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Saturday
Dec272008

Frozen herb giveaway & the book that changed everything about bread baking

I have a lot to cover in this post, so please grab a mug or tall glass of something and join me!

First up--the herb giveaway. I was contacted a little while ago by Matt From Daregal Fresh Frozen Herbs. He wanted to know if I'd like to try a sample. Heck, yeah! Trying to find reasonably priced and super-fresh herbs in the cold months isn't always easy. Not to mention that if you only need a little bit, and you have to buy a whole bunch, then you've got to come up with ways to use the rest up before they go bad, which is always sooner than later.

So here comes Daregal, with the perfect solution! Their herbs are 100% natural, salt free, and processed within three hours of being picked. They're not sitting around on store shelves losing flavor and freshness like the ones we've seen up until now. The herbs are washed, chopped (no stems included!) and ready to use in your favorite dishes--no thawing required, not even for salads. And you might think they'd be all stuck together, but the herbs get a very light misting of natural vegetable oils so they flow freely out of the container.

 

Basil

Original Blend: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme and Onion

 


We've been testing some of them this weekend and I have to say, I think I'm in love. The basil, right out of the container, tastes like I just picked it from my garden in August. Same goes for the Italian and Original Blends--nothing but delicious herbs in there, tasting as fresh as you'd expect from your own herb garden. And they're already minced for you, so less work. Now, everyone would love to have a year-round herb garden, but for most of us, that's not happening. So these are the next best thing. I've tried the little frozen teaspoon sized cubes of herbs, and while they taste alright, they're not convenient if you're making an uncooked dish. The Daregal Herbs are like sprinkling your own fresh minced herbs into anything you're making. So far we've made Bruschetta with the basil, and a focaccia-loafy-type bread with the Italian Blend. Also, the Grilling Blend sprinkled into some olive oil made a perfect blend to dip our bread in.

 

 

Bruschetta, soon to be topped with fresh mozz and popped under the broiler.

 

 

 

See the pretty minced basil?

 

 

So Matt and I talked for a little while and came up with a great giveaway! They're going to send out two packages of an assortment of herbs to two random winners. What will you get?

 

Package #1: One of each--

Original Blend
Basil

Cilantro

Parsley

Oregano

Package #2: One of each--

Italian Blend
Basil

Cilantro

Parsley

Oregano

These will be shipped to your door packed in dry ice, and ready to be popped in your freezer to start using right away. And let's not underestimate the fun factor of dry ice...um, not that I'd know. Just be careful if you decide to make a cauldron of spooky smoke, and read the precautions first, ok? Ok. So the herb giveaway starts today, and two winners (US only on this one, sorry.) will be chosen on Wednesday, January 14th. In the meantime, check out the Daregal site, and maybe you'll find a store in your area that carries them so you can get a sneak preview. And a huge thanks to Matt and Daregal!



And now, the book that changed everything about bread baking. For me, anyway, and countless others that have bought this book. What book is this? Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking .



My bread baking has gone from "pretty good" to "knock your socks off!" And all with very little effort. Seriously! There's no kneading, only about 5 minutes of mixing time. The dough rests at least 2 hours, then you can use it or pop it in the fridge. Want some bread? (I feel almost silly calling it "bread," when it's more like food of the gods.) Pull out some of the dough, shape it and let it sit for 40 minutes (or 20 if you haven't put it in the fridge yet), then bake it. The high moisture content in the dough is what makes it rise, right in the oven. And then? Prepare to BE AMAZED. Be prepared for your family and friends to start begging you to make more bread. Which you'll be happy to do because of the little bit of effort involved.

We've been experimenting with the book and haven't been disappointed yet--just the opposite, we've been thrilled! For Christmas Day, I made the Vermont Cheddar Bread from the book, but using half the dough, made 12 dinner rolls. They were so damn good, and even the fussy kids loved them. The rest of the dough went back in the fridge overnight and this afternoon, we shaped 2 flat-ish focaccia type breads. We brushed them with a little olive oil and gave them a sprinkle of good sea salt. Then--how easy--we sprinkled some Daregal Italian Blend over the dough, then let them rest for 40 minutes. When it was time for them to bake, we added sliced Campari tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Instant lunch! We got 2 delicious pizza-focaccia-bread type loaves with about 10 minutes total work.


We've also tried the Boule and the Pizza Crust from the book. Both are fantastic! And with bread this easy, there's no more excuse to not have your own fresh baked bread. No more being afraid of yeast. And no more fear of kneading. You CAN do it with this book.

And I'm so thrilled with the book, that I'm giving a copy away to one lucky reader! Same as the herb giveaway, but this one is open to US and international readers. The contest starts today, and on Wednesday, January 14th, I'll choose a winner.

SO! You have a chance to win three prizes--the book, or one of two packages of frozen herbs. (Herbs-US only, book-US and international.)

Just leave a comment here to enter. And if you want a BONUS ENTRY, just Twitter or Facebook with a link to this giveaway, and come back to comment again with your link from that included in your comment. That will give you two chances to win.

Good luck! I hope you all had happy holidays, and here's to a happy and healthy new year!

 

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Reader Comments (132)

oh my goodness please choose me! i am in utah and am completely drifted over with feet of snow. the idea of some delicious summer-timey herbs is enough to help me hold onto my sanity! arisacuppATgmailDOTcom

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterarisa

I must say that I am ADDICTED to cooking and baking - I would love to win this...and herbs - oh my do I love them!! Actually, today I made an herb-infused focaccia bread! So I would definitely put this to use if I won! Hope you had a great Christmas!

contact me at:
celeste@mail4me.com

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCeleste

Oh I have that book & love it! I've turned so many people onto it. My Dad never even buys bread anymore

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Those frozen herbs are perfect for this time of the year! So many possible uses!! I added a link on my facebook http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=54965424064&h=4w3ca&u=Ji8P-
*fingers crossed*
paulahennigATmsnDOTcom

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

What cool prizes, especially in the DEAD of winter! Oh how I long to see something green besides my now brittle Christmas tree. Nothing makes winter more bearable than the smell of fresh baking bread.

Thanks Elle!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

FREAKING FANTASTIC!!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

I'm intrigued!! If I could make bread like that in minutes my family would worship me!! Please enter me in your awesome contests. Those herbs look fantastic!

staciandmatt@netscape.com

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStaci

Wow, cool prizes! Those herbs look like such a good idea, and the bread book is so intriguing!

tinkerbellx2 (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Ohhhh, this looks great! I've been looking for those herbs ever since I clipped some coupons for them! I'm glad to see a review on them and hopefully I'll come across them soon.

Your bread pictures look fantastic! You make it sound so easy I'm worried if I try things from that book that I'll get as big as a barn! LOL I can't resist fresh baked bread.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

Oh I want all of this Elle!!! Santa didn't bring me the book like I asked :( Maybe I can win it here!!!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJudy@nofearentertaining

Oh my goodness, looking at this post just made me super hungry! I'm making some "wraps" tomorrow for my hubby during football using homemade pizza dough, but now I don't want to wait - I want it NOW!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaitlin

what a great give-away! They aren't available in any stores near me yet...but I will keep an eye out for those herbs! yum.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Thanks so much Elle! I'm Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. You're the best for featuring us here (your pizzas don't look too bad either!

Jeff Hertzberg
www.artisanbreadinfive.com

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Hertzberg

Great giveaway! Who doesn't like fresh baked bread and herbs? I do, I do, I do,

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRon Merlin

How fun!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Pick Me !! I would love to cook with the herbs!!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAllisonWonderland

i was just telling my mom today how much i would love to try frozen herbs!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdryerlynt

I just finished supper and you've made me hungry again! Please enter me.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

um, So I slacked and forgot to add my email to my entry! its wickedbaker@gmail.com

I also posted a blog about your give-a-way. I'm not sure if that counts as another entry though.

the link is http://wickedgoodfoods.blogspot.com/2008/12/herb-give-way.html

thanks again for the great give-a-way!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAllisonWonderland

Sounds awesome!

I just bought the cookbook myself and when I am finally back at home in NY I plan to check it out and make something!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHoneyB

Thank you for the chance at these prizes! I love your blog, the pics are fabulous too!
Theresa
tildatoo@optonline.net

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertheresa

What a wonderful treat, I have heard so many good things about the book and to have fresh frozen herbs would also be a real treat during the winter months.
I also left a twitter comment about your giveaway!
mystwitch@gmail.com

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Mmmm... I am craving pizza like no other now! Darn you! HAHA. I'd love to win either herbs or book. Thanks for the giveaway! I hope I win! :)
/Clara
iheartfood4thoughtATgmailDOTcom

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCB

I have the book but haven't made anything from it yet. The herbs look great count me in on your giveaway!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBunny

I'm on love with the Gourmet Garden's herbs in a tube...I can only imagine how much I'd enjoy the Daregal herbs.

The book looks fabulous as well. I'm so addicted to baking bread. :-)

Your focaccia looks amazing Elle!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

wow that bread sounds amazing! would ove the cookbook!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Giveaway Diva

wow i love the sound of that cookbook! the focaaccia u made looks devine! wish i could make that!

glittergurl04 @hotmail.com

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKate

that looks so good!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

I have had my eye on this book for quite some time and have yet to get it. I would love to win it!

theslajcherts AT gmail dot com

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarla

The frozen herbs look wonderful and I have been considering the books for awhile. I like their approach to breadmaking.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPam

This is an awesome giveway! Those herbs are awesome. And who doesn't love bread?

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWhat's for Supper?

What beautiful pizza/focaccia bread. I may have to get over my fear of bread and all things yeast!

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Great giveaway! I love cooking/baking so much, this would be awesome for making new things.

sundaygirl at gmail dot com

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Wow I have to try some of those herbs and the cookbook sounds very interesting. It would be so nice to be able to have fresh baked bread on a daily basis

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Thanks for the great review and all the pictures! ~ :) Off to buy the book!

acmilan68 [at] ywave.com

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTisa

That sounds amazing! What an interesting concept.

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

I looooove this book! I've got a batch of the challah dough in my fridge right now with plans of turning it into cinnamon buns.

Those herbs sound great too!

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrilynn

I never thought of frozen herbs. I hate to waste, so I use mostly dry. This would be great. My daughter and I have been experimenting with breads and pizza lately. Pretty good, not great, so we'll have to check out this book.

IhaveMTpockets at msn.com

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

If wishes were horses Elle...this time the RIG had better pick me!! Since the frozen herbs are out of question, I shall sit & dream of the bread baking book. It's not available here as yet, & I've heard so much about this wonderful book. You've done more than justice to both the giveaways Elle...WOW!! Beautiful post!!

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPassionate About Baking

Wonderful post and giveaways. The Daregal herbs sounds like they are just perfect especially at this time of the year and how nice it would be to have them at your fingertips w/the flavor of just being picked!!! And that wonderful book, is a treasure!!

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

Wow.. both sound like fabulous items!! Thank you so much for the chance!! Pick me:)

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdonna-ffw

I've been freezing herbs for years but never that nice! Looking forward to some winter bruschetta! and the book I must have
loudonp@yahoo.com

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Elle, those herbs look awesome and all but the bread!! Girl, you are speaking my language there. YUM! Those pics are fabulous!! And the recipes sound delicious.

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

i would love to win any of the items. the bread sounds amazing
tawnas@metrocast.net

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNHmommy

Thanks for the chance to win such great prizes! I need a great book for baking bread because I really really love bread. Thanks again.


Chris
zekks at yahoo dot com

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I'd love to amp up my breadbaking with this great book. Thanks for offering it. ezwez@hotmail.com

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermcnairy

You know I cannot wait till we finally move into a home with a bigger kitchen so I can FINALLY start making bread. I have to admit bread-making does scare me with the whole yeast thingee. But I'll get over it, right?
I just love those little mini cheese bread rounds...Mmmmm

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

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