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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries in Food Swaps (4)

Thursday
Oct132011

Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle (gluten-free, vegan, cane sugar-free)

curry coconut pepita brittle

Over the weekend, we had our seventh gathering of the MPLS Food Swappers. The MPLS Swappers is just one of the food swapping groups that has popped up around the world in the last year. I started the group after being inspired by the lovely Kate Payne and her swaps in Brooklyn, NY and Austin, TX. Since then, swaps have have popped up all over the place, and it's a huge trend in the local foods scene. So far we're the only one in the Twin Cities area (and I think all of Minnesota) and we've gotten a lot of local press. I guess you could say that we really love publicity.  

My inconsistent and transitional housing situation lately has not made it easy to keep up with canning, so I'm feeling a little possessive of my preserved food. I was left scrambling to come up with what I would bring to swap. Instead of bringing something from my larder, I whipped up a tasty batch of this Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle using ingredients I had on hand. I was inspired by a recipe in an old issue of Martha Stewart Living which featured a recipe for Coconut Curry Cashews. While it looked great, I wanted something a little different but with the same flavor profile and made without cane sugar. So, I set forth on a kitchen experiment!

It was a total victory, a delightful combination of sweet-salty-spicy-crunchy that always wins me over. And it was a total hit at the swap. In exchange for bags of my lovingly prepared pepitas, I received frozen crappie filets, delicata squash, homegrown horseradish, red pepper jam, pickled garlic, homebrew beer (a great gift for my dad!), roasted pepita-chickpea mix, lemon-herb butter, and a gorgeous bunch of homegrown kale.  I love my swappers.

To learn more about how our food swap works, check out the MPLS Swapper blog. And in the meantime, enjoy some brittle. Happy Thursday!

bags of Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle awaiting bids at the MPLS Swappers food swapwhat I got in exchange for my bags of Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle - score!!!

Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle

yield 6 cups

This makes a very large batch, big enough for a party or perfect for gift giving. Feel free to cut this recipe in half or thirds if you want to make a smaller batch. The spice from the curry powder is tempered by the sweetness of the maple syrup and coconut. And the saltiness combines the holy trinity of flavors to keep you going back for handful after handful. Keeps for two weeks at room temperature, but I promise you, it won't last that long. 

  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (mild or hot, the choice is up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined salt
  • 6 cups raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded coconut

Heat oven to 350º F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place curry powder in a small saucepan and heat over low flame until it is lightly toasted and fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn! Then add maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt, whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. 

Meaure pepitas into a large bowl, then pour maple mixture over them, stirring to mix. Divide pumpkin seeds evenly between two parchment-lined cookie sheets, spreading coated seeds evenly over the surface in a thin layer. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes and rotating between oven racks. Remove from oven, divide coconut evenly between the trays and stir into mixture, then bake for another 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes and rotating between oven racks, until seeds are golden. I know, I know, it's a lot of stirring and rotating, but you don't want burned seeds and coconut. Then remove from oven.

Place baking sheets on wire cooling racks and let cool completely. The seed mixture will harden as it cools. Areas of the brittle will be very crisp, while other areas will be a little chewy and caramel-like. That's okay! 

Break cool brittle into chunks. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container and consume within 2 weeks. 

 

 

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Check it out for tons of great recipes!

Tuesday
Jul262011

The MPLS Swappers are featured in Minnesota Monthly!

lovely jars of lemon confit at the July 2011 MPLS Swappers food swap

I've been busy lately with the MPLS Swappers.  What's that, you ask? The MPLS Swappers gathers once per month to trade food we made, foraged, and grew ourselves, share knowledge with like-minded foodies, and build a community and culture of home food production in an urban environment.

Inspired by the BK Swappers and ATX Swappers (founded in part by the fairy swapmother Kate Payne), I decided to start a food swap up here in Minneapolis. And thus, late last year, the MPLS Swappers were born. We had our first food swap in March and the new of swaps has been spreading like wildfire across the Twin Cities. I've since gathered two friends to help plan the swaps, Swell Vegan blogger A-K Thordin and grassroots organizer Mandy Ellerton. We now throw monthly food swaps for 40 participants, and are excited about the many ways we can grow as an organization and as a community of like-minded individuals. 

Local press in Minneapolis has been eating up news of the swap as fast as we're eating up our jams and cookies, and we're getting featured all over the place. Most recently, Minnesota Monthly featured us on the glossy pages of our magazine in a great article entitled “Ready, Set, Swap”. Writer Gregory Scott did a great job of describing his experiences at a swap, the motivations of participants and the larger cultural interest in food swapping, as well as profiling me and my interest in starting the organization. And it even features a great photo of me (see below)!

The August issue is now available online and at newstands around Minnesota. Click here to read the article online! 

 

To top it off, we are also featured in a short video by swapper and Minnesota Monthly intern Morgan Mercer. She attended the July food swap with her video camera, interviewing people between swapping her homemade cheese. It really captures the energy and spirit of the swaps, and features me narrating the whole thing, so you get to witness my overly enthusiastic personality. Thanks to the wonder of YouTube, I'm able to share it right here on the blog.  So, check it out!

Pretty awesome, right? I love our food swap and our swappers! 

Mandy, A-K, and I are giddy to see how all this publicity increases the awareness and interest in our swap. We're hoping to facilitate the creation of additional food swaps in the Twin Cities area and larger Minnesota. We'll see what happens! And next month we're going to appear in another prominent Twin Cities magazine, so stay tuned.

Just wanted to let you all know what else I've been up to lately, and why I've been a bit distant on the blog here. But don't worry! The MPLS Swappers will not keep me from sharing tasty recipes here at my Affairs of Living home. 

 

Keep up-to-date with the latest news from the MPLS Swappers...

 


Thursday
May192011

Cultured Curried Carrot Sticks (gluten-free, ACD)

IMG_1683

I love making cultured (also known as lacto-fermented) foods. After taking about 6 months off from fermenting (save a battle with 20 heads of cabbage that resulted in 7 gallons of kraut), I'm back at it. Last week I made some lovely Cultured Curried Carrot Sticks, and now I've been bit hard by the fermentation bug. 

Cultured and lacto-fermented foods - such as sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, yogurt, miso, kombucha, and kvass - are rich in probiotic bacteria, enzymes, and amino acids. These foods aid digestion, increase immunity, and help alkalize the body. While everyone can benefit from consuming fermented cultured foods, they are especially beneficial if you are recovering from chronic illness, allergies, yeast infections, or have taken antibiotics recently. Many natural grocery stores and co-ops offer wonderful cultured and fermented foods, but they are often costly. I prefer to make most of mine at home - it is simple and much more affordable! 

These cultured carrot sticks can easily be made year-round. Make them now using sweet and tender young carrots from the spring garden, and use larger carrots as the summer goes on and as summer wanes to fall. If you can store carrots in cold storage for winter, or actually get local carrots through the colder months, you're in luck, and can make this even when the snowflakes start to fly! But if I were you, I'd make lots of jars through spring, summer, and fall, and take the winter off and rely on your stash. Jars of cultured carrots will last 6-8 months when kept in cold storage! And besides, the longer they sit, the better they taste; cultured foods age like fine wines.

I took a few jars of these carrot sticks to the second MPLS Swappers food swap over the past weekend (if you want to read more about the MPLS Swapperscheck out our blog). I organize this event with my friends A-K and Mandy, and it was a big success once again! All my jars of carrots were swapped in no time. Thankfully, I reserved a couple of jars at home for myself and let them ferment a few days longer, to get nice and sour the way I like them. And when I opened that jar after 7 days, those carrots bubbled. 

It's aliiiiiiive, ha ha ha ha ha!

IMG_1682IMG_1680

IMG_1681

Cultured Curried Carrot Sticks

yield 6 pints or 3 quarts

These carrot sticks are slightly sour, slightly salty, slightly spicy, and plenty crunchy. They have a beautiful bright orange color, due in part to the addition of curry powder. Serve along side sandwiches or wraps, Indian-style meals, as part of a relish tray, or eat straight out of the jar. Cultured carrot sticks can also be finely chopped and added to relishes, salsas, or chutneys for a healthful probiotic kick.

Metal reacts with fermented foods, so remove carrot sticks from jars with wood or plastic utensils and serve in non-metallic bowls/trays.

  • 4 pounds carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 fresh cayenne peppers, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
  • 6 Tbsp whey***
  • 3 Tbsp unrefined salt
  • 3 tsp whole coriander seeds 
  • 30 shelled whole cardamom seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • filtered water

Heat a small heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds and lightly toast, stirring often, until they are golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl to cool.

Slice carrots into 3-4 inch lengths about 1/4-inch x 1/4-inch. prepare other vegetables as directed. Thinly slice one of the halved cayenne peppers cross-wise. 

If using pint jars...

Add 1 sliced garlic clove, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, 5 cardamom seeds, 1/4 tsp curry powder, 1 Tbsp whey, and 1 1/2 tsp salt to jar. Then tightly pack with carrot sticks and one of the cayenne pepper halves. Sprinkle with a few slices of cayenne pepper. Then fill with water within 1 inch of the top.

If using quart jars... 

Add 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 10 cardamom seeds, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 2 Tbsp whey, and 3 tsp salt to jar. Then tightly pack with carrot sticks and two of the cayenne pepper halves. Sprinkle with a few slices of cayenne pepper. Then fill with water within 1 inch of the top.

Tightly close jars, and shake lightly to distribute ingredients and dissolve salt. Then place jars in a tray and set on the counter at room temperature for 4-7 days.  Try them at 4 days and see if you want them to be more sour or not, to get them more sour and softer leave them out at room temperature longer.  While I enjoyed them at 4 days (they were very crunchy and a little tart/sour), I liked them best after 7 days (softer but still crunchy and more intensely sour). If you let them sit for 7 days, they will bubble quite a bit when you open them - that's live food, friends! In warmer weather, your carrots will ferment more quickly, so be sure to check in on them periodically.

After fermenting at room temperature, keep in your fridge. If you can, wait a week or two before eating them - the flavor will intensify. The longer they sit, the better they are! Like all ferments, these will last for 6-8 months when kept in cold storage.

 

***A Note on Whey

Whey is the watery liquid remaining after milk has been curdled (yogurt) and strained. Full of enzymes, probiotic bacteria, vitamins, and minerals, whey can be used for making fermented foods and beverages, and is also a healthful drink on its own. Whey can be made easily at home by straining yogurt. Strained yogurt is thick, rich, and creamy, and has a more intense flavor than unstrained yogurt. 

To strain yogurt, I generally line a medium sized fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a large coffee filter, place it on top of a bowl, and put 2-4 cups of yogurt in the lined strainer. I cover lightly with a towel and let strain for 12-24 hours. You can do it on the counter, or you can put it in the fridge. The site Wonderful Ingredients also offers up two good methods for straining yogurt.  

If you are intolerant to lactose, whey is probably not a good choice for you. Some individuals who are casein sensitive may be able to tolerate whey, but cross contamination is highly likely. So, if you are intolerant or don't have whey (or plain yogurt) on hand, you can make this recipe without whey with success. Simply omit the whey and double the amount of sea salt - the increased quantity of salt will help preserve the carrots and stave off unfriendly bacteria in the whey's absence. 

Tuesday
Mar082011

MPLS Swappers: Food Swap Love comes to Minneapolis on March 19!

Homemade Jam is the perfect contribution to a Food Swap.

Canning jars and homemade curry powder in hand, I am following the lead of Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne and Brooklyn Homesteader Meg Paska. These ladies started the BK Swappers, and contributed to a modern trend of food swaps around the country! Food swaps are a place to trade your homemade, homegrown, and foraged food items with other like-minded folks, and are a great way to share knowledge, build community, and turn home food production into a habit. Truly inspired, I am starting a chapter here in Minneapolis: say hello to the MPLS Swappers.  I am so excited, and can hardly wait for our first swap on March 19. 

The Dish

If you live in the Twin Cities area, and would like to join me and other enthusiastic foodies for the first meeting of the MPLS Swappers, all you need to do is register and bring something to swap. Canned goods, a batch of homemade mustard, kombucha SCOBYs, sourdough starters, homemade sauerkraut or kimchee, spice mixes, home-cured meat - the options are endless, and anyone is welcome. I'm excited to meet you!

MPLS Swappers March 2011 Food Swap

Saturday March 19, 2011, 2-4 pm

3401 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, MN (located upstairs)

In order to have the most productive swap possible (and so my brain doesn't explode the first time I'm organizing this), participation is limited to 30 people. Registration is required, and the cost is free.

Register for MPLS Swappers March Food Swap in Minneapolis, MN  on Eventbrite

Check out all the details on the MPLS Swappers blog: http://mplsswappers.wordpress.com 


Want to know more about Food Swapping?

Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking Food Swaps Guide

Food Swaps around the country:

(list courtesy of Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking Food Swaps Guide)

BK Swappers: Brooklyn NY

  • Brokelyn featured the August 1, 2010 swap here.

ATXswappers: Austin TX

MPLS swappers: Minneapolis MN

PDX Swappers: Portland OR

  • Video from Cooking Up A Story
  • Huffington Post article, January 20, 2011

BAHSwappers: Houston and Bay Area TX

LAX Swappers: Los Angeles CA

East Bay CA Food Swaps: East Bay CA

  • Check out the blog they’ve started

Derby City Food Swap: Louisville KY