Category Archives: Participants

Houston Food Swap

I’ve talked to numerous people about this. Friends who also cook, and friends who pickle, both camps are excited about the idea of a swap.

photo credit Patrick Bertolino

Basically, you pickle, can, preserve, your bounty and we come to a central location and trade amongst ourselves. It’s not buying, or selling, but it is building our community’s interconnectedness and stretching our resources. Rarely does that 14th jar of homemade strawberry preserves taste as good as the 2nd jar. With a swap, you can enjoy a wide variety while continuing to only produce a few items. I first heard about this idea on Twitter from Indy Food Swappers (@IndyFoodSwap). Their webpage has lots of good resources, included a link to a food swap etiquette article on CHOW with hilariously negative comments.

A food swap takes the essence of Our Community Appetite- fun, deliciousness, and self-reliance on a group level- out of the kitchen and into the wider community.  I can easily imagine 20-30 folks meeting up and swapping, not only delicious home-made foods, but also encouragement, recipes, and tips.

Are you interested? If so follow the blog to be sure you get all the information. This will be the central information center. I’m sure we’ll need assistance pulling it together and a few sponsors, too.

I’m aiming for an early Spring inaugural  Houston Food Swap!

With that wish, I am off to ring in the New Year.  May your 2012 be full of wholesome, delicious fun!


Bring An Ingredient Quesadilla Party

The Friday before Christmas Lura & I hosted another really successful Bring An Ingredient party.

Simple, good cheer! Pinecone decoration

photo credit Darwin Bell on Flickr

This time the theme was quesadillas. We provided the tortillas and cheese (learned from that from last time- if the host doesn’t provide cheese, everyone else will!). This time folks brought three kinds of homemade salsa, guacamole, ground venison, and so much more.

We had at least two rounds of guests, and the arrival of new ingredients encouraged people to come back through for a second helping.

Build your own! It’s so simple:

  • Pick a theme that can take a lot of customization (quesadillas, pasta, pizza, or stir-fry)
  • Think of it as an open house- set the expectation that people will mill about, and chat while they wait to cook their plate full of deliciousness.
  • Invite a bunch of people- less than half will come and those who do will likely be a pleasantly varied mix (or maybe that’s just my friends).
  • Be sure to provide a couple of non-alcoholic beverages and feature them prominently.
  • You may want to seed the table, by asking one or two confirmed guests to bring a widely popular side item.
  • Relax!

If you do try this at home, please come back and let us know how it goes.

I hope your holiday has been full of good cheer! Here’s to many more delightful community meals and cooking events in 2012!

Garlic + Goodness

Today I chronicle, not a meal shared, but a more focused experience of friends gathering to satisfy our appetite for food, fun, and community-reliance.

For my birthday last week, we eschewed the expected home cooked feast.  The week was simply too hectic, what with Thanksgiving around the corner and the time of year waking all of Houston’s event planners from a heat induced stupor.

So I went out for drinks on my natal anniversary at a newish local joint and made plans for pickling on Sunday.  You may know that my husband is an avid food fermenter.  It’s actually how we met. Our refrigerator would be empty without a half gallon each of ‘power mix’ and cultured garlic cloves.  The fridge was nearly empty.

Last Sunday was by far the easiest, quickest garlic batch yet.  I think it was the focus- usually garlic is something we pickle as a side project.  It was so peaceful. Three people separating and peeling garlic cloves; catching up on each other’s lives, while my friend’s young son “helped” by smelling everything and telling us of his recent pirating adventures in Make Believe.

Today we returned to complete and decant the batch. So fragrant, so simple! And reconnecting, even briefly, was lovely. Especially after the hectic holiday, quiet moments of connection are precious. Now, $15 & less than 2 full hours of labor later, we both have delicious garlic that will keep in our fridges for more than a year (as if it has a chance of lasting that long).

I will edit in some pictures of our garlic.

Thanks Pixie for feeding the Community Appetite!

Our Community Appetite comes to the Green Scene

Mona Metzner is our latest community leader to say YES to hosting Our Community Appetite in her home and kitchen.

Mona is the founder of the Houston Green Scene.

A Great Garlic Themed Night

The stove mid-cooking at our first Community Appetite celebration

Toppings for the garlicky pasta on the stove.

Last Friday was our first gathering.  It was so much fun!

Our host provided pasta for 15 people, a little left over pesto, and 2 bottles of red wine.

The guests brought more wine, bread, cheese, mushrooms, spinach, more cheese, swiss chard, roasting garlic and, oh yes, more cheese!

Note: For your event, especially if you are using Facebook for your RSVPs, encourage folks to post what they are thinking to bring.  Luckily a blended cheese sauce is great for pasta, but a salad bar party with only greens would probably be less successful.

Lura and friends making the deliciousnessLura’s is a ‘four butt’ kitchen, so lead chefs were appointed and the rest of the crew rotated through or stayed in the living room fullfilling the second tenant of Our Community Appetite- quality conversations.

I unfortunately had to leave before the roasted pears were served (with cinnamon and melted cheese, I believe), but before I hugged my way out of the party participants were bubbling with ideas for future gatherings.  Success indeed!

Thanks Lura for taking this idea and running with it!