Last month I was invited to participate in a fantastic blogger summit hosted by the Yahoo! Mother Board. It was the first conference of its kind that I have attended since I started blogging. There were a number of things that were unique about the event that impressed me. The agenda for the sessions was targeted, relevant and robust, the bloggers were hosted by the organization which brought together a lot of wonderful thinkers/writers who may not have otherwise have had the opportunity to travel to this summit. While I was not alone in the food blogging realm of attendees, I was amongst the minority that comprised this collective group. You may wonder why I attended? Well, as a former writer for the Silicon Valley Mom’s Blog (which recently closed down its operations)- I was there to learn more about what Yahoo! had to offer me in terms of an alternate place to post my content.
While there are an ever increasing number of conferences for bloggers to attend, what I find has changed over the past few years is that the level of ‘experts’ that I am engaging with at these shows has greatly shifted, as has the overall content, which remains skewed to the entry level blogger. Those who might have been considered experts a few years may no longer be the best spokespeople, nor are these sessions the most relevant for me. This was far from the case with the Yahoo! Mother Board Summit. While I do realize that that I was presented with predominantly Yahoo! focused content, I found their business acumen approach to be worthy of my time. Yahoo! has realized that to best work with the blogging community, to expand their digital voice and footprint, they must also invest in educating their constituents about their products. Refreshing! I am constantly approached for various types of corporate projects and on one hand I do feel honored to be exposed to these various opportunities, I am very aware that many of these come with a specific expectation. I am not a stalwart writer or investigative reporter- I blog to celebrate food and fun (and occasionally technology). While I remain unconvinced that I want to make blogging or cooking my full time career, I adore keeping this world as my coveted hobby/passion project. I maintain this space because I like to be here. I like to talk to you..whomever you are…and some-days I even think someone may be listening to my random thoughts on fun and food. I am not convinced that my site is about advertising revenue, or that I want to blog daily, but I do want to curl up on my sofa with my laptop and share some words and thoughts and engage with this exciting frontier of cyber space.
While I debated just telling you about the content presented, which ties closely to my professional comfort zone, I did think we could meet half way and I could share with you my new favorite recipe with PURPLE INGREDIENTS (the same color as the famous Yahoo! logo) in appreciation to the folks at Yahoo! Mother Board for having the vision and foresight to assemble such a stellar summit. And for those whom wish to know more about the summit, scroll down to the bottom of the post for a few more insights.
Now time for foodie fun- purple food! Cherry Clafoutis or clafouti (pronounced kla-foo-TEE) is a rustic looking French country dessert from the Limousin region that has become very popular in North America. Traditionally it was made with the first sweet cherries of the season, and the cherries were left unpitted so their kernels could release their delicate almond flavor as they baked. It is a bit of a pudding of sorts, with the sweet cherries covered by a thin pancake-like batter and baked in a hot oven until the batter has set with nicely browned and slightly puffed edges. The clafoutis should be served immediately with a dusting of confectioner’s (powdered or icing) sugar. Et voilà!
1 TBS unsalted butter, softened
4 TBS powdered sugar, plus a sprinkle
1 TBS + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups (about 3/4 pound) mixed fresh Bing (or Rainier) cherries; stemmed, rinsed, drained on paper towels, pitted, and left whole (frozen pitted cherries are an easy alternative to use as well)
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
4 large eggs
6 TBS flour
5 TBS unsalted butter, melted
2 TBS sliced almonds
1 TBS honey
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 TBS kirsch (optional)
1 cup creme fraiche (optional)
Preheat over to 400 degrees. Center a rack in the middle of the oven.
Rub approximately 1 TBS softened butter over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch oven-proof glass pie pan. Dust with 2 TBS powdered sugar, then about 1 TBS granulated sugar and tap out any excess; set aside.
Arrange the cherries over the bottom of the prepared pie pan.
In a blender or food processor, combine the half-and-half, eggs, flour, butter, the 1/4 cup granulated sugar, almonds, honey, vanilla, salt and kirsch (if using). Process until it forms a creamy, smooth batter.
Pour the batter over the fruit. Bake approximately 30-35 minutes, until the custard is golden brown around the edges and puffy yet firm in the middle.
Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the top with 2 TBS of powdered sugar. (It will deflate as it cools). Eat warm or at room temperature.
Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.
Adapted from Bay Area baking expert Flo Braker’s latest book is “Baking for All Occasions” (Chronicle Books).
The Four Seasons in Palo Alto was the backdrop that kicked off this lovely roof-top cabana clad event. The cocktail party was well done and as people arrived from their flights they filtered into the location creating a fun filled room of both conversation and tweets. While the after party migrated downstairs to the main bar, and few other room parties took center stage things didn’t run late into the night as we all knew that the morning would come early and we wanted to be well rested.
The summit topics ranged from services like how to optimize your SEO, Social product offerings, utilizing your network, Flickr to a powerful session on Online Safety that showed a tragic video of cyber bulling gone horribly wrong. There was so much content that my mind was spinning, I’ve only provided a glimpse of the topics broached. Hats off to Jeanne Moeschler and Amy Heinz for acknowledging the value of bloggers and for Elisa Steel, Mother and Yahoo! CMO, for being brave enough to personally speak to this audience – it’s not easy talking to a group of bloggers who hardly look at you when you speak amidst the laptops and cell phone tweets and blog posts. That said, no one is better suited to talk to a group of people that appear not to be listening than a mother!
Yahoo! Mother Board Factoids:
– Yahoo!’s has grown its network from 16 to 80 smart, savvy, influential women bloggers
– On Friday, July 16th, it took less than an hour for the 62 summit attendees to have two trending topics on Twitter—Elisa Steele (proud mom and CMO keynote speaker) and #ymotherboard
– Attendees at this summit cover topics ranging from living a vegan lifestyle to the impact of political issues on moms—from across the U.S. and Canada
– This summit was dubbed “the mother of all conferences”, conversations were sparked between the 62 attendees and Yahoos from Shine, Flickr, Yahoo! Safely, Yahoo! for Good, Yahoo! Green, Social Products, Yahoo! Editorial, Yahoo! Accessibility and Ad Products.
A few photographic outtakes to bring this experience into color!