August 16, 2010
Woodland firefighter nabs spot in cooking contests final round

Woodland firefighter Tara Daniels is flying to New York today for a chance to win $10,000 and some serious bragging rights.

Daniels, 32, is one of two finalists in the "Live with Regis and Kelly" show's Coast to Coast Firehouse Cook-Off. She learned early this morning that her smokin' pear salad recipe helped her secure a spot in the final cook-off, which will air on Friday's show.

"I'm so excited," Daniels said in a phone interview while driving to the airport. "I was at my station when they called and I got to jump up and down and scream with my coworkers."

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa will announce the final two contestants during today's show. Daniels will be competing against Ross Signorino and his "Rossome Ribs."

If she wins, Daniels will come home with the cash prize and her recipe will be published in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

The recipe, which pairs grilled chicken and pears with blue cheese, glazed pecans and butter lettuce in a salad dressed with a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette and is served with a side of buttery grilled garlic bread, is easy to prepare, an attribute Daniels thinks helped her excel in the competition.

"It takes like 20 minutes," she said.

The dish has been well-received among friends, community members and her fellow firefighters.

"My coworkers who don't like vegetables very much like it," she said.

Click here to get the recipe.

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