15 Seconds of Fame
Sneak peek of Shareconomy, a documentary currently in production that’s examining all things Lyft, Feastly, and Airbnb - the good and the bad. I’m in it, so that’s pretty cool.
Consider contributing to the Kickstarter if you like this kind of stuff and if you want me to get my full 15 minutes.
Wanted to do a quick check-in / update on the 7S world. I have been trying to move from Oakland to San Francisco for the past 2.5 months - an exhausting and downright silly game that has wiped my energy and calendar. Therefore - Supper Club has been sadly neglected until I have a space (a HOME!) I can host in once again.
That said, not all is quiet on this front, oh no. For the past couple months, I’ve been more and more involved in an evolving conversation about the so-called “sharing economy,” a new business model (pioneered by SF-based companies such as Lyft and AirBnB) that’s disrupting traditional forms of commerce. You may know that I host my dinners through a rad new website called Feastly, which is growing quickly. Feastly is one of a handful of companies that media outlets are thrusting their cameras and ballpoint pens at, because it’s an excellent example of the way (mostly urban) culture is evolving the way we think about consumption and resources. It’s a pivotal moment here in the bay, where housing prices are ABSURD (let me tell ya from personal experience) and sharing resources makes more and more sense. WIRED Magazine did a great cover story on it this month, for which I - as a Feastly chef - was interviewed (sadly, they didn’t use any of my brilliant and insightful quips).
I had some experience talking about the sharing economy already. In late February, a documentary film team spent 10 whole hours following me around as a shopped for, prepared, and served a dinner to seven guests. It’s a bizzare experience having a camera in your face for that long - I’ve never babbled so much. Their film, Shareconomy, is examining the implications of this radical change - and I’ll be a “character” in it! Their blog has some pretty good stuff if you’re interested in learning more.
Finally, through this *hellish* house hunting process, I heard about a new company that’s doing bold things in the world of housing and sharing skills & resources - it’s called Campus. I’m not sure yet how I’ll be taking part in it, but it’s a fantastic product of the collision between a crazy housing bubble, a city of young & energetic tech heads, and the desire we all have (especially since everyone here is from somewhere else) to have a community.
I don’t know where this is all going yet, but it’s exciting. When Supper Club comes back, it will come back BIG, I promise.
'Til then dear strangers,
A few key ingredients from Canada Night: fresh flowers ($8 at the Ferry Plaza farmer’s market); fresh clams, white fish, parsley and bacon for the soup; and Bird’s Custard - an English import essential to making Nanaimo Bars.
Canada night brought out four couples of varying ages and backgrounds - we had folks from as far apart as Atlanta and Brazil - to gather around steaming bowls of chowder. The conviviality and ease delighted me - it’s always a dream to host such engaging people. Chowder recipe coming soon!
I’ve been feeling dissatisfied lately - stuck, if you will. I often ruminate on what would fill that great gaping need - a different home? More community? A stable loving partner? Give me those things, and I should feel happier, right? More satisfied? Like a better person, perhaps?
It’s a lot harder - but a lot healthier - to approach life from a position of bounty and to express gratitude. This year - without making any explicit resolutions or goals - I’m trying to give more and want less. After all, I have a salaried job, a warm and beautiful home, the independence of singlehood, and wise and loving friends. I have more than enough food to eat, a closet stuffed with things to wear, and the time to volunteer in my community and take classes in things that interest me (like welding! and woodworking! and sewing!).
Enough self-indulgent blather - what I’m trying to say it that I will no longer be accepting money to help me cover food costs at Supper Club. I would love it if you continued to chip in, though, as I plan to donate all proceeds from each of my dinners to feed those in our community who face food insecurity. I have chosen the Alameda County Community Food Bank to receive the donations - they do great work and I’m more than happy to support them.
From their site:
Alameda County Community Food Bank serves one in six county residents, but our work is about much more than numbers – it’s about real people struggling through difficult times,” said Allison Pratt, director of policy and services. “We hear every day from families with two or more working adults, still struggling to put a simple healthy meal on the table for their kids, and seniors living on fixed incomes, having to make the painful decision between food and medicine.The high level of need is shocking, and shows that the economy is not improving for everyone.
Thanks, everyone. I’m grateful to have you as part of this bountiful life.
For this 7S Supper Club meal, I’m going back to my roots and making a family recipe. My mother was born on the rocky, frigid island of Newfoundland, Canada. It’s a proud type of place, known for Newfoundland dogs, Irish heritage, and codfish. Newfoundlanders have always been good about gettin’ by with what they had, and what they had was not much (except for a mighty ton of fish). Soups have always been my favorite way to use what would otherwise be thrown away - something I learned from my mom, who learned from hers, who learned from hers. There’s a lot of nutrition in bones, and flavor, too. To my family, a pot of soup was a way to feed a big family (6 children!) with very little.
To honor them and my heritage, I’ll be cooking up a big pot of brothy fish and clam chowder, serving it with thick slices of homemade bread with even thicker slices of homemade butter smeared on top, and a traditional dessert from another island on the opposite side of Canada called Nanaimo. We’ll wash it all down with Shandys, a light beer cocktail.
Hope to see you there!
Fiddlehead Fern Salad
Clam & whitefish chowder (not vegetarian)
Homemade bread (Nana’s recipe, hopefully)
Nanaimo Bars - a classic Canadian treat
Here’s a little tune to set the mood for the next Supper Club, which will be held Sunday, February 16th. Menu to be posted soon!
This past Sunday, I hosted an unofficial Supper Club. It wasn’t seven people (more like 20!), they weren’t strangers (they were dear friends!) and it was the simplest of suppers. It was magnificent.
First, I’d like to apologize for this stock photo.
No, I’m not going to apologize. I’m sorry I didn’t take my own darn picture of the 12+ types of cheese I bought for this little get-together, but you know what? I was just TOO DARN BUSY EATING CHEESE. So - a stock photo is what you get.
Here are the steps to throwing your own GCN (Grilled Cheese Nite) party:
- Go to a nice grocery store (Safeway will not work here - too few specialty cheeses for too much dough!). Once you’ve found the appropriate store, BUY ALL THE CHEESES. That’s right, it doesn’t matter if you’re blowing the money you had put aside for your retirement, or your next vacation, or whatever. Just do it.
- Find a bakery. I’m lucky to work near Acme Bakery, which puts out nicest buns I’ve seen this side of Rio. But wait, buns are not what we’re looking for here! We want sourdough - golden, taut loaves of San Francisco sourdough.
- Invite the nicest, most fun people you know. Worried they won’t come? Believe me, at the simple mention of drippy, ooey-gooey cheese and buttered bread they will drop their Sunday night AA meeting plans and run straight toward your cast-iron skillet.
- Assign your housemates to man the music playlist and the wine (because, let’s face it, they’re better DJs and bartenders than you’ll ever be).
- Put the bread and cheeses out with some knives, tuna, tomatoes, arugula, bacon, pesto, peppers, and basil. Allow guests to create their own masterpieces.
- Grill, baby, grill.
- Eat with tomato soup. See recipe here.
…And that’s it! Since Grilled Cheese Nite was so successful, I’ll definitely do it again. I’ve never had an easier time getting people to come out to West Oakland. Please join us next time, won’t you?
PS. Here’s some of the artwork created by my friends. I like to put butcher paper on the tables and leave oil pastels out for them to play with. Good artists, are they not?
Merry Christmas, dear strangers. I hope you’re cozy at home with your family or friends, and that your bellies and hearts are full. It’s been a quiet one for me here in Chico with my family — full of walks with the puppies, these caramels, and catching up with hometown friends. My mom made Canadian clam chowder for Christmas Eve dinner - simple, rich, and brothy, with no gucky ucky gloopiness or unnecessary ingredients. Just cream, bacon, clams, corn, and potatoes for the most part. Yum.
This morning, after tearing apart our packages (Santa was good to me this year, check out my new left-handed Japanese knife!) we cooked up brunch - my mom had brought home some tamales a friend from work had made and asked me to make a side salad to complement them. This is what I came up with - enjoy!
Christmas 2013 Salad
To start, take any combination of a bowlful of finely chopped firm greens – I used one head of lacinato kale and a bag of chopped salad mix that contained red & green cabbage and romaine lettuce. You could use any combo you’d like - just don’t use spring greens, spinach, or any other green that lacks fortitude.
Next, peel and slice one jicama into matchsticks. Or cubes. Or hearts. Add it to the greens.
Then, cut away the peel & pith of one large grapefruit (or two small ones) and slice across the sections thinly. Add to bowl along with two avocados, sliced into thin strips.
For the cilantro & yogurt dressing:
This was a bit of an experiment, I’ll admit, so I didn’t measure anything. I’ll give you the estimates of how much I used, but please, feel free to play around. Dressing – salad, really – is super forgiving and doesn’t require any finicky measuring.
- One head of cilantro, washed, stems removed
- 3/4c greek yogurt
- One healthy pour (about ¼ c) of good-quality olive oil (I always recommend Californian olive oils, especially for salads – they are so flavorful!)
- ¼ cup rice vinegar (white wine, apple cider, or plain would work too)
- 1 large garlic clove, pressed or finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- pinch of sugar or a drop of honey (optional)
- A few grinds of fresh black pepper
Put all ingredients into a small food processor or blender and whirr to your heart’s content. Pour over greens (start with just half, and add more if needed).
At this point, you could also have fun adding other things – toasted pepitas would work well, as would crumbled cotija cheese or even some black beans for a more substantial salad. I just left this one as-is and it was perfect.
I will be posting a menu & date for next month’s supper soon. In the meantime – be well!
Hey, everyone. While I’ve been pretty quiet here on the interwebs and did have to cancel my last dinner, there’s been lots going on in the background! I have lots of ideas circulating, I just haven’t had the time to put them together during this *crazy* month of holiday parties, birthday parties (where my Sag’s at? There are so many of you!), work overload, and trying to stay sane and healthy through it all. I promise that with the new year will come new suppers, lots of new strangers (I met so many this weekend! I’m constantly inspired by the people here in the Bay) and new stories to share ‘round the table. Talk soon,
These two ladies post some of the best stuff in the foody tumblrworld. Pretty + hilarious? I’d like to date them. And make this cider. -S
Boozy Pear Cider
We’ve always resented that Apples are the defacto fruit of the harvest season. Don’t get us wrong, apples are… fine. But, I suppose, that’s exactly the problem. Apples aren’t special and are, at best, merely palatable. They’re the Mumford & Sons of produce. Technically, they’re okay. There’s nothing particularly offensive— or interesting— but after a while, the mediocrity of it all makes you want to punch someone in the cunt.
This year, we’ve had enough. We’re done with Apples for the foreseeable future and have, instead, switched to Pears.
Pears are the far superior F/W2013 pome. They are prettier, for starters, in a very charming, midwestern, no-nonsense way, but are also are complexly textured raw, hold their shape when baked, and poach up like a champion. Pears are one of the few fruits we can eat for dessert without feeling like we’re eating fucking fruit for dessert, and they add an earthy sweetness to savory dishes; all without being boring, mealy, or, worst of all, predictable.
For the still-skeptical we present to you this: Pear Cider with booze and all your favorite, traditional Apple-ish seasonings. It’s less cloying, tastes like pie, and is the perfect idiot-proof-make-it-in-a-batch drink for your next holiday gathering.
Boozy Pear Cider
- 32oz Pear Juice (we like RW Knudson’s Organic Pear, but Trader Joe’s has some good stuff, too)
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks (plus more for a garnish, you fancy fuck)
- 6 whole Cloves
- ½ cup Amaretto
- ½ cup (plus!) good Bourbon
- 2-3 Pears, sliced
Serves 4-6, double (triple?) it up for a group.
Here’s a useful tip for this and all of your other fruits with cores: instead of wasting produce with a corer, simply cut the fruit in half and use a mellon baller (or rounded metal teaspoon) to scoop out just the weird crunchy seed part. Once that’s removed, you can slice freely.
Don’t make this difficult. Dump it all in a big pan, or slow cooker, reserving some Pear slices for garnishing. Heat it up over medium heat until things warm up at the spices start to give off a little perfume. Serve warm in big cozy mugs.
I’m in Vancouver this weekend, being hella Canadian with my mom. It’s my first time on the west coast of Canada - a reconnaissance tour of sorts to see if I could imagine myself living & studying business here. I thought I’d post another recipe from last month’s supper while I’m away - it was actually my favorite recipe of the evening; a perfect antidote to fall’s overload of heavy creamed dishes and endless squash.
I should mention: I hate(d) dates. Once, as a teenager, prowling the cupboards for something - anything - to snack on - I came upon a sad plastic container of dates. With nothing else to choose from, I ate one. It was gross - mealy, too sweet & cloying, with a sticky dryness that clung to my throat. For some reason, I ate another. As soon as I put it in my mouth, I felt my body viscerally rebel and spat the half-chewed date onto the floor, a wet brown lump which sat abandoned while I rinsed my mouth over and over. For months, I’d open the cupboard, see the sad dates, and feel a wave of nausea.
I’ve gotten over it, for the most part. I still don’t like them, but they no longer make my palms sweat and my stomach spin. This salad - which rehydrates them and tempers their saccharine toothsomeness with vinegar, fresh spinach, and spice, makes them downright delicious. It’s one of the better salads I’ve ever made, and comes together with basic pantry ingredients.
For the salad:
Chop 1/2 c dates (Medjool, preferrably) and combine with a very finely sliced small red onion (or two shallots) in a small bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and 2 tbs white wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar and no one complained). Let dates sit and get plump for a bit.
Heat a chunk of butter and a swirl of good olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss in three pitas that you’ve torn into bite sized carby morsels as well as 1/2 c roughly chopped almonds. Give ‘em a good roasty toast, stirring often. When they’re nice and golden and crispy remove from the heat and stir in a large pinch of hot pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbs sumac. If you don’t have sumac, that’s ok. You can skip it or you can try to approximate its tart flavor and deep color by using some lemon zest, black pepper, and paprika.
Let pita & almonds cool and toss with a big bowl full of baby spinach and the date/onion mixture. You can dress it yourself with a good squeeze of lemon juice and some olive oil or you can provide each guest with a wedge of lemon and pass around the olive oil as I did (always a fan of diner participation).
Enjoy, as I did and surely will in the future.
Like the menu below? Here’s the link to sign up. This month’s meal is $20 - dishes duty spots are all full!
This month’s menu celebrates the fruits & roots of fall. How many do you count, my dear hungry strangers? -Sophie
Cranberry margaritas w/ homemade cranberry jam & Chinese five-spice (I walked away from a work function with a bottle of Clase Azul - help me kill it!)
Bread & cheese w/ ginger-kumquat preserves
Carrots & turnips w/ bagna cauda
Persimmon pomegranate salad w/ mint & lime (my mom’s famous recipe)
Pork tenderloin medallions cooked w/ apple & sage and served with Asian pear chutney
Beet, potato, and beet greens gratin
Maple roasted squash w/ pepitas gremolata
Cornbread w/ caramelized onions & apples
Pear & pomegranate pie served a la mode