Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pan Bagnet lusciousness, manger a trois fois....

A Pan Bagnet is a luscious way to serve a crowd this time of year. The word "sandwich" doesn't really do justice to the hearty, flavorful, fresh tasting dish.  In between these slabs of crusty bread is a symphony of flavors and textures that have had a chance to "bathe" together {the name translates into soaked or bathed bread} weighted down by a few bottles of chilled rosé to create a harmonious bite that will make your mouth sing.

This can be one of those great "what's in the refrigerator" dishes, you can make modifications based on your tastes and what you have on hand, but essentially, it is a Salade Nicoise on bread, lots of fresh vegetables and herbs, some tangy and marinated, hard boiled eggs, tuna and sometimes anchovies. The key thing to think about when making this meal is to build a complexity of flavors and textures. I've shared some of my prior Pan Bagnet creations before, click on the links below to see these other variations. 

But, here's the latest version. After the slicing the Essential Bakery Ciabatta loaf lengthwise I dug out part of the soft spongy bread {but saved it for snacking} from the top section. I laid the bottom half on a large piece of saran wrap to capture any delicious morsels that go astray and to make the wrapping process easier. 

I spread some mayonnaise on the bottom section and on it distributed a layer of sliced Persian Cucumbers drizzled with some Splendid Vinaigrette 

next, a layer of sliced ripe tomatoes, some ribbons of basil leaves and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

In my refrigerator I usually have some "pickled" red onions, really just red onions soaking in red wine vinegar. The vinegars softens the edge of the onion flavor, and also enhances it with a bright, tangy goodness.

So, the next layer was a nice tangy concoction of capers, sliced marinated artichoke hearts, slices of Manzanilla Olives and generous layer of the pickled red onions plus a few extra splashes of the red wine vinegar, to keep building the flavors. 

Next came the rich protein portion, slices of hard boiled eggs

with another slather of Splendid Vinaigrette  were the starter.

When it comes to tuna, I prefer to use Italian Tuna, or tuna packed in olive oil, but really any tuna will do. If you use tuna packed in water you may want to toss it in some olive oil or Splendid Vinaigrette, just to make it more moist and flavorful. 

I love the big meaty fillets that emerge from the jar, and the silky coating of olive oil. 

Next up, the fresh layer, torn leaves of red leaf lettuce, more of the chiffonade of basil leaves and a thick blanket of chopped fresh parsley. 

But let's not stop there, how about another layer of crunchy cucumbers drizzled with Splendid Vinaigrette for an extra punch of refreshing crispness? 

A smear of mayo in the crevices of the hallowed out top layer, and we are ready to close the deal.

This is where the magic comes in, here is about 8 inches of fresh, flavorful, crunchy, chewy, rich, tangy goodness 

that will be compressed to about 2 inches. 

The lid goes on

and then it is tightly wrapped in saran.

Then I put it in a basket with ice packs and a tea towel beneath the sandwich and bottles of chilled rosé on top of it, plus a cookbook or two. 

A couple of hours later, it is ready to be devoured. 

Here are some other versions to whet your appetite...

Pan Bagnet, perfect picnic fare

Pan Bagnet
Weighty options, Pan Bagnet

Bon Appetite! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Splendid Bouquets in 1~2~3...

If you've been reading Splendid Market for awhile, you know how much love flowers and arranging them using my simple 1~2~3 technique. There are so many blossoms in bloom right now I thought I'd do a little review to inspire you to bring some of that summer beauty into your abode with ease for the weekend. 

Over the years I've developed this three step process and it allows me to make an attractive, complex, full looking bouquet with ease every time, no matter the size or shape of the container. Today I thought I'd show you how I applied this technique to make 3 rustic arrangements for an informal gathering featuring the vibrant Dahlia's blooming in the garden right now. 

My vision was to create arrangements that look similar, but for each one to be somewhat unique. I'm was going for a natural, garden look, so I wanted to create a shape that is a little irregular... balanced, but not perfectly symmetrical.

The bouquet above is the largest of the 3, I made it for the round table that held appetizers and desserts.

Step 1: Greenery

In this oval shaped zinc bucket I used branches of Sage, Dusty Miller and some taller branches of Bay Laurel to fill the container and outline the shape of the bouquet. I find bouquets look best if you use at least 3 different varieties of greens. The different shades and textures add to the complexity of the arrangement. 

Step 2: Predominant Flowers

Next, I filled in the spaces between the greens with my core flowers, threading the stems between the greens for support. Here I am using a variety of pink dahlias, dahlia buds and sprigs of white roses. I am purposefully leaving some of the buds and blooms a little higher because I want this to look more natural and garden~like. Another nod to nature is keeping the sprigs of white roses together, as they would look in the garden. If I were going for a more formal, symmetrical look, I'd have the white roses more evenly distributed throughout the bouquet. 

Step 3: The Accent

Finally, I like to add something to the arrangement that pops out a little, something that is  unexpected perhaps {think of berries, fruit branches, moss covered branches, shapely sticks}. In this case I added clumps of lavender.

Keeping bunches together so they look as they do in nature. 

In this case, again, I'm deliberately creating somewhat of an irregular shaped garden bouquet. If I were creating a more formal, symmetrical bouquet I would space out the lavender stems so that they were evenly distributed between the larger blooms. 

Powder Room Bouquet

I love the rich green patina on this small metal scalloped container I brought home from France. Conveniently, it has a fitted plastic liner so I don't have to worry about leaks. It fits perfectly on the top shelf of the faux bamboo corner etagere that anchors our petite powder room. 

Step 1: Greenery

I grow a lot of herbs in my beds so I can have them both for cooking and for flower arrangements. Not only are they beautiful, but I love the scents they give off as I work with them. Here I used sprigs of sage and bay laurel and then filled in with stems of oregano that has gone to seed. 

Starting with greenery also creates support for the flowers. Here's an arial view of this container filled with greens. From here, it's easy to see the gaps between the greens where you can slide in stems and they will be well supported.

Step 2: Predominant Flowers

Here, again, I used a mix of pink dahlias and sprigs of garden roses {this time pink speckled} at varying heights to reflect how they might look in the garden. To determine the heights I stand the stem on the table surface outside of the vase to see how it will look before trimming the stem at an angle for better water absorption. 

Step 3: The Accent

As with the previous arrangement, I used a bunch of lavender for the accent, clumped together as they were in the garden. 

The final bouquet was on our lunch table, in a larger version of the scalloped metal vessel above, this one has a nice ring of rust around the base, that I kind of love. 

Step 1: Greenery

The greenery here is sage, bay laurel, oregano & basil that have gone to seed, so they offer some small, soft white blooms. 

Step 2: Predominant Flowers

The predominant flowers are all dahlias in this piece.

Step 3: The Accent

To break up all of those pink petals and add a little whimsy I brought in a chorus of Japanese Aneome. I love how the fresh greens buds and leaves bob above that bed of pink.

They also add nice height and broaden out the arrangement. 

Alright, so there's a review of my 1~2~3 splendid floral technique. I hope it inspires you to make a few fresh flower arrangements for your abode this weekend.

To see how I used this method to make this Fall bouquet, click on Bouquets made with ease and Autumn leaves 

Autumn arrangements

To see how I used this method for winter arrangements click on Winter Holiday Bouquet.

Lodge look holiday bouquet
To see a plethora of petal inspiration click on The Key to the Backroom where you'll find all of the past posts on flowers and botany on Splendid Market, including many living and seasonal displays. 

Now, don't get lost in there. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Arty~party, painting and sipping....

On a recent girls trip to Mexico we had a very fun form of entertainment for cocktail hour....PAINTS and brushes and canvases and colored pencils... on the beach! We were in a picturesque setting and it didn't take long for the creative juices to start flowing. Last week I recreated the experience for a birthday celebration on Orcas. Read on to see how you and your gal pals {and/or hubbys and/or kids} can do this with ease. 

As if the art supplies weren't enough we were honored with the presence of reknowned local artist Yandi Monardo who advised us on different techniques to express all of our artistic dreams. 

We were splattering, blending and using anything on hand {including our fingers} or underfoot {i.e. sand} to get just the right look. 

Once we were finished with canvases, we moved onto bodies. 

Everyone had a blast trying their hand at creating unique works~of~art on the beach. 

An interesting finishing touch we learned from Yandi was to leave some of the paintings out on the beach overnight.

Best party favors ever!

The humid, salty air transformed this painting 

into the one on the right below, isn't that amazing? I didn't even recognize it the morning. 
On the left is a portrait that Yandi painted of me that I absolutely treasure!


This was so much fun that I created a similar set up on my deck on Orcas Island for friends who came up for a birthday party last week. Champagne in hand, everyone took to the art table to paint the view, bowl of fruit, or bouquet that were set up or to realize their own abstract notions on canvas. 

No matter the level of experience, I find most everyone loves to have the opportunity to express their inner artist.

Here is an extensive list of supplies you may want to offer for your arty~party:

art canvases and/ or art boards {these take up less space}, individual palettesacrylic paintsoil paintsclassic paint brushes in a canvas roll, wider paint brushesoil pastels, pastel paper, watercolors in tubes, solid watercolors, watercolor paper, watercolor postcards, these papers are also suitable mediums for water color pencils, colored pencils, charcoals. Add to the table art sponges, sand, wine corks, pine branches, and anything else you have for additional texture and creativity. Create suggested subject matters: bowls of fruit, bouquets, a view, models to get people started. Use canning jars {for rinsing brushes, blending colors and easy clean~up}. Protect your surfaces with canvas or plastic drop cloths.

Then let the creativity flow!

                      Thank you Yandi and my fun fellow artists on the beach and on the deck

...let's paint on!

p.s. two other things things that made this day even more fun and colorful were these unicorn horn birthday hats {wear them on your forehead} and these fabulous gold and turquoise metallic tattoos

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tahiti beach/ Brigitte Bardot glamour/St. Tropez style...

Orange you loving all this orange? And what is prettier with vibrant orange than a cool blue? Especially clear blue skies and crystal blue seas. We thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this lovely color combination when we visited the freshened up Tahiti Beach Club in St. Tropez for lunch one day. This is the original beach club on the white sand Pampelonne strip, which is now populated with about 25 different beach clubs, each with it's own personality. These "clubs" do not require membership, you can visit them for a meal, a drink or to rent a matelas and chair and just lounge the day away enjoying the sand, the sea and maybe even an orange umbrella or 2. 

This stunning area, which is actually in Ramautuelle, France was made famous by Brigitte Bardot. She first put the tiny fishing village of nearby St. Tropez on the map and established herself as an international sex kitten when she starred in And God Created Woman in 1956, a film directed by her first husband, Roger Vadim. 

Throughout the 50's and 60's she continued to beckon all who love this glamorous yet rustic French life style {and who doesn't?} to these shores to indulge in all of the decadent pleasures they had to offer. Here she is celebrating her honeymoon with 3rd husband, Gunter Sachs at Tahiti Beach in the 60's. 

I first wrote about this club a couple of years ago, looking back on those shots I must say I really love the fresh new look. They are still using the signature orange, but it's sharpened up by using whites and pale grays instead of the yellowish tan contrast color of yesteryear. The sturdy teak tables are still a fixture, but now they are flanked with these fresh looking banquettes. 

The provençal fare even seemed much better than I recalled. 

We started the meal with the traditional help~yourself crudités served in a natural cork bowl with flavorful anchovy dip and hard boiled eggs. 

The place was absolutely packed and everyone was in the mood to celebrate. 

After lunch some visited the on~sight salon for blow~outs, some perused the boutique filled with glamorous frocks and accessories, while others hit the sand running 

and relaxed the afternoon away on the beach.

One can access these clubs by land or by sea. Most of the clubs offer boat service, they will pick you up on your vessel to bring you in for a meal or for the day.

This is handy since gorgeous Gunter is no longer available.

Behind the white sand beach and the restaurants, which are, for the most part, deconstructed in the winter, there is plenty of parking. There are small roads off the main beach strip that lead to these clubs, they snake through stretches of grassy dunes, forests of pine and cork trees and vineyards that keep this area feeling natural and primitive.

Brigitte is still there, leading a much more reclusive life as an animal rights activist, click on La Madrague, to see more of this provocative icon and the home and beach that she loves. 

At the end of the day, after the umbrellas and matelas are away for the night

it's always a hard to to leave this amazing setting.

If you just can't bear to leave you could always check to see if there is a room at the small Tahiti Beach hotel

Then you can wake up in the morning for a stroll through the gardens and yet another glamorous day on the plage.