Sunday, July 24, 2016

Diana Abu-Jaber: Life Without A Recipe #giveaway



LUCY BURDETTE: I'm so pleased to introduce you to one of my favorite writers! I first heard Diana Abu-Jaber speak at the Key West Literary Seminar's conference on food writing. Then I began to inhale her books. She writes both memoir and fiction and today she's sharing an easy but delicious dessert recipe, and giving away a copy of her new memoir. But win or not, I hope you all take the chance to enjoy this lovely book!

DIANA ABU-JABER: Food memories are at the center of much my second memoir, Life Without a Recipe. And the reality is that I wasn’t raised with recipes but apprenticeship—watching my immigrant father at work in the kitchen, translating his personal history into dishes. I still prefer this approach to cooking—eclectic, improvisational, led by ingredients, climate, seasons, rather than a plan.

In my father’s Jordanian culture, baked desserts, like baklava, tend to be reserved for special occasions. Coffee, sweet tea, oranges, dates and almonds are more typical daily treats. Such simple fare would never satisfy my dessert-crazy grandmother or mother, though.  This recipe is a great compromise—based on berries and little else. I got the idea from a recipe for Strawberry Ice at www.Food52.com. It’s wonderfully refreshing in the middle of the summer and so easy, I can make it on a daily basis with whatever berries I’ve got in the freezer. It’s also so simple, I rather call it a non-recipe—a preparation so direct and intuitive it pretty much isn’t a recipe at all. 

Iced Cherries
Serves two

½ C Heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon confectioner’s sugar (optional)
1¼ C frozen cherries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons chopped chocolate chips (optional)

Start by whipping about a half cup of heavy cream with a half-teaspoon vanilla. My daughter and I like whipped cream, so we make extra. You could add a teaspoon or two of confectioner’s sugar, but to me that’s just gilding the lily.


 





Throw a good-sized cup of frozen cherries into the blender (this also works with frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries—whatever you have stashed away in the freezer.) Add a tablespoon of sugar. Pulse until it’s ground up into a coarse mix.

In theory, you’re now supposed to freeze the berry mixture for a few hours before serving, but we always have this straight out of the blender.


 
 Place berries in two bowls with a couple of good-sized dollops of whipped cream and you’re done. If you’re feeling decadent, you can sprinkle some chopped chocolate chips on top of the whipped cream or stir it into the cherries. It’s light, liberating, and best of all, it’s delicious. It’s also a nice switch up from ice cream. I could eat this stuff all summer long—and pretty much I do.

Life Without a Recipe is Diana’s celebration of journeying without a map, of learning to ignore the script and improvise, of escaping family and making family on one’s own terms. As Diana discovers, however, building confidence in one’s own path sometimes takes a mistaken marriage or two―or in her case, three. It also takes a good deal of angst (was it possible to have a serious writing career and be a mother?) and, even when she knew what she wanted (the craziest thing, in one’s forties: a baby!), the nerve to pursue it.
Finally, fearlessly independent like the Grace she’s named after, Diana and Scott’s daughter Gracie will heal all the old battles with Bud and, like her writer-mom, learn to cook up a life without a recipe.


Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of two memoirs: Life Without A Recipe-- an Indie Next pick--and The Language of Baklava, as well as four novels, including Birds of ParadiseOrigin; Crescent; and Arabian Jazz. Her YA fantasy novel SilverWorld is forthcoming from Random House. Diana teaches writing and literature at Portland State University and lives with her husband and daughter in Fort Lauderdale.

 

50 comments:

  1. Love Diana's books. Have had the pleasure of hearing her speak.

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  2. Thank you for the chance to win. Dmskrug3 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful book! EMS591@aol.com

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  4. Recipe sounds great. I also love whipped cream. I would love to read the book.

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  5. Diane, thank you for sharing a little bit of your story, and of course, your recipe! Nicole :-)

    nicolev.girldetective@gmail.com

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  6. Sounds like an interesting book.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  7. Welcome to Mystery Lovers Kitchen, Diane! I love this approach - it will transform berry season for our family.

    Cheers, MJ aka Victoria Abbott

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    1. Thank you-- it really is a nice treat for summertime.

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  8. I love the simplicity of your dessert and your book sounds like an amazing journey! Thanks for the chance to win a copy! kimdavishb (at) gmail dot com

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  9. The recipes were simple but my sister and I learned to cook watching my mother and grandmother throw in a pinch of this or that and then tasting and adding what was missing. That's still how I cook. Your book sounds like such a great read, thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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  10. The dessert recipe looks like something my daughter could make. Thanks for the chance to win. pwtish171@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. It's totally kid friendly-- my daughter can almost do the whole thing herself now.

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  11. This is too easy! It sounds wonderful. We're fond of whipped cream, too. Thanks for joining us today, Diana!

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  12. Delicious recipe for all the summer fruits and berries right now.

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  13. Thanks Diana, for an easy summer recipe that allows us to use a variety of local summer fruits in season.

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  14. A nice summer recipe. Thank-you for the chance to win this giveaway.
    pgenest57 at aol dot com

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  15. Thanks for the yummy recipe. The book sounds interesting.
    jademoss17(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. What a wonderful sounding recipe - almost like a smoothie, but made better by the whipped cream! I am not familiar with Diana's books but will look forward to finding them. Thanks, Nancy Reid, Ottawa, Ontario
    jw.nl.reid@sympatico.ca

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  17. It seems like every day I find a new author to read! I cannot wait to read one of her books. Thank you for the opportunity to win one,

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  18. It seems like every day I find a new author to read! I cannot wait to read one of her books. Thank you for the opportunity to win one,

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  19. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your book. And, your recipe looks delicious! choirlady27@hotmail.com

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  20. This sounds good thanks for the recipe too
    Penney penneyw(AT)sbcglobal(DOT)net

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  21. Like the recipe, I haven't read any of her books, thanks ninaatmyhouse(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  22. I'm excited to read your new YA novel. I have read good things about it. utaker555@gmail.com

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  23. Your recipe looks so good and refreshing - thanks for sharing. bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  24. Thank you for the introduction to Diana Abu Jaber. Being a foodie and having picked up most of my knowledge from my mother, Diana's journey sounds familiar and interesting to me. robeader53@yahoo.com

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  25. Great introduction, thank you for offering the giveaway, lilflynracer at msn.com

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  26. Enjoyed the review, new author to me, would enjoy reading.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  27. Enjoyed the review, new author to me, would enjoy reading.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  28. Would love this
    quickchangeus@yahoo.com

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  29. the recipe sounds scrumptious!
    woofmew@aol.com

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  30. This sounds like a really nice story and the recipe sounds delicious.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  31. Awesome recipe. Would love to read this book too.

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  32. Delectable recipe and wonderful book which is a treasure. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  33. Sounds like a great book and I love the recipe. areewekidding@yahoo.com

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  34. Captivating post, delicious recipe and fantastic book that would be unforgettable. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  35. I like the recipe, it's cool and summery! Thanks.
    mjhopper (at) cox (dot) net

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  36. Thanks for sharing the great recipe..I am looking forward to reading your book!
    cmeier2001@live.com

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  37. Thanks for The great recipe! Can't wait to try it! Thanks also for the giveaway! This book looks like it is right up my alley! Can't wait to read it!! Pucsbride13@gmail.com

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  38. Thanks for The great recipe! Can't wait to try it! Thanks also for the giveaway! This book looks like it is right up my alley! Can't wait to read it!! Pucsbride13@gmail.com

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  39. Recipes and mysteries. My favorite combination!!!!

    Oneponychick66@hotmail.com

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  40. I love her work! Fan trolling almost. I recently discovered her as recommended by a friend. In the middle of "The Language of Baklava" now

    How to join the giveaway though?

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  41. I like a nice simple recipe. Sounds delish. kckendler@gmail(dot)com

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  42. A delicious sounding recipe! Donamaekutska7@gmail.com

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