Last night, we hosted dinner in the office for 13,000—which is to say that we teamed up with FEED Projects, invited over a few dozen friends of Food52 for supper, and raised enough donations to feed 13,000 hungry mouths.
The goal of FEED Suppers is to provide 2 million meals to the hungry in just 1 month—and the campaign ends on October 16th. You can still donate (here!) or get a kit from our Shop, with bannners and placemats like the ones below, plus a Field Guide booklet that includes all the recipes listed here, to host a party of your own.
Left: Our FEED Supper banner, available in the Shop, right: tiny white pumpkins finding their destiny as tabletop lanterns.
Under the tuteledge of our trusty art director Alexis Anthony, a team of employee volunteers transformed the space beside our test kitchen from a photo studio (on Tuesdays, we shoot our favorite recipes!) into a dining room that would seat two dozen very comfortably. We pushed together tables, arranged all kinds of squash across a mantle that Alexis scored from Brooklyn Craigslist, and set out a number of candles. (Check out #feedsupper for a few more pictures of the evening.)
Left: A place setting at the table (part of our FEED Supper box), right: candles in our faux-fireplace kept things cozy.
As our friends trickled in—amongst them FEED's founder Lauren Bush Lauren, who is the kind of person who remembers you and hugs you if you have met her before (!)—we served Negronis topped with Champagne, Genius Union Square Bar Nuts (recipe in the Genius Recipes cookbook!), and Marinated Shrimp. There was mingling (each guest was asked to contribute a song to the evening's playlist) and mixing (it's called cocktail hour, after all) before the real magic started rolling out of the kitchen. We served an Italian-inspired meal with recipes from our staff and contributors, and everyone stayed well beyond bedtime. Success!
Here's are the recipes we cooked for the Food52 FEED Supper and how our new Test Kitchen Chef Josh Cohen handled the menu like a pro:
This dish led the charge into dinner, a pile of pesto-slicked carrots with a pillow of Burrata for each guest. "We made the pesto in advance, which took the pressure off during the day of the party—when we had to concentate on the carrot tops, which can be really dirty and require careful washing," Josh says. "A little bit of basil in the recipe really helps make it delicious."
Making pasta for two dozen isn't as easy as it sounds: "It's a matter of having a large enough sauté pan," Josh says (the one he used to pull this off was about as big as a hubcap). "Undercook the pasta by a few minutes, then add more cooking water than you think you need to deglaze all the garlic and pancetta so the noodles can really bathe in the sauce." Breadcrumbs and pepitas went in last-minute, and the dish was served family-style in big wooden bowls.
"The chicken was super easy," says Josh, thanks to Merrill's brilliant recipe that he was able to start the night before and then warm before go-time. "The dinner went really smoothly! Events are my favorite part of the job." The sauce was so good that we packed up the leftovers and took it home to spoon over eggs and pasta all week.
A dish we often serve over toast, this braised broccoli rabe was a stunner heaped with melty ricotta. "After just an hour of braising, the broccoli rabe becomes meltingly soft, a little like bagna cauda," Josh says. "You basically slice up a whole lemon and confit it in the spicy, garlicky oil, then braised the rabe in that. We did it ahead and then flash-heated it in the oven before dinner." Whoa.
Served with a spoonful of Genius yogurt whipped cream, this cake took the... cake. "It's a challenge to cook three full pear cakes on top of a whole meal, but they came out great," Josh says (we see that as the sign of a very good recipe).
A favorite around the offices, these gooey chocolate cookies are the kind of thing everyone's shocked to find out are gluten-free. Even Josh was wowed: "I have not had such a good gluten-free cookie!"
How do you adapt your recipes to suit a crowd? What are your tips for getting prepped in advance? Let us know in the comments.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now