Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Strawberry Vinaigrette and BlogHer Food ’12 Conference


I can’t get enough of the strawberries that are popping up at the market now.  Our neighborhood berry stand has set up with its hand-written sign declaring “Soon”, which is always a cause for celebration in our house – they can’t arrive soon enough!

I grabbed some strawberries while out shopping this morning, and now here I sit before a pile of beautiful strawberries, my mind still whirling from the day I spent at the BlogHer Food ’12 Conference.  To say it was a stimulating, enjoyable and rewarding time is an understatement.  I can’t tell you what a treat it was to meet, connect and share with such talented, creative, generous people.

I’m sorting through my notes from the conference - so much to process. I need a salad.


Looking at my beautiful pile of strawberries, I decide to make a simple strawberry vinaigrette.  Strawberries, white wine vinegar and agave syrup get a quick whiz in the food processor and yield a bright, fruity, rosy pink dressing.  I drizzle some over fresh mozzarella and baby spinach for a riff on caprese salad and it makes a delightful lunch.


Ah, now I can concentrate! First of all, did I mention how well we ate at the conference?

Breakfast included pretty dishes of yogurt with fruit and the fanciest glasses of orange juice I have ever seen.



At lunch, a deconstructed potato salad and chilled gazpacho were two of the choices.



And later, at the cocktail reception, house smoked salmon and chocolate dipped strawberry sorbet confections lined the table.  All of the food was prepared with great care and artfully presented.



What moved me the most that day, though, was the opening keynote given by Diane Cu and Todd Porter of the gorgeous blog, White On Rice Couple.  I was literally in tears from the words and videos they shared – that was not at all how I imagined beginning the conference!


They spoke about their personal backgrounds and encouraged us to think about who we are, what our story is and how we want to tell it – there is a story in every moment. Todd said, “Life is about capturing moments with your heart and paying attention to the details.”  Diane told us, “Food is nourishing and comfort...and most importantly about friendship.”   I could not agree with them more. I met them later, after their talk, and a warm hug from Diane left me feeling like I’d known her longer than just that day.

Ultimately, I came away from the day grateful to be part of such a supportive, gracious, kind community of food bloggers, both in person and online.

Diane and Todd shared a quote from Julia Child that is a recipe for life, “Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”  I think that’s right. For me that’s family, friends, food, writing, photography.

And today, maybe there was even a story in my pile of beautiful strawberries.

Strawberry Vinaigrette
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
A pinch of kosher salt

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Store vinaigrette in a covered jar in the fridge for up to one week.

24 comments:

  1. you must be speaking of the wedgwood berry stand! i, too, am anxiously awaiting!!!!

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    1. Hi Maggie - yes, the Wedgwood stand! I check everyday when I go by. Lots of anticipation!

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  2. Lovely post! I adore strawberry balsamic vinaigrette but wow the color when u don't use the balsamic is just stunning!

    I flew into Seattle Fri AM andnjust missed the keynote which I heard was fantastic. I think you might have enjoyed our storytelling panel on Saturday!

    Love your photos and how you wove the recipe in with the BHF stuff. Great!

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    1. Thank you, Beth! We were ships passing (or in this case planes...) as I flew to Santa Barbara on Sat morning for a family event and missed the 2nd day of BlogHer. I definitely would have attended the storytelling panel and fortunately I could follow it virtually. Love the talking story picture you shared - I'd sure like to sit down with those women!

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  3. Strawberry vinaigrette...how intriguing!!! Thanks for sharing your photos and impressions of Blogherfood...looks like you had a wonderful day ;)

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    1. Thank you, Winnie! Yes, BlogHer Food was indeed a pleasure and I came home jazzed and babbling my family's ears off. I hope to make it to Austin next year to attend again.

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  4. I love the idea of strawberry vinaigrette! It must taste wonderful on caprese! I cannot believe when I thought about the conference I never thought about the food! Man. Now I wish I'd gone just for the eats!

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    1. Thanks, Brooke! The fresh mozzarella was yummy with the vinaigrette - I have some goat cheese lurking in the fridge, so I may try that combo for lunch today.

      I was impressed by the food at BlogHer - the hotel really did a lovely job.

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  5. Hi Hannah, it was such a joy to be able to meet you and talk to you... twice. Look forward to meeting up again. And the strawberry vinaigrette is definitely on our list! xox

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    1. What a pleasure to connect with both of you! Thank you again for your inspiring words. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon. I hope you enjoy the vinaigrette! :)

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  6. Great recap, Hannah--Love that Julia Child quote!

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    1. Thank you, Christina! I can't decide which Julia Child quote is my favorite - she really is the best at capturing a feeling or moment in the kitchen and in life.

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful time at the convention! And, what delicious food too!!!
    Your strawberry vinaigrette sounds amazing. I love anything strawberry. Love the flavors and it's so so pretty!

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    1. Thank you, Beth! I do love the color of the vinaigrette - it definitely evokes spring/summer.

      The conference was terrific and I just loved meeting so many inspiring people - it really is a marvelous community and wonderful to connect both online and in person.

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  8. Wonderful vinaigrette! So sorry I missed the conference this year.

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    1. Thank you, Lynda! Hopefully you can come next year - I'm hoping to go and would love to meet you. :)

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  9. Beautiful vinaigrette. I can just see my children diving into a bowl of salad with that dressing poured over top. I am envious of your experience at BlogHer! What a treat to be amidst all the wonderful food and writers. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Karen! Hope you enjoy the vinaigrette - my boys poured it on last night at dinner. Always a good sign!

      It was indeed a treat to be at BlogHer - lots of fun connecting. I appreciate that it was held in Seattle, too!

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  10. Hi Hannah,

    I love your use of the crop of strawberries in this vinaigrette. What a vibrant colour!
    Thanks for sharing your blog her conference experience, too, especially the keynote address speakers. Positive inspiration!

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    1. Thank you, Shalini! I do love the color of the vinaigrette - such a nice pop of pink on a salad.

      It's a pleasure to share about the conference - I came away very inspired!

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  11. Love this vinaigrette & sounds like you had a wonderful time at the Blogher :)

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    1. Thank you, Mairi! BlogHer was truly a lovely experience. I really hope to go again next year!

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  12. Wasn't that a great conference! I feel lucky that it was in Seattle because I probably wouldn't have thought to go otherwise. It was so much fun to connect with some new local friends who I can learn from--like where is this Wedgewood berry stand?! :) I am looking forward to tryIng this vinaigrette. It's such a gorgeous color!

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    1. Thank you, Emmy! I loved the conference and really appreciated it being held here in Seattle, too. The berry stand is next to the post office - Spooner Farms. I just picked up a flat of strawberries and can't stop eating them. Wait til you try their raspberries!

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