picture: Kim Sunee, nytimes
I invited Kim Sunée to join in in my blog series “gesprekken en gerechten” Korean born, American raised Kim Sunée is the author of the best selling book “A Trail of Crumbs” Hunger, love and the search for home. (2008). Kim is a multitalented woman. She ate her way around Europe for ten years, being a food editor. She produced a lot of publications. She worked together with Frances and Ed Mayes on the `Tuscan Sun Cookbook” That is the way I got to know her. She is the creator of many original recipes on her blog. And I hope she is a wine lover. Currently she works on a new cookbook, to be published in May 2014. My curiosity gets even bigger! Time to send her some questions. To meet in my series Talk and table. Kim will be rewarded a customized recipe. To pair with a wonderful wine.
Who is Kim Sunée and what would you like to share with us?
I’m a writer, passionate cook, and traveler/wanderer. I always have a passport in hand and a menu to plan.
You come from Korea , can you give a description of that special country?
I was born there but left at the approximate age of 3. I was adopted by an American family and did not return to South Korea until 1995. That journey was diffiicult for many reasons (I write about it in my first book, Trail of Crumbs) but my most recent journey back was in 2008. There’s a documentary of that time (http://kimsunee.com/video-clips/
) . It was overwhelming and amazing. The people were very warm and welcoming and I rediscovered a cuisine full of flavor and love.
You ate yourself around Europe being a food editor, can you tell something on that period?
I became a food editor after coming back from Europe. I was in Europe for most of my twenties, ten years of eating and learning and traveling; it was an amazing time in my life where I got to try so many delicious and new foods.
Your blog on speaks to the imagination, recipes, wines, travel, certainly to me. How do you do that?
I wish I had more time to devote to my blog on kimsuee.com. I try to include recipes that we test in the test kitchens and that have been inspired from a recent trip. For example, I was just in Seattle and Portland and tasted so many amazing foods and wines; I’m now in the process of recreating some of those favorite flavors to offer up to my readers.
My parents were/are very French food oriented. The last two decades there has been a shift from French to a more international cuisine, certainly in my generation. Do you notice that too?
I agree that we are turning towards other cuisines, whether influenced from South America or Asia. In the U.S., there is always the question of what is “American” food? Luckily, we have so many different cultures to draw from and that together make a national/international cuisine.
What is your favorite cuisine?
I guess it’s something simple and made with local, fresh ingredients. When I find myself in need of some comfort, I seem to go Italian and reach for pasta, olives, anchovies or I make a pot of gumbo or jambalaya or a bowl of steamed rice with hot spicy Korean-style beef or fish.
What would you like to tell on your book “Trail of Crumbs” ? We do not know this book in The Netherlands
I had the title, Trail of Crumbs, in my heart before I even wrote the book. It comes from the Grimm Brother’s fairytale about trying to find our way back home through food. In many ways, the book is about finding a place to call home, a search for self and identity told through the adventures of my very flawed twenties while living in Europe.
For me as a French wine man, I would like to ask you: what do you think on French wines?
I learned about wine from tasting and from a wise oenologist who was from Burgundy and of course favored his beloved region. I love the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, and the smaller finds like a wonderful Rivesaltes ambré or a Condrieu. And Champagne is always my go-to drink.
Do you know anything about the Dutch cuisine?
Not much, I’m sad to report, but I would love to taste a typical meal from your area. I remember an Indonesian influence in some of the cuisine I tasted while in Amsterdam, as well as sausages and lots of fresh vegetables and stews.
Tons of food are wasted every day in Western societies. Can you tall us something about your ”foodprint” ?
I hate wasting food in any way, so I am often recreating dishes from scraps and leftovers. I also cook a lot and often call up my neighbors who have been so wonderful to happily come and eat or take home whatever I might be testing/cooking.
You are currently working on a new cookbook, to be ventured in May 2014. What is the topic?
My new book, A Mouthful of Stars, (http://kimsunee.com/books/) is a compilation of my favorite recipes from my world travels, and includes poems, snapshots, and stories of wonderful cooks and people I’ve encountered along the way, including a piece about my visit to Tuscany with Frances Mayes. Frances, who is so generous and inspiring, wrote the foreword to the book.
If you were to start all over in the Netherlands, what would you want to teach us? I know this is a tough question.
Starting over for me is more about learning than teaching. I’m sure I’d arrive and want to go to all the local markets and vendors and eat and cook with locals; I’d want to immerse myself in your food and wine and culture. If I were to teach anyone anything, it might be a few recipes from places like New Orleans.
Last but not least, do you want to share anything else in my blog? Please be welcome
I’m just grateful for your interest in my books and writing and I hope your readers continue to enjoy the good work you do. Thank you very much. I’m open if anyone wants to share recipes with me that I can make and feature on my blog, www.kimsunee.com
picture: bookcover Trail of Crumbs
Kim likes local ingredients and is eager to try something Dutch. My reward recipe for Kim is a typical festive dish from the Low Countries. A dish my mother used to make for Christmas every year. The dish is called “hazenpeper” or spicy hare stew. This dish will fill your kitchen with the smell that belongs to this time of year. You experience the scents of spices, a typical Dutch way of cooking. With cloves, cinnamon, nutmegg and all spice. Of course you need a wine to pair this hearty dish. I’d choose a Crozes Hermitage, spicy red syrah from the Northern Rhône Valley.
Spicy stew of hare
1 hare in pieces
1 chili pepper cut in fine rings
2 red onions
2 bay leaves
1 ts nutmeg
1 tbs of thyme leaves
1 tbs red wine vinager
1 bottle red wine
3 oz/ 100 g diced bacon
3 tbs plain flour
1 can of concentrated tomato purée
2 big slices of gingerbread
salt & pepper
2 lbs/1 kg potatoes
salt & pepper
1 lb/ 450 g of Brussels sprouts
Mix the chili pepper, onion, cloves, nutmeg, thyme and bay leaves and one tea spoon of salt in a big bowl. Pour in the wine and vinager. Put the pieces of hare in this marinade. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least eight hours. Get the meat out of the bowl and dry the pieces with some kitchen towel.
Melt and heat somebutter in a big casserole. Fry the peices of hare until brown. Get the meat out and leave the pieces to rest under some foil. Fry the dices of bacon, put in the tomato purée and plain flour. Leave to simmer for a short while. Then add the marinade and bring to a boil. Add the gingerbread and the meat. Leave the dish to stew for about two hours on a low fire.
Peel the potatoes and celeriac. Cut in pieces and bring to a boil with some salt. When the potatoes and celeriac are done make a mash of them by adding some butter and milk. Give it a dash of nutmeg. Clean the sprouts and cook them for only eight minutes until “al dente”.
Serve the pieces of hare with some sauce. Put potato and celeriac mash and the sprouts on the side.
Merry Christmas first of all to Kim Sunee and all readers of “Talk and table”