40 years old today + Iron Chef

The birthday celebrations have been going on all week of course, but yesterday was pretty spectacular. In the morning Steven Gould — whose birthday it actually was — had released the theme ingredient for the Iron Chef Battle we had planned. [1. Originally we were going to do it today, but decided to move it to yesterday because a couple of the guests had flights out today.] Welcome to Iron Chef Pear!

We all trouped over to Grandma’s church for her 104th birthday party and then went straight from there to shop for Iron Chef. At first we were going to shop separately, but then thought, what? We’ll see each other in the store and be shocked that, “OMG! You’re buying pears!”

Back home the two teams — headed by Alethea Kontis and me — began cooking. There are two kitchens at Mom and Dad’s which is part of why I wanted to try an Iron Chef battle in real time. You know, because we could. I took the kitchen in the other house so we’d both be in unfamiliar kitchens and we gave ourselves two hours to compensate for not having Kitchen Stadium.

Here are the results in video form.

Here are writeup’s from Alethea Kontis, David D. Levine and Steve‘s flickr lineup plus combined photos in my Picasa album

Edited to add:
The recipes our dishes were based on.
Warm peppered pears with dolce gorgonzola and fried sage on watercress
Smoked Pear and Parsnip Bisque with frizzled ginger
Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Pears and Pear-Brandy Cream Sauce served with Gorgonzola and Red Pear Risotto
I just made up the zinfandel poached pear with dark chocolate and pistachio icecream.

So tonight we are dressing formally for my birthday dinner, but I don’t know how I will top last night’s meal.

20 Responses

  1. Pat Esden

    Happy Birthday. I’m glad you guys are all having a wonderful time.

    Now I have to go make popovers, though I’m craving pears.

  2. Joe Iriarte

    Wait–the theme ingredient was decided upon by a member of YOUR team?!

    Sounds sketchy to me . . .

    -o-

    Happy birthday!

    I know you’re not really a *new* writer, Campbell Award be damned. But still, the fact that you’re around my age gives me reason to hope–that just because I haven’t had any success yet doesn’t mean I never will. So thanks for being an inspiration!

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      Ah! I should have mentioned that. Steve was going to be a neutral observer and just photograph the proceedings but one of our team members got sick so he stepped in at the last minute to provide an extra set of hands. But he wasn’t involved in choosing the recipes.

      1. Alethea

        Yes, the substitution of Steve as a sous-chef was discussed and approved by chefs on both sides. Personally I believe Mary had more of an advantage because I was working with only one hand. And…you know…it was her birthday party. :)

  3. Michael

    Happy birthday, Mary! Congratulations on your win too. I’ve had the Gorgonzola and Pear Risotto, so I know for a fact that it’s delicious, but the rest of the dishes look darned good as well.

  4. Todd Thorne

    Who’d-a-thunk that the theme for turning 40 now must involve pears? A new trend takes shape.

    Have a magnificent one. Glad to see you’ve got good friends on hand to celebrate with–they’re the icing indeed.

  5. Steve H

    You put David and Kate on opposite teams!

    Probably a good idea all told.

    What was the music on that video? It was very well chosen.

    Also happy birthday to everyone.

  6. Delia Sherman

    This sounds wonderful. Before, I was sad and wistful about not being with you on this wonderful week. Now I’m SAD, SAD, SAD. Also hungry.

    Happy birthday, my dear.

  7. Kelvin Kao

    Wow, those looked so good! I had no idea you can do all that with pears.

    And that’s a lot of stoves in the house. Would add another layer of competition if you had to share.