Sunday, April 29, 2012

Food Swap Crashing

It seemed pretty silly of me to be organizing a food swapping group, when I hadn't even been to a swap before. But, I assure you, what I lack in experience I make up for in reading.  The Philly Swappers graciously offered me an invite to their Spring swap.  So Thursday night, we drove up to Jenkintown, PA - an hour and half each way!  The venue for their Spring event was held at the beautiful Meadowbrook Farm. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful the farm is, so just go check it out for yourself.

At the entrance there was a table with the sign in sheet, everyone just had to check off their name.  I was a little disappointed to see they weren't using the Eventbrite scanner app to scan people's tickets, but then again I like gadgets.  When I saw that feature, I was sold!  I'm still going to do that for our first swap and see how it goes-the novelty will probably wear off.  Everyone also wrote their name on tags; some swappers added their Twitter names.  I think the swappers brought their own swap sheets (?), but I will provide them.

What surprised me most about the swap was how laid back it was.  There was a table of snacks and wine (note: advantage to having swap at night = wine).  People were getting set-up and mingling.  Then Georgia, one of the four group's organizers, made a few announcements on how the swap would work for the newbies.  She reminded everyone to "be nice".

There was a good mix of people; young, older, and GUYS!  And not guys who just happened to be there with their girlfriends/wives, but guys by themselves.  Amanda, another one of the organizers, explained this event wasn't as large as past ones, possibly because the location was outside the city.  Normally they'll have 45-50 swappers and the events will sell out within hours.  I can only wish ours will be that successful!

Some of the goodies were: Cherry Brandy, Maple Rum Vinegar, Shiracha Garlic hummas, Bourbon/Uganda Fair Trade Organic Vanilla Extra, Sweet Hot Mustard, Sneaky Smoked Habanaro Hot Sauce, Eggs, Sourdough starter, Apricot Thyme Jam, Tomato Basil Jam, Salty Oatmeal Choc. Chip Cookies, South Philly Jungle Kraut, Banana Chai Bread, Earl Grey and Apple Simple Syrup, and Beeswax hand cream - just to name a few.

I chatted with a few swappers.  There were a few common lines I kept hearing from different people. "Don't be intimated," in response to advise for new swappers, and "Simple is a winner."  Swap items don't have to be super fancy (although I WAS blown away by the creativity, art and craft).  Another swapper, Jennifer, who was a first-timer, said the food swap appeals to her because she's able to try things she never would have never thought of eating.  I mean, where else can you get Oolong and Hickory Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips and Ramps in the same place!

So now I'm pumped!  Thank you Philly Swappers! 

I even began one of my swap items last week.  Here's a sneak peak.

If you're interested in joining us, here's the link to register:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie: Lemon Loaf Cake

I almost didn't make this recipe.  It's been a long week, but I didn't want to get out of the swing of things and this recipe was one I was looking forward to.  So late Monday, the night before posting I whipped it up.  One thing I liked about this one, was that it was quick.

I followed the recipe, but added a drizzle of lemon extract since I thought it needed a boost.

When it was done baking I poked holes in the top since I was going to add a lemon glaze and I thought the glaze would soak down.  I thought.

So how was it??  Eh.

It is a nice-looking loaf.  But I'm a little disappointed, because I really like lemon.  It's a little too dense for me.  I don't think I was the only one either...

But I will try another slice tomorrow and this one will be going to the office :)

If you'd like the recipe, please visit Truc of Treats or Michelle of The Beauty of Life.  And don't forget the hundreds of other TWD'ers here.  Stop back in two weeks for Hungarian Shortbread!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie: Pizza Rustica

As some of you read this Tuesday morning I will be delivering a speech to a large group of peers.  This is the first of its kind and I am trying not to throw up thinking about it.

I made this on Saturday as another way to put off preparing for said presentation.  I began by making the ricotta cheese. Yup, you read that right.  It's super easy-give it a try.

Fresh Ricotta (with one egg added)

Then I mixed in all the other ingredients: rest of eggs, prosciutto, mozzarella, pecorino, and a handful of freeze-dried salad herbs because I didn't have parsley.  I actually did have parsley, but didn't find it until after the fact.

Cheese Mixture
The crust recipe called for butter or lard.  I had lard on-hand.  Don't judge.  It came together lovely in the food processor.

I rolled out the bottom crust into a somewhat-round circle.  I really need to get one of those pie crust measuring mat things.

I placed it into the pie plate and patched as necessary.  Then I rolled out the top piece and sliced it with a ravioli cutter my Critic had in the utensil drawer.  I knew I loved him for a reason :)

And My Critic Says: Not my cup of tea. Too quiche-y.

I on the other hand liked it a lot!  Then again I do like quiche.  I loved the sweet crust and the savory filling.  It was perfect for breakfast the next morning, and I plan to share it with 2 friends; Amy and Abi :)

For the recipe, please visit Emily of Capitol Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home.  Check back in two weeks for Lemon Pound Cake, which I'm really looking forward to!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Food Swap

So I'm starting a food swap.  It's an ingenious idea I came across while reading one of the Edible magazines.  It turns out they're becoming pretty popular all over the country.  And why wouldn't they?  You make/grow something yummy and you get to barter for equally delicious items.
Here's some more info:  Our blog South Jersey Swappers.  And like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with events. First one is May 19th!