Alice Waters is one of those real pioneers who has changed the way we eat and look at food. I have always loved her respectful and slow approach to growing and cooking food. The Art of Simple Food is a seminal book for me.
This week we share a collaboration of a different kind, an art of simple food x goop if you will.
ESYP’s mission is to incorporate edible education into the core curriculum of every school in the country. From edible classrooms where kids learn about food, to edible gardens, where kids learn how to grow their own food and edible kitchens, where kids learn how to cook the food they grow, ESPY is dedicated to making food education as basic as reading or arithmetic...
We discovered Sam Hamilton’s beautiful home store MARCH in San Francisco - filled with the most dreamy artisan tabletop ceramics, glassware, kitchen accessories and more. So we teamed up with them to throw a dinner in honor of ESPY with a menu created by goop with Chez Panisse alum Brian Espinoza. All proceeds went to continuing this charity's great work.
We collaborated with Brian Espinoza - a laid-back, lovely, badass chef - who has long been part of the Chez Panisse family (Alice gave him his very first job in her kitchen, scrubbing chanterelles, when he was fresh out of UC Berkeley with an Architecture degree...) Brian is a master of ingredients and of knowing what's great in the area this time of year, so we wanted to focus on that and create an early winter meal to celebrate the season. Butternut squash, cold-weather greens, figs, sage and persimmons were calling. We found inspiration for our menu in Alice's new cookbook...
The Art of Simple Food II
Following her best-seller, The Art of Simple Food, this second volume celebrates every season of the vegetable - from fresh in summer to pickled and preserved in winter. They made perfect goodie bags for our guests this evening. We are such fans of this volume that we've added a few signed books to our collection. All of goop's profits from the sale of this book will go to the Edible Schoolyard Project. Get your copy here...
Giving Thanks: The Vendors
This evening would not have been possible without the support of the following San Francisco area vendors:
Follow @goop on Instagram for our latest curated discoveries and an exclusive look behind the scenes.
The Food: Prep
The day before the event, we prepped with Brian at his house in Oakland. Like many obsessed (in the best way) chefs and home cooks, Brian designed his kitchen himself from scratch so it was exactly what he wanted: a wood-buring oven/hearth for a simple, delicious dinners (he grilled a whole chicken on it the night before for friends), two dishwashers for entertaining ease and a large wooden work table in the center of the room with a marble slab on one end and four chairs on the other, where he and his family take most of their meals. Strange noises from the backyard turned out to be hens who provided eggs for our persimmon pudding later on. Brian's two young kids and partner helped and hung out with us throughout the day, making what could have been a stressful task (prepping for an event) feel more like cooking a family meal.
Here’s what we made on Saturday and how it went down in Brian's beautiful kitchen. All the recipes below are good for 8–10 people so you can recreate them for a dinner party of your own.
Duck Confit with Green Salt
Brian starts the duck confit a week before, but you could go as early as a month prior to let it age in its own fat. The secret to this recipe is the green salt...
What better a place to set the table than in this covetable home store. For our dinner, we used china, glassware and flatware by Billy Cotton. The large fringed napkins are Boxwood linen for MARCH. The slate/dark grey/orange palette complement the colors of our early winter dishes.
The rest of the cooking happens on the gorgeous cast-iron AGA oven. The oven is the hearth of the space and that it's used in the middle of the room during the event brings much life and live cooking action to the dinner party. Above, some calm prep and final recipe writing.
The first guests arrive. It's one of the first chilly nights in San Francisco and everyone seems happy to be in the warm home store with our meyer lemon thyme cocktails, spiced almonds nuts, cheese and more.