The Unofficial HBO's Girls Cookbook

The Unofficial HBO's Girls Cookbook

by Judy Gelman, Peter Zheutlin

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Eat and drink your way through New York with Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna . . .
This e-Book includes nearly two dozen recipes for fans of the HBO hit show Girls:
* Stop in at Café Grumpy and learn how to make a French press coffee the way Ray and Hannah would
* Recreate Jessa and Thomas-John’s Foundry wedding cake, with buttercream icing made from local NYC rooftop honey
* Bake up the Salmagundi Club’s chocolate cookies, like the one Hannah nibbles on after her cringeworthy reading at the prestigious art and literary association
* Try your hand at authentic pierogies from Christina’s Polish Restaurant, a short walk from Hannah’s Greenpoint apartment
* And more—from Brooklyn Pad Thai and Jessa’s White Russian to BabyCakes Black-and-White Cookies and Baked Eggs Warwick Style

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942952381
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 198
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Judy Gelman is coauthor of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, The Book Club Cookbook, Table of Contents, and The Kids’ Book Club Book.

Peter Zheutlin is the author of Around the World on Two Wheels and coauthor of three other books including The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook. His work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications in the U.S. and abroad.

Read an Excerpt



Christina's Potato and Cheese Pierogies

Courtesy Christina's Polish Restaurant

Reviewing the pros and cons of becoming Hannah's roommate, Elijah notes, "I do love pierogies." He could get them at Christina's Polish Restaurant at 853 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, a short walk from Hannah's apartment on India Street. Christina's is a casual spot with a welcoming atmosphere and affordable prices where owner Krystyna Dura serves authentic Polish and American fare to loyal patrons. Dura hails from a family of opera singers, and many of them, and their actor friends, have made the pilgrimage to Christina's while visiting New York to get a little taste of home. Former New York Governor George Pataki is a customer, and Nicole Kidman and actor Wallace Shawn have also been by.

Since 1993, Dura has offered traditional Polish favorites, including her very popular pierogies — half-moon-shaped dumplings that are filled and boiled or fried — along with stuffed cabbage and mushroom, goulash, potato pancakes, and cheese blintzes. While she brought several of her pierogi recipes from her native Krakow, including meat and cabbage-mushroom, she developed the spinach-ricotta recipe here as another vegetarian option. The perennial favorite, though, is cheese and potato, and she shared the recipe for The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York.

Pierogies can be served as an appetizer or a main course. Christina's serves seven pierogies on a plate with fried onions — the traditional Polish accompaniment — and sour cream, butter, or applesauce.

Note: Vegeta is an Eastern European vegetable, herb, and spice seasoning that can be purchased online and in specialty stores. Farmer's cheese is solid pressed cottage cheese.


1 1/2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices 1–2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, chopped (plus additional if serving with fried onions) 8 ounces farmer's cheese (see note) Salt and pepper 1–2 pinches Vegeta seasoning (see note)


1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups), plus additional for forming the dough and for flouring the board 13 ounces (370 milliliters) hot water 2 eggs Pinch of salt

FOR SERVING Fried onions Sour cream Butter (to melt on pierogies when warm) Applesauce

1. To make the filling: Place the potatoes in a medium pot. Add cold, salted water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool completely.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, pour olive oil in a small frying pan, add onion, and sauté until lightly browned.

3. Return the potatoes to the empty pot. Add onions and cheese, and salt, pepper, and Vegeta to taste. Mash or mix well until large lumps are gone. (You can also use a food processor to mix the filling.) Set aside while you make the dough.

4. To make the dough: Combine flour, water, eggs, and salt in a food processor until dough forms. Add additional flour if necessary. Remove to a well-floured surface and roll with a rolling pin until dough is about 1/8-inch thick. Using a glass or a cookie cutter (approximately 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter), cut dough into circular pieces.

5. To make each pierogi: Spoon 1–2 teaspoons of filling into the center of each dough circle (you can add more filling for a puffier pierogi). Fold the round in half, pulling the edges away and pinching them firmly shut to enclose the filling, forming a semicircle. The edges should be tightly sealed.

6. For boiled pierogies: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Drop pierogies in batches into boiling water. Boil 5–7 minutes. (At first they will sink, but when cooked, they will float to the top.) Remove pierogies with a slotted spoon and place on a plate with paper towels to drain and cool. For fried pierogies: Pour 1–2 tablespoons olive oil into a frying pan, add pierogies, and fry for 5–7 minutes, until slightly crispy and brown.

7. Serve immediately with fried onions, sour cream, butter, and/or applesauce.

Makes approximately 50 pierogies


When you live in Brooklyn near a bunch of your old college buds and a few thousand other twentysomethings, you're bound to find yourself entertaining them once in a while, whether it's throwing a party or cooking dinner. Two Brooklynites with culinary savvy helped us to recreate a few of Hannah's dishes.

Hannah's Melty Cheese Pretzels

Courtesy Beth Lewand, Eastern District

When Elijah moves into Hannah's India Street apartment, they celebrate with a party (season 2, episode 1; "It's About Time"). Elijah and Shoshanna snack on Utz Specials, sourdough pretzels in a large plastic keg, while prepping for the evening, and when the party kicks into gear, Hannah passes a tray of pretzels draped in melted cheese, apologizing that "the cheese got a little hard in a good way." They don't seem to be a hit.

Pretzels with melted cheese?

"I've heard of people dipping pretzels into melted cheese, but not melting it on the pretzels," says Chuck Tullis, vice president of the Pennsylvania-based snack food company Utz Quality Foods. "It sounds good!"

To find the perfect pretzel-topping cheese, we turned to Eastern District, a Brooklyn-based purveyor of American farmstead cheeses, craft beers, meats, and sweets, located just around the corner from Hannah's India Street apartment, on Manhattan Avenue. Eastern District co-founder Beth Lewand is a fourth-generation Greenpointer who lives in the house where her grandfather was raised.

"Pretzels, especially sourdough pretzels, have a lot more flavor than a baguette or water cracker," Lewand says, "so you need a cheese with a flavor strong enough to stand up to the pretzel. And too soft a cheese will melt right off."

After melting many varieties of cheese on pretzels, Lewand had three recommendations, though experimenting with a variety of cheeses is encouraged:

• Prairie Breeze cheddar from Milton Creamery in Milton, Iowa — a sharp yet sweet pasteurized cow's milk cheese.

• Marieke Smoked Gouda from Holland's Family Farm in Thorp, Wisconsin — a raw cow's milk hickory-smoked cheese.

• Reading Raclette from Spring Brook Farm in Reading, Vermont — a pungent raw cow's milk cheese with a gooey texture.

Lewand suggests pairing melty cheese pretzels with strong beer and a side of pickles.

Note: Resist the temptation to put the pretzels and cheese in the microwave: the cheese will melt too quickly and unevenly, and the oil will begin to separate.

24 pretzels
8 ounces cheese (see recommendations)

1. Preheat the oven broiler. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Top each pretzel with a 1/4-inch-thick slice of cheese.

2. Broil for 1–2 minutes, until the cheese gets soft, but before it turns to liquid. Serve warm.

Makes 24 cheesy pretzels

Brooklyn Pad Thai

From Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock (Marlowe & Company, 2005), by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Hannah makes organic pad thai for her dinner party with Ray, Shoshanna, Charlie, Audrey, and Marnie (season 2, episode 4; "It's a Shame About Ray").

Brooklyn Pad Thai is a classic recipe from vegan chef and author Isa Chandra Moskowitz. In the introduction to the recipe from her best-selling cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance, Moskowitz wrote that while not authentic, "it does taste a lot like the pad thai served every two feet here in Brooklyn. People love this pad thai recipe. It encapsulates Brooklyn: tons of flavor, a little greasy and so much going on!"

Perhaps the nation's most famous vegan chef, Moskowitz is a third-generation Brooklynite. Born in Coney Island Hospital, she was raised in Canarsie and Sheepshead Bay, and later in various Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Dismayed with the lack of vegan cooking shows, she took a course at Brooklyn Community Access TV and began filming Post Punk Kitchen, a vegan cooking show, out of her cramped Prospect Heights apartment in 2003. Moskowitz and a friend cooked vegan food against a backdrop of local punk rock music. Moskowitz soon followed the show with a website "to foster a vegan cooking and baking community, where we could submit recipes, share ideas, and maybe gossip a little bit," and a slew of cookbooks covering vegan creations from soup to cupcakes.

The Brooklyn food scene used to be more vegan-friendly than it is today, according to Moskowitz. "Now everything is grass-fed this and pigs that want nothing more than to die for your bánh mì. But, there is an amazing vegan restaurant called M.O.B. on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill that's everything vegan food should be: creative, creamy, homemade, and comforting, but just a little fancy."

Note: When making pad thai, you have to make only about four servings at a time or the noodles will get mushy and the sauce won't be well distributed. This recipe yields about eight servings, so you'll need to divide the ingredients between each cooking session. Once everything is prepared, the actual cooking time is only 3–4 minutes, so everyone can still eat together. Use tongs to mix everything; they make it easier not to mush up the noodles.

Press the water out of the tofu for the firmest texture. To press tofu, place between a kitchen towel or 3–4 paper towels, and place a heavy object, like a book, a few cans, or a cast-iron pan, on the tofu for 30 minutes. Flip tofu and press for another 30 minutes. To quickly press the tofu, cut into 4 even slices and press each gently between your hands to get the water out. Then wrap in paper towels and place under a heavy object for as long as you can (at least 10 minutes).


1 pound pad thai rice noodles


6 tablespoons tamari
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Sriracha hot chili sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate or fresh lime juice


6 tablespoons peanut oil
14 ounces extra firm tofu, drained, pressed (see note), and diced
1 medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced lemongrass
2 cups bean sprouts
8 scallions, sliced into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 dried red chiles, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro Lime wedges, for serving

1. Prepare the rice noodles according to package instructions. Mix together the ingredients for the sauce.

2. Preheat a large nonstick skillet or wok over moderate-high heat. Pour 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in the pan and heat, then quickly add the tofu. Stir-fry for 4–5 minutes, until the tofu is crisp on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Pour 2 tablespoons more of peanut oil in the pan. Add half the red onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add half the garlic and half the lemongrass, and stir-fry for 30 more seconds. Add half of the sauce, and when it starts to bubble (it should bubble within a few seconds), add half the noodles. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add half the tofu, bean sprouts, scallions, chiles, and peanuts. Stir for 30 more seconds.

4. Transfer to 4 serving plates and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Makes approximately 8 servings



Café Grumpy, as managed by Ray on Girls, lives up to its name. But Ray's crankiness isn't typical of the vibe at Café Grumpy, according to co-owner Caroline Bell. "Everyone has their days," she says, "but we try to be nice." At least when Ray hires Hannah he's ensuring there's one person behind the counter who can be pleasant to customers.

The shop's name was a sardonic reaction to the snarky attitude typical of some baristas at New York espresso bars. And, as Bell points out, a lot of people are grumpy before they get their coffee in the morning.

Bell opened Café Grumpy in 2005 with her husband Chris Timbrell when Greenpoint was "uncharted territory." Now, with the traditionally Polish neighborhood welcoming a lot of Millennials, it's bustling, and Café Grumpy is a popular gathering spot.

Café Grumpy's coffee beans are roasted in small batches on the premises in Greenpoint on a restored vintage roaster. Bell says they look to source the highest quality specialty coffee, and the ever-changing seasonal menu features beans from Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, and Kenya, among other countries.

There are five Café Grumpy locations in New York — two in Brooklyn and three in Manhattan — but the Greenpoint location is the most spacious and features a book exchange and free Wi-Fi. Baked goods are made fresh daily on-site, and a generous tea collection is available, as well.

It should be mentioned that Café Grumpy does not make a practice of dumping its garbage into the trash cans of its neighbors (season 2, episode 5; "One Man's Trash"). Hannah fessed up to that, and it won't happen again.

Café Grumpy's Lemon Poppy Seed Nothing Bundt Trouble Cake

Courtesy of Café Grumpy

One of Café Grumpy's baked specialties is a lemon poppy seed Bundt cake, a perfect tribute to two memorable Girls dishes. First, the Bundt cake Hannah bakes for her ill-fated dinner party with Charlie, Audrey, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Ray (season 2, episode 4; "It's a Shame About Ray") where she offers some cake to Charlie, who's been fighting with Marnie, and asks, "nothing Bundt trouble?" And second, the opiumlaced tea Hannah drinks just before seeing her parents at the Warwick New York Hotel (season 1, episode 1; "Pilot") — because opium, of course, is derived from the poppy.

"Tangy lemon zest, pop of poppy seeds, sweet raspberry jam center, and buttery pistachio crumble crunch baked into a beautiful rose-shaped Bundt cake," says Café Grumpy pastry chef Krystina Holak. "Café Grumpy patrons really take delight in this popular and tasteful pastry." At Café Grumpy, Holak bakes these cakes every day at 4 a.m. and has them ready by the time the café opens at 7:30 a.m.

Note: You can use a 9x4-inch silicone Bundt cake pan or individual petit rose Bundt cake molds (3x1.6-inch), but any mold or pan will do. Use your creativity and try muffin liners, loaf pans, or other cake pans. To make almond flour: Use blanched or unblanched almonds. Grind for 15–20 seconds in a blender or food processor. Sift and then regrind large pieces. Do not overprocess.

If you have a cutting board, roughly chop the pistachios. If you have a food processor, immersion blender, or spice grinder, grind pistachios (pulse pistachios, as this prevents releasing too much of the oils), and then mix the ground and chopped nuts.

It's best to unmold cakes before they cool to room temperature. As humidity and heat dissipate, the cake's moisture will slowly begin to stick to the pan and you will lose that nonstick quality. Feel the bottom of the mold for proper timing. It shouldn't be too hot, but it shouldn't be at room temperature either. If it's too hot, the jam will fall out; if it's too cold, and you're using a rose-shaped pan, the intricate rose cake petals will stick to the mold.

Save the lemon juice from the zested lemons to make lemonberry glaze or syrup for raspberry lemonade. Even a refreshing Lemon Razz cocktail would be delightful while your Bundt cake is baking.


1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons (see note)
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 teaspoons pure bourbon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds


2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped or ground (or a mixture of the two, see note)
1/2 cup almond flour (see note)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature


1 13-ounce jar raspberry preserves with seeds, such as Bonne Maman

1. Prep Bundt cake pan(s): grease pan(s) with unsalted butter or nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. To make the batter: In the bowl of a large mixer, cream together unsalted butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, 3–5 minutes on medium speed. (Important: this Bundt cake relies naturally on aeration, as there are no chemical leavening agents in the recipe.)

3. Add sugar, lemon zest, eggs, and vanilla, and beat for approximately 3–5 minutes, until eggs are whipped and the fragrant lemon zest is released. Then, add flour, salt, and poppy seeds until homogenous and well incorporated.

4. To make the pistachio crumble: In a large bowl, whisk sugar, pistachios, almond flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. Incorporate butter and crumble the mixture by hand, until mixture has a fine, crumbly texture.

5. Assemble the cake. For a large Bundt cake pan: Fill pan half-full with batter. Spread with raspberry jam, and cover with remaining batter (mold should be three-quarters-full). Cover with pistachio crumble. For small cakes: Scoop batter into molds until three-quarters-full. With a spoon, center a hole about an inch deep and fill with heaping spoonful of raspberry preserves. Cover with pistachio crumble to rim of mold.

6. Bake a large cake for 55–75 minutes (small cakes for 18–24 minutes) until it is golden brown and gives a light bounce to the touch.

7. Allow a large Bundt cake to cool 15–20 minutes, and the smaller cakes to cool for 10 minutes.

8. To remove cake from pan (see note): Place a half-sheet tray or plate over the top of the cake. Flip it all over at once so it is upside-down, and lift the mold off.

Makes approximately 24 servings


Excerpted from "The Unofficial HBO's Girls Cookbook"
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Copyright © 2015 Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin.
Excerpted by permission of BenBella Books, Inc..
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