Monday, September 27, 2010

A Provençal-inspired Lunch with the Original Ladies of "Savor the Moment!"

Me and Cindy Krebsbach
Since starting this blog over a year ago, there are two ladies in particular I have been looking forward to having over to Chez Miskew for a "Savor the Moment" lunch. They were instrumental in the creation of the JLBR's James Beard Award-winning Cookbook and have continued to be a wonderful and willing resource for the Cookbook Committee ever since. They have also been incredibly supportive of this blog which I, of course, greatly appreciate. They are both past presidents of the Junior League of Boca Raton and, in case you haven't guessed, I am referring to the inimitable Cindy Krebsbach and Lisa Mulhall. 


The Fabulous Lisa Mulhall!
Cindy was the Cookbook Chairperson and Lisa was Sales Chairperson on the Original Cookbook Committee that rallied an entire league of ladies to create our James Beard Award-winning cookbook. They were even in attendance at the 2001 James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony in New York City and, by their own admission, were delighted and surprised to hear the announcement that "Savor the Moment" had won this prestigious culinary accolade, beating out publications by both Bon Appétit and well-known New York City socialite, Nan Kempner.

In addition to their numerous charitable achievements, these ladies are also alot of fun! When I invited them over a few weeks ago, the Cookbook Committee was hard at work formulating our proposal for the 10th Anniversary Celebration and they were kind enough to help us plan. For lunch, I decided to go with a delicious, Provençal-inspired theme and "Savor the Moment" had the perfect recipes to fit the bill: Pan Bagna (pg. 136), Mesclun with Walnut-Crusted Goat Cheese Rounds (pg. 31) and the Tarte Tatin with Oatmeal Crust (pg. 270). Of course we started the afternoon with a glass of De Margerie Grand Cru Brut Champagne NV for a toast to "Savor the Moment!"

Pan Bagna (also Pan Bagnat), which translated, means "wet bread," is a sandwich that is a specialty of Nice, France. It is essentially a Salad Niçoise layered between two pieces of French bread usually consisting of raw vegetables, hard boiled eggs, tuna and olive oil. The delicious "Savor the Moment" version calls for goat cheese, kalamata olives, arugula, radishes, tomatoes, basil and a cooked tuna steak. While the tuna usually called for is cooked through or even packed in olive oil, I grilled the tuna steak until medium-rare, leaving it still nice and pink in the center. Once assembled, the sandwich is then wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a shallow baking dish with a weighted baking sheet placed on top, and popped in the fridge for 1-6 hours to allow all the fabulous flavors to meld. Not only was this recipe easy to make, it was positively delicious and I cannot wait to make it again!

The Mesclun with Walnut-Crusted Goat Cheese Rounds turned out to be a new favorite as well - easy to put together and very tasty! The dressing calls for minced shallots, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and mixed chopped herbs (I used basil and thyme) and has really great flavor. While the recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons of olive oil and/or walnut oil, it wasn't quite enough and I ended up adding about 1/3 cup of oil total, which gave the dressing a great consistency. I used half walnut and half olive oil - walnut oil gives such a fabulous nutty, smoky flavor! The walnut-crusted goat cheese rounds were very easy to assemble and held up nicely in the oven for a few extra minutes. The combination of walnuts and goat cheese gave the salad great texture and melded beautifully with the flavors in the vinaigrette. I will definitely be adding this salad to the rotation!

To drink, I served a deliciously pink, Côtes de Provence Rosé, the 2009 Chateau D'Esclans Whispering Angel. This blend of Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre is done in a dry style with lovely fruit flavors, a delicate, creamy texture and almost spicy finish. If you have not tried this wine, I highly recommend it! Chateau D'Esclans specializes in making rosé and I recently had the chance to taste all four wines in their fabulous portfolio which happens to include the world's priciest rosé, Garrus, that sells for $100 a bottle! (full story here) Luckily, the Whispering Angel retails for around $20 and was the perfect accompaniment to our Provençal-inspired meal.

Cupcake Couture!
While the rest of the meal went off without a hitch, I have to confess, dessert did not - the Tarte Tatin with Oatmeal Crust completely kicked my butt! I am a fan of this classic French dessert that is essentially an upside-down apple tart with apples that are first caramelized in butter and sugar before being baked in the oven. I am not much of a baker but I followed the directions to a tee and even started over once after burning the initial butter/sugar mixture. Sadly, in the end I was left with burnt, apple goop that even a gallon of vanilla ice cream couldn't fix - c'était horrible!  If anyone has made this dish before, I would greatly appreciate any advice. Luckily, I had my back up plan in place: a selection of delicious cupcakes from Cupcake Couture here in Delray Beach. We enjoyed Cocoa Chanel, Christian Louboutinilla, Mound-olo Blahnik and Jimmy Chooocolate cupcakes - all named after designers, how fabulous is that? I am happy to report they more than made up for the Treacherous Tarte Tartin!

After our Provençal-inspired lunch, we flipped through "Savor the Moment" coming up with fabulous and festive ideas for the 10th Anniversary Celebration which will be held Friday, November 12th at the Seagate Beach Club from 7-10pm and is sure to be "A Night to Remember!" For more information and/or to purchase tickets, please visit the Junior League Website by clicking here. I have included the recipe for the Pan Bagna below and hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Cheers to Cindy and Lisa for a delightful afternoon that was definitely one to savor!

XO,



Pan Bagna (pg. 136)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove
salt to taste
1 (16 inch) sourdough or whole wheat baguette
1 tablespoon olive oil 3 ounces mild goat cheese
6 kalamata olives, sliced
1 cup arugula leaves
3 large radishes
pepper to taste
1 (6-ounce) tuna steak, cooked
3 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
8 large fresh basil leaves, shredded
Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt in a blender container and process until smooth.
Cut the bread into halves horizontally. Hollow the bread form both halves, leaving 1 1/2 inch shells. Brush the bottom shell with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Spread the cheese in the bottom shell. Layer the olives, arugula and radishes over the cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1/3 of the dressing.
Arrange the tuna over the layers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of the remaining dressing. Layer the tomatoes and basil over the tuna. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
Fit the top shell over the layers and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a shallow dish and place a baking sheet on the top. Weight the baking sheet with several 1-pound weights.
Chill for 1 to 6 hours. Cut into 2-inch slices to serve.
Serves four

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cheers to the The Fifth Annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs & Wine Extravaganza!

Calling all food and wine lovers! The Fifth Annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs and Wine Extravaganza will be held this Friday, September 24th at the Boca Resort & Club. Lucky attendees can look forward to savoring signature dishes from over thirty of the area's most fabulous chefs including the event's Chair Chef Ryan Artrim of The Ritz Carlton's Temple Orange, Honorary Chair Chef Zach Bell of Café Boulud and Host Chef Andrew Roenbeck of the Boca Resort & Club.


In addition to the culinary delights prepared by the chefs, the event will feature fine wines, spirits, entertainment and a fabulous variety of unique live and silent auction items.
What's not to love about that? I had the opportunity to sample a selection of the delectable wines to be featured at a tasting at Total Wine & More, one of the event sponsors. I am happy to report there is truly something for every palate! Highlights include:

Robert Moncuit Grand Cru Brut NV: Lively aromas of toasted brioche and white flowers, flavors of melon and green apple and an alluring creamy texture highlight this delightful Champagne. The product of Grand Cru vineyards within Champagne's Côtes de Blancs subregion, this sparkler is c'est bon! $39.99

2009 Kudos Pinot Gris: This pretty, Oregonian white entices with scents of peach and white flowers and subtle fruit flavors of pear and melon. This wine has a delightful, food friendly acidity making it a great choice to pair with lighter fare. $11.99


2005 Clos Saint Michel Chateaneuf du Pape: Hailing from the Southern Rhone, this blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 30% Mourvèdre is deep ruby red in color and chock full of brandied cherry, dark chocolate and roasted herbs.  This full-bodied red has appreciable, yet well integrated, tannins and a long, lingering finish. $39.99


2005 Quinta DO Vale Meão Douro: This powerful, full-bodied red is a blend of four traditional Portuguese grape varietals: 60% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz, and 5% Tinta Barroca. The gorgeous purple color gives way to aromas of cassis, violets and spice followed by ripe raspberry, plum and mocha on the palate with a lush, lingering finish. $70


Casa Sant'Orsola Brachetto D'Acqui: Made from the Brachetto grape grown around Asti and Roero in Italy's Piemonte region, this delightful red, sparkling wine is light and fruity with flavors of rose petal, strawberry and cassis. It's delicate, sweet flavor makes it a fabulous pairing for fruit, dessert or absolutely nothing at all. $16.99


Tables for Friday's event start at $1,250 and VIP tickets, including the VIP Meet the Chefs Reception from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., are $125 per person in advance or $150 per person on event day.  General admission tickets for admittance at 7:30 to 10.00 p.m. are $100 per person in advance or $125 on event day.  To purchase a table or tickets, please call (561) 276-2001 or visit www.marchofdimes.com/florida.

I look forward to seeing you there - Cheers!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Get Ready to "Savor" the 23rd Annual Woman Volunteer of the Year Luncheon!

Allison Lane, Jackie Reeves and Leslie Jackson
October 8th marks the Junior League of Boca Raton's 23rd Annual Woman Volunteer of the Year Luncheon. This exciting event will honor over 30 nominees who promote and exemplify volunteerism in our community with over 900 guests in attendance. A fabulous fashion show presented by Saks Fifth Avenue is also on the agenda, which is sure to make for an enjoyable day at the JLBR's largest fundraiser of the year!

The luncheon will take place at the beautiful Boca Raton Resort & Club and, I am very happy to announce, the menu this year will feature recipes from "Savor the Moment!" Executive Chef Andrew Roenbeck has agreed to include dishes from the Cookbook executed with his own signature spin. Jackie Reeves, Chair of WVOY, kindly invited me to the pre-event tasting to offer my two cents - I was more than happy to oblige. Let me just tell you, WVOY attendees are in for a real treat!

The Luncheon will kick off with a salad inspired by a "Savor the Moment" classic, the Town and Country Salad (pg. 20). The original version features lettuces, strawberries, Brie, caramelized almonds and a Poppy Seed Dressing that has been delighting diners for years. Chef Roenbeck's version includes Baby Organic Greens, Spinach Salad, White Balsamic-brushed Strawberries, Almonds, Goat Cheese and a Champagne Vinaigrette in a truly delicious take on this Junior League favorite!

The main course will feature a mouth-watering adaptation of Chicken Veronique with Fresh Peaches (pg. 172). If you are fortunate enough to be in attendance you will enjoy Roasted Tarragon Chicken "Veronique" with Grilled Peaches, Brown Sugar Mustard Glazed Carrots and Toasted Saffron Pearl Cous Cous that will have you asking for seconds!
And now, Ladies, for the dessert that was inspired by one of my personal favorites - the Toasted Coconut Cake (pg. 251). Executive Pastry Chef Jean Spielman has created a truly delightful presentation with his Toasted Coconut Cake with Candied Pineapple, Fresh Berries and Chocolate Dipped Bocaroons. I am happy to report this delicious coconut confection definitely tastes every bit as good as it looks!

Thank you to Jackie Reeves and Assistant Chairs Leslie Jackson and Allison Lane for including me in this delicious endeavor! Also a big thanks to Executive Sous Chef Donald Young, Director of Catering, George Petrocelli, and Pierre Gregoire for making the tasting such an enjoyable experience. To purchase your tickets, please visit the JLBR website or click here. Cheers to a fabulous event and I look forward to seeing you there!
XO,




Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Buon Appetito! Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

As a gal who is not a fan of broccoli, and that's putting it mildly, I have to say I was a bit wary of making this recipe. After doing a little research, however, I discovered broccoli rabe is not actually related to broccoli at all! According to Wikipedia, "the vegetable probably descends from a wild herb, a relative of the turnip, that grew either in China or the Mediterranean region." It is most popular in the cuisines of Southern Italy (in particular Bari and Sicily), Galicia, China, and Portugal. There was hope after all!

I had tried broccoli rabe a long time ago and remembered it as having a bitter flavor. According to the chair of the JLBR Cookbook Committee, Alison Gatto who is a fabulous cook, a great way to minimize the bitterness is to blanch it in boiling water before adding it to your pasta recipe. I wished I had spoken with her before I made this recipe! While I enjoyed the other ingredients including zucchini, sausage, and especially cheese, the broccoli rabe was a little too intense for my taste - bitter with a nutty, herbal flavor. Now, if you happen to be a fan of broccoli rabe you will probably really enjoy this recipe, as my husband did - not a bite left in his pasta bowl!
 
With this dish we drank a 2008 La Cala Vermentino di Sardegna, a light Italian white wine with a racy acidity and citrusy, herbal flavors. It went well with the broccoli rabe and cut through the richness of the sausage. Vermentino is an aromatic white grape varietal of Spanish origin that is found throughout Sardinia and is also grown in Liguria, Corsica, Madeira and southern France.
 
So for all you fans of broccoli rabe, here is a recipe for you - Buon Appetito!

XO,


 
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage (pg. 204)**
16 ounces uncooked orecchiette or ziti
8 ounces sausage
2 medium onions, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound broccoli rabe
2 large garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces carrots, julienned
2 small  zucchini, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta using the package directions. Remove 1 cup of the cooking liquid; keep the pasta warm.
Brown the sausage with the onions in the heated olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until the sausage is crumbly. Stir in the 1 cup reserved cooking liquid. Add the broccoli rabe and garlic and cook for 4 minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over high heat for 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta, Combine with the sausage mixture in a bowl and toss to mix well. Top with the cheese. Serves six
**Better me than you preparation tips:
- I used spicy Italian sausage - yum!
- Be sure not to drain the pasta until right before combining with the sausage mixture.
- I left out the carrot - I am not a fan of carrots in pasta, personal preference.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Save the Date for the "Savor the Moment" 10th Anniversary Celebration!

I am very happy to announce the upcoming "Savor the Moment" 10th Anniversary Celebration! Mark your calendars, my friends, because The Cookbook Committee is planning for a fabulous event that is sure to be "A Night to Remember."

The party will take place Friday, November 12th at the beautiful Seagate Beach Club in Delray Beach (pictured below). The event will feature a fabulous cocktail party, enticing silent auction with exciting lots tailored specifically to local foodies, a delicious selection of hors d'oeuvres and desserts from "Savor the Moment" and live entertainment. An afterparty will follow at the Seagate Hotel.

Our event is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Junior League of Boca Raton's "Savor the Moment, Entertaining Without Reservations," the first ever Junior League Cookbook to win a James Beard Award as well as the wonderful women responsible for its creation. This book is the result of some amazing teamwork by an outstanding group of women dedicated to improving and giving back to their community.

On behalf of the Cookbook Committee, we look forward to seeing you (this means you!) on November 12th! Tickets for the event are $75 per person and are on sale now. Please contact me to purchase yours, or they will be available through the Cookbook Committee at the General Membership Meeting on Tuesday at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Boca Raton. Online purchasing will be available shortly - stay tuned for more information! 

Cheers,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Join Me for an "Homage to Fromage" Wine & Food Tasting at the Museum of Art & "Savor the Moment" Cheese Facts!

What's not to love about cheese? From voluptuous, triple cream Brie to nutty, Spanish Manchego, cheese is definitely one of life's great culinary pleasures! As an added bonus for oenophiles, cheese also happens to pair fabulously well with wine. Coincidence? Who's to say, but whether it's a Sauvignon Blanc with a tangy, piquant Goat cheese or Port served with a creamy, sharp Stilton - the possibilities are deliciously endless.

I took these fabulous photos (just try getting cheese to say "cheese!") at the legendary Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City this Summer - it was heavenly! If you are also a fan of wine and cheese, I invite you to join me Thursday, September 23rd for an "Homage to Fromage" at the Museum of Art Ft. Lauderdale hosted by yours truly and the fabulous Chef John Paul of John Paul Custom Cuisine. After a successful Summer Wine & Food Tasting Series, we have been asked to continue our monthly food and wine tastings year round! This month's event will feature wines paired with a variety of cheese based hors d'oeuvres just in time for the Fall season. Tickets are $30 and include the "Homage to Fromage" Wine & Food Tasting as well as entry to the current Museum exhibition. Please click here for more information or to purchase your ticket - we look forward to seeing you there! 

As you probably know, "Savor the Moment" is a fabulous reference for all things culinary and includes great information on cheese as well. I have included this section for all you fabulous fromage lovers here:

"Brie and Camembert are creamy French cheeses with a soft rind made from cows' milk. They are wonderful when melted. Camembert has more kick than Brie.

Feta is a crumbly Greek cheese made from goat's milk. It adds a great salty touch to salads. Gorgonzola is a semi-soft Italian bleu cheese made from cows' milk. It is great melted on bread or crumbled on a salad.

Montrachet is a French cheese made from goats' milk. It is best when young and fresh.

Monterey Jack is a mild semi-soft American cheese made from cows' milk. It is a must for nachos.

Roquefort is a French Bleu cheese made from sheep's milk. It is great for salads.

Cheshire is an English cheese made from cows' milk. It is an elegant relative of cheddar.

Parmigiano-Reggiano is an Italian cheese made from cows' milk. It is a must with pasta and is great eaten on its own, too.

Stilton is the sophisticated version of bleu cheese made from cows' milk. It is best eaten with a full-bodied red wine or Port, and fresh fruit."

What is YOUR favorite cheese? Do share!

XO,
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