Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking New York Times Notable Book!

The Hippocrene offices have been abuzz this morning, with good reason! RICE & CURRY, a Sri Lankan cookbook by S.H. Fernando, has been named as one of The Year's Notable Cookbooks by the New York Times. It's part of the Times 2011 Holiday Guide--read it here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! Plus Black Friday Deals

Happy Thanksgiving from Hippocrene Books! Tomorrow is the Olympics for home chefs everywhere. They'll show off their incredible strength lifting 20 pound birds into roasting pans and their agility as they dash from spice rack to fridge to stovetop to cutting board. And let's not forget the timing- everything must be piping hot all at once! We hope you avoid any major disasters (remember that episode of Mad About You when the dog ate the turkey?) and maybe use a Hippocrene recipe or two!

For those kitchen athletes that triumph over triptophan, you'll be rewarded with a Hippocrene cookbook Black Friday special. Check our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter for more details! Even if you fall into a poultry-induced coma, don't worry: the special deal will run all weekend long!

Read last year's Fusion Thanksgiving post here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

At Home: Chocolate Whoopie Pies

I recently watched a very learned debate- no, not those debates. This one centered on the merits of Halloween candy, specifically fruity candies versus chocolate ones. Everyone chimed in with their own opinion, until someone confessed that they didn't really care for candy. "I'd rather have cookies or cake than candy." 

For those of you who feel the same way, this is the perfect recipe. Whoopie pies are cookie and cake all rolled into one, moist and chewy with marshmallow fluff-based icing to hold them together. They make great party favors; simply put them into small clear bags and tie with ribbon. Even the candy lovers won't be able to resist!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

1/2 cup solid white vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup milk

1 (8-oz) package cream
1 (7 1/2- oz) jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
orange food coloring (optional)

Note: I added these steps to make all the cookies the same size, so tops and bottoms match. You can skip this step, as well as piping the batter, but keep in mind that the whoopies will look more rustic. It's hard to get a uniform shape when spooning onto the sheet. Also, see below for directions on mini whoopie pies.

1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your cookie sheet. Trace a small glass or bowl (the diameter of my circles is a little more than two inches) making sure you leave 1 1/2-2" between each. Repeat on a second sheet on paper.

Parchment tends to roll up, so measuring cups make handy paperweights.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Cream together the vegetable shortening and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.

5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk into the large bowl. Beat the batter until the flour and milk are fully incorporated.

6. Fill a large pastry bag or plastic bag with the batter. If using a plastic bag, cut off the tip. Making sure the pencil side is down, pipe a circle inside the line and then fill by going in a spiral to the center. 

7. Bake for 25 minutes. My oven seemed to get them done a tad faster, usually 20-22 minutes. 

8. Let cool. In a medium size bowl, blend the cream cheese and Marshmallow Fluff together and add in the vanilla and food coloring.

Mini Whoopie Pies

I didn't draw circles for the mini pies, but the diameter was about 1 1/4". Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. These bite-size pies are great for kids!

Friday, July 8, 2011

At Home: Big Blueberry Muffins

After sampling cuisines from around the world, I decided to come back to the good old U.S. of A. for our nation's birthday. This recipe for blueberry muffins is from Farms and Foods of Ohio by Marilou K. Suszko, and they're so simple and delicious. As indicated by the title, the book not only gives you ways to use ingredients, but where they came from. There are wonderful stories about the various Ohio farms, vineyards, and even a shrimp pond! 

Eating locally and seasonally have become full-grown movements, and everyone has heard the benefits of reducing your carbon footprint, supporting local businesses, and better tasting foods. I did my best to stay true to the book's message: the blueberries I bought came from New Jersey, the eggs from Brooklyn, and the milk from upstate New York. And although I do enjoy the NYC greenmarkets, all were available at my grocery store. If you want to learn more, a great resource is the Sustainable Table Food Calendar. Just select your state and season, i.e. New York and Early July, and it will tell you what is in season for your area! 

Big Blueberry Muffins 
(from Farms and Foods of Ohio, page 27)

Makes one dozen

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
3 1/2 cups sifted flour all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries
Coarse sugar for sprinkling
parchment paper or paper muffin cups

1. Rinse the blueberries in cold water. Double check them for stems, they're are always a few that still have them!

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the melted butter and the milk.

3. In a separate bowl, sift in the flour. Add in the baking powder, sugar and salt. Add to the egg mixture and mix until just blended, less than one minute. It will be a thick, sticky dough if you overdo it! If you want to get fancy, you can add a dash of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest. Fold in the blueberries, being careful not to burst them.

4. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. This is the secret to "crispy, crunchy bakery-store crowns" - don't skip it!

5. After 1 hour and 55 minutes, preheat the oven to 400 F. Take the bowl out and let it warm up a bit while you prepare the muffin tin. I used parchment paper instead of paper liners, and it's very simple to do. Cut four 5" wide strips of paper, then hold them together and cut into thirds. Now you have 12 squares that will give the muffins a professional look, and allow them to puff up without the "mushroom" shape that sticks to the pan.

6. Put a spoonful of batter into the center of the paper and then lower it into the tin. Repeat with the other papers, and use the remaining batter to top off each one. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool before removing from the pan. If you used the parchment squares, just grab the corners and pull them out to cool on a rack.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Gazpacho from La Buena Mesa's Elizabeth Parrish

Hippocrene will have two new cookbooks out in just two weeks! We're very excited to have both authors on Hippocrene Cooks as guest bloggers this week and next. Today, Elizabeth Parrish, author of La Buena Mesa: The Regional Cooking of Spain, shares with us a delicious recipe for gazpacho. Be sure to check back next week for Giovanna's recipe from The Cooking of Emilia-Romagna! Elizabeth writes to us from Tarragona, Spain, which is about 60 miles south of Barcelona:

Summer is fast approaching and as food choices gradually shift from the hearty stews and legumes of winter to lighter fare; I begin to think about that pitcher of gazpacho that frequents my refrigerator once the warm weather hits. I like to mix up a batch and gradually eat (or drink!) it over a period of two to three days. It’s not just that it tastes good (it does); gazpacho also manages to be refreshing, satisfying and, between the juicy ripe tomatoes, the extra virgin olive oil and other fresh vegetables, a veritable antioxidant cocktail.

Tomatoes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Spaniards distinguish between tomatoes that you use to make a sauce and those you toss into a green salad. Salad tomatoes are firm and have a greenish hue to them. All other varieties, be they large or small, pear-shaped or round are softer to the touch and yield more pulp and juice. Whenever I make gazpacho, I look for ripe, juicy tomatoes and, fortunately, the ones that work the best also happen to be the least expensive.

Another key ingredient to making a smooth gazpacho is olive oil. You want to choose a high quality, mild, extra virgin olive oil. While I love the aroma and flavor of aromatic olive oils, I find that they overpower the gentle tomato scent of gazpacho. In my opinion, mild fruity oils work best for this dish. I’ve used Nuñez de Prado, an unfiltered organic extra virgin olive oil from Andalusia that also happens to be available in the United States. Authentic Spanish sherry vinegar adds the finishing touch to this cold soup.

Gazpacho is one of those dishes that very much reflects the personal taste of the chef. Some like the sharpness of the onion and garlic to come through. Others want more or less cucumber. Personally, I prefer my gazpacho mild, with just a hint of onion and garlic. In the end, this is a cold tomato soup with tomato being the star. For this reason, I think that the soup is best when the base is delicately flavored. After that, diners can always personalize their gazpacho with the vegetable garnish, emphasizing one vegetable over the other to create their own balance, or forgoing the chopped vegetables altogether.

Gazpacho (Cold Tomato Soup)
(from La Buena Mesa: The Regional Cooking of Spain, page 167)

6 servings

6-inch length of a baguette, crust removed
1 cup ice water
8 ripe juicy tomatoes, unpeeled, cut in eighths
Pinch sugar
1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 small Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
2 large spoonfuls sherry vinegar
½ cup mild extra virgin olive oil

1. Place the baguette piece in a bowl and add the ice water, followed by the tomatoes and a pinch of sugar. Add the cucumber, green pepper, onion, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. 

2. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (or you can use a blender or food processor and blend in batches). (I have a small Spanish kitchen and don’t even own a blender or food processor so I use an immersion blender. Using a deep bowl helps prevent splattering.)

3. Place a strainer over a mixing bowl and press the mixture through the strainer using the back of a wooden spoon. Salt to taste and chill thoroughly before serving. Whenever gazpacho is served, it’s customary to prepare small bowls of the individual chopped vegetables so that diners can garnish to taste. Another alternative is to serve the gazpacho with croutons. (In the case of croutons, make your own with the remaining baguette. Simply cut the bread into cubes and fry in abundant extra virgin olive oil.)

Gazpacho is even better the following day after the flavors have had time to blend.

Elizabeth Parrish has spent twenty-two years living and cooking in Spain. La Buena Mesa is the result of years of research and collecting recipes from friends, family, restaurants, and home kitchens across Spain. She currently resides in Tarragona, where she teaches English and is working on a collection of Catalan recipes.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Giovanna Bellia La Marca in The Bridgeton Journal

Giovanna Bellia La Marca, author of Sicilian Feasts and The Cooking of Emilia-Romagna (available April 15) is in the Bridgeton Journal! Giovanna is the master chef for the Italian-themed inaugural Bridgeton Food Film Fest on April 9 at the Ashley-McCormick Center. 

"Each Food Film Fest will begin with appetizers and a wine tasting, followed by a movie that focuses on ethnic cooking. Later, a master chef will hold a cooking demonstration that includes dishes from the film, ending with a five-course dinner, followed by music and dancing."

Bridgeton is certainly in for a treat! You can read the article at The Daily Journal here

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hippocrene in Gastronomica Spring 11 Issue

Hippocrene has a little mention in the latest issue of Gastronomica, the Journal of Food and Culture! Turn to page 93 for "Štrukli: "The Best Dish in the World" by Velimir Cindric, with an adapted recipe for Zagorje Cheese Štrukli from The Best of Croatian Cooking. Cindric, a native of Zagreb, discusses the variations on this traditional dish.

Authors Gordana and Liliana on the set of Canada AM

You can get your copy of Liliana and Gordana's delicious book in stores, or online at our website and!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu" Coming to You

Alamelu Vairavan, co-author of Healthy South Indian Cooking (Hippocrene 2008) has been captivating audiences in the Milwaukee area with her new show on MPTV "Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu," and we are proud to announce that it has been picked up by various PBS stations across the country! From Louisville to Honolulu, Americans are learning how to make their favorite Indian dishes at home and the significant health benefits of their spices.

Check to see if your PBS channel is airing episodes in March!

Friday, February 25, 2011

At Home: Laotian Stuffed Green Peppers (Moke Mock Pit)

After an extended holiday hiatus, I'm happy to bring back At Home with Hippocrene! As you may notice from the pictures, the "home" part looks different. I'm still adjusting to a much smaller kitchen, often reminding myself of the increased space overall. If you ever despair in your urban kitchen, read My Life in France and be thoroughly put in your place by all of Julia Child's delicious accomplishments in her tiny appartement!

The grocery store in my new neighborhood has lots of exotic (to me, at least) produce like giant aloe leaves, hunks of yucca, cactus, and cheyote. Unfortunately, it did not have the dill and lemongrass I needed for this recipe. It seemed silly to make a special trip for under $4 worth of ingredients, but the results were worth it!

Moke Mock Pit (Stuffed Green Peppers)
(from Simple Laotian Cooking, page 108 )

Serves 6

1/4 cup rice
6 large bell peppers
1/4 cup sliced lemongrass
6 cloves garlic
3 shallots or 1 small onion, sliced
1 large hot pepper, sliced or 1/4 bell pepper for a mild dish
1 lb ground pork, beef, or turkey
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 stalks scallions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill


Note: If you have a moment in the produce aisle like I did, trying to decide if you're holding a bunch of green onions or scallions, look here! Some people may use the names interchangeably, and although they look alike, they do have slightly different tastes. Green onions have a definite round bulb at the base, while scallions look like miniature leeks, straight all the way to their stubby roots.

1. Soak the rice in warm water for 30 minutes. 

2. Wash the green peppers. Cut off their tops, scape out the seeds, and set aside. Cut up the other ingredients while you wait on the rice. I used half a jalapeño, which gave it a kick, but wasn't overly spicy.

3. In a blender add rice, lemongrass, and 1/4 cup water. Blend ten seconds. Add garlic, shallots, and pepper. Blend until you have a coarse puree. If you're going to roast them, preheat the oven now. If steaming, make sure your pot has water, etc..

4. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add ground pork (or other meat), salt, fish sauce, scallions, and dill. Mix well with a spoon.

5. Spoon 1/6 of the mixture in each pepper and spread it evenly. place the peppers in a baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Steam for 1 hour on high heat or roast in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables. While it may not be traditional, the peppers taste great with ketchup, Thai sweet chili sauce or even plum sauce!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chinese New Year, Trinidadian-Style with Ramin Ganeshram

Jean-Paul Vellotti for NPR
Chinese New Year started yesterday, and the festivities will continue for 15 more days (shouldn't everyone do that?). Sweet Hands author Ramin Ganeshram shares how to celebrate the lunar new year like a native Trinidadian with NPR!  Trinidad & Tobago usually brings to mind glossy travel photos of beaches and palm trees, or rum-infused Carnival partying, but the celebrations for Chinese New Year run a close second. Ganeshram notes that: 

"Chinese were first brought to the islands in the 19th century as indentured laborers on British colonial plantations. They soon became part of the general population of Africans, Indians, Europeans and Syrians. Their influence on the island's food was profound, perhaps because once they left indenture, Trinidad's Chinese often owned the island's grocery stores."

Now a part the multiethnic population, Ganeshram says "it's common to see Chinese New Year good luck symbols in retail centers in Trinidad, and parades, complete with dragon dances, are hosted by various Chinese associations islandwide." Of course, this intermingling made for great eats, and Ramin has adapted some of her recipes for you to enjoy, including Fried Wontons, Shay Shay Tien's Pow, Eight-Treasure Trini Chow Mein, Dasheen Pork, Five-Spice Rum Pork and Vegetables, Bitter Melon with Onion Seeds, and Chinese CakesSee the article for recipes!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hippocrene Double Feature on Pierre Wolfe's Show

Two of our authors will be on America's Dining & Travel Guide this Sunday! An internationally renowned chef, Pierre Wolfe has been hosting his nationally syndicated radio program for over 20 years. Every Sunday from 3-5 pm Pierre interviews culinary experts, and recommends the latest fine restaurants, wine, and travel destinations.

Sunday, February 6th
  • 3:30 pm EST: Arthur L. Meyer
  • 4:30 pm EST: Karen Hulene Bartell

    Arthur L. Meyer is the author of Corsican Cuisine and the forthcoming Danish Cooking and Baking Traditions (Hippocrene), as well as Baking Across AmericaTexas Tortes, and co-author of The Appetizer Atlas which won "Best English Language Cookbook" and "Best in World" Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2003. He has been cooking professionally since 1963, and in 1992 opened the critically-acclaimed Clarkesville Restaurant, specializing in global cuisine, in Austin, Texas. He has taught cooking internationally and is considered an expert on world cuisines. He resides in Austin, Texas.

    Karen Hulene Bartell has traveled extensively in the Philippines and lived in Taiwan for many years. She is the author of Fine Filipino Food,  Best of Korean CookingBest of Taiwanese Cooking, and Best of Polish Cooking, all published by Hippocrene Books. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband.

    In NYC you can tune in to WGCH AM 1490. You can find your local Business Talk Radio station here