Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Open Arms - MPLS Swappers

After some recent press in Minnesota Monthly magazine, the already well attended swap just got even more popular. When tickets are released, you better grab them fast. I lucked out and tickets were released the night BEFORE I went out of town for the weekend. I nearly missed my chance as tickets were gone less than 24 hours after they were released!

I am really glad that I didn't miss this one as it was the first time it was held in a new location. Open Arms, a local non-profit organization with a building that is just about a year old, opened their space to us. And, what a great space it is! Not only that, but I have a feeling their mission hits home for a lot of us at the swap. Open Arms provides free meals to people who are living with life-threatening diseases such as AIDS, cancer, ALS and MS. Their meals are made by volunteers in their amazing kitchen with special attention to the specific nutritional needs of their clients. This organization recognizes how important good food is and is making efforts to increase the number of local and organic ingredients in their meals. They have even expanded their operation to include a farm site called Open Farms. What a phenomenal organization!

The new location is spacious, air conditioned, well lit and provided plenty of tables. I hope they let us stay!

So...on to a few pictures of the many, many wonderful swap items. I think we filled 5 long tables and 1 long countertop with all of the offerings!


Pickled Tomatoes

Lavender Infused Vodka

Bourbon Orange Coriander Barbeque Sauce

Garlic Dill Pickles (Jamie is swapping again! Yay!)

This time I brought preserved lemons, which are a favorite ingredient in my house right now. They add such a salty and tart kick to foods when chopped into tiny pieces. Since this post , we have continued to try them out in different dishes. They've been delicious with sauted veggies in omelets and burritos, grilled, chopped and served over a veggie brat and mixed into grain and green salads.

I also brought kefir cheese. I really need to write a post about kefir as it is ubiquitous in my cooking and baking lately. I'll get that posted soon.

And, since Paul was busy recovering from his birthday party, I brought his bread to swap. He baked chili cheddar cheese bread. It has spicy, cheesy swirls inside. Unfortunately for me, the recipe included rendered bacon fat, so I can't tell you if it tasted good or not. Other people seemed to like it.

My swapping strategy was different at this swap than at past swaps. I am amassing quite the collection of jams, so even though I am usually drawn to jams before all else, I purposely tried to ease off of those this time. Here are the delicious foods I brought home:
  • Grapefruit Cupcakes
  • Gingery Gingersnap Granola
  • Bulgar Wheat Patties
  • Eggplant Tomato Spread
  • White Bean Dip
  • Lemon Curd with Candied Ginger
  • Caramelized Red Onion Relish
  • Savory Mango Chutney
  • Plum Apple Preserves (I couldn't leave without at least one jar of jam!)
  • Rosemary Onion Roasted Garlic Tartlet
  • Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
If you are interested in swapping, keep your eyes peeled for the next ticket release. You can find MPLS Swappers via the blog or facebook. Apparently they are also on that Twitter thing, but I have yet to go down that slippery slope.

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