Friday, May 31, 2013

ten reasons you should go to the food media forum

1. It's at a culinary school. That means access to kitchens! And classrooms! This is the ultimate location for a conference such as this.

2. Ideas In Food. Aki and Alex are a husband and wife duo behind this popular and inspirational blog and the book to go along with it. They are our Keynote presenters who will kick off the weekend! This is a big deal, you guys. They are also doing a workshop (not included in the ticket price) for any of you ambitious cooks/chefs who want to take your skillz to new, innovative heights.

3. My friends rock. When Stef, Stacey, Laura, Kimberly and I started this last year, we did it because we wanted to learn from all the talented people in our community. The same is true for this year, and we are stoked to make it bigger and better. This is truly a labor of love for us, and that alone makes it worthwhile.

4. Photographers. St. Louis has several food publications, and many many talented photographers. For Food Media Forum we have 4 of our favorites teaching photography topics from basic to advanced, and we've added some hands-on this year, too!

5. The food. Being a conference for FOOD writers/bloggers/photographers, we can't just serve up the usual boring conference food. The food has to be good. And it will be! St. Louis Originals is one of our sponsors and the restaurants they are bringing in to feed us at the Keynote party are some of St. Louis' favorite!

6. Never stop learning. You will hear this advice from many a wise person. Don't ignore it! To think that you know everything or know enough will keep you stuck. Open your mind, listen and hopefully learn something. Everyone will walk away knowing more than when they started.

7. New Friends! A bunch of people who want to learn how to express their passion for food, all in the same place. You will surely walk away with some new bonds.

8. St. Louis! I love this city, especially it's food community. If you are from out of town you will have no trouble finding great places to wine and dine. If you are from St. Louis, you might just discover something new about your city! We are so proud to showcase what this region has to offer.

9. Variety. The Food Media Forum is designed to help as many types of food media people as possible. Better writing, better photography, better SEO, feature writing, video... we are offering it all, and the people presenting on the subjects are some of the best in the industry. Check out the schedule and click on the individual classes to learn more.

10. Last Year's was AWESOME. Just read some of the recaps by Stacey, Diane Jacob and myself.

So what are you waiting for? Go get tickets!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

avocado garbanzo jicama chicken salad

Pinterest introduced me to the idea of using avocado as the creamy element for a chicken salad. Hallelujah! I have an aversion to mayonnaise (worst foodie ever, I know), so I'm always excited to find new ingredient-binding possibilities.

Inspired by guacamole, I decided to make the whole chicken salad Mexican-influenced. Instead of celery for crunch, I used Jicama, and I added garbanzo beans, cilantro and cumin to add to the south-of-the-border gusto. I also added a little bit of Créma, a Mexican sour cream, for added tang and richness. If you are going for lower fat or vegan I don't think the salad would suffer without it.

This is my new favorite quick meal, I think. The big drawback is that avocado browns quickly. My salad stayed mostly green overnight, and even when it got a bit brown, it still tasted okay. Anyway, plan to make this for several people, or halve the recipe, as it just doesn't last long.

Avocado Garbanzo Jicama Chicken Salad
-2 ripe avocados
-juice from 1 lime
-1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
-1 small jicama, peeled and cubed
-1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
-1 handful cilantro, chopped
-2 Tablespoons Créma or Sour Cream
-1 teaspoon cumin
-salt and pepper to taste

Mash the avocados with the lime juice until creamy. Fold in the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately in a tortilla (I loved it in a wheat tortilla that I heated up over direct flame for some charred spots!), on bread or on some fresh greens. Garnish with tomatoes, cilantro and fresh lime. And Tapatio hot sauce, duh.

Related posts from the archives:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

sushi balls

The heart of sushi is the rice. Plump little grains dressed with sweet vinegar and formed into a slightly sticky, mouth-sized morsel that, ideally, come undone when they hit your tongue. I say "ideally" because most of us aren't sushi chefs, so we don't possess the skilled touch to form sushi rice perfectly. That shouldn't stop you from making sushi at home, though. Basic sushi at home need not be intimidating, and, in fact, can be lots of fun! Especially when you're making your sushi in ball form! 

One thing that might scare people away from homemade sushi is the fish... quality raw fish is expensive and hard to find. Guess what? You don't need fish for sushi! In fact, the filling opportunities are virtually endless. When sushi chefs are training, they make cucumber rolls over and over (and over and over). For mine I chose some fresh veggies and a couple of pickled items (pickled plums and kim chee), which made for a refreshing summer meal on the cheap.

Here are the things you will definitely need for these sushi balls: Short grain rice, rice wine vinegar seasoned for sushi, Nori (roasted seaweed sheets)... that's it! The rest is up to you and your tastes! 

To make the balls: cook your rice as directed. Let sit for a bit... about 15 minutes. Drizzle some of the sweetened rice vinegar over the cooked rice (like 1/4 cup per 2 cups of rice) and gently, but thoroughly stir to incorporate. Let cool enough that you can handle the rice. Wet your hands, grab about a 2-Tablespoon hunk of rice and gently flatten in your hand. Fill with your choice of fillings (don't overstuff!!) and gently shape the rice around the fillings to make a ball. Don't press to hard, as the rice should be sticky enough to hold together. 

Some options to flavor and decorate the outside of your balls are pointed out above. All these can be found in your favorite Asian grocery store. Other filling ideas include: daikon radish, tofu, crab meat, avocado, green onion, roasted eel, omelet seasoned with soy sauce, roe, various pickles... whatever you like! This would be a fun activity for a family dinner, as these are best eaten within 5 minutes of making them. You can lay out all your fillings and toppings and a bowl of rice and a bowl of water to wet your hands and... have a sushi-riffic ball!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

breakfast balls - peanut butter banana oatmeal & nutella olive oil oatmeal

Two of my favorite breakfast items are peanut butter banana sandwiches and Nutella on toast. Using these as a flavor inspiration, I made 2 different breakfast balls... portable little nuggets of nutrition and yum. The recipes are pretty similar... both have heart-healthy oatmeal and flax meal.

The Nutella ones have olive oil in them for moisture, but this makes them spread a bit so they are less ballish, more cookieish. Both are less sweet than cookies, which is perfect to go with a morning cuppa tea. 2 or 3 of these balls, along with some fresh fruit, make a satisfying start to your day, or a great little afternoon energy snack.

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal balls 
-1 ripe banana
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-2 cups rolled oats
-1 egg
-2 Tablespoons Honey
-1/4 cup flax meal
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mash the banana with a fork, and combine with all the other ingredients. Stir well so everything is evenly distribute. Use your hands to make into 1 Tablespoon-size balls. Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for about 10 minutes.

Nutella Olive Oil Oatmeal Balls Cookies 
-3/4 cup nutella
-2 cups rolled oats
-1 egg
-2 Tablespoons olive oil
-1/4 cup flax meal
-2 Tablespoons brown sugar
-1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine with all the ingredients. Stir well so everything is evenly distributed. Use your hands to make into 1 Tablespoon-size balls. Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for about 10 minutes.

2013: Year of MORE BALLS Posts:

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Lemon Sage Roasted Chick Peas

I've been trying to be gentle to myself this week. Lower stress, no caffeine, less booze, less thinking/planning/fried things. Veggies, fruits, tea, netflix and rest. So when it came to making something for a post this week, I figured I'd let nature take care of the balls. I mean, my favorite legume just so happens to be ball-shaped... the chick pea/garbanzo bean! One of Earth's perfect little balls! Buttery spheres of protein! I've been wanting to jump on the whole roasted chick pea bandwagon for some time now. Seemed simple enough. And it WAS! Barely a recipe, barely a post, just what I needed. A nice, gentle, weeknight snack that's nutritious and ballicious.

Crunchy Roasted Lemon Sage Chick Peas 
-2 cans chick peas, rinsed and well-drained
-7 or fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
-Juice from 1 lemon
-about 1 Tablespoon olive oil
-salt to taste 
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss the chick peas with the rest of the ingredients. Spread on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes, then stir, then bake for another 20 minutes until crunchy. Not all the chick peas will get completely crunchy, which I thought was a fun texture adventure while eating. These were a yummy snack... goof alternative to nuts or potato chips or popcorn (I still love you, popcorn!).

2013: Year of MORE BALLS Posts: