(Becky, the Mama)
So much to learn, so many creative foods and wines to try, so many wonderful chefs, photographers and food bloggers to meet at the Foodista sponsored conference (International Food Bloggers) in Portland last week. I have unpacked my suitcase stuffed with notes and free goodies, but it will take a month to unpack my brain and apply what I’ve learned. Andrew Scrivani, New York Times food photographer, gave us dozens of practical tips I cannot wait to try. (Be sure to click on Andrew’s name if you love food photography. If you aren’t hungry now, you will be soon.) In my photo above, you’ll notice the honey dripping slowly from the honey dipper. Who knew that drips and drops makes food look more tantalizing? Well, now I do. I also know that I probably need to upgrade from my $99.00 hot pink Samsung digital camera to a pricey grown up camera sometime in the near future. Sigh.
Another highlight for me, besides the chance to be with my darlin’ daughter Rachel, adorable grandbaby Jackson, and fabulous editor, Carolyn McCready, was to meet some bloggers and food authors I’ve admired. I had just listened to the audio tape of the book Kitchen Counter Cooking School (dubbed as Michael Pollan meets “What Not to Wear”), loved it and recommended it to many. How fun to meet Kathleen Flinn, the book’s author, in person. I’ve written dozens of books, but I still get starstruck when I meet an author-in-the-flesh whose work I admire. Kathleen was gracious, down-to-earth and charming. Be sure to click on her name to get more details about her life and books.
You may wonder if I was able to pull off this fairly new role as “professional food blogger” without being detected as the messy, clutzy amateur cook that I actually am. In two words: not really.
I’m not a fan of mingling, so I took a deep breath to suck in all the courage in the air, then entered the huge, elegant wine tasting party bustling with eager bloggers. Pausing near the door, I bravely introduce myself to a cheerful foodie. We exchanged business cards, just before someone informed me I was leaning on the light switches and had turned off all the lights in the room. I smiled weakly, and headed straight for a table of pinot noir, sipped a bit too eagerly, and began to choke so badly that I had to exit the room to the hallway to finish my coughing fit in private. When I looked up, there were two friendly and colorful conferees there, both offering to give me the Heimlich should I need it. Serendipitously, they turned out to be two of my favorite people at the conference. Some people, I hear, gracefully meet and greet their way around a room full of new people. I found that turning off all the lights, then choking and running out in the hallway also works as an attention-getting alternative.
The last evening of the conference was a Farm to Table dinner where beautiful local fresh food was served up on elegant platters, family style, around tables of eight. The food and the company were both amazing.
Here’s a peek at the menu.
My favorite was the grilled yellow watermelon and the buttery blackberry shortcake.
Inspired by the simple but flavorful use of fresh local fruits and cheeses and honeys, I came home and invented this easy, elegant sweet-savory recipe using tree-ripened peaches (broiled with just a touch of butter and sprinkle of brown sugar and sea salt), soft pungent Gorgonzola and silky sweet honey. It makes for a pretty appetizer or dessert, especially tasty on a summer eve with a glass of wine.
And you know that if this clutzy cook can make this dish – anyone can!
This is Jackson, exhausted after 5 days of food, fun and family in Portland. His mother and I felt the very same way!
Broiled Peaches with Gorgonzola and Honey
2 fresh peaches, cut in half, pitted
1 oz. soft Gorgonzola or blue cheese
2 t. butter
Pinch sea salt
Pinch brown sugar
3 T. honey
Put Oven on Broil.
Place peaches cut side up in a square Pyrex pan. Put 1/2 t. butter in peach pit indention. Sprinkle tops of peaches with tiny pinch of salt and sugar. Broil the peaches about 4 inches from heat source until the tops turn golden brown in spots. Serve each person two peaches, pour any juices in pan over them. Dot the tops of the peaches with soft crumbles of Gorgonzola or blue cheese. Drizzle peaches evenly with honey.
Vegan Option: Substitute Earth Balance for butter and finely chopped cashews for cheese.
Other Options: Try this method with other juicy fruits (apricots, pineapple, plums) and other soft or crumbly cheeses.
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The Title: Broiled Fresh Peaches with Gorgonzola and Honey
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