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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On the Menu: December 6 to December 12

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House and around the country next week: Sunday, December 6, 6:00 P.M. 8th Annual Greens Holiday Party Join the James Beard Foundation Greens as we celebrate the holidays with great food and drink at the 8th Annual JBF Greens Holiday Party at the historic James Beard House. Don't miss this chance to explore our muse's home and sample culinary delights from some of the city's most exciting chefs. Master mixologist Michael Waterhouse will create delectable holiday cocktails using Bison Grass Vodka and Bull Dog Gin and a selection of fine wines from Palm Bay Imports and Stella Artois beers will also be served to keep everyone in good spirits. Monday, December 7, 6:30 P.M. Friends of James Beard Benefit: Milkwaukee

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Tastebud: Let Them Eat Brioche!

brioche

Once a symbol of luxury, brioche is a classic, egg and butter–enriched French bread that is traditionally baked in a circular, fluted pan. Crowned with a smaller globe of dough, it becomes brioche à tête. The richness of brioche stands up to intensely savory foods like foie gras and also works well in decadent desserts. Shortly before the French Revolution, shortages of plain bread were common in poor communities. To curb starvation (and prevent uprisings), the law required that fancier breads like brioche had to be sold at a lower, regulated price. The expression “Let them eat cake,” frequently misattributed to Marie Antoinette, actually stems from this 18th-century mandate.

Brioche is no longer inciting revolution, but it is showing up on many plates at the Beard House. In fact, Michael Giletto will serve it twice, placing fennel aspic on slices of caramel brioche with fried salsify

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Eye Candy: Beard House

carrots A variety of heirloom carrots soak up a generous dollop of butter in the Beard House kitchen. Take a look at more photos from the dinner prepared by Mark Porcaro, Jason Banusiewicz, and Tak Kuen "Tommy" Choi of Boston's Top of the Hub. (Photo by Lisa Ozag)

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