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19 October 2007

celebrations in Seattle

seared duck breast with wild rice

It's good to be home.

We thrilled to the heartbeat of walking the streets of New York together. We danced in exultation at the book coming into the world. We couldn't stop giggling.

Still, we love Seattle. And there's something wonderfully comforting about sleeping in your own bed every night.

These next few months, we are going to be gone from home quite a bit. When we are here, we breathe into it, and slow down.

Right now, rain is splashing against the windows as I type. Red and yellow leaves are clogging every storm drain in the city. Summer suddenly feels far away. It's time for baked goods and denser foods.

This afternoon, just past one, I sighed with happiness as the Chef emerged from the kitchen, carrying two plates. We had spent the morning at the Market -- our first time back in months, since we avoid it during tourist season -- and savoring our coffees together. In a few moments, he would be running, doing the preparations for a private party that night, and I would have to return to the thousand emails. But for a few moments, we were alone, with only the sound of the rain to keep us company, and we were about to eat.

Seared duck breast. Wild rice with local chanterelle mushrooms. A dark, slightly sweet sauce of pork, veal stock, and lots of reduction. This was lunch, spontaneously, at the restaurant together. The crisp edges of fat along the dark meat, the chewy healthiness of the rice, and the pucker at the back of the lips after licking the candied savory sauce off the fork before me. Will wonders never cease with this man?

It's good to be home.

And this week, we are happy to be back in Seattle, in particular, because the city feels like a celebration of the book.

The Chef and I are bedazzled and happy these days, amazed by people's responses to the book and us, exhausted from the traveling, aware of the money involved in funding one's own book tour, and mostly in constant wonder at our lives.

And we would love to see you.

This week, we are going to be doing a number of events here in Seattle, and I sincerely hope that you can make one of them.

As an aside, however, for transparency, I have to say this: it's sometimes awkward to write here and say, "Hey! Can you come to this event in honor of my book? Can you pay money for food and wine and celebrate me?"

However, we really want to put this book into the world. People's responses so far have been astounding, so kind, so heartfelt. I will never forget the woman in Central Park who thanked me for writing the book, in tears, and said, "Now I can feed my friends again, because of you."

We both feel strongly that all this is happening for a reason. This is bigger than us. We are hoping that we can really help people with the book and our efforts. And if people who are gluten-free can have parties, fabulous celebrations, wine, and great food — that will change their lives too.

Writing this book and seeing it published has been my dream come true. And I'd really like to celebrate it with all of you.

So, all that said, here are the events:

Monday, October 22nd

Book launch party at Osteria La Spiga (1429 12th Ave, between Pike and Madison)

We adore La Spiga. It's one of our favorite restaurants in the city, particularly after our time in Italy. They have graciously offered to throw a book launch party this Monday.

There will be great gluten-free food, Italian wine, live music, and a great party.

And look at this menu:

Zucca Arrosto al Cacao
Butternut squash with cocoa powder

Tortino di Polenta con Fagioli Brasati

Polenta with braised beans

Vitello Tonnato
Poached veal with tuna sauce

Gluten-free bread & cheese

And you get a copy of the book! So, if you live in Seattle and don't have a book yet, here's one chance.

The cost is $50 (but remember that includes the cost of the book), and these wonderful folks would really appreciate cash or check.

The party starts at 6 and lasts until 9.

Call for reservations at 206.323.8881. (please do make reservations. A number of you have written to me, to say you will be there, but I don't think the head count is accurate yet. I wouldn't want anyone to miss this chance.)

Wednesday, October 24th

I will be doing a book signing at the Whole Foods on Denny. There will be a big gluten-free vendor fair going on at the same time, so this is a real chance for community.

This goes from 6 to 7 pm, and it's free!

Come by and say hi, if you have the chance.

Friday, October 26th

ChefShop is one of our favorite places to buy great olive oils, vinegars, and chocolate. These folks are so good to us, and they are throwing a huge party in our honor. (The Chef will have to cook that night, so this will just be me.)

You can read all the details here. And I'll be telling you more about this next week, as well.

But know this — they have gone all out! Cabaret seating, a huge buffet of twelve different dishes, all based on our recipes:

shaved fennel salad
pizzettes with prosciutto and artichoke hearts
black rice salad
macaroni and cheese with manchego
lemon olive oil cookies

plus many more, all based on the recipes we created together.

There is also going to be lots of wine.

I'm going to be giving a slide show of photographs of our experience in Italy, since the entire theme of the party is living the good food life (inspired by our time in Umbria and Rome). And they will be selling copies of the book and I'm going to be autographing them.

The cost is $50.

And you can make reservations online, or call them at 206-286-9988.

On top of all this, all the profits from this will go to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, so it's a party with a good cause.

I wanted to share all these details here, even though I have mentioned both events before, because the people at both LaSpiga and ChefShop are going to a great deal of trouble and spending money for us. We'd really, really like to have both of these thronged with people!

Thank you, everyone. We can't wait to see you all there, or wherever we meet next!

Love and a big yes,

Butternut squash soup with smoked paprika

butternut squash soup with pumpkin seed oil

When we were having lunch today, the Chef pulled out the butternut squash soup he had made the night before. I took one whiff and smelled October. And then, we both remembered the recipe we had developed for the book, one of many that had to be cut with length.

This silky, slightly sweet soup with a kick makes any rainy day feel cozy. In this case, the Chef garnished it with green onions and dollops of pumpkin seed oil. I'm partial to creme fraiche, myself.

1 butternut squash
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons high-quality olive oil
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
4 ounces unsalted butter.
2 carrots, peeled, quartered, and diced small
3 celery stalks, diced small
1 medium white onion, diced small
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
3 tablespoons jasmine rice (or another long-grain white rice)
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup cream
1 tablespoon good-quality honey

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Preparing the squash. Cut the ends off the butternut squash. Cut it in half, using a strong knife to make it through the thick skin. Cut those halves into half, leaving the butternut squash in quarters. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Season the squash with salt and pepper, then drizzle the olive oil in liberal amounts over the squash. Pinch the smoked paprika on top of the oil. Lay the seasoned butternut squash pieces on a baking sheet and toss them around, coating everything in the olive oil and paprika.

Roasting the squash. Roast the squash in the oven for roughly forty-five minutes, or until a butter knife goes through the flesh with ease. Do not allow them to become mushy. The knife should slide right in, then slide out, without leaving a trail of mushy butternut squash on it.

Peeling the squash. Cool the squash for twenty minutes to half an hour, or until you can peel them with ease. Peel the skins from the squash with a knife. Set the squash aside for the moment.

Sauteeing the vegetables. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt four ounces of unsalted butter on medium-high heat. After it has melted down about halfway, add the two tablespoons of oil. Allow the two liquids to become a coherent mixture. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook the vegetables on low heat, or until the vegetables begin to sweat, as though they are sitting in a sauna. (This should take about ten to fifteen minutes, the same as a sauna.) Stir them occasionally during this process. The vegetables will have a bright color, and they will be soft but not mushy.

Add the chopped thyme, rosemary, and sage to the vegetables. (You must use fresh herbs here, or the soup will taste dusty and pale.) Cook the mixture until the perfume of the herbs emerges and turns the noses of everyone in the other room.

Cooking the squash. Add the cooked squash to the soup pot. Cook the mixture for three to four minutes on medium heat. At this point, add the tablespoons of rice. Stir the mixture well and cook for at least a minute, or until all the rice grains are coated. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half.

Making the soup. Cover the vegetables with the stock, which should be one inch higher than the vegetables. After eight minutes or so, check on the firmness of the rice. Stick a spoon in the soup, grab a grain of rice, and determine its texture. Edibly soft? You’re done? Rigid and inflexible. Cook for a few minutes more. Mushy? You have gone too long.

Pureeing the soup. Pull the soup from the pot and put it into your blender. Puree it as finely as you can. Next, strain the puree in small batches through a fine mesh sieve, pressing the soup through with the back of a wooden spoon. This will leave the pulp behind in the sieve, and the soup you have strained a wonderfully fine taste.

Finishing the soup. Bring the soup back to a bubbling boil in the soup pan. Add the butter and cream, then stir them in. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Just before serving, add the honey to the soup and stir.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a dollop of crème fraiche and some fresh chives. Serve the soup to your happy guests.

Serves 6.


At 1:20 AM, Blogger Tastes Like Home said...

I've been reading and enjoying your blog for a couple years now (I heard about you from my niece Amy Silbergeld), and it has been so fun being a voyeur on your journey to the top. Seems like you've been riding the best kind of whirlwind for the last year. You definitely deserve it!

Here's an example of how great you are doing: A couple weeks ago I was coming back from Europe. I was reading a food magazine, so the woman sitting next to me started a food-oriented conversation, which evolved into a conversation about our favorite food blogs. I burst out laughing when we simultaneously listed yours as being one of the best. Congratulations!!

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Seattle Tall Poppy said...

Hi, it's me here...jumping up and down with glee! I'm SOOOOO excited you've published the pumpkin soup recipe.

I remember standing in your little apartment kitchen, pre-wedding...and savoring this soup. I can't wait to make it.

Lots of love to both you & Dan...One way or another, our paths will cross this week!


At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Shauna,

I want to thank you for everything that you do. You are a lovely example of what the world needs: People to find out what makes them alive, and that in turn is what breathes life into the world. What do you (literally) makes you alive. And it shows.

I am going through a very difficult time in my life...dealing with depression for a while now, difficulties with my family, and recently failing out of medical school. I'm not really sure what I'm doing a lot of the time. I was diagnosed with Celiac a year and a half ago, and I am an avid fan of your blog. I bought your book a few days ago, looking for something to cheer me up. And something in your written voice just brims with hope, optimism, and experience's wisdom that everything will be okay. And that everything happens for a good reason, and the timing of events is perfect even when it is hard.

Not trying to start a spiritual discussion here, but I just really appreciate your messages. Your blog, your book, and your express graciousness in all that you do. I wish you all the joy in the world as you embark on this journey honoring YOU and your passion's contributions to this world. Thank you again for saying "yes" every day and for inspiring other tired folks out there to do the same :)

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Marie said...

Hi Shauna. I just discovered your site, which is timely as I believe I have developed a wheat sensitivity at the age of 43. My husband has had a wheat sensitivity for the past few years. Will you have any other book tour dates in Portland other than the book launch party at Andina? Please e-mail me at to let me know, or I'll check back here. Thanks!

At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna - I have to agree with the anonymous here! I have been gluten-free for about 7 months now and you have helped me tremendously in my journey.

Just last week, I attended a day long motivational seminar. Spending a whole day there, I was somewhat motivated --- but not entirely. When I got home, I spent some time catching up on your posts and found myself more motivated from that half hour of reading your words from the heart than I did after spending an entire day listening to people.

Thank you for all that you do. You totally deserve all of the success that is coming your way right now. We wish you all the best.

Plus, we got your book last Saturday. I LOVE IT! Thanks for putting your words on paper and for telling your heartfelt stories. They do serve a greater purpose!


At 3:04 PM, Blogger cris said...

Hi! I was just learned a week ago that I have to clear all gluten out of my life, which was both a shock and a relief (it felt like something my body has been trying to tell me for awhile). Your blog was one of the first I've stumbled upon and I was so excited to learn that that same week you had a book coming out. We went to Portland for the weekend, but as soon as I returned to Seattle I went out and picked up a copy.

I am so thankful it is your voice and your "yes!" ringing in my ears as I am approaching this huge change in my life. Thanks for sharing your optimism, your joy, and your enthusiasm. It truly is contagious.

I look forward to meeting you at one of these events (and if I don't make it this week I'll be in your cooking class at Greenlake PCC and see you there.

Cheers and welcome back home.

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Kristen said...

I've been reading your blog for a long time now, but never commented. I just have to tell you how much I am enjoying your book! Aside from the wonderful support and tips for folks living gluten-free (or like me with wheat sensitivity), it's a really, really great read. Congratulations and best wishes for all of the book tours!

At 3:12 AM, Blogger Livs lerreter og annet said...

I got my copy of your book a week ago, and I've started to read. Ever since I got too sick (with celiac) I became a slow reader. Your story tells me that what happened to me also are a part of the undiagnosed celiac. I too slept mostly for 3 months when I got too ill. It took an effort to get out of bed, into clothes and have breakfast (bread!) and then have to return to bed again for some more sleep. Reading a book was not possible as a half side would make me so tired I fell asleep. My acupuncturist said: "All your internal organs are exhausted". I have been celiac ever since I was a child(6-7 years I guess) and was luckily diagnosed at 50. I also have Dermatitis Herpetiformis which is seen with celiac. I got an enormous reaction after having an operation. I must live totally free of wheat in any form, and make sure that even the medecin I take are glutenfree.
I recogniced the good response in the body within 2 days. I am so grateful for my family and friends who will question and ask before serving me or ordring at a restaurant for dining out, and give me a call if they are in doubt.
Thank you for what you do to spread the understanding on celiac.
I have a link at my blog to your blog, but if it is OK with you I put in the book ikon.
I look forward to making your food, but I see that some of the flours you use we do not have. We have mostly premixed flours made of corn, rice and potato. But I will try anyway!
I so enjoy your blog and your writing! Liv

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Shauna, hello to you both.

I've been a solitary celiac for most of the last couple years...a list of things not to eat and my kitchen. Thank God I already cooked Mediterranean, Mexican and Indian food before problems came up...midlife for me...not much time to experiment in the kitchen, not much money or inclination for those over-priced made up foods you can buy in health food stores.

So on many counts I'm glad to have found the two of you and will be reading what you've written carefully and with appreciation. I can see how each have your own genius, own zest. Here's a tip of the wine glass to you, for the quality and the joy that are in your life.


At 3:01 PM, Blogger amsuka said...

Hey Shauna,
Thank you for your blog-with every new post I am re-inspired! I am grateful- for the challenges of living wheat/gluten free, and the raised "consciousness" of what I am puting in my body, and eating really well along the way.

Any plans to launch your book in Toronto? We would love to have you here!!

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous stacie said...

I live in Chattanooga, and I was telling someone that I have Celiac, and they said, "Have you read Gluten Girl?".....
How cool is that?
I told her I have been reading your blog for a long time....
so happy for you!!!!!

At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Marie Pimm said...

Bought your book this week and have read it from cover to cover. Its wonderful. I am not a celiac; in fact, I suffer from Rosacea which seems to be a melt down of the immune system - I'm allergic to many foods: gluten, dairy, sugar and many other foods. My question to you: Are all nuts dusted with wheat to stop them sticking together, or is it just cashews? I'm getting so confused with what I can eat and what I cannot eat. Please email me at Thank you, Marie

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Shauna -
This will make you smile! I was talking to my mother and aunt about the possibility of going to one of your Chicago events since they are getting your book for Christmas and my aunt stated that she had heard you were fabulous!
Your reputation is growing and growing!
Then I told her that her new favorite chocolate cake (your chocolate banana bread) was one of your recipes! Let's just say that the two of them (both have wheat allergies) are eagerly awaiting the weekend that you will be in Chicago!
And I discovered a fabulous spot to buy lemon olive oil in this area - it is actually a store called the Olive Mill and it specializes in different varieties of olive oil and balsmic vinegars. The best part is that you can actually taste each and every one of them!
Safe travels!

At 12:34 PM, Blogger aquard said...

I have been out of town for the past week, but I wanted to tell you that I went to the Barnes and Noble in my smallish town the day after the book came out and found that there were many empty spots on the shelf next to the copies that remained! I was crying as soon as I finished reading the acknowledgements! Congratulations!

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds absolutely delicious. It's officially autumn! Thanks for all your great posts. I look forward to reading your book :)

At 5:36 PM, Anonymous AJ said...

I love you blog. I live up in Bellingham so your events aren't so far away, but I have a pretty busy schedule (like college and work) that keep me from being able to truly enjoy a wine event at night. Really, though, I was wondering what the recipe was for that wild rice and chanterelle dish you mentioned. it made my fairly newly gluten-intolerant mouth water!

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Will S. for The Authentics Foundation said...

Like so many, I've been reading and lurking for what seems like almost forever -- just after I was told I might have celiac in December 05, in fact. I've been salivating along with your recipes every lunchtime since then! But I couldn't cook. I burned things, I undercooked things. I've started to become more mindful lately, and so my food has been turning out so much better! Thank you... and look what we did with your recipes!
Flickr Photos of Meal

-Liz and Will

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna,

I am going to be traveling to Seattle next week from the East Coast and was concerned about restaurants. I googled "Seattle and Gluten" and up popped your recent event at La Spiga which happens to be around the corner from the hotel I'll be staying at! Just spoke with them! Yea!

Ellen in Maryland

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Fabienne Jach said...

Shauna, I'm typing this as I'm preparing this soup. This part of the recipe is totally unclear to me:

"Cook until the liquid has reduced by half.

Making the soup. Cover the vegetables with the stock, which should be one inch higher than the vegetables."

I didn't have that much liquid in the pot to begin with. Then I added the wine, let it reduce... and this is supposed to cover the veggies? It never covered the veggies. What stock are you referring to?

Otherwise love your recipes & blog. Just confused on this. It would be helpful if the comments following the recipe were actually relevant to the recipe, I might have found my answer. Anyway, I'm sure it will turn out. It smells fantastic!



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