The vision of PORTA is to offer a uniquely honed edit of homewares from Europe bringing unique character and thoughtful design to your table and home in a way that simultaneously celebrates tradition while embracing contemporary style. Through our travels, interests and obsessions we bring storied traditions and histories to light so they can be engaged with in new ways. Many chefs explore and play with similar interests and ideas through food, and in our series In The Kitchen With we hope to highlight the joy and creativity that happens from stove to table. For our first In The Kitchen With, we partnered with the brilliant Dacha 46, a Brooklyn-based traveling pop-up made up of chef couple Trina and Jessica Quinn. Dacha 46 explores Eastern European cuisine through the lens of the Queer Jewish experience. They put it best: “Our existence and ability to share our story through food is our way of reclaiming our culture and cuisine and welcoming anyone else that has felt excluded to the table.” The two chefs have spent their careers in the restaurant industry reimagining traditional cuisine and culture through a seasonal and modern approach, breathing new life into classic dishes. Dacha 46 chose to showcase our Enza Fasano fish plates which they loaded with a variety of dips for their hand-made flatbreads. Hand-glazed in Italy, these serving plates add an eclectic and fun touch to any table. And for the next month, 10% of their sales will be donated to World Central Kitchen.
Q&A PORTA: What does DACHA 46 mean? Jessica & Trina: Dacha (da-cha) translates to seasonal/summer home commonly found across different Eastern European & Slavic countries. Often used as a self-sustaining plot of land where one utilizes seasonal bounty. 46 is an ode to Jessica’s mother Esfira’s birth year. Jessica is a first-generation Latvian-Ukrainian Jew, and the transmigration experience of the Jewish diaspora has led to a strong connectedness to roots and pulling inspiration from tradition while creating new ones. PORTA: When did you know you wanted to be a chef? Trina & Jessica: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a baker. I grew up in a traditional Eastern European Jewish household where everything revolved around food and eating. And when we weren’t eating, we were talking about eating. I love food and especially dessert, being a pastry chef. I have a crazy sweet tooth and baking and being in the kitchen is my happy place. Trina: Honestly, I never wanted to be a chef. I thought it was just temporary while I was finishing college. I saw how brutal this industry was and how much it demanded of you and I never wanted that life, but it always felt good knowing I had a safety net. While I was finishing my internships towards a dual bachelor’s degree, I burned out and realized I wanted to work with my hands and truly loved the physical and mental demands. It felt like a rollercoaster, and I had fallen in love with cooking and the life that surrounded it. Eighteen years later I’m still here somehow. PORTA: What do you consider essential in the kitchen (utensils, appliances, etc.)? What do you consider gratuitous or unnecessary? Jessica: My stand mixer. From yeasted buns to layer cakes, it’s the tool I can’t function without. Trina: I could never live without my Dutch oven, you can use it for anything and everything, inside the kitchen, or outdoors over a fire. PORTA: What’s your favorite restaurant? Trina & Jessica: Via Carota, it’s where we go to celebrate anything and everything. We would love to be the Eastern European version of Rita and Jody someday.
RECIPE DACHA 46’s Flatbread Ingredients: 3 cups All-Purpose flour 1 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon dry active yeast 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 1/3 cup warm water ¼ cup melted butter Sumac for dusting Directions: Add the warm water to your sugar and yeast, mix and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast has activated (bubbles will form on the top) In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and cumin until combined. Add your wet ingredients to your dry and mix until combined add additional water or flour if needed and knead the dough until smooth. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with either plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow the dough to proof (rise) at room temperature for an hour. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 portions before rolling. Roll out the dough to about an 8-inch circle. (It doesn’t have to be perfect!) Heat a cast iron pan or grill over a medium-high flame. Once hot add the flatbread and allow it to puff up slightly before flipping and cooking the other side. The flatbread will cook up in about one minute on the first side and it will take about 30 seconds to finish the second side. As soon as the flatbread comes off the heat, liberally brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sumac and salt and enjoy! This recipe yields 8 flatbreads.