Monday, February 28, 2011

Kitchen Confidential: Seda France "Vanille a la Française" Classic Toile Pagoda Box Candle!

I have to say I am a big fan of vanilla. Whether it's ice cream, a latte or even home fragrances, vanilla is usually a shoe-in with me. Finding just the right vanilla scent can be difficult though. Some can be too powdery, some too cloyingly sweet - it's not always easy to find just the right one. Recently, however, I have come across what is, for me, "the perfect" vanilla!  

Seda France's Vanille a la Française is their rendition of a classic French vanilla - but it is so much more than that! They have combined citrusy Mandarin orange and Meyer lemon with tropical notes of raw coconut, juicy pink guava and plantain leaf and then finished it off with tart cassis, vanilla sugar, tiare flower and yuzu zest. It is positively delicious and even comes in the signature Seda France Pagoda box making it perfect for gift giving as well. The fragrance is available in a few different candle sizes as well as a room mist and liquid hand soap. It is also reasonably priced with their Pagoda Candle version retailing for around $30 - what's not to love about that?!

If you are fortunate enough to live in Palm Beach County, you can swing by the Linen Closet and pick yours up. Linen Closet is one of my favorite local stores, specializing in fine linens and fabulous gifts, and they just happen to be having a "Sale into Spring Event" this Thursday, March 3rd from 11am-4pm. I will be there promoting "The Glamorous Gourmet" - sign up for updates and your name will be entered in a drawing to win a very nice bottle of wine. Hope to see you there!

So if you, too are a vanilla fan, please check out Seda France's Vanille a la Française - I'd love to hear what you think. I also just had to include this "vanilla-related" Far Side cartoon as well - it is one of my all time favorites!

Cheers,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Enjoy the Oscars in Style: Black Truffle Popcorn and Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce!

One of the most glamorous nights of the year is just a few days away - this Sunday is the 83rd Annual Academy Awards! If you are not on the guest list this year (wouldn't THAT be nice), why not enjoy a decadent meal at home while you root for your favorite films!


Kick off the evening with Black Truffle Popcorn paired with your favorite Champagne. I don't know about you but I could eat an entire bowl myself! I highly recommend using microwave Black Jewell Gourmet Popcorn. The shiny black kernels pop a beautiful snow white color and there's alot less hull than yellow popcorn. Once popped, add melted butter to taste, toss, and liberally sprinkle the popcorn with Black Truffle Salt. Black Truffle Salt is available at your local gourmet store and, if you live in Boca Raton, you can purchase is at The Spice & Tea Exchange at Mizner Park. As for bubbly, why not stick with the real deal and opt for a Taittinger Brut La Francaise NV. Made from both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, this sparkler is sure to get your night off to a glamorous start!


For the main course, why not go with the ever-elegant filet mignon? Dressed up with a glamorous Gorgonzola cheese sauce you have an award winning meal you can enjoy from the comfort of your own couch! Serve with mushrooms that have been sauteed in Worchestershire sauce, red wine, salt and pepper; and asparagus that have been peeled and steamed in salted water. Pair this fabulous meal with a robust red, like a 2007 Chateau Dauzac Bordeaux from the famed Margaux appellation. This Fifth Growth Bordeaux (according to the Classification of 1855) is a tasty blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon and 48% Merlot and pairs perfectly with the Filet and Gorgonzola Sauce.

Whether you are rooting for The Black Swan or The Social Network I hope you enjoy an evening of Oscar glamour with this fabulous meal! Which film do you think will win best picture? Do tell!


Cheers,










Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce
Steaks:
2 (8-ounce) filet mignon steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
Sauce:
2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley


For the steaks: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season the steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Spread one tablespoon butter on each steak to coat. In a large, oven-proof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer skillet to the pre-heated oven and cook steaks to desired doneness, five minutes for medium-rare or until the meat has an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes.


For the sauce: Bring the heavy cream to a full boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to boil rapidly for 25-30 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Remove saucepan from the heat and add the Gorgonzola, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk rapidly until the cheeses melt and serve warm. If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together. Serves two.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Countdown Begins for The Ninth Annual Boca Bacchanal!

The countdown begins for one of my favorite wine & food events of the year! The Ninth Annual Boca Bacchanal will take place March 18-20th and is a fabulous, weekend long affair that features some of the world's most renowned Chefs and Vintners showcased in three very unique events. This year has special significance for me and my husband Steve since we are chairing The Bacchanal and Auction on Saturday, March 19th. Needless to say, we are very excited! 


Steve Miskew, Mary Csar & Stephanie Miskew
The theme of this year's event is "The Era of the Mango Gang Chefs" and will feature many of the original members of  The Mango Gang, an elite group of innovative chefs who who created South Florida’s distinctive regional cuisine during the 1980’s, bringing an international spotlight to our area. This year's featured Chefs are Allen Susser (Chef Allen's, Aventura, FL), Mark Militello (formerly of Trina, Ft. Lauderdale, FL), Oliver Saucy (Cafe Maxx, Pompano Beach, FL), Robbin Haas (Gulf Coast Kitchen at the Montauk Yacht Club Resort, Montauk, NY and Bistro Cinq, Antigua, Guatemala), Douglas Rodriguez (D. Rodriguez Cuba, Miami, FL), and Cindy Hutson (Ortanique on the Mile).


This year's fabulous featured vintners are ZD Wines, represented by Rosa Lee Deleuze; Hall Winery, represented by Kathryn Hall; Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards, represented by Blair Fox; Maison Louis Jadot, represented by Jacques Lardière; Champagne Taittinger, represented by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger and Spring Mountain Vineyard, represented by Jac Cole.


The weekend-long event that benefits the Boca Raton Historical Society kicks off Friday night with Vintner Dinners featuring decadent and delicious meals created by our Chefs and Vintners in some of Boca Raton's most spectacular private residences. Saturday evening is the fabulous and festive Bacchanal and Auction where revelers descend on The Boca Raton Resort and Club for an evening of sipping, savoring and bidding in one of the country's Top 20 Premier Live Auctions according to Wine Spectator. Sunday is the Grand Tasting, an alfresco affair held at the Mizner Park Amphitheatre where attendees can stroll and sample dishes from 30 top local restaurants and 140 featured wines.


I will be featuring wines from some of this years Vintners at the Museum of Art Ft. Lauderdale this Thursday evening, February 24th at another installment of our "Art of Food and Wine" Series.  This month's theme is Wines of the Winter Season: Hearty Wines That Will Warm You Up – Paired With Your Favorite Comfort Foods! (for more information, click the title). Please join us for a sneak peek of the fabulous wines!


I will be featuring more about The Boca Bacchanal in the coming weeks! If you are interested in attending or for more information, please visit www.bocabacchanal.com. We hope to see you there!


Cheers,

Friday, February 18, 2011

Big Changes for "Stephanie Savors the Moment!"

To everyone who has followed Stephanie Savors the Moment over the past 1 1/2 years - I am happy to announce some exciting changes!


As some of you already know, I was "tripped up" in my quest to complete "The Savor the Moment Challenge" after suffering a fractured hip in October and subsequent hip surgery in January. During my lengthy and ongoing recovery, I have decided to kick off 2011 with a new look and focus to my blog. A girl's gotta shake things up, after all!


True to my personality (and sense of humor) I will be changing the name of my blog to "The Glamorous Gourmet." I look forward to writing about food and wine with a fun and refreshing approach, somewhere along the lines of The Barefoot Contessa meets Carrie Bradshaw.

Features will include:
Vintage Vogue: Be in the know with wine facts and reviews to expand your knowledge of all things vinous!
Kitchen Confidential: Reviews of coveted cookbooks, kitchen tools and wine accessories!
Still Savoring...: The "Savor the Moment Challenge" continues complete with wine pairings and entertaining advice for every recipe!
The Event File: Get the scoop on the hottest food and wine events around town!
Fast & Fabulous: Quick and flavorful recipes that deliver maximum deliciousness for the effort!
A Perfect Pairing: Recipes and wine pairings from your favorite Chefs and Sommeliers - please let me know if you have any suggestions!

In addition to the blog, I'm also looking forward to continuing my other endeavors including chairing The Boca Bacchanal and Auction with my husband Steve on Saturday, March 19th here in Boca Raton; writing for The New Times and continuing my "Art of Wine & Food" Series at The Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale. Be sure to check out the Events section for a current list of updates!


I will be tweaking the site over the course of the next week so please bear with me. I hope you enjoy the new look of the blog and find lots of fun and entertaining info to share with your family and friends! I greatly appreciate you support and look forward to your input and comments. 


Cheers,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Tunes to set the Mood for L'Amour!

You have your Valentine's Day menu planned to perfection, but how about some music to really set the mood. This playlist is guaranteed to pair perfectly with your meal and heat things up with your Sweet Baboo! It also makes for a nice gift if you haven't had time to run to the store.

The songs are from some of my all-time favorite artists (i.e. Madonna, Diana Krall, and The Bird and the Bee) and this playlist is actually available on iTunes (click here or title below). You might have to purchase the Sex and the City Soundtrack in order to acquire all the songs but if you don't have this CD already, it is a must!


I hope you enjoy these songs with your sweetie and, just a note of caution, you may want to disconnect your smoke detectors before you hit play!

XOXO,

Miss Q's Valentine's Mix 2011
1. L-O-V-E - Fisher
2. My Funny Valentine - Matt Damon
3. The Look of Love - Diana Krall
4. Language Of Love - Cee-Lo
5. Fever - Michael Bublé
6. My Love - Corinne Bailey Rae
7. Sex for Breakfast - Christina Aguilera
8. It could Be Sweet - Portishead
9. I Want a Little Sugar In My Bowl - Baby Goes Bang
10. L’amour - Carla Bruni
11. Love Profusion - Madonna
12. Kissing - Bliss
13. How Deep Is Your Love - The Bird & The Bee
14. Lover Undercover - Melody Gardot
15. Is This Love - Corinne Bailey Rae
16. I've Got a Crush On You - Steve Tyrell
17. Love Makes the World Go Round - Deon Jackson
18. Possession - Sarah McLachlan
19. Forbidden Love - Madonna
20. Tonight You Belong to Me - The Bird And The Bee

Friday, February 11, 2011

How to Own Chanel for Under a Euro: Chanel Valentine's Stamps!

Since my culinary adventures have been curtailed to some degree due to surgery, I thought I would share this fashionable and timely, but not necessarily food-related, post! 

Each year the French Postal Service commissions a fabulous, world renowned fashion designer to create heart shaped stamps to commemorate Valentine's Day. The first of these "designer hearts" postage stamps were issued in 2000 and, in 2004, the French Postal service commissioned the one and only Karl Lagerfeld to design a sheet of Chanel heart-shaped stamps. GASP - how beautiful are they?!



I thought they were way too pretty to waste on actual postage so I purchased a set on eBay and had them framed! Just a little Chanel eye candy to brighten a girl's day. I hope your Valentine's Day is filled with beautiful things that make you smile!
Cheers,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sweets for your Sweet: Three Fabulous Valentine's Day Dessert & Wine Pairings!

Let's be honest. While a nice Valentine's Day dinner is, well, "nice," isn't this day of romance really all about the sweets? Candy hearts and chocolates seem to take center stage on this most romantic day of the year. So why not pair your sweets with some fabulous wine as well? 

Here are three fabulous pairings that are guaranteed to satiate your sweetie's sweet tooth. There's a little something for everyone: decadent Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes, "cheeky" Slut Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly and a classic Crème Brûlée. 

For the chocolate lover, you can't go wrong with these Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes from "Savor the Moment" (click link for recipe). I know I have raved about them before, even featuring them in my Kitchen Confidant article in the Sun Sentinel but, hey, what can I say, they are AWESOME! Pair these chocolatey babies with a Brachetto d'Acqui, a sparkling wine from Italy's Piedmont region that's rife with flavors of strawberries and rose petals and a delightful sweetness. It is widely available as well, so be sure to check your local wine store. 

Not really a chocolate lover? Why not try this unique and fruity dessert, Slut-Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly (recipe below). This Nigella Lawson creation is delicious and conveniently can be made the day before and lovingly chill in the fridge until you and your mate are ready to indulge! Use a fruity-style Chardonnay for this recipe, but pair it with a late harvest Chardonnay or a little gem of a wine, Quady Red ElectraThe Electra is a California Muscat Wine and, while not readily available, can be ordered directly from the winery. I just love it with this dessert!

If you are looking for something more classic this Valentine's Day, why not go with the Coco Chanel of desserts, Crème brûlée (click link for recipe). This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa is perfection with the addition of vanilla extract and Grand Marnier. You can also make this recipe the day before and impress your loved one by whipping out your kitchen torch and caramelizing the sugar just before serving! Pair this deliciousness with a Sauternes, a French dessert wine that's a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and/or Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea aka "noble rot". This bacteria causes the grapes to shrivel, concentrating their delicious flavors and leading to a wine with a heady, wonderful sweetness. 

I really hope you enjoy these pairings, and remember that basically, the key to pairing wine with dessert is that the wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert...if not sweeter. Hope you and your Sweetie have a very Happy Valentine's Day! 


Cheers,




Slut-Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly
1 750ml bottle good fruity Chardonnay
3/4 pint raspberries
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 sheets leaf gelatin
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Heavy cream to serve
Place the wine and berries in a bowl and allow to steep for half an hour. Strain the wine into a saucepan and keep the raspberries to one side. Heat the wine with the vanilla bean until nearly boiling and leave to steep on one side for 15 minutes.
Soak the gelatin sheets - which you can find in the supermarket these days - in cold water for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, after removing the vanilla bean, reheat the wine and stir in the sugar until it dissolves; allow to boil if you want to lose the alcohol. Add a third of the hot wine to the wrung out gelatin sheets in a measuring cup and stir to dissolve, then add this mixture back into the rest of the wine and stir well. Strain into a large pitcher.
Place the raspberries, equally, into six flattish, clear glass serving bowls, and pour the strained wine over the top.
Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, though a day would be fine if you want to make this well ahead, and take out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
Serve some heavy cream in a pitcher, and let people pour this into the fragrant, tender, fruit-jeweled jelly as they eat. Serves six.
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