{Giveaway} My Pie in Pieography

February 26th, 2013 · 101 Comments · Cookbooks, Giveaways, My Books

Pieography cover1

I’m excited to announce the release of Pieography: Where Pie Meets Biography by WWC Press. As the title implies, it’s a collection of pie recipes both sweet and savory from 39 women who love food – myself included! I was approached by WWC to contribute a pie recipe and an essay that explored how this pie speaks to our life experiences and our goals.

I was happy to participate in such a heartwarming project, and my contribution to Pieography is my “I Heart Summer” Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Pie. Although it’s already a blog post on this site, submitting it for the book and having to write an accompanying piece encouraged me to re-examine the pie and articulate how it represented me and my philosophy. Also, although you can get the recipe here, there are 41 other wonderful pie recipes in the book covering an impressive range of styles – from pot pies to quiches to ice cream pies to galettes. It was also lovely to read the biographies of everyone who created all these pies – such a diverse collection of talented and creative women, and a group I’m honored to be in.

strawberrylemonverbenapie

Here’s a shot of the back cover featuring yours truly along with some other fantastically accomplished women! I’m truly proud to be part of this project with WWC. And I’m pleased to have a chance to share it with you! I am giving away two copies of Pieography to Dessert First readers!

Pieography back cover

To enter: Leave a comment below about your favorite type of pie and why. It can be sweet or savory, a fruit pie, quiche, tart – whatever holds first place in your heart. The contest will run until next Wednesday, March 6 and I’ll select two winners at random and announce them on Thursday March 7. Good luck, and I hope to read some mouth-watering descriptions in the comments!

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Field Guide to Candy is Out! Win a Copy of Your Own!

October 5th, 2009 · 176 Comments · Field Guide to Candy, My Books

FieldGuideCandy

Two years ago, one of my long-cherished goals suddenly blossomed into reality: I was offered the chance to write a cookbook. A great deal of testing, retesting, writing, and rewriting later Field Guide to Cookies emerged.

One year ago, just as the reality that I was now published was sinking in and the sight of my book in bookstores was becoming less surreal, fate came tripping round again: I was asked if I’d like to do a companion piece to my book, on candy.

Today, I’m happy to announce that my second book, Field Guide to Candy, is officially out in bookstores and available online!

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Book Release Party!

November 19th, 2008 · 170 Comments · Field Guide to Cookies, My Books

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Oh my goodness, what a whirlwind it's been! I can't believe that it was just over a year ago that I started writing this book called Field Guide to Cookies, and now it's actually on bookshelves in actual bookstores! Yesterday, I was at my workplace and co-workers kept coming by with copies of my book for me to sign! You should realize that it's an engineering office, not a bakery or restaurant, so to see my book all over the desks of my co-workers was rather surreal – and very touching.

Life right now is rather surreal in general – not just because my book is really, finally out, but because all the ways my life is currently changed by it. I've been doing interviews for publications, trying to set up other promotional events, and, oh, there is this other little thing called my second book that I'm also working on! That leaves about zero time for this blog, so I really have to thank all my lovely blog hosts, who have gone above and beyond to write thoughtful and beautiful posts about their experiences with my book. They are doing a spectacular job putting my book in the spotlight, when I haven't had time to talk about it as much as I would have liked on this site. I am very lucky to have such great friends! I hope all of you are enjoying the posts as well, and also exploring their own amazing blogs!

Now, lest you think I'm getting a big head and getting carried away with delusions of grandeur, it's not like that at all. Even though there are so many great things happening right now, what I really wish I could do is just sit and absorb the moment, and capture it to savor in memory. It's like all the best, most precious moments in life, right? The first time you see a rainbow. The day you graduated from high school. Your first kiss. The first snow of winter. Your wedding day. Moments that always flit by so fast like butterflies winging towards the past, all the more precious in retrospect, because of course they never ever last long enough.

So all I'm trying to do is to take a breath, and see past all the other craziness filling my life, and just really, really appreciate this time. An acquaintance said that sometimes, when it feels like universe has decided to smile on you, you should acknowledge it – don't ever take it for granted. And I don't. So thank you, universe! Thank you for giving me with this wonderful experience. And thank you to every single one of you out there who has sent so much positive energy my way. I'll treasure this time forever.

I wish all of you could have come to my book release party last Saturday – it was an shockingly balmy November day in San Francisco, a record breaking 75 degrees. What winter, I say? And what better way to celebrate than with a little party?

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Tante Marie's Cooking School, where the party took place. Very fitting, since this was the place where I took my first footsteps into pastry! Thanks to my brother-in-law Doug who took all the photos for this post – I was in such a tizzy the day of the party I forgot my camera at home! At any rate, I was entirely occupied with talking to everyone during the event to even think of taking pictures, so thanks Doug!

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You can see some of the cookies that the talented professional pastry class baked for all the guests. I was so worried that we would run out of cookies, but fortunately there was plenty to go around! I felt very nostalgic wandering around the kitchen where I had learned pastry for six months. It was also a thrill to talk to the pastry students – one of them told me she had been inspired by my blog when she went to pastry school; a little intimidating and flattering all at once!

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This is me with Mary Risley, the owner of Tante Marie's Cooking School, who graciously let me host the party at the school  I also want to thank chef Greg Mindel, the current instructor for the professional pastry program, and the professional pastry class for helping bake all those delicious cookies and making the party a success! I'm sorry I didn't get a picture with all of your guys – if you all have a photo of your class taken I'll gladly put it up!

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Finally, as promised, to commemorate the official publication of Field Guide to Cookies, I am giving away a copy of my book to one lucky reader! To enter, simply post a comment to this entry with your favorite cookie. I'll hold a random drawing and announce the winner next week. Good luck!

I hope you enjoy the rest of the blog tour as well – there's two more days, finishing with Bea and Peabody. After this week things will be slowly going back to normal, and I'll be back with some non-cookie related posts (finally!) Thanks for sticking around!

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Field Guide to Cookies – The Blog Tour!

November 10th, 2008 · 51 Comments · Field Guide to Cookies, My Books

Cover

In about a week and a half, Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginableicon will be officially released. I know I've mentioned that it's already begun showing up in bookstores, but just like people have birthdays, so should books! So we're sticking to the November 19th date, and I'm so excited to see the culmination of a year-long project!

I took a look back at what I wrote about Dessert First when I began it, over two years ago. In one paragraph I had written,

"I had started Dessert First as a way to combine several of my interests: baking, photography, and writing. Now it had become a springboard for me to share with world how I feel about the beauty and joy of food."

At the beginning, when I was still figuring my way about the Internet and the myriad mysteries of blogging, when all I ever intended was to document all the things I'd made in the kitchen so I wouldn't forget what I'd done, I never dreamed of how far Dessert First would take me, all the wonderful people around the world I'd meet, and all the opportunities it would afford me. I believe that right around when I started blogging, was when the first, trailblazing wave of food bloggers like Clotilde and Pim, Heidi and Molly, were starting to make the great leap from blogging as a hobby to food as a career, and to me their successes seemed a faraway, amazing goal that I might one day be able to aspire to myself. That I managed to land a cookbook of my very own in just two short years is something I still pinch myself about daily.

French-macaroons

This has been an astonishing learning experience for me, and not the least lesson I've learned is that if you really love what you do and you keep at it, good things will come to you. It may take a lot of hard work, but anyone who has the dedication and energy to create and run a blog, I believe already possesses the qualities to be successful in many other endeavors. I learned so much doing this book, but I also realized that in many ways writing Dessert First was great practice for "the real thing": I knew what it was like to produce creative output on a regular basis; I knew about testing and writing recipes in a clear fashion; I knew about styling and photographing food attractively; I knew about working online with people I may have never met in person, corresponding and collaborating with others towards a common goal. Blogs are really such a great thing; I'm sure that's just repeating the obvious to all you other bloggers reading this, but I hope you all realize as well what a powerful platform it can be, both for yourself and for your life goals. I'm so happy that I started Dessert First, not because it helped me get a book deal, but because it also helped me improve myself in so many ways.

Springerle

So! There's so much to share about Field Guide to Cookies, but I thought instead of having me just blab on about it, it would be much more fun to hear what other voices have to say about it. To that end, I've organized the official Field Guide to Cookies Blog Tour, starting tomorrow, Nov. 11th, and running through November 21th.

I enlisted nine of my favorite baking bloggers to review my cookbook and give their thoughts on it. These are some of my best friends in the blogosphere, as well as the creators of some of the loveliest and most accomplished blogs out there, and I'm very, very grateful and excited that they all agreed to do this!

Here's the schedule:

Nov. 11th – Jen of use real butter

Nov. 12th – Ari of Baking and Books

Nov. 13th – Sara of Ms. Adventures in Italy

Nov. 14th – Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice

Nov. 17th – Helen of Tartelette

Nov. 18th – Veronica of Veronica's Test Kitchen

Nov. 19th – Aran of Cannelle et Vanille

Nov. 20th – Bea of La Tartine Gourmande

Nov. 21st – Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Isn't it exciting? So many gorgeous blogs with talented bakers to visit. I can't wait for tomorrow!

Profiteroles

I'd like to also take this chance to thank some of the many people who helped me on this book: Mindy, my publisher at Quirk Books who gave me the chance to write this cookbook; Margaret, my editor who tirelessly worked with a nervous first-time author to perfect the manuscript; Caroline, my pastry chef, who lent me invaluable advice and was an expert recipe tester – she's the most generous person I know, inside the kitchen and out; Robyn, my pastry school classmate and fellow co-worker who also contributed her time, kitchen, and encouragement to the book; Renee, who did double duty as a recipe tester and as my guide to the wild world of publishing; and Monica, who tested recipes and was also my fab hostess in New York when I traveled there.

The full acknowledgements are in the back of the book – I don't want to drag out this post by reproducing the whole thing, but I did also want to mention Mike, my super fantabulous boyfriend who probably didn't realize when I took on the book that he had agreed to long nights with me hunched over the computer, or cookie dough all over the kitchen, or panic attacks when I didn't think I could finish. He never, ever complained, and supported me unwaveringly throughout the whole journey. I love my boyfriend!

Also, I want to thank Mary Risley, owner of Tante Marie's Cooking School, where I did the professional pastry program. Mary generously agreed to host my book release party this Saturday, Nov. 15th. The current class of pastry students will be making cookies from my book, and we'll be having a little celebration!

Rainbow-cookies

I really wish I could have all of you faithful readers come, and what I'd like to do is extend an invitation to the book release party to the first 10 people who respond. Simply leave a comment to this post saying you'd like to attend; the first 10 people to do so will be added to the guest list. This party is in San Francisco this Saturday, so be sure you can make it to the city!

For those who can't make it, don't despair: I'll be having a giveaway of my book later during the blog tour. I also hope you can visit all the blog tour hosts and get a bigger taste of Field Guide to Cookies!

Please be on the lookout for book at all major booksellers, or you can order online. Thanks so much again for all your love and support. I'll see you all tomorrow at Jen's use real butter!

Coconut-macs

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Happy News, and an Invite to You All to Participate!

July 17th, 2008 · 79 Comments · Field Guide to Cookies, My Books

Cover

What’s this photo doing up there? Well, lovely readers, I just couldn’t wait any longer to share this with all of you!

This is the cover (currently, anyways – no guarantees until it’s actually out!) of my very first cookbook!!

It’s called Field Guide to Cookies and it’s a collection of over 100 cookies from around the world, from chocolate chip to linzer to speculaas to alfajores. Each cookie has its own entry that describes its origins, what special holidays and traditions it’s associated with, and of course a recipe!

This book is the culmination of a lot of hard work from me, my publisher, and not least of all my dedicated crack team of recipe testers who worked feverishly to make sure all the cookies in the book are delicious!

 

 

I apologize for not providing more updates along the way, although I’m sure they would have fallen along the lines of, “Doing research on the 85th cookie…surrounded by cookbooks and can’t see straight anymore,” or “Testing 3rd batch of cookie recipe…running out of butter and eggs again.” During the nascent stages of a book, or any other project, really, one is often advised to keep mum about the specifics – certainly, it would be awful to announce to the world that you’re doing a book on the best chocolate desserts ever and then to see that someone’s snatched your idea and put out a competing book on the shelves a month before yours!

But now that the book is off to the printers, and it’s been officially announced on various retail sites, I think it’s safe to unzip the lips a little bit and share some of the excitement with all of you!

Yes, the book is now available for pre-order – here’s the listing on Amazon.

The book is going to be available in November, so I’m sure in the coming months I’ll be talking more about my experiences writing it and even sharing a recipe or two from the book.

Thank you all for your continued support and friendship while I’ve been involved in this project – it was definitely a huge challenge to balance work + book + blog + friends and maintain my sanity and good humor!

While I’m ruminating over what lies in the future, I’d certainly love to refocus some of my attention back on Dessert First and continue to offer recipes, photos, stories, as well as connect with all the wonderful people out there. So I’ve created my very first poll asking what you’re all interested in seeing more of on this site. I’m trying to think up what I’d like to add to the site, so let me know your opinion. All suggestions and comments are welcome! If you don’t like any of my choices, just leave your suggestion in the comments!

In fact, I’d like to invite all my readers to comment and say hello! Every once in a while I’ll get an e-mail from someone saying, “I’ve been a long time lurker and I just wanted to say hi.” Well, I’d really love to get to know who all of you are out there, so here’s your chance! Whether it’s your first visit or tenth, whether you’ve commented once or twice or never, say hi and I’ll say hi back! It would really thrill me!

Thanks! I love you all and hope Dessert First continues to be a source of sweet inspiration for you!

 

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