Friends savor recipes from their successful cookbook at this South Florida gathering.

By Julia Dowling Rutland
November 21, 2002
Howard L. Puckett

Rays of sunshine interrupt the light drizzle that threatens to dampen this outdoor party. Gentle breezes push sterling ripples across the pool. Clouds part just as the first guests arrive. It's as if entertainers extraordinaire Cindy Krebsbach and Lynn Holcomb planned it this way. In a place where the phrase "blow over" often appears in the weather forecast, they've learned to deal with surprises. "The tropical element you incorporate into any event makes entertaining in South Florida unique," says guest Nicole Mugavero under the now sunny skies.

Boca Raton, nestled between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, is known for high style and pink buildings. To the group gathering this morning for brunch, it's home. Cindy and Lynn join civic-minded friends to celebrate another year of success for the Junior League of Boca Raton's award-winning cookbook, Savor the Moment: Entertaining Without Reservations.

Homeowner Michele Rochon glides through the group with a tray of lime-green Honeydew Mimosas. As guests await the buffet, they nibble on the not-to-be-missed Spiced Boca Nuts, a blend of mixed nuts infused with sweet and piquant flavors.

Today's menu, selected from Savor the Moment, combines lively colors and spicy flavors, evoking the feel of South Florida. It features Farmhouse Benedict, a twist on the traditional eggs Benedict. Zesty, bright Red Pepper Cornbread, topped with rosemary-scented hollandaise, replaces English muffins. With Key lime juice in the glaze, Strawberry Streusel Muffins are an instant hit. "They just jump straight into your mouth," says Robin Deyo.

But every guest's favorite turns out to be Stone Crab Claws with Mustard Sauce. Unless you purchase claws cracked, you have to use a wooden mallet and strike the shell at the knuckle to avoid crushing the succulent meat. Cindy helps Nicole adjust the dishtowel so the salty juices don't spray. One swift stroke cracks the claw to expose the precious meat. "It's not an everyday indulgence," says Cindy, "but, oh, so South Florida."