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Posts tagged ‘giveaway’

Challenging Myself And A Giveaway

Photo from Saveur found online at Saveur.com Mocha Dacquoise

Once a upon a time I was very active in recipe contests, they challenged me, inspired me and forced me to think outside the box. Food52 still has contests, not as often as before but they are still there and Whole Foods ended their contests a few years ago. Give me an ingredient and challenge me to come up with an original or semi original recipe using it and it excited me. Those days are but a memory now as I haven’t really participated in a while. Blogging is a challenge and I am afraid I have fallen short of my own expectations, don’t want to be too hard on myself but if we feel like we are failing it’s up to us to do something about it. When I post a recipe I want it to be something different, even if it’s a twist on a classic there should be a new and different technique or some ingredient that is not normally used when making it. Having a repertoire of classic recipes is something every cook should have in their archives, something you make all the time, it always comes out good, you can make it blind folded so to say, without looking at the recipe. I have recipes that I use all the time, tried and true, always good but thats not challenging. One thing that I think would help to keep this blog fresh is to try to make something I’ve never made before, a recipe that will challenge my skills and hopefully will yield a good result. I have a bucket list of things I have always wanted to make, croissant, puff pastry are two things on my list, another is a Dacquoise.  I first read about this cake in Julia Child’s cookbook Baking With Julia, it kind of scared me, a lot of parts, some complicated instructions but the finished product is ethereal and delicious. Dacquoise is a cake made with almond and/or hazelnut meringue layers with different fillings, think of a macaron, it’s very similar in technique. The cake is light and if made well, a work of art. I tried making macaron and failed miserably and haven’t tried again, it is still on my list of things I must make.

In a few weeks it will be my birthday and this will be my birthday cake (God willing). I plan on taking a day off work and devoting the entire day to baking. It will be a challenge.They caution you to make the cake in advance of serving, as much as a week but at least 12 hours, the longer you let it sit in the refrigerator the easier it will be to get a clean cut.  I found a recipe from Saveur for a Mocha Dacquoise. It looks beautiful and sounds delicious. The traditional almond meringue layers with a coffee buttercream and chantilly filling. I am very excited to try this recipe and scratch it off of my bucket list.

Now for the giveaway! I want to offer one lucky reader a copy of the Food 52 cookbook Ice Cream and Friends. All you will have to do is leave a comment and you will be entered. The winner will be chosen randomly using random.org. But wait, I am feeling generous so there will be a second winner who will get the other Food52 cookbook Mighty Salads. I am sorry that I cannot send the books outside of the continental US, it is open to residents of the US only. The contest will end on May 2nd and I will post my Dacquoise even if it is a fail along with the announcement of the winners.  In an effort spice things up here, there is more in the works, giveaways and challenging recipes.

I also want to challenge you all to make something outside of your comfort zone, something you have always wanted to make but were hesitant to try. If you do make something comment here with a link to your blog and I will pick one or two recipes and re blog them. We all need to challenge ourselves and if cooking is your passion push yourself to make something new, exciting and different!

The Winner Of The Holiday Giveaway

Farmers board

Farmers board

Thank you all for the sweet comments and entering this contest. Full Disclosure, I put the wrong photo up on my post, this is the board Michael made. It is a beautiful board, I have one and use it all the time to serve my rectangular tarts and for cheese and bread. It’s just gorgeous, thank you Michael for sharing your time and talent with us.

The winner of the giveaway is Lynn who has a wonderful and inspiring blog, Lynz Real Cooking, there are fantastic recipes and her stories of raising 9 children in the Middle East is absolutely amazing. Lynn, I am so happy that you won the board. I will send you an email.

But wait, the number 2 slot went to Teagan an incredible author and her blog Teagan’s Books is one of my favorite reads, although she will not get a cutting board from Michael in the spirit of the season I would like to send Teagan a gift basket from me, homemade goodies for her to enjoy.

Thank you all for participating in this giveaway and for being such wonderful readers and friends. Happy Holidays to all!!

A Gift, A Giving Community, Announcing A Holiday Giveaway And A Hot Cup Of Chai

From Sonal-Simply Vegetarian 777

From Sonal-Simply Vegetarian 777

I follow many blogs, I love them all and try my best to read and comment or at least like every one or as close as I can get to acknowledging them. One blog I love and follow is Sonal’s beautiful Simply Vegetarian777, chock full of delicious recipes and gorgeous photography it is one of those blogs that takes your breath away. Sonal also happens to be one of the sweetest and kindest individuals you will ever know and although we have never met in person I feel like we are close friends albeit virtual, she has touched my life and my kitchen with her generosity. This is the second batch of spices she has sent me, thank you my friend. I saw this recipe on her site a few weeks back and immediately commented how I had to make it it just sounds incredible. It’s an Indian breakfast dish called Bread Poha. Now I am challenged in the spicing department, I notoriously underspice and have become befuddled when faced with a recipe that uses many different spices in one dish. Sonal knowing me and seeing my plight sent me pre measured spice packets, everything the spicing challenged will need to put together a scrumptious meal and I must add that she included detailed instructions. Sonal, market these please I will be your first customer.

I was the lucky recipient previously of some of her genius spice blends and made this Kofta Korma which literally knocked my socks off, I followed her basic recipe for Korma adapting it to use meat.

How wonderful is our community of bloggers, most of us have never met each other, we visit and comment on each others blogs and become online friends and if we are lucky we get to meet each other. We lift each other up and encourage and in the case of dear Sonal, without asking or expecting anything she sends me the spice packets, but not just spices everything I need for pilaf incuding the rice and dal with the spices. I will be making dishes from each item she sent me and posting it here. The first will be the bread poho, it uses day (s) old bread which I don’t have so I am letting a baguette sit for a few days.

In the spirit of giving I wanted to announce that the last week of November there will be a giveaway which I am very excited about. It’s wonderful I won’t say what it is (surprises are fun) but I am sure you will all love it and it will be my gift to you, or at least one (or two) of you.

IMG_7463

Chai Tea

Sonal-Simply Vegetarian 777

1 cup water

3 tbs milk (I used half and half)

a good pinch of Sonal’s Chai Spice (it was about 1/2 tsp)

Black tea (either tea bag or loose tea

Sweetener of your choice

Bring the water, milk and spice to a rolling boil, add the tea and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain into a cup and enjoy!! Sweeten if you like. I added a spoonful of honey to mine.

As I type this I am enjoying a hot cup of chai and it’s absolutely delicious, the spices are perfection.  I usually use a prepared chai tea but have to say making it this way with the spice mix produces a superior cup of chai. There is nothing like a hot cup of Chai to warm you on a cold day.  Thank you Sonal!!

A Labor Day Giveaway

Cutting board and ice ream scoop

Cutting board and ice ream scoop

I am so excited about this giveaway, and pleased to share with TWO lucky people a gorgeous 10 inch walnut cutting board and an ice cream scoop, both hand crafted by Michael of Michaels Woodcraft. I have become a big fan of his work, the quality is amazing, you will be blown away by just how beautiful these pieces are. All you have to do to enter the contest is simply leave a comment.  I do ask if you don’t mind pin on Pinterest and tweet on Twitter it’s not mandatory though. This contest is open only to those who live in the USA, so sorry my wonderful friends outside of the US, I checked and it would be cost prohibitive for me to ship outside of the US.  So very sorry!!  I will conduct two separate drawings one for the cutting board and one for the scoop.  Both pieces are hand crafted by Michael in South Carolina, products of the good old USA and are heirloom quality, they will last a lifetime if properly cared for. Michael provides a tin of his homemade wood conditioner for the cutting board. You will get years of enjoyment from these beautiful products. The drawing will be on Friday, Sept. 5th. Good luck everyone!!

Walnut cutting board

Walnut cutting board

Ice Cream Scoop

Ice Cream Scoop

 

 

Happy Halloween!! Awesome Salsa Giveaway- The Winner is…….

Salsa

Salsa

True Random Number Service

Do you own a smartphone or tablet? Check out our app for iOS and Android.

List Randomizer

There were 17 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. stefano

Congratulations Stefano, I will be sending you an email I need your address to give to Tamara so that your delicious jar of Salsa can be sent to you.

I’ll leave you with a few Halloween Images. Happy Halloween Everyone!!

Bela Lugosi Dracula

Bela Lugosi Dracula

Mia Farrow-Rosemary's Baby

Mia Farrow-Rosemary’s Baby

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

A “Divine” Chocolate Giveaway And A DIVINE Triple Chocolate Cake

Divine Chocolate

Divine Chocolate

I planned on two posts this was going to be the second, the first is a recipe I am developing using Divine Chocolate, well this will be first because I have had some setbacks and the recipe didn’t turn out so it’s back to the drawing board. Stay tuned for another totally DIVINE recipe. The chocolate is fantastic and so is the company, owned and operated by the farmers it is truly a cooperative venture that is a recipe for success.  A Fair Trade product of outstanding quality you don’t get better than that.

Who doesn’t love chocolate, well I am sure there are a few that don’t and then there are those poor souls that are allergic. But for the rest of us and speaking for myself there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t at least have a bite of chocolate. Since I discovered just how wonderful Divine Chocolate is, it’s always in my pantry and is now my go to chocolate for baking and eating,  I have partnered with the very lovely people at Divine for a fantastic giveaway, I know you will love this chocolate as much as I do and you will really love this Bakers collection.  Open to US residents only I am so sorry my friends abroad!! Just leave a comment here and I will use random.org to pick 3 lucky winners on October 14, see below for directions on how to enter. Good luck everyone!!

Divine Chocolate Giveaway 3 lucky winners!!
Divine Chocolate, the premium chocolate brand and Fair Trade social enterprise co-owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana, is giving away ***THREE*** Divine Bakers’ Collection Gift Sets so you can Make Something Divine. Each gift collection contains two 70% Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars, one 38% Milk Chocolate Baking Bar and a 4.5 tin of unsweetened Cocoa Powder.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is:

  • Follow @bklynpuggal on Twitter and Tweet:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set #DivineInNYC
  • Like Divine Chocolate USA on Facebook (www.facebook.com/divinechocolateUSA) and leave the comment:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set. Sent by apuginthekitchen #DivineInNYC
  • Follow @DivineChocUSA on Twitter and Tweet:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set. Sent by bklynpuggal#DivineInNYC

Good Luck! Winners will be selected at random and notified by [Oct. 14, 2013]. Divine Chocolate is responsible for delivery of the Gift Sets. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Triple Chocolate cake

Triple Chocolate cake

I couldn’t resist, since I am working  with all of this fabulous Divine Chocolate I had to resurrect my favorite chocolate cake. For this cake you are using 3 types of chocolate , Divine unsweetened cocoa powder in the cake, Divine white chocolate in the Mousse and Divine Milk Chocolate for the ganache, Irresistible!!

White Chocolate Mousse
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 6 ounces Divine white chocolate chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
Dissolve gelatin in 2 tbs of cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Place chocolate in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Prepare an ice bath. Place 1/2 cup heavy cream in small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Pour into food processor with chocolate while the motor is running, process until smooth.
Place in ice bath until mixture is thick and falls from a spoon in ribbons.
Whip remaining heavy cream and gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Place in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups Divine unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (If you want to substitute melted butter for the oil its fine)
  • 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee (Optional but recommended)
  • soft butter and flour to prep baking pans or you can use cooking spray
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9″ round baking pans, butter the bottom add a parchment round then butter bottom and sides and flour the pan or you can use cocoa powder instead of flour.
In large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and whisk to combine. Now add the wet ingredients milk, oil,eggs and vanilla do not add the boiling water yet. With hand held mixer beat for 2 minutes. Now add the boiling water with optional espresso powder, beat just until combined. Pour into your prepared pans (the batter is quite thin) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cakes sit in pans for 10 minutes then invert onto cake rack to cool.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
  • 8 oz Divine milk chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Chop chocolate into very small pieces and place in medium size mixing bowl, bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, stir until smooth and shiny. Cover and refrigerate until it’s spreadable (approximately 1 1/2-2 hours)
Assembling:
Place one cake layer on serving plate, spoon the mousse on and spread, you may not need to use all of the mousse it will be very thick I used about half, place other layer on top, pour and  spread the ganache on the cake. Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving if it was refrigerated.