Archive for the ‘MrMacho’ Category

Food Swap-A-Tunity

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Last week I attended my first Food Swap. I brought peanut butter cookies boxed by the dozen, with a plate for sampling.

Food Swaps are a relatively new idea, and spreading to many parts of the US. What is a Food Swap? These are a “recurring event where members of a community share homemade, homegrown, or foraged foods with each other. Swaps allow direct trades to take place between attendees, e.g., a loaf of bread for a jar of pickles or a half-dozen backyard eggs.”

Last week's small event was held at the Clinton Community Library located in Rhinebeck, NY.

Librarian Terry, left, and Annie (who owns blueribbonhearth, a small home-based food business) hosted the event.

MrMacho, above, is yakking with Terry.

These events are opportunities to taste different foods and meet your neighbors. Terry and Annie plan to grow the idea by hosting quarterly swaps.

How can attending a Food Swap help your business? Use this is an opportunity to introduce people to your products. But this is not the place for heavy marketing. Put your business card on an unobtrusive place (bottom) with the name of your product. If people like it, they will find you!

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Baking with Almond Paste

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

There’s something special about almond paste. It gives products a subtle flavor and adds a nice texture. A couple of weeks ago I bought a case and made:

Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies, MrMacho’s favorite.

Almond Cherry Biscotti

Almond Buttons

Pear Frangipane Tart

Saturday, after our Hudson Valley Baking Society (HVBS) membership meeting, we had a workshop, Baking with Almond Paste.

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(The mixers were not entirely cooperative.)

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That afternoon at home I made another Pear Frangipane Tart.

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Frangipane is an almond filling made with almond paste (or ground almonds). This filling is most often spread over a crust (tart, cookie, or pie crust) and topped with fresh fruit. Bakeries keep a supply of tart shells par-baked and stored at room temp until ready to finish.

For the above tart, use your favorite sweet cookie crust dough; reserve a small amount of dough to use as a streusel topping. Press most of the dough into a pan and parbake until a light golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, spread a thin layer of frangipane, and top with a layer of fresh fruit. Sprinkle remaining dough/streusel and bake at 350 degrees until done (approx 20 minutes) until the crust is a deep golden brown and the top is a light brown. Cool before cutting.

Frangipane filling
1 cup almond paste (8 ounces)
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Beat together almond paste, sugar, and butter. Add eggs and extracts, beating until smooth. Mix in flour and salt. Spread thin layer over tart crust or use as filling for other products. Store in fridge.

Fresh fruit season is perfect for selling this product, especially at farmers’ markets. Make individual tarts or a large tart cut into small pieces. Optional: add a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

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