Eat This Word: Cassoulet

 

WHAT? Languedoc’s long-simmered stew. “There are many versions of cassoulet, all of them good and all monumentally substantial,” wrote James Beard in The Armchair James Beard. It appears that chefs across the country couldn’t agree more—versions of the classic dish will be served at three Beard House dinners this month. Cassoulet comes from the southwest Languedoc and Toulousain regions of France and is rumored to have first appeared in the seventeenth century (when the key ingredient—white beans—were brought over from the New World). Although it’s one of France’s most famous dishes, there is little consensus within the country about what constitutes a classic cassoulet. The recipe varies from region to region and from cook to cook, though it always contains various meats, beans, and vegetables that are prepared separately before being arranged in layers in a cassole—the glazed earthenware pot from which the dish gets its name. The cassoulet is then topped with a heavy sprinkling of fine... Read more >

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What's Cooking: 5 Recipes for the Weekight Francophile

 

Think French cuisine is too daunting for a home cook? Not with these dishes. Indulge your inner Francophile with these five simple, weeknight-friendly recipes for each day of the week, ending with a creamy crowd-pleaser perfect for unwinding with friends on Friday night.

 

Monday: Stewed Big Bean Cassoulet
Chock full of beans and vegetables, this meatless version of the classic French cassoulet doesn’t disappoint. To make it truly vegetarian, just substitute vegetable broth for the lobster and chicken stock.

 

Tuesday: Grilled Loup de Mer with Braised Fennel
This simple but elegant grilled fish has lovely, crisped skin and is paired with a simple citrus sauce. Loup de mer is also known as branzino; have your fishmonger fillet it for you.

 ... Read more >

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Featured Menu: Vibrant Mexican

 

With over 200 events at the Beard House each year, our calendar is overflowing with top toques and rising stars from restaurant kitchens across the country. Each dinner at the Beard House is a unique culinary experience, but every so often a specific event will have our stomachs rumbling simply by scanning the menu. Read on to learn which event has piqued our palates lately.

 

Monday, January 25, 2016
Vibrant Mexican

 

After working for JBF Award winners Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier at their acclaimed restaurants in Ogunquit, Maine, David Vargas relocated to New Hampshire to open his own eatery, the charming Vida Cantina, where he serves a vibrant Mexican menu inspired by his family’s heritage. With frost lining the windows at the Beard House, guests are sure to be eager for a break from the winter chill. Fortunately, Vargas's menu provides just that, with the lively... Read more >

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Sponsored: Channel Your Inner Chef to Win a Trip to the Beard Awards from HMSHost

Channel Your Inner Chef to Win a Trip to the Beard Awards from HMSHost

 

Do you love to cook? Do you dream of rubbing elbows with your favorite food TV stars on the red carpet at the James Beard Awards? 2016 JBF Awards sponsor HMSHost invites you to channel your inner chef and enter to win VIP tickets for two to this year's Awards ceremony in Chicago. 

 

Here's how to enter: 

Contestants are asked to shoot a five-minute video of themselves preparing their favorite original recipe while showing off their personal style. Contestants then submit the video by February 28, 2016, at ChannelYourInnerChef.com. A panel will then select five finalists to compete in a cook-off to be performed in front of a live audience and judges at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on March 22. 

 

HMSHost will reveal a winner following a live, 30-minute cook-off by the five finalists. The winner is presented with prizes i... Read more >

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What We're Reading This Week

 

Doughnuts for decades: the enduring, cream-filled appeal of Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop. [NYT

 

Bring on the bran flakes: a new study suggests that low-fiber diets could be devastating to overall health. [The Atlantic

 

Global food destinations to save your vacation days for. [NYT

 

JBF Award winner Dominique Ansel is opening a shop in London, promising cronuts for the Queen and commoners alike. [Grubstreet

 

Restaurants are doing all they ca... Read more >

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Happy Hour: The Optimist Cocktail from the Hawthorne

 

For a delicious cocktail that intrigues the palate (and any booze-loving friends), opt for the Optimist cocktail from Boston's beloved watering hole, the Hawthorne. The staff of the 2015 semifinalist for our Outstanding Bar Program award knows a thing or two about the pursuit of the perfect cocktail. Hawthorne bar manager Jared Sadoian crafted this heady mix of liquors featuring sherry as the low-key superstar ingredient, noting that it "brings a ton of flavor and acid to a cocktail without overpowering other ingredients." Combined with the herbaceous, grappa-based Amaro ... Read more >

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On the Menu: Week of January 25

 

Here’s what’s coming up at the James Beard House and around the country:


Monday, January 25, 7:00 P.M.

Vibrant Mexican

After working for JBF Award winners Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier at their acclaimed restaurants in Ogunquit, Maine, David Vargas relocated to New Hampshire to open his own eatery, the charming Vida Cantina, where he serves a vibrant Mexican menu inspired by his family’s heritage.

 

Tuesday, January 26, 7:00 P.M.

Deep Southern Fare

You may rec... Read more >

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Featured Menu: The Craft of Charcuterie

 

With over 200 events at the Beard House each year, our calendar is overflowing with top toques and rising stars from restaurant kitchens across the country. Each dinner at the Beard House is a unique culinary experience, but every so often a specific event will have our stomachs rumbling simply by scanning the menu. Read on to learn which event has piqued our palates lately.

 

Friday, January 22, 2016
The Craft of Charcuterie

 

The last time chef Joshua Smith brought his meat-minded coterie to the Beard House, diners were treated to a veritable cornucopia of the cured, the smoked, and the salted. This year Smith has assembled an equally protein-partial crew from across the nation for an edible master class in the potential of preserving. After feasting on the chefs' no-holds-ba... Read more >

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Letter from the President: James Beard Restaurants Around the Country

 

James Beard once said, “I don’t like gourmet cooking, or ‘this’ or ‘that’ cooking. I like good cooking.” To be sure, Beard relished the fine-dining establishments he frequently visited, but he also loved the neighborhood restaurants where simple food and good company were on the menu. In recognition of that type of restaurant, in 1998 the James Beard Foundation added the America’s Classics category to the annual James Beard Awards ceremony. The criteria for these awards are that the restaurants must have timeless appeal and be beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their communities. They also must have been in existence for at least ten years and be locally owned to qualify. I am happy to announce that our newest cookbook, James Beard’s All-American Ea... Read more >

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Ask a Chef: The Stockton Inn's Alan Heckman

 

Once a Prohibition speakeasy and a hub for literati like F. Scott Fitzgerald, the storied Stockton Inn has satisfied diners since 1710. This month, chef Alan Heckman joins us at the Beard House to showcase the restaurant’s imaginative colonial America–inspired cuisine for a feast worthy of the inn’s fabled past. In anticipation of Heckman’s upcoming dinner, we spoke with the chef about his love of braised meats, his culinary past, and his recent fabulous dinner at Le Bernardin.

 

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What is your inspiration behind the menu for this Beard House event?

My inspiration for the menu comes from all of my culinary experiences. I wanted to do something that showcased the moments that have had the most influence on me and my style of cooking. Each course is different in that res... Read more >

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