Showing posts with label #Giveaway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Giveaway. Show all posts

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sangrita - Mexican Tomato Juice - The Chile Pepper Bible #Giveaway

My friends know that I am a chile head from way back. In fact, my "party trick" as a child was to eat jalapeños without flinching. I love those things, fresh or pickled. I feel the same about my new favorite libation, Sangrita or Mexican tomato juice. It's spicy, a little salty and perfectly refreshing on a warm day.

Each morning when I wake up lately, I poke my head outside and declare the air cooler than the day before. Am I kidding myself? Perhaps. But it's almost November and things HAVE to be cooling off soon, right? Even in Dubai.

Meanwhile, I'm flipping through my new favorite cookbook and reference guide to all things chile pepper, The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson. With more than 250 recipes to choose from, it is super hard to decide what to make first but when I was asked if I wanted to participate in a cookbook blog tour to promote this book, we had a shorter list of recipes we could choose from to share with our readers. So that seemed like the best place to start.

You can see from the varied titles that this book has a worldwide reach of deliciousness. Having just tried the muharrama or spicy walnut dip recently, that one caught my eye first. But maybe I should try something new, right? Perhaps the Castilian Garlic Soup or the Cape Verde Sausage Stew? So hard to decide. Which would you make first?

  • Muharrama or Middle Eastern Walnut Dip (Middle East)
  • Castilian Garlic Soup (Spain)
  • Chinese Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup  (China)
  • Paella (Spain)
  • Tagine of Chicken with Apricots (N. Africa)
  • Cuban style hash (Cuba)
  • Original San Antonio Chili (USA)
  • Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (SE Asia)
  • Cape Verde Sausage Stew (Africa)
  • Spinach and Tomato Dal (India)
  • Calabrese-Style Fried Potatoes with Peppers (Italy)
  • Thai-Style Grilled Chile Salsa (Thailand/SE Asia)
  • Kimchi (Korea)
  • Sangrita or Mexican-Style Tomato Juice - (Mexico)
  • Chile-Spiked Chocolate Pots - (France)

Finally, my warm weather combined with the availability of the most gorgeous red tomatoes in the local market won out.

As the head note says: Whip up this Mexican-inspired spicy tomato-citrus juice during the dog days of summer, when tomatoes are abundant and in season. It’s a delicious nonalcoholic refreshment, but if you want to liven up the experience, add a dash of vodka or (as they often do in Mexico) a splash of tequila. This recipe is both vegan and gluten-free friendly.

Tools you'll need:

  • Large fine-mesh sieve
  • Cheesecloth
  • Blender

Ingredients - Makes about 6 cups (1.5 L)
3 lbs Roma or plum tomatoes (15 to 20), cut into chunks
1⁄2 to 1 jalapeño pepper (see Tips, below)
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice    
1⁄2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice    
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or to taste
Agave nectar (optional)

Place sieve over a large bowl and line with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth.
In blender, in batches, purée tomatoes, jalapeño pepper to taste, orange juice, cilantro, lime juice and lemon juice until smooth.

If necessary, add water, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, to facilitate puréeing. Strain through sieve as completed and stir gently.

When most of the liquid has passed through, lift the 4 corners of the cheesecloth and twist around tomato mixture to form a tight ball. Using your hands, squeeze remaining liquid into bowl. Discard solids.

Transfer liquid to a large pitcher. Season to taste with salt. (I didn't add any more.)
Refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.
Taste the mixture; if it is not sweet enough for you, add agave nectar (if using) to taste. Serve very cold, over ice if desired.


Use a whole jalapeño pepper only if you are a true heat seeker. It creates a very spicy result.
You can substitute another fresh Mexican pepper, such as serrano or habanero, for the jalapeño. If you are using a habanero, use only about one-quarter of a pepper.

This recipe is been reprinted courtesy of The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson © 2016 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. I received one copy compliments of the publisher. No other compensation was received. Links to the book are affiliate links. 

When I suggest to my daughters that they might enjoy one cookbook or another, they explain that they can find anything they need to know on the internet. And, indeed, I am sure that is true. But the beauty of a comprehensive book like The Chile Pepper Bible, is that it's all right here, in one place. What Judith Finlayson has not written about chile peppers is not worth knowing. I can't imagine ever having to consult the internet on the subject of chile peppers ever again. Their history, the varieties, the health benefits, even the geography of chile growing and, of course, the scientific measurement of their spiciness are explored in depth.

Not only that, but the tasty recipes are written with easy to follow instructions by a best-selling cookbook author who knows what she's doing. You can trust that the recipes will turn out as promised. If you'd like to win a copy The Chile Pepper Bible of your own, make sure to enter the lucky draw below.

Many thanks to the publishers Robert Rose for providing one copy for the giveaway. US and Canadian residents alike are eligible to enter. Please read all of the terms and conditions before entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pin it! 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Texas Dog #BallparkFood #Giveaway

A bacon-wrapped hot dog, tucked into a well-buttered, grilled slice of Texas toast, then heaped with jalapeño relish. Make your own or head on over to Minute Maid Park and enjoy a baseball game as well. 

One baseball season, 30 baseball parks to visit, with the sole goal of trying All The Food. Sounds like a dream job. The author of The Joy of Ballpark Food – From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine, Bennett Jacobstein took it upon himself, selfless person that he is, to research ballpark food and, along with his long suffering wife (and photographer) he did indeed visit all the major league parks in the 2014 season, eating his way through a substantial menu of offerings, in support of a bigger cause, the Second Harvest Food Bank. All royalties from his book will benefit SHFB.

Jacobstein shares his culinary discoveries, along with historical curiosities about the start of concession food from the beginning of hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks – and a thorough discussion of the song that made the last two famous - through new trendier dishes like carne asada waffle fries and crab-stuffed pretzels. (Unfortunately, no recipes are included, so you have to make the rounds yourself to taste the food!)

Maybe I’m a food nerd, but the history was my favorite part. Who knew that the man most responsible for popularizing hot dogs at baseball games was a Brit, born in Derbyshire, England? Or that nachos were first invented by a waiter named Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya who called them Nacho’s Especiale, since he had created them? I was also tantalized by the menus from each ballpark, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks and their Venom Dog made with habanero sausage through the Washington Nationals speciality dog named the DVM in which a foot-long half smoke is smothered with Maryland crab dip, then topped with Virginia ham.

This book would be a great gift for a baseball fan, perhaps to accompany some tickets to a ball game or even, maybe, a series of tickets in different cities so the recipient can try foodie favorites in a few places, budget allowing. But I gotta warn you, if your friends and family are the type to quote historical dates and numbers, you may well be hearing more facts about popcorn and hot dogs, not to mention Cracker Jacks, than you ever wanted to know. Because they are all in there, and Jacobstein’s warm and engaging delivery and sense of humor are motivation to keep reading.

I call Houston my hometown on Facebook and here on my blog About Me page, but sadly, I have never been to a home game in The Juice Box, aka Minute Maid Park . Truth is, I haven’t lived in Houston for a good number of years and a trip to the ballpark when I am home just never came up. When I read the fabulous food on offer, I wonder why. It doesn’t have to be about the ball game apparently. There are folks who just go for the food. Jacobstein doesn’t mention it, but Minute Maid Park has an all you can eat option, which includes a game ticket on the mezzanine floor and all you can eat hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts and soda. Way to upsize it Texas-style, Minute Maid! First thing I’m going to try is the Texas Dog, because it’s wrapped with BACON and cooked, then it’s put in Texas toast, and finally, it’s covered in jalapeño relish. And since I can’t wait, let’s just try one now.

A Note on Texas Toast
Here’s the thing about Texas toast: Don’t be shy about either cutting it thick or spreading on the butter the same way. The butter’s where it’s at when it comes to toasting slices on a griddle. Also, garlic is not essential, never mind what Bobby Flay might have you believe. The original Texas toast, whether it started in Dallas or Beaumont, certainly didn’t have garlic. Okay, tiny rant over. Let’s bacon wrap a dog!

1 slice smoked bacon (not thick cut)
1 hot dog of your choice (These here are Oscar Mayer because that's what I can get in Dubai.)
1 double thick slice bread
Butter, softened
2 tablespoons spicy jalapeño relish

Wrap your bacon around the hot dog and secure it with toothpicks.

Fry the bacon-wrapped wiener until the bacon is crispy and the dog is hot through. Remove the toothpicks.

Apply softened butter liberally to both sides your thick cut bread.

Toast it on a griddle until golden and crunchy on both sides.

Place the hot dog in the bread and fold it up.

Cover it with the relish.


If you know someone who would enjoy receiving a copy of this book, please head over to the website to buy one. Remember that all royalties benefit Second Harvest Food Bank so you’ll be doing a good deed and making someone happy all at the same time!

And since this is a charity effort, I am going to send my copy to one reader (US shipping addresses only, please, and book will be mailed out at the end of May from Houston, Texas) and the promoter is also offering one Kindle version to anyone worldwide who can accept an ebook from

To enter the drawing, leave me a comment saying 1. real book or ebook and 2. who you are going to give it to and 3. why you think that person deserves it. It could be yourself and you are the biggest foodie baseball fan you know. Sell me! I’ll choose two winners from the comments on Wednesday, 13 May.

My decision is final and no discussions or objections will be entertained. Winners will be notified by email (The Disqus commenting system automatically saves them for me so make sure you use a valid email to comment.) and will have 48 hours to respond. If an original winner does not respond in that time frame, I will choose another winner. And so on, until we give both books away.

It’s a fun read! You all are going to love it!

Disclaimer: I was sent one copy of The Joy of Ballpark Food – From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine. No other remuneration was received. I am delighted to support this fundraising effort for Second Harvest Food Bank.

Update: I chickened out and couldn't chose between the comments for a winner so I let the random number generator at do the job. Our winner for the real book is Jan Elmore and she has been sent an email to confirm this.

Thanks for playing, everyone!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Muffin Top Cookies #CookieWeek #Giveaway

It’s the best part of every muffin! For those who like to eat the tops off of muffins and leave the rest, I give you Muffin Top Cookies with semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans. 

It’s Monday so usually that means muffins are baking at my house but today Muffin Monday and Cookie Week collide in a subtly spectacular fashion with Muffin Top Cookies. All the best of both worlds! If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that Cookie Week is the fabulous five-day celebration hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, who, by the way, also has a commercial kitchen and will ship her delicious cookies right to your door. I participated in the inaugural Cookie Week last year and it was such fun that I begged, "please, pretty please," to be allowed to take part again. It's a great group of bakers – a dozen all told – and we'll be bringing you delicious cookies all week long!

And, as if cookies weren’t enough, we’ve got prizes as well! Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the recipe for links to all the participating cookie bakers, check out the wonderful prizes and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

Our sponsors for this event have provided us with some great prizes and we'd like to extend a HUGE thank you for their generosity. Thanks to Imperial Sugar, Circulon, Peanut Butter & Co. and Page Street Publishing for being a part of Cookie Week!

Ingredients for about 2 dozen cookies
3/4 cup or 140g semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup or 60g chopped pecans
1 2/3 cups or 210g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
1/3 cup or 80ml canola or other light oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and prepare your cookie sheets by lining them with parchment or silicone liners.

Measure out your chocolate chips and pecans then set aside a small handful of each to decorate the tops of the cookies before baking.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, chopped pecans and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together your milk, oil, egg and vanilla.

Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and stir until just mixed.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon about 2 level tablespoons of dough, at 2 in or 4cm apart, onto your prepared cookie sheets. I like to use a two-tablespoon scoop, which makes the process so much easier.

Poke a few of the reserved chocolate chips and pieces of pecan into the top of each.

Bake the muffin top cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown. Cool for a couple of minutes and then use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These turn out cakey and very much like a muffin top! Enjoy!

Are you ready for some more warm COOKIES?!
Other blogs participating later this week include:

How about some hot baking PRIZES?! One winner takes all! 

How to enter
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment telling us what your favorite cookie is to bake during the holidays. Additional ways to enter will be then be revealed in the Rafflecopter widget.

1 (one) lucky person will win ALL the prizes listed above. The winner will be randomly chosen through Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open from Monday, November 3rd, 2014 to Monday, November 11th 11:59 EST to US residents only. The winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond, at which time a new winner will be drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway