Food Swap

source:  Utne Reader

source: Utne Reader

Next month, I’m participating in my first food swap.  What the heck is that, you ask?  I didn’t know either – after a little research, I discovered it’s the new “cottage food” thing to do.  Food swapping provides urban gardeners and home canners with a platform for sharing their wares.  Local “food crafters” share homemade, homegrown, or foraged foods with each other through one of these swaps. Trades of goods take place between attendees – my canned peaches for your homemade lemoncello.

Why do it?  It’s a challenge for me.  I like the idea of getting my food crafts out in the public – and it’s a nice way to meet people in the local foodie community (for an unsocial butterfly).  I asked my sister if she wanted to participate – and I received the typical sisterly response:

“What if I don’t like anything that others brought?  What if my food it better?  What if I just want to swap with you?  Why would I want to do it?  What if I don’t want to trade?  I remember when mom made baked goods for the bake sales that hers were always better than the other moms’ treats…

Ugh…never mind.

I’m not sure what I’m going to bring yet.  I just checked the canned jellies and jam pantry from my recent jamming sessions and there’s not much available – two nectarine-vanilla, three strawberry-black pepper and four Moroccan kumquat.  I’m considering baking a few batches of my walnut orange cookies that I created during culinary school. I’ve also thought about canning my preserved lemons (picked from my garden, of course) and salted caramel sauce.  I made a chutney for lunch after my mom’s service that I’ve always wanted to recreate.  I also want to play around with chocolates and fresh pasta (I just got a pasta roller attachment for my Kitchenaid – and chocolate molds when I was in Italy).

It’s a little nerve wracking (what if no one likes my stuff) and a little exciting at the same time.

Summer in a Bowl

With nectarines from my bountiful tree and homemade preserved lemons (from my garden as well),  I made this fresh and flavorful Summer’s day treat.  The leftovers were just as delicious when turned into milk shakes:

Nectarine and Preserved Lemon Ice Cream

2 cups fresh nectarines, seeded and unpeeled

3-4 slices preserved lemon, finely chopped

1 1/4   cups sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 large eggs

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/2 – 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped

Puree nectarines in a food processor.  Add 1/2 cup sugar and lemon juice and combine.  Add preserved lemon to taste.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring the mixture occasionally. Test flavor and add additional preserved lemon if needed.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about two minutes.  Whisk in 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.  Whisk for 1 minute more until completely blended.  Add cream, milk and vanilla bean and whisk to blend. Add 1/2 of the puree and blend.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.  About 2 minutes before ice cream is done, add remaining puree. **

** Adapted from Ben and Jerry’s Fresh Georgia Peach Ice Cream