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A Grilling Giveaway for Memorial Day

If you're like us, then you have been eagerly anticipating the official kickoff to grilling season. An adventurous subset of you may have been stoking the coals since April, and maybe some of you have even had to refill your gas grill tank already. But as the weather gets downright balmy in Chicago, all of us are looking forward to a Memorial Day weekend with plenty of barbecue.

To celebrate the warm weather and national holiday, we will be giving away a copy of the brand new, beautifully redesigned title 1,001 Best Grilling Recipes, 2nd edition, by Rick Browne.

Author Rick Browne is known as one of the country's foremost authorities on grilling. The creator and host of the PBS TV series Barbecue America, Browne is also the author of 12 cookbooks. In this volume, he's created an encyclopedic collection of recipes drawn from cuisines around the world, with a particular focus on North American and Asian traditions.

To enter our contest, comment on or share our posts on Facebook and Twitter. We'll be selecting a winner this week and sending you a free copy! If you just can't wait that long, see a bonus recipe below from 1,001 Best Grilling Recipes.

Thai Beer-Can Chicken Satay

Yield: 4–6 servings

This is beer-butt chicken using Thai spices and marinades and a satay (peanut) dip- ping sauce. If you can’t find Thai beer, substitute any American brand. The chicken won’t know the difference.


1 (4–5 pound [1.8–2.3 g]) chicken

2 (14-ounce [392-g]) cans unsweetened coconut milk

½ cup  (118 mL) loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

3½ tablespoons (52.5 mL) turbinado sugar

3 tablespoons (45 mL) yellow curry paste (or 1 tablespoon [15 mL] curry powder)

3 tablespoons (45 mL) Thai fish sauce

8 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1½ teaspoons (7.5 mL) ground white pepper

1 (12-ounce [354-mL]) can Singha (or other Thai beer), to taste

Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons (45 mL) vegetable oil

2 tablespoons (30 mL) red curry paste

½ cup  (118 mL) finely diced shallots

2 teaspoons (10 mL) chili powder

½ cup  (118 mL) finely ground roasted peanuts

¼ cup  (60 mL) smooth peanut butter

¼ cup  (60 mL) packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon (15 mL) tamarind juice

1½ teaspoons (7.5 mL) salt (or to taste)

4 cups  (0.95 L) unsweetened coconut milk

1. With a sharp barbecue fork, poke the chicken multiple times in the breasts and thighs to help with the marinade process. Place the chicken in a 1- to 2-gallon (3.8- to 7.6-L) resealable plastic bag and set aside.

2. In a food processor combine the 2 cans coconut milk, cilantro, turbinado sugar, yellow curry paste, fish sauce, garlic, and white pepper and process until smooth. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

3. Preheat the barbecue to medium high (350°F [180°C] to 400°F [200°C]) for indirect heating, putting a water pan under the unheated side of the grill.

4. Drain the chicken well and discard the marinade. Open the beer can and pour off half of the beer.  Slide the chicken tail-side down over the can, using the legs to form a stabilizing tripod.

5. Place the vertical chicken on the unheated side of your grill and cook for 1½ to 2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160°F (71°C)°.  Carefully remove the chicken from the beer can and place it on a cutting board. Cut it into quarters or serving pieces.

6. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat until a drop of water sizzles when dropped into the pan. Add the shallots, red curry paste, and chili powder and heat until fragrant, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the peanuts, peanut butter, brown sugar, tamarind juice, salt, and the 4 cups (0.95 L) coconut milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the oil rises to the surface. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the satay sauce into small serving bowls, one per person. Keep warm.

7. Arrange the chicken on a heated platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Reprinted with permission from 1,001 Best Grilling Recipes, 2nd ed., by Rick Browne, Agate Surrey, 2016.



Jocelyn Delk Adams on TODAY making Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake

In case you missed seeing author, blogger, and baker extraordinaire Jocelyn Delk Adams on the TODAY Show, fear not! You can watch the full segment here, in which Jocelyn shows Matt Lauer how to add a modern twist to a Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake recipe inspired by Jocelyn's grandmother, a.k.a. Big Mama.

Jocelyn Delk Adams with her grandmother, affectionately known as Big Mama, who inspired her blog and cookbook,  Grandbaby Cakes .

Jocelyn Delk Adams with her grandmother, affectionately known as Big Mama, who inspired her blog and cookbook, Grandbaby Cakes.

If you haven't had a chance to read Jocelyn's new book, GRANDBABY CAKES, we've got you covered! You can find out more about it on our website, where it's on sale for only $20, or pick up a copy at your favorite bookseller:

Find your local indie bookseller

Find your local indie bookseller

Learn how to make this delicious Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake by clicking the image above!

Learn how to make this delicious Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake by clicking the image above!



Indian for Everyone preorder promotions from author Anupy Singla

This October, Agate Surrey is very pleased to be publishing Indian for Everyone, the new book by Anupy Singla, author of the bestelling The Indian Slow Cooker and Vegan Indian Cooking. Below is a message from Anupy regarding preorder promotions that she is sponsoring:

We're just five months away from the official release of my third book, Indian for Everyone, and I predict that this is going to be an amazing summer. Why? Because we are going to party--Indian style. There's a lot to celebrate.

Free books: I'll be giving away a free signed copy of either The Indian Slow Cooker or Vegan Indian Cooking for every 500 new "Likes" on my Facebook Fan page and on my blog as well.

Free spice blends: I'm also so excited to start giving away samples of my latest product offering--custom Indian spice blends from Chana to Tandoori Masala. You are going to love them. I'll be running promotions on them soon. In the meantime, you are a click away from experimenting with them.

Free gorgeous PDF: My favorite promotion of all? The gorgeous PDF my publisher and I have put together for all of you just for pre-ordering my third book. It's yours--just for pre-ording. (Thank you to everyone that already has--you will receive an email with your exlusive password next week.) In this eleven-page spread you'll get a one-pager of your key Indian spices with pictures, the same for legumes, a tutorial on sprouting, and some extra recipes that have not made it into any books yet. I also included a delicious mango lassi recipe. You can get this previous only by pre-ordering, so get to it!

I realize, after dedicating the last five years to writing cookbooks and recipes, that it takes a village to help spread the word and sell books. YOU are all a part of my village. I hope you will all help by purchasing at least one copy of Indian for Everyone...or maybe even two. Its release (October 2014) is timed perfectly for the holidays and Diwali. It's hardcover with pictures that will just blow your mind. They are absolutely gorgeous--not to mention functional. I have step-by-step process shots on how to make roti, makki ki roti, and samosas. This WILL be your go-to Indian cookbook.

So, go ahead. Get clicking, so I can get cooking on some more promos and more fun ways to get us both in the kitchen prepping gorgeously delicious Indian meals at once healthy and authentic.

xoxo Anupy



A Handbook for the Travel Writer

A good novelist can sweep readers away on a journey, carrying them to new lands to meet new people and experience new things. Travel writing does much the same thing, but the locations, peoples, and encounters are all real. The travel writer fashions her travel experiences into a narrative that illuminates both her own experiences and the places she was traveling though. Along the way, the travel writer will have to contend with all of the hassles that any normal traveler might face. When she returns, she must also go through a set of potentially overwhelming practical challenges: writing, editing, submitting, and publishing the resulting piece.

This is why we’re pleased to be publishing the seventh edition of the bestselling The Travel Writer’s Handbook, by Jacqueline Harmon Butler and Louise Purwin Zobel (click for a link to Amazon). This handy guide walks readers through the travel writer’s process. From how to pitch a story to planning and researching a trip to conducting on-the-road interviews, The Travel Writer’s Handbook provides a road map for finding success as a travel writer. This new seventh edition contains all the most essential and up-to-date information on how travel writers can tap into mobile and online resources to find new ways to publish and publicize their work, as well as to help with planning and preparation.

We hope you find The Travel Writer’s Handbook helpful. Happy traveling!



Q & A with Soup & Bread Cookbook's Martha Bayne

Martha Bayne is the author of Agate Surrey's new Soup & Bread Cookbook: Building Community One Pot At A Time. In 2009, Martha began the free weekly soup potlucks that became the Soup & Bread series at The Hideout in Chicago. Now in its fourth year, each week Soup & Bread features soups contributed by  various well-known Chicago area chefs (Paul Kahan, the James Beard-bedecked maestro behind Blackbird and Avec, and Stephanie Izard, winner of Bravo’s Top Chef, have stopped by) as well as a range of nonprofessional soup enthusiasts. Guests are encouraged to leave a donation, and all proceeds benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository and other neighborhood food pantries. The recipes from these weekly dinners formed the basis of the Soup & Bread Cookbook. We asked Martha about soup, the community-building focus of soup exchanges, and what some of her favorite recipes have been.

Why soup, as opposed to another type of meal?

Soup just seemed the right fit, both practically and conceptually. For one, it’s generally easy and inexpensive to prepare, so we aren’t asking too much of the contributors in terms of their time and money. Unless, of course, you’re Paul Kahan and you decide to throw truffles in your split pea soup. But that’s your business! Soup is easy to serve—all you need are some soup warmers, ladles, and bowls—which is important in a nontraditional setting like a tavern, where there might not be a full-on kitchen. (Side note: At one point we considered buying some toasters and throwing toast parties, but that never really caught on. I wonder why?) And, of course, soup is a hallmark of help in hard times, from the soup lines of the Depression to the classic soup kitchen model to mom bringing you chicken soup when you’re sick. When we started doing Soup & Bread in 2009 the recession had really just hit in a big way, and people in my world—as everywhere—were losing their jobs left and right. Soup seemed a way to connect the dots between the Hideout’s relatively small community of artists and weirdos and the larger cultural moment.

What do you think makes soup a particularly communal meal?

It’s a very forgiving dish, but from a creative perspective the culinary possibilities are endless, so you’re able to please even very picky eaters. And there’s something just so metaphorically satisfying about a community sharing a meal out of one big pot. When I started working on the book, over and over again people would say, “Oh, well of course you know the stone soup story, right?” The fable about the little village that is starving until everyone contributes a potato or a carrot or an ounce of beans to create a pot of soup? I swear I first heard it in preschool. But, it’s such a great story! It really epitomizes the ability of cooking, and cooking soup in particular, to create community, and of the ability of a community to sustain itself by harnessing the collective power of even its humblest, most raggedy parts.

The Soup & Bread series has become a noisy, communal, well-attended affair that many Chicagoans look forward to every winter. When you began back in 2009, did you ever consider that the event would resonate with so many people?

Not a clue. When this started I thought it would be a fun, casual way to get people out of the house in the depths of winter and raise a little money for a good cause at the same time. I had no idea it would take off the way it did—with hundreds of participants and more than $25,000 raised to date—and it’s been personally very gratifying to see this project grow and evolve. I’ve been particularly heartened by how many people have volunteered not just to make soup (or come eat it) but also to show up early to set up tables and slice bread, to take on boring behind-the-scenes work like helping post recipes to the website, and to jump in to set up events in other cities.

What do you hope the guests at a typical Soup & Bread event would take away from the evening?

I hope they take away the idea that a benefit doesn’t have to be a stuffy, rubber-chicken affair for rich people. That it’s possible to do good and have a good time to boot. That hospitality can be a radical act, and that it’s within their power to take an idea like Soup & Bread or any of the other grassroots community-building ideas in the book and run with them, in whatever direction strikes their fancy.

Can you talk about any particularly inspiring soup-related stories that you’ve learned through the Soup & Bread series?

This isn’t so much a story as an experience, but this summer we did a one-off event as an emergency benefit for the Garfield Park Conservatory, a beautiful 100-plus-year-old structure on the west side of Chicago that was severely damaged in a hailstorm. It’s a wonderful community resource and I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past as a volunteer. After the storm shattered something like 13,000 panes of glass in its greenhouses I threw together a Soup & Bread, for which a dozen restaurants and cooks donated soup and hundreds of people came out to attend. Given that it was organized in just a few days, it was thrilling to raise almost $3,000 in just a few hours, and the staff members who showed up were so happy both for the outpouring of appreciation and for the chance to kick back a bit and have fun after what had been a truly horrible week for them. That was inspiring.

What were the most popular soups you’ve seen over the years? The most unusual?

Squash soups seem to be very popular, year after year, as well as black bean and lentil soups. But it’s been fun to track some culinary trends through soup as well. In 2010, for example, an inordinate number of tortilla soups turned up at Soup & Bread. That was shortly after Rick Bayless won Top Chef Masters, and seemed to coincide with a general surge in interest in regional Mexican cooking. I think Mike Sula’s Asian Carp soup takes the prize as the most unusual thing ever to pass through our Crock-Pots (sweet-and-sour, challengingly bony) but there have been some other extreme efforts as well, like a turkey soup made with stout beer and chocolate chips, or my friend Vera Videnovich’s chicken and nettle soup, made from the weeds running wild on her farm. Then there was the genius night when, in a moment of random soup synchronicity, seven out of eight soups were all the same shade of taupe/tan. We dubbed it “The Night of Beige Soups.” A pot of chili was the lone outlier.

 What’s next for Soup & Bread?

The whole point the book is to show that these kinds of projects are just the tip of the iceberg—that soup is really an open-source idea—so I’d love to see other people take it up and launch their own Soup & Bread-style events, and I’d like to see Soup & Bread become a resource for them.


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Reasons to be vegan

This academic and food writer says the best evidence is anecdotal--look at healthy vegans, look at what they eat, and put two and two together. Conversely, look at unhealthy and failed vegans and what they eat to get a better sense of how some vegan diets are as unhealthy as diets get:

Someone can live on potato chips, pot, and cherry soda and call himself a vegan. Many recidivists have evidently tried to do just that.

We want to help you be one of those healthy vegans! Consider these great resources to aid your efforts. And we've got more such coming soon.

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Oprah all-out for veganism

The Los Angeles Times recounts how Oprah "convinced" almost 400 of her staffers to go vegan for a week, and discussed the results of their effort on yesterday's show. While she featured authors Kathy Freston and Michael Pollan on that particular episode, we here at Agate hope some of Oprah's fans who've decided to explore veganism will discover the new Surrey Books vegan titles: The Veganopolis Cookbook, Venturesome Vegan Cooking, and Vegan Baking Classics. All are great resources for beginning vegans, as well as more experienced vegan cooks. Bon appetit!