Saturday, December 19, 2009

Punk Rock Flea Market, Holiday Edition

I've been baking all day. For Real. Y'know how people say things like that: "i've been working all day"... "i've been playing video games all day"... "i've been thinking about how the Eagles crushed the Giants all day", but usually it's hyperbole. You weren't really doing those things all day, just for a long time, or longer than usual. No, no my friends. Baking. ALL DAY. I've peed a couple of times, and took a shower. Other than that, the kitchen has been my prison. Mixing, rolling, stirring, measuring, scooping, baking. Non-stop, like a machine for about 16 hours. 

It's not for Christmas either. It's for Philly's Punk Rock Flea Market. Which is later today (Sunday), from 10am-5pm at the Starlight Ballroom. Where I'll be selling lots of cookies (vegan and regular), vegan chocolate peanut butter cups, and some pies (sweet potato and vegan chocolate peppermint). I've also got some hand-made crocheted goodies, and some random stuff that's been lying around for awhile. Like some clothes I've never worn, some gifts I never liked, and a New Kids on the Block wood-backed poster circa 1989.  If those reasons aren't good enough for you to venture to the shady area north of Chinatown, honestly I'm not sure what you're doing with your life. 

(crocheted headbands)

And I'm sure you're thinking, "but there's 27 feet of snow outside, why would anyone brave those conditions for a flea market?" Did I mention I was baking all day? That, and there are lots of vendors with tons of awesome stuff both handmade and vintage. And it's the weekend before Christmas, and I'm sure there's at least someone on your list that you still need to buy for. Or maybe you want to treat yourself to a homemade sweet potato pie with a pecan streusel topping made by yours truly. Whatever your deal, brave the cold and the snow, and come browse. If you're really nice, I might even give you a cookie...

(oatmeal chocolate chip! Notice the hole in the middle where Ken stuck his finger to claim ownership of the last one...)

Saturday December 19th and Sunday December 20th 10:00am to 5:00pm
At The Starlight Ballroom (460 N 9th Street - 9th & Spring Garden-ish)
All Ages / 21+ To Drink / $3 Entry Donation /


It's that time again for the bi-annual (twice a year) PUNK ROCK FLEA MARKET. R5's most popular reoccurring event/show/whatever (by far). They had over 4000 visitors and 100+ tables of  old records, clothes, art, music, food, junk, bicycles, stereo equipment, instruments, automobiles, tools, posters, furniture, computers, skateboards and lots of other stuff this past July. It's all going down at The Starlight Ballroom (right below 9th & Spring Garden Sts)

To meet the increasing demand of people wanting to sell their stuff at this – they have spread it out over two days. Each day will have entirely different sellers . Your admission donation is good for both days (so you can come in and out as many times as you would like over the weekend -  In addition There will be much more room to shop compared to flea markets in the past

All proceeds raised will goto the purchase of necessary equipment and supplies to ensure that all ages shows continue to remain a reality at The First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia - mainly an annual payment for their liability insurance policy. Do not let the "name of the event" lead you to believe that it's just punk records, clothes etc. - it's a full on flea market with everything from furniture, to laptops / computers , to stereo equipment, to handmade apparel, to vegan treats, information from various non profit groups, book stores, artists selling their work, bicycles & skateboards and whatever else they can fit onto the ballroom floor at The Starlight Ballroom

In addition to the normal flea market stuff there will also be a full bar and food service kitchen to make the day go by a little faster as well as a rotating shift of WKDU DJs


Monday, December 14, 2009

Cranberry Sauce, I put that s#*t on everything.

OK, so I’m really new to this whole blogging thing, and consequently, I’m pretty bad at keeping up with it. Which I really have no excuses for other than my amazing ability to always seem busy without ever actually accomplishing anything. To be fair, I have been baking a lot over the last few months, just not documenting any of it. So expect some catching up over the next few postings.

It seems cliché to say it, but I really love the holidays. The urges I have to bake most of the year get kicked into to overdrive, and I just can’t seem to make enough sweet treats. Thanksgiving found me extra busy with creating and crafting desserts not only for my apartment and for my family, but for my boyfriend Ken’s family as well (whom I had just met recently, and which is an entirely different tale). Ken’s birthday happened to fall a week before Turkey day, which meant birthday treats on top of everything else. Over the course of that week, I baked so much I thought my little one-rack oven might pull a Septa-esque strike and leave me stranded like an old lady trying to get to her doctor’s appointment. Thankfully, we all made it through without a hitch.

The list of goods baked between November 18 and November 26:

-pistachio cardamom birthday cake

-dairy free chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (also for birthday celebrations, and unfortunately devoured before pictures)

-Pumpkin nut loaf

-The best cranberry sauce you’ve ever tasted (see below)

-Sweet potato pecan pie (several attempts, first one pictured)

-Pumpkin brownies with pumpkin caramel frosting (picture is pre-frosting)

Many of those were re-imaginings of other recipes or straight up winging it, and not all of the recipes are solid. For now let me detail the one recipe that needs no messing with:

The Best Cranberry Sauce You’ve EVER Tasted

  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries (approximately 1.5 cups)
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • orange zest (to taste. I do about half of a medium sized orange.)

Dump everything into a medium sized sauce pan, and bring to boil.

Let berries boil until they start to burst, then turn down the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until berries continue to burst and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

Let cool before storing. Pour that shit on everything.

Some notes: I recommend splurging on real dark amber maple syrup. If you’re going to use that cheap hi-fructose crap, you’re better off using regular sugar. Also, do yourself a favor and go for the better cranberry juice too. I like ocean spray no sugar added, or any similar no-sugar juice.

This sauce has a beautiful deep ruby shade, and it’s mildly sweet with a tart after-bite. Depending on how much orange zest you use, it will have a layer of citrus flavor as well. I literally pour this sauce all over my thanksgiving dinner: turkey and stuffing. It’s yummy over ice cream or as a sauce for a cheesecake too (not that I would know, but I hear rumors). It’s also particularly good on thanksgiving sandwiches (try shredded turkey mixed with cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes, spread on toasted roll). Or you can just eat it by the spoonful. Mmmmm

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sweet Swallows is born

I grew up watching my grandma bake, begging her to let me help. My favorite task was sifting confectioner's sugar over her famous nut log cookies at Christmas time. Of course, sneaking those cookies out of the freezer before Christmas was fun too. As I grew older, my grandma didn't bake as much, and neither did I. I'd dabble with cookies, cupcakes or brownies for special occasions, but those times were few and far between. 

But somewhere between unemployment and having a kitchen I didn't need to share with others, my like of baking developed into a deep and passionate love. I began baking just to bake; for the love of the act itself. Specifically, I found that I really love making pies. There's something about making the pastry, rolling it out and crimping it into the pan that relaxes me like nothing else. And I found that not only did I enjoy the actions, but others enjoyed the results. And so the appeal is two-fold. Not only do I love the process of building a beautiful, fresh baked good, but I like watching other people enjoy the fruits of my labor. 

Mixed Berry Pie

I thought it only natural that since modern technology allows everyone to share their thoughts on everything, I'd try my hand at documenting my burgeoning love with baking. Thanks for joining me on my ride...