Last week I put the finishing touches on the ecookbook I’ve been working on for the last 6 or 7 months. It’s definitely one of the most substantial things I’ve ever produced. I’m pretty darn proud of it and even though it’s not going live for sale until next Tuesday (05/25), I couldn’t wait that long to tell you all about it!
What’s 55 Knives? In short, the almost 200 page book is a compilation of stories, recipes and tips from 55 food bloggers from around the Internet! Each blogger gets a chapter and in that chapter they give a recipe (or a few) and a story to accompany the recipe(s). The idea being that if we all write a few pages then those pages will all be really exceptional. Also, because there are so many different perspectives, the recipes are varied and much more unique than if just one person were to write the entire thing.
I think the stories in the chapters are really important. After all, cooking (and eating) isn’t just about the food. It’s also about the people we share it with. Some stories are short and some long (the longest is about 4 pages). Some are funny and some are very touching. Of course each author has their own voice and writing style and those definitely come out in the chapters.
I’ve talked to lots of people about 55 Knives over the last few months and pretty much everyone has the same questions, so I’m going to throw them out there FAQ style!
What the heck is an ebook? Some of you might be familiar with the concept of an ebook, but I’m sure a lot of you have never heard of it. Basically, it’s a downloadable book that you can store on your computer and view at your leisure. Once you buy it, the copy is yours. You can print it out and generally use it like you would any normal book. I’m using Adobe products to make the book so the final product is actually a really big, interactive PDF document.
Why an ebook? I know that people like real books. I do too. I also know that people are very wary to pay for something they can’t grasp in their hands. But there were some obvious and not so obvious reasons why I chose to go this route and at the end of the day, I think the fact that it’s electronic actually makes it better.
First, honestly, it happened to be easier. I don’t have a publisher so if I wanted to print it, I’d have to do a self-printing option and those are expensive and just not ideal for me right now.
Second, and in my mind an equally important reason, is that I wanted the book to be a two-way street. I wanted the reader to be able to find out more about one of the authors or touch base with them easily with just a few clicks. That’s all very possible with an electronic book.
For example, I can make pages like this (the real version is clickable obviously):
One page, over 200 links (they only work if you’re online obviously), that can quickly connect you with any of the authors. Show me a piece of paper that can do that!
Third, the electronic format makes the entire thing much (MUCH) easier to navigate. It’s searchable for starters. Want to find that homemade hot pocket recipe? (I’m assuming you do because that’s my recipe!) Just hit CTRL-F and search for it!
I also came up with the idea for this cool little Quick Links section which sits at the beginning of every chapter. It makes the book even easier to navigate because you can click on them to get back to the main indexes for the book.
Basically you can get to any page in the book with just a few clicks.
How much are you charging for this? It’s true. This is not going to be a free thing, but I’ve done my best to offer it at a reasonable price. I’m not one of those guys that’s going to hide the price until you see it at the checkout. The final price will be $18, but for the first week it’ll be $5 off. So starting next Tuesday you can have your own copy for just 14 bones.
I think that’s a pretty awesome deal. If, however, you’re kind enough to buy 55 Knives and decide for any reason that you’re unhappy with it, you can get a full refund for 30 days after you buy it. Heck… even after that if you shoot me an email with some feedback, chances are I’ll send you your cash back.
I’ve also partnered with a few really awesome companies that sell great cooking/kitchen products to offer some coupons and deals to people that purchase the book. If you were to take advantage of all the deals in 55 Knives, you’ll about break even from the cost of the book. There will be more specifics on these next Tuesday!
Let’s start with a giveaway! If anyone has any questions, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them all! Also, if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win a free copy of the book! I’ll give away 5 copies when it goes live next Tuesday to random commenters on this post!
I’ve been making a lot of stir-fries lately. There’s a lot of reasons for this. For starters, a stir-fry is an awesome way to use really fresh veggies. Given that the farmer’s markets are alive and well this time of year, it’s really easy to pick up a few good looking veggies and stir-fry them together.
The second reason why I’ve been digging these dishes lately is because they’re very fast and frankly I’ve been pretty darn busy these days! So a meal that’s delicious, fast, and reheats well the next day is what I’m looking for.
Plus, I think just looking at this dish will make you healthier!
Simple but good.
You can of course just serve this with some rice and you’ll all set, but I wanted to try my hand at a new flat bread recipe which also worked great for this meal.
This recipe passed what I like to call the “By Noon” test. Which means if I bring it into work and it’s gone by noon, it’s probably a pretty decent recipe. If it lingers on past noon well then maybe I need to work on it some.
Of course, I cheated a bit because it is a coffee cake recipe so it’s best with, well, coffee which most people drink prior to noon.
But if you need further evidence that this is a solid coffee cake, it also passed the “Get it out of the house” test. If Betsy instructs me to get it out of the house, then it’s also probably pretty decent because she’s afraid she’ll eat it all.
Ok. I’ll stop with the various tests I’ve created. But really, this was very tasty stuff.
The recipe for this coffee cake is very straightforward and you can adjust it with all kinds of fun stuff. For this version I added some almond extract and fresh cherries. You could add real almonds of course if you want, but I just did the extract.
While Betsy and I don’t have any outside space to plant a garden of any sort, every Spring (or early summer) we try to get some fresh herbs growing in our windowsill. Granted we didn’t grow these from seeds, but so far these are really doing well!
As much fresh herbs as I like to use, I find that it noticeably cuts down on my grocery bill to be able to just snip off a few herbs instead of buying whole packages. I fantasize about having a garden full of every herb imaginable that way I could just stroll through and pick the ones I wanted!
Some guys fantasize about money or pretty ladies. Not me. Herb gardens people. Herb gardens.
Here’s the poll for the week!
And a few links!
Helping Nashville. Shameless self promotion… Betsy and I are pretty close to the 200 comments we were hoping for on this post from last weekend. If you didn’t see it, basically we’re giving $1 for each comment on the post up to 200. We actually just decided to give $200 no matter what but you should still check out the post and read all the great comments!
Eating Yourself Into Debt. This is one of the better written posts I’ve seen on the costs of poor diet. Well, actually it goes even further than that by addressing some areas like wastefulness and excessive drinking. The bottom line is that if you aren’t eating well, you’re costing your future self money even if you’re saving money in the present. (@ Man vs. Debt)
Classic Pepperoni Pizza. A pizza can be a simple thing, but man does this version look good. I think if there was one thing I could drill into the heads of American families it would be that take-out pizza is almost never worth it when, with just a tiny bit of equipment and effort, you can make something 100 times better. Mental Note: I haven’t made pizza in a while… (@ Recipe Girl)
High Tea. I was lucky enough to be on the invite list for this awesome High Tea. I had no idea what I was getting into! It was amazing. The tea was delicious and the scones! Oh the scones. I could talk for days about the damn scones! It’s also possible that I drank an entire glass of tea-flavored vodka… (@ Endless Simmer)
Homemade Tapioca Pudding. Tapioca pudding is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s also one of those things that never dawned on me that I could probably easily make. Man this looks good. (@ Pinch My Salt)
I got invited over to my friend Rex’s house to do some grilling last weekend. Actually, the point of the trip was not just to grill but to also check out the bar he just finished in his basement.
When someone tells me that they built their own bar, I usually assume it’s gonna be a rickety thing made mostly of cardboard because that’s probably how my bar would look if I made it myself. Rex, however, is no slouch. His bar is made of beautifully stained wood. It has a resin-coated finish. It has foot stools. He even has his own MegaTouch.
Rex was going to grill some seafood and you guys conveniently voted for seafood. So we had a lot of seafood to grill.
Prepping the grill...
Seafood is delicious grilled (what isn’t?) but it can be a bit tricky just because it’s a delicate subject. It can quickly become overcooked and then it gets chewy and not the best. A few quick tips to remember about grilling any seafood:
I think I like cooking because I’m still a kid at heart. I like to chop things, slice things, burn things, play with knives, and mix strange concoctions. All of these are obviously hobbies that translate very nicely to cooking.
For some reason one of my favorite things to do is stack food. I’m not really sure why but I get a lot of pleasure out of stacking things up and seeing how high I can go. I did this with great success for my Tostado Stack!
That’s why this recipe caught my eye. Not only does it include some of my favorite flavors (eggplant, mint, feta, paprika, and cumin) but I get to stack stuff!
So I present The Eggplant Stack!
This recipe is really simple actually and has some fantastic flavors in it. I could see getting the kids involved in this one.
Administrative Note:If you missed it over the weekend, Betsy and I are giving $1 for every comment (up to 200) to the Red Cross to help out with the Nashville flooding. We’re still a few short… We’d love to get to 200 so if you haven’t already, check out the post on Biscuits and Gravy and leave a comment! Thanks!
Mint is one of my favorite spring flavors. It has such a distinct flavor that even a tiny bit of it can easily be tasted in a dish. Mint doesn’t hide well. That’s why I was really intrigued when I saw a mint pesto. It doesn’t use mint as an accent. The dish is pretty much all mint.
Honestly, I wanted to try this because I thought it’d be interesting, but I was 100% ready to report that the mint was very over-powering. That’s what I assumed would happen. Shows how much I know. Mint pesto worked just perfectly.
What’s funny about this pesto is that if you just taste a single sprig of mint, the flavor is intense, but when you grind down a lot of them, they lose some of that intensity and mixed with the other ingredients it just becomes a really delicious, light pesto.