The value of attending food conferences spans from the educational information to the food and wine experienced, but for me the most valuable and lasting benefit is the people I meet and the friends that I make. My time in Seattle at IFBC-13 was no exception.
This conference was a love fest with people constantly coming up to each other, squealing with delight as they realize this is someone they have only known online and never met in person. Suddenly these virtual friendships bloom as we discover how truly remarkable, bright, witty, creative and fun everyone is!!
IFBC also differs from some of the other conferences because they limit the attendees, intentionally keeping it small and fairly intimate. This year we had just over 320 people, making it possible to find and meet everyone you want to. Scheduled to run over a long weekend, IFBC is an easy fit in our busy calendars and with a special blogger rate of only $95, it was a slam-dunk value! If you are a food blogger or possible sponsor, this is a great event and one I highly recommend. The 2014 conference will be back in Seattle and registration is open!
The friends you meet online are fun and when you know you are going to meet them in person, you wonder what they will really be like. I didn’t get to meet everyone I was looking for, but did manage to hook up with these folks: Marnely Rodriguez-Murray of Cooking with Books, Sarah Kirkconnell of Gazing In, Robin E. H. Ove of What About the Food, Lori Rice MS of Fake Food Free, Shulie Madnick of Food Wanderings, and Jennifer Farley of Savory Simple. Each of these ladies is remarkable, beautiful, and incredibly talented. I am in awe of the accomplishments and honored to call them friends!
There were a number of gluten-free bloggers that helped me when I was first trying to learn how to cook and eat again. Karen Robertson of Cooking Gluten-Free, Dr. Jean Layton of Gluten Free Doctor and Jeanne Sauvage of Gluten-Free Baking are three of my favorites that I can now proudly say I have met in person and consider my friends in life as well as online!
And of course, going to conferences gives us the opportunity to spend time with some of our dear friends who live in other areas of the country. Because IFBC was held in Seattle this year, I was able to see my buddies Kate McDermott of Art of the Pie, Kathy Pollak of Noble Pig Winery, Julie Reinhardt of She-Smoke and Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ, and Judith Dern of All Recipes. All of these ladies are tremendous and you should get to know them if you can. I am blessed to have them in my life!
And now, in honor of my time in Seattle, I’m sharing a recipe for salmon that is one of the best I’ve tasted in a very long time. Cooked gently on the grill, the salmon is tender and moist. The sauce that is poured over it is fresh and a little spicy. It is perfect with grilled seafood, pork, and poultry. It would make a terrific dip for crudités on a buffet or a sandwich spread for a change of pace from mayonnaise.
I know you will love this healthy meal and your family and guests will proclaim you an expert from their first bite to the last!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
You can also cook the salmon on the stovetop and finish it in the oven. Heat a sauté pan over high heat, add a little oil and do a quick sear on both sides. Pop the pan in a hot oven (about 350°F) and cook just until the center is slightly warm. In the tradition of French chefs, you test this by slipping a knife in the middle of the thickest portion, hold it there a second and then test the temp on your bottom lip. If you want to be more accurate, use an instant-read thermometer and remove the salmon when it reaches about 130°F to 135°F. Remove it from the skillet and the residual heat will finish the cooking.
These recipes are naturally gluten-free!
Grilled Salmon with Cilantro-Chile Sauce
© 2013 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Yield: about 4 servings
1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chile, stem and seeds discarded, coarsely chopped
1 Anaheim chile pepper or sweet Italian pepper, stem and seeds discarded, coarsely chopped
1 handful fresh cilantro or Italian parsley, rinsed, patted dry, and leaves shaved off of larger stems
1 garlic clove, peeled, split in half lengthwise and center core discarded
1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup high quality low-fat mayonnaise, such as Hellman’s or Best Foods
Zest of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1/2 lime)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
2 to 2-1/2 lb center cut salmon filet, skin on
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh lemon wedges, for garnish
Make the Chile-Cilantro Sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides and pulse several times to puree any remaining solids. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.
Prepare the Salmon: Heat the grill on High for about 5 minutes or build a medium-hot charcoal fire. Place the salmon skin-side-down on a lightly oiled grill pan or BBQ skillet. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the salmon on the fire and cook until the center in the thickest portion reaches 130°F to 135°F. for medium doneness. Timing will depend on the heat of your fire and the thickness of the fish. If you are using a gas grill, keep it covered while cooking. If using charcoal, make sure the vents are open to feed fire with air.
Remove the salmon from the heat and transfer to a serving platter. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
To Serve: Cut the cooked salmon into individual serving sizes and place on dinner plates. Pour a little of the room-temperature sauce across each piece, garnish with fresh lemon wedges and serve immediately.
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