On the Menu: December 20 to December 26

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Monday, December 21, 7:00 P.M. Chicago’s Top Chef Stephanie Izard made television history when she became the first woman to take the top prize on Top Chef. She aims to repeat her success with the opening of her new Chicago restaurant, Girl and the Goat. Join us at the Beard House for a special sneak peek of Izard’s winning cuisine. Tuesday, December 22, 7:00 P.M. Flavors of Barcelona To celebrate the release of The Barcelona Cookbook (named after their award-winning Connecticut-based tapas bars), Andy Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz will pour bold Spanish wines and serve a menu of

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On the Menu: A Top Chef Comes to Dinner

Stephanie Izard For those of you experiencing Top Chef withdrawal, here's a little fix: Stephanie Izard, winner of season 4, is cooking at the Beard House on Monday. Take a look at her menu: Hors d’Oeuvre Foie Gras Torchon with Kumquats Broiled Oysters with Horseradish Aïoli and Pancetta Nantucket Bay Scallops with Acorn Squash and Brown Butter Dinner Sweet Onion Soup with Florida Stone Crab Duck Fat–Poached Alaskan Halibut Cheeks with Duck Confit Ravioli, Honeycrisp Apples, and Apple Jus Pan-Roasted Triggerfish with Smoked Goat Ragoût and D’Anjou Pears Roasted Lamb Medallions with Spiced Raisin Sauce and Niçoise Olives Rogue Creamery Smokey Oregon Blue Cheese with Bacon-Glazed Apples and Marcona Almond Butter To view Izard's official event page,

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Eat this Word: Croque Monsieur

croque monsieurWHAT? A ham-'n-cheese sandwich with a French twist. The classic croque monsieur, darling of cash-poor tourists and French folk-on-the-go, is buttered bread, Gruyère cheese, and lean ham, fried in clarified butter. In the good old days before even the French began to rush their meals, it was served as an hors d'oeuvre, a tea sandwich, or the main event in a (pre-cholesterol) light lunch. The modern version of this "crunchy sir" is more often a ham-and-Swiss combo, toasted in a grill press and served hot and delicious at cafes and street stalls, so even those Francophiles most pressed for time don't have to settle for McDonald's. Apparently when it crosses the ocean, this impeccably pedigreed Gallic standard gets some new clothes: this month at the Beard House, for instance, it's served with duck pastrami. WHERE? JBF Award winner Donald Link, Ryan

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Eye Candy: Beard House

éclair In a course that fused the cheese plate with dessert, Scott Gottlich and J. Chastain served Beard House guests Camembert and chervil–filled éclairs with shots of hot chocolate. See more photos from their contemporary dinner here.

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Eat this Word: Eggnog

eggnogWHAT? Holiday spirit. Decking the halls, singing carols, and supping on yuletide fare can render a reveler somewhat parched. Enter eggnog, a seemingly harmless holiday beverage that has been known to lure many naïve merrymakers into making fools of themselves at office Christmas parties. The sweet, creamy concoction is said to owe its heritage to posset, an English drink that early Americans adapted to create eggnog. In The Complete Book of Spirits, Anthony Dias Blue wrote, “[George] Washington’s two favorite drinks were eggnog and rum punch, both of which were served at almost all events in the colonies during…the War of Independence.” Though various recipes exist, the base for eggnog almost always consists of eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla. And though it most often is mixed with rum, bourbon and whiskey are common alternatives. WHERE?

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On the Menu: Bobby Hellen Cooks a Dream Feast for Meatavores

Bobby Hellen We're doing things a little differently at the Beard House tonight: revered meat "prodigy" and Resto chef Bobby Hellen is roasting an entire pig and lamb for a nose-to-tail, family-style meal of meat mania (we won't tell your doctor if you don't tell ours). Check out the evening's goods: Boudin Noir Tart with Cheddar–Apple Purée Crumble; and Lamb Heart Confit with Celeriac and Chestnuts Pig’s Leg Salad with Chicory, Pig’s Ears, and Warm Guanciale Vin Lamb Neck Salad with Banyuls and Caramelized Yogurt Porchetta with Fennel Pollen, Rosemary, Thyme, and Pig Liver Lamb Roulade with Lemon Zest and Parsley Pork Ribs with Salt and Pepper Lamb Ribs with Belgian Carbonnade Sauce and Pickled Carrots Charcuterie Plate > Boudin Blanc, Lamb–Pepper Sausage, Pork–Garlic Sausage, Andouille Sausage, Pork Liver Pâté, and Head Cheese, Served with Whole-Grain Mustard, Apples, and Frisée From the

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Eye Candy: Beard House

Nomi crew The crew from Chicago's Nomi spreads out into the Beard House Greenhouse to plate dozens of foie gras brûlees with toasted brioche, hazelnuts, and herbs. See more images of chef Christophe David's contemporary French dinner here. (Photo by Philip Gross)

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Tastebud: Venerable, Imitable, Spreadable Camembert

camembert
 

Presented to Napoleon III on the inaugural day of the 1855 World’s Fair, Camembert first appeared during the late 19th century in the Norman village of the same name. Bloomy, fruity, and prone to spoilage, Brie-like Camembert stayed a local favorite for decades, until the invention of its signature wooden box and the advent of the railroad could carry the downy wheels to Paris and beyond. So en vogue was the cheese that it became the most copied in the world, prompting the French government to award Normandy-produced Camembert its Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in 1983.


Aside from inspiring imitations, the cheese has also been an unlikely muse for the arts: a limp, sun-melted wheel of Camembert moved Salvador Dali to paint the famously languid timepieces in his Surrealist masterpiece, The Persistence of Memory. According to the MoMA Highlights catalog, the artist went on... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Beard House

chefs at work Chef Mark Graham (second from left) and crew members form an assembly line to plate bacon-wrapped quail with Brussels sprouts, foie gras–braised carrots, and beet-poached quail eggs. Click here to see more photos of the early-November dinner. (Photo by Philip Gross)

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Eat this Word: Huckleberries

huckleberriesWHAT? Berry trails. Perhaps more associated with Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn than with fine cuisine, huckleberries grow most widely in the West, and along Midwestern rivers, like the Mississippi, on which Huck spent so many days lazing. Huckleberries come in many shades, including pink, white, blue-black, and purple, with the blue-black variety being the firmest and most widely available in the marketplace. James Beard was a fan, writing in American Cookery that they were “wonderful to the taste.” Unlike their close relatives, blueberries and cranberries, which have a multitude of soft, little seeds in their center, each huckleberry contains ten hard, small seeds, and their flavor is more tart. Huckleberries are not cultivated; their growing season is typically from June through August. According to Beard, they “make good pies and cakes and other typically American delights.” WHERE?

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