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Category: La Petite Soirée

  1. Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    BlogHer Food, La Petite Soirée and Lots and Lots of Food

    As you know (because I keep telling you!), I went to the BlogHer Food conference this past weekend. It was wonderful. Truly. And not just because I got to eat things like this for two days straight.

    Here are a few quick highlights from the conference:

    • Rooming with my dear friend Vanessa Druckman from Chef Druck Musings and my new friend Tricia Callahan from Once A Month Mom. They were such great roommates. Easy to be around, lots of laughs. And Vanessa didn’t have any nightmares as a result of sharing a bed with me. All in all a successful roomie experience, I think! (Pictured: Tricia left, me, Vanessa right)

    • Hearing Penny de los Santos speak. She’s a photojournalist who does exceptional work, but is also full of beautiful stories and true inspiration. Yeah, I cried.
    • Hearing Shauna James Ahern speak. Inspiring? Check. Funny? Check. Great writing and even better stories? Check. Yeah, I cried again.
    • When Michael Ruhlman ended the closing keynote panel by standing up and sharing his strong feelings about the importance of food and cooking to humanity. I can’t do his words justice, so I won’t try. But his words made me…cry. Yup. Again.
    • Chatting with Erika of Ivory Hut. She is quiet and lovely. Erika shared a story with me of a woman who wrote her a letter, and sent all the extra money she had for the month to help Erika’s family. It was moving. And, while I think I did a good job covering up, Erika made me cry, too.
    • But before you start thinking I spent the whole weekend crying…I also laughed, talked, and ATE. A lot. The conference was full of amazing speakers, amazing attendees and food galore.

    Pictured: Helene Dujardin, Me, Kristen Doyle, Stefania Pomponi Butler

    I think the true highlight of the weekend for me was co-hosting La Petite Soirée. Somehow I was able to convince three lovely women into throwing a party with me during the BlogHer Food weekend. I count my lucky stars every day I had the chance to work with these great women. And the party? It was perfect.

    For the food, Stefania had the brilliant idea to hire local food carts from the city. They were all amazing and provided unique foods and drinks to please every palette. And it was just plain cool.

    For decoration, we simply had beautiful flowers and cool lighting. I’m not exaggerating when I say you could see our party from miles away. The party was in a photography studio on the top floor with tall windows and no drapes. So, yeah, you could probably see those lights from the moon. We know how to party.

    We also had some super sweet gift bags. In fact, the whole weekend came complete with lots of foodie-happy swag. But I’ll just use it, enjoy it, and share my favorites with you over the next months. I do need to thank Federated Media, WordPress, Scharffen Berger and Clever Girls Collective for being our main sponsors. They were all wonderfully supportive.

    And, in case you like knowing about good restaurants, here are the various places I ate over the weekend. The Martha Stewart team treated a small group of us to dinner at 54 Mint. And it was amazing. Especially the fried zucchini blossoms and the pasta with eggplant. On Friday, a bunch of us bloggers went to Out the Door for lunch. The chicken that came in a clay pot (I’m pretty sure that’s not the official name) was so tender and flavorful, and I am officially in love with bok choy. For lunch on Saturday, Ziplist treated a group of us to lunch at Restaurant LuLu. I told you the weekend was full of good food!

    I’ll be honest, I usually walk away from conferences feeling a little deflated. I think that comes from being overwhelmed by the sheer number of talented bloggers out there and wondering, “What’s the point?” This weekend was completely opposite. I’ve walked away inspired and feeling like I’m part of a powerful and positive community of people with similar goals but different ways to meet those goals. And, I know it all sounds so cheesy, but it was just such a happy, warm-fuzzy weekend. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way, so I’m just gonna go where the cheese takes me. Thank you to everyone who was a part of it, whether I mentioned you specifically or not. You all touched my heart in one way or another. Thank you.

  2. Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Preparing for La Petite Soirée…and a lunch filled with curry and veggie goodness!

    Doesn’t this food look good?  It is. And I’ll get to it in a moment…but first, a little about what I’m up to this week!

    On Friday, I’m heading up to the BlogHer Food conference, and that night I’m also co-hosting La Petite Soirée, a party for food bloggers. I will be co-hosting this little shindig with some amazing fellow bloggers: Helene Dujardin from Tartelette, Kristen Doyle from Dine & Dish, and Stefania Pomponi Butler from City Mama and Clever Girls Collective. It’s been a dream team, no question.

    Did I mention, our party is going to be awesome? For food, we’re going to have a bunch of San Francisco food carts serving their delicious eats, and Chef Elizabeth Faulkner of pastry and Top Chef fame will be making cupquettes for the party (thanks to Scharffen Berger!), served alongside wine and drinks. The party is going to be held at a photography studio, which is the perfect venue for a bunch of camera-toting food bloggers! Speaking of those bloggers…we have an amazing guest list, with really talented and wonderful food bloggers and cookbook writers included. I’m giddy with excitement!

    I always end up killing myself stuffing bags for all the parties I throw…La Petite Soirée is no exception! In fact, swag for the bags has completely taken over my patio and garage. And my back hurts a little. But it’s worth it! Here’s a little sneak peak.

    One of the best parts of getting into blogging is the truly amazing people I’ve befriended along the way. Gudrun Enger from Kitchen Gadget Girl definitely falls into that category. I met Gudrun at BlogHer in Chicago last year and, lucky for me, she only lives 2 miles away! She took pity on me today and came over to help organize and stuff swag. Not only did she help me tremendously with party preparations, she brought me lunch! She kept saying, “It’s just leftovers.” But, uh, yeah, her leftovers ROCK and way kick my usual peanut butter and honey’s sandwich patootie.

    Which brings us to the food from the beginning of this post. Gudrun brought Cauliflower Curry, a Delicata Squash and Pumpkin dish, brown rice and naan bread. Mmmmmm. Gudrun is one of my cool friends who is part of a CSA and does a great job using up all the fresh grown food she receives each week. I’ll get there…one day!

    Click more to see the recipes from my delicious lunch!

    Cauliflower Curry
    From Chef Jonathan Miller, via Gudrun Enger (complete with Gudrun’s notes below)
    • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets, stems pieces roughly chopped
    • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 8 quarter-size slices ginger, peeled (Gudrun used 2 tsps of ground ginger.)
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2 Serrano peppers (Gudrun had a green jalapeno, so that’s what she used. It was a spicy pepper, but the dish was not super spicy)
    • 2 tomatoes, chopped
    • ½ cup yogurt
    • 1 cup water
    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon garam masala
    • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
    • small handful of cilantro, chopped
    1. Heat olive oil in large sauce pan until almost smoking, and saute the cauliflower florets until lightly browned. Remove to a bowl.
    2. In a food processor, process the cauliflower stems, onion, ginger, garlic, and Serrano until finely chopped, almost a puree. Transfer to a bowl. Do the same with the tomatoes, transfer to separate bowl. Whisk yogurt, water and nutmeg together until smooth.
    3. In the same pan you used to brown the cauliflower florets, cook the cauliflower stem/onion mixture until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir regularly. Add in tomatoes puree and cook until most of the juice has evaporated, up to 10 minutes more. Add in coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric and salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Add in yogurt-water-nutmeg liquid with ½ the cilantro and bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low, add the cauliflower florets, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is cooked to your liking (I kept it a little on the al dente side).
    4. Finish the dish with remaining cilantro and another sprinkle of garam masala. Great over rice!

    Delicata Squash & Pumpkin with Cider Glaze
    • 2 medium delicata squash (about 2 pounds) or other firm winter squash (Gudrun did half delicata squash and half pumpkin)
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ¼ cup very coarsely chopped fresh sage
    • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1½ cups fresh unfiltered apple cider or juice
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    1. If using delicata squash, peel it with a vegetable peeler, cut it lengthwise in half, and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut each piece lengthwise in half again, then crosswise into ½-inch -thick slices. Other types of squash should be peeled with a chef’s knife, seeded, cut into 1-inch wedges, then sliced ½-inch thick.
    2. Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over low heat. Add the sage and rosemary and cook, stirring, until the butter just begins to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not brown the herbs. Cooking the herbs in butter mellows their flavor and improves their texture.
    3. Add the squash to the skillet, then the apple cider, water, vinegar, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat at an even boil until the cider has boiled down to a glaze and the squash is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and season with pepper, and additional salt if needed.