Olive Oil Cookbook Event at Melissa’s Produce

olive oil cookbook: Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil by Mary Platis and Laura Bashar | Two Extra Virgins $26.95

I have been MIA in September as I have been busy with travel and events revolving around my new olive oil cookbook. It’s good to be busy, but it certainly is challenging as my three kids are used to me being around when they are home. I have done my best to balance blogging and personal life, but sometimes, like this past month, blogging took precedence. Although you may not hear from me as regularly as I used to write, I am here. I am busy working on cookbook sales, figuring out recipes, collaborating and tinkering with my and the countless other back-end issues that pop up (especially when Google updates their algorithms).

One part of my daily routine is surfing the net and catching up on food/blogging news. This past month there was a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about bloggers running sponsored posts, blogs dripping with advertising and whether or not bloggers charge enough (or too much) for brand work. It can bring out the worst in some people, pitting blogger against blogger.

I started a food blog because of my love and passion for good food. As my blog has evolved and my audience has grown, I happily turned my blogging hobby into a business. I suppose I make enough to support my photography obsession and to pay for the backend tune-ups that are necessary in keeping my site happy and thriving.

Blood Oranges by FamilySpice.com

When I first started receiving produce in the mail, I had no qualms about using them because I never accepted product that I didn’t like. Writing a post was my way of saying thank you to the company that sent me their lovely gift. Many bloggers are against working for product, but I suppose I believe in karma.

One good deed deserves another.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been screwed by brands. Like when I ran a giveaway and the PR rep mysteriously disappeared when it came time to ship the gift to my winner. I ended up paying for the gift and shipping it myself.

Baby Purple Artichokes by FamilySpice.com

But overall, the companies that I have worked with, many times just for produce, have been a wonderful experience and have developed into amazing relationships and friendships. I love receiving boxes of amazing, stunning fruits and vegetables all year long. When I get stumped or unmotivated in the kitchen, there’s nothing more inspirational than a box of purple artichokes to get my creative juices flowing – in the kitchen and behind the lens.

Never would I ever had experienced dragon fruit, Buddha’s hand or finger limes if my friends in the produce world hadn’t shipped them out to me to sample.

Finger Limes by FamilySpice.com

Finger limes – OMG! They are friggin’ FABULOUS!!

If it weren’t for the years that I have nurtured my relationship with companies like Melissa’s Produce or Frieda’s Produce, I would never have received their sweet support with my cookbook adventures.

A couple weeks ago, Melissa’s Produce hosted this AMAZING lunch and press event for Mary and I and our olive oil cookbook. Everyone who attended received an olive lesson and cookbook from us, an exquisite bottle of Greek extra virgin olive oil from Arianna Trading Company, and armloads of gorgeous, fresh produce to take home for continued inspiration.







Their chef and kitchen staff recreated recipes from our cookbook for the luncheon. The room was decorated with flawless Mediterranean herbs and vegetables. All through the air you could smell basil, roasted carrots, feta and of course, olive oil.

Baby Beets and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Baby Beets and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Mediterranean Vegetables in Olive Oil

Mediterranean Vegetables in Olive Oil

Roasted Baby Carrots with Thyme

Roasted Baby Carrots with Thyme

chicken kabobs

Olive Oil Marinated Chicken Kabobs

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries

Mary and I left the event feeling so proud of what we have accomplished. It’s not easy self-publishing your own cookbook, let alone remain enthusiastic and energetic through the sales, distribution and marketing phases. Our friends at Melissa’s Produce were gracious with their generosity, and we were all delighted with the turnout and interest the bloggers and media had as they learned all about extra virgin olive oil. The two hours flew by fast, as Mary and I answered question after question, signed numerous cookbooks and posed for the camera. I hate to be in the spotlight, but this was different. Many of our foodie friends were kind enough to drive through Los Angeles gridlock to support us and participate in our event.

I was among friends.

Authors Mary Platis and Laura Bashar

Chef Tom and Robert Schueller from Mellissa’s Produce, Mary Platis, myself and George Menzelos from Arianna Trading Company

author Laura Bashar with foodie friends

Me, Valentina Wein/Cooking on the Weekends and Nancy Eisman/Adventures with Nancy Rose


authors Laura Bashar and Mary Platis

Mary and I with Shirley Bovshow and Dr. JJ from the Home & Family Show on the Hallmark Channel

As many bloggers have written about our cookbook and the event at Melissa’s (read them here), I have truly enjoyed reading their kind words and olive oil epiphanies. And that’s when I came to my own epiphany.

I work for produce. I love produce. We should all eat more produce.

There are countless unique fruits and vegetables in our world and I want to experience them all. And I enjoy sharing them with you, so I hope you enjoy reading my stories.

Thank you Melissa’s Produce for you support, for hosting such an amazing event and for the beautiful produce you share with me and my foodie friends.

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8 Responses to Olive Oil Cookbook Event at Melissa’s Produce

  1. Dear Laura,

    It’´s amazing what you both have done till now. I am running my own health food blog and I perfectly understand how much work is involved. http://www.cocinayletras.com (just in case you are in the mood to visit it)
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, they help us a lot to continue working and to not giving up in the middle of the process to get “some” success in this food world.

    Receive my best regards and wishes for a wonderful future!


    • Marisa,
      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, this “profession” is definitely not for the faint at heart. My best advice to you is to find your passion and pursue it with vigor! Definitely don’t let the ‘nay sayers’ get you down!

  2. So sorry I missed the event! Your book is so beautiful…such a nice gift to give or receive.

  3. Eha at #

    Thrilled to catch up with you are doing: thank you so much for the update! Great to see you and Mary so satisfied and happy . . . sorry that a matter of being GI [geographically impossible] keeps me away from one of your sessions . . . good luck and fortune!

  4. Loved your presentation! Fun to see you, taste the different oils, and learn lots about my fave evoo!

  5. I know the discussion you’re talking about and I agree. There is no need for anyone to feel righteous because she r he doesn’t advertise nor accept products/produce. Creating a big blog like yours is expensive and you deserve compensation in whatever manner works for you. I love you to bits. You’re incredibly talented whether you’re in front of the stove or behind the camera.

  6. Hi Laura
    My name is Malti and I have a olive oil store in Mission Viejo Mall and I would love you to have come
    over my Store.

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