On the Menu: November 29 to December 5

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Monday, November 30, 7:00 P.M. Boston’s Grand Dining Soaring 52 stories above Boston’s Back Bay, the Top of the Hub is a city landmark, a can’t-miss dining experience that offers guests the rare combination of a breathtaking view and phenomenal food. Chef Marc Porcaro oversees the kitchen, where he crafts inventive interpretations of classic New England cuisine. Tuesday, December 1, 7:00 P.M. Piedmontese White Truffle Dinner Under the tutelage of JBF Award winner Paul Bartolotta and Bartolotta’s own mentor Valentino Marcattilii, chef Juan Urbieta has mastered the art of Italian cooking. At this special event, he’ll pair decadent white truffle creations with the wines of Italy’s Piedmont region for a

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Recipe: Creamy Beer Soup

soup As much as we love Thanksgiving, we know that the ensuing days of picking through your leftovers can get a little wearying. Take a break from the turkey sandwiches with this unusual beer soup, which comes from Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette of Our Lady of the Resurrection monastery in upstate New York. It's made with a classic Trappist beer called Achel, which can be found in specialty beer shops and upscale grocery stores like Whole Foods. You can also visit www.sheltonbrothers.com for a distributor near you.

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Wine Wisdom: Tyler Colman's Thanksgiving Picks

wine glass Your turkey is bobbing in brine, you've devised a hard-and-fast schedule for your oven and stovetop, and you've struck the last ingredient off the grocery list—every minutia of your cooking game plan is nailed down, but what about the wine? With so much emphasis weighing on what to eat on Thanksgiving, it's no surprise that pairings can get second billing. Fortunately, we've sought help from our friend Tyler Colman, wine expert and author of A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season and his Dr. Vino blog. As we learned from his Beard on Books appearance, Colman believes that occasion, setting, and company ought to be taken into greater account when choosing a wine. So what does this mean for Thanksgiving? "Pairing wines with Thanksgiving is hard because of tw

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Recipe: Tacchino Ripieno alla Lombarda (Stuffed Turkey Lombardy-Style)

Molto Italiano When it comes to his Thanksgiving centerpiece, Mario Batali skips the whole bird and just opts for the breasts, which he slathers with a mixture of sausage, prosciutto, and other robust Italian flavors. It's a Northern Italian approach so tasty that you'll want to free up some extra room on your dining room table to accommodate it.

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Eye Candy: Beard House

OctopusJeremy Culver of New York's Fulton served this grilled octopus with hen of the woods mushrooms, sea beans, and squid at his seafood-centric Beard House dinner last week. See more images from the dinner here. (Photo by Joan Garvin)

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Ask a Chef: What is your favorite dish to serve with turkey?

"True to my upstate New York roots, I make good old-fashioned green bean casserole, with cream of mushroom soup, and French's onions on top. We call them GB's at my house." –Anne Burrell, host of Food Network's Secrets of a Restaurant Chef "If I were to serve a Thanksgiving dinner with no turkey and all sides, I would serve scalloped potatoes with Brussels sprouts and brown butter, and mashed potatoes with homemade marshmallows on top." –Ben Ford, Ford's Filling Station, Culver City, CA "I do the turkey thing, but I love brioche stuffing. I can't get enough of it." –Michael Kramer, Voice at Hotel Icon, Houston "Instead of traditional stuffing I serve a savory caramelized onion and wild mushroom bread pudding." Tim Love, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth, TX

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Eat this Word: Country Ham

country hamWHAT? Mold gold. Dry-cured in salt, sugar, and other seasonings; slowly smoked over a hardwood fire; then aged up to 12 months, country ham originated as a way to preserve ham in pre-refrigeration days. The result is saltier and firmer than its more common processed, brine-injected cousin, and to the true ham connoisseur, there is no comparison. If you have a hankering for one, consider an outing along the backroads of Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, or Virginia. Most famous of all is the Smithfield ham, which must be made in Smithfield, Virginia, and which must meet criteria laid out by law. According to The American Heritage Cookbook, Queen Victoria had a standing weekly order for Smithfield ham. “Formerly it was not uncommon to find them aged six and seven years,” James Beard wrote of aged, country hams in American Cookery. “They were black, covered with mold, and looked uninviting to the average person, but they gave promise of fi

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