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Q&A with Sunday Suppers + Recipe

  • We’ve been admiring food stylist Karen Mordechai and her communal dinner series, Sunday Suppers, for some time now, and have been using her black sea salt and vegetable-dyed napkins in our own kitchens non-stop. Karen recently spoke with us about her work and shared one of her recipes.

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    What prompted the transition from making dinner with friends in your apartment to larger scale cooking parties with strangers?
    In the Spring of 2009, my husband and I started hosting communal cooking dinners in our apartment. The dinners were taught by a guest chef — we sourced local and seasonal ingredients, set a table and dined together. We started a blog for photos and recipes from the dinners. The posts started going viral, guests and strangers began emailing us to attend, and the rest is history.

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    Supper clubs and dinner parties are definitely having a moment. We’d love to hear your thoughts (or guesses) as to why you think this is happening now.
    Food has always been a central notion through the ages. I think there is now an exciting awareness and a deeper understanding of what and how we integrate food into our lives. We are all digging a little deeper into the elements of our food system, where it comes from, the integrity of its sourving, the distance it has traveled and then also how we prepare it and present it to our friends and family. I think people are excited to roll up their sleeves and get more involved.

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    We’re intrigued by your black sea salt, which has a unique, almost smoky flavor. How do you recommend using it?
    The black sea salt is infused with coconut shell charcoal, providing the smoky flavor and deep black color that makes it a striking garnish.

    We love using black sea salt over buttered toast, salads and cheeses, and recently even on our ice cream.

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    Tell us a bit about the vegetable dyed napkins you’re making. Which vegetables do you like to use?
    We use different ingredients for the colors of the season. In our last experimentation we used avocado (pits and peels), pomegranate and sumac. They all make beautiful earthy tones.

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    What’s a lesson you’ve learned from hosting dinners that you can pass on to us?
    It sounds cliched but organization really is everything — I’ve learned this over and over. I am still learning — after each event I write a little note of my new lessons. But for the most part I would say don’t fuss, plan things out and then remember that it’s not that big of a deal, just relax and enjoy the food and company – that is really the most important part.

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    When you’re not cooking, where do you like to eat?
    There are so many great restaurants these days. Some of my very favorites include Diner, Balaboosta, Taim, Reynard’s, The Butcher’s Daughter, City Bakery, Cafe Habana, Roberta’s, and Russ and Daughter’s Cafe.

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    If we feel the urge to photograph our meal, are there any tips you can share for taking a great picture?
    Use natural light, don’t be afraid to pull back and capture the whole scene or get super close, don’t be timid, and most importantly, be playful and experiment. You are sure to learn along the way.

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    Karen’s recipe for Crostini with Creme Fraiche and Purple Cabbage

    Ingredients:
    1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    For bread:
    8 slices country loaf, sliced 1/2-inch thick
    1 clove garlic, halved
    1 cup creme fraiche
    sea salt to taste

    Directions:
    Preheat the oven to 425 F.
    Toss the cabbage with vinegar and olive oil and spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes until just crispy.
    Brush the olive oil over one side of each bread slice, and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast the bread, flipping the slices once, until golden brown (about 8 minutes).
    Rub the toast with the halved garlic clove. Spread with creme fraiche and top with olive oil and sea salt to taste.

    Makes 8 slices

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    Many thanks to Karen! You can find Sunday Suppers black sea salt and vegetable dyed table linens at our Home Shop and Chelsea store.

    - Photos by Karen Mordechai

    This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 at 7:03 pm and is filed under Food, In Stock. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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