Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Foodportunity a Delicious Success

November 5, 2009

Monday evening my family and I attend Foodportunity in Seattle at the Palace Ballroom.  We had sooo much fun as we sampled, schmoozed and snapped our way around the ballroom!  And now I have sooo much to blog about!  

Of course I started with the spirits.  Here’s Mark Newton of DiStefano:

I tasted Domenica, a Bordeaux style Merlot-Cab blend.  I’m not usually one for strong reds, but this well-balanced red wasn’t overly tannic (as Washington wines usually are) and it’s full-bodied taste was matched by an alcohol content that didn’t pull its punches either.

Next was the highlight of the event, for me, anyway.  Cupcakes from Wink!

This red velvet with cream cheese was the. best. cupcake. i’ve. ever. had.

Did I mention Tom Douglas was there?  It is his palace, after all:

My son and husband’s favorite food of the night was Farro Fries with Duck Egg Aioli at the Bluebird Grain Farms and Emmer and Rye booth.  Farro, also known as emmer, is a type of wheat mainly grown in mountainous areas.  It was prepared polenta style and then toasted on the grill.  I have some emmer to try and some notes on this preparation, so I’ll let you all know how it turns out when I try it myself. 

Beecher’s Cheese also had a really interesting dish they were serving.  It was hominy and poblano smothered in their flagship cheese sauce.  I found the recipe for flagship cheese sauce  and their signature mac ‘n cheese on the Seattle PI website.  The texture of the hominy was very similar to potatoes, so I didn’t believe it at first and had to go back for seconds.  : )

Foodportunity had such a diversity of people from the food industry.  There were food photographers and videographers, restaurant owners, grocers, farmers, makers of food products and accesories and bloggers.  I even got to meet Robin Leventhal from this season of Top Chef!  I have some crackers from Fieri (same makers as Croccantini) I’ll be reviewing soon as well as restaurants and spirits to try out.  If you’re really into food and didn’t make this event, I highly suggest you mark your calendar for the next Foodportunity!

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Time for Lunch

September 17, 2009

Do you remember school lunch?  I do.  Limp, green hot dogs.  Napoleon Dynamite-worthy tater tots.  It was not a pretty sight.

For many children in the United States, though, this meal provided through the National School Lunch Program is their only guaranteed meal of the day.  Schools struggle to provide balanced meals on $2.68 per student, relying on surplus agricultural stock and USDA “entitlement” foods (Source: USDA Fact Sheet).  To make matters worse, children avoid this lunch by purchasing sodas and junk through vending machines and in-house fast food joints.

Wouldn’t it be great if the food the children received in this program constituted a healthy and tasty meal full of fruits and vegetables and quality meats?  Well, there is a campaign right now to do just that and you can voice your opinion to make it happen.  Simply take a few minutes to read the Time for Lunch Platform (pdf).  Then take 30 more seconds to sign the petition for real food in schools.

The White House Garden Video

September 12, 2009

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s footage of the White House garden and First Lady Michelle Obama on teaching the next generation the importance of fresh, home-made family meals.  Chef Sam Kass discusses some of the history behind the White House garden.  I don’t care if it is propaganda, I enjoyed it and am glad to see this message coming out of the White House.
http://www.youtube.com/v/aVpEr3kfWjc&hl=en&fs=1&

BBS now on Flickr

September 5, 2009

Shun Ken Onion

I just set up a Photostream on Flickr for Building Blocks Show.  If you enjoy food porn I encourage you to come check it out.

Unlike the content created for the website and blog which is copyrighted, I have handpicked these photos to be used under the creative commons license as attribution and non-derivative works. This means we encourage you to use our photos in their original form, but please give us credit and link back to our homepage or blog. Find out more about this type of license on Creative Commons.

Alton Brown is Coming to Town!

September 1, 2009

Hubby earned big points today when he sent me this link to Gizmodo.  Wilson Rothman reported that Alton Brown is coming to Seattle October 16th for his Good Eats:  The Early Years book tour.  I can’t wait!  What is it about Alton Brown that I love so much?  Let me enumerate it for you:

  1. Every recipe I’ve made of his has been genius:  Red Snapper en Papillote, biscuits, cookies, eggs and on and on and on…  They are easy to read, detailed, well-researched and full of heart.  ❤
  2. He speaks to me. Okay, I’m not hearing voices, but I’m a math/science geek and he tells me everything I need to know about the how and why of the science behind cooking in words I can relate to.
  3. He knows his stuff.  From cleaning mushroom to cleaning the kitchen, Alton Brown doesn’t just repeat what is generally accepted to be true.  He does his own research and reports to the viewers.
  4. He has a quirky and fun TV personality that always makes me smile.  (I like cheese.)
  5. He is a savvy business man and is so hot when he’s serious and laying into noobs on The Next Food Network Star.

Rothman also has a fun interview:  Alton Brown: Kitchen Gadget Judgment Calls – Yea or Nay?

Here’s the list of of book tour dates from Alton Brown’s official site:

Good Eats: The Early Years Book Tour

Friday, October 9
NYC
Barnes & Noble – Union Square
7PM
Saturday, October 10
NYC
Food & Wine Festival
12:30PM
Sunday, October 11
NYC
Food & Wine Festival
12PM
Tuesday, October 13
Boston
Brookline Booksmith at Coolidge Corner Theatre
6PM
Wednesday, October 14
Arlington VA
Sur La Table – Pentagon Row
12PM
Wednesday, October 14
Washington DC
Smithsonian (not sure which, check altonbrown.com later for verification)
5PM
Thursday, October 15
Chicago
Borders – N. Michigan Ave
7PM
Friday, October 16
Seattle
Third Place Books – Lake Forest Park, WA
7PM
Saturday, October 17
San Diego
Costco – Fenton Pkwy
1PM
Sunday, October 18
Austin
Location TBD
12PM
Saturday, December 5
Norcross GA
“Lunchtime”
BJ’s Wholesale Club – Norcross

I hope to see some of you at the Seattle signing.  Leave me a comment if you’re planning to go.  Maybe we can do a foodie meet up.

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Support Building Blocks Show and purchase an Alton Brown book from our Amazon store:

The latest:
Good Eats: The Early Years

My favorite:

I’m Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking

Other greats:

I’m Just Here for the Food: Version 2.0

Alton Brown’s Gear For Your Kitchen

I’m Just Here for the Food: Kitchen User’s Manual

I’m Just Here for the Food: Cook’s Notes

Skagit River Ranch Farm Day August 30th!

August 10, 2009

chickens

I just got my tickets for the Skagit River Ranch Farm Day and am very excited.  Even though Skagit River sells at my local farmer’s market, I love taking the drive up to Sedro-Woolley a few times a year to chat with farmers George and Eiko, see how my meat is grown and see the fluffy little chickies.

This first annual farm day will have everything I could ask for: sustainability panels, prestigious guest chefs, farm tours, a petting zoo and of course, lots of grass fed burgers and sausages.

steer

Malissa’s daughter trying to coerce the horses at the ranch to eat out of her hand:

Audrey at SRR

Here are bios of the guest chefs:

Maria Hines:  Executive Chef and Owner of Tilth restaurant in Seattle, which serves organic cuisine in the New American style.  Among numerous other accolades, she was winner of the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest.  Let’s just say, I’m calling as soon as they open tomorrow to make reservations!  In an interview for Savory Cities Blog, Chef Hines was asked what the best piece of cooking advice she’s ever received was.  What was her answer?  “Take accountability.”

Greg Atkinson:  cookbook author specializing in Northwest cuisine.  Chef Atkinson is a local leader in the slow food movement and won the James Beard Foundation’s M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award in 2000.

Here are a list of Atkinson’s books (Disclaimer:  Links to Amazon.  If you purchase these books from these links BBS gets a percentage from Amazon):

In Season: Culinary Adventures of a San Juan Island Chef
The Northwest Essentials Cookbook: Cooking With the Ingredients That Define a Regional Cuisine
Entertaining in the Northwest Style: A Menu Cookbook
West Coast Cooking
Recipes from the San Juan Islands

Craig Hetherington:  Executive Chef for TASTE Restaurant at the Seattle Art Museum where sustainability is an integral part of their philosophy.  Check out a quote from Chef Hetherington:

“Our local cuisine is the cornerstone of everything we do. If someone in the kitchen comes up with a great idea for a dish, we first see if we can get the ingredients locally. If we can’t get them, or we’re unable to adapt the dish using local ingredients, we don’t make it. It’s as simple as that.”

I’m looking forward to seeing these chefs square off in the perfect burger cook-off and hope to see you all there too.

Updated 8/22/2009 with chicken and steer pictures courtesy of Eiko Vojkovich, Skagit River Ranch.

Building Blocks Show in Food Blog Search

July 30, 2009

Have you heard of Food Blog Search?  It’s a search engine just for scratch cooking recipes and food inspiration.   And now Building Blocks Show is included in the over two thousand searchable blogs!

The site uses Google Custom Search Engine technology and every blog is approved by the superstar team of Elise Bauer, Kalyn Denny, and Alanna Kellogg to make sure all included blogs are truly foodie.  I recently had the honor of meeting Elise and Kalyn at BlogHer and it was great to be around women with such passion for food and blogging (more on BlogHer later).

NPR reports on Mache

July 28, 2009

I was just doing a web search for my new favorite lettuce leafy green, mache, and saw that NPR did an article about it on August 5, 2003.  Go here to listen to the short podcast.

Building Blocks Show is Small and Special!

July 2, 2009

I had the opportunity to go to the Small and Special business conference on Tuesday in the Georgetown Ballroom of Seattle.  Hillel, one of my husband’s old co-workers who now runs Jackson Fish Market (software co.), put the event on, along with his business partners.  It was a great opportunity to get to hear from some successful small business owners and see what other passion projects people are working on in the Seattle area.  Thanks to everyone there for being cool that 8 month old Rodger came along.  Still breastfeeding.  : ) 

The two speakers I was most interested to hear from were Jon Rimmerman and Rachel Venning.  Jon runs Garagiste, a wine retailer and I’m pretty sure my husband has financed at least one of his wine-finding expeditions through his purchases.  : )  Garagiste is unique in that they don’t have a storefront and you don’t buy off their website.  Jon sends out an e-mail every time he finds a great wine and if people are interested in purchasing it, they can reply to his e-mail.  It’s really all too easy.  I really enjoyed learning his philosophy to business through his talk.  He tries to de-emphasize the selling aspect and just bring the customers in to his “family” through his stories. 

Rachel Venning is one of the owners of Babeland, an adult toy shop, which according to their website, is “a pleasant place to shop.”  I have to admit I have been in there more than once and it really is pleasant, which is why I was so interested to hear Rachel speak.  It isn’t creepy, dirty or intimidating like so many other adult stores.  What I took away from Rachel’s talk is that you can create a place where passion really drives the business and then enthusiasm and drive will come from not just the owners, but the employees and customers as well. 

Of course, whenever you go to this type of event, you come away with so much more than you anticipated.  I also heard some great presentations from Steven Bristol of Less Everything, Eric LeVine of Cellar Tracker and many others.  All of the attendees also received a copy of the book Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, so I’m looking forward to reading that as well.  Props to the whole S and S team for t-shirts in my size, surprisingly great food and a very smooth first run!

Massive Monkees is a breakdancing group that performed there.  I only wish the stage had been higher so we could have seen all the awesome moves!  Check out a video of their stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/v/nkcfd_urcNA&hl=en&fs=1&

Looking for Great Cookbooks & Accessories? Check out the BBS Store!

April 2, 2009

Support Building Blocks Show while purchasing top-quality cooking accessories and books through our brand new BBS Store.  We’ve included all of our favorites from our own kitchens, like the Joy of Cooking, All-Clad pots and pans and Shun knives.  We do not currently have any sponsors, so you can be assured we just want to find the best stuff to make cooking easier and more fun for you.  If you don’t see what you want, just let us know and we’ll be happy to add it to the store.