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What’s Cooking? Contest Winners!

Sun Mar 1 2009

Jamie Oliver

I am pleased to announce the winners of my What’s Cooking? Jamie Oliver contest: Carla, Amy, Carrie and Molly have each won a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new game for the Nintendo DS. I will contact each of you individually to arrange for shipping. Thank you to everyone who entered. Below is the list of chefs SpicySaltySweet readers would like to learn from.

Bobby Flay
Gale Gand
Eric Ripert
Jacques Torres
Jamie Oliver
Emeril Lagasse

Personally, I’d love to continue to learn from the inimitable Nancy Silverton, who taught me a lot about simplicity and flavor while I was managing Pizzeria Mozza, and continues to as I eat her food as a guest there. I’d also love to learn from David Waltuck at New York’s Chanterelle. His melding of French and Asian cuisuines is amazing and always delicious.

How I picked the winners: I submitted a list of names to Random.org‘s list randomizer. That mixed up the names and assigned each  a number. Then I used the site’s Integer Generator to pick four winners.

Related Posts: Jamie Oliver Game Giveaway

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Fat Tuesday Beignets

Mon Feb 23 2009


Beignets for Fat Tuesday

People who know me know this: I have very few secrets. Maybe I read too much Dr. Seuss as a kid, or maybe I was interested in psychology too early, but I offer up information about myself like a flower does pollen. So when I recently let it slip that I have an obsession with donuts, I think my fiancé Neal was a little surprised.

I wasn’t allowed to eat many sweets growing up, and there were rarely any in our house. My mom occasionally bought coffee cake or, my favorite, boxes of Entenmann’s Donuts. I loved the mildly spicy powdered cinnamon ones best. They were cakey and just a little sweet, and they would almost dissolve into a glass of milk. When the cinnamon ones were all gone, I would furtively sneak the plain cake ones, thinking no one would notice.

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Jamie Oliver Game Giveaway

Tue Feb 17 2009

What's Cooking? Jamie Oliver

I’ve never really been much of a gamer. My brother and I shared an Atari when we were kids—it was our first and last video game system. While everyone else moved on to Super Mario Brothers, my gaming development was arrested at Pong. Not that there were ever really any games I was interested in playing, frankly. I didn’t like blowing things up, or running away from objects that were trying to blow me up. I preferred playing outside, reading books and decorating cakes.

But video games aren’t just for kids anymore. And they aren’t just about blowing things up, either. I love the Wii because it simulates real, physical action—perfect for rainy days or late-night decompressing. I’ve actually improved my golf swing goofing around on it. What’s Cooking? Jamie Oliver is like the Tiger Woods golf game for foodies and junior foodies, designed for the hand-held Nintendo DS. Released last October, What’s Cooking? Jamie Oliver is a cooking training game complete with 100 of the Naked Chef’s recipes. Oliver guides you through timed cooking challenges as you chop, whisk and serve his creations. And you have beautiful pictures to guide you. It’s gourmet gaming! And when you’re ready, you can put the DS down and listen to the instructions while you prepare the meal for real. There’s also room to store 100 more of your own recipes, a virtual “test kitchen” to try them out, and a shopping list mode so you can tote your DS to the market instead of that crumpled piece of paper. What’s Cooking? Jamie Oliver is almost like getting to learn to cook with a famous chef, minus the sharp knives and the rolling boil of berating epithets that usually fly around a professional kitchen.

I’m giving away four copies of the new Nintendo DS game, What’s Cooking? Jamie Oliver courtesy of our friends at Cookstr. Remember Cookstr? The site is a virtual repository of recipes from chefs and cookbook authors that is fast-replacing a lot of the recipe sites I’ve bookmarked over the years (though, surprisingly, it’s got me to buy more cookbooks, not less). It’s like having Nancy Silverton, Suzanne Goin and Mario Batali’s brains at my fingertips. I’ve found dozens of great recipes on the site, including the one for the crystallized grapefruit zest I made with my grapefruit and black pepper sorbet.

So how do you win? It’s as easy as scrambling an egg. To enter, post a comment here about which famous chef you’d like to learn to cook from. Your comment must be posted by 11:59 PM on February 28, 2009. For an extra entry, Twitter about the giveaway, then comment again here with a link to your Tweet. Winners will be chosen at random. Sorry, US residents only.

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Wine of the Week: I Love Croatia

Sat Feb 14 2009

Bibich RiservaI love Croatia. I’ve never been there, sure, but there are plenty of places that I love that I’ve never been: Argentina, Japan and Greece, to name a few. But before I wanted to climb the mountains of Patagonia or eat Argentine beef, before I learned about tiny village sake makers in Japan or imagined eating fresh feta as salty as the Aegean, I wanted to visit Croatia.

When I first learned about Croatia, it was the bullet-marred neighbor of Bosnia and Serbia, suffering amid the turmoil of the Yugoslav wars. Needless to say, it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to go. But, the next time I heard about Croatia was from some friends who had gone on Semester at Sea. They came back with “I heart Croatia” bumper stickers, and told of the cerulean waters of the Adriatic Sea, more beautiful than anything they had seen in the world. I decided I wanted to paddle up the Dalmatian Coast from Dubrovnik to Split, eat fish harpooned from the clear blue sea, and explore a civilization that has survived since the first millennium BC.

Now I’ve discovered yet another reason to want to visit Croatia—wine! The country is home to more than 300 diverse wine regions, producing whites (about 70%), reds and small amounts or rosé. The wines are similar in style to northeastern Italy, Austria, Hungry and Germany and include some of the same varietals, particularly Frankovka, also known as Blaufränkisch. But Croatia also makes some incredible, acid-driven wines from native varietals like Plavac Mali, which is an ancient relative of Zinfandel, and it seems that the best wines come from the Dalmatian Coast.

This Valentine’s Day, I’m paying tribute to my love of Croatia with a bottle of 2006 Bibich Riserva from the town of Skradin in North Dalmatia. A blend of three native varietals—Babich, Plavina and Lasin—the wine is full of fresh cherry and raspberry fruit, hints of clove and cardamom from aging in American oak, and an undercurrent of spicy black pepper. What I really love about this wine is its vibrant acidity and lighter body. It’s perfect for an evening when the meal might ordinarily call for a white wine, but you’re really in the mood for red (Dungeness crab, anyone?). I first tried the wine at Providence, for my birthday dinner, and it went remarkably well with the Black Bass and truffles I ate. It’s also equally tasty with a hearty roasted chicken or braised short ribs or stinky cheeses. Better yet, it’s got something for everyone—a little oak for the California wine lover and plenty of acidity for Old World wine geeks. And fortunately, since my enthusiasm for Croatian wine isn’t shared by many people, you can get this, and most Croatian wines, for less than $20.

Try it, and I think you’ll love Croatia, too.

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Feel the Love: Valentine’s Day

Tue Feb 3 2009

Trying to find a wedding venue has been like trying to decide what to eat for dinner when you’re too tired to cook and too hungry to decide. When the only coherent thoughts you have are about what you don’t want. I don’t want a hotel wedding. I don’t want to get married on the beach. And I definitely don’t want to get married at a ranch in the middle of a suburban industrial park with cars whizzing by on the freeway in the background. Yes the Victorian house on the property is beautiful. No, it’s not interesting enough for me to forget about the Self-Storage and the tile showroom I passed driving up to it.

I’m not as bitter about wedding planning as I was in my first post about the subject. I’m actually starting to enjoy it, thanks to my wedding planner, Emily, who has taken over all the research responsibilities. Now I can click on the myriad links she sends me leisurely. I can rule places out with a glance, and I don’t have to worry about hurting my mother’s feelings. And I can sit in my pajamas all day and flip through the stacks of wedding magazines my friend Suzy so thoughtfully lent me. None of this makes finding a location for both the ceremony and the reception that suits our budget any easier, however; it’s just less stressful.

But with most of my free time devoted to the business of getting married, and Neal hunkered down at his desk, working into the wee hours every night trying to finish a side project he took on months ago, I haven’t thought much about romance.
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Grapefruit & Black Pepper Sorbet

Wed Jan 28 2009

Grapefruit & Black Pepper Sorbet

 Grapefruit & Black Pepper Sorbet

Something happened while I was waiting for blood oranges. My friend Suzy brought me a giant bag full of Ruby Red grapefruits from her parents’ house in Palm Springs. Juicy, sweet and wonderfully tangy, these were some of the best grapefruits I’d had in years.

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Soup Swap

Fri Jan 23 2009

Tuscan Chickpea Soup

Tuscan Chickpea Soup

Planning a wedding stinks. At least at this stage. Neal and I will have been engaged for a month (as of tomorrow), and I’ve already cried three times, gotten a migraine and fought with my folks. And I thought not having a preconceived notion about my “dream wedding” would be a good thing.
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New Year’s Manifesto

Tue Jan 13 2009

New Year's Dinner

For someone who hates to be late, I’ve always had an awfully loose concept of time. For years I liked to set every clock in the house differently, just to remind myself how arbitrary, ultimately, the numbers all were. But as I’ve gotten busier, I’ve also become hyper aware of time—how much I’m wasting, how much I have to myself and how much I devote to particular projects. And surprisingly, instead of feeling the weight of it all, I often feel lighter because, after all, there’s only so much time in the day. The past few weeks have been unbelievably busy. Brooke (a.k.a. Food Woolf) and I spent all of New Year’s Day cooking a multi-course Italian dinner for our significant others, White on Rice Couple and Matt of Matt Bites and his husband, Adam. I spent the next few days cleaning up. Then, in addition to our full time jobs, we managed to finish our book proposal. Oh yeah. And Neal and I got engaged.

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Pistachio Persimmon Cupcakes

Tue Dec 30 2008

 Pistachio Persimmon Cupcakes

Pistachio Persimmon Cupcakes

Do you remember when the cupcake was just a lowly children’s birthday party treat—just yellow Betty Crocker cake with some shelf-stabilized, not-even-sure-if-it-contains-cocoa chocolate frosting? It was simpler then, before New York’s Magnolia Bakery threw down the first whisk in the cupcake wars. There was no sneaking off into the bathroom to eat a Sprinkles carrot cake cupcake where no one could see you lick off all the cream cheese frosting first, no hiding the pink cardboard boxes from your coworkers in the bottom drawer of your desk, no snatching the paper-wrapped delights out of a little girl’s hand saying you just want a bite…
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Menu for Hope V

Wed Dec 17 2008


I have teamed up with the super-awesome wine shop K&L Wine Merchants (who also happens to be my employer!) for this year’s Menu for Hope, a campaign to benefit the UN World Food Programme. Started by Chez Pim after the incredibly devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, Menu for Hope combines the efforts of food bloggers around the world to serve a higher purpose, namely getting food to those who need it. This year’s campaign is already underway and will continue through Christmas. The proceeds of this year’s Menu for Hope will benefit the school lunch program in Lesotho. This program sources food locally, supporting the local economy, and helps keep the kids in school, which can help end the cycle of poverty. It’s an incredible cause and one we’re thrilled to be a part of. Menu for Hope IV raised nearly $100k to feed the hungry.

So what does this mean?
There are a whole host of food-related goodies being raffled off for your charitable donation. For every $10 you donate, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. At the end of the campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and announced on Chez Pim. My dear friend and amazing writer/photographer Matt, of MattBites, is the West Coast coordinator, so check out his site to see all of the prizes available from the West Coast partners.

Our prize!
Hold onto your hats wine lovers. K&L Wine Merchants and me, SpicySaltySweet, are offering two magnums of Bordeaux with a combined retail value of $500!

Pichon Lalande2005 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac (1.5L) This Left Bank second growth comes from the 2005 vintage, possibly the best vintage ever in Bordeaux and definitely among the top five. Beloved by the critics, the ’05 Pichon-Lalande was rated 93 points by Wine Spectator and 90-92 points by Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Wonderfully aromatic and elegant, this wine has ripe, sweet black cherry aromas and flavors, spiked by currant, anise and spice box on both the nose and palate. Not a powerhouse Bordeaux that thinks it’s a California cab, but a beautifully integrated wine that will continue to gain complexity in your cellar over the decades.

Cos d'Estournel1999 Cos d’Estournel, St-Estèphe (1.5L) This inimitable second growth Bordeaux is already starting to show, though like other top-notch Bordeaux it can continue to age for decades. Made by the talented Jean-Guillaume Prats, the 1999 is an elegant blend of 65% cabernet sauvignon and 35% merlot made from the estate’s best fruit–only 40% of the year’s harvest went into this grand vin. We love its mineral notes and classically restrained structure. Robert Parker says: “The dark ruby-colored 1999 Cos is a supremely elegant effort. The wine offers notes of dried Provencal herbs, smoke, licorice, black cherries, and cassis. This medium to full-bodied St.-Estephe is cerebral, intellectual, and refined…”

Offered by: K&L Wine Merchants and me, Leah Greenstein.

Prize Code: UW25

Special Note: Due to the complex shipping rules in the U.S. it is illegal to ship alcohol to the following states: DE, FL, GA, IA, KY, ME, MD, MI, MT, NH, NC, OK, PA, RI, TN, UT, VA, but there are plenty of non-alcoholic prizes to bid on.

Donation Instructions
1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim. The code for this prize is UW25.

2. Next, go to the donation site at FirstGiving to make a donation

3. For every  $10 you donate, you will get one virtual raffle ticket. **Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation.** You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.

For example: If you make a $50 donation, you will get 5 raffle tickets that can be applied however you like. You can put all 5 toward UW25 (you would write: 5xUW25) or 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 (write: 2xEU01, 3xEU02) Please feel free to email me questions if this is not clear, the system isn’t perfect.

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.


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About Leah



  • 101 Cookbooks
  • Bitten
  • Bubbe Maisse (aka Deborah Stoll)
  • Cook & Eat
  • Delicious Days
  • Epicurious
  • Food Network
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  • FP Daily
  • Grub Street
  • Mario Batali
  • Matt Bites
  • Mooncici Design
  • Orangette
  • Pinch My Salt
  • Serious Eats
  • Slow Food
  • Swirling Notions
  • The Grinder
  • The Pour
  • Vinography
  • White on Rice Couple
  • Wrightfood

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