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Win a free Burpee garden starter kit 

You might have read about Burpee's super-size 'SteakHouse' hybrid tomato that can grow fruit up to three pounds. Seeds to grow this tomato, billed as the world's largest beefsteak variety, go for $6.95 for a 25-seed pack at and in stores that sell the brand's seeds.

But try them free with other Burpee seeds in a Garden Starter Kit of  five seed packs that we're giving away. Included seed packs: 

SteakHouse hybrid tomato:  Despite its hefty size, Burpee promises a tomato "loaded with true heirloom tomato flavor and head-spinning fragrance."  Seeds must be started indoors about six weeks before planting time (usually mid-May) for New Jersey growers and grown in full sun once transplanted into the garden ($16.95 for three plants).

Burpee 'Big Kahuna' beans

'Big Kahuna' garden bean: Giant string beans up to 11 inches on compact 2-foot plants that are perfect for containers or small-space gardens (regularly $5.95 per seed pack).

Burpee's best hybrid summer squash: This zucchini offers an earlier harvest for one of the garden's notoriously productive plants. Spine-free plants yield plentiful full-size 6-8” deep-green fruits, according to the company (regularly $6.95 for 20-seed pack).

Organic sweet basil: Burpee guarantees that synthetic chemicals were not used to make these certified organic seeds. Grow them for food and fragrance (regularly $5.95 for the 400-seed pack).

'Thunderbolt' hybrid sweet pepper: Huge Marconi sweet peppers are Burpee's largest at 13 inches long. They turn from green to red and are said to be good, disease-resistant producers. (regularly $6.95 for 20 seeds/$16.95 for three plants).

Win the seeds: For a chance to win the Garden Starter Kit, use the "Contact Us" tab at right to send us a message that includes your name, address and phone number by April 15. Make "seeds" the subject. 


How to make ebelskivers: Experts share their tips 

Camilla V. Saulsbury, author of “150 Best Ebelskiver Recipes” (Robert Rose, $24.95) says getting the pan to the right temperature is key. “If the pan's not hot enough, it's not going to cook quickly, and it will be very difficult to flip them over,” she says. At the right temperature, flipping is relatively easy with a little practice. Saulsbury uses a scoop for equal measures, but at least one Danish chef pours the batter from a pitcher, pokes the ebelskivers with a skewer and uses the skewer to remove them. (See the featured video with Arne Solvang, founder of Solvang Restaurant.)

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Better Homes and Gardens 'Skinny Slow Cooker': Red posole soup recipe 

Red posole soup from "Better Homes and Gardens Skinny Slow Cooker" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) When a slow-cooker recipe takes less than four hours to cook, it’s obviously not a dish that can sit home alone during a work day or simmer overnight as you sleep.

The new Better Homes and Gardens “Skinny Slow Cooker” cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99) boasts “more than 150 recipes to cook while you’re away,” but many will finish in less time than it takes to run a few errands.

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A lighter take: Smoky chorizo and corn chowder recipe 

Lapsang Souchong is a tea whose smoky quality is so potent that you can smell it through an unopened  plastic-covered box – even when each tea bag is enclosed in a sealed packet.

While it is an acquired taste as a tea for drinking, its smoked essence makes it a perfect source of natural smoked seasoning. The tea is a wonderful enhancement for chowders and other soups.

Earlier this year, I fell in love with Mccormick's recipe for corn chowder with smoked tea and chorizo. The recipe calls for 7 ounces of diced chorizo to be browned in 2 teaspoons of oil, but slow-cured, hard Spanish chorizo is fatty enough to do without the added oil. The chorizo's rendered fat can also sauté the onions in this recipe.

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St. Patrick's Day recipe: Chef Kevin Dundon's easy potato bread 'farls'  

Triangular potato bread 'farls' from "Kevin Dundon's Modern Irish Food" Need recipes for Irish soda bread, Irish stew, scones and numerous traditional mashed potato dishes — from the easy potato bread triangles known as “farls” to Colcannon with cabbage or “champ” with onions? How about beef and Guinness pie?

If you're looking for St. Patrick's Day recipes for traditional Irish foods, you’ll find them all in “Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food” (Octopus, $24.99). Of course, the chef from County Wexford puts his spin on tradition, and he includes dishes of international influence such as gratins and curries.

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