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.
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.