We love to share stories of friends, families – communities – coming together, as many are happily doing much more often these days, whether over garden, farm, table or stove. Maybe it’s the warm summer months or perhaps it could be the trend toward old-fashioned, whole food cooking – but whatever factors are to blame, we’re all about it!
Food blogger Adrian Hale of Communal Table recently found an unexpected dinner party cohort amidst the members of her own community and the two quickly joined forces to throw a supper soiree that brought together their community of friends from all over the city. Here’s Adrian…
Within 20 minutes of meeting my hair stylist Taylor, I knew I wanted to share a table with her. Regularly.
Sitting down in her chair once a month, we’d clear space for some serious discussion between bang trims and color applications. By the time we were done, I was never ready to go. So it wasn’t long before we were hatching plans centered around the dinner table.
Taylor owns the Lucas Hair Salons in both Portland, Oregon and the Echo Park neighborhood of LA. Apparently, I’m not the only one who wants to stay cuddled up in her salon chair long after dry time is over. Taylor was anxious to make plans to bring like-minded people together and to continue all the conversations she starts with those who plop down in her chair for an hour or two.
As a chef and food blogger, I was more than willing to turn her dream into a reality and so our tradition of the ‘Lucas Family Dinner’ was born! Our first dinner was magic, creating new pathways for people to connect. Taylor paired me up in the kitchen with the talented Jenni Grishman on a whim, and we’ve been cooking and working together ever since.
Recently, we were back at it again. We gathered 30 people in her space for fresh citrus cocktails (made by the host),
homemade ricotta and pickled fig crostinis, celery root soup, braised short ribs with creamy polenta and olive oil cake with candied kumquats.
Here are a few recipes from our recent ‘family dinner’. We hope these recipes inspire you to plan a community gathering of your own!
Celery Root Soup with Curried Apples
by Jenni Grishman, adapted from Chef Grant Achatz
2 1/2 c. peeled, diced celery root
3 1/2 c. celeriac stock (recipe follows)
1/2 c. cashews, soaked 2 hours
1/2 c. organic butter
3 Tbsp raw honey
1 Tbsp spicy curry powder
2 tart apples, peeled, cored diced
sea salt & pepper
Bring celery root and stock to a boil in a large stock pot. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 mins until celery root is fork tender.
While soup cooks, prepare cashew cream and apples.
In a blender combine soaked cashews with enough water to cover nuts. Blend until ultra smooth. Add additional water as needed.
To make curried apples, melt 1/4 c. of butter in a larger saute pan over medium high heat. Add apples and cook until slightly browned. Stir in honey and curry powder. Cook another minute or two. Add generous pinch of salt and finish with a squueze of lemon. Reserve apples for plating.
Once celery root is tender, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Working in batches blend soup to a puree. Add water to thin if neccessary.
Return pureed soup to the stock pot over low heat. Stir in cashew cream, butter, and about 1 tsp salt. Add a generous squeeze of lemon. Add several grinds of black pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to liking.
To serve, ladle pureed soup into bowls and top with glazed apples and a grind or two of pepper. For a pop of green, garnish with chopped celery leaves or parsley.
5 c. water
2 c. chopped celery root
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp honey
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a stock pot. Reduce heat and simmer 45mins to an hour. Strain stock.
Olive Oil Cake with Candied Kumquats
by Adrian Hale adapted from Chef Grant Achatz
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup olive oil
Candied Kumquats for garnish (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a springform pan by coating it with olive oil.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale in color and slightly frothy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while beating the eggs, stopping as needed to make sure all the oil is emulsifying before adding the rest. When it looks thick and completely incorporated, stir in the flour mixture until no lumps remain. Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
Cool on a rack until completely room temperature, then pop the springform off the pan, and cut itno wedges. Serve with candied kumquats.
1 pound fresh kumquats
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 whole vanilla bean, halved and scraped
Slice the kumquats into quarter inch discs, and deseed them as much as possible. Place the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stiirring, until all the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat to a simmer, and add the kumquat rings and vanilla bean. Simmer for 15 minutes until the kumquats look slightly translucent and the syrup has reduced to a thick, syrup. To serve, remove the kumquats with a slotted spoon, reserving the syrup for future cocktails!