Category Archives: Contest

Tutti Frutti, So Yagööty!


We were invited — nay, challenged — by the nice folks at Yagööt to use their wonderful frozen yogurt creatively.  Yagööt’s specialty is their tart Original Flavor frozen yogurt.  They also make sweet yogurts; their strawberry and their caramelized pineapple are fantastic, and they offer a variety of other flavors which change regularly.  Yagööt was founded in 2008 by the owners of Cincinnati’s Busken Bakery; they expanded into the Columbus market about two years ago with a scoop shoppe at Easton Town Center, and have been a huge success. Personally, we prefer it to the other yogurt shops in town – their yogurt contains a little bit of fat (1%, as opposed to the non-fat offerings at most others), so it has a creamier mouth feel. We’ve talked about them before on this blog, and we’re happy to say they haven’t changed one bit since our first visit, except that they now offer about 6 different flavors in take home pints in addition to their regular menu of soft serve creations. Although we got at least one of each flavor available, we settled on our three favorites that we felt would be complimentary to both the toppings and to each other (thus, the Tutti Fruitti moniker – because of the “many fruit” flavors that make up the bulk of the dessert’s flavor).


Now, back to the challenge:

We finally decided to make petite frozen yogurt cakes, which we dubbed “Tutti Frutti, So Yagööty!”.  We made three varieties — Strawberry with Oreo Crust and Homemade Milk Chocolate Magic Shell with their Yomance topping; Caramelized Pineapple with Graham Crust, Cajeta (Goat’s Milk Caramel) and their Alligator Crunch topping; and Original Flavor with Granola Crust, Honey and Candied Pecans. Since these are tiny little cakes (they pack a lot of flavor in a small package), we’re considering three of them a modest dessert. We tried, for the most part, to use toppings that are unique to Yagööt, so technically the only ingredients that would require an outside trip are the graham crumbs, the butter, and the sugar. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to combinations of ingredients – we also played around with the idea of doing an oreo crust with pistachio yogurt, topped with a peanut butter magic shell, some mini peanut butter cups, and a few Heath sprinkles.

Before you start, make sure you have the tools for the job.  We used a Mini Cheesecake Pan from Chicago Metallic (see link below to purchase one for yourself – this is no unitasker) to form the ice cream cakes, and to freeze them. Like tart pans, they have a removable bottom metal plate that allows the cakes to pop right out of their forms. We also used parchment paper to prevent the frozen yogurt from sticking to the pan’s walls during the freezing/forming process, which would ruin the finished product.  With no further ado, here’s the step-by-step to make all of these little gems:


1.  Make the crusts.  Each crust used the same ratio of crumbs to melted unsalted butter — 1/2 cup of crumbs, 2 Tbsp butter.  For the graham crust, mix in 1/4 cup granulated sugar before adding the melted butter.  For the Oreo crust, pulverize 12 whole cookies.  For the granola crust, pulverize 4 crunchy granola bars (2 pouches).  You can use your food processor or “mini prep” chopper, but I find doing it the manual way to give better control over particle size, and to be a lot more fun.


2.  Press approximately 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp  of crust into the bottom of each tin.  Use a shot glass or something similarly flat-bottomed and small to compact the crumbs.  Place the entire pan in the refrigerator for 45-60  minutes to give the crumbs time to set properly.

3.  Cut 12 strips of parchment paper long enough to encircle the inner wall of each tin, and wide enough to rise out of each tin by at least half an inch.

4.  Take the pan out of the refrigerator and get the frozen yogurt one flavor at a time from your freezer.  (Note: if you have a freezer that can reach -10 to -20F, store the Yagööt there.  It’ll be, and stay, more solid.)  Insert a loop of parchment into a tin and drop a scoop of Yagööt inside the paper loop.  Press down on the frozen yogurt with the bottom of a shot glass, preferably one that’s been chilled in the freezer.  You’ll do this to spread out the yogurt to occupy the width of the tin with the parchment between the yogurt and the walls of the tin.  This will let you properly shape each cake.

(Note:  I put the pan back in the freezer after each flavor and allowed the already-filled tins to freeze for 20-30 minutes before filling the next four tins with the next flavor.)

Repeat until all twelve tins are insulated with parchment and filled with Yagööt frozen yogurt.  Place pan back in freezer and allow to freeze at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.


5.  Make the homemade Magic Shell[tm] topping.  (Recipe below.)  If you’re feeling particularly lazy, you can just go to the store and buy it off the shelf.  It’s not the same, though.  Trust me.


6.  Take the pan out of the freezer again and top each mini Yagööt cake with the appropriate topping(s).  We figured that by using something sticky (honey, caramel, magic shell), it would let the toppings stick to the yogurt better. We were right. When using the Magic Shell[tm], distribute the Yomance topping on the cake before the Magic Shell solidifies.  You’ll have a ten second window while the topping is still liquid.  Once all the toppings are in place, put the pan back in the freezer one last time.  Allow the toppings to solidify for at least 30 minutes.


7.  Remove pan from freezer.  To serve individual cakes, simply push up on the bottom of each individual tin (there’s a metal disc at the bottom of each tin) to pop out each cake.  Using a sharp knife, separate the metal disc from the bottom of the crust (it’s very buttery, so that shouldn’t be difficult to do).  Remove the parchment ring, and serve.


Homemade Magic Shell

150g finely chopped chocolate (milk, dark, white — your choice)
100g refined coconut oil (I used Louana brand)
Pinch of salt

Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a Pyrex bowl.  Microwave for 30-45 seconds then stir.  Microwave an additional 15-30 seconds and stir again.  Once the chocolate is liquified, whisk the oil and chocolate together until they form a uniform emulsion.  Whisk in a pinch of salt.  Transfer the emulsion to a squeeze bottle.  Use exactly as you would the store-bought variety.

Yagööt was also kind enough to provide two $20 gift cards to give away to readers of this blog. You can enter below, through the Rafflecopter widget. Since you would need to redeem these in person, ideally you will live in the Cincinnati or Columbus metro areas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclaimer:  We were invited to participate in a blogging “event” sponsored by Yagööt Frozen Yogurt.  They graciously provided gift cards which covered the cost of the ingredients. If you’d like to buy the special pan we used to make these, we’d appreciate your use of our affiliate link below so you can help support the costs of running the site. 🙂 )

Event: The Making of a Chef at CSCC + Giveaway!

As many of you already know, I’ve been attending and blogging about Taste the Future, the annual fundraiser that provides scholarships for those who are going through the Culinary program at Columbus State, for many years now. Off the top of my head, I want to say that I’ve been there every time since 2006. And, at least to me, it’s one of my favorite culinary events of the year. But my participation has always been limited to attending and blogging about it – even though I knew that the money raised would go to students, I had never met or spoken to any of the students.

So when Elissa from CSCC’s Development Foundation asked me If I wanted to sit in on a class, I didn’t hesitate before saying yes. There have been many times over the years that I’ve toyed with the idea of cooking professionally, so it was absolutely fascinating to be able to quite literally see and taste the care and discipline it takes to make it through the three year program.

Each class begins with a mini-lecture that teaches theory and/or clarifies the concepts that the students will work on in the kitchen. Team assignments are made, with each person in the team being given a task to work on. The topic of this particular day was cheesemaking, with the gentlemen of Canal Junction cheeses there as guest speakers.

Before they got started on making three varieties of fresh cheeses (quark, ricotta, and mozzarella), the chefs went to work setting up their mis en place, with their sharp chef’s knives making quick work of chopping up fresh herbs.


I had a definite case of equipment envy, especially the Robo-Coupe they used to make pesto.


The rest of prep before making the cheese involved roasting garlic, rehydrating and chopping sun-dried tomatoes, and slicing berries. Luckily, they have several hours to prep/cook before presenting their dishes to the instructor and the rest of the class, so the pace is far more relaxed than it would be in an actual restaurant. They get on-the-job training during the 6,000 hours they work in a restaurant outside of the classroom in order to earn their credentials. Most of the restaurants involved in Taste the Future employ CSCC students and alumni.


Ricotta was probably the easiest to make – the addition of an acid to the milk causes it to separate into curds and whey.


Quark seemed just as simple to make, using a method that can easily be done in a home kitchen.


Making mozzarella cheese is a bit more complicated because it involves the addition of rennet, which can ruin the whole batch if you add too much. Even though there were some problems along the way, everyone managed to get to the part where you have to stretch the mozzarella well before the deadline.

Stretching the Mozzarella

With the addition of the add-ins the students had prepped earlier, every group made spirals that were popping with flavor.


My favorite of the bunch were the ones filled with pesto.

Pesto-filled mozzarella spirals

Quark is a pretty neutral cheese on its own, but can easily be flavored with other ingredients to be sweet or savory.


We really enjoyed the pesto quark, which had an in-your-face garlic punch.


The berry quark was equally as good, just In a different way.


And I got to sample almost all of the cheeses Canal Junction produces. Yummy stuff, and local to boot.


I really enjoyed myself during this class. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the students, and was impressed by the passion and hard work involved in completing this program. I really love what they’re doing there, and your support during Taste the Future allows them to subsidize the cost of the program.

For those of you who have stuck around this long, I’m giving away a pair of tickets ($200 value) to next Tuesday’s event. To enter, go to the Taste the Future website, peruse the menu, and tell me what one item you’re most interested in trying. Leave a comment on this entry with that information, making sure to provide me with an email address where I can contact you if you win. I’ll accept entries until Sunday, September 11th at 11:59pm and draw and notify the winner immediately thereafter. Earn an extra entry by tweeting about this giveaway (make sure there’s an @columbusfoodie somewhere in your tweet so I see it and it gets counted. Limit one entry per person per entry method.

Congrats to LeAnn Purdy, the winner as chosen by I will contact you directly to give you further instructions.

I’m still working on the post updating you all on my health issues (takes forever to type with fingers that have been used as pin cushions), but i didn’t want another moment to go by without putting out the reminder that this week (March 7th to March 13th). I’ve had some unfortunate health setbacks that mean I’ll have to miss this round, but I heartily recommend trying out someplace new or an old favorite – there are deals out there for every price point. I may send Paul out to review a few places in my stead.

Dine Originals Columbus has been kind enough to offer once again a $30 Dine Originals gift certificate (not valid during Dine Originals Week) to a Columbus Foodie reader. To enter, either check out the menus and let me know which one appeals to you most, or write a comment about one of the menus that you’ve already had and what you thought of it. One entry per person, please.

The winner will be drawn on Monday morning, so make sure to find some way to include your email address into your entry so I can give your email address to Dine Originals who will send the certificate directly to you. Good luck!

The numbers generated by this widget come from RANDOM.ORG’s true random number generator.

Congrats to Jenny, winner of the gift certificates. 🙂 Thanks to the rest of you for you well wishes and inspired choices. I loved reading your comments. Paul’s writeup on the three places he went to coming soon.

North Market Jelly & Jam Contest 2009

Original Post Date: 8/20/2009

My wife, Columbus Foodie, will tell anyone willing to listen that for all my faults, I’m one HELL of a cannin’ fool.  I’ve singlehandedly canned all manner of jams, preserves, and now jellies since we’ve gotten into the whole food preservation thing.  Heck, right now I’ve got a tub of stinky little four-inch lovelies — pickling cukes — fermenting on the basement landing, where the temperature remains a comfortable 66 to 70 degrees (perfect to turn cucumbers into tasty tasty garlic dills).

Alas, that’s a story for another day.

Earlier this season, the mulberry tree in our backyard was literally bursting with dark little packages of berrylicious wonderfulness, and Dear Wifey made a point of gathering as many as she could as often as she could.  Additionally, her mother’s boyfriend, whom I will refer to simply as “J”, gathered a boatload of mulberries from a tree near their property for my use.

This provided me with about a gallon to a gallon and a half of fully ripened, plump, juicy, yet seedy mulberries a week for nearly a month.  What’s a man to do with such a bounty?    TURN THEM INTO JELLY!  Over the course of that early summer month, I mashed, boiled, strained, jellified and canned at least 20-25 eight ounce jars of glistening purple bliss and gave away a significant share of them to friends and family.  Thus, it was a no brainer to submit (especially at Columbus Foodie’s insistence) my Mulberry Jelly to the mercy of the judges at the Columbus North Market’s 2009 Jelly and Jam Contest.

I arrived early, and submitted my entry to the first organizer to arrive.  Thus, my mulberry jelly was the first product sampled by the judges.  Whether this hurt my chances of placing high, I’ll never know (I did not win or place).  By the time the judging was ready to begin, a total of fifteen entries had been received.  Here are some of the competitors:

Jelly & Jam Contest Entries at the North Market 8/15/09

Here are the rest (forgive the overlap, it couldn’t be helped):

More Jelly & Jam Contest Entries at the North Market 8/15/09

As you can see, my offering was merely one among many; there were quite a few interesting submissions.  The winning Organic Concord Grape Jelly fully deserved its prize, as it was one of the best grape jellies I’ve ever tasted.  Other notables included a sangria jelly, a lavender black&blue preserve, a hot pepper jelly, several cherry jams, and a blackberry jam which was quite good in my opinion.

All in all, it was an interesting and entertaining competition.  Expect to see me there again next year.

Come Out This Sunday for Foodie Fun!

Best of Fall Home Show

This Sunday afternoon at 4:30, it will be a battle of blogger (me) vs. blogger (Lisa the Waitress of Restaurant Widow) vs. radio host (Ann Fisher of WOSU’s All Sides) at the Heavy Metal Chef Challenge, a cooking competition that’s an homage to Iron Chef with Q96FM’s Joe Show playing the part of Alton Brown.

This friendly rivalry should be fun for everyone competing, and entertaining to those of you in the audience – we will have a mystery bag of ingredients to cook with (we won’t find out the ingredients until a few minutes before the competition), and we have to cook everything in a single electric skillet in a 35 minute time limit! Needless to say, there’s a chance that this could go from foodie fun to comical if I fall flat on my face – I’ve never done anything like this before, so hopefully armed with my foodie skills I will manage to reign supreme. 😉 I sure (and I’m sure the others could too) use a bunch of you in the audience to cheer us on, and I’d love to see all of you there. Tickets are free at any Kroger Marketplace, or you can buy them for $5 at the door.

If that’s not enough to convince you, a bit earlier on Sunday (2:30pm), Mary Alice and Geof of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes will be judging a cake decorating contest, and taking questions and signing autographs with audience members.

Check out the Best of Fall Home Show web site for more information, and hopefully we’ll see you at the Ohio Expo Center on Sunday 🙂

Would You Like to Taste the Future?


It’s that time of year again! Year after year, we love going to Taste the Future, Columbus State Community College’s fundraising event for the Hospitality program at the college – and most of the restaurants participating in the event either employ CSCC graduates or work closely with the program during their apprenticeship. This year the event will be held on Tuesday, September 14th on the Columbus State main campus. The weather forecast looks promising (mid-70’s and clear), so it should once again be an awesome event that shows off the best of what Columbus has to offer.

We stopped by their Media Preview Party last night at the Polaris Hilton, and ate dishes made by CSCC alumnus Executive Chef Kevin Ball.

Chef Kevin Ball of the Polaris Hilton

Honestly, I never even knew there was a restaurant there. I loved their burgers, perfectly cooked and delicious ground ribeye on a bun with garlic aioli. I’m going to have to come back and order it off their regular menu. Yum!

Mini Polaris Burger

Along with the burger, these shoestring fries paired perfectly.

Shoestring Fries

I really liked the grits with spicy shrimp and pork belly. Even though the Polaris Hilton won’t be participating in Taste the Future this year, the food we ate last night is representative of what you can expect at the event.

Grits with Spicy Shrimp & Pork Belly

To get a better idea of what makes the event so special, check out my slideshows for 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006.

Columbus State was once again generous enough to gift me a couple of pairs of tickets (value $200 per pair) to give away to my readers! Entering is the same deal as last year – to enter to win, visit the menu section of the Taste the Future site, and pick out the dish you’d most look forward to trying if you got to go. Leave a comment on this entry with your choice, and please make sure that your email address is linked somewhere so that if you win I can contact you. The contest ends at 11:59PM on September 11th, and winner will be chosen by a random number generator. The tickets will be held under your name for you at will call.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, as I’ll be giving another pair of tickets away on there. Good luck!

Update: Congrats to Anne D. and Ryan B. on winning the tickets! Thanks to everyone else for entering. Hope to still see you there!

DOC Restaurant Week – Fall Edition

By popular demand, Dine Originals Columbus has decided to bring back the wildly successful Restaurant Week for a fall edition. I went gung-ho this spring, and went to 15 restaurants in 7 days. I won’t be able to be quite that enthusiastic this time around, but keep your eyes open starting Monday night for my Restaurant Week experiences. It will run this time starting Monday the 7th, and ending September 13th. You can view more details and the restaurant week menus on the Dine Originals Columbus site. Prices will be either $20.09 or $30.09 for a multi-course meal. The extra .09 per diner goes to charity, which is a nice touch.

So, I’ve got a little treat for you all. Karen Simonian of Dine Originals Columbus has provided me a $25 gift certificate (that can be used at any one of the 40 Dine Originals Columbus member restaurants) to give away to one of my readers. While this can’t be used during Restaurant Week, it will give one of you the opportunity to maybe try a restaurant you’ve been wanting to. So, how do you get your name in the hat to win?

In the comments section below, let me know either a) if you had to pick one, which Restaurant Week menu is your favorite OR b) about one of your DOC Restaurant Week experiences (from either this upcoming week or the spring edition. The random drawing will take place at the end of Restaurant Week, on September 13, 2009 at 11:59PM. One entry per person, please – and make sure your email address is linked in there somewhere. Bonus entry to those of you who Twitter this contest and leave a comment with your Twitter username so I can verify.

Good luck, everyone – and I hope you enjoy your meals out as much as I will!

Update: I threw everyone’s name (including bonus entries) into  and the winner is #3, Lynz. Congratulations!

Want to Taste the Future?


One of the events I look forward to attending, year in and year out since 2006, is Taste the Future, Columbus State’s fundraising event to provide culinary students with scholarships. Not only is a fantastic cause, but it’s station after station of delicious food from leading Columbus restaurants.

If you missed my previous coverage, you can view the slideshows for 2008, 2007, and 2006.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a Media Preview Party for Taste the Future last night, where I had the opportunity to nosh on appetizers and meet some of the people involved. There was a spread laid out for us.

We had a really kickin’ hummus:

Hummus with a Kick

A fruit plate:

Fruit Plate

A cheese and cracker plate:

Cheese and Crackers

And the centerpiece of the evening (and also what Elevator Brewery is making this year) was the crab-stuffed scallops.

Crab-Stuffed Scallops

Chef Nate Crockett of Elevator also tried to demo how to make the scallop dish, but the weather didn’t quite cooperate.

Chef Nate Crockett of Elevator Brewery

As a result of the generosity of Columbus State, I’m privileged to be able to give away a pair of tickets ($200 value) to my readers! To enter to win, visit the menu section of the Taste the Future site, and pick out the dish you’d most look forward to trying if you got to go. Leave a comment on this entry with your choice, and please make sure that your email address is linked somewhere so that if you win I can contact you. The contest ends at 11:59PM on September 10th September 11th (yay, contest extended one more day!), and winner will be chosen by a random number generator. You must be able to pick up (or have me drop off) the tickets locally.

Update: RANDOM.ORG chose a #, and the winner is #10, Brittany. Congratulations!

Update #2: Brittany already won tickets elsewhere (with luck like that, girl – you should enter the lottery!), so wanted me to award these tickets to the next person in line. Put the variables through RANDOM.ORG again, and the new winner is #27, Kelly – congrats!

2 Years and 350 Posts! Free Comment Codes Free Comment Codes

Thanks to all of you, giving me a reason to keep blogging, this blog has made it through 2 years and 350 posts!

To celebrate, I’m giving away a $50 Penzey’s gift certificate, which you can use either in store, on the phone, or online. And since Penzey’s ships internationally (at a dear price, I’m sure), this is open to everyone. 🙂

To enter, just leave a comment on this post, and on November 1st, I’ll pick a winner randomly. One entry per person, please. Once again, thank you so much. Your comments and support and emails have meant the world to me.

UPDATE: I had my husband use a random number generator, and it picked Katie of Javagirlkt’s Cookin’ as the lucky winner of the Penzey’s gift certificate! Congratulations! And thank you, everyone, for your kind words.

Friday Roundup 12/1/06

If you’ve commented or emailed me in the past few weeks and not heard back from me yet, just an FYI – I’m going to spend some time this weekend catching up with answering email. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you, and I have read each of your comments, just haven’t had much time to respond with the holiday last week. Life is finally getting back to normal here.

About the potluck – from those of you I’ve heard from, it seems like the 16th works for most of you. I’ll be sending out an evite to everyone who has emailed me so far, so we can get together in a centralized place and maybe plan things out a bit (we wouldn’t want to end up with just desserts, right?). If you haven’t emailed me yet, drop me one before the 15th so I can get the evite out to you as well. And if all of a sudden the 16th isn’t working for anyone, let me know that too, so I can find an alternate date that works for most people who are interested. Even if you have already told me you can’t make it, you’ll be getting an invite anyway, so I can get a list of Ohio bloggers together in case this becomes a regular thing. And I’ve also sent it to a couple of people who I know are local bloggers. But don’t think that you need to be a blogger to attend. Anyone is welcome, really. I love meeting new people! If I missed you, give me a heads up. Also, is there any interest in doing a cookie swap during the potluck? Let me know.

Last week Dispatch readers voted Max & Erma’s as the best gourmet burger. What’s up with the slant toward chain restaurants in these surveys? It makes me wonder if everyone is going to them in lieu of the independent places. Or is it a price point thing? Who knows? This week, they want to know who has the city’s best bagels? I used to think it was the Great American Bagel Factory (right off of 161, by Frantz Rd in Dublin), but they closed, so I haven’t been able to find a replacement yet – I’m going to have to go with Panera on this one – I love their evverything and asiago cheese bagels. Submit your vote for a chance to win a $25 gift card.

Also in the Dispatch this week was a review for a place I’ve never heard of before called Cafe del Mundo, that has a fixed price menu of $18 for a salad, pasta, main dish and dessert. Has anyone been here yet? Is it worth a trip?


In this week’s keeper recipes: Indian Rice Pudding from A Fridge Full of Food, Apple Pastis from Cream Puffs in Venice, Gingerbread Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, Pumpkin-Sage Pasta with Blue Cheese Crumbles from Culinary Fool, Easy Taco Soup from Kalyn’s Kitchen, Chicken Tortelloni Soup from Mantia’s Musings, Chocolate Espresso and Mascarpone Tart from Milk and Cookies,and Cashew Cookies from Tasting Life…

In informative posts this week, Cook Sister! gives us a primer on the many different kinds of salt, and Cookthink shows us how to cut cabbage.

If I ever get around to turning the basement into a rec room, I must have one of these for the bar area.

And the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the winner of the chocolate contest! It’s Lisa of La Mia Cucina. Congrats! Daniel was kind enough to donate the prize gratis once I told him about the contest. 🙂

And speaking of chocolate, Godiva’s new pie collection look excellent – but at that price? Ouch. They can keep them.

Until next week, folks…