Giveaways, Updates, Fun Stuff!

I went to Avery Island, Louisiana. More on that shortly!

Well it just feels as if I haven’t blogged a darn thing lately! Please excuse my tardiness. There have been many things to do, places to go, and photos to snap that have all kept me away. But with things like Twitter and Facebook I suppose I’m never really away, am I? At any rate, this is one of those posts that lump a bunch of stuff together and I guarantee by the end of it you’ll be sick of me.

But please pay attention. Please. There are some nifty things happening in this here post and you might be able to win stuff. Keep reading.

So long, farewell…

Folks, can I just tell you how wonderful it’s been being a Spice Islands Flavor Explorer? My stint is almost up (rumor has it that a pretty fantastic guy is taking over the reins) but I just wanted to take a moment to say how I’ve had so much fun in the kitchen with Spice Islands over the past 3 months. It’s been a pleasure dreaming up recipes using their high quality spices but perhaps my favorite moments have been using their all natural Vanilla Extract. While many other brands add corn syrup, Spice Islands vanilla beans from Madagascar are carefully processed, resulting in an extract that doesn’t need anything but vanilla. Seriously though, try it and taste it for yourself.

But just as important as the flavor are the people at Spice Islands. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and it’s been an honor to meet such dedicated people behind the brand. Sometimes I wish everyone could get to know them!

As a quick farewell, I’ll be giving away five Spice Islands samplers, filled with a few of my favorite spices in a beautiful lil Trunk. Check out all this spicy goodness:

Spice Islands pure vanilla extract
Spice Islands ground cardamom
Spice Islands Chinese five spice
Spice Islands smoked paprika
Spice Islands Telicherry black peppercorn
Spice Islands sea salt

From the Martha Stewart show. How cute is that?

 

I really want you to get in your kitchen and try these spices (if you haven’t already!) so leave a comment below to win. I’ll randomly select 5 folks from the comments section and while you’re always free to leave comments please note that a) I’ll be picking a winner on Friday, March 11th and b) you must live in the United States. There you have it!

——————————————————————————————

I’m on Food(ography) with Mo Rocca, March 20th on the Cooking Channel at 9pm EST.

You might remember a post I wrote about taping a segment for an upcoming show. I can now tell you the show was Cooking Channel’s own Food(ography) and it will air Sunday, March 20th at 9pm EST. Some of you may now that I’m a regular contributor to Cooking Channel’s Devour The Blog but this segment was all about blogging, photographing and styling food. I’ve been told it’s a good segment but I have no idea how fat my head and giant cheeks will look on camera or how I’ll sound like Minnie Mouse when I speak. I’m a bit scared to see it.

——————————————————————————————

Speaking at SXSW

Will you be in Austin next week for South By Southwest? I hope so. I’ll be speaking on a panel this Monday, March 14th titled “The Moguls Of Food Porn”. I’ll be joining a few others discussing food and photos and it promises to be thrilling. The darling Addie Broyles has written a great round-up of food things happening during SXSW and if you want to read more about my panel please check it out here. I hope by the time you click this my photo will have been added. I’ve been a very very very bad panelist and only uploaded my photo recently, shame on me.

——————————————————————————————

Appetites for the Ipad

I wanted to update this section about the app that I worked on called Appetites because I wanted to share with you all that it was named App of the Week by Apple! How’s that? I happen to think it’s pretty damn phenomenal.

Let me tell you a little bit more about Appetites. Some of my favorite food bloggers, myself included, are in this app, Gaby (What’s Gaby Cooking), Nick & Blake (The Paupered Chef), Stephanie Hau (Like My Spoon), Adrianna and Caroline (A Cozy Kitchen) and Gabi (BrokeAss Gourmet). We all shared some of our favorite recipes with you!

What’s great about this app is that I believe that Appetites is about learning to cook and taking away the intimidation from getting in the kitchen. What also got me excited about the project was that I would get to teach some of my most loved dishes in a brand new format. And trust me, you can make them too.

In January, Appetites was the only app to win a Best of Show award at Macworld.

Appetites is filmed from the chef’s perspective so you can cook right along with us in the kitchen! Each recipe is broken down step-by-step which makes it easy to follow.

Here’s my video:

And here are some of my recipes you’ll find in Appetites:

Spicy Black Bean Chipotle Dip – http://vimeo.com/20313985

Tortilla Soup – http://vimeo.com/20313911

Vegetable Crumble – http://vimeo.com/20313814

Fromage Fort – http://vimeo.com/20313697

Agua Fresca – http://vimeo.com/20313311

Cemita – http://vimeo.com/20313192

Appetites is now available on iPad and coming soon for the iPhone. I hope you’ll check it out – http://appetitesapp.com and on the App Store at http://bit.ly/appetites_appstore

Enjoy it!


A Cherry Contest from ChooseCherries.com!

There must be something about cherries in the air today. First I noticed this great post from Adam Roberts involving his secret stash of sour cherries. Then the other half handed me a bowl of granola with dried tart cherries in it for breakfast. These things both happened as I wanted to announce a recipe contest with Choose Cherries because as you know I’m in love with tart cherries. LOVE. Sure, there are those health benefits like antioxidants (they contain about the same amount as blueberries, did you know?) but most importantly the biggest health benefit is the smile you get on your face when you eat a real piece of tart cherry pie.

(I’m sure some legal department will come after me for making that last claim but whatever, try eating a piece of cherry pie right now and see if you don’t smile. I’m sure Mr. Roberts is grinning from ear-to-ear…him and his damn February sour cherries! Am I jealous? Absolutely.)

Last year I visited Traverse City, Michigan for the annual Cherry Festival and when they asked if I’d help get the word out about this contest I had to say yes. It’s open to everyone, just submit your original cherry recipe via the website for a chance to win $500, a set of high-performance cookware in Cherry Red as well as the chance to have your entry photographed professionally for their site. The great news is that there will be three winners this year but you better hurry as the contest is only open until February 20th, 2011. Winners will be announced March 1, 2011.

Check out Choose Cherries’ web site for full contest information and good luck!

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest: Cupcakes!

With Chef Elizabeth Falkner last year, post sugar judging high

Cupcake lovers, fans, bakers, eaters and fanatics, this one is for you! I’m so happy to announce the launch of the Chocolate Adventure Contest from Scharffen Berger and TuttiFoodie! This year it’s all about cupcakes and I couldn’t be more thrilled. This year I’ve been asked back and it’s quite an honor to be invited back to join John Scharffenberger, Chef Elizabeth Falkner, Alice Medrich and Angie Dudley from Bakerella in judging the winning recipes. Last year was a phenomenal experience, the level of creativity in the winners and runner-ups blew my mind. It was such a wonderful opportunity and experience and I’m just giddy that I get to do it all over again!

The contest goes like this: create a cupcake using Scharffen Berger chocolate and any combination of the Adventure Ingredients, a selection of unique and interesting flavors. The winning recipe will appear in Food Network Magazine and the winner will get the chance to fly to New York York City to distribute the winning cupcake on one of the city’s Sweet Trucks. The recipe will be featured on chocolateadventurecontest.com, ScharffenBerger.com and TuttiFoodie.com and of course here on mattbites. There are fantastic second and third place prizes, too.

I’m so excited about tasting all the delicious entries and I suppose I should start practicing, right? Get all the contest details at Chocolate Adventure Contest and if you’re at BlogHer Food this weekend in San Francisco make sure to stop by Chef Elizabeth Falker’s demo where she’ll be kicking off the Chocolate Adventure Contest. I’ll be there too, make sure to say hello!

Giveaway: How To Cook Everything To Go!

Thanks to Culinate and Wiley, I’ve been playing around with Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything To Go app for the iphone for a few days already. If you are like me, you use his book How To Cook Everything as a guide and as a great way to jump start many meals. Now imagine having all that in an app. Yep, it’s come in handy already, once at the grocery store and again at yesterday’s farmers’ market.

You should read what LA Weekly just said about it.

I’m giving away 5 digital copies of this app to the first 5 people who leave a comment below. If your entry gets hung up in my spam folder and doesn’t show up don’t worry (it happens sometimes!).  You’ll need an iphone and an itunes account to claim the app so make sure to leave your email address with me so I can get back to you. And if you aren’t speedy enough remember that you can purchase the app for $1.99 from the itunes store. It’s still a great deal considering you’ll have the entire book at your fingertips.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to play with my greasy, flour-coated iphone now.

Update: We have our winners! Comments are now closed, hot damn that went fast! But seriously folks, this app is such a fantastic resource and and for $1.99 it’s really a steal. Thanks guys!

Chocolate Adventure Contest –There’s Still Time To Enter!

intro-graphic

With the holidays in full swing I just wanted to remind you that you have a little bit of time left if you’re entering the Chocolate Adventure Contest from Scharffen Berger! The grand prize includes $10,000 for the winning recipe in both the Sweet and Savory categories and some swell second place prizes. We’ll be judging on creativity, taste, ease of preparation and whether the recipe reflects a spirit of adventure and yes, I’m one of the judges!

You’ll find more information at Chocolate Adventure Contest along with the complete rules of the contest and how to submit your recipe. You have until January 3, 2010. You can read my previous post about the contest here.

I can’t wait to taste all the amazing entries.

Menu For Hope 6: Food Styling & Photo Workshop from Matt

6a00d83451bc0669e20120a6f07819970b-800wiYes, it’s that time again! It’s Menu For Hope 6, the annual fundraising campaign started by Pim and hosted by a revolving group of food bloggers around the world. Each December, food bloggers from all over join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related items for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone – and that means you too – can buy raffle tickets to bid on these items. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on an item of your choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim on Monday, January 18.

Last year I hosted the West Coast and it’s was a such an honor. This year our West Coast honor duties are being performed by my friend, the beautiful Shauna of glutenfreegirl.com. I want to thank her for all the hard work it takes to keep us all gathered and happy. THANK YOU SHAUNA!

workshop-banner-500px

This year I’m so thrilled to offer a 2-day Food Styling & Photography Workshop (Item Code: UW01) held at my studio in Long Beach on March 13th & 14th, 2010.  I’ve teamed up with the amazing Denise Vivaldo of Food Fantastics to bring you a workshop filled with great ideas, tips and hints, and practical photo applications all centered around food!  We’ve held two workshops already at my studio, hosting sold-out weekends with some of the most amazing food bloggers and soon-to-be food bloggers in attendance. But don’t take my word for it, read all about the workshops here and here.

So what will we be doing? I’m glad you asked! On Saturday we concentrate on using professional styling techniques to:

  • cook for the camera
  • plate food to show it at its best
  • garnish effectively
  • use only edible styling methods
  • hold and refresh food

On Sunday we focus on digital photography and how to improve your photos through:

  • camera angle and selective focus
  • shooting with available light
  • the use of fill cards and reflectors
  • when to supplement available light
  • the use of props (and trust me, you’ll have fun with my props!)

Make sure to bring your camera, your ideas and your energy! And for the fine print: Winner is responsible for travel to Long Beach as well as accommodations. Lunch and class materials for you will be provided by Matt Armendariz. In lieu of class scheduling and winner’s schedule a personal day of food styling instruction and food photography at the studio can be offered as an alternate. Same conditions apply.

So how do you get in on this unique raffle bid item?

To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Choose a bid item or bid items of your choice from our Menu for Hope main bid item list.

2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.

3. Please specify which bid item you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item, and please use the bid item code.

Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 – 2xEU01, 3xEU02.

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 check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Check back on Chez Pim on Monday, January 18  for the results of the raffle.

Thanks for your participation, and good luck in the raffle!

Feel free to email me with questions or leave them in the comments about the workshop but please note that I’m unable to answer any questions about bidding or the raffle itself. Make sure to check in with your regional host for those types of inquiries.

The Chocolate Adventure Contest

intro-graphic

I don’t know about you but I’m still coming down from the high of last week’s festivities at BlogHer 09. The event in San Francisco exceeded everyone’s expectations and it was so humbling to be in the presence of so much talent. I spoke on two panels about photography with two of my favorite authors and bloggers, Heidi Swanson and Lara Ferroni.

On the tail end of this amazing experience I wanted to announce some exciting news: I’m joining John Scharffenberger, Chef Elizabeth Falkner, Alice Medrich and Tutti Foodie’s own Lisa Schiffman as judges for The Chocolate Adventure Contest. This contest from Scharffen Berger and Tutti Foodie encourages you to create an inventive recipe for any course––appetizer, entreé, dessert, or even a drink––using Scharrfen Berger chocolate and at least one adventure ingredient.

And what are these ingredients, you ask?

  • Fresh mint (any varietal)
  • Crystallized ginger
  • Pandan leaf
  • Banana leaf
  • Sumac
  • Raw honey
  • Cacao nibs
  • Fresh or whole dried chili pepper
  • Malbec
  • Peanut butter
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Rice flour
  • Papaya
  • Cumin
  • Paprika (any varietal)
  • Smoked sea salt

Ok, so now you can see why I’m just a wee bit thrilled to join these amazing folks and taste the one-of-a-kind creations I know you’ll create? The grand prize includes $10,000 for the winning recipe in both the Sweet and Savory categories and some swell second place prizes. We’ll be judging on creativity, taste, ease of preparation and whether the recipe reflects a spirit of adventure.

You’ll find more information at Chocolate Adventure Contest along with the complete rules of the contest and how to submit your recipe. You have until January 3, 2010 so please, get on this!

The official kick off is tomorrow with Chef Elizabeth Falkner in New York at The Institute of Culinary Education. If you were lucky enough to sign up and attend in person or via the webcast you’ll hear all about the event.

Have fun!

P.S. Please excuse my very large round face on this page. Clearly I will spend more time with Photoshop’s Liquefy next time.

Announcing Food Blogger Camp & Free Trip Give-Away!

food-blogger-camp-intro

I’m going to try not to use words like “Yipeeee!” and “wowwza!” to describe how excited I am about this. Some food bloggers, a few you may know, have teamed up with Club Med in Ixtapa, Mexico for the first ever Food Blog Camp.

This event in January includes Diane Cu and Todd Porter, Michael and Donna Ruhlman, me and my partner-in-crime Adam Pearson, Dianne Jacob, Jaden Hair, Elise Bauer and David Lebovitz.

Seminars include Food Writing With Your Senses, Best Blogging Practices, Building A Better Blog with Multimedia, From Blog To Book, and even Food Photography and Food Styling.  You can read more about them on the Club Med Insider site here.

In addition to the seminars there will also be some pretty nifty activities like a walking tour of the Zijuatanejo market, a visit to the fisherman’s market, as well as meet-and-greets with local farmers to talk about their sustainable agricultural practices. I’m pretty sure there will be some gorgeous sunsets thrown in there for good measure, too.

Hope to see you there! And make sure to check below to find out how to win a trip to the Food Blogger Camp!

To sign up, visit the Food Blog Camp booking page.

1. At the bottom of the page, click where it says Click Here to Book

2. Use Login: blogger, Password: 160606, to get the special ‘Food Blog Camp’ discount price of $599 to $999 US based on double-occupancy for this all-inclusive trip.

3. There will be a drop-down menu so choose ‘Ixtapa’, and type in the dates: January 9-16, and 7 days for length of stay. You can come for less days, or all of them. (3-day packages are $599.) The booking page will open showing the discounted price just underneath the regular price. (It will say “Best Available Offer: Food Blogger Camp”) A slightly-higher price may be shown if you’re basing your search on single-occupancy. The $999 US 7-day price is based on double-occupancy.

Other questions*? Call 1-888-WebClub

Win a Free Trip!

Club Med is giving away a place free to one participant. Included will be all seminars, room, meals, and beverages. Airfare from anywhere in the continental United States is included. To enter, all you need to do is to leave a comment here, and if you wish, at any of the websites of the other participants listed below, and/or by following Club Med Insider on Twitter.

The more sites that you post on, the more your chances are of winning. Although you can comment at each of the sites, only one comment per site. Entrants who make more than one comment per site will be disqualified.

SteamyKitchen.com

DavidLebovitz.com

WhiteonRiceCouple.com

DianneJacob.com

Ruhlman.com

Clubmedinsider.com

(Please note that due to time differences, the various participants will be posting their entries at various times. Kindly be patient and when they do post, you’re welcome to leave a comment there to enter the contest.)

The contest begins now and ends on Sunday September 13, 2009 at 11:59 p.m EST (US). A winner will be drawn at random from the participating websites and the Twitter followers on or around September 15, 2009. Winner may bring a guest for the discounted price of a double occupancy room. Their airfare is not included.

This event is open to all food bloggers and the winning includes attendance at all the seminars. When you leave your comment, please leave a link to your blog in the URL.

Please read the contest rules before entering. If you do register and end up being the winner, your payment will be refunded.

For more information, check out the Food Blogger Camp website.

And please note that due to the number of entries I won’t be able to answer any questions personally about the contest. For booking or other questions, please call 1-888-WebClub

(and the photo above was taken earlier in the year in the Bahamas and isn’t representative of who will be in Mexico. Although it’s pretty darn close!)