the first-ever DC food swap
What’s a food swap? It’s a market where food is currency. Where you trade your homemade ricotta for a jar of sour cherry jam, or honey yogurt for a vial of local honey, or pickled okra for a handful of garlic. Where you learn about how to make vegan empanadas, how to grow a mushroom log, and how to home-cure your own bacon. Where you meet others in the city, who you might never have met otherwise, who also love to geek out in the kitchen.
And my friends and I started up our own food swap, right here in Washington, DC.
The energy at our first-ever food swap was tangible – the thrill of meeting another vegan baker, beekeeper, or local farmer; the discovery of new friendships in unexpected places; the eagerness to get back into the kitchen to experiment with something entirely new.
Our event was held at Above The Bike Shop, a DIY space in Adams Morgan, who generously offered their light-filled loft for our entire Sunday afternoon. The autumn breeze circled through the open windows.
Thank you to my winning boyfriend O for being our official photographer. The photos here are my own, but his can be found on our DC Food Swap blog and Facebook page. Thanks also to The Huffington Post, who interviewed me in advance of the food swap last week. Read that article here.
Most of all, thank you, THANK YOU, to our community of food swappers who blew me away with their ingenuity, generosity, and kitchen prowess. In my own food swap haul, I scored a garlic braid, zucchini muffins, empanadas, vegan pancake mix, bunches of rosemary and sage, walnut portobello pâté, sour cherry jam, minced garlic in olive oil, and more.
One of the most creative swappers was Caleb, who brought an armful of jars labelled as marshmallow herb gardens. You have to try it to believe it, but believe me when I say that herb-infused vodka soaked marshmallows are one of the most incredible food experiences you might ever taste.
Eating a vodka marshmallow is like enjoying some rare delicacy; it has a texture like an oyster, a zing of alcohol, and a sweet, citrusy flavor. Post-swap, my co-organizer Tanya and I ate them as a celebratory treat on their own, but you could use them in a fizzy cocktail or drop a couple into a mug of hot chocolate. Caleb also insists that it can be lit on fire, but Tanya and I didn’t have much luck there. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you!
Thanks to Caleb for sharing his recipe.
marshmallow herb garden
fresh rosemary, basil & thyme, in proportions appealing to your sensibilities; enough to create a mini-forest in your vodka.
orange zest (for the color)
vodka (I prefer Svedka)
Infuse herbs and orange zest 4-7 days based on how herby you want your vodka. Fully submerge marshmallows for at least 24 hours. Get creative with how you keep the marshmallows submerged as they will float up. I use jumbo marshmallows to keep the marshman down. Remove marshmallows, then use as midnight snack, desert, cocktail super-garnish. Light on fire, if you can. Don’t waste the infused vodka. Make an herby cocktail.