Library Notes // Italian Regional Cooking

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

For most people the term Italian Food brings to mind pasta, pizza, meatballs and lots of red sauce. While that is, of course, a part of the tradition, region by region throughout Italy many other dishes combine to create a complex cuisine. There is something for everyone, even the tomato adverse and carb fearful. Here in the library, we have a wide selection of Italian cookbooks, including many that focus on specific regional recipes. If you’re ready to see what more Italian cooking has to offer, stop by and check these out!

True Tuscan: Flavors and Memories from the Countryside of Tuscany by Cesare Casella

Everyone at ICC knows Dean Cesare Casella by the signature pocketful of fresh rosemary on his chef coat, and the same herb adorns the cover of his guide to Tuscan cuisine. This book is full of rustic, traditional recipes such as Potato and Artichoke Tart, Tuscan Crepes with Wild Mushroom Sauce and Florentine Beefsteak. Each recipe includes a wine pairing which is incredibly useful for menu planning.

chef Cesare Casella

The Silver Spoon: Puglia

Everyone interested in Italian food knows that The Silver Spoon is the gold (er..silver?) standard. The influential cookbook contains over 2,000 recipes from all over the country, but even with such a comprehensive work the editors found more to add. Released by Phaidon, the beautiful series include not only recipes, but culture and history.

The Puglia book includes beautiful photography and a listing of all the regional food festivals – from early figs to fried dough ball and chocolate. The book features a wide range of traditional recipes separated by ingredient. Highlights include Lamb with Wild Fennel, Fried Hyacinth Bulbs and Pork with Pickled Peppers.

Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts) by Russell Norman

This is a cookbook from London restaurant Polpo which was inspired by Norman’s travels in Venice. His focus is on uncomplicated small plates with very few ingredients. Some recipes in the book do not even require cooking.

Polpo is a beautiful book with unique binding and stunning cover art. Seafood is featured heavily (of course) with such dishes as Garlic and Chili Prawns and Warm Octopus Salad. There is something for everyone though, also included are Braised Ox Cheeks and Zucchini Shoestring Fries. The back lists recommended restaurants for when you pay your own visit to Venice.

Braised Ox Cheeks cookbook

The Silver Spoon: Sicily

Another book in the Phaidon Silver Spoon series, Sicily has the quality content and beautiful layout that you can expect from this collection. The island features unique cuisine due to the many different cultural influences. For instance, we don’t typically associate couscous with Italian food, but the book contains Trapani-style Couscous, a mixed seafood dish.

Believe it or not, it’s not exclusively seafood; the cuisine of Silcily is also dictated by the microclimates that exist on the island. Traditionally, Sicillians didn’t travel around the island and the unique cuisine developed accordingly with seafood on the coast and dishes like Sweet-and-sour Nebrodi Rabbit served inland. Sicily is also famous for gelato, so pick up this book and try the traditional Sicilian breakfast – brioche stuffed with gelato and a shot of espresso.

These are just a few of the many diverse Italian cookbooks available in the ICC library. Stop by and take a look!

– Sara

From military newsroom to chef’s whites

By Shira Vissoker,
ICC Professional Culinary Arts student.

I was born 25 years ago in a desert town in the south of Israel. Like any other Israeli, I joined the army right after I finished high school. But unlike most of my friends, I was lucky enough to do something different during my service and got into the IDF radio station, called “Galey Tzahal”, and became a radio broadcaster.

I served as a military journalist for 3 years, and later on I worked at the most popular media channels in Israel. I edited, produced and broadcasted radio shows for over 1,000,000 listeners. Although I have learned a lot and got to talk and write about culture, music and even food – I was also exposed to a lot of disasters and crimes.

I was in the direct career path to become a successful reporter – the one who sits in a studio and tells the world about the horrible murders or the latest politic bribe affairs.

So, why am I here instead?

For the same two reasons as everyone else: I want to make my dream come true and to make people happy. Food makes people happy – that’s the only thing I knew when I imagined pursuing a culinary career. I wanted to combine my passion to be heard, with my long forgotten love for cooking. I’ve always loved to cook, but never had an opportunity or courage to do something about it.

The major change in my life happened when my boyfriend told me he was moving to New York – I decided to join him! The move to NYC became my official opportunity to get the culinary education I couldn’t get in my homeland. After a long search, I came for a private tour to ICC. That was when everything finally felt right, and I became certain of what I really wanted to do in life and how I wanted to do it.


When I decided to go for it and apply to ICC, everyone told me I was crazy: my parents, my friends, and even my boyfriend who started this whole thing. I had a promising career and a very easy and interesting life back in Israel, and all of a sudden I decided to leave everything and pursue my culinary dreams. More importantly, do so in a very expensive city, 5600 miles away from home.

That’s what I did, and it was the best step I could have taken. It’s very hard, it’s even harder in a foreign country – I see more people on the subway everyday than I saw in a month on the streets of Tel Aviv. Working in the kitchen is hard: it’s hot, it’s competitive and very demanding. But it’s also the place when you can actually make the best lemonade out of lemons, and the clearest consommé out of raw bones – and everything you ever wanted to make.


I’ve learned so much over the past two and a half months! Not just about food – but also about my working habits. I’ve learned that cooking combines amazing creativity with strict rules and major organization skills. Most of all, I’ve learned that I knew nothing about food and I am really excited that I have so much more to learn and research.

So, here I am! My name is Shira, which means “poetry” or “her song” in Hebrew (and also the name of the “princess of power” from the 80s TV show). I’m a culinary arts student, passionate writer, and a young woman who aspires to be a successful chef. For some reason I listened to myself when everybody said I shouldn’t, and I work every day to prove them (and myself) that I was right.

– Shira

From puppies to pasta // Italian Culinary Experience

By Kris Feliz,
ICC Italian Culinary Arts student.

So let me begin by telling you that ALMA, The International School of Italian Cuisine near Parma, where we went after 10 weeks at ICC in New York City, is amazing. The school is full of passionate instructors who have fantastic industry experience. In addition to cooking, we take field trips, have history classes, and get to live in Italy, of course.

The classes at ALMA are so inspiring, I could go on and on about this but it really boils down to the teachers here. It’s one of the top three culinary schools in the world and I completely understand from being here why that’s so. The administration takes our educational program very seriously and the team here works like a brigade of stations all complementing each other.

I miss home, my loving network, and dog tremendously… and ramen, and chocolate chip cookies! Lol. But I forget all the time what my life was like before culinary school. I used to walk dogs and think about food, break down recipes or marinate on specialty ingredients and the science of substituting. All those years of rainy walks and snowed through dog parks, poop bags, and doggie kisses – I never thought I’d take the leap and start my program towards fulfilling my dream to be a chef.

To be in such an incredible and fulfilling program makes the sacrifice so very worth it. This is something very special about ICC.

When I first thought about Italy, I thought about its strong agro-culinary culture but living here really brings to light that there is so much more to the Italian tradition than just farming and purely good ingredients. This country is amazing! No matter where I travel everything is rich with history: historic centers, buildings, monuments and churches. It’s all about respect and beauty here.

Italian Culinary Experience

On the weekends I travel to nearby cities and it’s amazing how unique each experience is. It isn’t that expensive to travel and there is a whole new world beyond our dorms! I see history, traditions, and nature everywhere I go and it’s very beautiful here. The sweeping landscapes and vast farm country are amazing. It’s winter here now and I can only imagine how much more captivating it is during spring or summer. “Wow” is a common phrase.

Because of this experience I now understand that being a chef is much more than just cooking. It is a way of seeing things – an appreciation of sorts. A way of seeing what is special and complicated beyond simple appearances. I know now how chefs who understand and respect the essence of history and tradition become able to elevate and expand these boundaries in a groundbreaking way.

With only half of ICC’s Italian Culinary Experience program completed – I have mixed feelings of total excitement, total anxiety, and total humility at the thought of being in one of these professional kitchens. I’m throughly elated and so grateful everyday. I don’t know where I’ll be placed for stage (externship) yet, although I would LOVE to be in southern Italy – Calabria. I’ll let you know when I find out!

– Kris
Blog // Instagram

Library Notes // Lunar New Year

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey!

This year, Lunar New Year fell on the 8th of February, but if you missed it, don’t worry you’re not too far behind. In China, the full week is considered a holiday and the Lunar New Year Season will continue until February 22nd. On that day, all festivities culminate in a Lantern Festival which represents the end of the season.

There is still time to celebrate by cooking Chinese food, and we have a great selection in the library to get you started. If you are addicted to Chinese food, here are a few suggestions that are traditionally served at Lunar New Year.

Dumplings are prepared to bring in wealth and treasure, but be sure you are making them properly. Too few pleats purports poverty and a sauerkraut filling can imply a difficult future. However, filling your dumplings with cabbage and radish will bring fair skin and a gentle mood. Arrange your finished dumplings in lines rather than circles that way your life will go forward, not go around in circles.

However you prepare them, be sure to make a lot because the more dumplings you eat, the more money you will make throughout the year. In the Lucky Peach Cookbook, 101 Easy Asian Recipes, Peter Meehan offers clear and simple “Dollar Dumpling” instructions with several different fillings and the essential sauce. Says Meehan on Sauce, “Sauceless dumplings are like crying-on-the-inside kind of clowns: They look the part but something important is missing.” This book is a great jumping off point for anyone new to Asian cooking. There are recipes representing many different countries all with clear instructions and ingredients that are easy to find.

Chinese New Year Recipes Culinary Library

Another auspicious way to start your year off right is with another dim sum favorite, spring rolls. Spring Rolls are served as a wish for prosperity because they look like gold bars. Traditionally a portion would be left as temple offerings before being eaten at home. My Grandmother’s Chinese Kitchen: 100 Family Recipes and Life Lessons by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo includes not only a great spring roll recipe, but a whole chapter including the history and myths of Lunar New Year in her family and of course many more recipes to create a feast.

No Lunar New Year feast is complete without fish. This is because the Chinese word for fish sounds like surplus. The fish should always be the last dish with some left over and it should not be moved after being placed on the table. The two people who are seated facing the head and tail of the fish should drink together for good luck. One of my favorite Chinese cookbooks contains a classic Lunar New Year fish recipe. In the beautiful The Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey from Beijing to San Francisco, Cecilia Chiang tells her fascinating life story and illustrates each phase with recipes. Her Steamed Black Bass with Ginger and Green Onions is a Cantonese preparation perfect for finishing off the banquet.

Wondering what to serve with your meal? Chinese Wine of course! The popularity of the documentary Red Obsession has the wine world buzzing about China. What better occasion to learn more than Lunar New Year? Chinese Wine: Universe in a Bottle by Li Zhengping covers the history, varieties, legends and rituals around wine in China. So read up to make your selection, then pour up for those lucky folks staring at the fish platter.

We have these and many other excellent books focused on Chinese cooking. So stop by the library and pick up everything you need to eat, drink and be merry!

– Sara

Porcini Mushroom and Roasted Chestnut Soup

By Swarna Koneru
Professional Culinary Arts student

I am a forager by nature. Growing up, I used to get fruits, vegetables and herbs from the backyard. Nowadays, not having many options to forage in the wild I forage in the grocery stores.

Every time I see a gourmet store or an ethnic market I make sure I try to come in and learn about new ingredients and foods. Sometimes I first buy something frozen or precooked to taste, and if I like it I try to replicate it myself. I pick up unknown to me ingredients and learn more about them once I get home.

On one of my “foraging” expeditions I bumped into freshly roasted chestnuts being sold outside of the store. I immediately grabbed a bag of those. Later on a beach trip, I bought some dried porcini mushrooms from a roadside vegetable stand. I always prefer such ingredients to supermarket produce because they are minimally processed.

I combined roasted chestnuts’ delicate, sweet, and nutty flavor with the woodiness and earthiness of the porcini. This soup is a perfect winter dish!


  • 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of roasted chestnuts, peeled
  • 6 brown crimini mushrooms diced
  • 1 clove of roasted garlic (place in aluminum foil, coat in oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes)
  • grated parmesan for garnish (optional)
  • crème fraîche for garnish (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Soak dried porcini in a cup of boiled water for 10 minutes. Strain and keep the liquid. Dice the porcini.
2. In a pan, melt the butter and sauté the crimini and the porcini until nicely browned.
3. Add the chestnuts and sauté a little more till they get light brown.
4. Transfer the ingredients to a blender, add garlic and make a smooth paste adding stock as needed.
5. Transfer the puree to the pan, add the stock and the reserved porcini liquid, and bring to a simmer. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a sprinkle of grated parmesan and a drizzle of crème fraîche.
6. Serve with sourdough bread smeared with truffle oil and toasted in the oven at 400F for 10 minutes, then sprinkled with parmesan and roasted again till the cheese melts.

– Swarna
Blog // Facebook

Boneless Deep Fried Citrus Chicken Wings

By Chef Candy Argondizza
Vice President of Culinary and Pastry Arts.

When you’re throwing an awesome Super Bowl party, these crunchy wing bites are sure to please!


24 chicken wings- boned out by your butcher or follow the bone, with the tip of your boning knife, cut alongside both sides of the wing bone, then cut along the bottom of the bone, sever the bone from the joints and pull it away

2 cups of buttermilk

1 cup of flour/1 cup of cornstarch

2 tablespoons of Yuzu kosho- store bought condiment of Yuzu peel and ground chili peppers and salt

1 oz. white wine vinegar/1 oz. lime juice

1 teaspoon of honey

2 oz. evoo

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

Makes 8 servings


  1. Marinate the boneless wings in the buttermilk for 1 hour.
  2. Mix together the Yuzu Kosho, vinegar, lime juice, and olive oil- set aside.
  3. Heat enough vegetable oil in a sauce pot, to deep fry the wings, in batches. Approx.2 quarts.
  4. Slowly bring the oil up to 350 degree temperature, on medium heat.
  5. Drain the wings and dredge in the flour/cornstarch mixture, shake off excess flour and cornstarch.
  6. Place some of the wings into the 350 degree hot oil, do not overcrowd the pot.
  7. Allow the wings to cook and become crisp and golden brown, approx. 6-8 minutes, drain on paper towels and proceed to cook the remaining wings.
  8. Once all are fried and drained, place the wings into a large bowl and toss with the Yuzu marinade.
  9. Season with salt and pepper and toss to cover the wings.
  10. Serve warm with limewedges and enjoy!

Deep fried citrus chicken wings recipe // International Culinary Center

Library Notes // New Year Resolution Reads

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

Have you been sticking to your resolution? Habits can be tough to build, but the best tool for doing so is certainly knowledge. If you’re feeling unmotivated to stick to your resolution, stop by the library, we just might have something that can help.

Eat Healthy

It seems like every year come January everyone is talking about their new diet or which foods they are cutting out. If you want to eat healthy but can’t stand the thought of a diet, Clean Slate from the editors of Martha Stewart Living just might be the book for you. This book starts off with a step by step plan on how to adjust your lifestyle for a long term healthy change. It includes shopping tips, advice and meal plans followed by delicious and simple recipes. From spicy North African chicken-chickpea stew to black sea bass with barley, shiitake and edamame there is something for everyone.

If you love food too much to cut back on anything (but know that you do need to cut back on something) you’re in good company. Legendary food writer Peter Kaminsky found himself on the verge of obesity and diabetes and Culinary Intelligence chronicles his process for getting healthier. A man who has written with Francis Mallmann and Daniel Boulud can’t just give up on dining, so Kaminsky made adaptations and learned to live by what he calls “maximizing flavor per calorie.” Part memoir and part how-to guide with several recipes thrown in, Culinary Intelligence is a must read for the reformed glutton.

Learn Something New

Have you ever wondered why salt makes meat juicy or why chiles are spicy? We’re all here to cook, but how often do we think about the science behind the techniques and recipes? Cook’s Illustrated: The Science of Good Cooking will answer all your kitchen curiosities and then some. The book is centered on 50 major concepts that will improve your cooking. It is chock full of recipes to illustrate each concept in classic cooks fashion – with lots of illustrations and a thorough explanation.

Spend More Time with Loved Ones

The Kinfolk Table author Nathan Williams set out with the goal of offering an alternative idea of entertaining “casual, intentional, and meaningful.” To compile the book, the Kinfolk team visited the homes of a wide range of people in different locations, with different jobs and family structures. All shared their favorite recipes for small gatherings and all are simple, accessible and lovely. So invite a few friends over and try a new recipe.

We have all these books and more in the library. Stop by and take a peek! To get the latest updates follow the library on twitter @IntlCulLibrary

Gift Idea: Infused Olive Oil

By Carmela Fiorica
ICC’s International Bread Baking student

I always wanted to attend culinary school. I remember walking down Broadway and passing the school back when it was The French Culinary Institute. I’d tell myself “One day I’ll get there!”. But, life takes over, things come up and I worked in Healthcare for 20 years. But the thought of attending the school was always in the back of my mind, until finally opportunity knocked, I opened, and my “some day” finally came, and here I am!

Now I’m making bread, not just any bread, but the best! I’m being taught by an incredible chef, chef Johnson, a true master at this beautiful craft. My weeks at ICC are going by so quickly – time flies when your having fun! However, what’s going by even quicker than this, is the year. I seriously cannot believe Christmas is in just a few days!

This holiday season I decided to make and gift something edible. I thought of the ultimate, most delicious ingredient that I respect second to my family – the king of the pantry, OLIVE OIL! I’m making infused olive oil. Oh my deliciousness, this is one of the best things in life!

I grew up in a very traditional, big, loud, nutty Italian household, where food always played a big role. From the moment the day begins, we’re trying to plan our dinner menu during breakfast. Our ways of eating where a little different than those of my American friends. While our neighbors ate pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs, my mom served snails in tomato sauce, Riso con patate e cozze (rice with potatoes and mussels), or spaghetti frittata. Today we still cook our traditional recipes, but most importantly, we make sure we bring everyone to the table. Every Sunday we gather with my parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins and whoever else wants to eat over.


I was born in Bari, Italy. My mother is from an adorable city in Bari named Bitonto, and my father is from Catanzaro, Calabria. These two regions produce some of the most delectable foods. Every year when I go back, I feel like I enter the food heaven, as if I take my first breath all over again.

Bitonto is a very medieval city with a lot of history. Known for its focaccia with mortadella, fresh seafood (that we eat directly out of the ocean), and orecchiette with broccoli rabe, just to name a few of their specialities. It’s a city surrounded by almond trees, fig trees, and embraced with an abundance of beautiful large olive trees that are hundreds of years old. In fact, Bitonto have been given the nickname “La Citta’ delle Olive” – “The city of olives.” The aroma they give off is so ridiculously addicting, I just want to bottle it up as perfume. The smell alone indicates that this is going to be some good stuff. The color is of a beautiful dark green.

They say that the way to test if the oil is of good quality is to take a few sips of it, and if it goes down smoothly and leaves you with a tingling feeling in the back of your throat then it purely 100% olive oil.

Italy: Olive trees

Calabria is south of Bari, it’s one of the oldest regions in Italy. People of Calabria raise pigs and sheep in the mountains, catch fish along the coastline, and grow lemon trees, orange trees, prickly pears, and olive trees. This region is also known for its pepperoncino (hot pepper) soppressata (salumi), and Cippola Rossa (sweet red onions) from Tropea.

Italy almond trees

Calabria is also well-known for its olive oil which is distributed to America and all of Europe. Here in New York City, there is an Italian specialty store where my family and I have been shopping for years; they carry this delicious olive oil from Bitonto, and it’s the only one we use. My mother always says “Food is a way of life, and if you’re gonna cook, cook right, use the right olive oil and your food will sing”!

For my Christmas gifts, I purchase some cute, inexpensive glass bottles, and I fill them up with various herbs. This year I infused with rosemary, thyme, basil, and lemon zest. Then I cover the herbs with oil from Bitonto and I let the bottles rest for about 2-3 weeks. After that time, the oil has absorbed the aromatics of that particular herb and it’s ready for use. Put a bow on it, bag it up and you’re good to go!

Infused Olive Oil

Drizzle it over your salad, use for cooking with fish or meats. Sprinkle over baked potatoes, or even use as a dipping oil with some crunchy bread.

I would like to wish you all a Buon Natale, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! May they be filled with lots of love, laughs, good food, good wine and the best bread and olive oil you can get your hands on.

Thanks for reading,


Curry Guru // Indian Chai Spiced Cookies

By Swarna Koneru
Professional Culinary Arts student

Christmas is a lovely time to bake all kinds of cookies. Chai is a staple drink in India, tealeaves are produced in Darjeeling region of India, and every household has their own mix of Chai spice. I decided to make Chai Spiced Cookies flavored with Indian Tea and Chai Masala, which are perfect for dunking in your coffee or holiday drinks.


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts
  • 2 Tbsp Darjeeling tea powder(finely ground)
  • 2 tsp Chai Masala

for Chai Masala:

  • 2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp clove powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of black pepper powder

Culinary student blog // Chai Masala Spices


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the butter and both kinds of sugar until the sugar has completely incorporated.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, salt, soda, tea powder, Chai masala and keep aside.
  3. Add the egg to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the cashew pieces. Scoop cookie dough into balls with a cookie scoop and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, just until the edges start to brown. Cool for 5 minutes and store in an airtight jar.

Culinary student blog // Indian Chai Spiced Cookies


  • You can keep your cookies soft by adding a slice of bread in the container of the cookies.
  • You can also add pistachio nuts instead of the cashews.
  • Adjust the Chai masala and tea ratio to your taste.

– Swarna
Blog // Facebook

Last-Minute Gift Ideas


1. Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories by Christina Tosi. Join ICC alumna Christina and her friends as they cook their way through “weaknights,” sleepovers, and late-night snack attacks to make mind-blowingly delicious meals with whatever is in the pantry.

2. The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking by Samantha Seneviratne. Our grad’s new book is filled with fascinating histories, origin stories, and innovative uses for the world’s most enticing spices.

3. Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin. It’s an intimate look at the celebrity ICC Dean and the food he cooks at home with family and friends—200 recipes in all.

4. Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes by the editors of Lucky Peach. These recipes hit the sweet spot between craveworthy and incredibly simple and are destined to become favorites.

5. Brunch at Bobby’s: 140 Recipes for the Best Part of the Weekend by Bobby Flay. ICC alumnus Bobby shares his simplest, most sought-after recipes—while still delivering his signature intense flavors.

6. Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto by Marc Vetri. ICC graduate shares his vast knowledge of pasta, gnocchi, and risotto in this inspiring, informative primer featuring expert tips and techniques, and more than 100 recipes.

7. ICC apparel: t-shirts, hoodies, hats with “Hard Work Tastes Good” and “I Can Cook” designs.

8. Jacques Torres Chocolate. ICC’s Dean of Pastry Arts, Jacques Torres combines traditional French techniques with his vast knowledge and passion for the culinary arts to produce luxe, creative and edgy chocolate treats inspired by the innovative spirit and energy of the city.

9. ICC Gift Certificates. Food gifts are always a hit, but a cooking class from the International Culinary Center will give family and friends valuable skills and techniques to last a lifetime! Check out ICC’s upcoming Culinary and Wine classes.