Eat this Word: Puntarelle

puntarelleWHAT? Wild greens. Until very recently, this unusual ancient Roman vegetable, a relative of chicory, was available only in Italy. And even there it was known only in select geographic pockets. But now that puntarelle is being grown in the United States, chefs are rapidly incorporating it into their Mediterranean-inspired menus, noted New York Times reporter Paula Disbrowe. The unwieldy puntarelle grows in bunches that look like a cross between celery and dandelion greens. Along the long fleshy central core of each stem grow rows of short, pointy, triangular leaves. The whole thing, stem, core, leaves, and all, is eaten raw, usually in salads. Puntarelle has a delicate, peppery flavor, similar to arugula but greener tasting, and a refreshing crispness. In Rome, it is traditionally served with an anchovy sauce. WHERE? Christian Caiazzo's Beard House

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On the Menu: Artisanal Wine Celebration

Gabe and Katherine Thompson Husband-and-wife team Gabe and Katherine Thompson, along with business partner Joe Campanale, have hit three home runs with their unassuming trattorias and wine bars in the West Village: dell’ anima, L’Artusi, and Anfora. On Monday we'll be treated to the team's homey Italian fare, as well as some stellar wines from under-the-radar producers. See what's on the menu below (and click here to snag your seat): Hors d’Oeuvre Escolar Crudo with Avocado and Chilies Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta with Robiolina Cheese Chicken

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Eye Candy: Chicken and Waffles

chicken and waffles At their late-August Beard House dinner, Charlie and Kathleen Schaffer of Schaffer’s Genuine Foods presented a menu entirely crafted from sustainable and eco-friendly ingredients. Guests were especially fond of the chicken and waffles with pink-eyed pea succotash and fennel pollen honey. You can view more images here.

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Eat this Word: Semifreddo

semifreddoWHAT? A half-frozen idea. Italian for "half-cold," semifreddo is an Italian dessert made by freezing mousseline-like custards, which are often layered with ingredients like ground amaretti, nuts, or chocolate. Unlike ice cream, semifreddo is not churned. To make it edible while frozen, air is incorporated into the custard base, usually in the form of meringue or whipped cream. The air also has the effect of making the semifreddo seem less cold than it actually is, which accounts for its name. WHERE? Oliver Wolf, Shaun Crymble, and Pastry Chef Marcos Gonzalez's Beard House dinner WHEN? September 21, 2010 HOW? Warm Spiced Chocolate Cake with Local Beer Sabayon and Almond Semifreddo

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Eye Candy: English Pea and Ricotta Ravioli with Langoustine and Speck

Ravioli Husband-and-wife team Scott and Heather Fratangelo, whose Upper East Side-based Spigolo has attracted discerning diners and two stars from the New York Times, recently showcased their modern interpretations of Southern cuisine, such as this English pea and ricotta ravioli with langoustine and speck. See more photos of the Beard House dinner here.

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Eye Candy: Steak Souvenir

place setting When a group of chefs from the BLT empire cooked at the Beard House late last month, diners were given souvenir BLT Steak postcards illustrating the primal cuts of beef. Check out images of the meal here.

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Eye Candy: Top Taco

Seared Venison with Oak-Smoked White Jalapeño Salsa, Cucumber–Mint Salad, and Fennel Pollen Crema Rene Ortiz, who earned his chops under JBF Award winners Daniel Boulud, Jean-Louis Palladin, and Douglas Rodriguez before opening La Condesa in Austin, cooked up a contemporary Mexican menu at the James Beard House earlier this month. We're wishing we could have tried his funky tacos, stuffed with barely seared venison, oak-smoked white jalapeño salsa, cucumber–mint salad, and fennel pollen crema. Have a look at more photos here.

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On the Menu: Portland’s Rising Star

Matthew Lightner A recent JBF Rising Star Chef semifinalist and one of Food & Wine’s 2010 Best New Chefs, Matthew Lightner has been getting attention for his bold new way with seasonal cuisine at Portland's Castagna. He's taking over the Beard House next Wednesday, and we can't wait for a taste of his understated yet enticing menu. You can make a reservation by clicking here. Hors d’Oeuvre Lardo and Tomatoes on Brioche Salmon on Rye Toasts Cheese Puffs with Garlic Aïoli Crispy Pigs’ Ears with Radishes and Hazelnuts Pairing: Matello Ribbon Ridge Pinot Gris 2009 Dinner Willamette Valley Onion Salad with Caramelized Allium Vinegar, Herbs, and Crisp Vegetables

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Eye Candy: Food in Photos

food photos on wall At his recent Beard House dinner, chef Peter DeRuvo taped photos of his planned dishes on a wall in the James Beard House kitchen. See more photos here.

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On the Menu: Seasonal Seafood Celebration

Mike Stollenwerk Chef Mike Stollenwerk has caught a haul of praise at Fish, where creatively prepared seafood is the name of the game. (Philadelphia magazine recently declared it the city's best new restaurant!) We're thrilled to have him at the Beard House on August 25. Have a look at his menu below (and click here to reserve your seat): Hors d’Oeuvre Peekytoe Crab Fritters Tuna Ceviche with Sherry Vinegar, Red Beets, and Egg Yolks Classic Vichyssoise with Wild Blue Point Oysters White Corn Waffles with

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