We've been following the ascension of Tara Daniels, as the Woodland firefighter competes in a firehouse cook-off contest on "Live! with Regis and Kelly." If you missed the excitement this morning, we're happy to say that Daniels earned a Top 5 spot and is up for $10,000 and the chance for her recipe to be featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Daniels' recipe for "Smokin' Pear Salad" garnered enough votes from Friday's studio audience to earn her Top 5 placement.
If you want to help send Daniels to the final round, vote for her recipe at the show's Web site. Voting ends Sunday night at 9 p.m. PT, and the top two vote-getters will be announced on Tuesday's show. The final cookoff will go down next Friday.
Good luck to Woodland's finest firehouse cook ... in the meantime, here's her recipe for the "Smokin' Pear Salad."
Smokin' Pear Salad
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper, granulated garlic to taste
1 pear, firm but ripe
1 big garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
1 large head butter lettuce, washed and torn
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup candied pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 loaf French bread
1/2 cup butter
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
Clean and dry chicken breasts. Season chicken to taste with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Set aside.
Slice pear in half, and core.
If making garlic bread, slice loaf in half long ways, melt butter and add minced garlic, then brush garlic butter mixture on bread.
Place chicken, pears face down, and garlic bread crust down on a hot grill. Cook chicken until firm and juices run clear. Cook pears for one min, just until grill marks show.
Cook garlic bread until grill marks show, about 5 min, then flip and cook 2 min butter side down.
While the above ingredients are cooking, prepare dressing and salad.
To make salad dressing; mix minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a bowl. Whisk with fork until emulsified.
Throw sliced red onion into dressing bowl. Place lettuce in large bowl. Add blue cheese, nuts, and cranberries if needed. Slice the grilled pear into 1/8-inch thick slices and add to salad.
Remove chicken from grill, thinly slice.
Add dressing with onions to salad and toss.
Top salad with chicken. If making garlic bread, slice and serve on the side.