Caitlin Mociun Takes On Williamsburg
Eight under-the-radar spots the plugged-in designer is willing to share.
Caitlin Mociun’s gorgeous, recently opened shop is smack in the heart of Williamsburg, and the airy, spare storefront has the feel of a gallery—as the crazy-thoughtful jewelry designer sees things, the clean-slate approach helps visitors embrace what’s in store. “In so many shops, customers tend to think, ‘My house doesn’t look like this, so these things aren’t for me,’” she explains. “The space is very minimalist—polished cement floors, stark white walls. There’s not even anything built in yet, so I can move things around on a whim.” She also lives in the ‘hood and is thus a full-fledged Billyburg insider. These are the other places she’s willing to let you in on, as long as you don’t tell everyone you know. —mireille hyde
Mociun: 224 Wythe Ave.! Open seven days a week! (mociun.com)
Pilgrim Surf Supply: “This is a great, cool new surf shop just up the street from my house. I don’t even surf myself. But they have swimsuits too, and I just love the way it’s put together.” (pilgrimsurfsupply.com)
Walter Foods: “Among many other fantastic things, they have an incredible lobster roll. Somewhat snobbily, lobster is my favorite food. It’s just delicious!” (walterfoods.com)
Sprout Home: “I stop by Sprout to pick up nice plants for the shop—they have a super pretty flower shop next door as well. I love the idea of putting teeny plants in ceramics.” (sprouthome.com)
St. Anselm: “This is way better than Peter Luger’s—it recently got written up again, so it’s slammed all the time. But if you like meat, it’s worth the wait.”
Brooklyn Fox and Honey: “These next-door-neighbor spots have a great, well-curated selection of nice underwear and lingerie.” (brooklynfox.com; honeygifts.com)
Bakeri: "This is my go-to spot for absolutely delicious sandwiches, iced tea, and amazing baked goods. They close at 5p, so it’s more of a lunch spot—perfect for grabbing something quick on your way though the neighborhood." (bakeribrooklyn.com)
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Caitlin Mociun’s Star Dumpling Soup
Her fascination with shapes seeps into everything she makes.
When Caitlin’s not busy designing stunning (and unexpected) bracelets and teeny-tiny earrings, she’s probably in her kitchen, whipping up something tremendous for her friends. And she’s game for sharing one of her favorite concoctions with us: “This soup was born from a disappointing recipe I tried out—it had potential, but I was disappointed by the bulky cornmeal dumplings and thick chunks of sausage. To lighten it up, I came up with these delicate, star-shaped sausage dumplings,” she explains. “They just explode in the broth—tiny, delicious little nuggets. Taste is obviously paramount in cooking, but the way food looks and is presented is a huge part of the experience as well.” These dumplings so clearly echo her fondness for what she calls “primary shapes.” Don’t you think a gold version would look rad affixed to a ring? —mireille hyde
1 pack wonton wrappers
½ pound sausage meat
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon allspice
29 ounces canned diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
6 cups greens (mustard, collard, or a mix)
Salt and pepper to taste
Make your dumplings first—they take a while. Mix the spices with the sausage meat in a bowl. Beat the egg in another bowl. Cut each wanton wrapper into 4 pieces. You can make as many or as few of these as you want. (I maybe made 75 or 100 of them.) Just make sure to save about half the sausage mixture to put in the soup base, and go to town.
To make a dumpling, pick up your tiny square of wanton wrapper. Brush all four edges lightly with egg. Place a very small dot (about 1/8 teaspoon) of meat in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper so all the points meet in the center and the center of each side of the squares come together forming a tiny four-pointed star. Make sure to press all the edges together well. They get puffy and expand while cooking in the soup, but if you seal them well, they will stay intact while cooking and look more attractive when served. Set them on a plate to be added to the soup later.
To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Add the bay leaves and a couple pinches of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onions start to soften. Add the leftover sausage meat and the chopped fresh thyme. Cook for another 5 minutes and add the tomatoes, hot sauce, allspice, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. While that gets going, wash the greens well. Remove their center stocks, slice them into ribbons, and add them to the simmering soup. After 5 minutes, the greens will have wilted a bit, and you can add your dumplings. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for another 20 minutes. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.