Eat This Word: Epazote

 

WHAT? This pungent herb is a staple of Southern Mexican cuisine, where it’s also known as Mexican tea, wormseed, pigweed, and West Indian goosefoot. The use of epazote dates back to the Aztecs, who sought out the herb for its medicinal properties, mainly its ability to aid digestive health and relieve abdominal discomfort. It grows wild in many tropical and sub-tropical climates, and can be found as far north as Northern California. Traditionally, epazote was used as a flavoring agent in bean soups and as an herb in medicinal teas. Today, epazote is becoming a popular addition to Mexican-inspired dishes. JBF Award winner Rick Bayless praises epazote’s distinctive flavor and adds it to everything from cheesy mushroom quesadillas to slow-roasted pork. Its unmistakable flavor resembles a more acidic version of coriander combined with a hint of lemon. Epazote, like many herbs, is an acquired taste, but adding it to your repertoire will bring a new depth of Mexican flavor to any dish. ... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Huitlacoche

 

WHAT? Fancy fungus. A bulbous grey or black fungus that grows on ears of corn, huitlacoche used to be considered a nuisance by American farmers, who routinely destroyed crops "infected" with the blight and lobbied to make imports illegal. But in the late 1980s, chefs like Josephina Howard of NYC's Rosa Mexicano began promoting huitlacoche for its earthy, smoky flavor and its role in traditional Mexican cuisine. On September 12, 1989, Howard headlined a celebratory All Huitlacoche Dinner at the James Beard Foundation. Today, the delicacy is so savored that it is commonly referred to as the Mexican truffle.


WHERE? Inspired Mexican

 

WHEN? Wednesday, November 18, 2015

 

HOW? Corn with Huitlacoche and Epazote Flan

 

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Eat This Word: Cucamelon

 

WHAT? Tangy, crunchy, and bite-sized—cucamelons are perfect in salads, sandwiches, and fruity salsas. Native to Mexico and Central America, Melothria scabra, or the cucamelon, is also called the mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, or “sandita,” meaning little watermelon. Originally part of the Aztec diet, cucamelons are now commonly served in Central America as a delicacy. These grape-sized fruits have crisp, white flesh with a refreshing and mildly sour cucumber taste. As a staple of Mexican cuisine for centuries, cucamelons have an abundance of uses and can be grown in the comfort of one’s own garden—we even grow them at the Beard House, thanks to Koppert Cress. Sow the seeds from April to May indoors, and when there is no chance of frost outside, plant them with a trellis and watch their delicate vines grow. While they are slow starters, cucamelons produce plentiful yields and require barely any upkeep. Although seeds aren't... Read more >

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JBF on the Air: Alex Stupak

Alex Stupak on Taste Matters with Mitchell Davis

 

On this week’s episode of Taste Matters, host Mitchell Davis welcomed Alex Stupak, the chef/owner of New York City’s Empellón Cocina and Empellón Taqueria, for a discussion of his unique approach to cross-cultural cooking. At his popular restaurants, Alex has garnered widespread acclaim for his progressive, innovative spin on Mexican cuisine. By staying dedicated to the fundamental culinary techniques and applications that are native to Mexico, but often using unconventional ingredients, his approach yields unexpected interpretations of authentic flavors. Listen below to learn more!

 

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On the Menu: Celebrating Oaxaca

Tonight's Beard House dinner will introduce diners to the utterly unique cuisine of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a narrow stretch of land separating the Mexican gulf from the Pacific Ocean in the southeast of Oaxaca. Ivy Stark of Dos Caminos has designed the menu centering on this largely unknown part of the world, and will be joined in the kitchen by two members of her team, Scott Linquist and Pastry Chef Hugo Reyes. Here's what they will be preparing: Hors d’Oeuvre Molotes de Flor de Calabaza Quesillo > Masa Turnovers with Zucchini Blossoms and Oaxacan String Cheese Tortitas de Camaron > Tiny Omelet Soufflés with Dried Shrimp Pasilla Oaxaca Relleno de Requeson y Durasno > Cheese and Peach–Stuffed Smoked Pasilla Chilies Tostaditas de Erizo > Crispy Corn Totopos with Sea Urchin, Serrano Chile,

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JBF Kitchen Cam