Food Blog Forum Orlando And Then Some Pizza Bread
A waiter offers me a cocktail as pinkishly orange as yesterday’s sunset. Another brings me a plate of spoons, each mounded with a mouthful of melted manchego. I gaze out towards the water and sigh, “This must be how the 1% live.”
Food Blog Forum Orlando was a decadent event. It began on Friday evening with a cocktail party on the beach of Disney’s Grand Floridian. Each bite of food served was stunning in looks and taste: Salads in martini glasses hung from the sky, tall glasses propped up taller shrimp, cake pops were individually rolled in chocolate and sprinkled to order, and, the most amazing thing, a mac ‘n’ cheese bar. Oh yes! You wait in line for the chef to slide cheesy elbow macaronis into a bowl just for you. He then spoons on your choice of ludicrous toppings like braised short ribs and buttery lobster.
Crazy-good food, amazing Disney venues and also extravagant giveaways from KitchenAid, OXO, Land O’Lakes and others continued all weekend. Truly, the organizers (headed by Julie from The Little Kitchen) and the sponsors did a stupendous job.
And so did the speakers.
- Scott Hair (part of the Steamy Kitchen team) telling us to stop saying, “I can’t”. We all know this but I’d somehow forgotten that it doesn’t just apply to my son saying, “I can’t put on my shoes, Mommy!” It applies to me in this moment. Me in every moment.
- David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria telling us to “Think fiction. Write non-fiction.” I get so hung up on the factual details sometimes. I needed the reminder to step back and make it a great read every time.
- Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple described the roomful of us as feeders. As people who want to feed others because we care about others. A feeder. That’s what I am. It’s not just about the food but it’s about wanting to give of the food and what that giving means. It touched me deeply.
- Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen sat across from me at a round table session, looked me in the eye and said, “Know your worth.” That shook me. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning because of those words. I’ll tell you all about that some time soon. Promise.
It’s really about the people:
The extravagant edibles, inspiring locations and heart-pounding words were just part of it. More important were the connections with other food bloggers. I met and bonded with so many new people, including Carroll of Vanilla Lemonade, Terri of Love and Confections, Brandi of Branappetit, Julius of Droolius and Robin of Simply Southern Baking.
And one person in particular:
I had a blast hanging out with Katie (and her hubbie) of Katie’s Cucina. She is always kind, considerate, bubbly, fun and, most importantly, ready to talk Pizza Bread. Pizza Bread is a little treat that I took to a food blogger get-together awhile back. I was so nervous about cooking for fellow food bloggers. Turns out I needn’t have worried. The bread was a hit. So much so that it keeps coming up in conversation. (Note: Do check out Katie’s awesome recap of Food Blog Forum here. The words and the pictures are outstanding.)
About Pizza Bread
Pizza Bread is a focaccia-style bread made from pizza dough and baked in a skillet. The brilliant thing about it is that you can use any pizza dough: Your own homemade stuff, the balls of fresh dough sold in some grocery store delis or even the rectangles of dough that come in a tube from Pillsbury. (My preference is Homemade > Deli Dough > Tubes. But, it’s all good so give it a try with whatever you can get your hands on.)
Today Katie’s Cucina shares a recipe that uses grocery store deli dough topped topped with parmesan, rosemary and a (very exciting) hint of red pepper flakes. My recipe uses a tube of Pillsbury Pizza Dough and is topped with an unusual but harmonious combo of tart apple, cheddar, fennel seeds and sea salt.
Apple, Cheddar and Fennel Pizza Bread
This recipe calls for a tube of Pillsbury Classic Crust Pizza Dough. However, you can use any pizza dough. Cooking times and temperatures will vary depending on type. Use the temperature specified in the homemade dough recipe or on the purchased dough container. The time is generally a few minutes longer than the time specified in the recipe/baking instructions. Just keep your eye on it. You want the bread nicely browned on both the top and the bottom.
- 3 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 tube of Pillsbury Classic Crust Pizza Dough
- 1 tart green apple, cored and sliced thinly
- 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Pour 1 teaspoon of the oil into a 10 inch cast iron (or oven-safe non-stick) skillet. Use your fingers to rub the oil all over the bottom and up the sides of the skillet.
- Center the rectangle of dough over the skillet and then allow the middle to sink in. Fold the corners in towards the center, squidging the dough until it fits. Brush the top of the dough with another teaspoon of olive oil.
- Lay the apple slices in a single overlapping layer on top of the dough. Brush the tops of the slices with the final teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle on the cheddar followed by the fennel seeds and the sea salt.
- Bake for 15-19 minutes, until the top and bottom of the bread are golden brown and the cheese has become dark and a bit crunchy is a few spots. Cut into wedges and serve hot.