Contest

Society6 Free Shipping and Tote Bag Giveaway by Alex Boake

I recently got a few of my illustrations set up on Society6, mainly because of the awesome feature of being able to have designs on iPod cases, pillows and tote bags. This is pretty good timing, because until November 17th, if you follow any of the promo links in this post, you can get free shipping, and the items should arrive in time for the holiday season. Neat!

From the site: "Our quality crafted Tote Bags are hand sewn in America using durable, yet lightweight, poly poplin fabric. All seams and stress points are double stitched for durability. They are washable, feature original artwork on both sides and a sturdy 1" wide cotton webbing strap for comfortably carrying over your shoulder."

Check out all the bag designs I have here!

In honour of my shop opening, I'm giving away one tote bag to one lucky person. Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below! Contest closes 11/15/2013 at 12:00 AM. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chocosol Chocolate Giveaway! Sustainable, Fair Trade, Soy-free by Alex Boake

My love affair with Chocosol Traders began at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers' Market one Saturday morning this past summer. First thing that grabbed my attention was their eye-catching skull adorned packaging. The second thing was their bike powered blender, whipping up frothy drinking chocolate. I left the market with a little cup of that delicious chocolate drink and things haven't been the same since!

After that fateful day I began noticing them at many of the other Farmers' Markets that I attend, and of course I decided to try out some of their chocolate bars. Let me tell you, they are delicious! All the ingredients are organic, and locally sourced wherever possible. The cacao is horizontally and fair traded. The beans are stone ground and the bars are made without gluten, soy, nuts or dairy products. Can you say perfection, or what? Being stone ground the texture isn't as fine as say a Lindt bar, but that's part of the charm.

"Our artisan chocolate is made right here in Toronto using organic, forest garden, shade-grown cacao, sourced directly from indigenous communities in the Lacondon Jungle of Chiapas and the Oaxacan mountains of Southern Mexico. Our horizontal trade relationships go beyond the exchange of commodities and bring symbolic products, whose story is as important as the product itself. Our relationships are based on reciprocity, friendship, respect and mutual learning."

Now that's a tasty initiative! Being so locally-focused, they sell only in a handful of retail locations in Toronto, directly at Farmers' Markets, and from their Cacao Loft where all the magic happens. I had the chance to go there and take a chocolate making class. It was wicked cool! They showed us all the aspects of their process, including their composting project in the basement. All their compostable cups and organic waste from the markets and their operation becomes food for their earthworms. The soil is sent to their local suppliers who grow some of their ingredients.

Chocosol is so inspirational and the people who run it are incredibly nice and delightful. In a chocolate-fueled art-frenzy this poster was born as a tribute. I must admit that I am very proud of it!

 I wish I could share their chocolate with everyone, but alas I can't possibly do that. However, I do want to make more people aware of their efforts and their products, so I am holding this giveaway!

CHOCOSOL CHOCOLATE GIVEAWAY

Prize Pack 1 (Approximate Retail Value $50):

  • Hemp Gold 6 Square Bar
  • Raw Vanilla 6 Square Bar
  • 5 Chili Bullet 6 Square Bar
  • Darkness 6 Square Bar
  • Luscious Coconut 12 Square Bar
  • 1 Mini Print of my Chocosol Traders Poster

If this contest reaches 40 entrants, a second prize pack will be unlocked!

How to Enter Two of these steps are required, and they will score you ONE entry to the giveaway. The rest are optional, but they will score you additional bonus entries. Comment once, and once only, with all of the things you have done to enter. You can get up to 4 entries total.

Required to Enter

Bonus Entries

Again, comment on this post to enter, and please try post only once with all the steps you did to enter. This giveaway will close Sunday January 13th, 2013 at midnight. Open to residents of Canada and the USA. The winner will be contacted by email so that the chocolate can be shipped to them. This is not a sponsored contest, the chocolate was all purchased by me, and I have torturously resisted eating it. ; ) Good luck everyone!

They don't have an online store, but I did ask, and they said that it would be possible to email them directly for a shipping quote. 

A Prize-Winning Fresh Mozzarella and Homegrown Tomato Salad by Alex Boake

Ah yes, here's the post you've been waiting for! It's Kate Ground's prize of a recipe and illustration featuring her favourite ingredient, Homegrown Tomatoes. Believe it or not, I used to hate raw Tomatoes. In fact, I used to hate all Tomatoes, even cooked ones! I know, it's blasphemy. I'm now a convert, and I bow down to the deliciousness of a plump, ripe, in-season Tomato. This salad is quite something. It really allows you to savour the freshness of the ingredients, so I really suggest you use in-season, local, perhaps even homegrown Tomatoes, if you can, for the best results!

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2, 250g Balls of Fresh Mozzarella
  • 4 Medium Ripe Homegrown Tomatoes
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 4 Baby English Cucumbers
  • A Large Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves

Dressing

  • 2 Heaping Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions I love to make this type of salad look really beautiful by really arranging the ingredients nicely onto the plates. Try for your best presentation with this salad! It makes it even more delicious, scout's honour!

Depending what you're serving this with, and your personal tolerance for dairy, you can either opt for more or less mozzarella. If you're serving it with something heavy, divide one Ball of Mozzarella into 4 sections, and then slice. Divide between four plates. If you're serving this with something light then take 2 Balls of Fresh Mozzarella, divide each into 2 sections, and then slice. Make sure the pieces fairly bite-size so that people don't have to bust out their knives. Divide between the 4 plates.

Wash your delicious, ripe Tomatoes and your Cucumbers. Remove the stems, and then cut each Tomato in half once, and then slice. You can get super artful here and alternate between a piece of Mozzarella and a slice of Tomato as you divide them between the 4 plates. Thinly slice each Cucumber and spread out the slices in a ring around the plate.

Cut the Avocados in half, and remove the pits. Peel them, and then chop them up. Bestow each plate with half an Avocado, making sure you separate out the slices a bit so they are easily picked up with a fork.

Wash and dry the Fresh Basil Leaves. Remove the stems, and then stack the larger leaves, and then roll them. This makes it easy to slice them into ribbons. Take the pile of sliced leaves and divide by four, then sprinkle on top of each plate.

In a glass jar with a lid, toss in the Dijon Mustard, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. Seal the jar and then shake to combine. Serve the dressing on a table with a spoon and let each person drizzle their desired amount of dressing onto their salad. If you have leftover dressing just seal up the jar and refrigerate it, reserving it for another salad.

This salad is truly one of my favourites! It's especially good with Buffalo Mozzarella. However, I have recently looked into making fresh Goat's Milk Mozzarella, so you may be seeing a post about that, sometime soon! You can be sure that if I manage to pull that off that it will be appearing on my table as a key player in this very dish.

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province -- Plus CONTEST! *Contest now closed* by Alex Boake

Wow, things have been a little quiet around here...sorry about that! I'd been overseas, away from my kitchen and out of the studio, which made it a little difficult to cook and draw. But now I'm back, and ready for action. The lovely spring weather we've suddenly been gifted with is really inspiring in so many ways! Though we Canadians never stop barbecuing, I'm sure that the change in temperature has inspired many people to dust off their grills. Today I have for you a grilled salad that takes advantage of this outdoorsy cooking contraption! This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering! But first I'd like to announce a contest! It's my first contest, in fact, so I'm pretty excited. Here's what you can win!

The Grand Prize: A Recipe and Illustration developed and created by me, featuring your favourite fruit or vegetable. You'll be mailed a poster of the Illustration, signed by myself!

Here's how to enter! Comment on this post with your favourite fruit or vegetable AND either:

  • Follow Alex Boake - Illustration on Facebook or Twitter, AND/OR;
  • Draw me a doodle of your favourite fruit or vegetable, and link to it in the post.

Want additional entries? Share this post on Facebook or Tweet about the contest!

You can get up to 5 entries, one each for the social media follows, one for your drawing, and one for each share or tweet. Just let me know in the comment what you did, and you will be entered accordingly. If you're already a follower on Facebook or Twitter, awesome! You can still enter, just let me know when you comment with your fruit or vegetable.

The contest closes on April 12th at 12:00 AM EDT. I'll get in touch with the winner, and the recipe will be posted about two weeks from the end of the contest. The poster will be mailed to the winner after the post goes live! I look forward to hearing everyones' favourite fruits and vegetables, and seeing peoples' doodles! This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering!

Now, how about that salad?

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Round of Soft Cheese with a rind, such as Camembert or Brie (You won't use all of the cheese in this recipe)
  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 4 Small Zucchini
  • 2 Large Sweet Red Peppers
  • 2 Chinese Eggplants
  • Herbes de Province
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil

Directions

Wash all of your vegetables well. Rinse the Mushrooms and pat them dry. Cut the Zucchini in half. Take the halves and then make cuts along the length, from bottom to stem but stopping before you reach the end, essentially creating a Zucchini 'fan'. This allows for quicker cooking on the grill, and creates a nice presentation. Lightly brush the Zucchini fans with Olive Oil, and sprinkle with Herbes de Province. Cut the tops off of the Red Peppers, and cut them into quarters, removing the seeds. Slice the Chinese Eggplants into 1 cm thick slices, on a slight diagonal.

Depending how quickly you prepare your vegetables, you can preheat your grill to medium high while you work. Grill the Mushrooms and Zucchini for 4 minutes per side, and the Eggplants and Peppers for 3 minutes per side--keep an eye on them, if your grill runs hot you don't want to run the risk of incinerating them!

While the vegetables are grilling, you can begin to plate the Camembert. Take the wheel and cut it in half. Cut 4 slices and plate them on oven-safe stoneware plates. You want there to be rind all the way around each slice. If you love Cheese, then cut those slices thick! It's best to place the Cheese in the middle of the plate, and then arrange the grilled vegetables around it.

When your vegetables are just about done, turn on your broiler to high. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 4 plates. Sprinkle generously with Herbes de Province, and drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Put the plates under the broiler, and broil until the Camembert is melted and bubbly. Ensure you have some heat-safe placemats so you don't melt anything, or singe your table--then serve immediately! Make sure you get some of that delicious Cheese in every bite! To make this for more people, just add more vegetables and cut more slices of Cheese.

Make this salad, you won't regret it! ...and also enter my contest, you surely won't regret that either!