I welcomed myself home with a batch of fresh baked cookies after a weekend trip to Seattle and the #IFBC2013. First off I want to say that meeting Dorie Greenspan along with the Doristas (participants in the French Fridays with Dorie -the blogging group cooking their way through Around My French Table for the last 3 years) was the highlight of my weekend adventure in Seattle.
When I started my blog it never occurred to me that through blogging I would meet so many nice and interesting people from all over the world. For sure it never occurred to me that I would be spending several days with many of them in Seattle. We drank, ate, talked, attended the conference, walked, laughed, shopped and bonded together during one long very fun weekend.
I’m not sure which one of us initially came up with the idea, but when word got around that Dorie was giving the keynote speech at the #IFBC there was a small stampede of Doristas reserving spots at this year’s conference in Seattle.
We were honored to have seating reserved for us directly in front of the podium where Dorie delivered her speech. For all of you who were wondering if Dorie talks with her hands -the answer is a resounding Yes! Dorie also gives a compelling keynote address, as in the case of this past weekend where she spoke to a group of food bloggers eager to hear her message. Dorie made an immediate connection with her audience as she shared her experiences working as a professional food writer over the years. It’s very true that as she mentioned many things have changed since she began her career, especially technology. I agree with Dorie’s statement that regardless of the times, what remains constant is the value of hard work and persistence in one’s chosen field. She spoke about the solitary craft of cookbook writing and not knowing if she was connecting with anyone other than her mother until one day a group of bloggers was formed to cook through both her Baking and Around My French Table Cookbooks. I thought about how fortunate we are today with our community of blog readers and the daily interactions with each other that we enjoy. Both the questions from the audience and Dorie’s responses were entertaining, especially about her time working as Julia Child’s assistant -now that’s one claim to fame that not many in this life can make. Dorie’s heartfelt keynote address thrilled all of us in the room and we came away with much appreciated food for thought on both food writing and life.
For my group of very fortunate Doristas (French Friday Followers) the special time we spent together and with Dorie will go down as one of life’s extraordinary weekends. I’m in awe of the community that we have all created and going forward hope to keep our connections strong. How often do you meet a group of people you’ve met online through your blog for the first time and spend the weekend laughing with everyone? I can answer that question…Not enough!
Once again I was inspired by Dorie Greenspan to bake from her Paris Sweets book, several Doristas brought this cookbook with them to the conference for Dorie to sign. I wish I would have though of that! But, I did the next best thing and baked a batch of Punitions using a recipe Dorie shared from Boulangerie Poilâne in Paris. How I love to live vicariously through the recipe collection of such a remarkable woman like Dorie Greenspan who spends months out of her year living in Paris while collecting fabulous Pastry recipes to share with all of us.
I was also inspired by New York Time’s photographer and food stylist Andrew Scrivani who gave two food photography workshops that I attended at the #IFBC. I even painted this board in my lemon verbena shortbread photos green, in honor of that experience. Although, he didn’t mention a word about green boards in either of the workshops-he was still my inspiration-funny how inspiration works. Stay tuned, I will share my thoughts on the photography workshops in my next post.
Punitions -adapted from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan.
- 1 & 1/4 sticks (140 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Slightly rounded 1/2 cup (125 grams) sugar
- 1/4 cup torn lemon verbena leaves
- Zest of 1 lime, 1/4 teaspoon set aside for topping
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
- Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
- Place the sugar, lemon verbena and lime zest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process, scraping down as needed, until the lemon verbena is blended into the sugar.
- Add the butter to the sugar mixture and process, scraping down as necessary until blended and smooth.
- Add the egg and process until blended.
- Add the flour all at once and pulse 12-15 times until the dough forms clumps.
- Remove the dough, divide in half placing on 2 sheets of plastic wrap and press into 2 discs.
- Chill the dough for several hours or freeze until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
- Roll one disc out at a time on a lightly floured surface, until it's about 1/8th inch (4 mm) thick.
- Using a round or scalloped edge 1&1/2 inch (4 cm) cookie cutter cut out as many cookies as you can and place on the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
- The scraps can be gathered together, chilled, rolled out again and baked.
- Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes or until they are set and slightly browned on the bottom.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with coarse sugar and the reserved lime zest while still warm.