2nd annual bay area food bloggers picnic
incorporating Bay Area Blogger of the Week, #51
Yesterday saw the day we had all been waiting for finally arrive. My Bay Area Blogger of the Week, #51, Dr Biggles from the carnivorous Meathenge website did an absolutely brilliant job of coordinating the local food bloggers picnic event so that everything went swimmingly and seamlessly. He made it look effortless, but in fact we should all know that it wouldn't have come together if he hadn't taken the reigns and put in all the groundwork. Dr B is the star of the day. I can't thank him enough. Owen, from Tomatillo, deserves just as much praise for allowing over 60 [?] of us to descend upon his home for the afternoon where we ate, drank and made merry food-centric conversation for many hours. He also slow-cooked the delicious pork joint you can see resting in the picture above. Food bloggers sure know how to produce an enviable feast. Here are just a few of things I was able to indulge in...
Cookie Crumb and Cranky from I'm Mad and I Eat win an imaginary prize from me, not only for most striking presentation, but for most innovative food preparation too. They had been experimenting with vodka infusions including coffee-vodka marinated mushrooms. Cookie Crumb told me she had even managed to forage for sea beans in the marshes close to her home in Marin. I am impressed, especially since I actually parted with money for the batch I was experimenting with a few weeks ago. [News just in: Cookie Crumb's own Pickle-explanation post here]. Cookie Crumb's food styling, photographed much better by Penny, reminded me of a current Gourmet magazine cover. Not everyone is a fan of what some describe as Gourmet's somber covers, but I happen to love them. I might even go so far as to say that the current September 2006 issue of Gourmet, is one of the best presented food magazines I have seen to date. The layout inside is heading in a refreshing direction. Check it out.
Another blogger displaying her always keen artistic eye was Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks. Her Golden, Crispy Gnocchi with Summer Shell Beans displayed a complimentary palette of subdued but pretty colours dotted with the purple beans that added a measure of uniqueness to the look of this salad. Heidi's offering looked almost too good to eat, but I didn't let that stop me.
Derrick from Obsession with Food brought along a fantastic homemade pate with pistachios and a garnish of sour cherries. The recipe was adapted from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie book which, since I was lucky enough to have been given a copy for my birthday, I should try my hand at one of these days.
Never one to miss an opportunity to try and save the reputation of English food amongst groups of discerning eaters, I bravely decided to make one large and several small Bakewell tarts. From what I can tell, and judging by the complete lack of leftovers, food bloggers can't think English food is so bad afterall.
Finally, I want to thank everyone, old friends and new, for making it all the way out to Lafayette to take part in the shindig. I am now going to try and list everyone who was there. I tried to circulate enough to meet everyone, but I know I missed a few people (sorry). I hope I don't miss anyone here. please correct me if I do! I am not name-checking all the long-suffering spouses and friends, but I will hasten to add that the event would have only been half as much fun without them.