Monday, November 17, 2014

Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup - Ninja Blender Auto iQ Review

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What I had

I've been using a NutriBullet by Magic Bullet for about a year. Unfortunately, for the last 3 or 4 months the noise it produces is so loud it hurts my ears. Additionally, the underneath of the blade mechanism is full of rust. Too bad really as I was fairly happy with its performance. Knowing I had to replace it, I started doing some research. Sure, I'd love a Vitamix but I just couldn't justify the price and it would be too big to sit out on my counter for easy access to morning smoothies. The Nutriblender has a 900 watt model out but I wasn't convinced as I have read mixed reviews about its performance. My other option was a Nutri Ninja.

Fate

That's when fate intervened! As regular readers know, I attended IFBC in Seattle this past September. One of the sponsors was Nutri Kitchen. They sponsored one of the lunch sessions so I was able to learn about their products, including their new Auto iQ line. The new line has preset configurations for time and pulsing so you don't have to stop, take off the jar or blender and stir, shake or otherwise get annoyed!

I left the conference armed with information and recipe ideas and thought I'd make my final decision within a couple of weeks. Then I received an email from Ninja asking if I'd like to review the Ninja Blender DUO with Auto-iQ! Heck ya! So they sent me the 1300 Watt system to test drive!

Nutri Blender with Auto iQ

This system comes with the blender, iQ base with 5 programmed settings, two Nutri Ninja cups, crushing blades, extractor blades, recipe inspiration guide.

Testing

A) Set up was quick and easy. Before long we had our green goddess smoothie ready for blending. Simply pressing the NutriNinja "ultra blend" button starts the process. It pulses a couple of times to get things going and then blends until perfectly smooth - a total of 60 seconds. There is even a count down timer so you know exactly how long until it's done! The smoothie was, well, smooth - I would say it is smoother than my old nutriblender (though that was 600 watts vs 1300 watts for the Ninja). The cups with lids make smoothie making easy and convenient. This model comes with two large cups. A smaller cup would be great - especially when making smoothies for the kids.  If this is important to you, other models come with an extra smaller cup.

B) To test the blender, we threw in a bunch of ice and crushed it - it came out just like snow! In fact, there may have been a snowball or two made! All we and to do was press "frozen drinks" button  - 70 seconds was all we needed to have perfect crushed ice.

C) With the cold fall weather rolling in, we have lots of soup bubbling in our kitchen. We decided to make a roasted carrot and fennel soup using the blender attachment. It did a great job - very silky smooth, very easy, and clean up was a breeze. I loved that the large capacity blender held everything in one go. I ran it a few times on the puree mode. Once pureed, I placed the soup in individual serving containers and froze them.

Overall Impression

So far I love the Ninja Blender DUO with Auto-iQ! It's simple to set up, simple to use and simple to clean up. I do appreciate that the containers and blades are dishwasher safe and bpa free. However, it's not whisper quiet - in fact it's loud but quite a bit quieter than my NutriBullet. Overall, I recommend it to anyone in the market for this kind of appliance. You will use it to make delicious smoothies, silky soups, slushy margaritas and many other fantastic creations!

Below you'll find the recipe for our roasted carrot soup!

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Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup
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Roasted veggies go into blender.

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It holds quite a bit!

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Don't forget the orange!

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Blending!


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Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup

Ingredients

1 lb carrots
2 medium bulbs of fennel
1 head garlic, separated into cloves but do not peel cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 inch piece of ginger
1 orange, peeled
1 litre vegetable broth
salt/pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut carrots in half length wise and quarter if thick.
  3. Cut fennel into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  4. Place carrots, fennel, and garlic (leave skin on) on one or two baking sheets.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over veggies and garlic and mix a little with your hands to make sure oil covers.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for approximately 30 minutes, turning vegetables once half way through. Roast untilsoft and slightly carmelized.
  8. Julienne or grate ginger.
  9. Place carrots, fennel, orange and ginger in blender.
  10. Squish garlic out of skins and into blender.
  11. Add vegetable broth.
  12. Blend on puree setting.
  13. Do it again if you want it ultra silky.
  14. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  15. You can place in in sauce pan and heat or place in containers without heating and freeze or refrigerate for future use.
PS - even though I was sent this system, my opinions, as always, are my own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites and Cook Book Review - Dessert Mashups


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Do you have an intense sweet tooth? Or perhaps you're looking for a Christmas gift for someone who has one? Then you should buy a copy of Dessert Mash-ups by Dorothy Kern who blogs at Crazy for Crust. It puts together wonderful two in one combos or mashups of sweet treats!

When my daughter saw the book on our dining room table, her eyes almost jumped out of her head and she immediately picked it up and started earmarking the recipes she thought we should try (pretty much all of them!).
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There are 52 recipes to try in the book. Recipes include mashups like lemon bar cheesecake, white chocolate coconut pie fudge and pecan pie cinnamon rolls! Many of these recipes would be great for the upcoming Holiday season, cookie swaps and school events.


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Tonight we tried the peanut butter brownie bites. Mmmm - chocolate, peanut butter, brownie all in one mashup! It was a hit. Decadent, rich, worth every minute in the gym you'll need to work it off because you won't be able to stop at one! The peanut butter mixture was my favorite - sweet but not overly so and the brownies were fudgier than a Judy Blume book.

I was given permission by Ulysses Press to share this recipe with you. If you don't have the patience to dip the bites in the chocolate, just drizzle some on top. I had to use an 8 x 8 pan so the brownies were thicker and cooking time was 23 minutes. Note: My 10 year old did most of this by herself so it's a great recipe to make with the kids.
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Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites

Yield 32 bites
Prep Time 1 hour
Bake Time 18 to 25 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour, plus cooling time

If I had to choose only one flavor combination to eat for the rest of my life, it would be peanut butter and chocolate. These bites are what happens when a peanut butter cup and a brownie get married and have babies: A layer of brownie is topped with a soft peanut butter mixture and then the whole thing takes a bath in chocolate. These are too easy to eat, so be sure to wrap some in a pretty box and give them to your neighbors . . . if you have the strength to share them!

Brownies
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee (or water)
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

Peanut Butter Mixture
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1⁄3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 to 24 ounces melting chocolate or semisweet baking chocolate
Sprinkles (optional)

Make the Brownies

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray or line with foil and spray with cooking spray for easy cleanup.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, and cocoa. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, coffee (the coffee just adds a richness to the brownies, but you can use water if you prefer), and salt. Carefully stir in the flour. Spread in the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted about 2 inches from the edge of the pan comes out with only crumbs sticking to it. Let cool completely in pan before continuing. You can chill them to speed up this process.

Make the Peanut Butter Mixture

1. Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) until crumbly. Add the vanilla, then continue to mix until the mixture is smooth and almost comes together. Press it together with your hands to form a smooth ball.

2. Place the peanut butter ball on a sheet of waxed paper. Press or roll it into a square that’s about the size of your brownie pan. Place the peanut butter square on top of the brownies and press to adhere it. Press and adjust the edges so that it completely covers the brownies in the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

3. When you’re ready to dip the brownies, melt half of the candy according to the package directions and line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Remove the brownies from the pan and carefully discard the foil. Set the brownies on a cutting board and cut the square in half. Place one half back in the refrigerator until finished with the first half.

4. Cut the half sheet of brownies into 32 squares (4 rows by 8 columns). Dip each square carefully into the chocolate (see Candy Dipping Tips, page 30), tap off any excess, and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining brownies, melting additional chocolate as needed.

5. Refrigerate until set. If desired, place any remaining chocolate in a plastic baggie or small squirt bottle and drizzle chocolate on top of the truffles. You can also cover them with sprinkles or leave them plain. These can be kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator in an airtight container, or can be frozen. The truffles will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Tip: Use white candy coating for a fun new twist!

PS this is how it looks in the book...even more yummy!

Photo from Dessert MashUps (used with permission from publisher).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cookbook Review - Anupy Singla's Indian for Everyone




We loved this North Indian Chicken  Curry!
As you can see we added brown rice, broccoli and salad of onion, tomato and cucumber.

Indian for Everyone!

Do you love going out for Indian food? Would you love to make it at home but are intimidated by the thought of it? Then you should purchase a copy of Anupy Singla's new cookbook out called Indian for Everyone: The Homecook's Guide to Traditional Favorites. 

It's aimed at people just like you, who love cooking, love Indian food and flavors but are not sure where to start when it comes to making it at home. Like her previous books, it is full of easy to follow recipes but even more importantly pages are filled with easy to read information about Indian spices, friendly descriptions of her own experiences and her family's thoughts about her dishes.


If you live in a big city or have a large Indian community, like Vancouver, you will have no problem finding all of the spices you need for these recipes but I think readers in smaller cities and towns may have a harder time finding them. The search is worth it though. I will soon be making my own big batches of garam masala and other spices blends Anupy shares with us in her book.

Want to meet Anupy?


If you are lucky enough to live in or near Vancouver on November 16th you can meet Anupy as she discusses her new book and demonstrates one of her new recipes from Indian for Everyone at Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks. You will even receive an autographed copy of the book (which would make a fantastic Christmas present!).

Trying the Recipes


The kids and I spent a fun morning shopping for the ingredients we needed to make North Indian Chicken Curry - a thick and earthy yogurt based curry dish. The kids loved learning about the spices, smelling them and creating this dish with me. It was also easy - make the marinade, throw in the chicken the night before and the rest comes together in little time or fuss at dinner time..

I have to say that I've tried three recipes so far and all are quite spicy (and I love spicy)! We now cut out any serrano peppers that are listed and often cut the powdered chilis to just a 1/2 tsp or less....this way the kids will enjoy these great recipes and your guests won't be sweating by the end of the meal!

North Indian Chicken Curry

Tools: You’ll need a food processor; a large and a small mixing bowl; a whisk; a fork; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan with a lid; tongs; and a large plate.
Yield: 8–10 servings

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
1 (4-inch / 10-cm) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups / 470 mL plain, unsweetened yogurt (whole, lowfat, or nonfat)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon plus
1 pinch salt, divided
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons roasted cumin, ground
1/3 cup / 10 g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor
4 pounds / 1.81 g skinless whole bone-in chicken, cut into 8–10 pieces (including cutting each breast in ½), or 2 pounds / 910 g boneless chicken
6 tablespoons / 90 mL ghee or vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 (3-inch / 8-cm) sticks cinnamon
5 whole cloves
5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 black cardamom pods
1 large yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
3 large tomatoes, diced
2–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan for serving


Directions:


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the chopped onion, the ginger, and the garlic into a smooth paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the yogurt, the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the salt, the turmeric, the Garam Masala, the red chile powder, the coriander, the cumin, and the kasoori methi. Whisk until well blended. Kasoori methi can be found in Indian grocery stores. Omit if you cannot find it. Do not use fresh leaves or fenugreek seeds, as they will alter the taste.
  2. Prepare the chicken by poking holes in it with a fork to help it absorb the yogurt marinade. Carefully add the pieces of chicken to the large mixing bowl and gently stir until all the pieces are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm 3 tablespoons / 45 mL of the ghee. Using tongs, carefully transfer the pieces of chicken to the sauté pan, reserving the marinade for later use. Cook, turning once to ensure even cooking, for a total of 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, and transfer the remaining liquid in the pan to a small mixing bowl for later use.
  4. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat and warm the remaining 3 tablespoons / 45 mL of ghee. Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and green and black cardamom and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sliced onion and the remaining pinch of salt and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the pan to prevent burning, for 3 minutes, until the onion is slightly browned.
  5. Add the tomatoes to the sauté pan and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally (breaking down the tomatoes with the back of the spoon), for 11 minutes, until they are fairly smooth. Add the reserved marinade and cooking liquid from Step 3 and the fresh chiles to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium–low and slowly, carefully return the chicken to the sauté pan. Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking, for 35 to 40 minutes (20 minutes if using boneless chicken), until the chicken is cooked through. Be sure not to overcook the chicken. Remove from the heat.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with the brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan.

Reprinted with permission from Indian for Everyone by Anupy Singla, Agate Surrey, October 2014.

Please note: I received a review copy of this book but opinions, as always, are my own.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blueberry Ricotta Muffins Recipe




On cold, rainy Vancouver days like today, the long, hot sunny days of summer seem far way indeed. Thankfully, during the summer we froze at least 5 lbs of plump, succulent local blueberries! They are perfect in recipes like this one for blueberry ricotta muffins. Maybe summer isn't that far away afterall.

Ingredients 

2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
2 eggs, large
1/3 c honey
1/3 c milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c ricotta
1 tbsp lemon or orange zest
1-1/2 c blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Instructions


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray or grease 12 muffin tins.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom.
  4. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, milk, zest and vanilla.
  5. Stir ricotta into the egg mixture.
  6. Gently fold in the berries.
  7. Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
  8. Gently, combine until just mixed.
  9. Divide equally among 12 muffin tins.
  10. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Place on wire rack.Remove muffins after pan has cooled for 10 minutes.




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Smoky Three Bean Beef Chili

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Fall is here. This weekend we're in Whistler, BC. My favorite seasons to visit Whistler are summer and fall. Obviously, I'm not a skiier - I took a few snow boarding lessons but they weren't money well spent! I'll stick to running. Anyways, Whistler in fall is beautiful - a full palate of colours are awaiting outside my door. Walking through and around the village is always time well spent.

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Whistler, BC. Snow will be here soon.
With fall comes cooler temperatures and cravings of warmer comfort foods. Chili, like this three bean beef chili, is perfect for cool days, and even cooler evenings. Add some warm, fresh bread and you've got a perfect meal to enjoy the colors of fall as the sun sets over the mountain.

Ingredients

1.5 lb ground beef
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz) white cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 large onion
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp chipotle powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups tomato puree or beef broth
2 cups shredded cheese to garnish
green onions to garnish

Instructions

  1. Over medium high heat, brown beef in large, heavy bottom pot.
  2. Remove beef to a bowl and leave fat in pan. Add onions.
  3. Saute for 3 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Add tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes.
  6. Add beef and stir. 
  7. Add sauce and puree or stock.
  8. Add all beans.
  9. Add chipotle, cumin, liquid smoke, paprika.
  10. Stir and simmer for at 1 hour over medium low heat.
  11. Serve with cheese, and green onions if desired.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Favorite Finds at IFBC 2014

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Some of the swag and goodies received at IFBC 2014!

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Cosmos Creations

Cosmos Creations - these little puffs of corn goodness come in a variety of flavours including:

  • Aged Cheddar and Cracked Pepper
  • Coconut Crunch
  • Sea Salt Vinegar
  • Sea Salt Butter
  • Salted Caramel
  • Cinnamon Crunch
  • Caramel

Cosmos Creations are made from non-GMO corn and are gluten free. Even better? They taste great. My favorites are:

  1. Coconut Crunch - I eat this one to satisfy my coconut cream pie craving without the fat and calories 
  2. Aged Cheddar and Cracked Pepper - it has a sharp cheese flavour and the cracked pepper comes through at the end - if you like savory treats you'll like this!

Their newest flavour is Spicy Sriracha, and yes, it really is spicy. My husband loved the "lingering heat" of this flavour.
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Kukurazu Popcorn

Kukurazu popcorn - this is seriously the most amazing popcorn I have ever eaten. EVER. Owned by a local Seattle family, their goal is to "be the world's best gourmet popcorn company by providing our customers with the most delicious and unique gourmet popcorn varieties." Trust me. They are surpassing their goal.

Kukurazu has 25 flavours to choose from - sadly I've only had the pleasure of enjoying three -

  1. Seattle Style - caramel popcorn dusted with finely ground Seattle espresso. Decadent and Caffeinated! My favorite.
  2. Truffle Formage Porcini - truffle salt, truffle oil and white cheddar combine to make the most sophisticated popcorn you'll ever have the pleasure of putting on your tongue!
  3. Tuxedo - caramel popcorn drizzled with dark and white chocolate - 'nough said.

Next on my wish list are pumpkin spice pecan and maple bacon!

Tcho Chocolate

tcho - on our amazing Kitchen Aid/Sur la Table excursion we were gifted with two bags of amazing gifts. Swag included were three bags of tcho chocolate discs, cocoa nibs and cocoa powder. So far we have only opened the milk chocolate discs. I had grand ideas of baking up a batch of chocolate chunk cookies with them but have to admit that the bag is almost gone and no cookies have been made. These little discs are so smooth and rich that you will have an inner dilemma of wanting to letting them linger on your tongue and chewing them quickly so you can get to the next one!
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Aneto Broths

Aneto broth - this was my most mind blowing find at IFBC2014! We all know that homemade broth is vastly superior than what we, as North Americans, can buy at our local chain grocery store. I try to make stock whenever I can and freeze it so it's there whenever I need it. But there are always a few times a year when I open the freezer door only to find I'm out. I run to the store and purchase whatever is there. Not once have I bought something I thought was good.

IFBC gave me hope when I found Aneto broths in the gift suite. Aneto is based in Spain and have been creating their broths since 2002. At IFBC they also gave every blogger an apron with their blog name embroidered on it! Amazing.


I brought the broths home - chicken and one for paella. Yes, paella. I've never made paella and probably won't any time soon so I had to figure out another way to use it. I had an aha moment when pot pies jumped into my head. I decided to make chicken with the chicken stock and beef pies with the paella stock. (I was also able to put my new KitchenAid Food Processor Attachment to use - the 8mm dice was perfect for all the veggies in the pies - parsnips, celery, carrots, onions, leeks, potatoes etc).

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I'll be blogging the recipes soon but let me tell you the broths - especially the paella broth absolutely elevated the pot pies! There is not only layers to the flavors of the broth there is actual FLAVOUR!

If you have a chance to buy these broths please do, you won't be disappointed!

Olives to Go

Pearls Olives to Go - I love olives but often often get a craving, eat a bunch and then don't get a craving for another few months. That sometimes means I have olives that go bad when I buy too many. Olives to go solve this problem. They offer olives in individual serving containers that are perfect for an afternoon snack or as part of a tapas like lunch (think cheese, crackers, olives etc). Sold in 4-packs, the olives have no messy liquid (great for klutzy types like me).

They come in three varieties:

  1. kalamata
  2. sliced black
  3. stuffed pimento spanish green
All varieties are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan, GMO-free, cholesterol-free, and trans fat- free!


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KitchenAid and Sur la Table hosted the most amazing excursion at IFBC 2014.
Note: In order to receive the discounted active blogger rate at IFBC2014, all participating bloggers were required to write three posts about their experience at the conference. This is post #3.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

IFBC 2014 - Fun Facts!



International Food Blogger Conference 2014 Seattle

Seattle - the land of coffee, great restaurants, Pike Place Market and the International Food Blogger Conference. I spent the weekend soaking up all IFBC2014 had to offer.

What exactly did they offer you ask? Well, let me tell you:
·        A chance to meet other fabulous food bloggers,
·        Exposure to new products and companies
·        Attend educational, informative and often once in lifetime sessions with renowned authors, CEOs, photographers, writers, chefs and industry experts
·        Delicious food
·        Exploration of a vibrant, friendly city
·        Swag – and lots of it.

Today, I’m going to share a few things I learned from my favorite sessions. And trust me it’s just a few tidbits from three of many sessions – I have a notebook full of scribbles from each one!

Photography with Todd Coleman

Todd is Creative Director of Tasting Table. He offered great photography tips that I am hoping to incorporate into my photography.  A few of his tips include:



  • Color trumps all – don’t be afraid to go bold with colors
  • Think beyond the table top – food can go anywhere
  • You don’t need super expensive equipment to take great photos – a speed light and some foil for reflecting is often all the tools you need
  • Uneven surfaces make photos interesting
  • Pushed perspective – get in close to your subject. A wide angle lens moved in close can make interesting photos
  • Line things up like soldiers – symmetry is pleasing to the eye –so the next time you are photographing cookies, or shrimp line ‘em up!
  • Make friends with shadows because they can make photos interesting! Find the light within shadows so everything is in balance.

  • “Do something unexpected.” – Todd Coleman

    Cooking demo with Theirry Rautureau aka The Chef in the Hat

    I hadn’t heard of Chef Theirry before IFBC but this Frenchman in Seattle has a long history in the Emerald city. I hear he is much like Chef Vij in Vancouver in that he loves to mingle with his restaurant guests and will even sit down for a story or two.

    At his IFBC cooking demonstration he showed us a simple tomato soup that could be served warm or cold. As he cooked he shared some great tidbits and his endearing humour. Here are a few of the things I took away with me:
    • If you have olive oil but don’t use it all the time, you should refrigerate it so it doesn’t go rancid.
    • You can pickle almost anything! He suggested pickling celery sticks! Just remember the magic ratio 3:2:1.  3 parts vinegar; 2 parts water; 1 part sugar – bring the mixture to a boil and then cool it. Once cooled, poor it over celery sticks, radishes, beets, and almost any root veggies is up for grabs! You can also add a cinnamon stick or other spice if you like. Chef Theirry said you can even pickle apples and rhubarb!
    • To dress a salad with your favorite dressing pour it on the sides of a high bowl and THEN add your lettuce and toppings. Gently mix your greens. Your dressing will be evenly dressed!

    Know your Beef, Know your Butchery: Cut Education Session

    I think I learned the most at this fact filled sessions put on by Beef Checkoff. Here are just a few tidbits.


  • There are three grades of beef in the US: Prime, Choice, Select
  • Marbling  is intramuscular fat i.e. fat within the muscle tissue.  It is also called “taste fat”.
  • Prime cuts have the most “taste fat”
  • Marbling is very important because it affects:

    • Tenderness
    • Juiciness
    • Taste/flavor
    • Marbling also acts as a bit of insurance when it comes to overcooking! If it has a high marbling percentage it will still taste great even if you over cook it a bit


  • Why are beef prices rising in the US?

    • smallest herd since the 1950s because of drought
    • things are starting to rebound but takes time
    • Want to save money? Go for less tender cuts like chuck, brisket, loin. These cuts are close to the animals limbs which means they are subject to lots of motion and thus less connective tissue. This makes them less tender. But that doesn't mean they can’t make great meals! You just have to know how to coax out their best flavour and taste. So when you cook these cuts think braising, long and slow cooking, adding moisture.
    • All beef starts on grass but are finished for their last 100-200 days on either grass or grain (which also includes some grass)
    •  Only 2-3% of the US herd is bred for sale as prime beef.


    My next post IFBC2014 will be about my favorite session: The Sur la Table/Kitchen Aid excursion  and my favorite food finds from the conference!

    Note: In order to receive the discounted active blogger rate at IFBC2014, all participating bloggers were required to write three posts about their experience at the conference. This is post #2.