Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm Back!!

Yes, yes, yes! I still write the Entertaining with Kathi column. In May it will be 4 years since the first column was published in the Northeast Chronicle of the Tallahassee Democrat.

I know it has been a long time since I reprinted one of the columns here. Sorry. Hope you've been able to follow it in the newspaper.

What can I say? Well, I've been busy! I moved both business and home to a neighboring town, lived the old European way, "above the shop" for a few seasons, and then as if that wasn't enough, a wonderful miracle of miracles happened! I fell in love with the widower preacher down the street, got married, moved once again and built a new catering kitchen a few steps from our home. Life is certainly full of surprises!

Now I tap out the keyboard letters for my columns from a second story home office I share with my wonderful, and slightly eccentric husband, Bill.

Now without further ado, I present my most recent column that published in today's newspaper.

Enjoy!!   Kathi

Celebrate 'cabin-fever'

month with sunny French

dipping sauce

By Kathi Bess • Entertaining with Kathi •

February 10, 2010

In the memory banks of my imagination, I return to

an old stone cottage surrounded by fields of

sunflowers and lavender. A beautiful, sunny feast is

spread out on a rustic old picnic table.

Herein lies my inspiration for today's column.

I'm spinning the globe to the sunny Provencal

region of France and to the marvelous spirit of joie

de vivre!

Why? Because I can!

As I write this column, the sky outside is about as

inspiring as the collective lint on a dryer screen.

Without even a sliver of sunshine in the forecast, I

know one thing. I know that if I'm to have any

sunshine today at all, I better bring it with me.

If ever there was a "cabin-fever" month in the

Sunshine State, the month of February qualifies.

By this time of the year, regardless of where I've

been in the months preceding February, I'm

impatient for sun-washed skies and wild blooming

bursts. And while we can't control what happens in

the skies and plants outside, we always have the

option to set the stage within to suit whatever whim

or fancy we may entertain.

So why not throw a Cabin Fever House Party with a

French Flavor! Now, I'm not talking about a great big

gala, but rather something small and intimate,

something that can be enjoyed at a lovely leisurely

pace, with a wonderful wave of abandon to the more

expected social conventions.

Curling up with a great book, cheering on your

favorite sports team on TV, knitting an afghan,

playing board games, yada, yada, yada. You get the

idea; just fill in the blank with your favorite Saturday

or Sunday afternoon past time.

Whether yours is a solo activity, a partner pursuit or

a bigger get-together of family or visiting friends,

the party platter I am about to propose will serve as

perfect fare for indulging in those leisurely


The key here is one big fabulous platter that can be

prepped early in the day for the ultimate lingering

lunch / brunch / dinner spread. No need to

interrupt the day's serendipitous flow, to cook

dinner, if you plan ahead and make provisions for a

balanced blend of succulent bites.

In Provence, exquisitely poached fish or seafood,

artichokes, potatoes, chickpeas, hard boiled eggs,

and lots and lots of garden fresh goodies are

arranged in dainty quantities and elegantly

displayed on a large tray surrounding a rich

traditional sauce of crushed garlic, egg yolks, olive

oil and lemon.

This dipping sauce is known simply as Aioli. One

whiff, one bite, one glimpse and see for yourself if

you are not transported to the sunny fields of


Aioli Dipping Sauce

10 garlic cloves, minced

2 egg yolks, at room temperature

Salt, pepper, favorite seasoning blend to taste

1 fresh squeezed lemon

Advertisement 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

11/2 cups Olive Oil

(It's also delightful to add fresh herbs, capers, a

little splash of champagne.)

Whisk egg until light and smooth. Combine garlic,

egg, seasonings, lemon juice and Dijon mustard in

a food processor. Process to a smooth paste.

With machine running add olive oil in a small,

steady stream. Keep blending until you have a thick,

shiny sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.

•Kathi Bess is a caterer, food writer and

teacher of cooking classes. Visit her online at

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