Featured swapper: Nicole Warren

Nicole Warren

Meet our featured swapper, Nicole Warren!
Nicole gave us the kick in the pants we needed to start organizing the next food swap. We have been busy! Kathy has been busy building a house, Jeriann has her teaching job, and I am going to school to become a teacher. We will try to do better this year. Here are the questions I gave Nicole. Check out our previous featured swappers, and email if you are interested in being a featured swapper.

Do you have a blog? No I’ve never kept a blog, but I follow several blogs and pull inspiration from them for my cooking and preservation, especially Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF), Gut and Psychology Syndrom Diet (GAPs), and paleo.

How many times have you participated in the food swap? I have only participated once in the fall of 2011 before I moved back to Massachusetts for a year and a half for a job. It was such an amazing experience that I have been thinking about it ever since, wanting to cultivate this type of event again. When I returned last year, I was eager to come across another Oly Food Swap event, and I am excited to bring in new energy to get it going.

How did you find out about it? I connected with another friend. At the time I had just started canning, from a good farmer friend of mine who is a master canner and talk me water bath canning and pressure canning techniques, and was excited to share!

What did you bring to the swap? That year I made several types of jams and whole fruits canned in water, like blueberries, plums, and peaches. I make my own herbal tea blends and salves, which I brought. I was so excited to trade some of my excess and I came home with many other canned goods, chocolate, dried fruits, and milk kefir cultures and a smoothie!

Why have you participated? I participate because I believe in a barter system that crosses monetary boundaries and allows people to decide what is a fair trade and to interact with each other in that way. I participate because I am passionate about creating food and want to share and trade with others in my community. I participate to find community, to interact with people that I may not already know.

Do any friends participate? In the past I have had a few friends participate, and I have a lot of friends who are interested, so I can’t wait to tell them when the new fall date is!

What were some of the things you liked from past swaps? Milk kefir cultures, smoothies, dried pineapple, salsas, pear sauce, home-brews, homemade cider, produce, green tomato preserves, toffee and brittle!

What are you hoping to bring to the swap? I will be bring a large variety of canned goods, most likely 4 or 5 jars of 15 different things – jams, butters, pickles, salsas, gazpacho, sauces. I will also bring some lacto fermented vegetables, kombucha, water kefir, homemade tea blends, salve, homemade chocolate, and homemade soap! Yum. Maybe homemade mustard! Excited yet?

Why should people participate? People should see this as an opportunity to share and trade with their community without the exchange of money. Its a way to appreciate our talents and skills and to learn from each other. Its a fun and creative way of meeting new people!

What is your favorite nut and why? My favorite nut is the hazelnut. Now, I know that sounds like a coincidence being that they’re so easy to grow here, but they have a really amazing flavor, and they’re as versatile as an almond. They make great nut crusts for cheesecake and pumpkin pie, they’re delicious covered in honey and coconut and roasted, and I love them with dried figs and a glass of raw milk. I sprout my hazelnuts by soaking them in salt water (according to Nourishing Traditions) and then dehydrate them for 12-18 hours.

Do you have a recipe you can share? I’m embracing fall with my new favorite meal – creamed kale and roasted delicata squash with blue cheese and walnuts.

Creamed kale and roasted delicate squash with blue cheese and walnuts

To make the creamed kale, blanch 2 bunches of kale for 10-15 minutes (which sounds like a lot, but the texture is amazing, and this significantly decreases the goitrogens and oxalates that make this vegetable harder to digest raw). Once the kale is well cooked, drain the water and add a stick of butter, 5 cloves of garlic, 1/4-1/2 cup of cream, and 1 tsp of homemade mustard. Cook until well combined and then serve. Add mushrooms or shredded chicken for variation.

To make the delicata squash, cut and deseed as many as desired. Fill the inside of each with a drizzle of honey, a pad of butter, a crumble of gorgonzola cheese, and a few hand crushed walnuts. Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork. Enjoy!

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