National Cookbook Month: North African Filo Pastries

by Joyce Goldstein, author of The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home

October is National Cookbook Month! Come back for a new recipe from The New Mediterranean Jewish Table each Wednesday, and click here to save 30% on some of our award-winning cookbooks.

New Mediterranean Jewish Table Joyce Goldstein

North African Filo Pastries (Bestels)

Bestels resemble borekas: thin layers of dough wrapped around a savory filling. But instead of a shortcrust or flaky pastry, Moroccan bestels are traditionally made with ouarka, which means “leaf” in Arabic. The same pastry is known as malsouka in Tunisia and as feuilles (leaves) de brik in France. The pastry is made from a rather springy semolina dough that is pressed in an overlapping circular pattern onto a hot flat pan called a tobsil and then peeled off when the paper-thin film of dough has set. Because the process is so time- consuming, most North African home cooks buy ouarka from those who specialize in making it. Feuilles de brik can be purchased from restaurant-food wholesalers, but first you must find a source and then the minimum order is typically quite large, usually about 250 sheets, which are difficult to store. (Some online sources have more reasonably-sized packages, but the pastry ends up costing about a dollar a sheet, which is insane, and it is likely not to arrive in the best condition because of the rigors of transit.) The good news is that you can make these pastries with filo, which is widely available.

Traditionally served during Rosh Hashanah and at special dinners, bestels come in two shapes, triangular and cylindrical; the latter are also called cigares or briouats. As evidence of the Spanish roots of these pastries, both Maguy Kakon in La cuisine juive du Maroc de mère en fille and Viviane and Nina Moryoussef in Moroccan Jewish Cookery call the meat filling migas, a Spanish term for bread crumbs enriched with meat juices. To ensure moisture, some cooks add a little tomato juice or some chopped tomatoes to the filling. Every family seasons the meat mixture in a different way. Some use quite a lot of garlic, others add onion, and still others favor ginger and turmeric along with, or in place of, the cinnamon. In Marrakech la Rouge, Hélène Gans Perez includes the juice of a lemon, and I have followed her lead. In 150 recettes et mille et un souvenirs d’une juive d’Algérie, Léone Jaffin offers an Algerian bestel filling that calls for a trio of large onions and nutmeg instead of cinnamon.
Continue reading “National Cookbook Month: North African Filo Pastries”

The Untold Story of Chianti

by Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino, coauthors of Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine

Chianti Classico coverIn our new book, Chianti Classico, we tell the untold story of the wine region once known simply as Chianti. But it is not a simple tale. For anyone who has had the pleasure of navigating the countryside between the cities of Florence and Siena, the simplicity and majesty of Chianti’s landscape is inescapable. Narrow country roads curve through forested hills and sloped vineyards. Medieval castles, Romanesque chapels, and grand cypresses punctuate the scenery like the background of a Renaissance painting. Yet the story of Chianti as a wine region has been lost to history. Even for many modern-day wine consumers, Chianti does not connote an actual place, but rather an old-style Italian red wine in a straw-covered flask. By the early twentieth century wine labeled as “Chianti” was being made throughout Tuscany, Italy, and even in California!

Continue reading “The Untold Story of Chianti”

National Dessert Day: Cardamom Cake

by Niloufer Ichaporia King, author of My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking

October is National Cookbook Month! Come back for a new recipe from The New Mediterranean Jewish Table each Friday, and click here to save 30% on some of our award-winning cookbooks.

My Bombay Kitchen cookbook

Cardamom Cake

The recipe for this cake, one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received in my life,
comes from a generous Swedish friend, Ragnhild Langlet, a textile artist of extraordinary
talent. The cake became an immediate favorite in our household, an honorary
Parsi dessert and our most requested birthday cake.

We met Ragnhild Langlet in a Berkeley garden in the early summer of 1987 at a
potluck wedding celebration to which she brought an unassuming cake baked in an
unassuming pan. That unassuming little cake was one of the most powerful things
I’ve ever tasted. It was suffused with the scent of cardamom, crunchy whole seeds
throughout, sweet enough, rich enough, light enough. Cake perfection. The taste is
so exotic, so tropical, yet so adaptable to any cuisine that it’s a surprise to know that
it comes from Sweden, which turns out to be the world’s second-largest market for
cardamom, India being number one.

This cake is excellent the first day, even better the next and the next and the next,
if it lasts that long. Serve with fruit or a custard or ice cream. There’s nothing that it
doesn’t complement. Continue reading “National Dessert Day: Cardamom Cake”

National Cookbook Month: Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

by Joyce Goldstein, author of The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home

October is National Cookbook Month! Come back for a new recipe from The New Mediterranean Jewish Table each Wednesday, and click here to save 30% on some of our award-winning cookbooks.

New Mediterranean Jewish Table Joyce Goldstein

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine (Mehalet)

This recipe, which is sometimes called tajine del sabana, is a cross between two tagine recipes in La cuisine juive du Maroc de mère en fille by Maguy Kakon. Similar dishes are found on the Rosh Hashanah table in Fez, Meknes, and Tangier. Almost any combination of vegetables will work for this fragrant stew, which is typically served with cous-cous. It includes both potatoes and sweet potatoes and the classic addition of preserved lemon and olives, which add salt and tang. If you like, 1 to 1/2 pounds butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3-inch chunks, can be used in place of the sweet potatoes. Although not authentic, I sometimes add 1/2 cup plumped raisins for a note of sweetness. Continue reading “National Cookbook Month: Moroccan Vegetable Tagine”

National Cookbook Month: Fried Eggplant with Sugar

by Joyce Goldstein

October is National Cookbook Month! Come back for a new recipe from The New Mediterranean Jewish Table each Friday, and click here to save 30% on some of our award-winning cookbooks.


Eggplants were brought to Spain and Italy by the Arabs, and Jewish cooks quickly took to the new food. Initially, they were treated as a fruit and served sweetened with sugar. In the Middle East, cooks have long preserved eggplant in a sugar syrup, and in Morocco, a sweet eggplant condiment is popular. This Sephardic dish from Turkey, which is ideal for Rosh Hashanah, reveals its Hispano-Arabic origin in its use of double cooking: the eggplant slices are fried, sprinkled with sugar and salt, and then baked. Since the slices are cooked through after the frying step, you could skip the baking step, sprinkle the fried slices with sugar and salt, and eat them as is.


Fried Eggplant with Sugar

Serves 6 to 8.

2 1/2 pounds globe eggplants

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs


Olive or sunflower oil for frying and drizzling


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a 9-by-12-by-2-inch baking dish.

Peel the eggplants and cut them lengthwise into slices about ⅓ inch thick. Soak the slices in a bowl of lightly salted water for 15 minutes, then drain and squeeze dry. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Pour the oil to a depth of 2 inches into a large, deep sauté pan and heat to 360°F. When the oil is hot, in batches, dip the eggplant slices into the eggs and slip them into the oil. Fry just until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then place in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.

When the bottom of the dish is completely covered, sprinkle the eggplant slices with sugar and salt. Add another layer of eggplant and sprinkle with sugar and salt. Repeat until all the eggplant slices have been used. Drizzle the surface with oil.

Bake until the eggplant is very tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or warm directly from the dish.

Cheers to International Beer Day!

by Peter A. Kopp, author of Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

9780520277489 (2)When the UC Press asked me to write a blog post in honor of International Beer Day, I have to admit it caught me off guard. Here I had spent nearly a decade researching and writing about hops and beer, all culminating in the forthcoming Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. What’s more, the central concept of my book is that we cannot understand the rise of the craft beer revolution of the late-twentieth century without closely examining global trends in agriculture, business, labor, and science. I faced an existential crisis. How could I not know about International Beer Day? What kind of hops and beer historian am I?

Well, maybe that’s overstating things a little.

On the heels of the craft beer revolution, when Americans fell in love with quality hand-crafted brews for the first time since the onset of Prohibition, beer celebrations have bubbled up in incredible numbers. A simple internet search not only turns up the aforementioned International Beer Day, but includes dozens upon dozens more. Some of these, such as the Great American Beer Festival and Oregon Craft Beer Month, I am well aware. But not so much for many of the others.

On the one hand, the ubiquity of beer holidays and festivals makes apparent just how much the nation has embraced craft beer. Quality beers and the brewpubs that produce and serve those suds have become part of the cultural fabric of cities and towns across the country. On the other hand, the increasing number of blogs, books, apps, and other resources dedicated to craft beer underscores one of the fundamental problems of doing good history on hops and beer: it takes a dedicated reader to sort through myths and random ramblings to find reliable information and serious scholarship on the subjects.

In Hoptopia, my aim has been to offer beer and history lovers a well-researched and peer-reviewed monograph on the origins of the craft beer revolution. I began with a question: What were the agricultural origins of the hops used in craft beer? That question immediately took me to the Pacific Northwest, where a third of the world’s hops are grown today and where Portland, Oregon resides as the Craft Beer Capital of the World—a claim supported by the fact that the city has more breweries than any other in the world (nearly 100 as of this year). But that was just the beginning, as the question forced me to explore lands and histories throughout North America and across the Atlantic and the Pacific. By the end of the book, readers will discover not only why the hoppy beers of the recent craft beer revolution taste and smell the way they do because of this global history, but they also learn how brewers across the world have drawn upon American innovations.

All of this said, cheers to International Beer Day! (But please be mindful when imbibing, as I also just learned that Saturday, apparently, marks International Hangover Day.)

Peter A. Kopp is Assistant Professor of History at New Mexico State University, where he also serves as Director of the Public History Program.

Myriad Atlases: Now Available as E-Books

UC Press is pleased to announce that the following titles in the Myriad Atlas Series The Atlas of Climate Change, The Atlas of Religion, The Atlas of Food, The State of China Atlas, The Atlas of Global Inequalities, and The Atlas of California are now available for the first time, in addition to their print format versions, as e-book editions.


9780520249172_FClow 9780520276420_FClow













Sample interior spreads (please click to expand):




About Myriad Atlases:

Myriad’s award-winning atlases, some of which are published in the United States by University of California Press, are unique visual surveys of economic, political and social trends. By ingeniously transforming statistical data into valuable, user-friendly resources, they make a range of global issues – from climate change to world religions – accessible to general readers, students and professionals alike.

UC Press staff cook the book: New Mediterranean Jewish Table potluck

“A cookbook that educates as well as inspires.”—New York Times

With the critical mass of media coverage for Joyce Goldstein’s new cookbook, the New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home, some UC Press staff members were indeed inspired to get cooking themselves!

The cooks gathered for a celebratory potluck lunch last week, fortuitously aligned with the beginning of Passover.




The photos do not do justice to all the bright colors and flavors, but the dishes we feasted on were the following:

  • Red Pepper, Walnut, and Pomegranate Spread (Muhammara)
  • Turkish Nine-Ingredient Eggplant Salad (Dokuz Türlü Patlıcan Tarator)
  • Cucumber and Yogurt Salad (Cacık)
  • Beets with Yogurt (Borani ye Laboo)
  • Chickpea Purée with Tahini Dressing (Hummus ba Tahini)
  • Turkish Lentil Salad (Adas Salatası) with Mint Vinaigrette
  • Lebanese Bulgur and Parsley Salad (Tabbouleh)
  • Persian Yogurt Soup with Chickpeas, Lentils, and Spinach (Ashe Sbanikh)
  • Fried Eggplant with Sugar (Papeyada de Berenjena)
  • Tunisian Passover Stew with Spring Vegetables (Msoki)
  • Orange Custard (Flan d’Arancia)
  • Olive Oil, Orange, and Pistachio Cake
  • Greek Yogurt Cake (Yaourtopita)
  • Purim Butter Cookies (Ghorayebah)


Join in with sample recipes from the book, such as Hazelnut Sponge Cake; Persian Yogurt Soup with Chickpeas, Lentils and Spinach; Fish with Green Tahini, and Moroccan-Inspired Honeyed Eggplant.

Passover Hazelnut Sponge Cake

This is the final part of a series of recipes from our forthcoming cookbook The New Mediterranean Jewish Table by Joyce Goldstein. Check out the other recipes here.




Passover Hazelnut Sponge Cake

Pan di Spagna alle Nocciole

A family favorite, this light, flourless Italian Passover cake is fragrant with sweet toasted hazelnuts—a specialty of the Piedmont region—and with subtle hints of citrus.

Serves 10 to 12



10 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange (3 to 4 tablespoons juice)

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons juice)

11/2 cups finely ground toasted and peeled hazelnuts

6 tablespoons matzo cake meal, sifted

2 tablespoons potato starch

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have ready a 10-inch tube pan.

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the citrus zests and juices. Using an electric mixer, beat on high speeduntil the mixture is thick and pale and holds a 3-second slowly dissolving ribbon when the beaters are lifted.

In a second bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. On medium-high speed, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg mixture just until combined, then fold in the hazelnuts, the matzo cake meal, potato starch, salt, and vanilla.

Pour the batter into the tube pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Invert the cake still in the pan onto a wire rack and let cool completely. To serve, lift off the pan and transfer the cake to a serving plate. Cut into slices and serve.


Joyce Goldstein was chef and owner of the groundbreaking Mediterranean restaurant Square One in San Francisco. Prior to opening Square One, she was chef at the Chez Panisse Café and visiting executive chef at the Wine Spectator Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa. Today she is a cooking teacher, consultant to the restaurant and food industries, and prolific cookbook author.

April Goodreads Giveaways Round-Up

We’re excited to bring you more Goodreads giveaways this month! Entries are free, and all Goodreads members residing in the United States are eligible to win. Just click to enter!  Be sure to visit our Goodreads profile often, as new giveaways will be appearing every month– and don’t forget to review, rate, and add your favorite UC Press books to your Goodreads shelves.

Check out the following giveaways for new and upcoming Press books.


The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home
by Joyce Goldstein 

(click for Goodreads giveaway)

The New Mediterranean Jewish Table is an authoritative guide to Jewish home cooking from North Africa, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and the Middle East. It is a treasury filled with vibrant, seasonal recipes—both classic and updated—that embrace fresh fruits and vegetables; grains and legumes; small portions of meat, poultry, and fish; and a healthy mix of herbs and spices. It is also the story of how Jewish cooks successfully brought the local ingredients, techniques, and traditions of their new homelands into their kitchens. With this varied and appealing selection of Mediterranean Jewish recipes, Joyce Goldstein promises to inspire new generations of Jewish and non-Jewish home cooks alike with dishes for everyday meals and holiday celebrations.

(Giveaway ends on May 8th.)


Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror by Eric Stover and Victor Peskin

(click for Goodreads giveaway)

Hiding in Plain Sight tells the story of the global effort to apprehend the world’s most wanted fugitives. Beginning with the flight of tens of thousands of Nazi war criminals and their collaborators after World War II, then moving on to the question of justice following the recent Balkan wars and the Rwandan genocide, and ending with the establishment of the International Criminal Court and America’s pursuit of suspected terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11, the book explores the range of diplomatic and military strategies—both successful and unsuccessful—that states and international courts have adopted to pursue and capture war crimes suspects. It is a story fraught with broken promises, backroom politics, ethical dilemmas, and daring escapades—all in the name of international justice and human rights.

(Giveaway ends on May 8th.)


Rembrandt: The Painter Thinking by Ernst van der Wetering

(click for Goodreads giveaway)

Even during the artist’s lifetime, contemporary art lovers considered Rembrandt van Rijn to be an exceptional artist. In this revelatory sequel to the acclaimed Rembrandt: The Painter at Work, renowned Rembrandt authority Ernst van de Wetering investigates precisely why the artist, from a very early age, was praised by prominent connoisseurs. He argues that Rembrandt, from his very first endeavors in painting, embarked on a journey past all the foundations of the art of painting that, according to (up until now misinterpreted) contemporary written sources, were considered essential in the seventeenth century. Rembrandt never stopped searching for solutions to the pictorial problems that confronted him; this led over time to radical changes in course that can’t simply be attributed to stylistic evolution or natural development. In a quest as rigorous and novel as the artist’s, van de Wetering reveals how Rembrandt became the best painter the world had ever seen. Gorgeously illustrated throughout, this groundbreaking exploration reconstructs Rembrandt’s closely guarded theories and methods, shedding new light both on the artist’s exceptional accomplishments and on the practice of painting in the Dutch Golden Age.

(Giveaway ends on April 18th.)


Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid by Andrej Grubacic and Denis O’Hearn

(click for Goodreads giveaway)

Inspired by their experiences visiting Cossacks, living with the Zapatistas, and developing connections and relationships with prisoners and ex-prisoners, Andrej Grubacic and Denis O’Hearn present a uniquely sweeping, historical, and systematic study of exilic communities engaged in mutual aid. Following the tradition of Peter Kropotkin, Pierre Clastres, James Scott, Fernand Braudel and Imanuel Wallerstein, this study examines the full historical and contemporary possibilities for establishing self-governing communities at the edges of the capitalist world-system, considering the historical forces that often militate against those who try to practice mutual aid in the face of state power and capitalist incursion.

(Giveaway ends on May 8th.)


The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
by Carlos Castaneda

(click for Goodreads giveaway)

In 1968 University of California Press published an unusual manuscript by an anthropology student named Carlos Castaneda. The Teachings of Don Juan enthralled a generation of seekers dissatisfied with the limitations of the Western worldview. Castaneda’s now classic book remains controversial for the alternative way of seeing that it presents and the revolution in cognition it demands. Whether read as ethnographic fact or creative fiction, it is the story of a remarkable journey that has left an indelible impression on the life of more than a million readers around the world.

(Giveaway ends on May 8th.)


Puja and Piety: Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist Art from the Indian Subcontinent edited by Pratapaditya Pal

(click for Goodreads giveaway)

Puja and Piety celebrates the complexity of South Asian representation and iconography by examining the relationship between aesthetic expression and the devotional practice, or puja, in the three native religions of the Indian subcontinent. This stunning and authoritative catalogue presents some 150 objects created over the past two millennia for temples, home worship, festivals, and roadside shrines. From monumental painted temple hangings and painted meditation diagrams to portable pictures for pilgrims, from stone sculptures to processional bronzes and wooden chariots, from ancient terracottas to various devotional objects for domestic shrines, this volume provides much-needed context and insight into classical and popular art of India. Featuring an introduction by the eminent art historian and curator Pratapaditya Pal; accessible essays on each religious tradition by Stephen P. Huyler, John E. Cort, and Christian Luczanits; and useful guides to iconography and terms by Debashish Banerji, this richly illustrated catalogue will provide a lasting resource for readers interested in South Asian art and spirituality.

(Giveaway ends on May 8th.)