of pears and cookbooks: a delicious giveaway

PEARS REMIND ME OF BOOKS, since an image of my windowsill filled with ‘Bosc’ pears not unlike the ones above was chosen as the cover of my upcoming dropout memoir.  To celebrate Pear Week of Fall Fest, a harvest collaboration with my culinary blogging friends, I therefore offer up not a recipe, but a chance to win a new cookbook I am loving right now: “Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story With 100 Tempting Recipes.” I bought two copies to share with you. Interested? There’s even a pear tart in the mix.

First, though, some quick pear goodies:

What I Know About Pears

  • An espaliered Asian pear (flowers, fruit, and structure!) is the ultimate four-season plant.
  • Wild “mystery” pears that grow in my yard never seem to ripen.
  • Pears (like apples and many other berries) are really roses in disguise.

Why I Love ‘Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef’

http://vimeo.com/13985863 SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW Shauna James Ahern, the Gluten-Free Girl, who has participated in many Summer Fest and Fall Fest events here with me the last couple of years. Her extremely popular blog is for people who love food—and great writing.

Don’t let the “gluten-free” part of Shauna and her chef husband Danny’s website or their new cookbook scare you off, if wheat and other glutens aren’t something you worry about eating because you don’t have the kind of sensitivity that prompted Shauna to go gluten-free in 2005. This is just plain delicious food, made from fresh ingredients—and (surprise! rapture!) there is plenty of baking in the mix, including carrot-ginger cake and focaccia–and a pear tart, made with Asian pears and a sorghum, potato and sweet-rice flour crust. There is even homemade gluten-free pasta (and since 1 in 100 Americans is gluten-intolerant and they all love pasta, that’s a handy recipe to have).

What I particularly appreciate: the surprise of tinted “sidebar” pages throughout that augment the recipes and the beautiful story of Shauna and Danny’s growing connection by teaching the basics that professionally trained Danny the chef taught to Shauna as their relationship evolved from dating to marriage to today. How to make things like sauces, stocks, vinaigrettes; plus a page of basics about mastering gluten-free baking and working with flours that may be unfamiliar.

This is a book that works on four levels–love story; recipes; gluten-free support; an expert chef’s tips. You can enjoy it on any–or all of them.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself. You can get to know her and husband Danny (the chef) and their daughter, Lu, in the astonishing video (above) created by another talented pair of Fest participants, Diane Cu and Todd Porter of White on Rice Couple blog.

How to Win the Books

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY, simply comment below telling us one thing about cooking that someone else taught you, the way Danny taught Shauna chef-style techniques and Shauna taught Danny about gluten-free. (Truth be told, even if you just say “I’m in,” I’ll count you as an entry, so no pressure.)

I’ll select two random winners on at midnight Saturday, October 23, using the application at Random [dot] org, announcing them on Sunday the 24th.

I wish each of you luck–and if not, buy a copy. Worth it (also a great gift, I think–I have some stashed here for holiday giving, too).

Great Pear Recipes From My Friends

What’s a Fall Fest?

FALL FEST IS A cross-blog recipe (and tip) swap–and you’re invited to participate. Simply post your link or recipe or idea in the comments below my post, and also on the blogs of the other participants listed in the recipe links box just above.

Want more information on how it all works? Get the details (and the schedule for upcoming weeks, including our shift into Fall Fest after many weeks of Summer Fest, with a new logo but the same recipe-sharing routine). We’re continuing right into the Thanksgiving holiday.

October 20, 2010


  1. Andrea M says

    My mom is a culinary chef and my dad might as well be one also, they are creative and so talented in the kitchen regardless the dish – they taught me the things i know. how to be creative and subsititute ingredients when necessary but also the delicacies of being precise when baking for example. who knew I would enjoy it as well!
    thanks :)

    Grace & Peace,
    Andrea M Wernz

  2. says

    My Mom taught me countless cooking techniques, it’s so hard to even name them. Cooking is something that has always come naturally to me, but I thin a lot that comes from my mom’s interest in teaching me how to cook :)

  3. Lea says

    Please count me in. Annie introduced me to Gluten Free Foods and I am loving it! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  4. Carolyn Schaffner says

    My Aunt Lois had much more patience with kids than did my mother. She was a farmer’s wife and mother of five children, including a set of twins. Sometimes I’d be left at her farm and Lois would bake a chocolate cake — from scratch of course. When old enough, she allowed me to stir and even to pour the batter into the pans. I remember she told me to “make a design on the top of the batter” so I proceeded to draw some elaborate scene. When I ran to tell her the design smoothed out and disappeared, she was probably tending to something else and told me to keep at it. Probably years after that, I figured out that she really meant I should simply smooth the batter to the edges of the pan, but drawing a design kept me busy. Since then, every time I smooth batter to the edges, I remember Aunt Lois who had time to make a meal for the threashers, to potty train the twins and even to teach me to bake a cake.

  5. Rene says

    Thanks so much for sharing about this cookbook. I’d love to win it, but I’ll buy it even if I don’t. My daughter and I have taught each other so much about cooking and food and challenge each other constantly. I taught her to cook and to love experimenting with food, I think, and now she’s a pro and I learn so much more from her.

  6. says

    My dad who is a professional chef has taught me so much about cooking. He also has a pear tree in his backyard, and has taught me the importance of growing your own food. I would love a book like this to share some pear recipes with him.

  7. Vivian says

    Both my mother and grandmother taught me a love of food and how to fix wonderful traditional Southern foods. I appreciate them both so much each day, even when they get on my nerves in the kitchen :)

  8. Forbesy Russell says

    My mom reassured me that if you love to eat, you will be a good cook, and my daughter taught me that not everyone likes “hot fruit”. Just the crumble part for her, thank you. Or fresh, which is the best. Nevertheless, I’m going to try a pear recipe–maybe I’ll get her to choose.
    I’m in.

  9. Christy Mossburg says

    Honestly I learned the most from Shauna’s FIRST book, Gluten Free GIrl – it was a life changer for me, as someone who always viewed cooking as such a chore. Her book helped me appreciate food and the healing properties and spurred me on to cook for myself. I also passed this on to my foodie sister who is NOT gluten free and she loved the book and many of the recipes. I can’t wait to get my hands on the new book!!
    Thanks for the giveaway!!

  10. says

    I learned to love not only cooking but enjoy entertaining by cooking delicious meals for family and friends from my Grandma Ina. She loved seeing people enjoy her cooking and it was something that really stuck with me. I love to cook for friends, family. It doesn’t matter how simple……even homemade soup and fresh bread with a salad…….people love to gather together and connect with conversation over a hot meal!
    Also here is one of my favorite recipes made with pears.

    Champagne-Poached Pears

    For an elegant presentation, serve individually in teacups.
    Yield: Makes 8 servings
    8 Bosc or Bartlett pears
    1 (750-milliliter) bottle champagne or sparkling wine
    1/2 gallon orange juice
    1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
    5 whole cloves
    Garnish: orange and lemon rind strips
    Peel and core pears, leaving stems intact. Cut a thin slice from bottom of each pear, forming a base for pears to stand on.
    Place pears upright in a Dutch oven, and pour champagne and orange juice over pears. Add cinnamon stick and whole cloves. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until pears are tender. Serve pears warm. Garnish, if desired.
    CALORIES 170 (5% from fat); FAT 1g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.0g); IRON 0.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 34mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38g; SODIUM 2mg; PROTEIN 1.5g; FIBER 4g
    from -Southern Living, DECEMBER 2001

  11. Hillary says

    Don’t move the meat! That’s what I learned from dad on the basics of grilling – don’t mess with it until it moves with just a gentle nudge, then it’s ready. From mom? Scrambled eggs – for each egg you put in, use half an eggshell’s worth of milk or water.
    Love your blog, thanks for the opportunity – I’ve got a family member with celiac, so I frequent gluten-free girl and the chef online.

  12. Charlene says

    I think it was Michael Chiarella that showed how to hold one’s fingers while chopping that helped me cut down on the times I chop my fingers. In a Food Network episode. Does that get me in?

  13. Patti says

    My mom taught me how to cook and I am very grateful for that. There are so many things I have learned and to much to count,and she coached me to be fearless and try anything once. I would love to win the book. Thanks for the give a way!!!!

  14. Susan Stone says

    I was teaching a holiday bread making class in my kitchen to a small group of women years ago, my dear wonderful grandmother happened to be visiting and sat down to listen in. She was not necessarily a bread baker however when I added nutmeg to a recipe from a store bought container she took me to task – right in front of my class!! To this day I think of her each and every time I grate my own nutmeg and chuckle when I remember that day so long ago in my old kitchen.

  15. Julia says

    Since my boyfriend spent years working in a pub, and my meat knowledge stopped at stews, he’s teaching me how to sear a steak properly, and I’m teaching him to bake his own cookies. It’s a pretty good trade!

  16. Ruth Parson says

    My husband was a 30-year cook in northern California, that is until we moved to NYC. I had been a mental health worker and gardener for more than 35 years.

    Five years ago, my husband was developing as a social media genius while I found myself working in a big kitchen preparing foods we grew organically and teaching healthy cooking to people with major mental illnesses. My venue was just as fast, furious, and hot as any restaurant kitchen. What I found myself using the most from all the years watching my husband cook was the cook’s “pan toss” rather than stirring the food as it cooks. It wasn’t until I hit the need to rush that food to the plates that I figured out this move and I have to say … thrilling!

    And, I have been reading Shauna’s blog for about a year. In that time I also discovered that gluten has been driving my Hashimoto Thyroiditis and have been eating gluten-free.

    And, I retired this year from my job. I’m now living on a tiny pension and though I would love to hold this book in my hands and cook from it daily, well, I just can’t afford it now. So …….. yes, I’d love to win this book!

  17. Debbie says

    My grandma could make a pie crust like no other, always perfect. So many memories of learning from her. My mom also has the gift of a perfect pie crust. I can’t wait for her to teach my son or daughter someday.

  18. says

    My great-aunt Annabelle taught me how to crack eggs. I will never forget my first childhood attempt and the way that egg landed all over my pink sweatshirt. I think of her now, each time I crack an egg.

  19. Kerrin says

    Be in the moment when you are cooking/baking, allow your intuition to guide you and be thankful for all of your ingredients. This will yield a delicious meal to share with friends & family.

    BTW Absolutely LOVE Asian Pears….just got 10 for $10 here in NH and they were delicious! My husband and I are going to try juicing them, yummy!

  20. Neva says

    I’m in. There is so much to learn about gluten free flours and how they are so different without gluten. It is interesting but can also be very frustrating. Thank goodness for Shauna and all of her knowledge. I would love to have her book. Otherwise it is on my Christmas want list.

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