Eat this Word: Huitlacoche

huitlacocheWHAT? Fancy fungus. A bulbous grey or black fungus that grows on ears of corn, huitlacoche used to be considered a nuisance by American farmers, who routinely destroyed crops "infected" with the blight and lobbied to make imports illegal. But in the late 1980s, chefs like Josephina Howard of NYC's Rosa Mexicano began promoting huitlacoche for its earthy, smoky flavor and its role in traditional Mexican cuisine. On September 12, 1989, Howard headlined a celebratory All Huitlacoche Dinner at the James Beard Foundation. Today, the delicacy is so savored that it is commonly referred to as the Mexican truffle. WHERE? Margaritte Malfy and Barbara Sibley’s Beard House brunch WHEN? November 1, 2009 HOW?

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On the Menu: October 25 to October 31

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House and around the country next week: Sunday, October 25, 11:00 A.M. Reflections of Maremma Workshop Inspired by a Surrealist sculpture garden in a tiny village in the Maremma region of Tuscany, Gabriella Ganugi and her team of chefs from Florence’s Apicius cooking school designed a dinner menu reflective of this rugged, vibrant coastal part of Italy. This workshop will highlight some of Ganugi’s favorite dishes from that menu. Monday, October 26, 7:00 P.M. New England Catch of the Day The winner of Boston magazine’s “Best Seafood Restaurant” title for four years in a row, Catch is a brilliant showcase for seafood-savvy chef and owner Chris Parsons. A fourth-generation fly fisherman,

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On the Menu: October 18 to October 24

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House and around the country next week: Sunday, October 18, 5:00 P.M. Friends of James Beard Benefit: Chicago The talented team behind acclaimed Chicago restaurants Blackbird, Avec, and the Publican has designed a unique evening to benefit the Beard Foundation. For one night only guests are invited to make a reservation to enjoy this ingredient-driven menu with wine pairings at the time of their choosing. Monday, October 19, 6:30 P.M. Lunedi Cena: Monday Night Supper The weather has finally turned chilly and nothing warms you up like the soul-satisfying, rustic foods of Italy. Join us for a Monday night supper of family-style classics created by executive chef Mirco Grassini at the newly opened Trattoria Cinque. Paired with this hearty fare? Vintages from some

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Eat this Word: Pouilly-Fumé

Pouilly-FuméWHAT? Not what you're thinking. Many wine dilettantes confuse this grassy white wine from the central part of France's Loire Valley with the pretentiously expensive and even-more-difficult-to-pronounce Pouilly-Fuissé [fwee-SAY] of Burgundy's Maconnais region. The former is a crisp, tart 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc wine often described as having a smoky (fumè in French) or flinty flavor. The latter is a lightly oaked 100 percent Chardonnay wine that became de rigueur in expensive French restaurants in the United States during the 1950s and '60s. In the hands of the best producers, both wines can be exquisite. WHERE? Bruno Brazier's Beard House dinner WHEN? October 15, 2009 HOW?

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On the Menu: October 11 to October 17

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House and around the country next week: Sunday, October 11, 12:00 P.M. Jacques Torres & Friends Chocolate Brunch At his beloved chocolate shops, JBF Award winner Jacques Torres turns out handcrafted sweets featuring classic ingredients and some unexpected surprises. At this decadent brunch, Torres and his friends from the French Culinary Institute (where he’s the dean of pastry arts) will prepare a delicious sweet and savory chocolate-laden menu. Sunday, October 11, 7:00 P.M. Don Q Celebrates Flavors From The Land of Rum It’s sure to be an unforgettable evening when Top Chef alums Jeff McInnis and Fabio Viviani team up with mixologist Esteban Ordonez to create an exciting multi

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On the Menu: DonQ Celebrates Flavors From the Land of Rum

Don Q Rum For our final event with the New York City Wine and Food Festival, we're bringing a couple of Top Chefs to the Beard House kitchen: season five's Jeff McInnis and Fabio Viviani. Mixologists Jacopo Falleni and Esteban Ordonez will also be on hand to shake up some cocktails featuring premium Don Q rum. Take a look at the menu below: Hors d'Oeuvre Fabio Viviani Quail Skewers with Puerto Rican Caponata and Rum Demi-Glace Chicken Liver Brioche with Celery and Orange–Rum Beurre Blanc Potato Tostones with Tuna Tartare and Aged Balsamic Vinegar Jeff McInnis Grilled Peaches and Serrano Ham with Arugula and Queso Blanco Lobster–Mascarpone Arepas with Green Onions and Cilantro Yuca Blini with Caviar, Lime Cream, and Chives Dinner For the

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Eat this Word: Vol-au-vent

vol-au-ventWHAT? French pot-pie. "This entrée is pretty and good, without a doubt," famed French pastry chef Carême is quoted in Larousse Gastronomique as saying. "It is almost always eaten with pleasure for its extreme delicacy and lightness, but to cook it perfectly demands the utmost care." Carême should know. He is credited with inventing the vol-au-vent, a puff pastry box (with lid) that usually encases a savory mixture of creamed vegetables, meat, fish, or chicken. The name itself means "flying in the wind" and refers to the lightness of the pastry. Not as long ago as you think, it was the height of culinary fashion in America to dine at a stuffy French restaurant run by an enormous French chef who frequently yelled at his staff. What would you have been eating? Vol-au-vent, bien sûr. WHERE? Doug Psaltis and Cedric Tovar's Beard House

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On the Menu: October 4 to October 10

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Tuesday, October 6, 7:00 P.M. Languedoc Wine Lovers’ Dinner Once best known for producing the table wines that kept French soldiers sated during both world wars, the Languedoc region now yields some of the most exciting wines made today. Sample them alongside an equally intriguing menu prepared by Country alum Doug Psaltis and Languedoc native Cedric Tovar. Wednesday, October 7, 7:00 P.M. Alaskan Luxury Retreat Kirsten Dixon’s trio of luxurious Alaskan resorts are some of the most remote in the world, but the Le Cordon Bleu Paris–trained chef’s cuisine has put them on the map. For this dinner, she and her daughter, pastry chef Mandy Dixon, have created a menu that highlights the best of the region’

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On the Menu: September 27 to October 3

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House and around the world next week: Tuesday, September 29, 7:00 P.M. Old World Opulence The Mercuri family name is synonymous with fine dining in Montreal, and Michele Mercuri—the man behind the luxurious fare at XO Le Restaurant—is no exception to the rule. Join us for a taste of his showstopping cuisine that earned a rare four-star rave from the Montreal Gazette. Thursday, October 1, 7:00 P.M. Pike Place Fish Feast There are few Seattle restaurant locations better than Pike Place Market, where chefs have access to just-picked Washington State produce, the finest artisanal cheeses, and seafood fresh out of the Pacific. Enjoy a taste of the area’s bounty when chef Chester Gerl of Matt’s in the

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On the Menu: September 20 to September 26

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Monday, September 21, 7:00 P.M. Oahu Farm to Table The weather is unmatched and the scenery is sublime, but these days Oahu’s multifaceted farm to table cuisine is one of the island’s greatest attractions. Experience a true taste of paradise when culinary ambassadors JBF Award winner George Mavrothalassitis, Kevin Chong, and pastry chef Leigh Ann Seto create a menu highlighting Hawaii’s unique ingredients. Wednesday, September 23, 7:00 P.M. All-Starr Steak-Out The constellation of Stephen Starr–owned steakhouses running along the Eastern seaboard serves as a North Star of sorts for true steak lovers, pointing the way to an incredible chophouse meal from Fort Lauderdale up to Atlantic City. And now

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