Going to IFBC, Seattle, Sept. 20-22, 2013

In recent days I've been distracted. Deadlines looming, Labor Day Weekend and Rosh HaShanah around the corner but what I have been obsessing about is IFBC (International Food Bloggers Conference) in Seattle, my first ever food conference. Surprising it took me four years of food writing and photographing to take the leap. When I registered and booked hotels and flights a while back it did not phase me, but this week suddenly it dawned on me and I am all jittery with excitement.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon With Lemon Dill Aioli; 5774 Recipe

If I served this poached salmon to my family in Israel, they would be certain I had lost my marbles. Not that they don't think so already, but this innocently swimming wild Coho, that was sacrificed for the sake of holiday symbolism, would seal the deal and I would be shipped off to an asylum. In comparison to my family's full of punch Indian and Israeli table, this poor little Coho fellow would be considered anemic. I thought so too years ago, until I developed the idiosyncrasies and appreciation for the delicately subdued.

Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) 2013/5774; Favorite Recipes Recap

These are some of my favorite Rosh HaShanah recipes that I've posted over the years. This small sample encapsulates the way we celebrate the holiday. Bringing the essence of the fusion of cultures that we are to our Rosh HaShanah table. You have here from top left, clockwise, from the NYT Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake, my newly adopted Rosh HaShanah boozy dessert. Artichoke Bottoms Filled with Carp 'Meatballs' in Ouzo and Fennel Sauce, a delicious departure from gefilte fish and to change things around from my staple spicy Moroccan fish. My mom's original, Lamb Biryani is quite a feast. Probably the best biryani I have ever tasted. I of course make it nut-free. Last but not least, a sensational Golden and Red Beet Tartare with an Apple Cider and Dill Vinaigrette as a prelude to your holiday meal festivities.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

I am super excited to share Red Star Yeast's Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread with you today. I conquered both my fears of baking with 100% whole wheat flour and sourdough at once. Sourdough and whole wheat baking might seem daunting to most, but in all honesty it turned out to be a breeze. A little boost from active dry yeast goes a long way while still achieving the distinctly desired sour notes in sourdough breads. The sourdough starter pretty much sat there on the counter, while once in a while I stalked it with a chemist-like excitement.

Lemon Poppy Seed Sable (Sand) Cookies

Just when I thought I couldn't possibly outdo myself, I came up with a twin cookie to keep the spectacular Polenta Citrus Sable (Sand) Cookie Snaps company.

The flavor combination is inspired by the Poppy Seed Lemon Chiffon Cake I posted back in 2010. While my diet growing up was predominantly Indian based, this classic cake was a part of our Israeli repertoire. Poppy seeds and anything citrus are part of Israeli culinary identity among other foods. Jaffa citrus does not need an introduction and poppy seeds are traditionally used in March, during the Jewish holiday, Purim, when making Hamantaschens.

Maine, Part III: Portland To Acadia: Lobster Confessions & Traveling With Allergies

These are the final images, we carry with us, of our last morning heading out of Portland. It was our 26th wedding anniversary b'fast date, July 12. Yes, 26. It's mind boggling. Standard Baking Co. would be my daily routine if I lived in Portland. I would be light reading, avoiding any dreary daily news, outside, under the grapevines pergola, with coffee and my daily whim, pastry. It is exactly the pastry and bakery shop I wish I had in my own neighborhood. I've seen a review that read 'quite possibly Standard Baking Co. might be the best bakery/pastry shop on the East Coast'. I concur.

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip 'Sable' Cookies

As far as accidents go, some end up with awesome results. These Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies are a prime example of that.

I saved this well known chocolate sable cookie recipe to bake when my son is back from college. I love sable cookies and he loves chocolate, but the cookie dough was too crumbly and dry. I double and triple checked my steps. It was not me, this time the recipe was way off. I even tried to shape the cookie dough into a log as instructed, hoping that the warmth of my palms would mold it into a cohesive cookie dough, but my efforts were proven futile. I had incredible quality ingredients sitting here in the mixer bowl and I was not about to toss the crumbly chocolatey mess away. I had to think fast.

Photographic Essay & Stuffed Portabello With Melting Tallegio Links

This is mostly a photographic journey through mushrooms and cheese that I find to be fascinating subjects. Not long ago, I saw someone on social media pleading, in no specific direction, to bring to a halt this stinky cheese trend. My guys too turn their noses up at Tallegio, Bleu Cheese and other stinky cheese varieties. I, on the other hand, could care less, for tarragon. Its liquorish tones remind me of  Anise-y Arak, which I abhor, well that might be too strong of a word. However Arak's Greek equivalent, Ouzo, worked beautifully in this Artichoke Bottoms Filled With Carp 'Meatballs' And Fennel Sauce dish.