In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. ~ Gibran

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Food Swap – Make and Take Gals Style

As promised, the Make and Take Gals delivered big last Thursday evening with our version of a Food Swap!   Fourteen ladies gathered at Pam’s home eager to share their homemade goodies.  All of them, except Pam and I, were new to food swapping so the excitement level was high. 

 Food Swap How To Video!

Compared to the Portland food swap Pam and I attended in June, this one was the suburban version.  Complete with an all-friends guest list, light appetizers instead of a pot-luck dinner, and no strict rules on “green” packaging, I believe the formula was just right.  We limited the time to an hour and a half which was perfect for mingling, munching, and bartering.  

Raspberry White Chocolate Squares!

What I love most about a food swap is the flexibility.  Attendees can get creative and bring whatever item they like in whatever quantity they like.  Of course, the only rule is it must be homemade or home grown.  We had a fantastic assortment of treats taking advantage of summer’s bounty; orange blossom granola, raspberry brownies, lemon tea cakes, fruit & wine jellies, freshly picked blueberries, potpourri, organic farm honey, banoffee pie, and peanut butter crunch bars.  Of course, The Make and Take Gals got completely into it and rounded out the offering list.  In fact, my watermelon salsa, Pam’s raspberry dessert sauce on pound cake, Poh’s spice rubbed chicken and potatoes, and Mary Jo’s wine jelly over cheese did double duty as appetizers and samples.  It worked out perfectly.

Festive Watermelon Salsa!

After donning name tags that served to introduce themselves and their items, guests were free to roam, sign up for goodies, and strategize on what they hoped to swap for.  At the end of ten minutes, Pam announced it was time and the bartering began.  A new energy filled the room as ladies hustled back and forth making swaps.  I reached the granola too late, but got two pints of blueberries instead.  It always seems to work out.  The twelve jars of salsa I arrived with quickly turned into a dozen new treats – an amazing haul.  What a successful evening.  Well done, Make and Take Gals!

All my best,

Here are a few of the many amazing items that were SWAPPED!
 Meat and vegi rubs!
Home spun Honey with fresh basil and zucchini extras!
Fresh Blueberries!

Darling Potpourri!


Basic Chicken Rub 

2/3 c chili powder
1/2 c sugar
4 tbs kosher salt
4 tbs onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients
Store in airtight container indefinitely.   

From Epicurious May 2011

I used this rub on boiled baby potatoes and added some olive oil. Baked at 400F 
for about 20mins or till crispy. 
Dry Chimichurri Rub 
Makes 3/4c 

3 tbs dried oregano leaves
3 tbs dried basil leaves
2 tbs dried parsley
2 tbs dried thyme
2 tbs coarse kosher salt
1 tbs freshly grd black pepper
1 tbs dried savory leaves
1 tbs smoked paprika( pimenton dulce)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 to2 tsp dried crushed red pepper

Whisk all ingredients.
Store at room temperature. 
Serving suggestions:
Rub all over lamb or flank steak/ tri-tip steak before roasting; sprinkle over 
halibut before pan-searing, make a marinade for roast chicken by whisking 1/4 cup 
rub with 1/2cup olive oil and 3tbs red wine vinegar. It is also good sprinkled in an omelet.

From Bon Appetit Dec 2007
White Chocolate and Raspberry Spread

Prep: 35 min.    Process:  10 min.

6 cups raspberries
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 box powdered fruit pectin
6 cups sugar
9 oz. white baking chocolate (WITH COCOA BUTTER), finely chopped
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  In a 4 to 6 quart heavy pot, use a potato masher to slightly crush raspberries.  Add vanilla bean.  Heat raspberry mixture over medium heat for 5 min., stirring occasionally.  Slowly add the pectin, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar. Return to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
2.  Remove from heat. Discard vanilla bean. Add white chocolate, stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract.
3.  Ladle hot spread into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. 
Wipe jar rims; adjust lids.
4.  Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when the water 
returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.

Makes 8 half pint jars. Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Special
Interest Publication: Canning

My family prefers seedless jam, so I ran the raspberries through a fine sieve to remove the seeds prior to cooking. 

I served this spread on small squares of pound cake , topping each square with a perfect fresh raspberry for garnish.  The recipe suggests sandwiching this beautiful spread between 2 cookies or between 2 thin slices of pound cake.

Walla Walla Sweet Onion and Watermelon Salsa

A colorful, refreshing change from traditional salsa, serve with corn chips, chicken, fish, or pork.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, Walla Walla onions are plentiful, but feel free to use any sweet, white onion you have.

1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno chilies
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chopped, seeded watermelon
1 cup chopped Walla Walla or other sweet white onion
1 cup chopped fresh orange sections

In large bowl, stir together orange marmalade, cilantro, chilies, vinegar, garlic, and salt.  Add watermelon, onion and orange; gently toss until combined.
Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

Wine Jelly
  • 3 1/2 cups wine (Use your favorite drinking wine)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (2 ounce) package dry pectin
  • 4 1/2 cups white sugar
  1. Combine wine, lemon juice, and pectin in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam off top, if necessary.
  2. Ladle hot jelly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Tighten 2 piece lids. Process based on your canning instructions.
Wine Jelly is delicious served over a goat cheese or savory flavored cheese, sprinkled with hazelnuts and served with crackers. Saludos! 

Easy Sangria

For a quick and refreshing wine beverage, pair bottled sangria with fresh fruit.  This drink is quick and easy and only gets better as the flavors mingle with seasonal fruits.

2 bottles (750 ml each) Sangria
fresh fruit (pineapple, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, cantaloupe, honey dew, etc)

Pour sangria in to large pitcher.  Add fruit, sliced if necessary, and
chill for a day or even overnight.

Vanilla Lemonade

1 Bottle of Santa Cruz Organic Lemonade or homemade from your own lemons
1 half vanilla bean

Split the vanilla bean with a sharp knife and scrape seed paste into the lemon aid, then put the split bean in as well. Allow vanilla and lemonade to blend over night for a mellow and refreshing flavor. Pour over ice and watch your guests come back for more!

1 comment:

  1. You cannot know how much I wish we were neighbors! What a great group with such good ideas! You've absolutely inspired me...especially with the basic chicken rub recipe! I'm so excited to explore more of this creative blog!