Book Giveaway: Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta

Cooking with the Seasons.Rancho La PuertaI didn’t intend to make book giveways such a focus of my blog but coincidentally, I have another one.

Somehow the buzz got out with my last giveway for Ready for Dessert and almost 200 people responded. I think it was David Lebovitz’s Facebook announcement. (He has what’s called a “platform,” you know.)

Right now this post is coming to you from sunny Rancho La Puerta in Mexico, one of the best spas in the world. I’m here to teach four 1-hour classes for people who are thinking about writing a book. They’ll have to fit me in between Pilates, massages and hikes.

I first came here last year in exchange for coaching on the ranch’s cookbook proposal, and now I’m lucky enough to come back. The book has done well too: It was nominated for a Beard award last year.

(Speaking of the Beards, follow along with [Read more…]

Cookbook Giveaway: Ready for Dessert

ReadyForDessertI’m new to this giveaway thing. I think it’s going well, but my style of announcing giveaways has been all over the place.

With my first two giveaways, I reviewed the books. Then I ran into a snag. I knew the author of the third book, so I just interviewed Deborah Madison instead of reviewing her cookbook, because I knew I couldn’t be objective about a friend I met more than 10 years ago.

Now we come to David Lebovitz, another friend I adore, and I have a fourth way to handle this giveaway. I’m going to talk about his video, and a little about the book, and a little about David, one of the nicest, most talented, smartest, funniest and most generous food writers I’ve ever met. (See, I told you I couldn’t be objective.)

One of the dilemmas facing someone with a blog as huge as David’s is that  it’s a challenge for his publisher to reach as many potential buyers for Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes. After all, his blog has more annual readers than at least two of the top national food magazines. So Ten Speed Press agreed to do a video with a James Beard award-winning documentary filmmaker David had met earlier in France.

“I wanted to do something snappy that wasn’t just me talking to the camera, or cooking,” explained David. “I wanted to show Paris, too, [Read more…]

Cookbook Giveaway: Seasonal Fruit Desserts

Fruit Desserts.Madison

Six years ago Deborah Madison started working on a cookbook she called “Desserts for the Pastry Impaired.”

“Pastry chefs are exacting people who have a deep sense about measurement and clean aprons,” she explains. “Cooking is more intuitive, more relaxed, with more opportunities to taste and adjust.” She wanted to write a less rigid book about desserts.

As she wrote the book, the focus gradually changed to fruit, a natural for someone with a bent towards produce. “When you’re working on a book it talks to you in different ways over time,” she says. Apparently it talked to the editor in a different way too. Madison found out her editor regarded her title as a placeholder. “That kind of changed things,” Deborah admits good-naturedly.

She was already three years into the project when it shifted, but that was fine. Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market stayed “in the background, although I was always working on it.” 

Here’s what she was doing in the foreground. She wrote three other cookbooks: What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 RecipesVegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen; and Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen.

No stranger to working on challenging projects in tandem, Deb had opened a restaurant during the [Read more…]

Book Giveaway: Just Food

2009-08-27-JustFoodI like a little controversy and contention. It makes the comments on this blog more interesting. James E. McWillams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, has the same idea.

A historian and former fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University, McWilliams argues that the concept of food miles (how far food travels to get to your supermarket shelves)  is flawed and makes little progress toward the ultimate goal of sustainable production. Read his New York Times Op-Ed piece for a sample of his thinking.

Those are fighting words here in the politically-correct San Francisco Bay Area. But in the book, he argues “there’s a complex story to tell about food and the distance it travels,” and he delves into his research with gusto.

McWillliams also explains why organic food is not [Read more…]

Book Giveaway: Tips Cooks Love

TipsCooksLovePlease help me celebrate my first book giveaway by signing up to win Tips Cooks Love: Over 500 Tips, Techniques, and Shortcuts That Will Make You a Better Cook! 

I thought this cookbook reference companion might be a timely choice, based on the arguments in my most popular post, The Top 10 Terms to Avoid in Recipes. You’ll find no assumptions here about how to cook and bake, only helpful, knowledgeable information. In fact, on p. 57 is an explanation of the term “blanch,” one of the words in my list.

While I assumed Tips Cooks Love targets novice cooks, I found lots to interest me. Regarding the age-old debate about whether to lower the temperature when using glass baking dishes [Read more…]

Food Blogger Camp and Free Trip Giveaway

images-1Let’s hit the beach, bask in the sun and get to know each other. I’m delighted to announce the first annual Food Blogger Camp at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific in Ixtapa, Mexico, January 9-16, 2010.

Club Med is giving away accommodations for seven nights, coach airfare, and a scholarship for one sweepstakes winner. You’ll get to meet and hang out with me, plus some of the most talented food bloggers, authors, and food photographers in the business.

At the Boot Camp, we’ll have workshops on how to improve blogging, photography [Read more…]