More than three-hundred food bloggers converged in Seattle last week to greet, meet, eat, and, learn. The three-day International Food Bloggers Conference was exhilarating and exhausting……the norm, rising at 5am and hoping for sleep at 11pm. Tick. Tock. Leave a wake-up call.

That’s why this week’s French Friday’s with Dorie recipe choice is perfect. Rice Pudding and Caramel Apples, the ultimate comfort food, is nourishment for my weary soul. As a kid, our comfort pudding was tapioca. Mom’s tapioca pudding was like little clouds floating in a bowl. Yummmm. In France, it’s rice pudding. “Little children grow up on it, adults crave it for comfort, and bistros all across the country serve it year-round,”  Dorie explains.

 

Rice Pudding with Caramel Apples topped with Whipped Cream

Rice Pudding with Caramel Apples topped with Whipped Cream

 

As usual Dorie takes some twists and turns to put her own signature to this special dessert. While the recipe is quite explicit here are some tips. Use Arborio rice. It makes a tastier pudding. When the rice is added to the milk and sugar and brought to a boil, be vigilant. As Dorie cautioned, the milk has a tendency to bubble up exuberantly, spilling over the pan. Readers, this is true. Scalded milk and a radiant cooktop are not friends. My clean-up is still an on-going project. Last, cook the pudding only until most of the milk has been absorbed. If you boil away all the moisture, your pudding will be stiff.

I found this pudding, plain, to be creamy and yummy.  Although adding caramelized apples and whipped cream made for a more festive presentation, it took away its simplistic goodness. Try it and find your own flavorful comfort zone. You’ll find Dorie’s recipe here.

 

It's called Mise en Place and it's important. Gather all your supplies and ingredients before you begin a recipe.

It’s called Mise en Place and it’s important. Gather all your supplies and ingredients before you begin a recipe.

 

Now, back to the conference. I will be writing more as I digest the information overload but I want to share five lightbulb moments:

 1) A keynote speaker sets the tone for any convention and the ever-so-gracious Dorie Greenspan, our FFWD leader, was the perfect choice. She did a superb job of uniting Old Media to New Media in a manner which showed strength in the coupling. Unlike many cautionary business leaders who rely on polls, focus groups and the like, Dorie is a Just Say Yes business woman. I like her inspiring style.

 

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Dorie with me prior to her keynote address.

 

2) oDESK  This  is the virtual worldwide site where you can hire a freelancer.  Need help? Web or Software Development, Networking and Information Systems, Writing & Translation, Administrative Support, Design & Multimedia, Customer Service, Sales & Marketing, or Business Services.  Foodista.com founder Barnaby Dorfman pointed us to this valuable resource during a tech seminar. Who knew?  Unknown

 

3) In a 90-minute session, we were introduced to 19 different speciality, niche or hard-to-find food brands.  My new bff, best food friend, Manuka Doctor from New Zealand, produces an unbelievably delicious 10+bio active honey. Not especially sure what that means but, honey, it has to be good. I used my bag of SahalesMaple Pecans with Walnuts, Cherries & Cinnamon to flavor this acorn squash from my farmer’s market. You can get these products at Amazon.

 

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 4) Love those friends from faraway places who spice up my life. Two years ago my FFWD colleague, Adriana, gave me a virtual tutorial on Sriracha, a popular Thai hot sauce, which seemed to be a staple in everyone’s pantry but mine. Adriana who lives in Puerto Rico and blogs at greatfood360, joined our French Fridays group in Seattle. Her gift to me?  Sriracha Sea Salt. Just livin‘ on the edge.

 

Adriana, who blogs from her home in  Puerto Rico, brought me  Sriracha Sea Salt. The answer is, "I have no idea.....yet."

Adriana, who blogs from her home in Puerto Rico, brought me Sriracha Sea Salt. The answer is, “I have no idea…..yet.”

 

5) When food bloggers get together, it’s all about, well,  food. Oh, yes, we enjoy fine wine and our cocktails but food is our focus. Toques off to Pastry Smart, an impressive company promoting humane, organic and sustainable food production practices, which put it best. “Seventy-nine million members of the Millenial Generation with a strong value system are coming of age in the United States. They are changing business as usual within the food industry.” 

Our food blogs, this new media, primarily written by our younger generations,  are all about being responsible, shaking up the status quo and writing about food with a keener voice. To visit sites of my FFWD colleagues who each have their own unique voice, go here. French Friday’s with Dorie is a group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s amazing “Around My French Table” cookbook.

 

From virtural friendships to the real deal - gathering with  my French Friday colleagues prior to the opening session.

From virtual friendships to the real deal – gathering with my French Friday colleagues prior to the opening session.