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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!


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


  1. I loved reading about your lunch and Thank you for sharing the recipe for Pan Bagna ~ I wonder where that interesting name comes from.

  2. I love any excuse to get together with girlfriends :) I've never attempted Tarte Tatin, but it's one of my most favorite dishes and I have a great recipe waiting in my binder! I'll make sure to have cupcakes on hand, since burning sugar is a specialty of mine :) I'm actually going to start contributing occasionally to our monthly JL newsletter, Tenn Minutes, as the Food Hound-- I'm very excited!

  3. I love the music on here "give me that wine!" You are incredible Stephanie, I love your blog! Morgan

  4. You ladies are certainly putting the glamour back into food and entertaining and I LOVE it. Going to put Pan Bagna on my to make list - bet it was great with the wine! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Fun lunch with the cookbook stars! Super photos of all of you!
    Sorry about the happens to all of us! The cupcakes were a great substitute. Yum.

  6. Stephanie,

    I love reading your blog, you are an inspiration to all of us cooks! I like cupcakes much better than Tarte Tatin.

  7. It's nice how a cute cupcake can save the day ;o)
    Lovely lunch with the girls...and look absolutley wonderfully happy ;o)...always nice to visit.

    Ciao for now,

  8. Sounds like a wonderful lunch. Tart tatin is a favourite of mine too, but I've never tried making it yet. Good for you for trying though, I'm sure the next time will be a success. Still, how cute were those cupcakes??? Love the names.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    *kisses* HH


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