Eye Candy: Seasonally Sweet

Black Pepper Shortcake with Summer Fruits and Honey Lavender Ice Cream Peter Hoffman, who launched locavorism at New York's Savoy 20 years ago, served this black pepper shortcake with summer fruits and honey lavender ice cream at his midsummer Beard House dinner. The dessert was made with ingredients that Hoffman and Savoy alums handpicked from the Union Square Greenmarket that day. See more photos here.

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Recipe: Corncake with Blueberry Compote

Corncake with Blueberry Compote Summer is hot enough already—why break a sweat in the kitchen? For an easy midweek dessert, make this crumbly corncake with blueberry compote. The topping is sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar, which helps the blueberries' natural flavor shine.

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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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