I’m going to the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) this month and I can’t tell you how excited I am, especially since it’ll be my first blogging conference. While I’m not planning on making my blog a source of income (not anytime soon) nor do I have a big internet presence, I want to learn a few tricks and make this little space a bit better. More importantly, I want to connect with other bloggers IN REAL LIFE, especially those I’ve gotten to know online over the past year, like Alice from Hip Foodie Mom, Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake, Linda aka The Urban Mrs., Vane of Sweet-Lab and Chung-Ah of Damn Delicious. All of these amazing, talented ladies will be there and it’s going to be out of control in the best possible way. There are also countless of other incredible bloggers who I’ll be meeting for the first time.
I’ve been disgustingly jealous of all the other blogger events that have been held this summer and now I can experience one myself. When I saw that Dorie Greenspan was going to be the keynote speaker, I immediately messaged Alice and strong armed her into going (so that I wouldn’t be alone, of course!). I can go to the washroom by myself without a buddy, thank you very much, but attending a conference with hundreds of attendees without the comfort of a friend? That’s still a bit beyond me.
I adore Dorie – her book Baking From My Home To Yours is my absolute favourite. I’m going to bring it with me on the off chance that I can get an autograph (in other words, I’m going to hunt Dorie down until she signs it. Some call it stalking, I say I’m an adoring, determined fan. It’s flattering, yo!).
I’m heading to IFBC already knowing about Dorie but I was recently introduced to Kathleen Flinn after browsing the IFBC website. Kathleen will be one of the featured speakers, heading a session on writing titled “The Elements of Style.” She’s a Seattle-area writer and chef, whose first book “The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry” chronicled her experiences at Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu and is a New York Times best-seller. Her most recent book is called “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Cuinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks.” I was super intrigued by the description of her book and after visiting her website, CookFearless.com, I knew that I had to read it. I ordered it from Amazon and soon, it was in my hot greedy hands. I devoured that book in a matter of days.
Listen, I am in no way affiliated with Kathleen Flinn or her book. I’m not being paid to talk about it (I wish!). Nor do I expect anything from this post. I just wanted to share how much I enjoyed reading her book. She writes in a very easygoing, natural manner. It’s as if you’re listening to a fabulous, smart, thoughtful girlfriend telling not only a fascinating story but educating you as well, in a way that’s not offensive or judgmental. What I really loved was how she provided important information in an entertaining manner. For example, did you know that the US throws away 40% of the food produced for consumption per year, with a large percentage of it being thrown away in people’s homes where it ends up in landfills emitting clouds of methane, a greenhouse gas more toxic and damaging than carbon monoxide?! It’s appalling! That’s why Kathleen and the chefs featured in her book recommend not buying in bulk and only buying enough for a few meals. When your produce looks less than fresh, throw it all together into a dish that utilizes it, like soup or salad. Waste not, want not, save money and take care of the environment.
I was totally captivated by how Kathleen worked up the nerve to walk up to a stranger in the supermarket to help her make wiser food choices. It led her to create a class to teach nine women of all ages, races and economic statuses how to really cook. It’s an inspiring read and shows that with a little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of enthusiasm, you can change the way one eats and lives. Food is such an intimate part of our lives. People judge each other on the choices we make in this arena and when a way of eating and cooking is so deeply engrained, it’s super difficult to make a lasting genuine change.
I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to meet Kathleen at IFBC. Hopefully I run into her (which should be easy to do since I’ll be, y’know, following her) and she can sign my book.
I’m sharing with you my last summery recipe (I know, there’s absolutely no connection between my recipe and my post today. C’est la vie!). Ever since discovering the magical two-ingredient, no-machine method of making ice cream, I’ve made it four times with different flavour combinations. I present to you: caramel swirl chocolate ice cream (with rum. Because I’m a freaking lush).
Caramel Swirl Chocolate Ice Cream
2 1/2 cups cold whipping cream
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup caramel
rum (optional – and however much you want if you use it)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped fine
Combine whipping cream, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Whip together until medium peaks form. Add in the chopped chocolate and gently fold it in until evenly distributed.
You can use your favourite caramel recipe or store-bought caramel like I did. If using rum, pour it into the caramel and mix together until fully combined.
Add half of your ice cream mixture into your freezer-safe container. Drizzle half of the caramel over top and using a knife, swirl it through the ice cream. Pour the other half of the ice cream mixture over top and drizzle the remaining caramel over top. Again, use a knife to swirl it through the ice cream.
Place in the freezer for at least 6 hours until firm. Remove from the freezer for about 10 minutes so that it softens enough to scoop.
I used insanely dark chocolate (99% baby) which I felt countered the sweetness from the ice cream and caramel perfectly. And people, I cannot stress enough how good the rum tasted with the caramel.
I can’t believe it’s already September and summer’s over. You won’t judge if I continue making ice cream through the fall and winter, right?