DIY Business Association Conference + Red Pepper Hummus and Beet Dip

Alternately titled The Little Food Processor That Could OR No One Girl Should Make All That Hummus
(skip to recipes at bottom)

I’m starting this post shortly after taking a way-too-expensive car ride home from the first (but definitely not last) DIY Business Association Conference in DUMBO, and I am glowing because WHOA, I am full of inspiration from a day of panels and chatting with friends, past and present colleagues, and new acquaintances who are all working on amazing creative projects.


In my running around all day, I failed to take photos; I’m sure other people’s will surface soon…

The DIYBA was started this year by Amy Schroeder, a close friend who began as my mentor; she founded the now-defunct women’s music and culture mag Venus Zine when she was a student at Michigan State (also my alma mater, though we’re 10 years apart). When I was in college, Amy took me on as an intern and soon after hired me as an editor, and it’s because of that experience — and the constant support from her and the other colleagues, mentors and friends I met because of it — that I truly believed I could make a living writing about music in New York. Just four years later I was able to make it a reality. Anyway, Amy put on an incredible conference (I helped out most of the day and with the help of Stefanie of The Petite Soiree and a kickass volunteer team, it was like clockwork) and every single person left with something new.

“Ideas need to have sex with each other”
Most of the conference focused on collaboration — Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge talked about seeking out people in communities outside your niche who share the way you think; Molly Neuman, who I work with at eMusic, talked about how Ted Leo (who she manages) has started collaborating with comedians to reach new audiences; bassist Gregory Jackson, who’s played with countless reggae, soul and R&B artists, talked about getting gigs that combine music and art. The conference today was a clearing for new ideas and inspiration, and I know there will be some cool projects related to this blog that came out of today. (Jessica H. Lawrence talked about ideas needing to “have sex with each other” and it’s true.)

Among the people I met today: Journalists Niema Jordan and Annie Reuter, who wrote concert reviews for me at VZ back in the day but I’d never met them in person; Shondes drummer Temim Fruchter; comedic songwriter Jessica Delfino; BUST Magazine designer Erin Wengrovious; Brian Merchant from the Utopianist; photographer (and fellow former State Newser) Eleanor Templeton; Patrice Fehlen at September Gurl PR and quite a few others. I definitely have some cooking and wine-drinking dates and collaborative ETB posts ahead of me.


Journalist Niema Jordan (of Essence magazine and others) and Temim Fruchter of the Shondes

So, speaking of food (of course), the other notable part of the day is that I offered to make snacks for the drinks and mingling hour at the end of the event; which was about 150 or so people … which I had never done before. Considering the logistics — I had to make it a day ahead of time and it had to sit in a fridge or at room temperature all day — I decided on roasted red pepper hummus and beet/goat cheese dip, with pita, carrots and cucumbers, and a huge fruit salad. I also have no perception of how much food should be made for that many people, and I spent Saturday hovering over my tiny, tiny food processor, making my weight in hummus. (I don’t even wanna talk about it. The morals of my story are 1) I need a bigger food processor, and 2) I should never make that much hummus again.) And before the conference I chopped up two watermelons, four cantaloupes and combined them with six cartons of strawberries and about four pounds of grapes. WAY TOO MUCH FOOD.

In my frantic planning and errand-running and food-making, I completely freaked out. I thought, “I’m representing my food blog and this food is totally nothing fancy and people are going to think I’m super lame” … and then I realized it actually doesn’t matter. At all. What I do on ETB is not fancy. OK, I guess sometimes it can get a bit elaborate — but it’s usually not, and that’s a lot of what this site is about. I’m a home cook, not a business. I’m not trying to sell you anything; I just love to make food and share it with people. And reminding myself of that made it totally fine that I was making two dips and fruit salad. And then at the end of the evening when people said they liked my hummus, I realized how silly I was for thinking people would judge me in the first place. It was a great learning experience. And since I made WAY too much of everything, I pushed hummus-filled Greek yogurt containers onto other volunteers and conference-goers, and I can only hope they eat it.

Anyway! If you tasted these at the conference or they just sound good to you anyway, recipes are below. Both are very simple, though I recommend using a large food processor if you plan to make more than a few batches.


THE RECIPES!

Roasted red pepper hummus with basil
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:
1/2 c roasted red pepper (about 2/3 of a pepper; roast at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes)
1-2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp tahini
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Juice from 1/4 lemon
Salt, paprika and cayenne pepper to taste

Directions:

Pulse red pepper, garlic and basil leaves in food processor until roughly chopped.

Add rest of ingredients and blend until smooth.

Beet and goat cheese spread
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:
You probably don’t want to follow these proportions directly, but this is a rough estimate of what went into one batch. Just keep adding until you like how it tastes?
1 1/2 cups roasted beets, chopped (wrap in foil and roast on a baking sheet at 450 degrees for about 45 minutes or until easily poked through with a fork)
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup cannellini beans
Dill (dried or fresh; I used dried)
Cumin
Salt

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4 thoughts on “DIY Business Association Conference + Red Pepper Hummus and Beet Dip

  1. Haha….welcome to my world!

    After working for the food bank for two years, I’ve learned that large-scale food prep is a COMPLETELY different skill set than home cooking. The first time I catered an event for the food bank I spent an entire afternoon (and with the help of 4 volunteers) making seven big trays of pasta salad for an event with some 150 people.

    …..We only used one of them.

    And I totally agree about being scared of making “simple” food. It took me a lot of stressful mornings before I learned that people will be appreciative of anything tasty, regardless as to how tasty it is. Kudos to you for learning after your first event!

  2. I meant to say, “people will be appreciative of anything tasty, regardless as to how *complicated* it is.

    It’s still early-ish in California.

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