What's Cookin'?

Recipe: “RUMI’S JHAL GOSHT” (BEEF OR LAMB CURRY) from the Urban Forager Book listed in our COOKBOOK CORNER


I met Rumi Mahmood through chef and good friend Onil Chibás. Lucky me—both live
only five minutes away! Serve this tasty dish with rice, naan bread, or paratha.


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
Curry spices (see below)
1 1/2 pounds lamb or beef stew meat
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)


1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (depending on heat tolerance)
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (seed and devein pepper to moderate heat)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon each kosher salt and sugar
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 green or black cardamom pods, cracked open
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best)


1. Heat oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium heat; add onion and sauté until translucent to light brown. Add curry spices and stir well. Let spices cook, then add water sparingly to avoid sticking or burning—no more than 1 tablespoon at a time–throughout the cooking process, 6 to 8 minutes to develop flavor.
2. Add meat, stirring well to distribute; cook over medium to high heat until well seared.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add yogurt, tomato paste, and cilantro.
4. Cover and continue to braise for 40 to 50 minutes, until meat is tender.
5. Remove cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods.
TRY THIS: Substitute 1 whole chicken cut into generous pieces; braise until golden brown, then cook for 30 minutes.

Recipe and photo from The Urban Forager: Culinary Exploring & Cooking on L.A.’s Eastside
By Elisa Callow Photographs by Ann Elliott Cutting
Prospect Park Books/March 2019


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Tuscan Women Cook, THE Culinary Immersion Vacation, Signs Deal with Agriturismo Bellagaggio as their New Hotel Location in Tuscany

Tuscan Women Cook, the week-long culinary immersion vacation program based in the medieval Tuscan village of Montefollonico, has signed a deal with Agriturismo Bellagaggio to be the new hotel location for Tuscan Women Cook.

Located a few kilometers from Montepulciano, Pienza, Cortona and Montalcino, the Bellagaggio farmhouse has been expertly renovated in strict compliance with its architectural and environmental features. The farmhouse is made up of stone and brick houses of eighteenth-century origin according to the Tuscan tradition and features a private swimming pool heated by solar panels, and a restaurant serving local organic cuisine which makes Belagaggio a charming place for repose.

“Agriturismo Bellagaggio is the perfect location for visitors to start their Tuscan Women Cook experience,” said Coleen Kirnan and Rhonda Vilardo, owners of Tuscan Women Cook. “This is an enchanting place where you can admire the beauty, smell the wild lavender and listen to silence, the perfect ambiance to unwind with a glass of wine at the end of a busy day.”

Each Spring and Fall, Coleen and Rhonda, welcome guests from around the world to live, breathe and cook as Italians do. Their unique culinary immersion vacation will start with lodging at the Belagaggio farmhouse. Each day participants cook up authentic Italian recipes taught by the local village “nonnas” or grandmothers who share regional techniques, ingredients, and family recipes that have been passed down over the centuries.

After lunch Rhonda and Coleen provide daily sightseeing, visits to local artisans, cheese and wine tastings. Full day sight- seeing in Siena with a private guide who has a doctorate in Sienese history. Full translation is provided at all classes. Transportation to all activities is in a Mercedes minibus with private driver.

The locals of Montefollonico are dear friends of Coleen and Rhonda, and those relationships create an authentic immersion experience for Tuscan Women Cook guests. To view the entire Tuscan Women Cook culinary program, accommodations and to make reservations, visit http://www.TuscanWomenCook.com.

Coleen Kirnan and Rhonda Vilardo are two inventive business dynamos who decided to take a career risk that changed their lives. In 2016, they took over Tuscan Women Cook, a unique culinary immersion vacation where participants learn to cook authentic Italian meals from legendary women in the Tuscan village of Montefollonico. This change in career has been extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally, for both women.

In spring and fall each year, Coleen and Rhonda welcome guests from around the world to live, breathe, and cook as Italians do. Taking advantage of their years of business experience and knowledge, these master travel planners create an insider’s Tuscan itinerary filled with friendly, knowledgeable tour guides, translators, drivers and private cooking classes that only a local resident could access.

Coleen and Rhonda approach their partnership in running Tuscan Women Cook with enthusiasm, joy, and excitement, relishing the opportunity to jump openhearted into this new chapter of their lives, just as they did in their previous, high-profile careers. Theirs is a story of an extraordinary mid-life dream come true.

When Coleen and Rhonda are not in Tuscany, they live with their husbands and family in Los Angeles, California.

WEBSITE: http://www.TuscanWomenCook.com


What's Cookin'?

Book Signing at GILFORD ART CENTER with Chef Jacques Pepin Sunday, Dec 16 2-4 pm

Renowned chef and artist Jacques Pepin will be signing copies of his latest book, Menus: Book for Your Meals and Memories, which has just been chosen as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2018. It would also make a great holiday present for someone who appreciates all the many art and culinary talents of Chef Pepin!
Copies of Menus will be available for purchase at the event. This event is free and open to the public.
What's Cookin'?



By Naomi Nachman
Photographs by Miriam Pascal

Author Naomi Nachman Shares “Perfect Flavors” from Around the World in Her New Cookbook
Known as “The Aussie Gourmet,” Nachman shares some of her favorite recipes culled from years of culinary travels.

Naomi Nachman is a renowned cooking teacher, food columnist, recipe developer, and personal chef. The author of the bestselling Perfect for Pesach cookbook shares her passion and enthusiasm for cooking, serving, eating, and sharing amazing food – every single day with her new cookbook Perfect Flavors (Mesorah Publications /November 2018). Perfect Flavors showcases unique recipes Naomi has collected over the years from her global travels, along with old favorites with a new twist.

“I feel so privileged to have experienced international food adventures and to be able to share my favorite recipes with home cooks everywhere,” Naomi says. “Within the pages of this book, you, too, can enjoy Aussie meat pies from Sydney and authentic Pad Thai served on the streets of Thailand, as well as easy to prepare everyday recipes, all in the comfort of your own kitchen.”

Perfect Flavors has over 130 delicious and creative kosher recipes with tips and variations. Eye-popping photos by renown food photographer Miriam Pascal accompany every recipe. Naomi also provides information on kitchen essentials, and herb and spice. Some of the recipes you will find in the book include:

Focaccia Bread with Garlic Confit
Aussie Meat Pies
Kale Salad with Roasted Beets and Chickpeas
Mushroom, Tomato, and Herb Salad
Beer-Battered Broccoli
Dill-Infused Crepes with Mushroom-Cheese Filling
Salt-Crusted Branzino
Shawarma Turkey Burger
Thai Peanut Drumsticks
Jerk Rubbed London broil
Harissa Carrots
Potato and Marrow Bake
Praline Sesame Mousse
Lotus Butter Cookie Bars

Whether you’re looking for elegant and sophisticated cuisine or a quick and wholesome meal, you’ll find what you need among these delicious and doable recipes.

“All my recipes use fresh, simple and delicious combinations of ingredients that you can get all year long and create interesting meal choices. With Perfect Flavors I invite you, through my recipes, into my home, to pull up a chair at our table, and enjoy.”

Perfect Flavors is food we love for the people we love.

This holiday season try these perfectly delicious recipes from Perfect Flavors.
Recipe(s) reprinted with permission from Perfect Flavors by Naomi Nachman
Photos by Miriam Pascal

Crockpot Onion and Flanken Soup
 yields 8 servings — freezer friendly

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of onion soup? However, making it can be time-consuming, as you have to sauté the onions for a long time while stirring them. This recipe allows you to skip the sautéing, as your crock pot does all the work for you.

12 onions sliced into half-moons
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup canola oil
2 pounds bone-in flanken
4 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
¾ cup red wine
¼ cup red miso paste

1. Combine onions, salt, pepper, and oil in a crockpot; stir to combine.
2. Add flanken to the crockpot; cover with onion mixture. Cover; cook on high for 4-5 hours, until onions are golden brown.
3. Add broth, wine, and miso paste; stir to combine. Cook on high for an additional hour.

Cook’s Tip
Miso paste is a paste made from fermented bean curd. Used primarily in Japanese cooking, it adds umami, depth of flavor, to the dishes. Miso paste is available in a variety of colors; the darker the color, the stronger the flavor. I use them interchangeably.

Turducken Capons
 yields 8 servings — freezer friendly

Thanksgiving has always had a special meaning to me. I came to America on Thanksgiving and met my husband exactly a year later on Thanksgiving. This recipe is a twist on a turducken, which is a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, stuffed into a deboned turkey, with layers of stuffing between each bird. This is a dark meat chicken capon stuffed with turkey and wrapped in duck fry. It’s a whole new take on turkey.


2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup (tightly packed) cubes day-old challah or bread
1-pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

8 chicken capons (dark meat chicken cutlets)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 (3-ounce) packages duck fry or pastrami
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar


4. Prepare the stuffing: Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add onion; sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5-7 minutes.
5. Add garlic and spinach; cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add bread cubes; cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
6. Add turkey, salt, thyme, chili powder, and maple syrup to the spinach mixture. Stir until combined.
7. Assemble the capons: Preheat oven to 350°F.
8. Place about ¼ cup turkey stuffing onto the center of each capon; then roll up. Place capons seam-side down in a large baking pan. (Do not overcrowd the pan; use 2 pans if necessary.)
9. Sprinkle salt, paprika, and onion powder over the tops of the capons, then drape duck fry over each one.
10. Combine maple syrup and balsamic vinegar; brush mixture over the top of each capon, reserving some of the mixture for Step 8.
11. Cover tightly; bake for 1 hour. Uncover, brush again with maple syrup mixture, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered. Slice and serve.

Cook’s Tip
For a unique side dish, bake any remaining stuffing in muffin tins at 350°F for 30 minutes.


Growing up in Australia and watching her mother and grandmother prepare amazing meals, Naomi developed her love of innovative cooking. In 2004, she started her own kosher personal chef business, The Aussie Gourmet. Sharing her enthusiasm for creative recipes, Naomi gives cooking demonstrations across the globe and produces kosher cooking competitions across North America, igniting excitement in the participants. Naomi has been the past recipient of the Cutting Edge Award, presented by her peers at a dinner for members of the kosher media industry.

Naomi hosts a weekly show, Table for Two with Naomi Nachman, on the Nachum Segal Network. The program covers all food-related topics, and in addition, she covers food and travel trends in a monthly magazine column for Mishpacha Magazine. As a contributing editor for The Jewish Home newspaper, her articles and recipes are published weekly across the country. Naomi is also a recipe developer and brand ambassador for several major food companies, representing them across several media platforms.
She has been a guest host on the QVC TV network and has appeared on Home & Family on The Hallmark Channel, Great Day Washington on WUSA Channel 9, and CBS Sunday Morning News. Naomi is also the host of Sunny Side Up on Kosher.com. Naomi lives in Woodmere, New York with her husband and children. For more information on Naomi and The Aussie Gourmet, visit her website, http://www.TheAussieGourmet.com.

What's Cookin'?

New Cookbook Brings the Diverse Flavors and Tastes of India Made Easy in the Instant Pot

Who doesn’t love Indian food? Delicious recipes that are filled with exotic spice blends and easy-to-get ingredients. But many favorite Indian recipes can take hours to prepare. Cookbook author, blogger and cooking teacher Rinku Bhattacharya has put together a collection of 100 authentic Indian recipes all made easy in the hottest kitchen product, the Instant Pot!

Instant Indian (Hippocrene Books/October 2018) showcases the diversity and range of the foods of India, where every state and region boasts its own unique dishes. Indian cooking is complex, eclectic, and evolving with several culinary influences folded in creating food that is richly nuanced. Rinku Bhattacharya provides techniques and recipes that showcase the rich culinary diversity of Indian food. Her recipes are culled from the culinary regions of North India, Western India, Eastern India and South India.

It has been a dream of mine to write a book showcasing the cultural and culinary diversity of Indian cooking, but I wanted to keep it easy and accessible for everyone,” Rinku says. “Thanks to the Instant Pot, I have been able to do just that, allowing home cooks to discover the rich and diverse flavors of India.”

Instant Indian features chapters that cover everything from essentials like key ingredients, spice blends, curry sauces, and yogurt-making, to recipes for breakfasts, rice & grain dishes, lentils, vegetables, seafood, chicken and meat curries, as well as drinks, chutneys and desserts. Nearly all the recipes are gluten free, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options as well. With step-by-step instructions and color photos throughout, Instant Indian makes Indian cooking easy and fool-proof using all the functions of this popular appliance.

Whether you crave idli and sambhar from South India, Khaman Dhokla from Gujarat, Punjabi Butter Chicken, Goan Fish Curry or Bengali Red Lentils, or simply want to discover a new favorite, Instant Indian has something for everyone. Some of the delicious recipes in the book include:

Carrot and Beetroot Rasam – Spicy Carrot Beet Soup
Kofta Pulao – Golden Rice Pilaf with Chicken Meatballs
Hakka Noodles – Indo-Chinese Mixed Noodles
Bhindi Masala Subji – Stir-Fried Okra with Onions and Tomatoes
CheMeen Kari – Kerala Shrimp Curry
Lagan Nu Custard – Indian Baked Custard
Kesar Bhapa Sandesh – Steamed Saffron Cheesecake
Just to name a few.

The Instant Pot lends itself perfectly to Indian recipes, making flavorful, nutritious Indian fare like dals, legumes and all manner of curries—that typically take a long time to simmer—up to 70% faster than on the stove top.

“Stews dominate the Indian table, in the form of curries and dals, and the pressure cooker is the Indian home cook’s tool to ensure that dals are meltingly soft and meats comfortingly tender,” Rinku says. “Other staples on the Indian table, such as whole grains, porridges, compotes, and steamed desserts all fit beautifully into the pressure cooker universe. From a practical standpoint, the pressure cooker is well-suited to the Indian kitchen, where cooks are conscious about energy usage and, like everyone else, need their dinner in a hurry.”

INSTANT INDIAN is the perfect cookbook for fall and the holidays as the recipes are easy and delicious to make to take to a party or serve family and friends. This cookbook brings the best of India to your table in an instant!

Recipe and photo below is
from Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
Hippocrene Books/October 2018


Bengali Red Lentil Risotto

Makes 4 cups

A khichuri or khichdi is a classic rice and lentil mélange, prepared differently all over India. This particular red lentil variation is from Bengal. It is distinct in its use of fried onions to imbue rich flavor. Cauliflower, potatoes and green peas round out this hearty, comforting dish. It is done in less than 20 minutes of cooking time and topped with a beautiful drizzle of cumin-scented ghee. To keep this dish vegan, you can use coconut oil instead of the ghee.

Prep Time: 5 minutes Sauté: 7 minutes Pressure: 4 minutes Steam Release: Natural after 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
3/4 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
½ cup Basmati or kalajeera rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ head of cauliflower)
1 medium Yukon gold potato peeled and cubed
½ cup frozen green peas

1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
2 whole dried red chilies
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add in the oil. After about a minute, add in the onions and sauté until they turn golden, about 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Add in the lentils, rice, ground cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt and the turmeric.
3. Add in the cauliflower, potato, and 4 cups water, and stir well.
4. Close the lid and cook on Manual mode at high pressure for 4 minutes.
5. When cooking time is complete, allow natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then do a quick release for any residual pressure.
6. Open the lid and stir well. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add in the green peas.
7. Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a small pan, add in the cumin seeds, the crushed red pepper if using, and the whole dried red chilies. Cook until the mixture crackles and is fragrant, being careful not to burn the crushed red pepper.
8. Pour the ghee mixture over the khichuri. Gently stir.
9. Squeeze in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro before serving.
I often use quartered organic red potatoes with the skin on. If you wish, you can also throw in vegetables like broccoli or carrots for a more substantial khichuri.
If you are using brown rice, increase the cook time to 8 minutes, and cut the vegetables into larger pieces.

Rinku Bhattacharya is a Gourmand Award-winning cookbook author, blogger and cooking instructor. She is the author of Bengali Five Spices Chronicles and Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors. Rinku was born in Kolkata, India and has a natural passion and love for regional Indian cuisine and uses it to share and connect with her cultural heritage. She has travelled extensively and specializes in adapting Indian cuisine in global environments and kitchens. Her deep commitment to using seasonal ingredients for Indian cooking is reflected in her recipes. Rinku teaches very popular Indian cooking classes in the Hudson Valley area of New York and has been featured in newspapers, magazines and on radio. She and her family reside in the Hudson Valley area of New York. Visit her at http://www.SpiceChronicles.com

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Having a Spring Wedding? Professional Cake Baker gives Wedding Cake Tips!


By: Moe Kerkovich, Contributing Writer

My favorite catering events were Spring wedding receptions because they were so diversified, traditional, simple elegance, formal, informal or welcoming family atmosphere.
Now on to the enjoyable part, choosing your wedding cake. Whether you choose a 5’ 5” tall cake featuring 8 tiers, a topper and 3 floral separator tiers, 3 tiers, multiple cakes, or sheet cake, have fun!

Metallic shimmer cakes – edible glittery frosting that’s elegantly subtle but still catches the light of the wedding ballroom. Naked cakes – a layered cake is presented without an outside layer of frosting, showing off the tiers and fillings inside. Multiple cakes – in place of a tall tiered cake, couples are opting for multiple smaller wedding cakes on display together.

What are my filling choices? Examples are fruit filling, mocha or chocolate, fresh fruit, mousses or butter cream.

Do you work with fondant or butter cream? If you have your heart set on one type of frosting, confirm your baker can make it.

Do you make gluten or Lactose free cake bases?

Can you make sugar flowers? If I choose fresh blooms, will you work with my florist?

How are your wedding cakes priced? Usually wedding cakes are priced by the slice and the price will increase depending on the complexity of flavors and fillings.

Does the wedding cake price include the top tier? (The top tier may or may not be included in the overall price.)

Do you provide cake stands? Most bakers have a variety of cake stands you can rent for the day. Ask to see pictures to determine what will match your cake and décor best.

What is the delivery process? It is best to have the wedding cake delivered to the reception. Some bakers will charge a delivery fee, so ask them from the start and factor it into your cake budget.

How far ahead do I have to order my cake? Some bakers want 4 to 6 months lead time for wedding cakes.

Most important question: do you offer cake tasting/consultation? “Baker’s choice” – tasting of two available cake flavors, three filling flavors and three different kinds of icing – this option is usually free. “Bride’s choice” usually costs around $25.

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The nation’s leading food producers, grocers, chefs, journalists and activists united this past Friday in San Francisco to honor the 199 Good Food Award winners of 2018. An annual awards ceremony now in its eighth year, the Good Food Awards recognizes American food and drink crafters who demonstrate a commitment to creating tasty, authentic and responsible products and in doing so, better the nation’s food system. The 2018 winners are not only commended for their creativity but also for their sustainable production methods that showcase the highest social and environmental standards. These producers protect the land, continue to push the bounds of their craft, and respect their peers, all the while redefining the breadth of the American table.
This year, the Good Food Awards distinguished value-added food and beverage products in fifteen categories (beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, elixirs, fish, honey, oils, pantry, pickles, preserves, spirits) and welcomed the addition of the elixirs category which encompasses bitters, shrubs and syrups. Notably, these foods and beverages collectively represent over $200 billion of America’s gross domestic product, a sum that is larger than the cattle and pork industries combined. The 2018 winners yield from 34 states and D.C, emerging to the top amongst 2,057 entries in a blind tasting with 277 judges held in September. The highest scoring entries were submitted to a rigorous vetting process to verify they met the sustainability and social responsibility criteria to win a Good Food Award. Of the 199 winners selected from 280 finalists, 113 companies (57%) are first-time winners.
Held at the San Francisco War Memorial and progressing to AirBNB’s headquarters for a celebratory reception, the evening, which started with a glass of winning sparkling dry Shacksbury Cider, was a chance to honor these hard working cheesemakers, brewers, roasters, picklers and curers for their contributions and unwavering dedication to building a vibrant American food culture. The evening also reinforced the importance of supporting the many players behind this tasty and intentional food community as echoed Good Food Awards Founder Sarah Weiner’s closing remarks:
“This past year has been one of awakenings. It was the year we realized that if we want a free press, we need to subscribe to trustworthy newspapers. We understood that we the people must stand up for what we believe in with our words, our actions and our resources. Money speaks. And if we want a tasty, authentic and responsible food culture, we must speak up for it.”  

ABOUT THE GOOD FOOD AWARDS The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsible. Now in its eighth year, awards will be given to winners in 15 categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, elixirs, fish, honey, oils, pantry, pickles, preserves and spirits. The Good Food Awards Seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good.
ABOUT THE GOOD FOOD FOUNDATION The Good Food Awards is organized by the Good Food Foundation 501 (c) 3, formerly known as Seedling Projects, in collaboration with a broad community of food crafters, grocers, chefs, food writers, activists and passionate food-lovers. The Good Food Foundation is also the organizing force behind the Good Food Guild, Good Food Mercantile and Good Food Merchants Collaborative.