawk that the study itself was flawed and we should all be eating organic all the time, dammit!

So what to do? Do we remain in debt to Whole Foods for the rest of our lives, or can we venture out into the brave new world of pesticides?

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Garlic Scape Season Is Here!

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"A thing of beauty is a joy forever..." It's what we tell ourselves during the 49 weeks of the year when there are no garlic scapes.
Yesterday marked the beginning of the best three weeks of the year, if you happen to be a garlic junkie (like, um, Gut Check). Garlic scapes, the bright green, curly offshoots of garlic bulbs, made their first appearance at the Maplewood Farmers' Market (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood; 314-241-2337). You should be able to find them at the other markets, too. They're cute, they're tasty, what more do you need to know? How to cook them?

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Stuff It: Gut Check Makes Stuffed Crust Pizza Monsters, Nasty Food Gang Bang Ensues

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Three Cheese Bagel Bites stuffed crust pizza is as meta as we like our pizza.
Gut Check is suffering from Pizza-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the last month we've seen Pizza Hut UK introduce a hot dog stuffed crust pizza and Pizza Hut Middle East roll out a cheeseburger-stuffed-crust pizza and a chicken-filet-stuffed-crust pizza. We reported that Pizza Hut US re-released its cheesy bites pizza, which is basically a crust made of mini cheesy breadsticks. We call shenanigans. We call bullshit. And we demand satisfaction.

In an attempt to offer Pizza Hut US more creative (read: monstrous) ideas for ingenious (read: abominable) stuffed-crust pizzas, Gut Check conducted a series of decidedly non-scientific experiments in our test kitchen. The ingredients included: Crab Rangoon from Chinese Noodle Cafe (6138 Delmar Boulevard; 314-725-9889), sliders, French fries and mozzarella sticks from White Castle (7485 Manchester Road; 314-535-7430), Bagel Bites, Pizza Rolls, taquitos, Combos, pretzel dogs and a combination of Nutella, bananas, peanut butter and jelly.

Shit got real.

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Freshly Snared Barbecued Rabbit and The Hunger Games, Part 1

This is part one of Gut Check's Dinner and Movie feature of The Hunger Games. Part two, a review of the film, will be published tomorrow, and part three, a Hunger Games giveaway, will be available on Friday.

Gut Check was thrilled to learn of the existence of The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook. Mostly, we wanted to know what the hell "groosling" was. Turns out it's imaginary, but it was still exciting to learn that the book has four recipes for squirrel. Eating squirrel, we thought, would help us to more fully appreciate the hardships of life in District 12 and inside the game arena. We were particularly taken with the recipe for Grilled Tree Rat with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce.

We could, of course, have gone to Tower Grove Park armed with a bow and arrow, which would have been in the spirit of The Hunger Games, but we freely admit we're not as big a badass as Katniss Everdeen. We're part of the Establishment. We got a guy. His name's Scott Harr, and he runs Harr Family Farms at the Soulard Farmers' Market.

Scott broke our hearts right away. "You should've called back in November," he told us. Autumn, apparently, is the height of squirrel season. This time of year is mating season and they're all horny and scrawny. In a few weeks, they'll be infected with some sort of worm that will make them even less tasty. (This was not in the book. Maybe things work differently in Panem?)

We were just about to hang up in despair when Scott said, "I can get you a rabbit."


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A Tasty Recipe for Your Beefy Love Meat, Valentine's Day Style

Categories: In the Kitchen

While these days it seems like those who eat offal are adventurous gourmands, this wasn't always the case. Organ meats are humble by nature, the odd science-project leftovers after the animal has been broken down into the more obviously appealing roasts and steaks. With clever cooking techniques, though, these cheap "nasty bits" can become tasty, even highfalutin' dishes. In No Guts, No Glory, Gut Check visits local places serving up the offal truth.

Holly Fann
We're gonna warm up your cold, frozen heart
This Valentine's Day Gut Check gets literal when we tell you to eat your heart out. We're taking a trip to our own kitchen to prepare beef heart, which is not only surprisingly simple to prepare, but also one of the most approachable organ meats to be enjoyed. Not squishy, not slimy, not lumpy or bumpy, it's tender and firm and meaty and, when made in the following style, a remarkably tasty slice of animal.

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Bluestem: The Cookbook: Recipe for Pea Soup, Preserved Lemon, Crème Fraîche

Bonjwing Lee
Tonight, Niche (1831 Sidney Street; 314-773-7755) presents the Bluestem Cookbook Dinner, featuring dishes from chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts of Bluestem, a progressive fine-dining establishment in Kansas City, Missouri, that features reinvented regional flavors from the other side of the state.

The five-course meal will be comprised of dishes from the cookbook as well as dishes created by chef Gerard Craft includes courses such as crispy sweetbreads with roasted radicchio, pickled apple, buttermilk and bourbon pecan molasses; Kansas City strip and short rib with puffed barley, Mienke grits, Thane's kale, pumpernickel and horseradish; and graham cracker pound cake with chocolate-poached pears and tangerine sherbet.

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Update: Six Buttery Recipes for the Holidays

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Update: A Norwegian blogger named Tommy recently posted a vlog where he expressed disgust at Americans who've been taking the crisis lightly. We're also pretty sure he calls us fat, and he mentions something about Norwegians eating cats. Check out the video after the jump.

Norway done goofed this year, hopping on the Atkins diet craze about 10 years late and depleting a lot of the available butter in the area. Low-carb, high-fat diets throughout the year paired with a rainy summer that affected livestock feed and milk production has left Nordic grocery stores looking like Paula Deen's worst nightmare. This is a problem, because, well, Norwegians want cookies on Christmas, too.

Butter is so scarce that online auctions are selling it at five times the usual amount, the equivalent of almost $12 for a single stick. A Russian smuggler was also caught last week with 200 pounds of butter in the trunk of his car as he passed into Norway.

Given the current butter crisis (tragedy, catastrophe, disaster, etc.) in Norway, Gut Check has compiled a list of our favorite buttery treats to pack up and ship over to all our Norwegian friends this holiday season.

6. Orange Cream Sugar Cookies
We found this recipe from an online contest seeking recipes that portray a "successful use of butter as a main ingredient." This recipe certainly does just that, with a cookie consisting of a ratio of one cup butter to three cups flour, and a similar icing that calls for one cup butter to three cups powered sugar. That's two cups of butter total, the same as four whole sticks.

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Recipe: Melba's Baked Pork Chops from Stirring it Up with Molly Ivins by Ellen Sweets

Mabel Suen
Copies of Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins now available at Left Bank Books.
Last week, Gut Check spoke with St. Louis native Ellen Sweets about her new book, Stirring it Up with Molly Ivins. The memoir celebrates Ivins' life by taking a deep look into her joyous domestic side. As a true testament to the fact that food brings people together, Sweets documents the details of how her friendship with Ivins formed over both sharing and creating fond memories in the kitchen. Recounting some pleasant plates from her own family's dinner table, Sweets shares a recipe for her mother's unique take on baked pork chops.

"Before we had them for dinner, I hadn't seen them anywhere else before. She said she just kind of made it up," says Sweets, explaining in the book that her daughter, a chef, had great success with the pork chops on her menu while in charge of her first commercial kitchen. Read on for the skinny on how to make this wholesome, comforting dish that gets layered for a tasty and impressive meal, and pick up a copy of Stirring it Up with Molly Ivins this Tuesday, Dec. 13 at Left Bank Books (399 Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731) during a reading and signing by Sweets at 7 p.m.

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