With rocky economic times, some yearn for a return to the barter economy, a simpler system with fewer opportunities for debt swaps and complicated algorithms. If this is you, give it a test run with DC Food Swap.
Yes, they swap food, but we’re not talking McNuggets. The organizers bring together foodies with high-quality, home-made, well-decorated (for the most part) projects. So yes, a few offerings are a little weird. But this event draws the try-anything-once crowd, so even the weird things get traded. Oh, and you do sign a waiver, so it’s your own fault if a swap gets too weird.
But ‘too weird’ is unlikely. DC Swap meets in a bright, clean room above an AdMo bike shop, and the swap looks like a farmers market — except no money changes hands. Instead, each swapper has a ‘bid’ sheet on their table, where others can write their offers (two loaves of poppyseed bread for a bottle of earl grey-infused gin?). The afternoon ends with a lightening round of accepted (and a few denied) swaps, and everyone goes home with as many items as they brought.
So: I arrived with ten packages of Nutella blondies. I left with: a poppyseed loaf, two cannolis, a tin of fake meat (weird), scones, biscotti, a few packets of cookies. Nine items, since I broke open a bag of blondies to put out samples. But then, I did get my bag’s worth of tasty samples from the other tables.
Yes, I made Nutella blondies. But only after my black sesame zaatar crackers caught fire. However, after I enjoyed eating what I could salvage from the flames, I realized that this was truly the perfect recipe for clueless young professionals. So this is what I’m sharing this week, [highlight]along with a useful note on how not to set them on fire. [/highlight]
But why don’t we make this a barter? Send me – I’m serious – your favorite recipe.
Sesame Zaatar Crackers
– 3/4 cup flour
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp sugar (brown or white – your choice)
– 1/4 cup warm water
– 2 TAB plus a 1/2 tsp oil (any kind, but sesame is tasty, and feel free to experiment with flavored oils)
– Flavorings – your pick, any amount that makes you happy (but don’t overdo it!): dried herbs/spices, grated cheese, finely chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, combine the water and oil.
Combine the two bowls, stirring until blended. Feel free to blend in flavorings at this point too — any grated cheeses, sesame seeds, whatever.
Knead the dough like a stress ball for a minute or two, then place on a greased cookie sheet (I prefer to use it upside down, so I don’t have to deal with the raised edges), and roll flat (you’ll need a rolling pin – though I used a metal water bottle). Roll it very flat. Like, paper-flat. Sprinkle it with more tasty flavorings if you feel like it — cinnamon/sugar, rosemary, seeds. You can run a knife across it (to make cracker shapes), or simply break into jagged, ‘foodie’-looking shards after it’s completely cooled.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the crackers are crisp. Allow them to cool, then break apart.
[alert type=”error”]Note: mine caught fire because i wanted them to be a deep, toasty brown — and I placed them too close to the broiler. The time between ‘burn’ and ‘ignite’ was very, very short. If you are tempted to use a broiler, make sure they are at least 6-8 inches away. And watch them closely, with a wet dishcloth in hand. [/alert]
Visit http://dcfoodswap.org/ to learn more and start swapping. Don’t show up without registering – they kind of hate on crashers (sorry, Caroline).