Would you like to win a copy of the new gluten-free girl and the chef cookbook? I have a feeling you are excitedly nodding your head up and down. Let me tell you moreâ€¦.
Hold it. Let me back up. Maybe you’re wondering why I used the word “reading” in the first sentence. Go on, go back and reread it.
There. See what I mean. You might’ve missed it on first “reading”. There I go again, using the word “reading” when I’m talking about a cookbook. But that’s the thing, the book reads like a novel. And the first time I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down.
It combines personal anecdotes and cooking tips and impeccable recipes and Cupid-esque inspiration and gorgeous mouth-watering pictures. It is “a love story with 100 tempting recipes”. This cookbook absolutely deserved the attention and kudos it got from the New York Times. At the end of 2010, it declared this cookbook one of the years’ best.Â When the New York Times said, of this list of kitchen tomes, “they brought brilliant recipes and ideas for right now”, they weren’t kidding, and they were right.
I am a classically trained pianist, having studied with Dorothy Hamburger (maybe that was an omen, given my love for all things food) and Princess Elena Wolkonsky, my Russian piano teacherÂ of royal heritage. I was raised on Beethoven and Mozart and Bach and Hanon and Czerny and the list goes on. I spent my formative years (age 5 through college) reading music. Though never encouraged to compose during those early years, I’ve spent the last twenty years doing just that. But instead of composing classical pieces for the piano, I began composing children’s songs. And that is how my husband and I earn our income, writing and performing songs for children and families, though truth is, we are blessed to do this work that we so love to and if we could, we would do it for no monetary compensation.
I am going somewhere with this little bit of autobiography. While my early years were spent reading music written on a page, eventually I learned to write my own. And so, with cooking, while I’ve spent the first 36 years of my life in the kitchen cooking primarily from cookbooks, I have set a goal for myself, a New Years’ resolution in twenty eleven. Now and then, whenever I am so inclined, I want to be able to confidently forage through my frig and prowl through my pantry for inspiration, knowing without a doubt that a delicious meal will soon be served at my table. This is not as easy as you might think, at least it hasn’t been for me.
Ah yes, that is where gluten-free girl and the chef, this destined-to-become-a-classic new cookbook that graces my cookbook shelves (hmmm, I should do a post about my cookbooksâ€¦you would plotz if you saw how many I have!), comes in. After reading this book cover-to-cover, I am bursting with a new sense of confidence. Shauna and Daniel speak so eloquently and passionately about making food from scratch, about nourishing our bodies and souls with meals created by our very own hands, using real food, the kind that will feed us healthfully, with ingredients that are fresh and seasonal. While their food is always gluten free, their philosophy of cooking can be followed by anyone who cooks, gluten free or otherwise. And so, I want to take their inspiration and apply it to my new resolution – Â to cook, gluten free and dairy free in my case, as much as possible from scratch and to find my own muse.
And that is what I did this evening. Not without trepidation, mind you. I was shaking in my apron. But I need not have worried. While my newly created pasta dish was a wee bit heavy on the garlic due to my heavy-handed made-from-scratch pesto (ok, maybe more than a wee bit), the general idea was good. Very good. Here is the basic gist of the dish I made tonight:
Made-From-Scratch-Without-A-Cookbook Pasta Perfectamundo
2 tsp olive oil
10 oz box white button mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch collard, deveined and sliced into ribbons
1/4 – 1/2 cup pesto*, homemade or bought
1/2 lb. gluten free pasta, cooked
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the mushrooms in 2 tsp olive oil until cooked to your liking. Set aside.
Place the collards in a covered dish with about 1/4 cup water. Microwave for 2 1/2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Place the pasta in a bowl. Add the mushrooms, collards, and pesto. Mix to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*I made dairy free pesto using a few tablespoons of sweet white miso to lend creaminess.
So this, my first post of 2011, I dedicate to Shauna and Danny, for empowering me to find my voice (ironic choice of words). In honor of climbing this mountain, I am running a contest and the winner will receive a copy of gluten-free girl and the chef.
To enter, I ask you to do two things:
FIRST, to win a copy of the book, leave a comment on another post (choose from Recipes in top horizontal menu) on my site (different from this post), and then come back to this page and leave a comment here to tell me which of my posts you commented on. For each one of my different posts you comment on, youâ€™ll get one entry (thank you, Stephanie, writer of the Wasabimon blog, for helping me figure out how to run this contest). The winner will be announced on January 20th.
SECOND, do one of the following:
1. If you subscribe to Twitter, tweet about this post and the contest AND include a link back to this post.
2. If you subscribe to Facebook, share this post AND the contest with your Facebook friends AND include a link back to this post.
And then, dear readers, put on your apron and ask your cooking muse to hang out with you! Let me Â know whatcha come up with! Bon appetit!
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.