Did Someone Say Food?

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When traveling with A Taste of Paris, food is pretty much always on our minds.  You know what they say…”When in France, do as the French do” and food is always on the minds of the French!

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When asked, Why France?  Jacqui Cooper, a former ATOP traveler, said it best…”To me, the mere mention of Paris evokes thoughts of exquisite food, wine, and pastries;” 

See the recipe below for Sweet Red Chili Basil Tomatoes from our Parisian chef; you may be surprised by one of the ingredients that make this stunning morsel an explosion in your mouth.

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“the first hint of trendsetter fashions; beautiful countryside and gardens; and a city of lights illuminating some of the world’s magnificent historical architectures.” 

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“Paris also brings to mind the flea and food markets where ordinary folks shop for the necessities of the day.” 

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“I chose the ATOP trips because it enabled me to revisit some of Paris’ breathtaking historical sites,”

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“such as Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon;”

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“and to enjoy again, the French countryside and wonderful champagne.” 

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“The tour also gave me the unique opportunity to delve into the food side of Paris.”

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  “Of course, we went to lovely restaurants and bistros to partake of the Parisian cuisine,”

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“but the motivating reason for choosing ATOP was the “hands on” activities.  For example, we had an afternoon at the world famous Le Cordon Bleu School, where we actually, under the watchful eye of a French pastry chef, participated in the painstaking detailed process of making macrons.” 

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“Another day found us meeting the Chef for our market class at the food market in mid-morning to shop for ingredients for the day’s luncheon.” 

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“We purchased what was needed and returned to the Chef’s school to cook.  We again participated in every step of preparing a meal and how to beautifully present it on the plate.”

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“These kinds of “hands on” experiences made the ATOP tour truly an unforgettable trip.”

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“An ever present reminder of the trip is the personalized chef’s jacket that Lorie gave each of us while in Paris.  Thanks Lorie.”

So Thank you Jacqui for summing up the A Taste of Paris experience so articulately!

You can still travel with ATOP in 2019 CLICK HERE for all the details!

And try Sweet Red Chili Basil Tomatoes with produce ripe from the field today!

Sweet Red Chili Basil Tomatoes

1-2 cups cherry tomatoes

Basil leaves, one for each tomato

1 teaspoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Piment d’espelette (or substitute, 11/2 teaspoon paprika and a healthy dash of cayenne pepper)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make a slit in each tomato about ¼ inch deep.  In a bowl, mix sugar and seasonings very well.  Add tomatoes and coat well with the sugar mixture.  Place tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment and using the back of a knife; slide a basil leaf into the slit of each tomato.  Place baking sheet into the oven to warm through for 4 minutes.

See you soon!

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Story Time- Le Vert Galant

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Le Vert Galant does not have a literal English translation; the closest I can come up with is a man past his prime that is still a ladies’ man. The most scandalous stories often come from history!

While registration for A Taste of Paris 2019 travel is open…

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September 7th-14th, 2019 OR September 14th-21st, 2019

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…I am exploring a simple question with past ATOP travelers; “Why France?”

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I was excited to hear from Barbara Wagner.  She has been taking cooking classes with me for over a decade and is a huge supporter of mine.

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“I had been to Paris before, but had never really SEEN Paris until I went with ATOP”

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The best part of the trip was seeing Paris through Lorie’s eyes, the tiny neighborhoods; the cooking stores and the stories were amazing”

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Did Barbara mention stories?  OK, twist my arm, I will tell one of my favorites, the story of Square du Vert-Galant.  I love bringing my Paris travelers here.

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This tiny garden is situated on the tip of the Île de la Cité, an island in the center of the Seine river and just under Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris. Even though this is just a tiny patch of green there is so much history here.

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When you cross Pont Neuf, you see this magnificent statue of Henry IV, the first French monarch of the Bourbon dynasty.  He ruled France from 1589-1610, when the blade of a knife took him to his untimely death, he was assassinated.

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Henry had quite the reputation as a ladies man despite his age and the fact that he was married.

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Legend has it that he brought many lovers to this spot.

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The foliage around the tiny island garden shields it from view, but rumors abound that King Henry could be seen from the palace walls by the queen.  You can imagine that there was a lot of trouble at home!

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His queen, Margaret, had at one point saved his life by converting to Catholicism, which of course is another story.

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Square du Vert Galant offers and amazing view of the Seine, is a great spot for a small picnic or just to catch a few rays. I would love to take you there! For more information on ATOP 2019 travel email lorie@atasteofparis.net or call 214 551 9630.

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Barbara was an absolute dream to travel with and I am so humbled by her comments about A Taste of Paris travel. Barbara is active in many organizations including the McKinney Garden Club; in fact her home was recently on the Garden Club tour and is a shining example of the lovely gardens our city has to offer.  She is a wonderful cook and loves to travel with her darling husband.  Barbara is such a thoughtful friend.

I want to hear YOUR, why France?

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Bucket List

 

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We all have a Bucket List, things we are dreaming of doing…

While registration for A Taste of Paris 2019 travel is open, I am exploring a simple question with past ATOP travelers; “Why France?”

It has been really fun to read the responses from so many wonderful people that have trusted me with their France vacations and to revisit so many memories as I sift through thousands of photos.

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I want you to meet Debbie Finley; here she is receiving her culinary certificate at Le Cordon Bleu.

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She is one of the awesome 9 that trusted me on my very first trip! These ladies will always have a special place in my heart!

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I asked Debbie “Why France?”

She Said “I had always wanted to go to Paris, but my husband was not interested.  When a friend and neighbor told me about the ATOP trips, I realized this was the opportunity of a lifetime.”

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“The food, the friends the experiences were amazing”

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“My favorite moment was the Michelin meal at Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower, Cheers Jill”

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In our rush to get through our daily activities, take some time to consider your bucket list as a reminder of what is important to you.  When you are doing something you have only dreamed of, time seems to stand still.

It was truly a pleasure to help Debbie put a check by Paris on her list!

Thank you Debbie, for sharing your travel and your thoughts with me!

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Register for 2019 travel TODAY!  Just click for more details or email me at lorie@atasteofparis.net

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September 7th-14th, 2019 OR

A Taste of Provence- September 14th-21st, 2019 hurry only 1 seat left!

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Debbie is a well-known resident of our town.  She is the mother of twin boys and the grandmother to 4 precious children who she adores.  She is an avid golfer and gardener and she is also very active in her work with the International Student Foundation.

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The Iconic Eiffel Tower

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As I explore “Why France?” with past and future travelers, one iconic symbol is on everyone’s list, the Eiffel Tower.  It is the single most recognized symbol in the world and of course when you see it, you think of Paris, the capital of France.

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The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel and his team of engineers for the 1889 World’s Fair.  Paris was chosen as the location for the fair to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

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The Eiffel rests on the Champ-de-Mars and this structural marvel of iron lattice stands 324 meters tall, the equivalent of an 81 story building.  The tower took only 2 short years to build which is amazing when you think of the rudimentary construction capabilities of the times.

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I believe the very best view of the Eiffel Tower is from the Seine, right at dusk.  The tower lights up and if you are lucky enough to be sipping champagne, it’s magical!

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I am excited to share that A Taste of Paris has partnered with L’amour de Paris for what can only be described as a fashion styled photo shoots at the Eiffel Tower.  All of the photos you see here of me were taken by the talented and adorable CheyAnne and wow was it fun!

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L’amour de Paris has offered a very special price to ATOP travelers, Thank YOU!

Register for 2019 travel TODAY!  Just click for more details or email me at lorie@atasteofparis.net

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September 7th-14th, 2019 OR

A Taste of Provence- September 14th-21st, 2019 hurry only 1 seat left!

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Mix it Up!

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To celebrate, the launch of 2019 travel, I will be exploring France in a different way; through the eyes of my travelers with one simple question…”Why France?”

This is Sharilyn Getz’s answer; she traveled with me in April 2018

“A Taste of Paris Trips are the perfect mix of cooking, shopping and sightseeing in a magical city. It was a spectacular trip!”

I am excited to share some of the memories made on Sharilyn’s trip to Paris.

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Sharing some time with best friends.

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Sharilyn receiving her certificate at the famous Le Cordon Bleu!

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Making French macarons is fun but the best part is eating them!

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Shopping at the flower market,

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and for cheese; the ideal afternoon snack!

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Sightseeing…

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and a selfie!

I enjoyed having this vivacious lady along for the journey!

Register for 2019 travel TODAY!  Just click for more details or email me at lorie@atasteofparis.net

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September 7th-14th, 2019 OR

A Taste of Provence- September 14th-21st, 2019 hurry only 1 seat left!

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Why France?

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A Taste of Paris registration for travel in 2019 is officially OPEN!

To see all 4 offerings for 2019 CLICK HERE!

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To celebrate, the launch of 2019 travel, I will be exploring France in a different way; through the eyes of my travelers with one simple question…”Why France?”

But first let me give you a little TASTE of what we were up to only 2 short months ago!

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I can almost taste this bread right now! Isn’t it gorgeous?   After a visit to the famed Poilane boulangerie, we enjoyed our bread along with cheese bought at Barthelemy all while sipping wine at a sweet cafe.

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Paris was unseasonably warm for April so we felt like kids after enjoying frozen hot chocolate.

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Sightseeing is hard work!  Time for a quick rest!

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Our chefs were so much fun.  We cooked up a storm in 3 cooking classes!

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This guy was so cute telling us stories about F. Scott Fitzgerald as he served us cocktails with pretty pink roses for all the Mademoiselles.

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Hanging out on the Seine is a good way to spend some time.

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When I look back at these faces my heart fills with joy, I hope you will

Click to Join the FUN in 2019!

OR email lorie@atasteofparis.net for more information!

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*Photo of Pont Alexandre taken by Lisa Schwab, find her on Instagram at @shutterschwab

 

 

Florals to Brighten your Summer

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Is there any better place on earth to window shop than Paris?  I think not!

Store windows and displays were jammed with florals this spring in Paris, proving this feminine trend is here to stay for another few seasons.

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By far the most creative was Dolce and Gabbana’s, their shop on rue Saint Honorè had devoted the entire storefront to the flower market theme.

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This window features a varsity style sweater to toughen the look up a bit.

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 Even, the men’s shop was featuring a print of butterflies and flowers for a formal tuxedo!

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My favorite display featured huge floral pomanders in place of the heads for this trio of mannequins at La Bon Marche.

All of this put me in the mood to get my floral on so I have curated an assortment of fresh favorites for YOU! Click the image to shop!

Let me KNOW how you are wearing the floral trend, you can even post a pic of yourself in the comments section of this blog post!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this J.Crew Liberty of London blue and lavender floral print.  It looks amazing with white jeans!

These Soludos Embroidered espadrilles are a great way to add a floral pop to any outfit.

Looks like the pretty trend is for table top too, this butterfly/floral salad plate would pop any table setting.

I could not resist adding this blue tile and floral mosaic Dolce & Gabbana bag to the post.  I tried on this bag on at Galeries Lafayette, just for fun and it is stunning!

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French Market Class and Gâteau Basque au Fraise

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The French Market class in Paris is always the favorite day of A Taste of Paris travelers.

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It’s so fun to visit the market, learn how the French shop and eat and then to go back to the cooking school with all of the ingredients and craft a gourmet meal.  The classes curated for ATOP always include French sauces, composed desserts a cheese course and plenty of wine of course!

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The Gâteau Basque au Fraise is one of my best loved dessert recipes from a French Market class I attended many years ago.  The Gâteau is rich, gorgeous and really scrumptious made with fresh strawberry jam if you are so inclined!

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Sadly I can’t bring my favorite teaching chefs to McKinney, TX from Paris for a cooking class so I’ll be recreating this spectacular event right here!!

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If you are an adventurous foodie and love to spend time in the kitchen, join me!  There are still 2 spaces left for this amazing day of fresh from the earth food!

Friday June 29th French Market Class 10:00-3:00- Join me for this super fun French cooking class.  I’ll gather fresh local ingredients like bread, cheese, wine and more downtown before you arrive. We will craft a 5 course meal just like in the cooking schools in Paris!  You won’t know what’s on the menu because we will be creating from fresh, in season, locally grown ingredients!   Come ready to cook and have a fantastic day of food and fun. Cooking class will include 5 courses; a composed dessert, cheese course and wine! You will leave with an ingredient map so you can shop for local products. $92.50      Register HERE

I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite French market photos and Click HERE for more information on French travel 2019!

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Gâteau Basque au Fraise

Dough

9 ounces butter

6.5 ounces sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

Pinch salt

4 ounces almond meal

1 egg plus 1 yolk

11.5 ounces flour

2/3 cup Strawberry Jam

1 egg yolk

Prepare the dough in a mixer by first creaming the butter, sugar, zest and salt until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs and mix until well incorporated.  Add almond meal until and mix well.  Stop the machine and add flour by hand until just incorporated do not over mix.  Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a tart pan.  Roll 1/3 of the dough to fit the bottom of the pan and lay it in carefully.  Take a second third of the dough and roll it into a rope to form a border around the edge of the pan.  Spread the cool jam inside the bordered area.  Roll the remaining dough to form the top of the gateau.  Using a sharp knife score the top of the crust in a criss cross pattern. Brush the top with a beaten egg.  Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden brown.

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Charming Salads

Bring a touch of whimsy to your tables with my trio of charming salads.

Its widely known that you eat with your eyes first.  Making fresh greens look really pretty is fast and you can easily add protein like fish or chicken to any of the salads for a main course option.

Darling salads are so simple you can craft them for weeknight meals or special guests.

Using fresh ingredients in a thoughtful way can produce charming results!

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Birds Nest Salad

6 cups spring greens

1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/3 cup blueberries

1 cup Chow Mein noodles

2 ounces fresh chevre

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Dressing

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1 small garlic clove pressed

Pinch salt

Pinch pepper

Make goat cheese eggs by scooping 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese and roll it in the palm of your hand to create and oval shape.  Repeat the process until you have made 12 eggs.  Keep the goat cheese eggs in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  To prepare dressing, mix all ingredients in the bottom of salad bowl with a whisk until emulsified. Add greens to the bowl and toss well to coat.  Place greens in a mound on 4 salad plates. Place 1/4 cup of the noodles in the center of each lettuce mound to create the birds nest. Place the tomatoes around the edge of the salad and sprinkle blueberries to resemble flowers.  Arrange 3 eggs in each nest. Put turmeric in a fine mesh sieve and shake over all the eggs to give them speckles. Serve at once.

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Turnip Bundle Salads

2 large red onions, peeled

1 head butter lettuce, washed

6 steps bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/3 cup candied pecans

Blue Cheese Dressing

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/3 cup blue cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut ends off the onions. Using a knife cut through the first 3 layers of onion and carefully peel them from the onion core. This will form the base and resemble a turnip. Repeat with second onion.  Discard the onion cores. Arrange bacon and pecans on the serving platter. Place the 6 onion rings on the platter. Place 4 lettuce leaves inside of each onion ring base; lettuce will stand tall and resemble a turnip in the ground. Prepare dressing by placing all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Serve dressing on the side.

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Purple Flower Salad

2 mini purple lettuce heads

1 cup carrot matchsticks

1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1/4 dried cranberries

Balsamic Vinaigrette

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch of both salt and pepper

½ cup olive oil

Hold each lettuce head in your hand and cut the bottom root off.  Hold the head firmly as you run cold water through the bundle to clean the lettuce.  Place bundle in the center of a serving platter and release it so the leaves form a circle.  Repeat with second bundle on top of the first one creating the flower petals. Place the carrots in the center of the lettuce flower and spread them out a bit.  Mound the yellow peppers in the center of the carrots.  Next, place the walnuts then cranberries on top of the vegetables; you will create rings of color. To prepare the dressing, add vinegar, garlic, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.  Add olive oil in a steady stream whisking vigorously until it is all mixed and you have a silky dressing.  Serve the salad with the dressing on the side.

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A Garden that Lures you IN

 

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My mother and I attended the McKinney Garden Club tour this weekend.  It’s become a tradition for us to traipse through historical homes and yards and then cool off at a local restaurant for lunch.

I enjoy seeing all kinds of gardens and relish in the details that make each one unique.

When in France, I make it a point to spend some time in the little green patches all over the cities;  small community plots begging you to come in and sit for a while.

This year I was particularly inspired by s set of metal envelopes filled with bright blooms hanging from a wooden fence.

Both gates that lead to my backyard have an archway covered by pink climbing roses.  The ideal location for a set of metal planters, don’t you think?

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When I got home I found these extra tall metal bins with wooden handles at a local craft store and I was on my way!

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The first step was to drill a few holes in the bottom of each bin so water can drain through.  As my mother always says, “Plants don’t like their feet (roots) to stay wet!”

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Stones in the bottom of each bin will also help with drainage.

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I filled the bins with potting soil.

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Next, it was time to plant!

I recommend choosing a variety of flowering plants to create some interest.  I like to use one plant that spills over the edge and something that will spike up on top.  Since the metal bins are relatively small it’s important to use plants that really like to show off their blooms all season.

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It was finally time for the best part, hanging the pretty pair of planters.

Every time I look at them, I am transported to that sweet garden in Paris that lured me in!

Join me for a cooking class in JUNE or in Paris next April!

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