Monday, December 20, 2010

Cassata Siciliana by author Giovanna Bellia La Marca

At the beginning of the month, the extended Hippocrene family got together to celebrate the 87th birthday of George Blagowidow, our President and Publisher. George founded Hippocrene Books 40 years ago, and the number of languages and cultures represented in our catalogue is a reflection of his own travels and multilinguistic talents. After singing "Happy Birthday" in English, Polish and Russian, we enjoyed a fabulously sweet and moist Cassata Siciliana made by Giovanna Bellia La Marca, author of Sicilian Feasts.

"This party cake is best made one day ahead and allowed to well absorb the marsala wine; although it can also be made and served the same day," Giovanna notes.  Having tasted the results of a day of soaking, I say: be patient! The candied fruits are colorful and festive, and combined with the size of the cake, it makes a beautiful centerpiece for a party of ten or more.

Happy Holidays from Hippocrene Books!

Cassata Siciliana (Sicilian Cake)
adapted from Sicilian Feasts, page 159

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Free Kindle Cookbook Downloads until 12/31!

If you're looking for a way to treat yourself this holiday, look no further! Enjoy free downloads for your Kindle from Hippocrene Books until December 31st! These cookbooks are included in the special:

Nile Style: Egyptian Cuisine and Culture: Ancient Festivals, Significant Ceremonies, and Modern Celebrations
Amy Riolo
Kindle ASIN: B003JTHY5S

Christmas Cookies in "Sweet Hands"

Sweet Hands author Ramin Ganeshram has been featured on NPR's Kitchen Window, sharing new recipes for holiday baking! While a variety of other sweets were a part of her family's traditions, cookies were not  put out for Santa or given as gifts.

"Slowly, I began to incorporate cookies into my holiday baking that, until then, mostly involved making up to 40 Trinidad Christmas fruitcakes for family and friends. Once I resolved to make cookies part of the season, it only seemed right to start with the kiffles. It was part of my in-laws' traditions and also seemed like a singularly American thing to do: a cookie native to Hungary, kept going in an Irish family and passed on to me."

Ganeshram has created 7 delicious kinds of cookies: Aunt Fran's Kiffles Redux, Caribbean Sugar Cookies, Tropical Jam Thumbprints, Chocolate Chili Stars/Chocolate Ginger Stars (above), Coconut Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Coconut Thumbprints and Cocoa Tea Cakes. See the article for all the recipes!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Flavors of Malaysia Launch at Nyonya Restaurant

Tuesday evening Nyonya, a Malaysian restaurant in Manhattan, hosted a launch party for Flavors of Malaysia. Guests enjoyed wine and hors d'oeuvres while hearing Wan Latiff, Suvir Saran, and Marion Nestle speak about the book and it's impact on Malaysian cuisine. The author shared her experiences and inspirations that led to the writing of her first cookbook, from growing up in Klang, Malaysia to creating her own brand of spice blends, Taste of Malacca. (click to enlarge)

Clockwise: Chef Suvir Saran; book cover; author Susheela Raghvan; Madhur Jaffrey and Sanford Allen with a guest; Sanford, Susheela and Madhur

From top: Author Marion Nestle with Chef Suvir Saran, MATRADE Trade Commissioner Wan Latiff, guests enjoying the Malaysian appetizers

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Corsican Cuisine Highlighted in Midwest Book Review!

Another great cookbook review in Midwest Book Review!

"Corsican Cuisine looks at the delicacy potential of Corsican cuisine, a branch of Mediterranean cooking that is rarely explored. With one hundred recipes for reproducing authentic cuisine such as Stuffed Calamari, Anise Biscuits, Braised Pork with Juniper, and so much more, "Corsican Cuisine" is a collection that shouldn't be missed for those looking for a new flavor in their cooking."

Available at your local bookstore, on and our website!

(You can also read author Art Meyer's blog post here.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Flavors of Malaysia in Midwest Book Review!

From the Midwest Book Review:

"...Flavors of Malaysia: A Journey Through Time, Tastes, and Traditions is a cookbook guiding readers through how to embrace Malaysian cooking to their own ends and enjoy the very unique flavors that the country has produced over the years, using its power as a spice trading capital to its fullest. With excellent recipes like spicy peanut [sauce], Chicken Rendang, Savory Red Rice, and so much more, Flavors of Malaysia is a top pick and very highly recommended addition to any cookbook collection focusing on international gourmet."

Available now on and our website,!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Your Way

Thanksgiving draws near, and there are plane and train tickets being purchased, silver being polished, and guest rooms cleared out across the country. As the only holiday that makes no bones about the meal being the main attraction, you might be planning a menu or testing out a new pie recipe. Perhaps you are the lone cook, part of a multi-generational team, or aided by waist-high sous chefs.

As our growing catalog attests, there are myriad ethniticites and food cultures thriving in the U.S. and we're curious about how you celebrate Thanksgiving. Do you incorporate local flavors or specialties? Is your dinner a fusion of traditional Thanksgiving dishes and another cuisine? Have you never had turkey? Tell us about your Thanksgiving dinner in the comments!

Sample Menus from Hippocrene Books

From Healthy South Indian Cooking

  *Roasted Turkey

  *Savory Mushroom Rice, page 115

  *Green Beans Poriyal, page 158 OR Peas Poriyal, page 193 OR Cauiliflower Poriyal, page 179

  *Potatoes Roasted with Garlic and Tomatoes, page 207

                                                     *Acorn Squash Masala Poriyal, page 154

From Argentina Cooks!

  *Creole Roast Turkey, page 42
  *Persimmon and Sausage Stuffing, page 43

  *Pumpkin Humitas, page 243

  *Chard in Cream Sauce, page 54 OR Green Beans with Potatoes, page 281

  *Piquant Sweet Potatoes, page 163

From Farms and Foods of Ohio

  *Turkey Brined in Buttermilk, page 57 OR Roasted Heritage Turkey, page 58
  *Heritage Dressing (Stuffing), page 59

  *Heirloom Tomato Salad, page 90 OR Autumn Salad with Maple Vinaigrette, page 140

  *Lavender Roasted Vegetables, page 134

  *Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, page 205

                                         *Maple Walnut Tart, page 139

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Malaysian Food on the Way!

Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall was full of happy eaters this past Friday and Saturday for Eat | Drink | Explore Malaysia Kitchen. Hippocrene would like to congratulate Glenn Yousef C. and Alan M on winning an autographed copy of Flavors of Malaysia, the first comprehensive Malaysian cookbook by Susheela Raghavan!

If you're looking for more delicious nasi lemak and beef rendang, or if you missed the festivities, keep a look out for the Malaysian Food Truck! Tomorrow they will be in Queens and they will be giving out free samples from local restaurants. There's a map online so find the truck before they run out!  And if your slowpoke friends miss it, you can make them your favorites with recipes from Flavors of Malaysia.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Author Susheela Raghavan in The Journal News

UPDATE: Hopefully you enjoyed the article posted last week. However, it was missing a recipe for peanut satay sauce and few photos. Please enjoy the full article here.  

If you're one of our Facebook friends, you've already read the wonderful article on Susheela Raghavan and her new book Flavors of Malaysia in The Journal News. Linda Lombroso's interview shows that Flavors of Malaysia is "more than a simple cookbook — it’s a heartfelt memoir filled with photos, anecdotes and a detailed cultural history of the Malaysian people." We hope you try the recipes, and join us this weekend at Grand Central Station for Eat | Drink | Explore Malaysia Kitchen !

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

At Home with Hippocrene

This year marked the 200th anniversary for the Munich Oktoberfest, the harvest gathering which is the world's largest folk festival. If you haven't already celebrated Oktoberfest, this recipe from Nadia Hassani's Spoonfuls of Germany will certainly have you considering a visit to Bavaria for next year's festival. And even if you have, this delicious and hearty dish will become a go-to dinner as the temperature drops.

I have German heritage and it manifests itself in funny ways, like our tradition of sauerkraut with Thanksgiving dinner. Ironically, I live in Yorkville and had no idea when I moved to the city that it was once a working-to-middle class neighborhood of primarily German, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak and Polish immigrants. After the General Slocum disaster in the early 1900's, Little Germany on the Lower East Side on Second Avenue moved up to the 80's. Although the area has changed, there are still signs Yorkville's past with Schaller & Weber's grocery, Orwasher's Bakery, Heidelburg restaurant and St. Joseph's Catholic Church all within a few blocks of each other. I purchased my bratwurst from Schaller & Weber, and load up on all the varieties of Bahlsen lebkuchen there at Christmastime.

Himmel und Erde (Potatoes and Apples with Bratwurst)
(from Spoonfuls of Germany page 160)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lamb chops, Cabrito, and Caprettu

Hippocrene Books has recently added a new cookbook to the family, Corsican Cuisine: Flavors from the Perfumed Isle. Arthur L. Meyer "brings the rich essence of Corsican foods to life" with "simple, rustic recipes" that will have you dreaming about a Mediterranean vacation. Art is here today to share one of his favorites:

            I love lamb chops. My mom made them regularly when I was growing up in New York City. There’s something about the crisp, golden fat that surrounds lamb rib chops when they have been broiled under a searing flame, and the rich taste subtly different from beef. Whenever life’s stresses require a comfort food, broiled lamb chops with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes appear on my dinner menu. My mom always had a set of fixed side dishes with every entrée, and she always rolled her eyes when I would mix the spinach and potatoes together. I think the mélange tempered the metallic off-taste that spinach has on the adolescent palate.
           I’ve been living in central Texas for almost forty years now, and the best culinary surprise came the first time I was introduced to cabrito, which is baby goat. Here in Texas we like to cook outdoors over hardwood coals, especially oak, pecan and mesquite. I was invited to a barbecue just weeks after arriving in Austin, and the featured dish was roasted cabrito, turned slowly over pecan wood. The first whiff of smoke as I arrived at the ranch sent me into a lamb chop flashback. It smelled exactly like the smoke emanating from my mom’s oven broiler when she made lamb chops. I knew immediately that this was the beginning of a love affair with all that is goat meat. To this day, when visiting friends in south Texas near Mexico, they know to plan a trip to Nuevo Progresso for a visit to La Fogata, a small restaurant specializing in roasted whole baby goats. The kitchen is a twenty foot long trough filled with glowing coals, with about thirty goats splayed out on skewers, slowly turned by the grill man, in succession, as he walks the perimeter of the trough. The skin of the cabrito becomes just like the fat surrounding my beloved lamb chops, with a flavor almost identical to them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

At Home with Hippocrene

It is now officially fall--the kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, and, like creatures preparing for hibernation, we start to crave heavier fare. The supermarket displays of watermelon and fresh berries are replaced by apples, pumpkins, and a variety of squash. I decided to pick a hearty, but simple dinner that would be a good transition from summertime barbecues and fish tacos. It didn't take long for me to select Judith Pierce Rosenberg's recipe for Swedish Meatballs from A Swedish Kitchen.

Perhaps this is because my previous experiences with Sweden's national dish have taken place at IKEA, their unofficial ambassador to the world, usually getting items before school starts. The trip for a new bookcase or chair is always made better by a meal of meatballs in thin gravy with red potatoes and lingonberry preserves. And of course, you can stop by the market on the way out and get the gravy mix, frozen meatballs, a jar of preserves, and perhaps a box or two of gingersnaps. But with this recipe that would be a terrible waste! However, hopefully you have a jar of those preserves lingering in the back of the fridge. If not, Rosenberg recommends substituting whole-berry cranberry sauce or red currant preserves. When forced to do without, I  prefer the latter.

Swedish Meatballs (Kottbullar)
(from A Swedish Kitchen page 141)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

At Home with Hippocrene

Both previous editions can be seen here.

After work one day I went to the farmer's market in Rockefeller Center (that will unfortunately be ending soon!) and tried to get some ideas for dinner. There were several different farms and businesses there, selling everything from homemade soaps and pies to fresh herbs and produce. After wandering around I eventually came up with spaghetti after spotting fresh basil and fried chicken with corn on the cob, and some tomatoes and cucumber for salads. One seller had okra, and after passing by a few times, I helped myself to a bag and started filling it up. I'd never made okra before but sometimes you just have to go for it!

So I hunted through the indexes of our cookbook library, trying to decide what kind of okra dish would be my guinea pig.  Previously we've enjoyed main entrees from the Philippines and India, so I wanted to try an altogether different cuisine. I discovered that okra is sometimes called "bride's fingers" in Afghan Food and Cookery, and that Greeks call them bamia in Regional Greek Cooking, but so do the Jewish-Iraqi (Mama Nazima's Jewish-Iraqi Cuisine).But I thought this simple preparation from Cooking with Cajun Women would go well with the fried chicken dinner I'd begun to fantasize about. They're in season from July to November, or until the first frost, so enjoy them while you can! 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet Hands Book Signing This Thursday!

Author Ramin Ganeshram will be signing copies of Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago this Thursday, September 2nd! If you are in the New York City area come to Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe at 2319 Frederick Douglass Boulevard (between 124th and125th Streets). Ramin will be signing from 6 to 8 PM.

You can get to Hue-Man Bookstore by taking the A-C or B-D to the 125th Street stop on St Nicholas Avenue, or the 2-3 to the 125th Street stop on Malcolm X Boulevard/Lenox Avenue. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

At Home with Hippocrene

Here's Colette with the next recipe in our series. In case you missed our first edition of At Home with Hippocrene you can find it here.

As members of the office can attest, I usually vote for Indian fare if we go out for lunch. So picking Chettinad Chicken Kurma from Healthy South Indian Cooking as the second featured recipe might not come as a surprise. We have several Indian cookbooks to chose from, so I certainly intend on trying them all! This recipe involved a trip to an Indian grocery store near the office on 28th Street. (Lexington Avenue between 26th Street and 30th Street is known as Curry Hill or Little India, and is packed with Indian restaurants.) I already had cinnamon sticks, curry powder, and bay leaves in my pantry, and was able to get garam masala, turmeric, white poppy seeds, and cardamom at my neighborhood supermarket. But I still needed unsweetened coconut powder, fennel seeds, and curry leaves.

I went up and down the spice aisle, with my marked up list in hand, but I couldn't find dried curry leaves. After going through the little store several times over, I finally asked for help and was directed to the refridgerated case! There were bunches of dark green sprigs hand-packaged in plastic bags. When I got home to look over the cookbook, sure enough it said "dry bay leaves" but not dry curry leaves! It just goes to show you that not only should you reread a new recipe's directions, but you should also pay attention to the ingredients.

Chettinad Chicken Kurma
(from Healthy South Indian Cooking, pages 228-29)

2 lbs skinned chicken pieces (about 6 thighs or breasts)
3/4 cup ground fresh coconut or unsweetened powder
4 small slices ginger root
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 green chili peppers or 2 to 4 whole dried red chili pepper (more, if desired)
1/4 cup roasted chickpeas
12 raw almonds
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons white poppy seeds
1teaspoon fennel seeds
4 to 6 slivers cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 dry bay leaves
8 to 10 curry leaves
3/4 cup sliced onion (cut lengthwise)
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/3 minced fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves


1. Cut the chicken into small pieces. Wash them, drain, and set aside.

I found getting slivers of cinnamon to be quite difficult.
The best method turned out to be cutting the stick in half lengthwise,
between the curls, and then taking thin strips off the top.

2. In an electric blender, grind together coconut powder, ginger root, garlic, chili peppers, roasted chickpeas, almonds, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, white poppy seeds, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, and 2 or 3 slivers of cinnamon stick. Add 3 cups of hot water to facilitate the grinding process. (Water must be hot for the coconut to blend properly.) Process on high for at least 5 minutes until mixture has a creamy, liquid consistency. Set kurma sauce aside.

4. Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add bay leaves, curry leaves, remaining 2 or 3 slivers of cinnamon stick, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds. Stir-fry until seeds are golden.

5. Immediately add onion and tomato and cook for a few minutes. Add turmeric powder and mix well.
This is a good point to start making your rice. I always have jasmine rice in the pantry, but I bought a box of basmati for this dish. It simply doesn't taste the same without it.

6. Add the chicken pieces to saucepan. Stir well and cook uncovered over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until chicken becomes opaque and slightly brown.

6. Pour kurma sauce over chicken mixture. Add salt, curry powder, and 1 cup warm water. (I omitted the water simply because my pot was full, but the dish wasn't affected at all.) Mix well. Add cardamom powder. Cook, covered, over low heat until chicken becomes tender, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Give the sauce a taste to make sure it it's not too spicy, or too mild. You can add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce to cool it down, or add more chili pepper or cayenne powder to kick up the heat.

7. Add coriander (cilantro) and continue cooking over low heat for a few more minutes. At this point, I drizzled some store-bought naan with olive oil and put it in the toaster oven on the light setting. The rice should be finished by now, and you can serve the chicken kurma over the rice with warm naan and a little garnish of curry leaves. Delicious!

Cleaning up your plate with naan might be the best part!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

At Home with Hippocrene

We're introducing a new feature at Hippocrene Cooks called At Home with Hippocrene. Colette Laroya, our editorial assistant, will periodically try a recipe from our cookbook collection at home and share the results. We hope you enjoy this first edition!

A few months ago I married into a large, loving Filipino family. I had never tasted Filipino food before my husband and I started dating, and I quickly learned to love the staples of family parties: crispy lumpia, pancit, chicken adobo, pork menudo, kare-kare, and leche flan. I astounded them with my love of rice, and the fact that I grew up with the same imported jasmine brand they used. So when it came to deciding which cookbook to try first, I knew it would have to be Fine Filipino Food.

I have spent many hours as an observer over the years, but I had never tried to make the dishes myself. My mother-in-law doesn't cook, so my husband wasn't able to offer any advice. I chose Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk because adobo, as Bartell notes, "could very well be called the national dish of the Philippines" and for its simplicity. I knew the dish was a success when I kept catching my husband taking pieces from the pot!

Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk
(as featured in Fine Filipino Food, page 57)

Serves 4

1 (2-pound) chicken, cut into serving-size pieces
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
2 bay leaves
1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 Tbsp raw or brown sugar
1 tsp patis (fish sauce) or 1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 (12-oz) can coconut milk


1. Mince the garlic. First remove the brown end of the clove, then crush it under the flat of your knife (I used about 12 medium-sized cloves to make 1/4 cup).

2. Combine the garlic with the vinegar, soy sauce, ground pepper, bay leaves, peppercorns and brown sugar in a non-aluminum 4-quart pot. Aluminum interacts chemically with vinegar and affects the flavor. I used a stainless steel stock pot, but you can also use ceramic, glass, or wrought iron cookingware.

3. Mix well and add in the chicken. I used a chicken breast of the same weight to avoid cutting up a whole chicken. (However, you might have complaints about the lack of drumsticks.) Marinade for 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator.

4. Place the pot on high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. (This is a good time to start your rice cooker.) You can remove the chicken and broil them 1 to 2 minutes on each side, but I skipped this step in the interest of simplicity. One-pot meals are easy to clean up!

5. Add the patis (or salt) and coconut milk and boil until it has been reduced by half. You'll see it take on lighter, creamier color. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over a bed of rice with the sauce.

The moist, tender chicken stands on its own, but you can round out your meal with steamed broccoli or Jicama Salad (page 41). The crisp jicama is perfect for a light summer salad.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heathful South Indian Flavors with Alamelu

Hippocrene author Alamelu Vairavan (HEALTHY SOUTH INDIAN COOKING) launched her new 30-minute cooking show on Milwaukee's PBS station in May. Congratulations, Alamelu!

Check out the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article on her debut. The MPTV website has episode guides with the featured recipes. If you're in the area, be sure to tune in at 11 AM on Saturdays!

You can also follow Alamelu on her website and her blog

Flavors of Malaysia author on WPIX 11

Susheela Raghavan, author of the upcoming Flavors of Malaysia, helped a local news reporter shop in NYC. The first ever Malaysian Restaurant Week premiered June 14-20, and Raghavan took Lisa Mateo in search of the ingredients that make Malaysian cuisine unique. If you missed it you can watch the video on WPIX 11.

For a list of Malaysian restaurants in the New York Tri-State area, and where to buy Malaysian ingredients in New York City, see

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Old Traditions, New Family Rituals

Giovanna Bellia La Marca, author of Sicilian Feasts, Language and Travel Guide to Sicily, and, forthcoming, The Cooking of Emilia-Romagna: Culinary Treasures from Northern Italy, is with us today to share a dish from her hometown. Giovanna writes:

This is a traditional Easter dish, but since one year is entirely too long to
wait for this wonderful treat, I make it several times each year--usually for a special occasion. We celebrated my birthday on June 5th and our Son-in-law's birthday on the 9th with a Sunday dinner in between the two special dates with a delicious 'Mpanata. All Americans enjoy and preserve their ethnic customs and food traditions, and many of us have established some of our own rituals.

On Easter Sunday morning, for instance, I get up quite early to prepare the showpiece of our festive dinner which is the 'Mpanata di Agnello Ragusana, the typical lamb pie which is made in my hometown of Ragusa in Sicily. I prepare the dough the night before, and I marinate the meat overnight in the refrigerator. The 'mpanata goes into the oven at 9:00 AM, it bakes for one hour, and it is then covered with a blanket or a terry cloth towel and allowed to rest and to cool very slowly so that the meat continues to steam and the bread crust absorbs the flavorful juices. We allow the 'mpanata this rest period well covered in the back seat of our car as we drive to our daughter and son-in-law's vacation house in Roscoe, New York from our home in New Jersey.

While we drive we listen to Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, which is the only opera that takes place in Sicily on Easter Sunday. By the time we arrive at the scenic Catskill mountains which surround Roscoe, the 'mpanata is perfect and ready to eat. In an example of a break with tradition, I will make this delicious lamb pie for special celebrations throughout the year.

Mpanata Agnello Ragusana (Easter Lamb Pie of Ragusa)
(as featured in Sicilian Feasts, see page 95)

Author's Note: The 'mpanata is traditionally made with the bones. I ask my butcher to cube a leg of lamb with the bones as if to make a stew because when baked with the bones the meat is more succulent, but it's fine to use boned meat which makes it somewhat easier to cut and serve. Lard makes the dough tender and very flavorful, but shortening will also give a good result.

Dough for 'Mpanata

4 cups flour 1/4 cup lard or shortening
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water

1. Mix the ingredients by hand, in an electric mixer with a dough hook for 10 minutes or in a food processor until the dough forms a mass.
2. Knead a few
turns, shape into a ball, coat with a film of olive oil, place in a large bowl, cover and let rise. After the first rise it can be refrigerated, but
bring to room temperature before using it.

Lamb Filling

2 lbs of lamb with bones or boneless
2 cloves garlic
small bunch Italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix the lamb with the chopped garlic and parsley, and add salt and pepper.
2. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight and until ready to assemble.

Assembly of 'Mpanata

lamb filling
1 egg, beaten

1.Take the dough, divide it into a larger and smaller portion.
2. Roll the larger
piece into a circle and line a large pie plate. Fill with the marinated lamb.
3. Roll out the second piece into a circle, brush the edge of the bottom crust with beaten egg, place the top crust on top of the lamb, press with the tines of a fork all around the edge to adhere both crusts. Make a decorative edge if you wish.
3. Brush the top with beaten egg, prick with a fork and bake in a
preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
4. Remove from the oven, cover with a towel and let stand for 2 hours before serving.

Try more of Giovanna's delicious recipes!

Giovanna Bellia La Marca was born in Ragusa, Sicily and came to the United States at the age of 10. Now a retired art and Italian teacher, she can be seen leading culinary tours of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, and teaching at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.
Questions? Problems with a recipe? Visit Giovanna at

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Indian Cuisine Next Big Thing!

Chutney Joe's, a "Chipotle-style" restaurant in Chicago, (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Our very own Editorial Director, Priti Chitnis Gress, was interviewed in an article on the increasing popularity of Indian cuisine in America.

"People, especially in metropolitan communities, are fairly sophisticated," she says. "It's not just chicken curry and rice and naan anymore."

"The American palate is no longer bland," [agrees] Andrew F. Smith, editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink of America, who predicts that Indian food will take off in the next decade the way sushi bars did in the 1980s and Thai food did in the '90s.

Check out the full story at ABC News!

And for those who want to master Indian flavors at home, any of these cookbooks are a great place to start:

In the famous cooking tradition of South India's Chettinad region, these mostly vegetarian recipes allow home cooks to create enticing fare such as Lemon Rice, Coconut Chutney, Chickpea and Mango Soondal, Eggplant Masala, Cauliflower Soup, and Black-eyed Peas Sambhar. These low-fat, low-calorie dishes are exceptionally delicious and nutritious, featuring wholesome vegetables and legumes flavored with delicate spices.
Each recipe is presented in a step-by-step format with complete nutritional analysis. Also included are 16 pages of color photographs, a shopping list for spices, and a list of recipes perfect for beginners. Sample menus offer complementary dishes and creative suggestions for preparing fusion meals.

Growing research about the significant health benefits of spices, especially the cumin and turmeric found in many South Indian foods, makes these recipes all the more appealing!

At the heart is the story of two women, a Punjabi villager and her American daughter-in-law, and the lives they built together. More than an exceptionally usable cookbook, this is also the intimate saga of a Punjabi family told through the food that has sustained, comforted, and offered them a creative outlet through the years.

Arguably India's most popular cuisine, Punjabi food boasts mouthwatering tandoori kebabs, satisfying curries, and an array of delectable breads. Twenty-two menus feature a wide range of dishes, from rustic, roadside dhaba offerings like Buttermilk Stew with Vegetable Pakoras and the famous Saag Mukke Di Roti (Stewed Mixed Greens with Corn Flatbread), to elegant Roast Leg of Lamb and Royal Bread Pudding that have graced the tables of Maharajahs. Remarkably healthful, over 125 of these recipes are designated vegetarian or vegan.

Veronica Sidhu will be your trusted guide, providing easy-to-follow recipes and advice on shopping, prepping, and creating menus with harmonious elements. Glossaries of food and religious terms, color photos, a resource section for finding Indian ingredients, and bibliography round out this collection.

This cookbook celebrates Kerala through 150 delectable recipes and the equally unforgettable stories that accompany them. Featured here are such savory delights as Meen Vevichathu (Fish Curry Cooked in a Clay Pot), Parippu (Lentils with Coconut Milk) and Thiyal (Shallots with Tamarind and Roasted Coconut). Equally mouthwatering are a variety of rice preparations, Puttu (Steamed Rice Cake) and Paalappam (Lace-Rimmed Pancakes), and tempting desserts like Karikku Pudding (Tender Coconut Pudding). These dishes are adapted for the North American kitchen, and accompanied by a guide to spices, herbs, and equipment, as well as a glossary of food terms.

In the best tradition of the cookbook memoir, there are tales of talking doves, toddy shops, traveling chefs and killer coconuts, evoking the beauty of a bygone era as well as the compelling pull of the present one. Full of beautiful photographs, charming illustrations and lyrical memories of food and family, The Kerala Kitchen is a delicious, memorable read.

Located in northwestern India, Gujarat is known as the country's "Garden State," and is renowned for its vegetarian specialties. Flavorful India showcases the cuisine of Gujarat—from street foods to traditional home-cooked dishes. Hot fluffy puri breads are used to scoop up fragrant vegetable curries and dals, seasoned with cumin, coriander, and freshly ground garlic and ginger. Kitchdi, the dinnertime staple of rice and lentils, is often served on a thaali, a large stainless steel plate containing four to six small bowls, each filled with a different delicacy. On the side, hot fresh chapatis (flatbreads), pickles, and chutneys complete the meal.

This collection of authentic family recipes will introduce you to some of India's most flavorful, yet often overlooked, culinary offerings. The simple, delectable recipes are written for the home cook and adapted to the North American kitchen. An introduction to Gujarati culture, sections on spices, ingredients, and utensils, and charming line drawings by the author's father bring the flavors of India to life.

Indian Spice Kitchen is not only a comprehensive encyclopedia of the ingredients used in Indian cooking, but a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. Monisha Bharadwaj shares the secrets of Indian cuisine and celebrates its variety and ingenuity. From asafoetida to walnuts, each of 100 ingredients is explored giving useful advice about its appearance and taste, how it grows, how to store it and, of course, its culinary uses, complemented with over 200 classic Indian dishes.

The author regularly cooks on TV for Good Food Live, on the UK Food Channel, and has been food consultant to the Times of India group of companies, creating menus for the Deputy Prime Minister of India as well as several top film stars. She also contributes to Elle, Delicious, and Food and Travel in the UK and Cookery Plus in India.

Short-listed for an Andre' Simon Award and the Guild of Food Writers' Book of the Year Award!