Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brooklyn Night Bazaar

Last night was the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, where I had a booth selling my crocheted food ornaments. They did a great job advertising the bazaar and there were crowds of people coming in and out of the 6 hour event. The best part was that it wasn't just a craft fair, which tends to attract a limited crowd, there were food and beer vendors and live music, which kept people hanging around longer. It'll be continuing through Dec 22nd, Fri-Sat 6pm-midnight, so if you get a chance to visit, it's definitely worthwhile. There's a nice variety of indie vendors, ranging from screenprinted T-shirts, prints, jewelry, soaps, clocks, home-brewed beers, candies etc.

I shared a booth with my friends the Smithereenes and we lucked out and got assigned prime real estate in the center of everything. My mini burgers proved the most popular and sold out. I actually had someone run across the room after catching her eye to immediately buy one. The sushi and donuts were the next most-purchased items. Apparently fuzzy foods make people smile.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gluten Free Products

There are a lot of gluten-free products out there now. After trying quite a few, I thought it might be helpful to those just starting out on a gluten-free diet to list brands which I think are worth eating or avoiding.

Schar and Archer Farms
Consistency and texture are usually my biggest issues with gluten-free pastas. I honestly think that if you swapped these out with real pasta, most people couldn't tell the difference. Tastes great and has the same bite as pasta does. Made with rice and corn flour.

DeBoles: This is also made with rice and corn flour, but the texture is very gritty/grainy, similar to whole wheat pasta. It's not intolerable but doesn't feel like pasta.

Least Favorite:  
Tofu Shirataki: The smell alone is enough to turn you off. It's made from the "root of the Konnyaku - a member of the yam family and tofu." This is usually found in the fridge section of the supermarket, because much like tofu, it has water packaged with it. It smells horrible and has a really rubbery texture. I could only handle a few bites before throwing it out.

Quinoa Pasta: Very chewy, rubbery texture. I threw most of this out as well.

Obviously,  you can stick with potato/corn based chips. But if you love pita chips and saltines as much as I do, you need alternatives.

FoodShouldTasteGood. I loved this brand even before I started gluten free, so it's a nice perk that I can still eat it. Their chips have great flavors, my favorite of which are Multigrain and Olive.

Riceworks: These are dense chips made from whole grain rice. Great taste, great cruchiness

Veggie Chips: There are a lot of brands of these so it's hard to narrow it down. They're easily identifiable by their tri-colored chips (off-white, orange and green). The flavors are fairly subtle, mostly just salty, which is what I tend to look for in a chip.

Least Favorites:
Glutino crackers: Texture reminds me of a stale cracker

Natural Nectar Cracklebread: It's like eating salty, flaky, airy crust.


BAKING PRODUCTS: It's tricky rating gluten-free flours because it really depends on what you use it for. For example, coconut or almond flour may be great in a cookie recipe, but not so good in a crumble or cake recipe. I've heard that Cup 4 Cup flour, created by Thomas Keller, is the best one out there right now, but haven't had a chance to try it because it's quite pricey ($20 for 3lbs) and is only available at a few places, like Williams-Sonoma.

Gluten Free Bisquick: I made drop biscuits with these, not pancakes, so my rating is only based on that test. The results were more cake-like than biscuit, both in texture and taste. Perfectly edible as long as you're not expecting a traditional biscuit.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust: (I made pizza and foccacia with this) This comes with its own yeast packet. Rise time is very short. I wasn't a huge fan of the consistency or the flavor, but it's definitely edible.

I'd love to hear opinions of other products which I may not have had a chance to try yet, so feel free to post other brands you'd recommend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Craft Fair Prep!

Hurricane Sandy happened this week. Work has been cancelled since Monday due to the inability to commute plus our office is downtown and without power. We were extremely lucky enough to have electricity throughout this whole mess. Now, although we have a car, the shortage of gas is keeping us at home, so what better time to be productive?

My friend asked me last night if I'd want to share a booth at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar on Nov 24th (the entire bazaar runs from Nov 23rd - Dec 22nd on Fri and Saturdays, 6pm -  midnight). I haven't done a craft fair in a couple of years, so I jumped at the chance. The only problem is I've been procrastinating all year as to what to sell, so I finally settled on what I know best: Crocheted food. Out of all 6 of my Etsy stores that I've had over the years, YarnYums was my favorite and did fairly well. I'll be going under the name Tinkerbot, since that's my current online store and I've already printed business cards for it.

I'll be selling mini crocheted food as ornaments. So far the menu consists of mini donuts (chocolate and strawberry icing), mini sliders with lettuce and cheese and toast with butter. I may also sell regular sized crocheted pie slices and bacon and eggs. Also debating making xmas light and/or bell garlands. Only 24 days to do this all!!! Back to crafting!