Recipe: Oysters with Cucumber Water

Chilled Oysters with Cucumber Water Thank goodness the don't-eat-oysters-in-summer myth no longer applies: a chilly plate of them can be just the thing to help us weather this swelter. We've got our shuckers ready for these refreshing oysters from chef Michael Schulson, doused in mellow cucumber water and spiked with serious zing from ginger and jalapeño.

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Eye Candy: Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Gelled Tomato Soup

grilled cheese and tomato Oklahoma chef Marc Dunham shrunk this classic soup-and-sandwich combo down to a single bite for his recent Beard House dinner. Check out more photos here.

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Eat this Word: Sangrita

sangritaWHAT? A bloody chaser. Not to be confused with fruity sangria, this fiery combination of citrus and chili sauce is the traditional chaser for tequila in Mexico, particularly in Oaxaca and Jalisco. Literally "little bloody thing," sangrita is a red concoction made from the juice of freshly squeezed sour oranges, sweet grenadine, spicy puya chile salsa, and salt. According to Lucinda Hutson, author of ¡Tequila! (Ten Speed), the red color should come from the grenadine and chile sauce, not from tomato juice, but alas, most of the sangritas served in the United States and increasingly in Mexico are little more than doctored bloody mary mix. In Authentic Mexican (William Morrow and Company), James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and Mexican food authority Rick Bayless notes that the better the tequila, the less important the chaser. WHERE? Rene Ortiz, La

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Tastebud: Southern Pies

The James Beard Foundation reports on pies from the American South

Sometime between Prohibition and World War II, apple pie became a token of homespun America, and it has since been trotted out in support of a political score as often as it has been pulled from an oven. We can’t help but feel a bit slighted on behalf of all the other wonderful pies that have a place in our country’s history, particularly those of the American South.

Chess pie, a traditional dessert with a custardy, cornmeal-thickened filling, is often served with tea to keep its sweetness in check. According to The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine, chess pie was invented to use up extra butter, eggs, and molasses in plantation kitchens. James Beard claimed that the chess pie recalls English cheese tarts, and the lineage suggests that the name “chess” is a corruption of the word cheese. Others argue that the name refers to the chests or safes in which the pies

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Recipe: Couscous with Lamb and Mint Dressing

Andrea Beaman's Couscous with Lamb and Mint Dressing Let's be honest: it's Monday, and an ambitious home-cooked meal is the last idea we want to entertain right now. But don't dial for delivery just yet! This minty Mediterranean couscous dish is big on flavor and free of heavy lifting. (All you need is a pot, a pan, and a blender.)

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Eye Candy: Melon and Mangalica

Philippe Ruiz of the Palme d'Or in Coral Gables served Mangalica ham–wrapped melon, a traditional Provençal snack, at the Beard House's Bastille Day celebration. Click here for more photos. (Want to make a fun twist on this combo at home? Click here for Scott Uehlein's roasted pineapple and prosciutto recipe.)

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