And the Just Desserts giveaway winner is…

August 26th, 2011 · No Comments · Giveaways

Happy Friday everyone! Did you catch the Top Chef Just Desserts premiere? What did you think?

Thanks to everyone who commented – it was really fun to read all the answers! It looks like there’s a lot of love out there for Yigit and the Voltaggio brothers – you readers have excellent taste;)

So, the winner of the KitchenAid stand mixer is:

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Reader 205, Trish! Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone who entered! Have a great weekend, and look out for my next post on Greece, on Monday!

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{Giveaway} Top Chef Just Desserts Season 2 This Week

August 22nd, 2011 · 230 Comments · Giveaways

The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for visiting!

 

kitchenaid mixer

 

I always forget about the television during summer, so the start of fall programming usually catches me by surprise. Luckily, I got notification about one show I don’t want to miss: the second season of Top Chef Just Desserts is premiering this Wednesday, August 24, on Bravo.

The first season was…exciting, to say the least. The drama got a little over the top, but I was impressed by some of the desserts that some contestants were able to put together under some pretty trying circumstances. I’m looking forward to seeing what refinements the second season will bring, as well as seeing Chefs Johnny Iuzzini and Hubert Keller (le sigh) again.

To get a gander at the contestants for this season, go here.  You can also enjoy these recipes from the Yigit Pura, the winner of Season 1:

Peanut Butter and S’mores Cookie Dough Sundae

Strawberry Sorbet and Lemongrass Ginger Ice Cream

Now the best part- to celebrate the premiere I’m giving away the 5-quart Artisan stand mixer shown at the top of the post, along with this cupcake decorating kit:

cupcake kit

These prizes were generously donated by Bravo and I’m happy to pass them on to one lucky reader!

To enter: Leave a comment below with your favorite Top Chef contestant (either from Just Desserts or the original series). I’m going to cheat a little and say I’m partial to the very talented Voltaggio brothers, who came out on top of what I thought was the best season of Top Chef so far (by the way, they have a cookbook coming out this fall, if you haven’t heard!)

This contest will run through Thursday, August 25, and I’ll announce the winner on Friday, August 26. Good luck – and don’t forget Top Chef Just Desserts on Wednesday, August 24!

 

This prize was provided by the BRAVO Network but BRAVO is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of BRAVO.

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Going on Vacation + No Pictures Won’t Stop A Giveaway!

May 28th, 2011 · 85 Comments · Cookbooks, Giveaways

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Growing pains that come from moving and expanding your blog…unavoidable, and a neverending challenge. I currently am having some issues with getting images to appear correctly on this site, which sorts of renders a food blog a little pointless, no? While I’m sure (hopeful?) the answer is just a couple code lines away, I am also leaving on a two week vacation today…to the Mediterranean and far, far, away from the Internet. So I’m afraid no new photos will arrive until U return.

So sorry, dear readers! I meant to leave you with a few interesting posts to tide you over, but it looks like I’ve been stymied by technological roadblocks.

As consolation, click over to the online version of Edible East Bay, where my review of Alice Medrich’s new cookie book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy
has been published. I’ve met Alice a few times and she is a truly meticulous and inspired baker. Her cookbooks remain among my favorites n my bookshelf.

I’m also giving a copy of this book away to one lucky reader – just leave a comment describing your favorite texture of cookie. Do you like your chocolate chip cookies thick and chewy? Your brownies cakey? Your macarons just this side of chewy? Give me some adjectives!

I’ll let this run until I return on June 12, at which point hopefully all will have been restored to rightness here and I can post the winner, as well as some tidbits from my interview with Alice, and a recipe from her book.

Thanks for your patience, all! Have a great Memorial Day weekend. Now, I have a plane to catch!

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It’s My Birthday – And I’m Doing A Giveaway!

May 4th, 2011 · 200 Comments · Giveaways, Personal, Tools

The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for visiting!

shortribslecreuset

I was talking to my sister last week ago and she was reminding me to get a Mother’s Day card for our mom. I replied, “Well, we don’t need to worry about so soon, Mother’s Day is after my birthday and my birthday isn’t for a while…ohhh.”

So how did it become May already? I love having a May birthday – all that spring sunshine – and I love looking forward to it. However, the last few years I seem to get really busy in April so my birthday jumps out at me like an exam I haven’t studied for. (Another thing about a May birthday? Remember AP exams in high school? I had one on my birthday one year. That was great too).

What’s to prepare for a birthday, you say? Well, I usually try to make my own birthday cake. And post about it. Thanks to my sister’s oh-so-timely reminder, I scrambled to pull my myriad ideas together. However, when I went into the kitchen last night I was told by the Husband that it was going to be occupied for a while, so maybe I could entertain myself in the meantime? Ohhh…birthday surprise! (Yes, I am also getting slower in my old age.)

Did I mention how lucky I am to have such a great hubby? So, I guess I’m going to have to hold off on a birthday cake post until maybe next week. While I’m making myself conveniently scarce, I’m going to invite you all to help me celebrate by holding another giveaway! I told you I had a lot of stuff to get out of my place:)

Walk into any cooking store or get a cooking catalog and chances are you’ll see Le Creuset proudly displayed like works of art in a museum. I was quite excited to be offered a Le Creuset braiser in their new fennel color for review. By the way, this is my first Le Creuset piece! Woohoo! I guess that counts as a pretty awesome birthday gift!

lecreuset35braiser

This cast iron braiser is great for searing off foods quickly at high temperatures and then braising them slowly and evenly. The enamelled interior makes cleanup a breeze; we’ve used it several times already and it cleans up like new. It also works great for poaching, marinating, or browning – the wide bottom lets you fit in lots of pieces without crowding. The website also says it’s works for baking, although I haven’t figured out what to bake in it yet! Something for fall, it feels like…at least I have several months to mull it over!

The Husband broke in the braiser by making some short ribs with polenta and we were extremely happy with the results – like eating the leftovers for several days straight happy.

I’m giving away a 3.5 quart Le Creuset braiser to one Dessert First reader. Just visit the Le Creuset website and comment below on what your favorite piece is. I’ll run the contest through May 8 and announce the winner on May 9.

Sorry there’s no birthday cake recipe! But I’ll have the Pebble Beach Food and Wine full recap up in another day, with recipes from Yigit Pura and Daniel Boulud!

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And the Winner of the W-S Gift Card is…

April 28th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Events, Giveaways

wsgiftcard

The winner of the $100 gift card to Williams-Sonoma, chosen entirely at random, is

newdessertfirstwinner

reader 106, Mary S! Congratulations!

I was especially touched at her comment, which read, “I’ve been a reader for a long time and I’ve read about your baking (and baking related) adventures. It’s an inspiration and I’m very happy to see your blog blossom! Keep sharing delicious things with us.” I’ve been blogging for a while now, and though I like to say that having this creative outlet is its own reward, it’s always so gratifying to know someone else is enjoying your work. Thank you to all of you for your wonderful comments and your support of my new site. I really hope to keep things delicious here for a long while.

Don’t forget I still have my Pebble Beach apron + tote bag giveaway going on, if you’d like to enter. I’ll be at Pebble Beach this Friday and Saturday and am looking forward to reporting back. There are also more giveaways coming up (very soon!!), recipes, and reviews, so please keep checking back!

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Cupboard Inspiration: Hazelnut Macarons with Homemade Nutella (plus bonus giveaway!)

April 26th, 2011 · 79 Comments · Chocolate, Cookies, Giveaways, Recipes

The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for visiting!

Hazelnut Macarons with Nutella

While I was giving my blog a makeover, I was also doing a spring cleaning of our kitchen. We’ve been in our new home for almost a year and a half now – not really a new home anymore, is it? Certainly not judging by how overflowing all the cabinets and closets appear; one glance and you’d think we’d been hoarding here for years.

No matter how assiduously one tries to keep order in the pantry, there are always a few rogue items that manage to find their way astray – forgotten spices, half-used bags of specialty flours, bottles of food coloring in all the least-wanted hues. I try to go through the back of my cupboards every couple of months just to root out orphaned items, and perhaps find some inspiration – or at least impetus to not let ingredients go to waste.

So it was this time I opened a cabinet door and found three jars of Nutella staring me in the face. I have no idea how we ended up with three jars of this hazelnut spread: Costco delirium, perhaps. But I knew we really didn’t need that much Nutella around. What to make? A thought came to mind, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – macarons made with hazelnuts instead of almonds. (Aside: if you’re just looking for the giveaway, it’s at the bottom of the post!)

 

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