Miss Ginsu: About/Bio


Bee Sweet: A Bake Sale to Benefit Bees

What: A bake sale to benefit bee research (items containing honey encouraged!)
When: Earth Day: April 22, 2009
Where: At work, at school, out on the street
Who: You, perhaps? And anyone else who'd like to contribute.

Why: Thanks to dedicated research, honey bee populations seem to be on the mend, but the specter of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) still looms. Funding for more study will help our tiny pollinators thrive.

I'll be hosting a Bee Sweet bake sale at my office on Earth Day this year, with the benefits going to the UC Davis Honey Bee Research Facility.

I've also made a handy Bee Sweet graphic in case you'd like to join in and do your own bee benefit. Just click on the graphic below to get a printable PDF.

Bee Sweet
Click for the larger version.

This bake sale will also be a great opportunity to highlight honey as a star ingredient. I've found it's enormously popular for treats in Mediterranean cuisine, being the sweetener that happened to be on hand for hundreds of thousands of years.

Honey can be used in place of sugar in some recipes, but keep in mind: it's best to go conservatively at first, and the liquid in your recipe may need to be reduced. The National Honey Board has a few tips on usage.

I'll be posting a few honey-based goodies in upcoming days to get you thinking sweet thoughts, but in the meantime, here's a few honey treats from the archives:

  • Moist & Sticky Fig Cake
  • Honey Mead
  • Frybread
  • Hot Honey-Ginger Toddy
  • Sugarplums
  • Nutted Halvah

    Happy Eating!
    Miss Ginsu

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  • 4.08.2009

    The Tastiest Raffle Around

    The Menu for Hope raffle deadline has been extended and will now end on New Year's Eve (woot!) so you still have time to snap up a ticket or two.

    Our offering, the supercool "Bring the Pain" tote bag, cookbook, proofing basket, etc. is so fun, I'm tempted to just bid on my own prize to see if I can't keep it for myself, though I don't think that's allowed. :)

    The Bakers' Bundle (Prize UE23)... a combo worth more than $60!

    You can see pictures of the raffle money beneficiaries here or check out the full list of prizes on which to bid here.

    Once you're ready to buy one or more tickets (just $10 each!), go to the First Giving site, and be sure to specify which prize(s) you're interested in. (For the Bakers' Bundle above, use code UE23.)

    Big thanks for helping out, y'all!
    Miss Ginsu

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    $10 Buys Lunch and Maybe More...

    Featuring both a great cause (school lunch for kids in Lesotho) and some truly tasty raffle prizes, the Menu for Hope event returns for a fifth big year. (Has it really been a year already?)

    If you were reading this blog (or pretty much any other food blog) this time last year, you may remember that food blogger Chez Pim spearheads the Menu for Hope charity raffle, which has been gaining momentum (and distributing cash to good causes) with each passing December.

    There's no doubt that buying lunch for kids qualifies as a classic "good deed," and the UN World Food Programme is a well-managed organization, so Cupcake and I are thrilled to join in once again.

    Here at Chez Ginsu, we're offering up... The Big, Bad Bakers' Bundle
    The Big, Bad Bakers' Bundle
    The Big, Bad Bakers' Bundle (Prize UE23): Perfect for the beginning baker (or someone who might like to become a beginning baker), this luscious prize consists of:
    1. One copy of "Home Baking" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid (universally loved as an excellent baker's guide with gorgeous photography)
    2. One proofing basket (for your soon-to-be masterpieces)
    3. Three totally cute tea towels (always helpful... and did I mention cute?)
    4. And... a supercool Bring the Pain tote bag (certain to make you endlessly envied)

    It's a prize package worth... well... I'm not sure how much it's worth, but after you're baking bread like a pro, it'll be priceless, just like the Master Card commercials say.

    And you could win it all for ten clams. Not bad, eh?

    All you have to do is...
    1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from the Menu for Hope prize list at Chez Pim.
    2. Go to the donation site at First Giving and make a donation.
    3. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section of the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write in how many tickets per prize, and use the prize code. (For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. Please write 2xEU01, 3xEU02.)
    4. If your company matches your charity donation, check the box and fill in the corporate information.
    5. Please allow us to see your email address so winners may be contacted. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

    Check out the other fab prizes, don't forget to bid on ours (use prize code UE23) and feel good about buying a hungry kid some lunch. Because generosity is kind of what the Christmas spirit is all about.

    Holiday Cheer,
    Miss Ginsu

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    A Whole Lotta Clams...

    Four years ago, Pim Techamuanvivit (of the food blog, Chez Pim) had a simple idea: organize food bloggers help raise money for those going hungry.

    This year, her annual Menu for Hope campaign continued extending that idea. Menu for Hope 4 involved dozens of food bloggers who sponsored some truly impressive prizes, including luxe meals at hungrily-sought hot-spots, weekend stays in lovely locales and unique opportunities to meet with heavies in the food industry.

    The Menu for Hope 4 total donation for the UN World Food Programme: $91,188.00

    That's double last year's amount... and imagine what next year will bring! I can't help but see Pim's MFH as a truly inspirational demonstration of the power of initiative and determined passion.

    Chef Bunny Tote

    Though it's quite humble by comparison to some of the offerings, I truly hope Ms. Jennifer Fishman will enjoy her winnings from here at Chez Ginsu: a natural cotton chef-bunny tote bag with an array of aromatic spice blends.

    Thanks so much to everyone who donated to the cause and to the ever-classy Adam Kuban (of A Hamburger Today, Serious Eats and Slice) for rounding up the wily Northeast-region food bloggers.

    I'm already looking forward to seeing how MFH grows. Meanwhile, go check Pim's site to see if you've won anything.

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    There's still time to win!

    The Menu for Hope campaign/raffle has already raised more than $83,000 for the U.N. World Food Programme, and hundreds of donors are eyeing the really wonderful prizes on offer from bloggers around the world.

    Pim has extended this event through the weekend, and some of the prizes have precious few bids so far... so your chances of winning are greatly increased.

    One such prize is my own offering, the very cute (and very useful) Chef Bunny Natural Canvas Eco-Tote, complete with a special Five-Pack Spice Blend set.

    Each chance to win is just $10. Simply use code UE28 in the "notes" section when you make your donation. But be quick about it... this thing wraps up soon!

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    Day 10: Lunch for Elijah

    This post marks Day 10 of Miss Ginsu's 2007 Advent Calendar. To click into other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.

    Happy Hanukkah! Any holiday that promotes fire, wine and fried food sounds like a good time to me.


    Overall, I think Hanukkah is a far tastier holiday than, say, Passover (I happen to be a big fan of leavened bread), but there's one thing about Passover that I always miss at the other Jewish holidays: the chair for Elijah. At Passover, it's traditional to set a place at the table for the prophet. Because you never know... he might show up.

    I like the empty chair. I feel like every feast needs an empty chair. It's a reminder that as cheery as we are, as full of bread and wine and laughter as we might be, there's others to think about. The table is never really complete.

    So today, in my multi-denominational advent calendar, I'd like to suggest something a little out of season (though the holiday spirit of generosity is certainly seasonal).

    Consider leaving some space at your lunch table this week. Just aside the amount of money you might spend on treating a friend (or a visiting prophet) and use it to buy lunch for the friend you've never met.

    There's dozens of good causes out there, but here's three of my favorite suggestions on where to put your lunch dollars...

    Chefbunny Eco Tote 1. Chez Pim's annual Menu for Hope drive for the UN World Food Programme. Take this opportunity to donate $10 (or more!) Who knows... You might even win one of the prizes donated by food bloggers across the web (I'm offering my Chefbunny Natural Cotton Eco Tote — at left — stuffed with five signature spice blends. Just write-in code UE28). At the same time, you'll be assisting the UN in getting food into needy mouths.

    Child with Chicken 2. A chicken in every pot. Heifer International purchases farm animals for needy families. They get a flock of chicks or a pair of bunnies, or a llama or sheep. These animals provide ongoing resources that help provide income sources to clothe the kids and feed the family. Check out their online gift catalog to learn more.

    Can of Worms 3. Open a can of worms. The Oxfam America gift section makes it easy to plant trees, buy school uniforms and even unite farmers with worms. Buy some needy someone a sheep without having to transport it yourself. Sheep are so squirmy.

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    Menu for Hope 2007

    As many who read food blogs know, Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim has once again organized the annual Menu for Hope campaign for December 10-21, 2007.

    In case you're not familiar with the concept, Menu for Hope an online raffle in which food bloggers from around the globe stop writing about food for a few minutes and focus, instead, on those who are going without.

    To participate, simply buy one or (hopefully) more virtual raffle tickets for a chance at the great prizes available (see instructions, below). Tickets are priced at $10 each, and bidders may buy multiple tickets for each prize to increase the chances of winning. (Not that I'd be suggesting generous donations or anything.)

    Proceeds go to the U.N. World Food Programme, which seeks to fight hunger worldwide, and the donations format is extremely effective: last year's Menu for Hope raised an eye-popping $62,925.

    Chef Bunny Tote
    Use Prize Code UE28 for your chance to win!

    For my part, I'm offering a Chef Bunny Natural Cotton Eco-Tote from my design shop.

    Chef Bunny arrives ready to leap into culinary action with a savory starter: Five aromatic spice blends custom-made by your own sassy spice girl (that'd be me). We're looking to beat last year's total this year ($100,000 anyone?), so spread the word!

    If you're interested in buying into the raffle, here's what you need to do:

    1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from the Menu for Hope

    2. Go to the donation site at http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhope4 and make your donation(s).

    3. Please specify which prize you'd like in the Personal Message section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize. Use prize code: UE28 for a chance at the Chef Bunny Tote & Spices.

    Many, many thanks in advance for donating, and good luck!

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    Day 9: Introducing... Your Own Vinaigrette

    This post marks Day 9 of Miss Ginsu's 2007 Advent Calendar. To click into other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.

    Around this time of year, waaay back in the early '80s, actor Paul Newman and author A. E. Hotchner, were up to some culinary mischief in Newman's basement...

    For several years, Paul Newman and his long-time friend, author A.E. Hotchner, were in the habit of giving bottles of their homemade salad dressing to friends as holiday gifts. They would mix up a batch in Newman's basement and hand out old wine bottles filled with the dressing while Christmas caroling in their Westport, Connecticut, neighborhood. The response was favorable, and their 'limited edition' bottled dressing became a sought-after item in neighborhood gourmet shops.

    Newman and Hotchner reasoned they might attempt to market their dressing. They were told to expect to spend $400,000 on test marketing, but instead they simply invited a group of friends to choose from among a few salad dressing samples, and then selected the favorite. The two men each contributed $40,000, and a private manufacturer agreed to bottle the dressing. Thus, in 1982, Newman's Own, Inc., created its first product: Olive Oil & Vinegar Salad Dressing. As a joke, Newman put a likeness of his own face on the label...

    Twenty-five years later, the Newman's Own company has created dozens of products and earned more than $200 million for thousands of charities.

    Keep in mind — this multi-million-dollar company all started thanks to some random holiday cheer put forth by a couple of Christmas carolers armed with bottles of their homemade salad dressing. Granted, those carolers were already millionaires with good connections... but you see what I'm getting at here.

    Erick's Own

    A couple of years after Paul Newman started pimping his dressing for charity, my dad began whipping up bottles of homemade oil and vinegar vinaigrette as gifts. They were complete knock-offs, labeled "ERICK'S OWN" with a photocopied caricature that my uncle drew. (See above for a scan of one of the original labels.)

    Lo and behold, the dressing was mighty popular among the friends and neighbors. It seems that some formulas are simply recipes for success.

    Why not produce some salad condiments of your own? It doesn't take much to get going... a few bottles, a little vinegar, a little olive oil. Custom labels seem to help quite a lot. Paul Newman might claim to have launched Newman's Own as a joke, but he certainly knew what he was doing when he slapped his grinning mug across everything from steak sauce to lemonade.

    Miss Ginsu's Own

    Your Own Vinaigrette
    The ingredients below represent a very basic vinaigrette, which you can doll up as you see fit. My dad always used thin-sliced garlic cloves and dried herbs in his, and they tended to clog the shaker top, but I think the flavor was worth it.

    1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    2 Tbsp lemon juice
    Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
    1 cup olive oil

    1. Combine vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl or a blender. Whisk or blend well.

    2. Add oil to the mixture in a slow stream as you whisk or blend.

    You can store a vinaigrette in the refrigerator, but the oil will congeal. Simply remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to service to bring to room temperature. Shake well before using.

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    Introducing: The New Chez Ginsu

    Miss Ginsu & Cupcake

    After months of thinking, tinkering, plotting, planning and fussing about, I'm proud to present the new & improved MissGinsu.com. (With boundless thanks to J for patiently debugging my buggy code and The Roomie for her advice on cuteness.)

    It's still not perfect ("Dammit, Jim! I'm a cook, not a programmer!), but I hope that once you have look around, you'll agree it's a heck of a lot better.

    The new display is best viewed on Safari and Firefox, tolerable on IE 7 and still miserably broken on IE6. If you're on a PC and you don't have Firefox yet, you can download it here for free and get the whole awesome Miss Ginsu experience.

    What's Changed
    • The Name: Is the site called, The Hedonista? Is it called, Miss Ginsu? In truth, it was supposed to be "The Hedonista: A Food Blog by Miss Ginsu", but it was pretty confusing. That's over now. We're going totally Miss Ginsu from here on out.

    • Simplified Navigation: The navigation bar has been stripped down to the basics: Tasty Places to go, tantalizing Recipes to cook and our favorite Food Finds. Looking for something? Check out the search bar (at right) or browse the archive.

    • The Color Scheme: It's brighter, happier and more diner-like.

    • The Miss Ginsus: The place is chock-full of 'em. Why? Well, why not? They're cute. And we think the world could use more cute. Also: Naps. But we'll work on cute for now.

    Meanwhile thanks for reading, and I hope you like the new look!

    -Miss G.

    PS: Completely unrelated, but also important... The Roomie wants anyone knitty (or crochety) to know that the Love Keeps You Warm program could really use scarves or yarn donations to help warm folks that are living with HIV/AIDS. If you have skillz, scarves or a bunch of extra yarn sitting around, contact Diana Previtire at Actor's Equity NYC before November 30. More info on the flyer at Miss Heather's Greenpoint Dog Log Blog.

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