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Giveaway: Candy in a Jar eBooks

Book Mill

One of the things I most appreciate about technology is the fact that it gives people the opportunity to share their creative works with larger audiences without having to go through the traditional channels. Musicians can get their music out to appreciate ears, photographers have unlimited methods for disseminating their work, and writers can sidestep the publishing industry with ease.

One such writer who has taken great advantage of ready online distribution is Jennifer Kitchens. She is the author of a quartet of ebooks dedicated to sweet spreads and preserves. They are called Candy in a Jar, More Candy in a Jar, Candy in a Jar: Tastes of Summer, and Candy in a Jar: Fall Flavors (you can also buy all four in a single edition, if you prefer).

Jennifer took the time to answer a few questions about herself. Read more about her and her work after the jump!

For this week’s giveaway, I have three copies of Jennifer’s books to share. The winners will get to choose which they’d like to have and cook from. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell us about your favorite sweet preserve.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, May 30, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog soon thereafter.
  3. Giveaway open to all. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

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Cookbooks: Seven Spoons

Seven Spoons cover

If you follow the food blog scene, you may have heard that long-time blogger Tara O’Brady recently released her first cookbook, Seven Spoons. I have seen this beautiful book everywhere lately, coupled with glowing praise and pictures of delectable food.

Seven Spoons chia pudding

Tara’s book landed in my mailbox during that crazy phase when I was finishing my own book draft and while I took a cursory glance, I didn’t pay it the attention it merited. However, since turning in that document, I’ve been clearing out the piles and turning my focus to the neglected pile of review copies that gathered in an unwieldy stack next to my desk.

Seven Spoons spiced candied nuts

Friends, this book deserves all the love it has received of late. I’ve spent many an hour falling into these glorious pages and my copy is now riddled with hopeful Post-Its. It has that perfect balance of inviting story telling, appealing recipes, and spare, beautiful photography.

Seven Spoons soused tomatoes

I also love that in a world where cookbooks seem to require increasingly narrow lenses to be salable, this one simply features Tara’s favorite recipes. This means that you’ve got recipes for seeded bread alongside braised beef. I so appreciate the diversity and inspiration these pages deliver.

Seven Spoons pickled jalapenos

In addition to the recipes I’ve pictured here (which I very much want to try), I’m also hoping to make the Fennel and Chard Puff (page 95), the Pickled Strawberry Preserves (page 111), and the Rhubarb Raspberry Rye Crumble (page 219) as soon as is reasonable.

Seven Spoons spine

What cookbooks have been delighting you of late?

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Cookbooks: Will It Waffle + Giveaway

Wil It Waffle

I first discovered Daniel Shumski and his waffle project in early 2010. He was on a mission to waffle everything that could waffle and as an devoted waffler myself, I took an interest. I watched the blog for awhile, before sending him a quick note, asking if he might be interested in a quick guest post featuring my waffle iron collection and a few of my waffle thoughts. He was and publishing this.

Will It Waffle hash brown

Last fall, Daniel published a book called Will it Waffle that contains more than fifty wonderful things you can waffle beyond a ladle of batter. It makes me long to leap up, pull out one of my two remaining waffle irons (an old vintage model and the Calphalon Belgium version – I gave the other old chrome model to my sister) and start cooking.

Will It Waffle Stuffles

This book features ways to use your waffle iron for every meal of the day. There’s waffled french toast, sausage and hash browns for breakfast, gridded grilled cheese for lunch, waffled chicken parm for dinner, as well as salad toppers, side dishes, and desserts. If you happen to have a partner who objects to your waffle maker collection, this book will help you justify their presence in delicious fashion.

(If you’re in the market for a waffle iron, The Sweethome recently updated their recommendations. They don’t rank my Calphalon model very highly, but it has served me well over the last seven years. That said, it came to me as a review unit back in my Slashfood days, and when it eventually breaks, I’ll probably replace it with a less expensive Belgium maker.)

Will It Waffle Fawaffle

Daniel wants to spread the waffle love and so is offering up two copies of his book for giveaway. We’ll pick one winner in the US and another for Canada, so please do mention in your comment where you live. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a story that involves a waffle.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Monday, April 20, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog soon thereafter.
  3. Giveaway open to United States and Canadian residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: The copy of Will it Waffle that is pictured here is a review copy that Workman Publishing sent to me last fall when the book first came out and Daniel is providing copies for the giveaway. All my opinions remain my own. 

Cookbooks: Fika

fika cover

I have always been drawn to the coffee and tea rituals of other countries and cultures. When I was seven or eight years old, I tried to convince my mom that we should take up the practice of afternoon tea a la Great Britain (of course, I was mostly in it for the promise of cake).

fika spine

So, you can understand that when I heard that a book called Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break (by Anna Brones & Johanna Kindvall) was coming out, I was all in. I pre-ordered a copy for myself, but before it shipped, a review copy from Ten Speed landed in my mail box. Within 24 hours of its arrival, I’d read it cover to cover and was dreaming about instituting my own daily fika.

what is fika page

Fika is the Swedish tradition of taking a daily break in which one takes the time to have a coffee (or tea, if that’s your thing) and nibble a baked good (homemade if you can manage it). As a born and bred United States person, who has been conditioned to believe that coffee is best drunk in transit or while working (as I’m doing right now), the idea of a cultural imperative that requires you stop in order to enjoy a cup and a snack hugely appeals to me.

fika rye bread

If you also feel drawn to the idea of fika, this book will help get you oriented and ready. It begins with an introduction to fika and then proceeds to address the history of Swedish coffee. In that chapter, you’ll find also find recipes for the seven traditional fika cookies.

They’ve also included sections on modern fika treats, things to make during the summer months when time can be spent outside, fika for celebrations, and finally breads, sandwiches, and ways to turn fika into a full-fledged snack.

fika jam thumbprints

I marked a number of recipes to try, including the Jam Thumbprint Cookies pictured above (I love that they are more like tiny tarts than the thumbprints we’re used to), the Almond Tart on page 58, and the Quick Buns on page 70. There are also a few jam recipes tucked here and there throughout the book, and they are sensible, non-nonsense takes on preserving which I appreciate.

fika back

Instead of using photography to depict the recipes, this book relies on Johanna Kindvall’s charming illustrations. I love this element, but if you buy cookbooks for the images, this might not be the right book for you.

I predict that this is a book that I’ll keep in regular rotation, both for the approachable recipes as well as for the reminder to take step away from the phone/computer/camera/stove for a little while each day.

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Cookbooks: Better on Toast

Better on Toast cover

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have noticed that I’m a big fan of putting things on toast (though lately, I’ve been on something of a soft boiled egg kick). I think that toast is an equally good vehicle for pickles and kraut as it for jams and butters and I have made many a meal over the years out of a slice of toast topped with a few scraps of cheese and a goodly layer of relish.

toast picture from Better on Toast

So when I heard that there was a book coming out called Better on Toast by Jill Donenfeld, I made a point of searching out a copy. I figured it would contain some good inspiration for my own toast practice, and also might offer some ideas for those of you who looking to use up your preserves in fresh ways.

salmon rillettes Better on Toast

The book opens with a introduction that goes deep into Jill’s love of toast and the many ways you can transform a humble slab of bread into toast (traditional toasting, grilled, pan toasted, or oven toasted). Then, it proceeds into sections devoted to breakfast, hor d’oeuvres, non-veg toppings, veg toppings, and finally things to do with your extra bread.

Pesto Swirl Better on Toast

I think the beauty of this book is that while it offers a number of actual recipes, it should be used more as an inspirational guide. Because Jill’s ideas can easily translate to the specific contents of your own pantry without too much issue.

Grilled Cheese Better on Toast

For instances, the recipe above for Grilled Cheese with Romaine and Bosc Pear (page 123). When pears aren’t in season, you could just as easily make this with canned pears from your pantry, or even with a couple dabs of pear vanilla jam. A few pages later, she’s got you heaping golden beets on a piece of toast topped with yogurt that’s been spiced with vadouvan. Steal the idea and use your own pickled beets instead.

Better on Toast spine

If you struggle how to use up your preserves and love toast (I realize it’s an endangered species these days), this might be a good book to add to your wish list or library queue.

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Cookbooks: Dessert for Two

cover of Dessert for Two

There is just so much to like about Christina Lane’s new book, Dessert for Two. It’s got page after page of gorgeous photography. The book is hefty and feels good in your hands. And all the recipes it contains for cookies, cakes, tarts, bars are scaled to serve just two or three.

Dessert for Two contents

Released last month and bearing the same name as her very clever blog, Dessert for Two is arranged by kind of treat. There are cookies (never more than a dozen), bars (including, but not limited to several varieties of brownies), cakes (including a petite wedding cake), Southern delights (Christina is from Texas), and candy (because why not!).

, brownies for two

I’ve used her recipe for brownies several times since the book landed on my doorstep and I’m always delighted both by their flavor and the fact that there’s not a whole pan of them hanging around my kitchen. You bake them in a loaf tin and the yield is just two generous brownies (though I often cut them into thirds so that they stretch a little further).

blueberry mason jar lid pies

And then, there’s the novel way that Christina uses mason jar lids. She flips the flat lid upside and turns it into a tiny removable bottom pan. You’ll see her do this for both tarts and pies and the result is both practical and adorable.

chocolate caramel mason jar lid tarts

If you have a small household and you like homemade desserts, this would be a very good book to add to your collection!

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