Ladies' Lunch: My Paris Kitchen

Inspired by David Leibovitz's Book Signing Party at Boat Street Cafe

Here's an idea that's pretty on the plate, vegetarian or could be, and will suit a wide variety of appetites. The vegetables are raw, pickled and blanched for a variety of flavors and textures. You can select any vegetables you like but the three treatments is what makes it more interesting than a chopped salad.

Mushroom Pate and Mixed Salad with Spring Vegetables and Green Goddess Dressing.

Mushroom Pate and Mixed Salad with Spring Vegetables and Green Goddess Dressing.

 Boat Street Cafe has closed but the memory of a delicious lunch and presentation by David Leibovitz will always be mine. Renee Erickson's crew served a Le Grand (chive and garlic) Aioli with blanched vegetables as a first course, duck pate as a second, both from David's book, My Paris Kitchen. I thought as I ate it, serve these together for an easy ladies lunch that can be plated ahead of time and is good at room temperature. I thought about it for a year until I had the opportunity to host a luncheon for 20 people. With my small house and only one dishwasher, I needed to conserve dishes and utensils, so I figured out a decadent chocolate bark in a cellophane bag with a tangerine bow to decorate each place setting and save a fork and dessert plate. I chose the green goddess dressing from Renee's book, A Boat, A Whale and a Walrus, because it's more colorful on the plate and similar to the aioli.

The only error in the smooth execution of this lunch was I forgot the big bag of garnish for the pate of toasted chopped almonds, parsley and a flaky sea salt, which improved everything I ate for about two weeks. Download the pate recipe I used which had traveled the internet for years and needed quite a bit of editing. It was a big hit with everyone.