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.

  1. hnybnch says:

    I’m in – The best thing about cooking is sharing, so I’m sharing a recipe.

    Pear Kuchen (adapted from Bon Appetit, 20 years ago)

    Delicious, easy but nice enough for company, and different (anise)

    Butter and flour tart pan with removable bottom.

    In food processor, combine 1 stick butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp anise seed. 1/2 tsp anise exptract, 1 cup flour. Spoon into prepared pan.

    Peel, and core 3 ripe pears, cut into eighths, arrange in batter, pressing down gently. Drizzle 2 TBS lemon juice over pears. Sprinkle 1/3 cup choppped hazelnuts and 2TB sugar.

    Bake 40 mins at 375. Dust with powdered sugar to serve,

  2. Jean says:

    Food is central to our family life and we are a large group with diverse tastes. When food allergies and preferwnces first began to play a role in our gatherings, my mom taught me how easy it can be to ensure there is always one thing on our table that each member can enjoy and anticipate if you plan carefully ahead of time. For that lesson I am grateful. We have a connection to the glutten free world in that our nephew was recently diagnosed and now we are discovering a whole new approach using my mom’s lesson as guideance.

  3. How did I miss this giveaway until the end. I found Gluten Free Girl the other week and I am still working my way through the recipes, although I have passed the webiste onto my Gluten Free Aunt to try out. A recipe that has been passed down is definitely lemon cake which my mum made with her mother and I now make with my mum. And it is always good, especially with a dollop of extra-thick cream! And now I want cake!

  4. Tonette says:

    When I was 5 my Italian grandma showed me how to make the simplest of cakes. She would bake a vanilla box cake into 2 cake pans, cool and then glaze with her famous glaze!

    Mix milk & confectioners sugar until it was a glazing consistency

    Then she would pour the glaze over the individual cakes and let it dry until it hardened into a delectable shell of sugar. So simple and so delicious….served with ice cold milk! Almost 4 decades later, can still remember the taste vividly!

  5. Ellen says:

    A chef at a restaurant where I waitressed one summer between college years taught me that food can be art and cooking can be a creative process. Not that I ever approached his level, he was a Frenchman trained as a pastry chef, but I learned you don’t have to always exactly follow the recipe and to consider the look of a dish as well as the taste.

  6. Eliza says:

    The best thing I’ve ever learned about cooking was to not be afraid of trying new foods or techniques, from my mom who always jumps right into the kitchen. It’s a lesson that’s serving me well, since I was just diagnosed with celiac disease and have so much more to learn.

    Thanks for the contest!

  7. My grandmother taught me to make cinnamon rolls when I was pretty young. That was my first memory of baking. The smell of the rolls baking and my grandmother’s patience as she showed me the way remain with me through all these years. She died in 1958 at age 94.

  8. Julia says:

    One of the more amusing things I learned about cooking and housework was from my godmother who advised me never to let on to a man that I know how to do either! Until the day he died, her husband was the cook in their home!

    One of the great things I learned about cooking was from my great grandmother who taught me to season cast iron skillets and use them for everything! I also learned how to cook delicious Indian food from my mother-in-law, and I learned very empowering knife skills from a cooking teacher in a series of two classes. I am the one who cuts herself (and usually burns herself as well just for good measure!) every time she cooks, but now I feel much more confident wielding big, sharp knives!

    Thanks for writing about this cookbook. I’ll soon be undergoing tests to find out if I have Celiac Disease, so I might have some learning to do on new ways to cook the foods I love. This looks like a great resource!

    1. Margaret says:

      ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED. Before announcing the winners, a hello to all first-time commenters (or those whose names appeared as if new to me on my dashboard, at least):

      Welcome to Alyssa, Kath, Elisa, Amber, Joyce, Molly, Warren, Rachel, Faye, Cathy, Janice, JC, Julie, Lo, Tom, Barbara, Michelle, Kristina, Jane, Terry, Jane, Alison, Dina, Nancy, Lola, Tanya, Susie, Dalia, Lisa, Jane, Kathleen, Mary, Ellen, Jane, Tonette, Julia, Alexis, Linda, Beth, Joseph, Mary, Nicole, Melissa, Debbie, Cheryl, Elizabeth, Feast on the Cheap, Kate, Alisa, Ngoc, Debbie, Anna, Ruth, Stephanie, Debra, Bernadette, Nichole, Maggie, Rene, Melissa, Lea, JPS, Neva, Kerrin, HLDG, Ali, Melissa, Linda, Andrea, LaDonna, OMG!Yummy, Beth, Mjas, Laurin, Christy, Forbesy, Minna, Kate, Carri, Terri, Elizabeth, Jessica, the Urban Baker.

      Hope to see all of you again soon.

      Off now to contact the winners by email…

  9. Margaret says:

    And the winners were:

    Julia Conaghan and Eric Rocco.

    Thank you all for your delicious, inspiring entries…as ever.

    More books to share soon; just got my latest delivery from the local bookseller!

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