Ever crave a classic croque monsieur, cobb salad, creamy marshmallow treats, Korean bulgogi, Italian spaghetti bolognese, Latin carne guisada, pina colada? I’m sure many of us who adhere to the Islamic dietary standards look at a restaurant menu or check out drool worthy food photography only to find out that we cannot order or eat it. Well, My friend Yvonne Maffei of My Halal Kitchen came to rescue us modern observant Muslims who love to explore global cuisines. Now we can make what everyone else loves to eat in America through her recent book – My Halal Kitchen.
Having a Sicilian father and a Puerto Rican mother, Yvonne had a food-oriented childhood and upbringing. After converting to Islam, she started to create versions of the traditional dishes she grew up with. Her search for halal substitution to make her childhood favorite dishes eventually led to the launch of her blog. She continues to devise substitutes to expand the options available to Muslim cooks and eventually published the book in July 2016.
From American comfort food to International fare, the book has a collection of healthy recipes that are otherwise challenging to make while meeting halal dietary standards. What’s even better is that the halal substitutes are very accessible and delicious. The sincerity and research Yvonne has put into making the dishes Muslim friendly is truly commendable.
My Halal Kitchen has two primary sections: overview of halal food and cooking and recipes. The overview section explains the meaning of halal in the context of food – how to find ingredients, halal alternatives, problematic ingredients for halal cooking and more. The recipe section obviously is the heart of the book. It includes carefully selected entrees, desserts, drinks recipes from American, Asian, French, Italian and Latin cuisine. The recipe section also features foundational recipes such as sauces, broths, condiments, flavor extracts, etc.
I’ve already tried an Italian (Mediterranean Shrimp Scampi) and a Latin dish (Carne guisada) from the book and we love them both. I want to try one the French recipe next and several desserts and drinks. What I appreciate about this book is how the instructions are specific enough to make all of the recipes accessible, even if you’ve never cooked a particular cuisine before.
If you ask me if there is anything that could have been improved in the book? I’d say photos. More photos. These days we like to see an image of a dish before we make something and I wish the book had more photos. I have received similar feedback from others about the book as well. However, overall it is an informative and delicious book.
If you follow With A Spin on facebook and instagram, you most likely know that we hosted a book signing event at the With A Spin kitchen in December 2016. During the book signing, we also did a live facebook event where Yvonne and I talked about the book in detail. If you’ve missed, you can watch the live interview here.
If you would like to own a limited addition copy of My Halal Kitchen that’s autographed by Yvonne Maffei, grab your copy at our With A Spin shop. The non-signed version of book is also available for purchase on Amazon.
I’m also happy to share a very popular Italian recipe from Yvonne’s My Halal Kitchen. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped into large pieces
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- ½ small white onion, diced
- 2 pounds fresh shrimp, cleaned thoroughly
- ¼ cup white grape juice (not from concentrate)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 (1-pound) package capellini or angel hair pasta, cooked and drizzled with olive oil to prevent sticking
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese, for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the garlic and butter and cook for 10 minutes, until the garlic has softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet over medium–high heat, warm the oil. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until they have softened. Add the onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is translucent.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on 1 side, until they begin to turn pink. Turn and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on the other side.
- At this point, the liquid in the skillet should have cooked down to some degree. Add the grape juice and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic–butter mixture to the skillet and stir until well combined. Season with the salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and remove from the heat. Using tongs or 2 large forks, integrate the sauce and shrimp into the noodles. Taste and season further with the salt and pepper, if desired.
- Transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the Romano cheese and garnish with the parsley. Serve hot.
Yvonne is graciously offering to giveaway a copy of her book to our lovely With A Spin readers. If you want a copy follow the giveaway rules below and find out how to increase your chances of winning.
Winners will be randomly selected and announced on Sunday, January 15th, 2017.
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This giveaway is open to US addresses only and expires on January 14th, 2016 at 11:59 pm CST. Entries that do not meet the entry criteria will not be considered.