Turkey Talk on Fox 4

We put so much pressure on ourselves to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving feast. Making a turkey only once a year can cause even the most accomplished home chef to get a bit nervous.  We all want the star of the show to be succulent and juicy and for me, the best insurance policy is a wet brine solution.

Join me on Wednesday, November 22nd about 8:40 am, on Fox 4 Good Day.  I will show you the simple techniques to insure you have a beautiful bird on the table this year and every year!

See the recipes and a recap of turkey tips below.

This year, I am most grateful for the time to share a meal of fresh food with my darling family.  What are you grateful for this year? I would love to hear from you.

Au revoir for now

Lorie

Turkey Tips

-Brine the turkey to insure it’s tender and juicy

-Let the turkey come to room temp before cooking, about 30 minutes

-For golden skin on the turkey, pat dry very well and brush with melted butter

-If you brine, don’t add more salt

-No need to baste!

-Let turkey rest 20-30 minutes before carving 

Wet Brined Turkey 12-18 Pounds

Brine

2 gallons water

1 ¼ cups kosher salt

1 cup sugar

8 whole cloves garlic

1 tablespoon pepper corns

2 onions cut in quarters

2 sprigs rosemary

2 sprigs thyme

Turkey

12-18 pound turkey

4 tablespoons butter melted

1 onion quartered

1 orange cut in wedges

1 celery stalk cut in pieces

2 sprigs rosemary

In a large pot heat 1 gallon of water with salt and sugar and bring to a boil.  Add aromatics and remove from heat, add remaining gallon of water.  When the water is completely cool, pour it into a large zip top bag inside a plastic tub.  Submerge the turkey in the cool water.  Zip the bag and place turkey tub in the refrigerator for 6 hours.  Remove the turkey and discard the brine solution.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Let turkey come to room temperature about 30 minutes.  Pat the bird down until completely dry and place it into a roasting pan with a wire rack.  Stuff the cavity of the turkey with onions, orange, celery and rosemary.  Brush the entire surface of the turkey with butter. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and place the turkey in the oven.  Turn the oven down to 325 degrees after the first 30 minutes of cooking.  Cook turkey roughly 15 minutes per pound but be sure you test the thickest part of the breast to reach a minimum temperature of 165 degrees.

No Fail Cream Gravy

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 ½ cups chicken or turkey stock

1 cup milk

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in the bottom of a sauce pan, add flour and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, warm the chicken stock and milk together in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Add liquid to flour mixture whisking vigorously and cook until thick. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste. For brown gravy; simply cook the butter and flour mixture an additional 3 -5 minutes, to brown the roux before adding the liquid.

Tip: For a brown gravy, cook the butter flour mixture 5-6 minutes until is is medium brown in color, then proceed with recipe.

Movie Night with Provence Crew

Have you seen the darling movie A Good Year? I highly recommend it!  It’s a sweet flick starring Russell Crowe and the adorable Marion Cotillard set in Provence.  The movie details the life of workaholic Max Skinner; you guessed it, boy meets girls, there are fireworks and plenty of wine!

Much of the movie was filmed in the Luberon area of Provence.  Lush green hills and one charming French village after another and the food…don’t even get me started!

Before the craziness of the holidays insue, I invited my Provence 2018 travelers for a movie night to watch A Good Year.

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The perfect fare for the casual fete was a simple Provencal Picnic. Served with French bread of course!

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If you’re going to watch a movie, popcorn is a must.  I like to make homemade microwave popcorn in various flavors.  For the party, I made Herbs de Provence and Cayenne Parmesan.

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No picnic is complete in my book without chocolate. I served freshly made dark chocolate strawberry truffles and foil wrapped chocolate cherry cordials.

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Bubbles are always a good idea, especially fun in single serve bottles.

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Our journey to Provence really begin as we watched the movie.  Oh what fun we will have!

Provence 2018 is sold out but for more information on traveling with me to Provence OR Paris in 2019 Click HERE! Inquire TODAY seats sell out very early.

Do you have a favorite movie set in France?  There are so many to choose from, please share your fav with us.

Au revoir for now~  Lorie

 

Movie Night with Provence Crew

Have you seen the darling movie A Good Year? I highly recommend it!  It’s a sweet flick starring Russell Crowe and the adorable Marion Cotillard set in Provence.  The movie details the life of workaholic Max Skinner; you guessed it, boy meets girls, there are fireworks and plenty of wine!

Much of the movie was filmed in the Luberon area of Provence.  Lush green hills and one charming French village after another and the food…don’t even get me started!

Before the craziness of the holidays insue, I invited my Provence 2018 travelers for a movie night to watch A Good Year.

IMG_2430.jpg

The perfect fare for the casual fete was a simple Provencal Picnic. Served with French bread of course!

IMG_2417-3650268931-1510787780759.jpg

If you’re going to watch a movie, popcorn is a must.  I like to make homemade microwave popcorn in various flavors.  For the party, I made Herbs de Provence and Cayenne Parmesan.

IMG_2426

No picnic is complete in my book without chocolate. I served freshly made dark chocolate strawberry truffles and foil wrapped chocolate cherry cordials.

IMG_2391-4251424443-1510788309410.jpg

Bubbles are always a good idea, especially fun in single serve bottles.

IMG_2330

Our journey to Provence really begin as we watched the movie.  Oh what fun we will have!

Provence 2018 is sold out but for more information on traveling with me to Provence OR Paris in 2019 Click HERE! Inquire TODAY seats sell out very early.

Do you have a favorite movie set in France?  There are so many to choose from, please share your fav with us.

Au revoir for now~  Lorie

 

A Cookie Exchange Party with Texasliving

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I opened my mailbox and look what was inside…

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My fresh copy of Texasliving!

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I was invited by the editor of Texasliving to write an article on how to host a cookie exchange party.  If you plan to have some friends over for holiday cheer this year, now is the time to get the snowball rolling!

I have copied the article below to make it easy to read AND below you will also find the recipe for my delicious Cookie Martini and my no fail Sturdy Sugar Cookie recipe.

Enjoy and Au revoir for now! Lorie

Host the Merriest of Cookie Exchanges!

Hosting a cookie exchange party is a fantastic way to have friends and neighbors for a few hours of festive fun. Entertaining with a theme lets you narrow the focus to organize a fabulous event, without a lot of effort.  When you bring cookies and friends together good things happen!

Follow a few simple steps and you will be on your way to the perfect cookie exchange for a sweet time had by all.

Invitations

Be a smart cookie, and secure the date.  This is a busy time of year, so to ensure a good turnout, send invitations 3 weeks early and lock your guests down.

Themed invitations are an excellent way to generate excitement and boost party attendance.  There are a multitude of printable options available on the web.  Feeling creative?  Bake a batch of cookies to hand deliver to guests along with their paper invitation.  For mailed invitations, think about adding a pinch of cookie sprinkles like confetti inside each card before mailing.

Be sure to include all of the normal party details, in addition, tell your guests to bring 2 dozen of their favorite cookies to share at the party.

Let’s Party

Elaborate party set up with trays of food and loads decorations are wonderful if you have the time and resources, otherwise, keep it simple.  Do plan to have at least a few savory tidbits to balance the sweets.

A beverage station allows party goers to serve themselves and is a huge time saver for the host.  A coffee and tea station work well for a cookie party.  If cocktails are more your style, look for cookie inspired recipes on line to carry the motif forward.  Mix drinks in advance and serve them from a decanter or pitcher to make party time a breeze and don’t forget to give your glasses a sprinkle rim!

Prepare a cookie table in advance. Furnish serving platters, jars or cake stands to display the baked goods, for an inviting table arrangement.  Prepare place cards to detail the cookie flavors.

Cookie Party Games

The BEST Cookie Contest! Organize a BEST cookie contest for an added layer of fun. Conduct the competition by cutting bite sized pieces of each cookie for the guests to taste.  Prepare ballots calling for the top 3 choices.  When the votes are tallied, give your BEST cookie winners a small prize such as cookie sprinkles, a pretty mixing bowl or holiday cookie cookbook.

Deck the Cookies Instead of providing a cookie of your own for the exchange, set up a decorating station.  Bake plain sugar cookies in a variety of shapes.  Make frosting in several colors and place it in piping bags or better yet, purchase decorating frosting ready to go.  Buy a few small holiday candies and sprinkles for more embellishing fun.  Provide pictures of decorated cookies for inspiration, you can copy these from cookbooks or download on line. 

Games and Grins Fill a jar with tiny store bought cookies and have a “guess how many are in the jar” contest.  The winner gets to take all the leftover cookies!

Goodies To Go

Supply guests with a container to pack and take their shared confections. Purchase paper cookie boxes or think outside the box.  Look for pails, tins, even a clay pot lined with tissue paper is a marvelous vessel to stuff with cookies to be taken home and enjoyed. 

Host with the Most

Keep a few additional things in mind for hosting a terrific event.  Bake several dozen extra cookies just in case you need a few more.

As your friends RSVP, ask for their cookie recipe and organize a packet for each guest. Or think about a themed party favor, like an oven mitt, a cookie cutter or even a cute holiday dishtowel.

Most of all don’t crumble under the pressure of hosting; remember, if you are relaxed, your guests will be too.  So keep calm and cookie on!

Cupcake Martini

 

Cupcake Martini

Cocktail

2 parts vanilla vodka

1 part Amaretto

1 part whole milk

2 parts club soda

Garnish

Vanilla cake frosting

Sprinkles

To garnish glasses, pour sprinkles into a shallow dish.  Rub the edge of each glass with a small amount of frosting, press glass rims into the plate with the sprinkles. Shake all cocktail ingredients with ice and strain into prepared martini glasses.

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Sturdy Sugar Cookie

1 cup butter

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until mixture is pale and fluffy.  Continue to beat and add eggs one at a time.  Next, add extracts.  Add dry ingredients slowly until combined. Separate dough into 2 gallon zip locks.  Flatten dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Turn dough out on to a floured surface and roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes and bake on greased baking sheet for 13-15 minutes.

 

Brunch is BACK Baby!

Have you heard? Brunch is back as one of this years hottest food trends and it’s taking on a whole new vibe.

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For many years, Sunday brunch has had a special place in our hearts.  A lovely assortment of savory and sweet delicacies to choose from.  But have you noticed a whole new crowd assembling at restaurants and patios all over downtown and uptown at 11:00 am on Friday, Saturday…really any day of the week?

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People gathering with friends to vacate their lives for a while; sunglasses on, sipping a sensational concoction…life is pretty sweet huh!  I think part of the draw is the classic mimosa.  Let’s face it everything seems a little roser after a glass filled with nectar and bubbles.

Brunch is one of the best ways to entertain family and friends for the holidays. Simple set up, plenty of make ahead dishes packed with fresh flavors and perhaps the best attribute, the party’s over by 1:00pm. That lets you turn your attention to other holiday activities or to take a nap.

Join me for Brunch is BACK, a one day workshop where we’ll taste the sweet life.  We will craft and enjoy a Bubble Bar while we cook and taste scrumptious dishes perfect for holiday entertaining.  OH and the Pear Tart, WILL be a work of ART! There are only a few seats left at the table! Email lorie@atasteofparis.net orcall 214 551 9630

Au revoir for now,  Lorie

Brunch is BACK Workshop- Friday, December 8th from 10:30-2:00  Join me for a day in the kitchen you will not soon forget!  Brunching is a wonderful way to entertain over the holiday season.  Imagine yourself armed with amazing recipes to serve visiting family and friends through the holidays and beyond.   We will craft our brunch and enjoy it together family style for a lovely break to the holiday season.  Plus take home 4 lightly flavored Lavender Honey scones to be baked or frozen for a yummy family treat.  We will start the fun by creating a bubble bar to be enjoyed during the class.  Tangy Orange Pomegranate Salad is lovely on any holiday table.  Eggs for brunch will take the shape of a Soufflé and our Bacon Parmesan Soufflés will be rise to amazing heights.  Pecan Bourbon Glazed Pork Loin will be tender and juicy and the centerpiece of the feast.  Parmesan Crusted Potatoes are outstanding nuggets of delight.  Asparagus cooked to perfection served with classic French Hollandaise sauce.  We will look to Provence for their Christmas Sweet bread called Fougasse that will be irresistible with more bubbles.  For dessert we will craft a gorgeous Vanilla Pear Tart. Class Fee $79.00

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice!

Fall is here and pumpkin is back!

If you know me at all; you are aware that I adore baked goods.  Mostly cakes and cookies.  When the leaves start to fall, I look forward to the indulgence of at least 1 batch of my insanely simple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins.

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Packed with pumpkin puree and plenty of walnuts so each bite has that sweet crunch. A delicate moist crumb with that unmistakable pumpkin flavor.

So I’ve shared my pumpkin crush, what about you?  What pumpkin concoction are you craving this fall?

Can’t wait to hear!

Au revoir for now

Lorie

Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

1 boxed yellow cake mix

2 cups of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup melted butter

1 egg

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

Pinch ground cloves

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

Crumble Topping

¼ cup butter softened

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin tins with paper liners.  Mix pumpkin, butter and egg in a bowl, add cake mix, vanilla and spices and stir until smooth.   Add walnuts and mix well, fill muffin tins using a kitchen scoop.  To prepare the crumble topping, mix butter sugar and flour in a small bowl with a fork until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping onto each muffin before baking for 22-28 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Bonjour!

“My love affair with France began as a five-year-old.  My parents took a 3-week European holiday and returned home forever changed.  The stories of faraway places were undoubtedly romanticized; nonetheless, I could not wait for my chance to go.

Years later, as a young fashion professional, I finally had my chance for a European adventure.  I boarded a plane headed for France.  Paris is intoxicating and I fell hard.  It was love at first sight, sound and taste.  My heart swelled and my mind drifted to thoughts of a second visit.

Having children changed everything, including my career.  I desperately wanted to be present for the day-to-day routine of motherhood.  With my mind and heart focused on my precious babies, it was easy to put my fashion career in the rear view mirror.

As a stay at home mom, my focus shifted.  Cooking, entertaining, gardening, and decorating came naturally to me.  As I worked to perfect these gifts, my spirit sparked.

I decided to share my passion for food with others and began teaching cooking classes all over Texas.  Soon, I was writing for local publications and even had a radio show.  All of the work orbited around one thing: connecting families and friends Around the Table.  This is how my first blog was created.

As life evolved, so did my career.  Traveling to Paris became a yearly adventure.  I studied in the finest cooking schools the city had to offer, and enjoyed bringing French recipes and techniques to classes taught in Texas.

Over the years, I grew to love Paris more and more. I knew Paris like the back of my hand, becoming intimately acquainted with world-renowned eateries and up-and-coming establishments. I discovered the finest places to shop for cheese, wine, bread, and any food related item your heart could desire.  Scouring the city for premier kitchen accoutrements and Brocante became an exciting sport for me.  Having the opportunity to bring these found treasures home to become part of daily life made my heart sing.

My curiosity for this country and its people was piqued with each visit.  Food is one of the greatest influences on any culture; without a doubt, the French love their food.  With an up-close view of the way the French eat and live, I soon garnered a deep respect for French tradition and its culture.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a true-blue American with a deep love for my country.  There is just something special about France; it’s where my soul comes alive.

People often ask me how A Taste of Paris™ became a reality. My life changed forever, one day, while I was teaching a French Pastries class.

A longtime student piped up and asked, “Lorie…when are you going to take us to Paris?” I stopped in my tracks. My mouth fell open. As I mulled the question over, I noticed a deep stirring in my gut.  That night, I had a dream in vivid color about how to share my love of food and France with others. The next morning, I bounded out of bed and eagerly shared the burgeoning idea with my husband.  With his encouragement, a good business plan, and a lot of prayer, I took a leap of faith.  The best part? Nine remarkable women lined up and leapt with me, and A Taste of Paris™ was born.

I knew A Taste of Paris™ would have a personal impact on travelers.  Immersing yourself in the French way of life, and exploring this country through its food, alters your point of view forever.  There was no doubt in my mind that people would be transformed through this experience, and I was eager to offer that gift to them. The part of this experience I did not expect was the gift these incredible travelers would give me in return.  Each of their stores is a gift to my heart. You see, life stories tend to tumble out while breaking bread in a foreign country; tales of overcoming adversity, and moments of triumph-great and small.  All of these intimate moments, the meeting of hearts around a table, have become invaluable treasures to me.

Whether you are trying a new delicacy, comforting a sorrow, tasting another culture, or celebrating a triumph, food brings people together.  This is the truth in my life, like a glittering thread that runs from the beginning, binding me to the people I love.  When food is shared around a table, magical things happen.  A Taste of Paris™ is a wonderful opportunity for me to share this truth with you.”

What is Bistronomy?

That’s a great question!  Bistronomy is a term that originated in the 90’s to describe a movement in Paris.
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Many creative and talented chef’s were getting burned out, no pun intended, by the quest for the almighty stars.  The michelin stars of course! Michelin restaurants provide a gastronomic experience I like to call haute cuisine.  Offering extraordinary flavor combinations, gorgeous plates, impeccable service in an environment that can only be described as stuffy, all at absurd prices.

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Reaching for a michelin star is beyond good cooking. It’s striving for something intangible requiring a level of perfectionism that can take a toll on a chef.

A simple question was raised.  Can we combine the convivial atmosphere of a bistro with an expert gastronomic experience?   The answer was a resounding yes.

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In the beginning this Bistronomy movement was seen as a cowards way out.  These chef’s could not handle the heat so they bailed on the dream.  But the truth is, there was a real desire to provide expertly cooked food in a fun and relaxed environment at prices people could actually afford.

I am happy to report that this new brand of bistro has transformed the restaurant scene in Paris. Good food at affordable prices abound!

Join me for BISTRONOMY, a one day workshop where we will not only discuss this movement we will cook and taste it too!  There are only a few seats left at the table! Email lorie@atasteofparis.net or call 214 551 9630

Au revoir for now!  Lorie

French Bistronomy Workshop- Friday November 17th 10:00-2:30 Join me for a truly unique culinary event.  Immerse yourself in the food and culture of France in this 1 day workshop.  We will work side by side to prepare mouthwatering bistronomy dishes designed to amaze our palate. We will dine together for a true French experience.  Wines will be served along with a cheese course.  Many French cooking techniques will be taught. This is a lot of food so guest will be welcome to take home part of the meal home if they choose. Our 7 course feast will begin with French Cocktails; a trio of goodies will be served along with my favorite bubbles for a festive start to our day.  Together we will prepare the cocktail offering including individual Beef Wellington Tarts, Gruyere Cheese Straws and Peppered Cashews.  We will continue our fun with a rich vibrate Red Pepper Soup topped with crème fraiche.  In true French fashion a fish course is next.  Herbed risotto with pan seared scallops will delight your taste buds.  Assorted nuts, seeds and figs come together in a salad that illuminates fall and refreshes our pallet.     The irresistible main course is Chicken Roulade stuffed with fall vegetables and served white wine Veloute Sauce over Golden Luxe Potatoes.  Next I’ll serve a bright assortment of cheeses followed by Luscious Vanilla Lavender Soufflés.  You will take home Breakfast for TWO, Quiche Lorraine and a little surprise! Class fee $89.00 Class size limited to 10

For a complete list of classes this season CLICK HERE

Cherry Tomato Confit To Make Your Mouth Water!

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Imagine my surprise when I returned home after 3 weeks in France to find, well hundreds of tiny nuggets of sweetness on my tomato plants.

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Every year I plant several Sweet 100 tomato plants.  They are as prolific as the name indicates and I can testify to the fact that they really need nothing to produce an amazing crop.

One of my favorite dishes from this trip to France was a humble chicken sandwich,  It was slathered with Tomato Confit and pickled red onions…look for the sandwich recipe to be posted soon.  Meanwhile, it is all I could think about staring at all of those fresh tomatoes.

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To make Tomato Confit, all you really need is tomatoes, garlic and a bunch of fresh basil, some seasonings and time in the oven for the magic to happen!

Make some today and use it on everything from Fresh Pasta to toasted bread!

Au revoir for now! Lorie

Tomato Confit

3 cups fresh cherry tomatoes smashed

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic pressed

1 bunch fresh basil cut in a chiffonade

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place all ingredients on a baking sheet and toss well with your hands.  Place baking sheet in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove pan, toss again and repeat process.  Mixture will be very thick and sweet when it is done.  Serve with crusty bread and shards of parmesan cheese if desired.

Join me for a cooking class, only a few seats remain open for the holiday season! CLICK HERE for a class schedule

 

 

 

French Flea Finds and My Friend Audrey Friedmann

I adore a good Paris flea market!  A Taste Of Paris culinary excursions to France are undoubtedly food and wine centric but when possible we always take in a local flea.

These are a few of the treasures I found while with my April 2017 group.  Its hard to say what my favorite item is.  I was so drawn to these beautiful leather bound books, they are very small and make a smart stack on my end table in the den.  The French blue Limoges box is hand painted and I thought quite unique with its cabriole legs.

An assortment of mixed pattern cordial glasses become a collection when placed on a silver tray!

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No plans to travel abroad anytime soon?  No problem!  Meet my friend Audrey Friedmann.  Audrey is a lovely lady that shops the very best fleas all over France and blogs about her journey but the best part…she has a shop on Etsy called My French Vintage Home to sell all of her fabulous finds!

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Audrey bought a 7 room chateau in the Dordogne area of France and completely restored it. She spends part of her time in France and the rest in Dallas.  Can you imagine that?

When you buy goods from Audrey’s Etsy shop, it is shipped to you direct from Dallas!  Take a few minutes to check out her shop and find her on Instagram and Facebook. Spend a little time there and you will feel like you have had a vacation!

Au revoir for now!

Lorie