The “True or False Cooking Quiz starts now! Remember, we’ll be showing you the answers immediately after you take the quiz. So to keep things on the up and up, only ONE entry per person please!
To enter, answer the questions below and submit your answers.
***IMPORTANT: SELECT THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER.***
Winners will be selected and announced tomorrow.
We’re giving away $100 Amazon gift cards to three (3) winners! One will go to the first person to get a perfect score, another to a randomly selected person from the first 15 perfect scores, and the third gift card will go to a randomly selected person from all perfect scores.
(Feel free to shout out your score in the comments!)
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Photo: Receiving Best in the World Gourmand World Cookbook Award in Yantai in June, 2015.
I have some news. I didn’t think this would come any time soon, but, I found out I only have about 200 copies of my cookbook, Pomegranates and Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan, left. In the world! The news is as rewarding as it is a bit sad, as once the book is completely sold out, its future will be unknown – as of now, no plans to re-print it, unless circumstances change and I do so.
If you’d like a copy for yourself or your loved ones, THIS IS your chance! You can buy the book on the links below:
AZCOOKBOOK.com (ships worldwide; books here available until May 29th).
AMAZON.com (ships within US only).
I thank you for your support of my work from the bottom of my heart. This may not be the end, but the beginning of something more beautiful. I believe it. Book #2, perhaps?
The post Last copies of ‘Pomegranates and Saffron’ Cookbook appeared first on AZ Cookbook.
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|Courtesy of StarChefs|
I’ve long been impressed by the Rising StarChefs awards. Unlike chef awards, their process is transparent and has a rigor that is often missing. I spoke with Antoinette Bruno, the CEO and Editor in Chief of StarChefs to discuss the upcoming awards and the diversity that they reflect. The StarChefs Gala takes place on June 11, 2019, buy tickets or learn more.
What’s the process for selecting Rising StarChefs?
Antoinette Bruno (AB): The selection process has more or less remained the same since 2002. The awards program has just grown in size and scope. StarChefs covers four cities or regions a year. From the nomination process through the Gala, it takes about six months per city. Today, we have a network of more than 1,200 Rising Stars alumni who contribute their nominations. We also accept recommendations through social media, our website, and during in-person interviews. We do in-house research as well, and candidates are vetted through a “pre-interview.” Generally, an editorial crew of two, sometimes more, visits the restaurants for an in-person interview, tasting, and photography, and then reports back to the editorial team at StarChefs HQ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Many times we will return to restaurants for more than one visit.
Often the StarChefs Rising Stars Award is the first major award or national recognition a young chef, sommelier, bartender, or artisan may receive. Because StarChefs is on the ground in restaurants interviewing and tasting with hundreds of chefs and other industry professionals across the country every year, we have insights into the hospitality industry on a micro level. No other publication in the country has been able to do this kind of grassroots work.
The current list of Rising Star Chefs in San Francisco is incredibly diverse, was that intentional?
AB: Talent is talent. Identifying the talented young leaders of the hospitality industry is our intention. We intend to find winners that represent the diversity of the industry and the city or region they represent. We have gotten better at this over the years by expanding the pool of communities we reach out to for nominations and from whom we gather information and recommendations. Unless the people involved in our process are diverse, generally the group of winners won’t be terribly diverse either.
How important is diversity in the restaurant industry?
AB: The diversity of the workforce in the restaurant industry is what drives it forward. It’s the industry’s greatest asset and strength. Some of the most exciting restaurants in America right now are run by immigrants or the children of immigrants—San Francisco Rising Star Chefs Robert Hernandez of Octavia, Nicolas Delaroque of Nico, Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz of Noosh, Francis Ang of Pinoy Heritage, Reem Assil of Reem’s, Janice Dulce of FOB Kitchen, and Bartenders Emilio and Miguel Salehi of The Beehive are among them.
It’s been a few years since StarChefs had an awards gala in San Francisco, what brought you back this year?
AB: We’ve been taking a deep dive into the San Francisco Bay Area every three years since 2005. We return to a city in search of a new class of Rising Stars based on the city’s size and depth of the restaurant industry there. For example, we cover New York every other year, Chicago and Los Angeles every three years, and Washington, D.C. every four years.
How would you characterize the San Francisco dining (and bar) scene?
AB: The Bay Area has always been a region of peaks and valleys, and indeed we saw a metropolis bouncing with growth and change. Still, in a challenging city for cooks, we found no shortage of talent—in San Francisco and Oakland. StarChefs gave out 23 Rising Stars Awards this time around, to a total of 26 winners. Eleven of those award winners are women—the most of any class of Rising Stars in the 17-year history of the program. The San Francisco Bay Area’s diversity—including the second largest population of Filipino Americans in the country—is reflected.
2016 Rising Star Chef Yoni Levy is now the chef of Salesforce HQ. He left his post at beloved Outerlands so that he could spend more time with his growing family. Chefs are now taking care of themselves and their staff more than ever. We saw these trends of self-care and tech influence merge at Rising Star Chef Adam Tortosa’s restaurant Robin, where he has created an extraordinary benefits program (including a trip to Japan!). We found San Francisco and Oakland in love with natural wines, with Rising Star Somm Louisa Smith leading the charge. And, of course, so much outstanding bread—more than you can stuff in a suitcase.
In what ways is the dining scene in San Francisco different from other American cities?
AB: The Michelin stars for California were released today, and Northern California has the highest concentration of stars in the country. No surprise there. So, the bar is high in San Francisco. StarChefs is an industry-facing publication, rather than consumer. I encourage all young cooks to come to San Francisco to stage around if they can swing it. Because the city is such a tough one for young cooks to survive financially, the labor shortage is acute. Kitchens need the extra hands and it can be relatively easy to get in the door and gain valuable experience at some of the best restaurants in the country.
Looking forward, any predictions for how dining will continue to evolve?
AB: I hope that we will continue to see more of what we found in this class of Rising Stars: more women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community represented in leadership roles. I also hope we continue to see the expansion of proper benefits programs for restaurant workers, like we have seen in the Bay Area, as well as a continued focus on the work/life balance and the mental and physical health of chefs and hospitality professional on the whole.
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“A whole new way to celebrate ingredients that have long been wasted. Lindsay-Jean is a master of efficiency and we’re inspired to follow her lead!”
—Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, cofounders of Food52
In 85 innovative recipes, Lindsay-Jean Hard—who writes the “Cooking with Scraps” column for Food52—shows just how delicious and surprising the all-too-often-discarded parts of food can be, transforming what might be considered trash into culinary treasure.
Here’s how to put those seeds, stems, tops, rinds to good use for more delicious (and more frugal) cooking: Carrot greens—bright, fresh, and packed with flavor—make a zesty pesto. Water from canned beans behaves just like egg whites, perfect for vegan mayonnaise that even non-vegans will love. And serve broccoli stems olive-oil poached on lemony ricotta toast. It’s pure food genius, all the while critically reducing waste one dish at a time.
“I love this book because the recipes matter…show[ing] us how to utilize the whole plant, to the betterment of our palate, our pocketbook, and our place.” —Eugenia Bone, author of The Kitchen Ecosystem
“Packed with smart, approachable recipes for beautiful food made with ingredients that you used to throw in the compost bin!” —Cara Mangini, author of The Vegetable Butcher
After a couple years of silence on this blog, I’m back, not with food, but with hope for those who have suffered unexplained recurrent miscarriages and for any woman who is trying to conceive that might be concerned about their egg quality for any number of reasons. I have some things to share with you.
As my daughter’s third birthday rapidly approaches, I’m filled with the same love, joy, gratitude, and wonder that filled me up the second she was placed in my arms for the very first time. But I have one burning question: what happened to the last three years?
I remember our first year together flying past. Milestones were measured day to day, week to week, then month to month and clothing sizes changed so fast that some outfits were never worn more than once if at all.
But within that rapid movement of time, there was a stillness that I didn’t understand or appreciate. It’s not until your child is completely mobile that you realize how slowly those first months actually passed.
Hold on, mama, because once the toddler years hit and survival mode is engaged, two years will pass in a blink of an eye and all of a sudden you have a threenager slamming a bedroom door in your face while you’re hit with the realization that you never did finish filling out the first year of that baby book.
All of this is to say that there’s a reason I haven’t updated this blog in a couple of years. I’ve been at home with a toddler and time seemed to actually vanish. That, and cooking has become stressful rather than pleasurable so my kitchen hasn’t been a source of inspiration for quite some time.
Of course I’m glossing over all the joys of toddlerhood, and there are so many. I have plenty of funny and heartwarming stories I’d love to share and probably will. But today I want to introduce a different topic and propose some ideas for the direction I want to take this blog.
You see, I have a problem. I am the author of a food blog and I don’t have a whole lot of interest in cooking or talking about food right now.
Perhaps next month I will suddenly have the urge to create recipes and tell you all about it. Perhaps Hazel will slow down a bit and let me cook, or even better, help me cook. I hope so. And whether it’s next month or next year, I know that I’ll be back to writing about food fairly soon.
For now, however, I want to talk about how I came to finally have a healthy pregnancy and end up in this wonderfully challenging predicament of parenting a beautiful, smart, funny, and “spirited” three-year-old. I’ve written a bit about my experiences of recurrent miscarriage in the past. I’ve also mentioned in passing that I had an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in emergency surgery and the loss of a fallopian tube.
However, I haven’t told you about how I finally found hope and then success on my own after five failed pregnancies when doctors could offer no explanation other than my age and no advice except to try IVF.
I will be forever grateful to Rebecca Fett, who put so much time and research into the book It Starts with the Egg. This book changed my life. It gave me hope when I was hopeless and it gave me the courage and tools to try and change my circumstances on my own, before turning to medical interventions that had been recommended but were completely out of reach financially.
For me, the lifestyle changes recommended in this book worked. In three months.
I ate a healthy diet, got some exercise, and avoided certain chemicals in food, cleaning and laundry products, makeup, skincare, and hair care products. My husband did the same. I also took the recommended type of prenatal vitamin and a couple extra supplements. Nothing crazy. Nothing outrageously expensive.
I got pregnant immediately after taking the suggested three months to implement these changes. Even though I was in my 40’s. Even though I had only one fallopian tube.
I went on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy. In May of 2016 I delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl. This book gave me hope and then this book gave me my daughter. I truly believe that.
I think every single woman who is considering pregnancy should read It Starts with the Egg. Even if you are young and healthy and have no reason to suspect fertility issues, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain by reading this book two to three months before trying to conceive.
If you are experiencing fertility issues, miscarriages, and/or you’ve already tried or are planning on IVF or other fertility treatments, then you definitely need to read this book. This book was written for you. All of you. It even gives advice for men, who are often overlooked when it comes to fertility advice.
I wish that it hadn’t taken me so long to write about this book and my lifestyle changes here. It is difficult to open up about our struggles with recurrent pregnancy loss and I guess I needed time and distance even to discuss our successes in depth.
Moving forward on this blog, I want to share more about specific changes Phil and I made individually and as a couple to clean up our life together in order to increase our chances of having a successful pregnancy.
Some were simple changes, like avoiding fast food for a few months and switching to unscented laundry detergent. Others were a bit more daunting, like getting rid of pretty much all of our personal care products, including almost all makeup, hair products, and perfume then trying to find products that were safer but also effective.
It wasn’t always easy and it still isn’t, but I’m looking forward to sharing our experiences so that it might be a bit easier for those of you who want to make similar changes.
Another thing I want to share is that I have recently become a consultant for Beautycounter, a skincare company I absolutely love that has a mission I can stand behind: to get safer products into the hands of everyone. I use and love many of their skincare and makeup products and I actually first learned about Beautycounter years ago after checking into product recommendations from the book It Starts with the Egg. It’s taken me a long time to get on board, but I’m excited and proud to finally be aligned with this company.
You can follow my safer beauty and skincare adventures at CrossCleanBeauty on Instagram. If you’d like to find out more about the company and products or just start shopping, Beautycounter.com is a great place to start. My PinchMySalt Instagram and Facebook will continue to be a mashup of food, family, chickens, and random things from my life, just like this blog.
So here’s to a new chapter for Pinch My Salt. If talking about our struggles with unexplained recurrent miscarriage and singing the praises of the book that changed everything for us can help just one other person, revisiting this painful subject is more than worth it. And for those who are here just for the food, I’ll do my best to get back to that as soon as possible, too.
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