While I do most of my cooking in the comfort of my own home, it's so much fun sharing the experience and the fabulous recipes of "Savor the Moment" with friends and family. The other day, I was fortunate enough to share some delicious recipes with a group of new friends, the fabulous "Ladies Who Lunch"! My Mom (that's her in the pink Lilly pants) belongs to this lovely group of ladies who meet once a month in one of their Ft. Lauderdale homes to catch up, have some laughs and enjoy a delicious lunch together. They split the hostessing duties so a different pair of gals hosts each month - a great way to split the work! Last month it was my Mom's turn to co-host and while discussing the menu one day, she asked if there were any recipes from "Savor the Moment" I could recommend. Before I knew it I had planned the menu, volunteered to make the entire lunch and do wine pairings with each course - yikes!
Once she accepted my offer, I got to work on the logistics. I chose two recipes I had made before and one I hadn't - I don't recommend making three recipes for the first time when cooking for group! The new recipe I chose was an hors d'oeuvres, the delicious Smoked Salmon on Potatoes with Dill Sauce (pg. 74). Now, I have never been a big fan of salmon. I have tried really hard to like it and sampled it in many forms: grilled, baked, broiled, etc..but to no avail. It wasn't until an encounter with smoked salmon in Paris last year at the historic Café de Flore that I actually REALLY liked it! At first I thought it was just the location but ever since returning home, I am still a fan! For this recipe, I used Scottish Smoked Salmon I bought at Carmine's Gourmet Market in Palm Beach Gardens. It had a nice, mild, briny flavor and wasn't as strong as the Nova Smoked Salmon they also had. The recipe calls for serving the salmon atop roasted new potatoes with a delicious dill sauce and seemed like the perfect way to start off lunch with the Ladies!
For the main course I went with the tried, true and delicious Chutney Chicken Salad (pg. 130) served on a bed of organic mixed greens. This flavorful blend of chicken, mango chutney, curry powder, raisins, celery and almonds is a hit every time! Cooking the bone in, skin on chicken breasts in a pot of salted water imparts the most fabulous flavor and texture to the chicken. Once cooled, just remove the skin from the chicken, cut into pieces and gently mix with the other ingredients. It couldn't be easier to make and this recipe can also be prepared in advance, which made it a great choice for the menu.
Dessert was a no-brainer and one of my favorite finds of the past few weeks! The Frozen Lemon Mousse (pg. 246) is so light, refreshing and perfect for Summer I had already made it twice before this lunch! It calls for a few delicious, fresh ingredients including lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, sugar and cream and, according to the cookbook, can keep for up to two weeks in the freezer. It does take a little time to make and involves beating egg whites, whipping cream, folding and mixing but, let me tell you, it is well worth it! I prepared it the night before and popped it in the freezer to to let all the lemony, delicious flavors chill and meld together.
The day of the lunch, I packed everything up, including the wines I had purchased the day before at Total Wine, and headed down to my
Mom's place in Ft. Lauderdale. Preparing everything the day before really cut down on the anxiety factor! Once there, I assembled the Scottish smoked salmon on the potatoes I had roasted that morning, each filled with a savory dollop of the delicious dill sauce, and garnished with a sprig of fresh dill. My Mom's co-hostess with the mostess, the lovely Barbara Rogan, arrived soon after and we did some last minute preparations. Once the ladies arrived, we served the Smoked Salmon on Potatoes with Dill Sauce with a Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d'Alsace NV, a sparkling wine made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from Alsace, France. The salmon was nicely complemented by the crisp, light flavors of berries and spice and, lets face it, bubbles always set a festive mood. The hors d'oeuvres and wine were well received and it appeared the Ladies were off to a great start!
When it was time for lunch, we plated the savory, fragrant Chutney Chicken Salad atop beds of organic mesclun greens and served with a 2007 Sonoma-Loeb Sonoma County Private Reserve Chardonnay. As the subtitle of this delicious recipe suggests, it goes perfectly with a Chardonnay and the Sonoma-Loeb did not disappoint with complex, rich, buttery flavors of ripe pear, apple, fig and toasty oak. The duo seemed to be a hit with the fabulous ladies and after some great stories, lots of laughs, and few glasses of wine, it was time to clear all the empty plates! The Frozen Lemon Mousse, served with some juicy, ripe raspberries and sprigs of fresh mint, was the perfect dish to serve following the flavorful chicken salad. I just can't get enough of its delightfully creamy texture and refreshing lemony deliciousness. Judging from the empty parfait glasses, the Ladies were in agreement too!
I so enjoyed sharing recipes from "Savor the Moment" with the "Ladies Who Lunch"! Cheers to Dot Cobb, Barbara Rogan, Joann Voight, Diane Gill, and Susan Goldstein. It was such a pleasure and I hope you enjoyed lunch as much as I did meeting all of you. I have included the recipe for the Chutney Chicken Salad below - hope you enjoy it!
Chutney Chicken Salad (pg. 130)
2 lbs. bone-in chicken breasts
salt to taste
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 tablespoons mango chutney
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely shopped scallions
Cook the chicken in salted water in a large saucepan for 30 minutes or until tender. Cool and cut into pieces, discarding the skin.
Combine the mayonnaise, curry powder, chutney, lime juice, raisins and almonds in a large bowl. Add the chicken, celery and scallions and mix well. Serve on a bed of lettuce. Serves four