Welcome to my blog. My blogging journey began about in August 2009 as a photo-a-day blog which has since transitioned to combine my love of good food and photography. Today, using as many local and fresh ingredients as we can, my boyfriend and myself spend time researching recipes, making our own adaptations, cooking, taking photos, eating, and finally reflecting on all or part of the above listed process here. I hope you take the time to not only read and look at our photos, but please cook some of the recipes yourself. You are invited and encourage to leave feedback as we continue our culinary journey!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Reader Contest Entries

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries to my first reader contest. I had six great submissions and since Daniele and I know many of you who have submitted, we are opening up the contest to a 'reader vote' so nobody can claim we played favorites. Here are the rules of the reader vote:

1) Voting opens now and closes Friday May 6th at 11:59pm. Any votes submitted after that do not count.
2) You can vote by commenting below. You can only vote for one entry and each person can only vote one time. Simply sign in (or write your name after your vote) and make sure to write the number entry you are voting for.
3) No anonymous votes count. The person voting must log in or at the very least sign their name.
4) No cheating! (Obviously there are some ways to cheat here with the voting. But this is supposed to be a simple, fun laid back contest so play nice and fair. Plus, I really don't like cheaters!)
5) At least 10 votes must be cast in order to declare a winner. If 10 votes are not cast (or if there is a tie), then Daniele and I will need to dictate the winner of a contest. By this I do not mean that the winner must have at least 10 votes, I am simply saying that at least 10 people must vote.
6) If you entered the contest, yes, you can vote! And feel free to invite your friends to vote, too.

The winner will be invited over to our place for a dinner for 2. Or we can cook at your place. You can select the menu (within reason of course!) If more than 2 people were involved with making your recipe then after you are a declared a winner we can discuss that. If you are not living in Chicago and you are the winner well...we'll have to figure out a different prize I suppose!

As a reminder for readers out there, here was the criteria I listed when I first developed the contest. Of course you can vote for your friends, but try to take these criteria into consideration as well:

Entries/photos will be judged in the following manner: 34% quality of photograph, 33% how tasty the food looks, 33% overall creativity in adapting the recipe/photographing your food

Please also note that if as an entrant, you submitted a bunch of photos, I only posted two since otherwise this entry/contest would be out of control!

And now, for the contest entries (listed in order of submission):

Entry 1-Amanda, New York City. Spanish Tortilla.

Entry 2- Kayla, St. Louis. Oreo Cake. Twist: Made in the shape of a 1 for her son's first birthday. Note: Kayla has her own blog. Check it out!

Entry 3- Cecilia and Pietro, Chicago. Steak Stroganoff. Twist: Veal purchased from a local farm was used instead of steak. Cooked over the stove on low for five hours as opposed to in a slow cooker. Stock was substituted for onion soup mix and rice was substituted for egg noodles.

Entry 4-Jessica, Chicago. Cauliflower Cake.

Entry 5: Gal, Chicago. Bagels. 

Entry 6: Dan, Chicago. The Best Vegetarian Chili. Twist: Cooked in the oven for 8 hours on 210 degrees instead of a slow cooker. Ingredients listed up to garlic were sauteed before baking. Served with buttermilk biscuits from "The Joy of Cooking"

So that's it folks. Those are your six entries. Begin voting now, one vote per person and make sure to sign in or list your name after your vote. Keep in mind the criteria listed above. Voting closes on Friday and the winner will be announced on Saturday. Thanks for reading and thanks especially for participating!


  1. I vote for myself! (That's the "Best Vegetarian Chili". Yum.)

    Quality of photo is great. It's bright, colorful, and not too fancy; the perfect photograph to match the chili! The food looks by far the tastiest of any here, it being chili. And some props are deserved in the creativity department... after months of reading slow-cooker recipes, I finally made one, sans slow-cooker.

    For runner-up, I'd go for Kayla's Oreo cake. I'm a sucker for sweet things, and the close-up photograph is great! Throw in the fact that it's celebrating a first birthday, and I'm sold. (My parents tell some great stories about my first encounter with chocolate cake, on my birthday.)

    All the photos are great! Very inspiring... I see lots of cooking these in my future.

  2. Best Vegetarian Chili. It is clearly the best photographed (nice orange background). This is the only recipe I would try at home, probably, so the cook/photographer has achieved the goal of making somebody interested!

  3. Steak Stroganoff is my choice!

  4. Those all look yummy. I choose Best Vegetarian Chili (even though I'm not vegetarian). It looked really delish and had a great photo.

  5. Best Vegetarian Chili looks delicious! I choose that one!

  6. Double Oreo cake since I have a huge sweet tooth and it looks sooooo good!

  7. Best Vegetarian Chili. Vegetarian Chili is a ridiculous concept, but this photo is well composed.

    -Ari Allyn-Feuer

  8. Entry 3, Cecilia.. because it was super tasty!

  9. Best vegetarian chili looks the most delicious and healthy. The scrumptous-looking chili is nestled in a pottery-like bowl displayed against a southwest color scheme. The cheese, sour cream and cilantro spice it up a bit. But the best part of all is the half eaten biscuit. It looks like the photographer couldn't resist and neither can I!

    That said, all of the contestants did an admirable job!

  10. Best vegetarian chili, yo! I want to eat it.

  11. The chili! Well, I'm not a huge fan of chili but it does look very good and it seems the contestant put a lot of thought into it! Is there a monetary price? If yes, it sure helps pay for the 8h of oven use ;)

  12. well I don't wanna vote for myself so I cast my preference for the spanish tortilla! first because that's what started the whole contest.. and second because that's another recipe I wanna try - along with the bagels!