A Mouthful of StarsA Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels

The author’s time in many lands and cooking in many kitchens has inspired this beautiful, unique, exotic, and delicious culinary journey.

Bestselling author of Trail of Crumbs and former food editor Kim Sunee offers up her first cookbook. A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels is a collection of Kim’s interpretation of cherished recipes and cooking discoveries from across the globe. From Tuscan crostini di fegatini and Louisiana dirty rice to the flavors of her birth country, South Korea, and favorites from the ten years she spent eating and cooking in Provence and Paris, you’ll find A Mouthful of Stars in the cookbook section. However, this book’s breadth also extends to travel and food writing. The author’s time in many lands and cooking in many kitchens has inspired this beautiful, unique, exotic, and delicious culinary journey.

Kim Sunee is the author of the national bestseller, Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home. Trail of Crumbs was both a Barnes & Noble Discover pick and a Book Sense Pick, and has been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Hebrew. She has been featured in the New York Times, Ladies’ Homes Journal, People, ELLE, and Glamour.


She ate and lived in Europe for ten years before working as a food editor for Southern Living magazine and Cottage Living magazine. Her writing has appeared in Food & Wine, The Oxford American, and Asian American Poetry and Writing. Sunee has appeared several times as a guest judge on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America and has collaborated on several cookbooks, including The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances and Ed Mayes, and the Tupelo Honey Cafe by Elizabeth Sims and Chef Brian Sonoskus. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.


“There is a big difference between traveling to escape and traveling to discover. A Mouthful of Stars is a book that shows the beauty of learning about yourself, the food you eat, the world around you, and the wonderful people at every stop. It’s a poignant voyage through the smart writings and wonderful recipes of Kim Sunee.”
— HUGH ACHESON, author of A New Turn in the South


“Kim Sunee’s food, life, and writing are the stuff of pure genius. When she cooks, I am hungry, craving not just her food but also the essence of her presence and the mindfulness with which she lives. She has taken recipes from near and far, and served them to us with doses of stylishness, honest ingredients, playful spices,and haunting flavors.”
— SUVIR SARAN, Top Chef Master and author of American Masala and Indian Home Cooking


A Mouthful of Stars will immediately draw you into Kim’s culinary journey through the stories she shares of cooks and how they connect with their food. Get ready to be transformed into her world of Flower and Ice, Down-and-Dirty Rice, Tipsy Melons, and more. A Mouthful of Stars is a tasty and thoughtful combination of Zen and gourmet.”
— SARA FOSTER, author of Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen and The Foster’s Market Cookbook


“Kim Sunee is one of the most compelling memoirists writing today, and on top of that, she is a gifted cook. I want to follow her everywhere she goes, reflect on every thought in this moving story, and make a meal of A Mouthful of Stars. I loved being immersed in the context of each recipe, and was impressed by how effortlessly Kim can transport dishes from near, far, and wide to her own kitchen and into ours.”
— MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN, food columnist for the New York Times


Curry Leaf Cocktail

Cheese and Thyme Pots de Crème



Curry Leaf Cocktail

Serves 1


I cook a lot with curry leaves, especially after having spent summers cooking with Indian chef Suvir Saran and his partner, Charlie Burd, at their American Masala Farm in upstate New York. And as I have experimented over the years with ways to infuse simple syrups, I’ve found that curry leaf makes for a super-fragrant and spiced hit of syrup. I like it with a dry sparkling wine or mixed with gin, muddled cucumber, lime juice, and mint.


Curry Leaf Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice

About 20 fresh curry leaves

Brut Champagne or sparkling wine, such as prosecco or cava

Cucumber spear, for garnish


1 To make the simple syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small pot. Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Add a few drops of lemon juice to keep the sugar from crystallizing. Add the curry leaves. Remove from the heat and let steep for about 1 hour. Remove the curry leaves and chill until ready to use. The syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks.


2 For each cocktail, pour 1 to 2 teaspoons simple syrup into each champagne flute; fill the rest of the way with Champagne. Garnish with the spear of cucumber.



Cheese and Thyme Pots de Crème

Serves 2


Pot de crème is a classic French dessert custard, but I also love the less common savory versions to serve as an hors d’oeuvre or first course. I favor Comté or Parmigiano-Reggiano for this, but I imagine that any good-quality melting cheese would work well. Because these cook at such a low temperature, there’s no need to fuss with a water bath.


¾ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 to 3 thyme sprigs

2 egg yolks

2½ ounces Comté or parmigiano-reggiano, finely grated

¼ cup hazelnuts or walnuts

Freshly ground black pepper

For serving: toasted baguette slices and endive spears


1. You’ll need 2 ovenproof glass jars, such as short widemouthed (4-ounce) mason jars, or ramekins. Place the jars or ramekins on a baking sheet; set aside. Preheat the oven to 225°F.


2. Heat the cream in a medium pot over medium-high heat to a very low boil. Add the peppercorns, garlic, and thyme sprigs. Turn off the heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.


3. Combine the egg yolks, infused cream, and the cheese in a bowl and blend until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the ovenproof glass jars; it will probably fill the jars about three-quarters of the way. Bake for 25 minutes.


4. Lightly toast and chop the nuts. Sprinkle the nuts and pepper over the custards and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. The custards should be slightly jiggly in the center but mostly set. Let rest for a few minutes before serving with toasted baguette slices and crisp endive spears.



From A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels by Kim Sunée/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC




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