James Beard Foundation's Taste America® Preview: Miami

Rocco DiSpirito and Christopher Lee


The James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® national epicurean tour begins this weekend with two days of star-studded events in Miami, featuring Taste America All-Star and JBF Award-winner Rocco DiSpirito, local star Christopher Lee, and pastry chef Sergio Navarro. Friday night kicks off with a tasting reception from some of Miami's finest, followed by an exclusive four course dinner prepared by DiSpirito and Lee with desserts by Navarro. Saturday the action moves to Sur La Table, for cooking demos and book signings from DiSpirito and lauded chef Cindy Hutson, along with free tastings from local vendor Project Pop.


For tickets and more information about the chefs and vendors appearing, check out ... Read more >

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Our Favorite Quotes from Beard on Books with Elizabeth Bard, Author of "Picnic in Provence"


Earlier this month, we welcomed journalist and author Elizabeth Bard to the Beard House to discuss her newest work, Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes, for the most recent installment of our Beard on Books series. Bard traveled to New York from the beautiful village of Céret, deep in the heart of southern France, to share her enchanting real-life fairy tale. Bard’s first book, the New York Times bestseller Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes, details her journey to love, marriage, and a dream life in Paris. Picnic in Provence picks up with a happily-married and pregnant Bard, whose life turns upside-down once more when a spontaneous trip to Provence takes her to places she never thought possible. Bard shared intimate moments from her life with great detail, captivating the audience with every word.  


Here are some of our favorite moments from her reading:

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Eat This Word: Pea Shoots


WHAT? Trendy tendrils. Long used in Chinese cooking, pea shoots are just beginning to find popularity on menus in this country. The pretty green tendrils, actually the leaves and shoots of the young pea plant, are a spring delicacy in China. Pea shoots, called dau miu in their native land, may be grown from a variety of pea plants but are traditionally culled from immature snow peas. Pea shoots are sweet, tender, and have a strong pea taste. You cook them as you might any green—very quickly in hot oil with, perhaps, salt, garlic, and a splash of sherry or rice wine.


WHERE? Beltane in the Berkshires 


WHEN? April 28, 2015


HOW? Housemade High Lawn Farm Ricotta Gnocchi with the Meat Market–Cured Blue Hill Farm Prosciutto, Indian Line... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Galette


WHAT? French flapjacks. Most Americans are familiar with crêpes, but the galette, a signature dish of Brittany, is not nearly as well known. Made with buckwheat flour and encasing savory fillings such as mushrooms, cheese, eggs, and ham, galettes came into vogue after the Crusaders brought back buckwheat from their travels to Asia. They called it sarasin, derived from the same root as Saracen, meaning “of a dark color.” Culinaria: France (Könemann) explains that buckwheat's popularity in Brittany came from the crop's resiliency, its short growing time, and the fact that it was not taxed, hence was more profitable for farmers than planting wheat. This unleavened, stone-baked substitute for bread, Culinaria states, “is probably man's oldest food.” Incidentally, the word galette is also used in French for flat cakes, as in the galette de roi. Every fall the Breton town of Louiseville holds a weeklong Festival de la Galette de Sarrasin, celebrating the flatbread with sporting events, Bingo, and... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Fennel Pollen


WHAT? Obscure no more. Once a little known spice used by Tuscans on meat or in soups and stews, fennel pollen was introduced to an American audience by food writer Faith Willinger, an American who has lived in Italy for nearly a quarter of a century. In the 1990s she brought American chefs like Mario Batali to a butcher shop in Panzano, Chianti, owned by Dario Cecchini, who sells specialty products of the area, including fennel pollen. The flowers of the blossoming wild fennel plant are coated in a mass of yellow pollen and, when shaken loose, the powdery condiment imparts a sweet fennel flavor and aromatic flowery scent. Batali was quick to incorporate the spice in his repertoire. As he explained to us a few years ago, "You sprinkle a tiny dusting on something hot, and it gives you this heady fennel perfume. It's amazing." This once hard-to-find spice, which marries wonderfully with a variety of ingredients, including pork, mussels, and even dark chocolate, is now popping up on menus everywhere. ... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Harissa


WHAT? This fiery, rust-colored condiment made from chiles, garlic, cumin, and olive oil is traditionally stirred into the broth ladled over couscous. Harissa is also used to add heat to many other Tunisian dishes, ranging from salads to brochettes. Commercially prepared harissa is available at specialty stores in the United States, but homemade harissa is easy to prepare and will last about a year if covered with a layer of olive oil and stored in the refrigerator. Neighboring Morocco and Algeria also use the condiment in their cuisines.


WHERE? Local and Salted, Pacific Northwest


WHEN? April 21, 2015


HOW? Anderson Ranch Lamb Loin with Charred Ramps, Sweet Tooth Mushrooms, Harissa, and... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Pupusas


WHAT? Referred to as “a distant cousin of the empanada” by Rob McKeown of the Boston Phoenix and “the world’s most overlooked pancake” by Robert Sietsema, pupusas are less well known than their Mexican counterparts, but just as tasty. A staple food in El Salvador, pupusas are thick, handmade corn tortillas made with masa harina (a dried hominy flour) and water. Traditional pupusa preparation calls for kneading the ingredients together before slapping the dense dough into disks and frying them on the griddle until hot and golden brown. Before cooking, pupusas are often stuffed with savory fillings such as quesillo, a mild, white cheese, fried pork rinds, braised chicken, refried beans, or loroco, an edible Central American flower. The snacks are usually served with curtido, a pickled cabbage slaw, and salsa. Pupusas were brought to the United States by El Salvadoran immigrants and they are sold in pupuserías in cities across the country.

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Eat This Word: Kulfi



WHAT? Indian ice cream cone. The Chinese first introduced ice cream to the world as early as the first century, but it was the Mughals that brought kulfi, a denser version of the frozen treat, from Persia to India in the sixteenth century. Kulfi’s unique conical shape sets it apart from most Western-style scoops—it’s also made without egg yolks as a thickener. Rather, its texture comes from milk that is boiled down until thick and creamy, then mixed with pistachios, cardamom, rose water, or other delicate flavorings before being poured into cone-shaped metal molds, sealed, and frozen in large earthenware vessels. The creamy confection is traditionally served with falooda (fine, silky Indian noodles made from corn flour), and is prized as a hot weather refresher. The dessert is so popular in India that master ice cream makers called kulfi-wallahs are often hired to make fresh kulfi on-site for special events, such as weddings.

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Eat This Word: Bagna Cauda


WHAT? A hot soak for your veggies. Bagna cauda, Italian for hot bath, is a very old dish with a Piedmont pedigree. Once considered a poor man's meal, bagna cauda has become one of the region's most popular foods. The "bath" is a tangy sauce made from garlic, olive oil, and anchovy; butter is often added in as well. To keep the sauce hot, it's typically served over a flame. Raw, or sometimes lightly cooked vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces, are dipped into it using a long-pronged fork. In Piedmont, fennel, cauliflower, cabbage, and red peppers are the veggies of choice, but any vegetable that's good to eat raw works well with bagna cauda, too.


WHERE? Berkshires' First Taste of Spring


WHEN? March 9, 2015

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Eat This Word: Cavatelli



WHAT? Few Americans understand either the regional diversity of food in Italy or the pride that Italians take in their cuisine. Take these little, handmade pasta curls, for example. Made from a stiff dough of semolina and water that is traditionally shaped on a wooden work surface by curling it with the tip of a butter knife, cavatelli are claimed by the Molize, Puglia, and Abruzzo regions of Italy. The dough and the shaping technique are similar to those used for orechiette, but the shape is closer to gnocchi. Cavatelli (or cavatieddi in Apulian dialect) are traditionally served with cooked bitter greens, such as arugula, and tomato sauce.


WHERE? Delmonico's Does Mardi Gras!


WHEN? February 17, 2015

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JBF Kitchen Cam