Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sights and food of Seattle

My time was short for my trip to Seattle. I was attending IFBC 2013, a food blogger conference. This year I did not have a lot of time before or after to do a lot of sightseeing. I had to try to pack in as much as I could in a few short days.
Of course I went to the Space Needle, a Seattle landmark since the sixties. I rode the historic monorail as well. The Chihuliy Gardens are there as well. But were closing for a private function the day I tried to visit. 
I was desperate for a cup of coffee that was not Starbucks, so I let social media help me and someone recommended Top Pot Hand Forged Doughnuts they serve Zeitgeist coffee. So it was up and out early one morning for doughnuts and coffee. On my way back to the hotel I had to stop at Dalhia Bakery for their famous cookies and they did not disappoint nor did they make it home! 
Of course there is the famous Pike Market all the vendors and the famous flying fish. I did find a local brewery in the market so on a rainy Sunday afternoon I had a pumpkin ale and mac & cheese loaded with Dungenss crab meat and gilded with bacon.
Since I did miss the Chuily Gardens it's on my to do list for next year. The conference is back in Seattle so am I and just maybe I can sneak in a extra day.
Dahlia  Bakery 

Top Pot Doughnuts and really great coffee!

Dahlia's famous cookies that did not make it home

The famous Space Needle landmark

View from the top
The Pike Place Market
Dungeness Crabs
Pumpkin Ale from the PIke Place Brewery
Loaded Mac & Cheese with bacon thrown in for good measure

View of downtown

Saturday, November 16, 2013

IFBC 2013 Seattle Conference Swag

Suitcases overflowing with free goodies. If you have ever attended a conference you know what I am talking about. SWAG! Attending a food conference is just like any other conference for the swag but I think that it's possibly the best kind of conference to attend. Can you say lots of food samples! 
I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) again this year and I can tell you the freebies did not disappoint. I have a confession to make- I may be a little addicted to the swag. 
Last year I learned the hard way and had to mail the swag home so, this year I brought an extra suitcase (thanks Southwest for no baggage fees) to check my swag bag. I also brought wine bags and bubble wrap, just in case. 
Thanks to all the wonderful sponsors to this year’s conference. Looking forward to next year? Perhaps,
maybe I’ll attend two conferences just so I can compare swag! (Of course I always meet really cool foodies and learn a thing or two in the process).
Live tweeting session. Sponsored by Amazon Grocery

Sponsors of the conference

Just a small snapshot of the swag

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I did in Seattle 2013

Well it’s been a couple of months since my trip to Seattle to attend the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC2013) sponsored by Foodista
What a whirlwind trip it was. I only had a few days to try to pack in as much as I could see and eat. What else you do at a conference about food but eat and drink. Throw in some photography and writing sessions and the conference is complete. I had a blast. I took the optional pre-conference excursion to Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, WA. We toured the facility then sat down for a wine/food paring.
Dorie Greenspan was the keynote speaker and I was able to gather my courage and ask her to sign one of my favorite cookbooks. I even was able to tell her a funny story of my pies. The food never disappoints it gets better and better. Friday was the fabulous Taste of Seattle dinner. Lots of restaurant samples and wine to taste. One of my favorite food samples were the fresh oysters from Taylor Shellfish. I would walk around to the different tables but kept returning to the oysters. I did eat my fair share!
 Urbanspoon sponsored the secret dine around Seattle dinner on Saturday night. My  dinning companions and I found ourselves at the Golden Beetle a modern organic Mediterranean restaurant in the Ballard neighborhood. YUM!
What else is there to say? There was LOTS of food and wine. I am very glad that I brought an empty suitcase (I learned the hard way of having to ship my goodies home in 2012). The conference seems to get better and better every year. I am already making plans for IFBC 2014, again it’s in Seattle so I will get to see the things I missed and eat somethings a second time. This time I'll bring them home to share.  Well maybe, shhhhhhhh.
Grapes still on the vine

Food and wine paring at the winery

OMG! It's Dorie Greenspan!

Oysters from Taylor Shellfish, YUM and my favorite

Another food and wine pairing session

Wood burning oven at the Golden Beetle in the Ballard neighborhood Seattle, WA

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Grandma's Lemon Cheesecake Cake

My Grandma would have been 109 this November 10th. So, today I created a meal that she used to make when family came to visit. According to my cousin she would have made fried chicken, cornbread, okra, stewed tomatoes and for dessert there would have been two cakes a coconut and her lemon cheesecake cake. She was a Southerner to her soul.
 I remember spending the summer of 72 with my grandparents. They lived in St. Augustine, so what kid didn't want to spend time Florida?  I remember standing in her kitchen by her side and watching her make this cake. It was simple cake but the icing was more of a glaze and it made the cake taste like cheesecake. Well, at least that's what I remember.
She wrote it down for me, but what young person thinks ahead, and I lost it. It wasn't until I attended a panel discussion on food memories at my first food bloggers conference that I gave that cake much thought. After that I knew I wanted to recreate that cake.
So, here I am two years later, many inquiries to family members, and hundreds of Internet searches later I think that I found it. It's like lemon curd but not. The one thing that I really remembered was it made with cornstarch, No?, yes, I know it sounds weird but that's what's in it. So it hit me a few weeks ago, I searched the Internet with lemon glaze and cornstarch and there it was on the Argo Cornstarch site for recipes. So, on this what was her birthday I made the cake and a modern interpretation of her meal. I forgot the stewed tomatoes, I made polenta instead of cornbread and you can just forget the okra. Bad memories of seeing that as my grandma scooping it of the big pot. That's another story altogether.

Lemon Sauce
Adapted from the Argo
All the ingredients for the glaze

Whisking the corn starch mixture

Glazed cake

EUREKA, that's it!
Lemon Sauce
Adapted from the Argo Corn Starch website
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yields 2 cups
 Let the glaze completely cool before using. It gets thicker as is cools.

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup Argo or Kingsford Corn Starch
  • 1 1/3 cups of water
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 2/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1. Combine sugar, corn starch, and water in a 2 quart saucepan.

2. Bring to a boil of over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon peel, lemon juice and butter until well blended.

3. Serve warm or chilled.