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Saturday, June 30, 2012

My First Foodie Penpals

We had so much fun participating in the Austin to Boston Food Swap in December, that when I heard that there's a group that does this sort of thing EVERY MONTH, I knew I had to try it out.

Foodie Penpals is organized by Lindsay of the Lean Grean Bean, and it's open to bloggers and readers alike. Every month, you get assigned a new penpal and you send them a package with a value of $15 or under. I was attracted to the idea because I love discovering local food, whether it's while I'm traveling, reading blogs from around the globe, or getting goodies in the mail.



My June penpal is Austin, and he's a student at VCU in Virginia, studying pre-med. He was super cheerful to chat with, and I loved that he sent me a little piece of himself with a slice of Virginia to Boston. I mean, look at all those tasty treats! Austin baked me cookies and also made these protein-packed energy bites, and also sent me a bacon brownie, pumpkin muffin, and blueberry jam from his local farmer's market. I was super thrilled to try some real Virginia peanut butter and Austin did not disappoint. He included Reginald's Homemade Nana Honey peanut butter, which was lightly sweet and really creamy. Browsing the Reginald's website, I may just have to order some of their other flavors. Bourbon pecan, anyone?

After such a great first month, I'm all in for July, so stop by on the 31st to see where my goodies have traveled from then!



Boston Food Swap is a community organization funded entirely by donation. Support us through Paypal or BFS merchandise, and by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Join us on 6/21 for our First Swapiversary!

In addition to hosting our monthly food swaps, Lyn, Tara, and I have been hard at planning our first swapiversary. We hope you'll join us on Thursday at Space with a Soul for an evening of local food, drinks, and other goodies.

The celebration will feature several special guests we're calling "swapstars." These local experts will be available to answer all your food-related questions:

Amy Traverso
APPLES 
Amy Traverso
Senior Lifestyle Editor for Yankee Magazine
Author of the Apple Lover's Cookbook

Maggie Battista
HOMEMADE COCKTAILS
Maggie Battista
Founder & CEO
Maria Speck
 WHOLE GRAINS
Maria Speck
Food Jounalist
Amy McCoy
BUDGET COOKING
Amy McCoy
Blogger
Author of The Poor Girl's Gourmet

RECIPES

Vijay Nathan
Founder and CEO of MyReci.com




Enjoy snacks and sips courtesy of these food and beverage sponsors:
Take home a swap-tastic goody bag including:
Bid on these food-related goodies during our silent auction to keep swapping going strong into its seond year:
 Dinner sponsored by:
Eventbrite Boston

Space is limited so be sure to RSVP through Eventbrite.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Spring Vegetable Farro Risotto Recipe and Grain Share 101

Do you know when cereal commercials talk about being baked with "whole grain goodness?"  When I hear that I marvel about how many ways marketers try to make processed food sound healthy.  Rather than scratching my head trying to figure out exactly what is in that mystery box, last winter I decided to assure an entire year of actual whole grains (not just the goodness, the greatness!) by purchasing a share with the Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA.  As a bonus, for my natural and nutritious buck, I also got the opportunity to support a local farm and ensure the future of diverse grain crops.  In my share, I got:

The Beans

The Corn

The Grains
It took me a few months to start cooking from my stash because I had a lot of whole grains left to get through when I got the share.  But now that I've gotten through some of the backlog, I plan to show you some ways that I am using my share to inspire you to support the folks at Wheatberry Farm.  At our April Food52 Mozzarella Party, I made my grain share debut with this recipe -

Spring Vegetable Farro Risotto

The beauty of having a year's worth of farro at home is that it comes in handy when you have an abundance of risotto worthy vegetables at home.  I'll give you target amounts of ingredients but have fun using what you have in your fridge!

Ingredients

  • 32 oz.  Broth (that's 2 boxes of the store bought stuff but what fun is that?  Make some good veggie broth with your vegetable share and use that instead.)
  • 1/2 c. Fresh Peas
  • 1/2 c. Asparagus - sliced in 1/4 in. disks
  • 1T. Butter
  • 1T. Olive Oil
  • 1 Leek, just the white parts - thinly sliced
  • 4-5 Cremini Mushrooms - thinly sliced
  • 1 c. Farro, uncooked 
  • 1 c. White wine that you would drink (what else are you going to put in your glass while you make the risotto?) 
  • 7-8 Brussels Sprouts - quartered and roasted in a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper
  • 2 c. Baby Spinach - sliced thinly
  • 1/2 c. Caramelized onion mixture 
  • 4 oz. Good Melting Cheese, shredded - Parmesan and Asiago will work well.  I used Foxboro Cheese Company's Asiago.
  • 1T. Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring the broth to a boil and then bring down to a simmer.  
  2. With a slotted spoon, blanch the peas and asparagus in the broth for a few seconds until they are still firm but a vibrant green.

  3. Remove the vegetables from the broth and set aside. 
  4. Keep the broth warm on low heat.
  5. Heat a large pan with high sides on medium-high heat.
  6. Put olive oil and butter in the pan and saute the leeks and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Put rinsed and drained farro in the pan with the onions and mushrooms.  Toast for about 3 minutes.

  8. Add the wine to the pan and stir until the wine has been absorbed.
  9. Add a ladle full of the warmed broth to the pan at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed.  
  10. Continue adding broth and stirring until your farro is creamy.  It will take around 30 minutes and you may not use all of the broth.
  11. Take the pan off of the heat and add the already cooked Brussels sprouts, raw spinach, the caramelized onion mixture, and the cheese.  Stir until the spinach is wilted and the cheese is melted.
  12. Finish with another tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  13. Garnish, serve, and enjoy!

Between whole grain recipe posts, flex your whole grain talents with one of our Swapiversary Swap Star's books - Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck.  Check out her Wheatberry Fool recipe in the meantime!



Boston Food Swap is a community organization funded entirely by donation. Support us through Paypal or BFS merchandise, and by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it! Our 1st Birthday is coming up! Celebrate with us on June 21st.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recap: Our 12th Swap


On Sunday, we packed into the cozy Space with a Soul kitchen for our 12th monthly swap. It's hard to believe we've been doing this for a whole year, because every month we meet new people who get excited about swapping for the first time. It invigorates us and keeps us going.

I'm not going to get all sappy here, mainly because I already did that over on Eat Boutique and there will be plenty of time for that at the Swapiversary.


We had some exciting stuff to swap, including pickled radishes, radish greens pesto, fresh rhubarb, curry spice rub, Cornell bread, strawberry lemon jam, healthier marble brownies, carrot walnut muffins, challah, sourdough, whole grain mustard, phyllo bites, chipotle nut mix, madelines, rhubarb orange chutney, fresh ricotta, fruit gels, rugelach, and more. We saw vanilla extract for the first time, as well as whole plants (zucchini & tomato). I made the strawberry rhubarb basil jam that Lyn made for our first swap, and was featured in the Boston Globe. 


Thanks to everyone who swapped with us on Sunday and throughout this incredible year! We'll be swapping again in July, but we hope to see you next week at the Swapiversary! Right now, there's a code on Eat Boutique for $10 off tickets, so grab it and RSVP now!


Want to see more photos from the event? Check out our Facebook page.

Boston Food Swap is a community organization funded entirely by donation. Support us through Paypal or BFS merchandise, and by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it! Our 1st Birthday is coming up! Celebrate with us on June 21st.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Swappable Spotlight - Healthy(ish) Coconut Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites

Now that you know how much we heart Eventbrite (they're sponsoring our Swapiversary!) we thought we would share with you one seriously tempting recipe swapped in April by Sara (@BriteBoston) of Eventbrite.  She made a batch of maddeningly delicious raw vegan balls of chocolate.  I'm not sure that you could imagine uncooked nuts and fruit tasting this good. 



Ready to have your cake (er... brownie) and eat it too? Enjoy!

Healthy(ish) Coconut Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites

  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 TBSP unsweetend cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it resembles a thoroughly combined coarse mixture. 
  2. Form into tablespoon sized balls, or press into an 8x8 pan to create bars. 
  3. Eat!

Makes about 32 brownie bites or 16 small bars.
 

Boston Food Swap is a community organization funded entirely by donation. Support us through Paypal or BFS merchandise, and by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it! Our 1st Birthday is coming up! Celebrate with us on June 21st.