The French Market Cookbook: 1st Anniversary Giveaway!

The French Market Cookbook came out just a year ago today, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank those of you who bought the book — sometimes multiple copies of it! — and cooked from it with such enthusiasm. It has been a joy and an absolute treat to hear your season-by-season reports, read your sweet tweets, and see your Instagram pictures, so please keep them coming!

To celebrate this one-year anniversary, my publisher and I have five fresh copies of the book for you to win, so you can finally get your hot little hands on it, or gift it away to your favorite vegetable lover.

For a chance to win a copy of The French Market Cookbook, please leave a comment below no later than Wednesday July 9, 2014, midnight Paris time, telling me which of the book’s recipes you most want to try*, or which one you like best if you’ve already cooked from it.

I will draw five comments randomly and announce the winners here next week. My publisher has agreed to send the book out to any mailing address in the world, so you’re welcome to play regardless of your location.

We Got Winners!

The giveaway is now closed, and the following five readers will each receive a copy of The French Market Cookbook:

  • Petra Durnin, who wrote, “I’ve made the Ratatouille Tian and loved it! Would like to try the green pancakes next :)”
  • Mary Duggan, who wrote, “Green pancakes! I love chard and I’m always looking for new ways of cooking it!”
  • Martic, who wrote, “I want to make the Stuffed Vegetables with Beans and Barley — that sounds delicious!!”
  • Brigita Orel, who wrote, “I would love to try the peach, almond and cardamom clafoutis.”
  • Alyson, who wrote, “I really want to try the avocado and radish mini tartines… anything with avocado is a must for me!”

Congratulations to them, and thank you all for participating with such enthusiasm!

* To help you make a choice, here’s a sample of the book’s recipes, excerpted with the publisher’s permission:
~ Avocado and Radish Mini Tartines
~ Very Green Salad
~ Shaved Fennel Salad with Preserved Lemon
~ Green Pancakes
~ Green Bean and Red Rice Salad
~ Radish Top Pasta
~ Zucchini and Apricot Socca Tart
~ Ratatouille Tian
~ Stuffed Vegetables with Beans and Barley
~ Strawberry Tartlets with Breton Shortbread Crust
~ Peach, Almond and Cardamom Clafoutis

6 Tips to Make the Most of Your Cookbook Collection

Notice how English titles are printed in reverse direction from French titles. It's good for stretching your neck when browsing.

I’m sure your cookbook shelves are groaning as heavily as mine, and if I were to ask you how often you cook from them you might look away, embarrassed, and try to change the subject. Especially if your spouse, who regularly comments on the extent of your collection, is within earshot.

It’s not that you don’t want to cook from all these books; you do. It’s just that it’s impossible to remember what’s in them. And however well built their indexes (or indices), it would be pretty cumbersome to open every single one of them to look up, say, “Brussels sprouts” when you come home from the greenmarket on a chilly but sunny Saturday morning.

6 Easy tips to make the most of your cookbooks

It does seem a shame to let so much knowledge and inspiration go untapped, and here are six ways to avoid that:

  1. Sticky-tab appealing recipes, and regularly leaf through your collection to refresh your memory.
  2. In each of your cookbooks, list all the recipes you want to try, with page number, on an index card. Place that custom-made index in the front of the book for quick reference. (This also serves as a good decision tool to see whether you should really keep that book.)
  3. Take photos of (or scan) the recipes you want to try, and keep the image files, grouped together by book or dish type as you prefer, in a dedicated folder on your computer. (I use the application Tiny Scanner on my phone, and generate a separate pdf for each book.)
  4. Keep a top 10 list of dishes you want to try right here right now, referencing the cookbook(s) they come from. You could maintain a list without setting any kind of limit, but in my experience, the list grows too long and stops being useful.
  5. Pick a different cookbook every month or so, and challenge yourself to cook X number of recipes from it (make X realistic) before moving on to the next.
  6. Sign up for Eat Your Books, a cookbook recipe database that lists over 125,000 cookbooks, plus food magazines and blogs (you’ll find an index of C&Z recipes in particular). EYB allows you to replicate your cookbook collection online, so you can run searches for recipes, bookmark the ones you want to try, or have already cooked and enjoyed. It’s a brilliant service, and I’m only sorry it doesn’t cover the French half of my cookbook collection.

Join the conversation!

Tell me how you make the most of your cookbook collection: what’s your system? Do you even have a system? If not, what’s your greatest challenge?

Disclosure: The founder of Eat Your Books, Jane Kelly, converted my trial membership to a complimentary lifetime membership back when I first joined in 2010. When this post first appeared, it was a membership giveaway that I had arranged at my initiative. All opinions expressed are my own.

This post was first published in March 2014 and updated in January 2016.

Earlywood Handcrafted Utensils

When Brad Bernhart got in touch a few weeks ago to tell me about his Montana-based woodworking operation, I was instantly drawn to his tone and philosophy. Brad is a trained mechanical engineer who took to carving wooden utensils in his spare time, and found that people were so enthused by his innovative designs that he decided to launch his own company, Earlywood, two years ago.

As I first held the biggest spoon in my hand I felt a flutter, a thrill, unlike anything I’ve ever felt holding a kitchen utensil.

I feel a natural kinship with people who take a leap of faith and reinvent themselves, and I am also deeply drawn to beautifully crafted wooden objects, so I enthusiastically accepted Brad’s offer to send me a few of his best-sellers.

When the package arrived I disrobed the items from the tissue paper one by one, and as I first held the biggest spoon in my hand — a ladle made of jatoba wood — I felt a flutter, a thrill, unlike anything I’ve ever felt holding a kitchen utensil.

The heft of it in my palm, the simple elegance of the shape, the fine grain of the wood, all conspired to make this feel like an extraordinary object, one that is equal parts beauty and function.

Earlywood Utensils

In the selection there were also different-size sauté spatulas made of Mexican ebony, which have quickly displaced the wooden spoons I normally use; gorgeous bloodwood scrapers designed to comfortably handle the toughest jobs in your kitchen; and a set of attractive spreaders, which look like wooden butter knives and have already become a favorite to spread almond butter on my morning toast.

In addition to being smitten with the products themselves, I am also impressed with Brad’s approach: in how much detail he describes the different wood types he uses, how he’s gotten involved with a reforestation effort to help compensate for the resources he uses, how forthcoming he was when I inquired about the food-safe mineral oil he uses to finish his utensils**, and how remarkably affordable his products are.

Earlywood Utensils

And now, for the giveaway!

Continue reading »

10th Anniversary Giveaway #10: Edible Montmartre Private Food Tour

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of C&Z, I am hosting 10 giveaways throughout the month of October.

Our tenth and final giveaway prize is an Edible Montmartre Food Tour led by yours truly.

For a little while now I have been leading private food tours for small groups of food enthusiasts visiting Paris for the first or twentieth time, often creating itineraries tailored to their interests. I enjoy it tremendously.

One of my most popular tours is called Edible Montmartre: it’s a tour of my neighborhood through the lens of food, and includes visits to the best pastry shops, chocolate shops, bakeries, charcuteries, and cheese shops of the area. It’s a fun visit through one of Paris’ most typical village-like and food-rich areas. I provide stories, cultural notes, food tips from a local’s point of view — and of course, lots of delicious things to taste along the way.

For this giveaway, it will be my pleasure to invite the winner and up to three of his/her friends on this 2-hour private tour. The prize doesn’t include transportation to Paris (sadly), and it is valid through the end of 2014. If you win, we will work together to find a mutually agreeable date and time.

To participate, leave a comment below (in English or in French) telling me about the one thing you most want to see, taste, or experience in Paris, food or otherwise.

You have until Thursday, November 7, midnight Paris time to enter; I will then draw one entry randomly and announce it here. You are welcome to play regardless of your current location, as long as you intend to be in Paris sometime before the end of 2014. Please make sure you enter your email address correctly so I can contact you if you win.

Good luck!


I have drawn an entry at random using (see screen capture below), and I am pleased to announce the winner is Karona, who wrote, “Since I have not been back to Paris since becoming a parent, I’d like to re-discover the city with my 2.5 year old daughter! Also for the experience of negotiating a huge city with a small child. She’d be most interested in the croissants, I imagine…”

Congratulations Karona, and thank you all for entering!


10th Anniversary Giveaway #9: Game-Changing Brownie Pan from Baker’s Edge

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of C&Z, I am hosting 10 giveaways throughout the month of October. Keep checking back for chances to win wonderful products I’ve discovered and loved over the past decade!

Our ninth giveaway prize is the game-changing brownie pan from Baker’s Edge.

It is a high-quality nonstick pan with a maze-like pattern, designed to optimize the crust-to-center ratio so you will never again have to choose between a center brownie and an edge brownie.

The sidewalls also make for better heat distribution, which ensures a more even baking. This innovative pan was invented by Matthew Griffin, a passionate entrepreneur who first had this idea in the late 1990’s, and launched it in 2006 to high acclaim. (Read more about Matt’s story.)

I’ve been a happy user of the Edge Brownie Pan for years now*, and longtime readers of C&Z may remember I first featured it when I shared my recipe for pistachio pound cake back in 2006. Matt has since added more cool products to the Baker’s Edge range, including a Better Muffin Pan I’m excited to test-drive very soon.

Brownie pan with lid

For this giveaway, Matt is offering the combo pack that includes:
– a 9″ x 12″ x 2″ Edge Brownie Pan, entirely manufactured, packaged, and warehoused in the USA,
– a nylon spatula (wooden utensils may also be used),
– a snug cover for the brownie pan (see above),
– and a clever “Edge Wedge” that turns the pan into an 8″ x 8″ baking pan (see below).

Brownie pan with wedge

To participate, leave a comment below (in English or in French) telling me about the best brownies you ever had, and what made them special — mine would have to be the Luxury Brownies and their intense chocolate flavor. And please consider following Baker’s Edge on Facebook and on Twitter!

You have until Monday, November 4, midnight Paris time to enter; I will then draw one entry randomly and announce it here. Matt has generously agreed to ship internationally, so you’re welcome to play regardless of your location; please make sure you enter your email address correctly so I can contact you if you win.

Good luck, and check back on Thursday for our very last giveaway!


I have drawn an entry at random using (see screen capture below), and I am pleased to announce the winner is Margaret H., who wrote, “The best brownie in my memory will always be the first one I tried, from an old fashioned burger place called Fuddruckers, on a trip from Scotland (where I grew up) to America. I was only about 6 years old, and still remember it vividly. I’m sure it was enormous, dark, chocolatey, fudgy, squidgy in the middle and quite unlike anything I had ever tasted before.”

Congratulations Margaret, and thank you all for entering! It’s been gratifying and fascinating to hear about all of your favorites.

Brownie pan winner

* Disclosure: Matthew Griffin sent me samples of his bakeware to try, with no obligation to write about them. All opinions expressed are my own.

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