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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Swappable Spotlight: Photos from Swap.com's Swapping Uncapped

On Saturday, Lyn and I checked out Swap.com's Swapping Uncapped event, which was sponsored by vitaminwater. We also ran into Lena of Lena on the Beach, whom we'd met at our July swap. Yes, Boston is a small swapping community, and the three of us were psyched to see how the Swapaholics run a clothing swap.

Initially, I thought it would be a great way to refresh my wardrobe on the cheap but I roped Lyn into coming by suggesting that it might be good to research best practices from other swaps. Success on both fronts!

Apparently vitaminwater rented out this gallery space near Fenway Park for the month of July and turned into a colorful lounge complete with couches, throw pillows, and a fun art installation featuring multi-colored bottles of (you guessed it) vitaminwater. Jessica Quirk signed copies of her new book, What I Wore, and Pinkberry gave out fro yo samples while we waited for the swap to begin.

Here are some shots of the soldout crowd waiting to dig through the selection of clothes, bags, shoes, and jewelry (notice the ribbons of vitaminwater on the wall and the intense look in these ladies' eyes - they meant business!):

Swap.com clothing swap




































At 2pm sharp, the swap officially began and swappers ravaged the tables and racks, filling their bags with designer shoes, throwing back items that didn't quite fit, eying the table of sweaters across the room.

Swap.com clothing swap

Swap.com clothing swap

































I scored a couple of dresses and a pair of DKNY jeans, Lyn brought home a purse covered in mother of pearl tiles, and Lena found a skirt and a few sweaters she loved.

Swap.com clothing swap























We also chatted with Melissa, one of Swapaholic's cofounders, so we may be partnering with other swap organizations in the future. In any case, I think I found the perfect outfit to wear to our next food swap!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Quench your thirst with swappable drinks!

When temperatures rose in to the triple digits last week, our attention turned to hydration. While many of us reached for old standbys like water or trendy refreshers like coconut water, I wondered where beverages fit in to the universe of swap-dom. So far, the Boston Food Swap has seen a few beers and some kombucha so I wanted to wet your whistle with tips to replicate those swappables and provide inspiration for your potable creativity!


Homemade Chocolate Liqueur

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Swappable Spotlight: Whole Wheat Tortillas & Fresh & Spicy Salsa

Whole Wheat Tortillas & Fresh & Spicy Salsa

We are starting a new feature, "Swappable Spotlight," where we highlight recipes from swap attendees. We hope you enjoy!

Growing up in suburban New England, there wasn't much authentic Mexican food around. When I came to college in Boston, meeting new friends who grew up with tamales and guacamole awakened a whole world of food for me. One of the guides on my journey of Mexican cuisine has been Erika Saldivar, and she's sharing her immensely popular tortilla and salsa recipes with us!

WHOLE WHEAT TORTILLAS

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups organic white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt and more to taste
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water

Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, salt and baking powder. Add the vegetable shortening and use your fingers to cut shortening into the dough.
  2. Add warm water, a little at a time until your dough is soft and no longer sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Allow the dough to absorb as much flour as it needs to not be sticky. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rest on the counter for 10 minutes.
  3. Form the dough into 1.5 inch diameter balls. Cover with a wet towel and let the dough rest for another 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat a non-stick griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one piece of dough at a time, dust the dough with flour, sprinkle with sea salt and gently press it into a small disc.
  5. Use a rolling pin to roll the disc into a flat, round circle. Roll the dough as thin as it will go. Continue rolling out the balls of dough, while still keeping the rolled out tortillas covered with another damp towel to keep moist. Place either a fold of the towel or wax paper between the rolled tortillas to prevent them from sticking together.
  6. Alternately you can use a tortilla press, which makes the disk-making process go faster
  7. To cook the tortillas, place them on the hot griddle or skillet. DO NOT ADD OIL TO THE PAN. Cook on each side for 10-20 seconds. You will know it is time to flip the tortilla when the surface is covered with tiny bubbles. Place cooked tortillas in a covered container to keep warm, or in a dish inside your oven set to warm/low temp. (If using a tortilla press you can cook a tortilla while pressing out the next one!)
  8. Store tortillas at room temperature for up to 5 days or tightly wrapped in the freezer for 3 months.
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FRESH & SPICY SALSA

Ingredients:
  • 5 medium tomatoes (hollow out the pulp of 2 of these)
  • 1/2 large Vidalia onion
  • 2 fresh green chili peppers (stem & seeds removed)
  • 2 fresh JalapeƱo chilies
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • handful of fresh cilantro (leaves removed from stems)
  • handful of fresh oregano (leaves removed from stems)
  • 1/4 tsp ground Ancho chili powder
  • juice of 1 lime (use a 2nd lime if on the dry side)
  • 1 tsp sea salt + more to taste
  • ** optional - for EXTRA hotness add 1 fresh serrano chilies (hotter) or 1 additional jalapeno **
Note: The magic of salsa happens overnight -- so make your salsa a day ahead, the flavors will develop & balance overnight

Directions:
  1. Dice the tomatoes, onion, and green chilies and add to large bowl
  2. Finely dice the garlic, Jalepeno & optional Serrano chilies and add to bowl
  3. Chop the oragano & cilantro leaves into thin slivers and add to bowl
  4. Add juice of lime & Ancho chili powder, 1 tsp salt -- stir all ingredients until well blended (If you have a food processor, simply add all ingredients and pulse until the chili pieces are finely diced)
  5. Taste If too spicy add another tomato
  6. Cover tightly and let the magic happen overnight
  7. Taste again! The following morning the flavors in the salsa will have mellowed. Add additional sea salt if you prefer.

Thanks, Erika!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July Recap: Boston Food Swap Grows



Our second food swap was on July 10, just two weeks after our first. Running on momentum from our Boston Globe press, we met at Space with a Soul in Fort Point to do it all over again!



The gorgeous 7th floor loft space with skyline views provided the perfect background for the variety of swappables. We had about double the number of swappers in attendance and a greater variety of goods this time around.



Some of the items our swappers brought included: pickles, breads, lemon meringue tarts, whole wheat tortillas, salsa, scones, jams, prepared salads, granola, marinated goat cheese, lemon curd, homebrewed beer and brownies.



Though more swappers meant (slightly) tougher negotiating, everyone went home happy!



Check out more photos from the swap on our Facebook page, and don't forget to join us in August at Space with a Soul!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Scratch your swapping itch between events


With two long weeks between food swap events, you are probably wondering what to do with the mint that is invading your back yard and the pickles you made with this week's farm share haul. 

At the first Boston Food Swap, we met Jake and Jody who made quite possibly the most incredible pesto I've ever tasted, awesome fiery hot pickles, and a home made and smoked mozzarella cheese.  When they are not gracing BFS events, they have been busy launching a forum for home foodies to trade their wares on an ongoing basis.  http://www.mafoodtrader.org/ is like Craiglist for home grown, foraged, or made foods.

I registered to participate in the beta test of the MA Food Trader forum and I regretted not signing up sooner!  Not only can you find great foodstuffs, but you can also find handy supplies like seeds and compost.  Having paid for potting soil and compost to plant my herb garden, I would have loved to trade some for last year's canned apple butter instead!

You can avoid my mistake by signing up today and keeping your swapping skills sharp for our next event!