When Laura Kim was a child, her mother used all kinds of tricks to get her to eat. “She made it into a kind of theater,” explains the formerly capricious Kim, who, along with Fernando Garcia, is co-creative director of Oscar de la Renta and de Monse (the label she and Garcia launched in 2015). . In a nod to Kim’s childhood nickname, Tokki, which means “bunny” in Korean, bunny-shaped egg dishes often ended up on her plate and, she says, “my lunch boxes.” still contained fruits and vegetables cut like animals inside. Obviously, Kim’s mother already knew her daughter was a visual person. Somewhere along the way, Kim also became a foodie, and at the age of 9 was honing her skills to make duk gook, a Korean rice cake soup.
It’s something Kim, 38, has maintained and even incorporated into her life as a designer, much to the delight of Garcia – who often comes to Kim’s TriBeCa apartment for pancake soufflé breakfasts – and rest of his teams. Kim’s mother still enjoys looking after her daughter whenever possible, however: Monse’s aesthetic is less formal than Oscar’s, best known for his vibrant taffeta dresses, but during Fashion Week, her showroom will probably have a different kind of confection – tiny tea cakes. , matcha truffles, petit fours, and gluten-free cookies and bars, all homemade by Elder Ms. Kim, who often came down from her home in Calgary, Alta., during the spring and fall shows.
Since the start of the pandemic and the social distancing measures, travel has not been recommended, but Laura has turned her small family kitchen into something of a culinary workshop. Her sister, Jeang Kim, an interior designer who also lives in town, helped her get a vintage four-foot-long cutting table with a wood top that extends her counter space. Since March, pies garnished with zucchini flowers, shaded apple pies and savory pastries carved in the the shape of the leaves – unsurprisingly Kim is drawn to dishes that require art and manual labor – have all appeared on her Instagram feed. A patio with a small coffee table, complete with plumes of flowers and herbs, provides an intimate outdoor setting for Kim and the occasional guest. “For me, it’s not so much about feeding a lot of people as it is about making something,” Kim explains.
One of her favorite things to cook – and a dish worth transporting elsewhere so that it can be shared with a larger group, when it is safe again – is her Windmill Pie, a mixture savory of sliced carrots, zucchini, eggplant and summer squash that rests on a base of seasoned ricotta. Kim adapted it from a rice-based version that her mother often made in order to make vegetables more appealing to her daughter; In addition, chromatic and nutritional balance are mainstays of Korean cuisine: “You need five different colors on the table – and something from the ocean, something from the mountain and something from the earth”, Kim explains. The tart, a vegetarian dish with touches of green and ocher, certainly helps on the color front. And, as the name suggests, its contents swirl from a central point like the kind of decorative rosette you might see on one of Kim’s clothing designs.
Laura Kim’s Vegetable Pie
For the dough:
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
½ cup cold butter, cubed
For the filling:
7 ounces of ricotta cheese
3.5 ounces of freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon of salt
Paprika to taste
3 to 4 medium zucchini or summer squash
1 medium eggplant
1 butternut squash
2 to 3 large carrots
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A small bowl of olive oil infused with sprigs of thyme and rosemary (Note: Brew for at least an hour; the longer the brew, the stronger the flavor.)
1. To make the crust, combine the flour, salt and butter in a large bowl, stirring until the dough is crumbly. Add 1 tablespoon of ice water and knead the dough by hand, working quickly so that it does not get too hot. Form a ball and wrap in plastic, then let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 inch round pie pan. On a floured surface, spread the dough out wider than the pie pan. Carefully spread the dough into the pan, pressing it down and on the sides. Return the pan to the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool.
3. Take the pan out of the refrigerator, line it with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights. (Note: The weights will ensure even baking of the dough and keep it from bubbling; dry beans will also work.) Bake for 15-20 minutes, then let the crust cool to room temperature or return to the refrigerator. Remove the weights or beans.
4. To make the garnish, toss the ricotta with the herb infused olive oil; stir in salt, pepper and paprika. Put aside.
5. Cut the vegetables into thin strips with a mandolin or a sharp chef’s knife, and place them on a flat surface; Season with salt and pepper.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To build the pie, spread the seasoned ricotta evenly over the bottom of the precooked crust. Starting with the wall of the pie crust and working from the outside to the inside, tightly layer the vegetable strips one at a time, mixing the colors and vegetables as you go. Continue to layer in a circular direction until the pie is filled. Brush with additional olive oil and season with S&P.
7. Cover the pie with foil to prevent the vegetables from browning too early and bake for about 20 minutes; then remove the foil and cook for another 25 minutes. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese.