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. monica blum says:

    I am a baker who learned from my mother. I have one bad habit which is not to check that I have all the ingredients before I begin. My husband (who often would run out to get the missing ingredient) has taught me to read through the entire recipe before I begin. For my 60th birthday my siblings gave me baking lessons at the Institute for Culinary Education and there I learned yet another valuable lesson: measure out and set up all the ingredients before you begin. I usually bake with apples, blueberries and plums, but will explore pears next. I very much enjoy your material. Monica

  2. Judith Thurman says:

    Adding a small amount of coffee to any chocolate recipe actually enhances the taste of chocolate! This was a yummy tip taught to me when I was a young college student….It has worked every time! :)

  3. Teresa says:

    My partner was diagnosed with celiac disease a few years ago and Shauna’s website and first book taught us both that it is not an insurmountable obstacle to good eating. I’ll always be grateful to her for that.

  4. Kath Phelps says:

    When I finally realized that it was gluten that had been making me incredibly sick for so long I went through a period of unabashed despair! I am a self-taught chef and baker and I had no idea what I needed to do to live gluten-free while continuing to express myself creatively through cooking and baking! Then I “discovered” Shauna James Ahern and I began to be convinced through her incredible writing and “yes” approach to life that it WAS possible to cook and bake gluten free and that it could taste AS GOOD as food always had prior to my diagnosis. Gluten Free Girl has not only been one of my main cooking and baking “instructors” for over two years but my encourager and cheerleader for gluten free experimentation as well. And for all of this and more I will forever be in her debt. Thank you Shauna.

  5. julia conaghan says:

    I am in. My daughter has celiac and she has taught me the same lesson I learned from my Dad, fresh ingredients yields the best food at the table. And my Mom taught me to love every task in the kitchen especially the lowly ones, the love comes out in the meal!

  6. Amber O'Brien says:

    My close girlfriend taught me just recently that it’s ok if something you bake or cook doesn’t turn out as long as you keep trying it to get it right. I use to have a bad habit of trying something, failing horribly and never trying again. Since I’ve been easier on myself I’ve actually started to enjoy being in the kitchen again and starting to be a little more creative.

  7. Elisa says:

    One thing a friend who is a great raw chef taught me is that you can slice just about any veggie very thin and then massage it with salt so that it weeps a bit. Then add some nuts or seeds, some roasted garlic, and you have a fantastic nutritious salad. Great with purple cabbage, and just about anything else.

    She has also taught me the joys of a dehydrator.

  8. Terry Hartley says:

    My son taught me to make gluten free pancakes. We would really use this book. I have loved Shauna and her writing for over 3 years. She is a joy.

  9. Alison G. says:

    I’m in!!

    I learned from my mother that cooking can be creative and artistic. You don’t always need to follow a recipe, but it’s a good starting place.

    This has turned out to help me immensely once I learned that I could no longer have gluten. Most of what I cook now hinges on creative ingenuity…and….whatever I happen to have in the fridge!

  10. Kat says:

    I’m in! Mom and both grandmothers taught me oh so many things! I think my love of baking though, definitely trumps the others when it comes down to what they taught me.

  11. Mary Ayers says:

    My daughter has read “Gluten-Free Girl” and loved the recipes inside. She has also gone gluten-free, and is feeling better! My mother did not have recipes but cooked completly from memory and from the garden. She taught me how to be resourceful in my cooking

  12. L O says:

    My mother taught me how to pick the pears from the tree by the old dairy barn
    and make them into pear pies to freeze for the winter. Boy are they great on a cold
    January night.

  13. Julie Johnston says:

    I learned about Middle Eastern spices and cooking creatively with them from a Persian friend. Now that I am cooking and baking gluten free I find myself following her advice, experimenting and thinking of her often.

  14. JC says:

    My Mom’s Dad was a professional German Baker .. came to this country to start his new profession and Mom has handed down his secrets of baking .. some I learned just by watching her!
    Have been following Gluten Free Girl blog for a Long time .. love her and her new family!

  15. Janice says:

    I love the Gluten Free Girl & Chef blog. My Mom is Japanese and has taught me some traditional dishes but I have still have so much to learn. I have had to adapt recipes though since being gluten free for about a year now.
    What a great giveaway!

  16. Faye Gannon says:

    I have always liked watching cooking shows beginning with Julia Child – and reading the food blogs is right up there with cooking shows. I have learned so much about cooking gluten-free for my husband from Gluten-Free Girl.

  17. Molly B says:

    My mother taught me how to bake and my mother-in-law taught me how to cook. A perfect combo!

    Thanks for the constant stream of gardening info, entertainment, pictures, community and so much more. Very generous and so much fun!

  18. I learned from my dad how to make Tom and Jerry batter for the traditional holiday drink. He took over the kitchen one day each December close to Christmas and created a unbelievable batter that required dividing eggs, using superfine sugar, and lots of patience. His Tom and Jerry batter was so famous he was invited to a local watering hole each year around Christmas to create this hot drink with his famous batter.

  19. Joyce Wolfe says:

    As a teenager in rural W. Va., I spent time learning to make yeast bread from a delightful older lady who lived “down the road”. She mixed her bread dough in a restaurant-sized dishpan – no printed recipe – it was all in her head. Her loaf breads were fantastic. I watched and learned, and I still love to make yeast breads!

    We love pears! Our favorite salad pairs pears with greens, topped with dried cherries, sliced almonds, shredded parmesan and a light vinagrette.

    Two friends are gluten-intolerant. I’m in!

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