Archive for the 'Contests' Category

@TheSpiceHouse @SpiceHunter @steamykitchen myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume

December 23, 2011

In the Christmas carol chestnut, “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” there are references to fabled gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – objects which are loaded with symbolism in the Bible and not things I had any passing knowledge of as a child. The lyrics about “myrrh” in particular conjure up some gruesome images for me in the middle of this lovely melody:

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Yay? So … myrrh was an embalming agent, a burial spice, and it translates to “bitter” in Arabic – nice baby gift! I just don’t see it in recipes I use. Is it still used?

Today, we think of this European and western Asian spice as Chervil or French Parsley. According to, “Myrrh has a sweet and mild anise flavor, which improves the acidic taste of when paired with many different fruits. Myrrh can be used nicely as a substitute for sugar when this herb is used for flavoring sweet dishes.” Because of the delicate flavor, it is advised to add it to a dish just before serving, rather than in a long cooking process.

There are many online resources for learning about and buying spices. Not all of them carry chervil but the journey to find it often proves more interesting than the quest itself.

Jaden Hair of offers this wisdom: “One who has harmony in seasonings need no recipe.” So to start with good seasonings, spice with the best.

The Spice House


Merchants of the exquisite, hand-selected spices, herbs, and seasonings since 1957.

Bingo! Ask and ye shall find.


Spice Hunter


“We source spices and herbs from the world’s most ideal growing regions to produce high-quality and organic lines of all natural spices, herbs and blends.”

Buy chervil in Fines Herbes Blend (0.3 oz. jar)


Spice Islands

“Although two spices share the same name, they may not taste the same. Some vanilla tastes sweeter. Some cinnamon is hotter. And some dill is just dillier.

At Spice Islands Trading Company, we search the world for the highest-quality, most flavorful herbs and spices, from Madagascar to Saigon to California. It’s been our quest since 1941 so you get the most flavorful ingredients.”

No chervil, but enter the “Taste the World” spice giveaway online/Facebook for a chance to win.



“With more than $3 billion in annual sales, the Company manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavorful products to the entire food industry.”


Zamouri Spices

“Zamouri Spices is your one stop shopping for hard-to-find spices.” Mid-Eastern, Moroccan, Indian/Asian, Turkish

Website offers: video cooking demonstrations, cookware, recipes, teas, bath and beauty (would Jesus use myrrh as skin care?) but no social media links.

Buy .50 oz/half cup jar of chervil for $3.50

Chervil is considered indispensable in French cuisine. It is also used in sauces and soups in Germany and Holland as well. Chervil’s light flavor is prone to breakdown with long stewing or roasting, so either save it till the end or add a little more at the end of cooking to bring it back.”


Atlantic Spice Company

“The highest quality culinary herbs and spices, teas, dehydrated vegetables, nuts, seeds, botanicals, essential oils, spice blends, potpourri ingredients and fragrance oils all at wholesale prices.”

Buy .40 oz of chervil for $2.50, a good amount to refill a spice jar set

“Chervil goes well with saffron, tarragon and parsley. These herbs together are often used for flavoring cream based soups, egg dishes and smoked fish. Chervil is a wonderful addition to vinegar and oil salad dressings.”


Zach’s Spice Company

Spices for the barbeque-er or Cajun/Creole chef in your life. No chervil, y’awl.


History of Spicy food


Happy Holidays!

@deltaairlines Biscoff Bake-off? why isn’t anyone monitoring content?!

November 28, 2011
Delta’s Facebook presence as a business page is impressive. Their wall engages followers in posting comments and includes special offers. There are no less than 5 separate customized screens with details about features, services, a Biscoff Bake-off contest and more. A recent contest required entrants to be on Facebook and to “like” Delta, thus adding to their online presence. As a long-time SkyMiles member and frequent flyer, I never heard a word about the holiday contest until a friend liked Delta on Facebook – very poorly marketed!
EPIC FAIL – The programmers who added the Biscoff Bake-Off contest information (start on Sept 30, 2011 and end on Oct 23, 2011) have – as of Nov 28, 2011 – STILL not updated the information nor taken it down. The contest ended and winners announced already. A single wall post celebrates the winning bakers Meg King (730 votes), Laurie Lufkin (517) and Atif Chaudhrey (668 votes) and recipes: Although baked salmon and crusted shrimp are creative in their use of cookies – give me cookies!
Biscoff gets it!

Olga’s Biscoff Coffee Cake

  • 1 Duncan Hines Butter Cake
  • 1 Small Box Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 3/4 Cup Crisco Vegetable Oil
  • 10 – 15 Biscoff Biscuits

Biscoff Crumb Filling and Topper

  • 10 – 15 crushed Biscoff biscuits
  • 1/2 stick cold Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Cinnamon with 3 Tbls Sugar
  • 1 Cup Pecans or Walnuts. chopped – optional

Grease and flour large bundt pan and sprinkle with small amount of the cinnamon mixture and nuts.
Set aside.
Mix first five cake ingredients together until well blended.
Pour approximately 1 cup of batter in bundt pan and spread with a layer of crushed Biscoff cookies, sprinkle with cinnamon- sugar mixture and dot with cold butter and nuts.
Continue layering with batter, filling and dotting with butter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.
Serve cold or hot with whipped topping or ice cream.

Recipe courtesy of: Olga Smyth, West Columbia, SC


Pumpkin Crumb Bars
(Serves 6)

  • 1 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Quick-Cooking Oats
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup diced Macadamia Nuts

Crumb Topping

  • 1 Cup Crust Mixture (from above)
  • 1 Cup (About 12 Cookies) coarsely crushed Biscoff Cookies


  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
  • 1/8 Cup Oil
  • 2 Cups (16 Oz Can) Pumpkin
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Powdered Ginger

Heat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, butter, baking soda and salt.   Beat at low speed until mixture is crumbly.   Stir in nuts.  Reserve 1 cup for crumb topping.   Press remaining mixture on bottom of greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, butter, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.   Add dry ingredients and continue to mix until well blended.   Pour filling onto crust.

Crumb Topping
Mix together 1 cup crust mixture and 1 cup Biscoff cookies.   Sprinkle on top of pumpkin filling.   Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool.  Chill.  Cut into bars. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Recipe courtesy of: Rae Oshiro, Aiea, HI


Penguin Rendezvous
(Serves 15)

  • 36 Rendezvous Biscuits
  • 9 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Seedless Raspberry Jam
  • 2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Whole Raspberries Without Syrup, Thawed And Drained
  • 3 oz White Chocolate
  • 16 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 8 oz Frozen Whipped Topping, thawed
  • 4 Additional Rendezvous Biscuits coarsely crumbled

Bottom Crust:
Finely crush 36 Rendezvous Biscuits.   Melt butter until creamy but not totally liquid.   Mix melted butter into crushed crumbs.   Press into a 9 X 13 pan.   Refrigerate crust until firm.

Middle Layer:
Spread jam onto crumb crust.   Reserve 1/2 Cup of the raspberries for garnish; arrange the remaining 1 1/2 Cups raspberries evenly over jam.

Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler until smooth when stirred; cool slightly.   Meanwhile combine cream cheese and powdered sugar.   Mix well.   Gradually whisk in melted white chocolate and milk.   Fold in whipped topping.   Spread carefully over raspberries.   Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.   Cut into squares.   Garnish with the coarsely crumbled Rendezvous biscuits and fresh raspberries.

Recipe courtesy of: Geraldine Altomaro, Woodhaven, MI

@Patina Win Two Tickets to Patina’s Oysters, Pig, and Pinot After-Party

October 31, 2011

Grub Street editors want to be tickled by your opinion and are offering tickets for Patina’s 22nd anniversary dinner after party if you can convince them in 60 words or less: of oysters, pinot, or pig, which is the most kick-ass?

From Grub Street:

Win Two Tickets to Patina’s Oysters, Pig, and Pinot After-Party.

“Lest we get wrapped in digital toilet paper, we’re offering a treat to our readers. We’re giving away two tickets to one reader to attend next Wednesday’s “Oysters, Pigs, and Pinot” at Patina, the after-party following the restaurant’s 22nd anniversary dinner where alumni chefs like Walter Manzke and Octavio Becerra will join Joachim Splichal (who’s making a potato chip sandwich with scallops and caviar for the occasion) and Tony Esnault in the kitchen. The party will find guests mingling with all the guest chefs, while digging into some brine, swine, and vine. How do you win the tickets?

“To enter the contest for the pair of tickets (each valued at $30), simply offer us a humorous reflection in 60 words or less that offers your opinion on which one of the three included ingredients (oysters, pinot, or pig) is the most kick-ass. Our hard-working Grub Street editors, who will together pick the winner, want to laugh here folks, so please make them funny, using all the creative comedic power you can muster.

Send all entries to the care of Grub Street Los Angeles over email <> by 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 1st. (SHAME ON NY MAGAZINE EDITORS FOR MAKING A CALENDAR DATE AN ORDINAL NUMBER – FAUX PAS!) Our cabal of editors will hold a loya jirga (a meeting) the next day to decide which entry we like the most, and the winner shall be known by all the next day. Then presto-change-o, that winner will find themselves the winner of two tickets to the Patina event, just like that. See New York Magazine’s official contest rules here and best of luck to all who dare to enter.”

Good Luck!

@beardfoundation My ideal cheese plate as world tour of tastes #JBFcheese

October 25, 2011

My ideal cheese plate must offer an escape and learning experience, all with a sense of adventure. On my plate you might find cheese from many continents, many regions. Caravane (camel milk cheese from Mauritania, Africa), Ismil Cheese (from South Korea, Asia) and Paski sir (hard sharp cheese from the Island of Peg, Croatia) and Brynza (crumbly salty cheese like feta from Russia) from Europe. Oka (soft creamy trappist cheese from Quebec, Canada), Evandale cheese (winner of Supreme Champion Award in New Zealand), and Panquehue (a peppery semi-soft cheese from Chile, South America) would also be featured. An appearance of Hokkaldo from Japan, Xaintray from France or Manchego from Spain would be most welcomed.

In celebration (or perhaps observation) of National Cheese Month in October, the James Beard Foundation is holding a contest for a chance to win an exquisite Lenox Cheese and Cracker set. Post your ideal cheese plate to his blog, on his Facebook page, or on Twitter by the end of the day on Tuesday, Oct 25. Winners will be chosen by random.

Note: Announced on October 24, the contest deadline is October 25 to submit entry to win a Lenox Cheese and Cracker set.

With National Cheese Month, are you up on all your cheese lingo? “Fromology” cheese making, “Turophile” lover or fancier of cheese, “Confrerie des Chevaliers du Taste Fromage” an exclusive group of cheese enthusiasts in France active since the Middle Ages (I’m not making this up), “artisanal” cheese either made on farms from milk produced there or more loosely cheese produced in small volumes and of unique individual characteristics. In honor of National Cheese Month and the late James Beard’s contributions as the dean of American cookery, I’m watching Pixar’s Ratatouille!

Enjoy the James Beard Foundation blog

Enjoy Sara Dickerman’s great article: “Good Cheeses Come in Small Packages”

And if I win the Lenox set – cheese tasting soiree chez moi!

@YamashiroLA @Komida_LA Opening on Oct 6 Plan for lines! Be hungry for tacos!

October 6, 2011

Buy a taco before 8:30 PM on Thursday, October 6 and you’re entered to win a chance at free tacos for a year. What’s not to love? Come support Komida’s debut.

@YamashiroLA Executive Chef @ChefBrock Kleweno serves up his popular Farmers Market tacos in prime time with the grand opening of Komida on October 6. Down the hill from Yamashiro, Komida will debut in a very Hollywood space, using the patio and former bar area (of former H Wood location) at 1738 N Orange Drive, Los Angeles 90028 just off of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland. Confirmed tacos to be served include: Hoisin Duck Confit; and Sake Black Cod; Soy & Red Wine Braised Short Rib; Chicken ‘Satay.’   <<< GPS by Google  <<< Follow on Facebook

@ChefBrock From Market to Komida, Konnichiwa Japanese Tacos

September 28, 2011

Yesterday, in talking with Best-of-the-Wurst German Food Vendor at the Torrance Farmers’ Market, I learned about the Yamashiro Farmer’s Market. @YamashiroLA “That restaurant above Magic Castle?” Yes, the very one. Reportedly last fall there was more of an Oktoberfest celebration there, but winds and chilly weather dissuaded organizers from holding one again this year. The prospect of a Farmers’ Market near my old Franklin Towers haunts piqued my interests.

According to the website for the L.A. City Farm:
“Every Thursday from April to September we host our weekly Farmers Market right here at Yamashiro. Open from 5-9pm we have a wide selection of vendors selling fresh produce, great wine, coffee, jewelry and unique cuisine. Our Executive Chef Brock Kleweno will also be serving his amazing fusion tacos from our Yamashiro Farmers Market Grill. Bring some friends, grab a drink and some food and enjoy Hollywood’s best evening Farmers’ Market while taking in the best view of Los Angeles.” (closing for the season on September 29, 2011)

Japanese tacos? Tell me more!

Grub Street writer Hadley Tomicki features Chef Kleweno @ChefBrock in today’s issue:

“The best thing to emerge from Yamashiro in years has been its seasonal farmers market, which allows for the hilltop restaurant’s sterling views without the commitment to dinner. The best taste to emerge from Yamashiro in years has to be the Japanese tacos of chef Brock Kleweno, who set up a small stand in the market for corn tortilla tacos filled with miso sake black cod, chicken satay, spiced hoisin duck confit, and soy and red wine braised short rib ($4-6), accompanied by salsas like a wasabi guacamole, ginger pico de gallo, and tequila salsa verde.

“Next Thursday, October 6, Kleweno will open Komida, a slightly more formal version of his Japanese taco stand, at Hollywood’s former H. Wood space for two nights each week, Thursdays 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and harking back to farmers market hours, Saturdays 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 p.m. (additional hours and days are being organized for November).”

On October 6, the Komida opening will be celebrated with original artwork by LA-based artist/author/illustrator bethany bARTon (looks really good on yfrog) and everyone who comes to the opening on Thursday and buys a taco before 8:30 p.m. will be entered into a drawing for three free Komida tacos every week for a year. Wow! Maybe this is a sign that Komida’s temporary location will last longer than a mirage in this city of drive-by architecture.

Komida, 1738 N Orange Dr. Hollywood.

#yfroglunch contest at

August 23, 2011

Enter to win $100 restaurant gift card!?

Hop to it!

#yfroglunch contest at

Take a picture of yourself having lunch at your favorite restaurant.

A photo of you with the restaurant’s food, physical logo, or menu visible in the picture.

Upload the photo to yfrog and tweet about it.

Make sure you mention @yfroglunch and include #yfroglunch in your tweet to be eligible.
Example of an eligible tweet:

“Hey @yfroglunch here’s my lunch #subway, give me my free #yfroglunch!;

That’s it! You are now entered to win $100!

The contest runs daily. Enter to win every day!

  • Go to, sign in, and upload using our upload form.
  • Use the “yfrog” service on any number of your favorite apps.

The following apps support yfrog:

Twitter(r) for Android, Twitter(r) for Blackberry, Twitter(r) for iPhone, Tweetdeck, 360Panorama, ChromedBird, DestroyTwitter, IceBird, Imageposter, JimmyTwitter, MoTweets, Osfoora, Powertwitter, RedWind, Seesmic, SimplyTweet, Tweetbot, Tweetings, Tweetlogix, TweetMe, Twemor, Twibble, Twicca, Twim, Twitbit, Twitdroyd, TwitRocker, Twittelator, Twitterberry, Twitterific, URLy, yfrog for Android, yfrog for Blackberry, Yoono.

If an app you love does not support yfrog, ask the app’s developers to include it!

Gotta love amphibious and photogenic dining! 😀

Champagne & a kiss for Mickey makes a perfect birthday!