What We're Reading This Week


A bean-to-bar nightmare for one Brooklyn-based chocolate company. [Washington Post]


Why throw your Christmas tree to the curb when you can cook with it? [MUNCHIES]


Changes in international labeling laws could make it harder for consumers to identify where’s the beef (coming from). [NPR]


How one vegan butchery is grinding up a batch of meatless controversy. [Eater]


The former president of Trader Joe's is making a... Read more >

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Recipe: Clams with Country Ham Vinaigrette and Candied Orange


When Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth's Marc Jacksina and fellow Charlotte-based chef Blake Hartwick started designing their Beard House menu, they immediately wanted to work with clams, specifically those from Rappahannock River Oysters, one of their most valued purveyors. The first idea to spring up was clams casino, the bacon and bread crumb–laden classic that enjoys heavy rotation in Rhode Island. Equipped with their Southern larders, Jacksina and Blake got to work on this regionally inspired spin. Benton's country ham was an obvious reliever for the bacon, so Jacksina blended it with horseradish and Tabasco to make an energized vinaigrette. Chef Blake... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Tattooed Top Chef

Kevin Gillespie of Top Chef The heavily-inked Kevin Gillespie, who repeatedly wowed the judges on the last season of Top Chef, pipes a cream sauce onto fig and country ham canapés in the Beard House kitchen. Check out more photos of the chef's Southern-style meal.

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Recipe: Apple, Goat Cheese, and Country Ham Crostini

These unfussy crostini are a delicious addition to a cocktail party or picnic. While you can switch out the country ham for prosciutto, we think that the dry-cured and smoked product makes for the best contrast against the sweet goat cheese and apples.

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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

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