Eat this Word: Edamame

edamame-3WHAT? Japanese bar nuts. Order beer at any bar in Japan (or Taiwan for that matter) and you're more than likely to get a bowl of soybeans pods with your Kirin. The fresh pods, about two inches long and fuzzy, are boiled for a couple of minutes in heavily salted water and cooled. Drinkers peel them and eat the delicious thimble-sized beans inside. The United States produces more than 2.7 billion bushels of soy beans each year, but most are exported or turned into things like salad dressings, pesticides, and diesel fuel. Because the latest research suggests that compounds in the beans may reduce the risk of cancer, lower cholesterol, and prevent osteoporosis, a small number of Americans are finally beginning to eat them. Believe it or not, they also taste good. So why aren't more Americans giving up their bar nuts for edamame? It's a mystery. WHERE? David Skorka, Jonathan

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Eat this Word: Romesco

romescoWHAT? Catalan hodgepodge. This classic sauce is a specialty of the Tarragona province in the Catalonia region of northeastern Spain. About the only ingredient chefs can agree on is the special red pepper that gives the sauce its name. Some contend the formula should be nothing more than a simple mixture of olive oil, red pepper, and bread, while others liven it up with flavorful ingredients, such as garlic, wine, chili powder, paprika, almonds or hazelnuts, and vinegar to the blend. Regardless of the recipe, the final product is usually a smooth paste, typically served with grilled poultry or fish. Each spring, there is a competition among fishermen in the Serrallo district of the province to produce the best Romesco. Before thousands of spectators, the Romesco-masters—who only pass their secret recipes on to their sons—set to work with their mortars and pestles to compete for the championship title. WHERE?

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On the Menu: January 24 through January 30

on-the-menu-eileen-miller-2 Here’s what happening at the Beard House and elsewhere: Monday, January 25, 6:30 P.M. Cold Nights, Warm Bites Come in from the cold and join the James Beard Foundation Greens for our first event of 2010. Discover the National, a hidden gem of the Lower East Side--a great place to warm up with great food and inventive drinks. Monday, January 25, 7:00 P.M. Tuscan Sun From the lush olive groves and vineyards of the countryside to Florence’s fine-dining restaurants, Tuscany boasts one of the world’s richest food cultures. Todd English’s Tuscany brings the rustic flavors of the region across the pond to Mohegan Sun, where chef James Klewin’s kitchen “excels at just about everything,” as per Gayot.

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Eat this Word: Salsify

salsifyWHAT? The world is your oyster plant. For such a mild-mannered root vegetable, salsify has attracted an unusually high number of ardent defenders and passionate detractors. Unique, delicate, superb, mild, mysterious, its champions insist. Bland, mushy, faded, forgettable, its critics rejoin. Salsify is also known as oyster plant, because when cooked, it's alleged to taste like the mollusk. (More disagreement on this point.) There are, however, a few facts everyone concedes: Salsify is a carrot-shaped winter vegetable. Thomas Jefferson grew it, and a vegetable garden remains the best place to find it in contemporary America. It's much more common in Europe, where people use it in stews, soups, and fritters or simply sautèed in butter. White salsify and black salsify (technically called Scorzonera) are used interchangeably. WHERE? Michael Giletto and Alina Eisenhauer's Beard

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Eat this Word: Geoduck

geoduck-1WHAT? Ugly duckling. "These are the most bizarre-looking of all clams (and perhaps all foods)," James Peterson writes in Fish & Shellfish of the geoduck, which makes its home in the Pacific Northwest. Waverly Root wasn't much kinder, describing it as a "clam so fat that it cannot close its shell." The bigger specimens of the world's largest burrowing clam weigh as much as 20 pounds, live as long as 150 years, and their neck, or siphon, extends by as much as three feet. They resemble…er…something not polite to write here. But odd-looking as they are, the geoduck has many admirers, culinary and otherwise. "Geoduck meat is delicious," Alan Davidson writes in The Oxford Companion to Food. The siphon meat is stirred into chowders and used for sushi; the body is sautéed. Asians pay as much as $30 per pound to dine on them, according to William Dietrich in the Seattle Times, who also explains that the name comes from the Nisqually Indian

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On the Menu: January 17 to January 23

on-the-menu-eileen-miller Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Wednesday, January 20, 12:00 P.M. Beard on Books Winner of the 2009 JBF Cookbook Award, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient with Recipes is Jennifer McLagan's defense of this unfairly maligned food. Backed by science and common sense, the cook and food stylist convincingly argues that fat is an indispensable nutrient. She also reminds us that it's a capable vehicle for flavor: using popular recipes, like the B.L.T. and french fries, McLagan proves that fat takes foods to new heights. Wednesday, January 20, 7:00 P.M. Northwestern Seafood Extravaganza 2009 JBF Award nominee Ethan Stowell understands that sophisticated

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On the Menu: January 10 to January 16

on-the-menu-erin gleeson Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Monday, January 11, 7:00 P.M. Truffles and Banfi Returning Beard House featured chef Jasper Mirabile, Jr., took the reins of his family’s beloved Kansas City restaurant in 1984. More than 25 years later, Mirabile is still turning out impeccable Italian cuisine, which he will serve alongside a selection of fine wines from Tuscany’s renowned Castello Banfi in Montalcino. Tuesday, January 12, 7:00 P.M. A Toast to Chanterelle Chanterelle, David and Karen Waltuck’s groundbreaking Tribeca restaurant, enjoyed an impressive 30-year run, during which it accrued countless accolades, including several JBF Awards. Though the Waltucks recently announced Chanterelle’s

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On the Menu: December 27 to January 2

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Tuesday, December 29, 7:00 P.M. Food of Maine, Wine of Paso Robles Regarded as one of Maine’s loveliest seaside destinations, the Union Bluff Hotel gets especially high marks for the critically acclaimed, Maine-inspired cuisine of chef Karl Mace. Join him at the Beard House for a Down East feast paired with the seductive wines of Four Vines Winery. Thursday, December 31, 9:00 P.M. New Year’s Eve Celebration Make a resolution to ring in 2010 at the Beard House’s annual New Year’s Eve gala dinner. Attendees will be treated to ever-flowing wines and Champagne and an extravagant farm-to-table menu prepared by Sarah Langan of the New England Culinary Institute’s Main Street Grill & Bar.

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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: December 13 to December 19

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Monday, December 14, 6:00 P.M. Beard Burger ‘Bun’anza New York’s top chefs put their unique spins on the all-American burger. Fabulous wine, beer, and cocktails will be served. Tuesday, December 15, 7:00 P.M. Christmas in Connecticut In the 1945 film Christmas in Connecticut, a stranded sailor dreams of a gourmet five-course feast. Luckily for us, the decadent yuletide meal is no illusion as talented Connecticut chef Dan Kardos joins us at the Beard House with a seasonal and locally sourced menu filled with holiday cheer. Wednesday, December 16, 12:00 P.M. Beard on Books

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