For a few years now, I have been attending various food blogging conferences. I usually return home brimming with inspiration and loaded down with lots of free Scharffen Berger chocolate.
A week or so ago, I attended my third BlogHerFood conference up in Seattle. There wasn’t any free chocolate (Scharffen Berger wasn’t a sponsor this time) which should have been a sign. Instead of returning home inspired, I arrived home with the weight of all I don’t know.
I don’t know what my brand is, my mission statement, or whether Pinterest is a better marketing vehicle than Facebook. I don’t know the best way to build a relationship with “the brands” or if I should. I had never heard of Issuu and I don’t have a press kit, should I? I don’t know if I should post more often, and if I did, how often? I don’t know if I should have ads on my blog and if so, would I use an ad network or solicit individual sponsors? I don’t know if the name La Pomme de Portland is a marketing liability and if so, should I change it? To what? Is video really the next big thing? Should I stop taking photos? Stop writing? Is nobody reading anymore? I don’t know. I don’t know how to do more than I’m doing now, and still take care of my family.
I do know I love peonies
So, after I tossed all that I don’t know aside, and reminded myself of my mantra for 2012,
Be present. Trust the process, your own process. And keep moving forward.
I thought of all I do know.
I do know that I love to write. I love the challenge of stringing words together to capture a moment and sharing that moment and its emotions with others. I love to take photographs because photography allows me to stop time for just an instant. I love to cook for my family. So much in this world is unknown, unreliable. A meal, cooked by me, and enjoyed by all of us is one of the few things my family can depend on. I do know that right now, asparagus and mushrooms sautéed up with a shallot, some thyme and a little…butter…tastes delicious.
I do know that while my take-away from BlogHerFood was that my business and marketing practices are paltry at best, I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met at BlogHerFood over the years…many of whom are now dear friends.
Todd Porter and Diane Cu, White On Rice Couple, gave the opening keynote. I found myself with a lump in my throat during their talk. So moved by what they had to say and awed by how beautiful their work is. I have been following them for years, and I told them during the conference that when my inspirational well is dry, I go to their site to fill it back up. Here is a video they shared. Take a minute to watch it. Your day will be better for it.
These women, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, Ree’s sister, Betsy, Tasty Kitchen, and Jaden Hair, Steamy Kitchen, are all bona fide business women, but also generous with what they have and what they’ve learned. I’m grateful to be on the receiving end of their generosity.
And when I think of the women I roomed with, and danced with, and enjoyed a carrot martini with in Seattle – some new friends, some old friends, but all cherished – I find myself saying a little prayer of gratefulness. I know my life is enriched by spending time with these talented women. If you have a minute, check out the good work they are doing on their own websites.
I do know that I’m so grateful for you. For the fact, that you take time out of your precious life to wander on over and see what’s going on in my little, tiny corner of the world wide web. “sniff, sniff…xo”
And I do know that the words Todd and Diane say beneath their video, resonate with me.
Immerse yourself with people and things that matter to you most.
At the end of the day, that’s what really counts.
And nourishes us deeply.
I do know I love to gather friends together for coffee, but it’s bittersweet when it’s to say good-bye to a dear friend.
|A Little Sauté of Mushrooms and Asparagus||
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ c shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
- 1 bundle of asparagus cut into one-inch pieces
- ½ lb mushrooms, sliced – white, cremini, shiitake
- 3 tbsp minced fresh basil or leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup pasta water
- ¼ c half and half
- 1 lb of your favorite pasta – fettucini, rigatoni, penne
- Fill a large pot with water, a sprinkle of salt, and set over high heat to boil. Follow instructions on package for cooking your pasta. Make sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt your butter and heat your olive oil. Add your shallots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in your mushrooms and garlic and sauté another 3 minutes or so. Add in your asparagus and seasonings – basil or thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Sauté another 4 minutes or until your asparagus is cooked to your liking.
- Stir in your reserved pasta water and half and half. Let gently simmer for just a few minutes.
- Spoon over your pasta. Enjoy.
PS: Song running through my head as I wrote this: Wonderful World by Sam Cooke