Eat This Word: Mochi

 

WHAT? In its homeland of Japan, this glutinous rice (mochi gome in Japanese) is used primarily to make confections, to make a special rice dish used for celebrations (sekihan), or to make mochi, a soft, gooey rice cake that is served around the New Year. Ordinarily, the Japanese cook rice by boiling; mochi rice, however, is steamed. To make mochi rice cakes, the hot rice is pounded over and over with a wooden palletsweaty workuntil it is pulverized. The resultant sticky dough is shaped into cakes, used both for shrine offerings and to eat. Mochi, which has an extensible texture like taffy but more so, is considered auspicious, for the word also means "to have," and thus connotes prosperity for the new year. Our favorite treat is mochi ice cream balls, in which a ball of ice cream is wrapped with mochi dough so you can hold it in your hands while you eat it.

 

WHERE? Pioneers and Legends... Read more >

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What We're Reading: January 12, 2015

 

Knife, microplane, or press? The best way to mince garlic. [Serious Eats

 

A new federal grant program aims to increase Internet access for American farmers. [Civil Eats

 

A provocative video has sparked a debate over animal rights at certified humane and organic egg suppliers. [NYT

 

JBF Leadership Award winner Deb Eschmeyer has been announced as the new executive director of Let’s Move! and senior policy adviser for nutrition policy. [Politico

 ... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Hot Spiced Wine

mulled wine

 

The holidays have come and gone, the streets are littered with discarded Christmas trees, and the temperatures have dropped to cruel lows in many parts of the country. With winter doldrums in full bloom, we could all use a little something to warm our hands and spirits. Hot spiced wine, also known as “mulled wine,” goes by many names: glögg in Swedish, glühwein in German, vin chaud in French, and so on, and varies slightly from country to country. Simmer whatever red wine you have leftover from holiday reveling with cloves, oranges, lemon rinds, sugar, bay leaves, and your choice of dark spirit for James Beard's own spin on the classic winter libation. Get the recipe here for a decidedly cozy start to your weekend. 

 

Elena North-Kelly is senior editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twit... Read more >

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On the Menu: Week of January 12

 

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

 

Monday, January 12, 7:00 P.M.
Eating the African Diaspora
One of the country’s hottest of-the-moment dining experiences, the Cecil is riding into the New Year on a wave of adoration, having just been crowned Esquire magazine’s restaurant of the year for 2014. Created by chef/owner Alexander Smalls and rising culinary talent JJ Johnson, the Harlem brasserie’s exciting menu uses African inspiration to create a global table.

 

Tuesday, January 13, 7:00 P.M.
Winter's Expression of Maine
Cooking exclusively with ingredients from Maine, where blizzards can strike from October to April, is no easy feat. But chef David Levi, who trained at the imaginatively resourceful Noma and Fäviken, has crafted a vibrant and darin... Read more >

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Sustainability Matters: January 9, 2014

 

Is sushi to blame for the decreasing population of bluefin tuna? [NPR]

 

How America's youth is learning about the food system and the relevance of 4-H in the twenty-first century. [Civil Eats]

 

Foie gras, the ever-controversial chefs’ favorite, returns to California after a two year ban. [NYT]

 

The end of foam takeout, according to de Blasio. [NY Post]

 

The new chicken cage law in California may have some negative consequences. [... Read more >

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Throwback Thursday: Beard House Food Pyramid

 

James Beard once said, "It is true thrift to use the best ingredients available and to waste nothing." Ed Kim, cartoonist for Beard House Magazine and other JBF publications, illustrated his rankings of said best ingredients in the October 2000 cover of the JBF Calendar & Newsletter in a comic called “Beard House Food Pyramid." (Click here for full-sized artwork.) Viewed alongside retrospectives of last year’s culinary trends and prognostications of what awaits in 2015, Kim’s vision of the food pyramid à la Beard is remarkably resonant. Hudson Valley foie gras and truffles on the daily; oysters a few times a week; morels, chanterelles and porcini when in season. Fifteen years later, it seems almost nothing has changed. Take a glimpse at a menu for any dinner or event this year at the Beard House and see for yourself.

 

 ... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Caviar Tacos with Hamachi and Santa Barbara Uni

caviar, hamachi, and uni tacos

 

Peek into Rose. Rabbit. Lie. and you’ll discover a revolutionary new supper club that’s redefining the Las Vegas social scene. At his recent Beard House dinner, the hotspot's chef Wesley Holton delighted guests with a taste of Sin City's opulence. During the reception hour, diners sipped Champagne and noshed on a bevy of bites like these miniature caviar tacos with hamachi and Santa Barbara uni tucked into Yukon Gold shells. Briny, luxe, and impossibly gorgeous, these canapés were anything but a gamble.

 

View this event's menu and details here. For upcoming Beard House dinners, check out our ... Read more >

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What We're Reading: January 8, 2015

 

In the midst of Russia’s economic struggles, a black market for cheese has emerged. [Kitchenette

 

New studies suggest traffic light labeling could help us eat better. [Civil Eats

 

Don’t toss the brine out with the bathwater: unexpected uses for pickling liquid. [Serious Eats

 

It’s stout season! Break out of your Guinness rut with one of these alternative brews. [The Kitchn

 

Opinions are changing on the value of fake meat. [... Read more >

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Letter from the President: Seven Ideas for a Healthy New Year

 

“Eat as if your life depends on it,” said Kathleen Frith, president of the nonprofit institute Glynwood and a speaker at the 2014 JBF Food Conference. As many of you know, the James Beard Foundation has been convening thought leaders and stakeholders from various sectors of the food industry for several years. In the past the conference has addressed topics such as hunger, trust, and how the media may influence what we ultimately eat. This past fall, our fifth JBF Food Conference explored the link between food and health and how better-quality food may be the key to a healthier America. As we begin 2015, I want to share with you seven great quotes from our conference speakers that can help guide us all to a healthier new year.

 

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1. “Families who eat at least five meals a week together are 20 percent less likely
to have children who are overweight.”

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Recipe: Baby Beet Salad with Marcona Almonds, Pickled Oranges, Idiazabal Cheese, and Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Recipe: Baby Beet Salad with Marcona Almonds, Pickled Oranges, Idiazabal Cheese, and Blood Orange Vinaigrette

 

Colorful, tasty, virtuous: that's how we'd describe this resolution-friendly salad from JBF Rising Star nominee Katie Button. If you already have conventional oranges on hand, feel free to substitute them for the blood variety when making the zippy vinaigrette.

 

Get the recipe here.

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