Agents and other employees in the FBI's New York Office — not pictured! — created this cookbook as a fundraiser.
There’s a “secret” document the FBI doesn’t want you to know about.
And it’s delicious.
“Top Secret Recipes of the New York Office” is a cookbook with 167 contributions from 50 agents and other employees in the FBI’s Big Apple bureaus.
The $10 tome, a sequel to the original 2003 version, has a cover showing a masked, lantern-jawed spy in a fedora and a cheeky warning on the title page, “I’d tell you, but I’d have to grill you.”
It’s only available at a small gift shop at the Federal Plaza office accessible to FBI employees and their guests.
The Daily News obtained a copy through a friend. When we called FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser for details, she refused to comment on the record. She asked that the names of contributors not be published in the newspaper, even though the book, despite its title, is not actually a secret government document.
It could be that the FBI wants to keep all the Good Morning Streusel Cake (page 70) to itself. Certainly, one can only imagine what would happen if the wrong people in Colorado got hold of some coconut and graham cracker Magic Cookie Bars (page 70). And who knows the ramifications if the pure goodness of Yummy Fudge (page 63) fell into the hands of a bad cop instead of a good?
Among the recipes is a Greek cream pie (Galatoboureko) made by Athena Venizelos, late mother of George Venizelos, who used to run the operations of the city FBI office.
Venizelos called the bureau’s hush-hush attitude “ridiculous.”
“When I was there, I tried to revamp that whole press office,” said Venizelos, now head of security for the New York Racing Association. “It’s a harmless thing. I’m glad you’re writing about it.”
Harmless, but certainly curious. After all, most Americans want the FBI focused on law enforcement, not on kale with sausage and cannellini beans (page 26). But then again, no patriotic American would begrudge a hard-working G-man a slice of Harvey Wallbanger cake (page 60) when the day is done.
The book also includes terrific old world recipes like Uzbek Lagman (spaghetti with thick spicy lamb sauce, on page 49) and Ligurian fish stew (page 39), a testament to the agency’s diversity.
And these recipes are many steps above the lunch line at Leavenworth.
Raymond Mohan, owner and executive chef of LoLo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem, said the FBI personnel seem to be as good in the kitchen as they are in the interrogation room.
The Ligurian fish stew recipe “is written well” and is a good-looking seafood version of chicken cacciatore, Mohan said. The curried rice with shrimp “is something my mother would make,” he added. “It brings me back to my childhood in Guyana.”
The highest compliment? Mohan said he was inspired by the FBI recipe for fresh salmon burger.
“This is something you will see a version of on our menu,” he said.
Not every recipe is an instant classic — especially one for an instant kids meal.
One employee shared her son Steven’s simple recipe for Cheesy Dogs, which involves microwaving hot dogs then putting a slice of Swiss cheese on top. “Put back in the oven for about a minute. Remove from oven and add a little grape (or strawberry) jelly and enjoy!”
No taxpayer money is spent to create the cookbooks. Printing costs come from a nonprofit called the FBI Recreation Association of New York, which runs the internal shop that also sells T-shirts and FBI hats. Proceeds underwrite charitable efforts, such as paying for funerals and other benevolent causes. The association’s most recent tax return, for fiscal year 2013, showed a slight loss, with total revenue at $271,013 against outlays of $286,752.
The 100-page book was published by a Kansas outfit called Cookbook Publishers, which charged the FBI about $2.65 each, wholesale.
Debbie Crosby said the FBI had ordered 500 copies from her company, which does not test the recipes. “What they submit, we typeset,” she said. Other fund-raiser cookbooks have been made by Dollywood, the American Daughters of Columbus, the CIA, Camp David, and the Bo Peeps, a wool growers’ association, she said.
Venizelos said he wished more FBI staff had contributed recipes, but with 2,000 staffers in the New York office, “most people don’t pay attention to this stuff.”
The FBI spokeswoman declined to make the book available to the public via the Web as a fund-raiser. So for now, the FBI’s recipes will remain The Untouchables — unless this cookbook is someday declassified.
1 pound lamb, cut into 1 to 1-1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup oil
2 large onions, sliced
1 pound parboiled rice
1 pound carrots, shredded
1 teaspoon whole or ground cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained (optional)
In heated oil, slightly brown lamb for approximately 15 minutes. Add onions; mix. Sauté 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper and cumin. Add carrots and sauté another 10 minutes. Spread chickpeas on top of meat. Put rice on top. Add boiling water 1 inch over rice and salt to taste. Bring to boiling; cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat. Mix and serve.
1 pound, 1-inch cut lamb
1/2 cup oil
4 large onions, sliced
2 large potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 sweet red/green pepper
4 tomatoes (or a 15-ounce can tomato sauce)
6 to 7 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper
1 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
Salt to taste
1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked separately
In heated oil, slightly brown lamb for approximately 15 minutes. Add onions and tomatoes; mix. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt, pepper and cumin. Add the rest of ingredients and spices. Add carrots and sauté another 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat. Serve spaghetti with hot lamb and vegetable sauce on top. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
1 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 18 4-inch pieces
4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon drained small capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter
3 slices brioche loaf or egg bread, toasted
4 large tomato slices
8 radicchio leaves
Combine first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and mix well. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Mix breadcrumbs into salmon mixture. Form into four 1-inch thick patties. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon patties; cook until just firm to touch and brown and crusty, about 3 minutes per side.
Place 1 slice of toast on each of 4 plates. Top each with burger. Spread burgers generously with mayonnaise. Top with tomato slice, 2 radicchio leaves, and second toast slice. Serve immediately, passing remaining mayonnaise separately.