The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated. The two lucky winners drawn at random are Tess Mundy and Meredyth H. Congrats, ladies and I hope you enjoy the book. ***** I was a sophomore in college when I first walked into the first floor apartment on Graham Street, known as the Vortex. It was an art hub—smoky and impossible to leave once you got in—in the high-ceiling living room you could find live music, an ad-hoc photo studio, a couch to nap on between classes or to watch a Bergman film. In the kitchen, it was strong coffee, big plates of spicy falafel and sockarooni spaghetti, or loaves of warm from the oven sweet cornbread. If you were around during those Pittsburgh days, you know what I mean, and even if you weren’t you would have been invited all the same, especially to one of the many unforgettable evenings, like The Great Gatsby or Monochrome parties. My early college years were as much about Bergman and Fitzgerald as they were about listening to The Birthday Party and the Pixies while coming up with a killer dinner menu: homemade guacamole with tortilla chips, almond-avocado enchiladas, and caramel flan. When I recently read about Robin Donovan and Juliana Gallin’s new release, The Lazy Gourmet: Magnificent Meals Made Easy I thought about those Vortex days when last-minute dinners for a crowd was the norm. The book isn’t just for experienced cooks though—it features 125 easy recipes written for anyone who wants to produce great food in less time. Seasonal dishes like Orange Spiced Pecans, Basil Leaf and Goat Cheese Wraps, Gemelli with Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Crispy Breadcrumbs, Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches, Cherry Clafoutis, and Lazy Chocolate “Mousse” are equally at home for weeknight dinners or an impromptu gathering of friends. Part I covers kitchen basics with chapters on how to stock your pantry, along with essential tips, shortcuts, and kitchen tools. The authors include thirty-plus kitchen staples, and with these five ingredients you’ll be on your way to making dinner with a bright lemon vinaigrette: citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges), cheeses (blue, chevre, feta, Parmesan or other hard cheese varieties, and mascarpone), dijon mustard, flavored oils and vinegars, and garlic. The recipes in Part II will take you from snacks and starters through dessert along with suggested menu pairings, ideas for changing the recipe, along with make ahead steps. We’re planning a diner party later this month to celebrate four May birthdays (mine included), and this year our Spring-inspired menu comes from The Lazy Gourmet, which will certainly include cooking to an old mixed tape playlist or two followed by a Bergman film. May Birthdays Menu: Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade Baby Greens Salad dressed with Lemon Vinaigrette Pasta with Asparagus, Leeks, and Chevre Miniature Flourless Chocolate Cakes I'm giving away two copies of The Lazy Gourmet this week. Leave me a comment by 12 pm EST on Wednesday, May 11th for a chance to win. I’ll choose two winners at random. Good luck!