If someone handed you the keys to a car, told you to take few days off and go for a drive, where would you go? Your answer to this question depends a little bit on where you live and what is around you, as some people might want to spend some time visiting family and friends nearby and some might want to leave town for a real road trip. For me, the answer is to take a drive to Napa – which is just far enough away from my home in Southern California to feel like a real vacation and is where you can find some of the best food and wine in the country.
Since we’re celebrating pie season with pie-themed posts all week long, I decided that a pie-related giveaway was in order.I’m giving away a copy of Perfect Pies and a ceramic pie plate to go along with it! The book is packed with great pie ideas, both sweet and savory, so you’ll have plenty of pie inspiration to work with. The recipes cover both classic pies and some more inventive flavors, so there really are pies for just about every occasion in here.
To enter the contest, just leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite kind of pie is. The winner of the contest will be chosen at random, so you will have just as good of a chance to win if you prefer an Apple Crumble Pie, Lemon Cream Cheese Pie, a velvety French Silk Pie or something entirely different! The contest ends Sunday at midnight (11/11/2012) and one winner will be randomly selected from the entries at that time. Don’t forget to fill in your e-mail on the comment form (it will not be made public), as that is how I will contact the winner, and good luck to everyone!
Update: This Contest is now closed. A winner will be announced soon!
The LA County Fair has been going on for the past few weeks here in Southern California. It is the largest county fair in the US, with nearly 1.5 million visiting the fairgrounds during its one month run. You’ll find all kinds of games, rides and attractions, as well as 22 different cooking contests where home chefs and bakers can put their skills up to the test for ribbons, prize money and – of course – bragging rights. This year, I was invited to be one of the judges for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championships at the LA County Fair.
I was one of four judges and our job was to taste our way through each of 39 decadent chocolate desserts to try to pick out a winner. The contest required that competitors make a from-scratch dessert and use at least one Ghirardelli Chocolate product – such as cocoa powder or chocolate chips – in their recipe, though they were allowed to make any kind of chocolate dessert. We judged on four criteria: Appearance, Taste, Creativity and Ease of Preparation. The entries were all supposed to be accompanied by a product label and a typed recipe.
Popsicles are a wonderful summertime treat, and while it is entirely possible to make popsicles without a mold and get great results, it’s always a little bit more fun to have some neat molds for making ice pops. There are all kinds of popsicle molds out there – both in very plain and more elaborate designs – but one of my favorite molds are in the shape of the rocket/bomb pops that I was a huge fan of as a kid. So, I decided to share the pop-love by giving away a set of Tovolo Rocket Pop Molds! These molds, which I reviewed here, give pops a fun rocket shape time and again. They’re durable and it is easy to get the pops out of them, no matter what flavor of pop you’ve made .
To enter the contest, just leave a comment below and mention your favorite frozen treat – whether it is something simple, that you might find at an ice cream truck in the park, or something more elaborate that you might put together at home or have at a gourmet ice cream shop. The contest ends Sunday at midnight (07/01/2012) and one winner will be randomly selected from the entries. Don’t forget to fill in your e-mail on the comment form (it will not be made public), as that is how I will contact the winner, and good luck!
Some of my favorite popsicle recipes for inspiration:
Update: Thanks for playing everyone. Comments are now closed. A winner will be announced shortly!
Are you inspired by all those TV shows where bakers and pastry chefs create works of art from cake, rice krispy treats and fondant? Are you a fan of the all the nifty, user-submitted designs on the tee’s at Threadless? If so, than the Threadcakes Cake Contest is for you!
For the last three years, I’ve had the opportunity to be one of the judges for the Threadcakes Cake Contest and I’m back again to judge the 2012 edition. The popular cake contest challenges people to create edible works of art in the form of cakes inspired by Threadless t-shirt designs. Threadless, if you’re not familiar with them, is a t-shirt company that uses amazing user-submitted art for their clothing and offers a wide array of impressive, and very unique, products.
The rules for the contest are simple. You must bake and decorate a cake inspired by one of the MANY Threadless t-shirt designs (all eligible designs can be seen here – warning: the page is huge), take lots of photos and post your entry to the contest by August 13th, 2012. Entries will not be judged on the quality of the photographs, but it is important that the photos allow the judges – like me! – to clearly see how cool your cake is. The winning cakes are usually creative, but accurate, representations of the t-shirt designs. There are both 2D and 3D cake categories, and there are lots of great prizes to win.
So, browse through the designs at Threadless for some inspiration and take a peek at last year’s gallery to see how people interpreted the tees into cake then. There is no limit to the number of entries you can post and there will even be some “surprise” weekly prizes given out to make things more exciting. For cake spectators, the Threadcakes gallery will also be equipped with a “favorite” capability that allows users to track their favorites throughout the contest. Users can pick their own top 10 when the contest ends, and anyone who picks the same (or close to) the judges’ official final scoresheet will win a prize, too! Good luck to everyone – and I can’t wait to see the final entries!