I like the Saveur recap of last week’s International Food Blog Conference in Seattle. Also, I like how Brendan’s photo was used. Yay for Saveur. Yay for Brendan!
While we were in Seattle for the food blog conference, we didn’t get to do much sight seeing. We did however, manage to squeeze in a trip to Pike Place Market. Touristy or not, I loved it. I loved all the fresh produce, fresh fish, fresh flowers. I have never been so happy to be around dead fish as I was that day.
The produce was absolutely vibrant too.
The only person not happy to walking around Pike Place was my little son. It was because he was confined to the stroller to avoid running straight into stalls of seafood. See the scar on his nose? This kid can get into any mishap.
He did however, like watching fish fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
Our whole family loved the honey sticks, with flavors like Blackberry, Lemon and Spiced Apple. Even the little grumpster approved.
My treat for the day was two pounds of these large and delicious peaches. They were so full and juice-dribbing-down-your-arm good. Oh Washington, I heart you. I can’t wait to go back.
I’m excited to share some of our swag bag goodies from IFBC last weekend. We decided to break the prizes up, I’ll be announcing another giveaway next week (think baking) and a few more to follow that. Yay, free stuff!
For my first giveaway, I want to gift one lucky reader with Sur la Table’s Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers. It’s 304 pages of beautiful photography highlighting gorgeous farm-fresh produce and stories from 10 small farms. I’ve had a chance to thumb through the pages, and while I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, they look delicious and simple enough to replicate.
The recipes are arranged alphabetically by produce — not course — which is helpful in deciding how to cook all the seasonal produce you’re not familiar with. Like, I only have one Kale recipe in my repertoire. With the inspiration from this cookbook, I now know four more possibilities.
I absolutely love the profiles on these American farmers. They make farming so beautiful and almost motivates me to start a garden of my own. Almost. I’m not quite there yet. If you have a CSA (community-supported agriculture) share, this seasonal cookbook will be perfect for your kitchen. Even if you don’t have a CSA or shop at the farmer’s market, the 150 recipes and suggestions are great ways to start (or continue) to eat local.
To win this book, do one (or all) of three things:
1) leave a comment on this post.
2) become a fan of my brand new Facebook page for White Lotus Cooks. After you do, leave me an additional comment saying you did so.
3) follow me on Twitter. (find me here)
There are three chances to win and you have till midnight (MST) on Monday, September 6th to leave a comment and enter. Good luck!
(Also, this contest is only open to U.S. mailing addresses. No international shipping.)
Comments closed. Contest over.
*Giveaway announcement at the end of the post.*
Do you see this post here? I wrote it in about 15 minutes. My fastest blog post ever. My journalism instincts kicked in and I went into full-on reporter mode for this blog entry whiling attending the IFBC conference in Seattle last weekend. Even when I was gathering notes at the food carts (we were asked to blog about our favorite Seattle food cart during a lunch contest) I knew I was probably gathering waaay more info than an average blogger. What does Skillet seasoned their burgers with? (Salt and pepper.) What kind of bread do they use? (Brioche.) What’s this creamy, sharp tasting cheese in this burger? (Cambozola.) Why do I want to put another one in my mouth? (Because it’s so darn tasty.)
All of my questioning and speed blog writing won me a delicious Theo dark chocolate bar and the cookbook, My Nepenthe by Romney Steele. Brendan and I have actually been up to the Nepenthe restaurant in Big Sur years ago while on our honeymoon. We didn’t get a chance to eat there, but did admire the beautiful view. It’s gorgeous.
More than the tangible prize, I was just thrilled to know that Molly Wizenberg, Kathleen Flinn and photographer Penny De Los Santos were the judges for this contest. You see, I have works from all three of these professionals in my bookshelves. I’ve read Molly’s A Homemade Life for my book club. I have made her “Winning-Hearts-and-Minds” chocolate cake about a hundred times. Kathleen Flinn’s memoir The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry kept me company on a long flight to London and had me dreaming of going to cooking school in France. Most recently, Brendan bought me Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumpling cookbook for mother’s day, and I have been drooling over Penny’s photos ever since (and the recipes are so hands down good).
For me, as a first time blog conference goer, this was what my IFBC experience was all about. Meeting people in the food community and being totally inspired. I met authors, print professionals, recipe writers and uber-famous bloggers. I mean, I live in Utah people. When do I get a chance to sit next to Lael Hazan during dinner?
I met Fr. Leo (you may know him for his appearance in Throwdown with Bobby Flay and yes, the priest beat the celebrity) at Friday night’s opening party. We talked about his message about strengthening families by sharing food. My heart warmed knowing we share the same passion. He was nice enough to mention Brendan and me on his blog too.
Shauna James Ahern from Gluten-Free Girl brought one of her two existing new cookbooks, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef to the conference. She was kind enough to let me flip through the pages of her beautiful book, and her presentation Sunday morning made it worth arriving early that day. (Okay, the Top Pot doughnuts also helped.)
But the highlight of my conference? Meeting Dianne Jacobs. Her book Will Write for Food was the first foodie book I bought and I ate it up in the course of a couple of days. I loved it so much, I bought the second edition at the conference. I was motivated by her recipe writing panel on Saturday (with Amy Sherman and Kristen Kidd) and thought hearing from them was a great way to kick off the next two days of speakers.
I like Dianne because she hits the hard topics without being afraid to be controversial, (Take a look at her blog. She’s already written a couple of post about IFBC so far. This one is about blogging for love, and she also continues the heated debate about giving recipes away for free.) While she can be blunt, Dianne is also approachable and kind. When I found out she has some Chinese in her, I had an a-ha moment. Like, “Oh. So that’s why you’re so no nonsense. You remind me of my to-the-point Asian aunties.”
One cannot live on inspiration alone, though. As much motivation as IFBC gave me, I know I need follow up with some thoughts I had during the conference. So, expect to see me blogging much, much more. I have a new feature I’m excited to try out, and guess what? I’m evening hosting my first giveaway!
Since Brendan came to the conference with me, we doubled up on goodies from our swag bag. Needless to say, I have much more swag than I need. I’ll post tomorrow what we’re sending away, and you’ll have a few days to leave a comment. Doing a giveaway was a tip Dianne mentioned in her book as a way to build traffic, and heavens knows I need it.
Thanks to all those who made IFBC possible. I was completely inspired. Now it’s time to get my blogging butt into gear.
The first sign that Skillet’s Wagyu beef burger was going to be wonderful was when I was told I would have to wait.
“The burgers need to rest for about three minutes,” said Stephanie, the spiky blonde sous chef of this airstream food truck. Giving the burger time to rest would ensure a juicy patty, one I couldn’t wait to put in my mouth.
Partnering with the beef from Snake Rive Farms, the natural flavors were brought out with only the addition of salt and pepper. Once rested, the patty is nestled inside a golden brioche bun, and topped with sweet bacon jam (a Skillet original) and fresh arugula. The addition of cambozola cheese, a cross between sweet brie and strong blue, finishes off the perfect burger.
Skillet was my favorite food cart at the IFBC food cart by far. It was worth the wait . . . even for seconds.
Do you know that familiar feeling you can sometimes get while traveling? Like, the rush of being at home in a place, even though you’ve never been there before? Maybe you’ve felt it while strolling down the street of a new-to-you-city. Suddenly, you hear your favorite song floating somewhere in the air, like it was planted there just for you. Maybe you’re in a restaurant completely unfamiliar, and the Lasagna you’re eating for dinner is just like the kind your mother made when you were growing up.
Well for me, I get this feeling whenever I step into an Asian grocery store. I do quite a bit of shopping at them in my own hometown, but for some reason, you give me an store with Asian foods, and I go a little nuts. I once bought 5 lbs. of Thai Sweet Basil just because the store owner was unloading her produce inventory right then, and I just had to have an entire shopping bag full. When were in London last summer, my homesickness was cured by my discovery of a Thai grocery store just off the Queensway tube station. Whenever I felt lonely, I took my kids on a walk to buy some curry.
So of course, our first destination in Seattle had to be at Uwajimaya, a huge mecca of all things Asian. The selection of food and Asian gifts are amazing, with groceries being decently priced and everything else pretty pricey. My friend Amanda spent the summer here, and said this needed to be a must-visit place while we are here. So, even with 14 + hours in the car, it was the first stop. While were all exhausted, our mood perked up after one step into this amazing superstore.
My favorite part about going to Uwajimaya? Seeing all the Asian ladies. I love to be around them. It’s like being part of a sisterhood of women who look just like you. I like to glace into their faces and think, “Oh, my mom was that tall. She would have probably looked just like her at 65.” Or, “Maybe I’ll wear that same outfit one day.”
Hopefully when I’m my mom’s age, or her mom’s age, I’ll still find as much enjoyment from browsing the aisle’s at an Asian grocery store. Because, it will always feel a little bit like home.
Umm. So where did these past couple of weeks go?
Oh, I know. They went into zoo seeing, and lake swimming and park swinging . . . and not a bit into blogging. Maybe some cooking. It seems like I let these last weeks of summer slip right though my fingers and into the open arms of my children. Sorry for the posting neglect, but it’s been fun doing nothing but play.
This week has ended our blissful days of swim lessons and ice cream cones with sprinkles. Brendan started school again, and my little girl’s first day of preschool is today. Instead of doing the responsible thing and slowing our summer fun down, I’m going to rebel and squeeze in one last trip. Before I give my husband up to law school one last time (graduation here we come!), I will make this season of happiness last just a little bit longer. Tomorrow, we’ll be loading up the kids to go to Seattle.
Brendan and I are attending the International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle this weekend, and I cannot believe we are still going. The speakers are amazing. The food will be top notch. I guess if I actually survive the 14-hour car ride with my two little ones, maybe it will be a bit more believable. Maybe.
We are encouraged to do live blogging/tweeting at the conference, I’m going to try my best to do so. So please, check back often.
It’s my last hurrah to summer.
(watch the Jane Austen’s Fight Club here.)
Just over a week ago, I started to see a friend of mine make her way around the Internet. She was dressed in a pink lacy dress, spoke with a British accent and was throwing punches left and right. The Jane Austen Fight Club trailer made it’s way to YouTube, and this fun project put on by a group of friends in Los Angeles was about to explode. As of today, there are nearly 1 million views with mentions on The Huffington Post, TIME, Glamour, CBS News, NPR, Telegraph.co.uk, and many more.
My friend Farrah plays Emma and she chatted with me a little about the making of the video, channeling her inner Austen and of course, food.
What inspired Jane Austen’s Fight Club?
This was 100 percent Emily Card. She’s the brainchild behind everything. A couple of us were watching a movie at a friend’s house and she turned to a friend and said, “Jane Austen’s Fight Club. What do you think?” We submitted it to the Santa Monica Film Festival and the response was terrific. We won by a landslide. It was just something we wanted to do for ourselves and to show our friends.
When we were preparing for the film, we sat down with pens and notepads and took notes from the Fight Club. Line for line, we were amazed how well it translates over to Jane Austen’s time.Women were defined and oppressed by their title, or the man they married. It’s the same today. We shouldn’t be judged by the coffee table we have, or job, or apartment or area of [town] we live it.
What kind of movie research did you do for your part?
Most of the girls were already huge Jane Austen fans to begin with. Honestly, I’m more of a Fight Club fan than Jane Austen. So I had to watch a lot of BBC. A lot.
What’s your favorite Jane Austen book/movie?
Mansfield Park. I love Fanny Price. I love her decency and humility. With all the other [Jane Austen characters], I felt like there’s so much that goes on with politeness. With Fanny, I don’t really feel like that exists. Fanny says what she thinks all the time, that’s why no one really likes her.
What was your favorite part about playing a kick-butt Jane Austen heroine?
I love how vicious I got to be. I was so into the fight scenes. That face that you see? It’s not fake. I was seriously channeling fab fury. [After filming] everybody in my boxing class on Monday night got to see that face.
Who would you fight over, Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley?
I have to defer and say neither. I don’t care what people say; I think Mr. Darcy is kind of a jerk. Mr. Knightley is a really nice guy, but it would have to be Edmund [from Mansfield Park]. He wants to be in the clergy, he wants a simple humble life. He stands up for his family.
What would Jane Austen eat to prepare for a fight club throw down?
Some kind of a roast pheasant to tear out with her teeth.
Is there enough material to make Jane Austen’s Fight Club into a movie?
I think we could. Emily has the entire thing written out so well. There’s a ton of fighting that didn’t make it in, and a lot of storyline that wasn’t covered since it was only a trailer. A lot of people have asked it we beat up certain women who were considered villains [in the Jane Austen books]. We actually do, but it was too much to fit and credit in the trailer. Guess we’ll have to see where this goes.
You can see more of Farrah and her thoughts on the Jane Austen Fight Club by visiting her blog.
For my daughter’s birthday party, I threw her a My Neighbor Totoro inspired party. This Japanese cartoon is one of her most favorite movies to watch, and just like the show, Totoro visits her constantly. He is her favorite imaginary friend.
I made vanilla cupcakes and decorated them with vanilla icing, fondant flowers and tiny dust bunnies (or soot sprites) on top. Totoro is made out of marshmallow and fondant.
The best part of having Totoro birthday cupcakes is that you get to eat him.
Brendan made Japanese inspired hot dogs. Take an all beef hot dog, cover it in teriyaki sauce. Dress the bun with carmelized onions and wasabi mayo, and it’s completely oishii.
For an activity, the kids made dessert sushi using rice krispy treats, fruit roll ups and lots and lots of candy.
This little guy probably ate his fair share of food. And drank even more juice.
My girl spent all last week watering seeds she planted for her friends. One of her favorite scenes in My Neighbor Totoro was when Totoro helped the plants to grow. And yes, she did the “grow dance” after she watered too.
We also made homemade Pocky sticks to give away too.
Lots of fun, lots of friends:
And of course, there were some pretty great handmade Totoro presents.
Here’s a better photo of Totoro taken the next day:
All in all, I think it was a pretty good birthday.