Giveaways Make Me Hungry

Those of you who have been hanging out at A Reader's Respite for a while might remember this review of Erica Bauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients that we posted some months back.

In a nutshell? We LOVED this book. Everyone LOVED this book. You can't not LOVE this book if you appreciate gorgeous writing.

Now Erica and A Reader's Respite both call the great Pacific Northwest home and that means we consume a lot of seafood. The difference between us is that Erica knows how to prepare culinary works of art, while A Reader's Respite knows microwavable popcorn.

So who would you rather get a sumptious seafood recipe from? Yeah, that's what we thought. Oh, and how about a giveaway of The School of Essential Ingredients while we're at it....

Interested? We thought you might be. Read what Erica has to say.....


Some fifteen years ago now, my husband and I bought a slim bit of land on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. The property rose up some 250 feet, but technically it was waterfront and we bushwhacked our way through poison oak and clambered down ladders and ropes and stood, triumphant, on our beach. The view down the bay was endless; the seals poked their heads up from the water and looked at us with soft brown eyes. We fell in love.

Our beach is rocky and when the tide goes out it leaves behind a vast expanse of oysters. For some of our friends, the bounty is overwhelming and they sit on the rocks in a kind of stunned bliss for hours, oyster knife in hand. Alas, neither my husband nor I like oysters. We’ve tried. We’ve barbequed and baked, lemoned and hot sauced and stewed. Nothing doing.

We do, however, love crab, and there are crabs down in the deep, cold water just off our beach. So every summer we drag our canoe over the utterly offended mollusks and set out in search of crustaceans.

As a cautionary note, I’d like to say that crabbing by canoe is a highly questionable proposition. Still, my husband likes adventure, so we bought a lovely orange canoe that looked just like something you would put four little Girl Scouts in at summer camp. It lasted a few years until a big winter storm caved its side in while it lay tied up on the beach.

Now we have a new canoe - Tank Girl. Tank Girl is big and strong and so heavy that I truly do not understand how she floats. When the tide is out and the beach looks like a battleground littered with sharp-edged grenades... well, let’s just say you have to like crabs to drag Tank Girl across all that to the water.

Which we do. And wanting to learn how to prepare our catch well led me to take a cooking class, where we were taught how to kill them with our bare hands. Which led to The School of Essential Ingredients.

People have asked for the recipe for roasted crab from Claire’s chapter in the book, so here ‘tis. And Claire and Helen want you to know that if you can only find already cooked crabs (or you don’t relish the idea of killing them), you can also use this as a truly decadent dipping sauce.

Claire's Roasted Crabs

2 live crabs
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 T ginger, minced
2 T garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine

Lay live crab belly side down and hold from the rear with one hand (avoiding the big claws!). With the other hand, grip the edge of the back shell with your fingers. Pull up sharply to remove the shell, then cut the crab into two halves with a large knife. Wash the body cavity, removing lungs and guts. With large knife, cut between each of the legs and crack the shells with the side of the knife, to allow openings for the roasting sauce to enter. (for more extended description, you can go to pages 46-47 of The School of Essential Ingredients).

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add ginger, garlic, salt, & red pepper flakes and saute about a minute until garlic becomes translucent but not browned.

Put crabs in a roasting pan & coat well with sauce. Roast for 15-20 minutes in 375 degree oven. Stir 2-3 times.

Warm lemon juice & white wine. Add to crab before serving.

Supply your guests with many, many napkins, baskets of crunchy french bread and a fresh green salad. Utensils for getting the meat from the shells are handy as well....


Now, for the giveaway! If you'd like to win a copy of The School of Essential Ingredients (and if that doesn't get you in the mood for some serious cooking, we don't know what will!), leave us a comment telling us the best meal you ever ate.

That's it. Easy peasy, right?

Contest will remain open until June 3rd at which time a completely random winner will be drawn and announced right here so be sure to check back to see if you won! Unfortunately we have to limit this one to U.S. and Canadian entrants only, please. (A Reader's Respite will make up for that soon, I promise!)


  1. I LOVE this book! I LOVE Erica Bauermeister. In fact, I think I want to be her. Living on the coast where you can sit and eat free oysters when the tide is out? Are you kidding? Anyway, no need to enter me as I've read the book, and will most likely be one of my favorites of the year. And a shout out to Erica...if you are ever in Orlando, dinner's on me!

  2. Don't enter me - I'm one of the people who LOVED this book. I grew up on the East Coast and we used to go crabbing all the time. I cannot imagine doing it from a canoe.

  3. I've had sooooo many good meals so far in my life! That would be hard to choose! But the one freshest in my mind, as I had it most recently, was a Tilapia dish that I recently made with Lime-Shallot Butter. Yum!

    I'd love this book!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  4. I won this book already, after great perseverance in contests, and it's wonderful! But I love that she keeps holding contests because on every one she posts a recipe, which I then save in a word file for the day when she can come to my house and prepare them! (Or maybe I'll have to try them myself.) Just stopping by to say I also love this book!

  5. I would love to win this book! My library doesn't have it and since I'm on a book purchasing diet, I've not be able to read the book. I've read so many great things about it in blog land. I've eaten a lot of great meals in my life, but one of the most memorable was crab cakes and grilled shrimp at Lee's Inlet Kitchen in Murrells' Inlet, SC. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  6. I love a great plate of fried clams. Please enter me in the giveaway!

    barney's book blog

  7. I would love to win this book! My favorite meal consists of my fabulous lasagnae, a nice tossed salad, home-made garlic bread, and topped off with a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. Something chocolate for dessert of course!
    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

  8. i love japanese hibachi so it would have to be that the best place i ever had it was in a marriott unfortunately that place closed down thanks for the giveaway

  9. my favorite meal is homemade lasagne- garlic breas- really garlicky and cheesecake

  10. Oops, forgot to mention, no need to enter me. If I'd been clever, I'd have commented on a non-giveaway post. Ugh...and sorry about that.

  11. Best meal ever...a salmon fillet with cristy spaetzle with a cauliflower puree. Paired with a nice cold Woodchuck, it makes me so happy. I'm having it again tomorrow!


  12. No need to enter me; just popping by to say I've posted this on Win A Book.

  13. Hmm.....Hubby rib...crab casserole....garlic roasted potatoes and home-made truffles for dessert for Valentine's Day.
    I really would love this book.


  14. Oh wow! The best meal I ever ate? Hmm....I LOVE me some good Greek food. So really any food from a good Greek restaurant fills me up wonderfully. I loved Taverna Tony's in Malibu when we lived out in California. the appetizers (saganaki...OPA!), dips/spreads (Tzatziki or tirosalata), gyros, dolmathes. Oh man, I am making myself hungry right now!

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway! I'd really love to read this book.

  15. My favorite meal also includes crab. We have a traditional feast of crab and artichokes (Long Story...) every Christmas Eve. It is by far the greatest meal enjoyed each year. It only gets better each year.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    bsyb100 at gmail dot com

  16. My favorite a holiday work dinner...tomato bisque, cheese platter, perfectly prepared raw tuna steak, great dessert ;)

  17. The best meal I ever ate was fried catfish, hushpuppies, fresh mashed potatoes, and fresh green beans.
    1bmore @ gmail . com

  18. would love to win a copy, since I read it and loved it, but do not own it...

    when I me a bit of time to claim my prize since I am off to Alaska and will not be back until the middle of June.

  19. Best meal I ever ate. It was Memorial Day weekend 1993. It may actually have been Memorial Day. I was a freshman in college at Georgia Tech and had spend the entire day up at the college theater working to put together the set for our annual awards banquet. We started about 9am, someone got sandwiches for us about 2pm and we finally quit from sheer exhaustion about 6 or 7. We were beat. About an hour before we quit, one of the guys went to get steamed shrimp at the farmers market. He worked for housing and was doing some dinner thing with his residents. But only one of the guys showed up. So a couple of us from the theater and the one resident spent the next few hours sitting in the courtyard outside the freshmen dorms peeling and eating steamed shrimp and water melon (after someone found a knife big enough to cut a water melon). We'd eat shrimp for a while and then switch to water melon and then back to shrimp again. It was simple food but oh so good.

    Second best meal was the next year. Similar situation but instead of shrimp from a housing event no one attended, somone bought ribs and grilled them outside the theater. I'm pretty sure there was water melon again. Thing was, no one really knew how to grill ribs, so they were all done at different times. There was one slab that we just sorta passed around gnawing on (yes, that's kinda gross, but we were in college, all good friends and starving).

    And now I'm hungry. Thanks for the chance to win.
    ruthann (dot) francis (at) gmail (dot) com.

  20. My favorite meal has to be steamed king crab legs with lemon juice.

    Please enter me into the contest.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  21. This looks great! Please enter me!

    The best meal I ever had was at a restaurant on the beach in Maine - a 2 pound freshly steamed lobster in the shell with butter and wonderful rich New England clam chowder with tons of clams! So delicious!


  22. I really want to read this, but you've made it hard to win. I can't pick one meal. My mom's best meal? BBQ'd tri-tip steak with potato casserole. I will also say that the best meal I've eaten out, was Sirloin Marsala at Carabba's.

    Terrific giveaway.

  23. Anything I don't ruin!!!

    My mom's stuffed ground turkey peppers & anything from Jon Anthony's restaurant.

    Seafood... I'm picky, but Chesapeake Bay Gourmet has yummie crab cakes. ;p.

  24. Gee, you got me beat on the popcorn... why mine is burnt & kernels leaves me shaking my noggin. lol.

  25. The best meal I have ever had is from one of my favorite restaurants, The Open Kitchen in Charlotte, NC. The chicken barcelona is delicious and the restaurant is a true hidden gem!

  26. I have been dying to get my hands on a copy of this one, each and every review I have read has been glowing. So please enter me!

    You will probably think I am making this up, given Erica's post, but I swear that I'm not!

    The best meal I've ever had was when I used to go to visit my Grandma. She lived outside of San Fran and she knew that absolute favorite thing in the world to eat is Dungeness Crab (you're a lucky girl Michele, you live smack dab in Dungeness Crab country! I'm sure those are the crabs Erica is referring to). Anyway, whenever I came to visit she would make me fresh chilled Dungeness crab with garlic sourdough bread and Ceasar salad. My favorite meal in the entire world. I know I can still have it occasionally, when I get to the north west coast, but somehow it doesn't quite taste as good as it did when she was here.

    (My own humble opinion is that all other types of crab are inferior to the west coast's Dungeness!)

    Thanks for this fabulous contest!


  27. Wow, I've had so many best meals. The one I had most recently is one I made myself. I found the recipe from a vegan blogger. It was for Tofu Marsala. I actually used the vegan simulated chicken breasts and served it over fettuccine. We had some steamed asparagus and a nice salad with it.

    I will blog about you giveaway on my new Giveaways Galore post.

    teddyr66 at yahoo dot com

  28. Ok. One should never read a post like this when hungry... Now I have a craving for some seafood (make it any food)... and nowhere to find fresh seafood (I live too far from shore and the supermaket does not count)... Anyway, please enter me in your book giveaway.

    P.S. Teddy from So Many Precious Books, So Little Time sent me this way. Very nice blog.

  29. I"ve been wanting to read this book ! My best meal was actually an appetizer - at an amazing little place in Carmel, CA about 25 years ago. It featured abalone - a delicacy I had never tasted before and instantly fell in love with. It was the first and only time I've ever had abalone. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  30. A memorable meal from a long time ago: my first time to eat pheasant. From my husband's pheasant hunt in Nebraska. My mother borrowed a recipe from a friend and fixed a very rich and wonderful dish that included peaches and thick cream. I can still visualize that beautiful platter of pheasant.

    I'd love to win this book.

  31. The best meal I've ever had...hmm...

    Probably the meal my fiance cooked for me the morning after he proposed. I can't remember what it was, because it was so long ago... but it was amazing because it was him!

    Nowadays my favorite meal is a really well prepared steak with mushrooms and mashed potatoes.


  32. I live on Vancouver Island and I adore the ocean; but have not yet crabbed anywhere!

    My favourite really quite a simple one

    Fresh halibut, pan seared in butter, fresh asparagus and baby red potatoes with butter, salt and black pepper!!

    Thanks, I'd love this book!

  33. Pecan crusted Chilean Sea Bass was absolutely amazing! I can't even remember the sides that went with it - it was all about the fish for me!
    believedreamcourage (at)

  34. I love prime rib with sauteed mushrooms and onions, mashed potato's, horseradish and asparagus. I've been eyeing this book for a while. Count me in!

    schmerfette at cox dot net

  35. Please count me in!

    The best meal I'd ever eaten was of these fresh oysters and huge mussels in Auckland, New Zealand. The shellfish was so fresh. huge and tasty that it seemed like the best oysters I'd ever had. Amazing stuff!

    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

  36. My favorite meal ever was made by a guy I was dating, homemade pasta with an alfredo sauce, garlic bread, spinach salad, a frozen brownie dessert and a bottle of nice white wine...complete with candles. The food, the mood and the company was perfect

    "Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:"

  37. The best meal I ever had is still my mom's spaghetti and meatballs. I could eat it everyday.
    Thanks for entering me. I've heard nothing but good things about this book.

  38. Oh, I want to read this book. My favorite meal? It was a rather simple one. It was at a friend's birthday party and we had steak tips cooked on the grill with all the side dishes like potato salad, cole slaw, pasta salad, chips and salsa. And of course beer. With a nice chocolate cake, it was a birthday after all. It was good food but the enjoyment probably had a lot to do with the company.

  39. Well, I'm a pretty good home cook but the best meal I ever had was at La Famiglia Ristorante in Philadelphia. It was rack of lamb, duchesse potatoes and asparagus. I've tried to duplicate the chef's recipes and I've come close, but nothing matches the sheer perfection that was on my plate that evening. asthenight at gmail dot com

  40. A local super club around here has a Broiled walleye fillet stuffed with fresh crab meat covered in some kind of awesome sauce. Amazing.

  41. I'd love to win the book!

    Best meal I ever ate? It's the one I remember best: A homemade blueberry muffin made with fresh blueberries and two ripe, juicy peaches picked from the tree minutes before I consumed them. They were brought to me by my friend Lynn just three hours after the birth of my daughter, Joan, nearly 17 years ago. Nothing before or since has been so delicious!

  42. I'd really love to win this book! The best meal I ever ate was on Valentine's Day a couple of years ago. Since no where in our (college) town takes reservations, we made reservations at the swanky restaurant where my husband proposed. It was probably eight or nine courses including cavier, bisque, quail, and a number of other delicious dishes. It was all light and perfect.

    thebluestockingsociety AT gmail

  43. Kobe beef in Japan - but not for the taste, for the presentation! (My husband and I both kind of thought we'd had beef just as good and far less pricely elsewhere but the presentation, oh my!)

  44. A really thick piece of fresh swordfish on the grill with lemon juice. OMG, I am salivating just remembering how good it was. Every review of this book I have read has gushed over the book. The general consensus is Essential Ingredients is a MUST HAVE. Please enter me in the drawing. florida982002[at]

  45. The best meal I've ever eat -- wow? Probably, the tea I had at the Hay-s Adams Hotel -- tasty sandwiches and teas, beautiful flowers, the man I loved and it was my birthday.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  46. The best meal I ever ate? Um, probably ever Thanksgiving my mom decides to cook. So good! I'd love to win this though. :)


  47. ohhh...i'm FROTHY to get my paws on this book...

    as for stellar meals--i can't narrow it down--they are all special for different reasons:
    a. four seasons philly: 2001--creme brulee was sublime
    b. the emerson grille bozeman, mt 2007: FRESH! delish! natural. great company (husband)
    c. alcinea's (memphis, tn)2008: it doesn't get more down home than this. fried chicken brought tears to my eyes.
    d. any meal at my mother's house...she's italian and her cooking can't be beat

  48. I've had a lot of wonderful meals...Indian in Washington DC, too many places to mention in New Orleans, etc. But the one I remember the most was the first time I ate lobster!!! OMG!!!! I thought I had died and gone to heaven...either that or I was going to have an orgasm just sitting there eating lobster. Ahhhhhh.....


  49. Enter me please.

    The best meal I ever ate was probably my mom's broccoli bake.

  50. I will never forget the ham and mustard sandwich I ate on a bus ride from Florida to Rhode Island in 1974. I'm not kidding. It was really, really good. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  51. My mom's chicken and dumplings.

    lilacbutterfly [at]

  52. Best meal I've ever eaten was on our honeymoon in Turkey. It was a pasta/yogurt/mint thing with a tomato, pepper and cucumber salad on the side with produce we'd picked with the neighbors earlier that morning. Please enter me since this books looks fabulous!

    whitreidsmama at

  53. A Lobster and Steak dinner in Las Vegas. SOOOOOOO good!

  54. I've heard to much about this book.
    My favorite meal, too hard, the most recent delicious meal was prime rib on the grill. I also love shrimp bisque.
    Please enter me! Thanks

  55. The best meal I ever ate wasn't even a fancy meal. It was a ham and cheese sandwich I had in the hospital right after my first daughter was born! I was so hungry it was the best thing I have eaten before or since. Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.

  56. Count me in for this contest.

  57. My favorite meal is scallops with a tomato avocado relish and asparagus. Heaven! Please enter me!!

  58. My favorite meal - keep in mind I'm Cuban; is well, Cuban food. That's right - Rice, Steak and French Fries. It doesn't get better then that for me. I love it - I don't eat it very often since I stay away from the carbs/rice... but I LOVE it!

    I've been trying to win a copy of this book everywhere and still no luck. So, I'd love to be entered.

    ♥ Nely

  59. The best meal I ever ate was when I was seven and I helped my Mom make a chicken lemon pasta! I can still remember the taste + smell like it was yesterday!

    heatheranne99 at hotmail dot com

  60. Duck Confit at Rosemary's (Las Vegas)! Unforgettable!

    delilah0180 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  61. Salad + Oriental Yew Char Koey.

  62. best meal ever is my mom's spicy lasagna!

  63. Great Giveaway! I would love to win this book!

    The best meal I have ever eaten would have to be hot dogs...yes I said hot dogs. I was camping with friends and through the night somebody snuck into our camp site and stole our food cooler (likely thinking it was our beer) All we had left was hot dogs and marshmallows with no grocery store for miles.

    We literally had to cook them over the fire with a meal we ever had.


  64. The best meal I ever had was when my husband took me to Fleur de Lys in San francisco for our 5 year anniversary. It was 5 courses of the most delicious food ever!!

    Thank you!

  65. Best meal I ever ate-was in Sarlat France, the duck and foie gras capital-the duck, potatos, salad everything was delicious.

  66. Hmmm the best meal I ever ate would probably be the baby octopus I had at a Japanese restaurant. ^_^

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    lovejessicamarie [@] gmail [.] com

  67. Brennan's in New Orleans. The Bananas Foster is to die for! And also a funky little place there that had a ginormous plate of crawdads and other assorted stuff. YUM.
    HobartsMama AT

  68. The best meal I REMEMBER ever eating (because, honestly, I don't think too hard about food -- we even burn our popcorn) was the mixed veggie/cheese plate and soup I had in Costa Rica. I ate it three times. It had three or four kinds of cheeses, tomatoes, artichoke hearts (I think), avocadoes . . . I don't even remember. When I got home, I wished I'd taken a photo. The soup was sort of a tortilla soup with chicken, strips of tortilla and avocado bits, along with some other stuff I can't identify. I'm afraid I need to go back, write down the ingredients and take some photos!!

    bookfoolery (at) yahoo (dot) com


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