Ali Larter, actress and author of Kitchen Revelry: A Year of Festive Recipes from My Home to Yours, recently hosted a FEED Supper at her home in Los Angeles. Founded by Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED aims to end hunger by selling products with a set donation built in to the price. Their latest initiative, FEED Suppers, invites their followers to host suppers where guests are requested to donate to FEED. Larter's supper included celeb friends like Lauren and stylist Estée Stanley as well as recipes from her cookbook. Read on for the actress's first-hand account of the night's festivities.
Food is a big deal in my household. From the simple comfort it provides, to the way it brings friends and family together, preparing and sharing a meal is one of my favorite ways to celebrate life. It is difficult to imagine my greater world without the smaller one I create around my table for my family and friends. Yet I know, as many do, that my blessings are just that—blessings, not common to most of the world. While I enjoy trips to the farmer’s market to peruse the seasonal offerings, many other people cannot feed themselves on a basic level. As Lauren Bush Lauren pointed out to us, roughly 842 million people around the world are food insecure, meaning they do no know where their next meal is coming from. It is a disparity that troubles me deeply.
So, naturally, I was honored and elated when Lauren asked me to host a FEED Supper. Lauren is such an inspiration to me, and FEED is one of my favorite organizations to work with. The simplicity and transparency of their operating model means I know where my fundraising efforts are going—just $1.10 provides 10 meals!—and the FEED Supper program is the best idea they’ve had yet. When hearing about it, I was thrilled to assist in adding to the nearly 84 million meals FEED has been able to provide to children and families globally.
Lauren is a vegetarian, so I decided right off the bat to keep the menu meat-free—then, I looked out the window at the changing leaves and decided on a vibrant meal with Moroccan flavors. Fall is here, and I yearn for food that is rustic, and served family style, with dark, deep spices. Cooking the meal was a joy—I knew the ladies Lauren and I had invited love to eat, and I love being surrounded by girls who actually enjoy food! From the beet crostini with goat cheese (recipe below), to the Moroccan tagine with preserved lemon, to the flourless chocolate cake with pistachios and cardamon, I did not hold back.
And neither did our friends! All the ladies dug in, and the party ran late into the evening, with many a “just one more bite!” When the last guest had departed I counted up the contributions made and, as I looked around at the beautiful disarray on my table and in my kitchen, it sunk in what a special meal it had been. We shared our smiles, our stories, and our love of food, so that others might do the same. And I am thrilled to say that, through my guests' donations, we raised enough money that evening to provide 6,590 meals to children and families globally and here in the US!
It is rare in my life that I have felt that well-fed, body and soul, and I cannot wait to do it again.
Beet Crostini with Goat Cheese
5 beets, red and yellow
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup blood orange infused extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbls. honey
large log of goat cheese
olive tapenade (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Clean and wrap beets in aluminum foil. Roast them in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour or until soft when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven to cool. Slice baguette on the diagonal and brush with extra virgin olive oil. Toast in the oven for 7 minutes or until just starting to crisp. Set aside. Once cooled, peel and chop the beets. In a large bowl add the beets and drizzle with orange infused extra virgin olive oil and a few tablespoons of honey. Toss with fresh cracked pepper and flaked sea salt. Slather the crostini with goat cheese, add a dab of olive tapenade, and a spoonful of beets. Sprinkle beet crostini with some fresh thyme leaves and voila! An appetizer to start off a delectable evening!
1. Ali Larter and Lauren Bush Lauren
"Lauren Bush Lauren's work with FEED, and her tireless commitment to genuinely changing the face of world hunger, is a true inspiration," Larter says. "Plus, she's so vibrant, smart, and fun, and the woman can cook! Quite the woman, that Lauren."
2. Ali Larter
"I've always been the kind of cook who loves finding the exact right balance of flavors-especially when experimenting gives me an excuse to steal a nibble or two!" Larter says.
3. Ali Larter
"The meal I prepared, and the table I set, was so colorful that I decided to keep my ensemble more neutral-this cream dress by Shoshanna and shoes by Jimmy Choo did the trick!" she notes.
4. The appetizers
"My beet crostini with goat cheese is a classic go-to for pre-dinner party hors d'oeuvres. I can never make enough!" the chef says.
5. Lauren Bush Lauren and Ali Larter
"The way that food feeds the body, laughter feeds the soul-neither was in short order at this dinner party!" Larter notes.
6. Lauren Bush Lauren, Ashley Lauren, and Ali Larter
"A cook can always use a hand in the kitchen, and Lauren and her sister Ashley were the consummate co-hosts and helpers!" she says.
7. The décor
"When it came time to decorate the table, the Moroccan theme really gave me an excuse to dig into jewel tones-fresh flowers and candles set the tone for a decadent evening of celebration with some of my favorite ladies!" Larter says.
8. Tasdca Rudder, Lauren Prince, Estée Stanley, and Candace Nelson
"New friends, Tascha Rudder of FEED and Lauren Prince joined my good friends Estée Stanley and Candace Nelson in the heartfelt fun," the actress explains.