You’re Invited

You’re Invited. Two little words that spark a thrill to my core!

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And when you walk up to a door like this, you know it is going to be a real treat.

We were invited for dinner at the Cloutier’s on December 1st to mark the beginning of the holiday season and oh what fun we had!

Our hostess, Vonda, is an absolutely amazing decorator with so much creativity and vision.  Everywhere I turned there were charming vignettes of holiday goodness to enjoy.

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Vonda allowed me to photograph her Christmas decorations and I am pleased to report that I will be sharing all the cuteness with you next year. There will be lots of tips and stories and plenty of time to inspire you in your own homes.

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For this post, I am focusing on the table that laid the foundation for a lovely evening of food, wine and fabulous company.  Many of you are preparing to set your holiday tables now, so it’s the perfect time to share this creative table with you.

Red and gold glass ornaments, hung from the low light fixture, centered on the table, set a festive tone.  The table itself is a treasure to the family; it was hand made by a well known McKinney craftsman that passed away several years ago so PLEASE use a coaster!

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The adorable place settings began with a gold glass charger as the base.  The next two layers, a coveted set of toile Christmas dishes in the most perfect shade of bordeaux.  The salad plate is topped with a berry wreath making the ideal resting place for a special goodie.  The enormous chocolate bon bon name tags are sure to awaken the child in each of Vonda’s guests for the season.  When I got home with mine, I tore into it with reckless abandon!

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I simply adore the poetry napkins at the place settings.  Each one has a different quote and gives guests lots to talk about as hosts put the final touches on plates to be served. The napkins can be found in McKinney at Ettiene Market.

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Many of the items to create the centerpiece were things collected to decorate her oldest daughters winter themed wedding last year. Repurposing these sentimental objects is such a special touch.  To make your own, gather an assortment of sugared greenery, pinecones and mercury glass. Arrange them casually in the center of the table to craft an elongated arrangement.

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Vonda loves to add tall sugar cones to her decoration.  Her mother used these in their Christmas decorations when she was a child and it reminds her of home.

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I love that the table sets a fantastic tone for an evening with friends.  Just enough to let you know its going to be a great evening but not too much to keep you from relaxing.

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This is a picture of Vonda and I going to a birthday party recently. One of the the things I love about our time together is that we are totally in the moment, the downside, photos are often skipped or forgotten. The first on my New Year’s resolution list…take MORE photos in 2018!

I hope you enjoyed being invited to the Cloutiers table today! I would love to hear your top tips for setting a beautiful table for your friends and family!

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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

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

Make your OWN Vanilla!

Did you know you can make your own Vanilla Extract? It’s one of the easiest things you will ever do!  I use a ton of vanilla in the cooking school so several years ago I discovered how to make it myself and now I want to share it with YOU!

IN FACT…ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL GET THE VANILIA MAKING KITS PICTURED HERE! TO WIN, SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG.  FOR A SECOND CHANCE… LIKE MY  FACEBOOK PAGE OR FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM

Homemade vanilla makes the perfect Christmas gift for friends and co workers so get started TODAY!

Many of the vanilla beans bought at the grocery store are dry and brittle.  To make the very best Vanilla Extract you want to use a high quality bean.  For Vanilla to be called Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, you have to use Madagascar beans and these are the most expensive beans you can buy.  To make a good quality vanilla you can use beans of any origin as long as they are plump and oily.  I have been buying my vanilla beans from Olive Nation for many years and have always been pleased with the quality.

Enter to WIN NOW!
Au revoir for now! Lorie

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Homemade Madagascar Vanilla

18-20 Madagascar vanilla beans

750 milliliters vodka

2 tablespoons bourbon

Open the vodka and remove about ¼ cup.  Add bourbon and vanilla beans and let steep for up to a year.  To speed up the steeping process, shake the bottle once or twice a day.  When the liquid is verydark in color it is ready to use.

Make European Style Butter in your HOME Kitchen!

There is nothing like the rich flavor of European style cultured butter.  In the US we are accustomed to sweet cream butter, which is also wonderful but it just does not compare to the complex flavor of the European style butter.   What’s the difference you might ask?  The name gives it away, the cream has been culture or fermented giving it a fuller tangy flavor.   You can make your own culture butter in your home kitchen very easily.  Just follow these simple steps! Add 1 tablespoon to every cup of cream you want to culture.  I usually make 4 cups at a time. Mix well. Add 1 tablespoon to every cup of cream you want to culture.  I usually make 4 cups at a time. Mix well. Cover cream mixture with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.  Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for the best results overnight. Cover cream mixture with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.  Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for the best results overnight. Pour the cold cream into your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pour the cold cream into your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cover the mixer with a dishtowel to avoid splatters and turn the mixer on high.  Be very careful to keep kitchen towel out of the way of thee mechanism. Cover the mixer with a dishtowel to avoid splatters and turn the mixer on high.  Be very careful to keep kitchen towel out of the way of thee mechanism. This is what it looks like just before you get butter.  Keep churning! This is what it looks like just before you get butter.  Keep churning! When the water or buttermilk seeps out of the fat, you have butter! When the water or buttermilk seeps out of the fat, you have butter! Drain the liquid off the fat. Drain the liquid off the fat. Wash the butter with cold water.  It is important to wash the butter until the water is clean so the butter will last for 10 days in the refrigerator. Wash the butter with cold water.  It is important to wash the butter until the water is clean so the butter will last for 10 days in the refrigerator. Add salt to taste.  I like to use Fleur de Sel because it tastes less briny than sea salt. Add salt to taste.  I like to use Fleur de Sel because it tastes less briny than sea salt. Spread of fresh baked bread for the ultimate butter experience!! Spread of fresh baked bread for the ultimate butter experience!!

ENJOY!
XoXo Lorie

Cultured Butter

4 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons buttermilk

Fleur de Sel Salt to taste

Add buttermilk to cream and mix well.  Allow mixture to sit out at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Place mixture in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 2 days.  Pour mixture into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer flitted with a paddle attachment and cover edges with a dishtowel to collect splatter.  Start the mixer on slow at first and then increase speed.  Allow mixture to churn until butter clumps and a watery liquid is released.  Pour butter through a cheese cloth to collect the fat.  Return butter to the bowl and wash it with clean cool water pressing the whey out of the butter until the water runs clean.  Add salt to taste.  Store butter in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Join me in Paris April 2018!  Click HERE for details!

My Favorite Paris Gardens

It’s springtime in Paris and the gardens are alive with color and people.

For a real treat I like to spend a little time walking through the Tuileries Garden.  Looking back towards the Louvre gave me this beautiful shot of the pond, fountain and in the distance the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.

This delightful red bud is really showing off her colors!

A long cold winter makes the Parisians eager to get outside to enjoy nature.  A garden visit is fantastic for people watching!

After several days of spring showers, the Parisians are taking advantage of sunshine. Nothing feels better than kicking back to catch a few rays!

Luxembourg Garden is a special place.  There are flowers blooming everywhere like these dazzling coral poppies, so French!

What luck!  Sailboats for rental!

I was absolutely captivated by the darling children floating their boats out onto the pond. Visiting Luxembourg on a Saturday in the spring was a good call!

The ducks didn’t even seem to notice they were sharing the pond with a fleet of colorful sailboats.  That’s a nice view of Luxembourg Palace in the distance.

The true gem of Luxembourg Gardens is the Medici fountain.  The serene pool and aluring sculpture make this a great place for rest and reflection.

One of my favorite sights in the garden is this musician charming the tulips!

I hope you will take some time to stop and smell the roses in your neighborhood this season!

XoXo

Lorie

For more information on upcoming A Taste Of Paris trips CLICK HERE  

Springtime in Paris 2017 part 1

Springtime in Paris is glorious.  

I have just returned from 3 fantastic weeks in France.  The first week was spent in Paris with my darling group, ATOP April 2017!

Late April is my favorite time in Paris but let’s face it, what Audrey Hepburn once said is true, “Paris is always a good Idea”

I love this image of our little group “feet in” at ground zero.

We did so many things in our time together but of course with me and A Taste Of Paris, food is always the focus.  Here we are preparing a 5 course French meal after shopping the market for ingredients.  

The Berries were amazing, I could not get enough!

In the neighborhood markets you will find produce that is locally grown and seasonal.  After a long winter the French are craving sweet juicy fruits and fresh from the fields spring vegetables.

Taking a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu is always a bucket list item for many of my travelers.

Our chef is preparing  a first and last course souffle and the show stopper, a Provencal tart that I will not soon forget, in fact, it will be on the menu in my next French workshop scheduled for February!

If you know me well, you understand that delicate French pastries are my kryptonite.  Our third class for the week was preparing the famed Viennoiserie dough to create these delectable treats.

 

Of course on ATOP trips, in addition to food, fun is always on the agenda! Aren’t they adorable?

A chance to reconnect with old friends…

and make new ones!

Tomorrow I will be posting Springtime in Paris 2017 part 2.  I hope you will tune back in for a look at some of the gardens, sites and museums we visited and of course more food and fun!

For information on upcoming trips, Click HERE Only 2 seats available for April in Paris 2018! 

Thank You to the French Alliance of Dallas!

I would like to thank the French Alliance of Dallas for inviting me to speak on Friday evening. What an amazing organization whose mission is to expand French culture here in Dallas!  I was met with the warmest greeting from the members of this amazing group. If you are interested in French inspired events in the area, consider joining this terrific group.

I gave the folks a little taste of my business; cooking classes, my culinary trips along with a few tasty tidbits!  Registration for A Taste Of Paris April 2018 is now open and only a few seats remain open.

My Artichoke Cheese Souffle Bake was the most requested recipe of the evening.  I have pasted the recipe below.

I hope you will join me for un upcoming cooking class, a tasty good time is always on the menu! For a full list of courses Click HERE.

Most of all I hope you are enjoying spring and sharing delicious food and wine with someone you love!

XOXO Lorie

Thursday, May 11th Southern Nights 6:30-8:30 Join me for an evening of cooking and tasting fun and deep southern flavors.  The festivities began with a cocktail of course; Mint Julep Fizz is one for the record books!  The food begins with an out of this world dip, Baked Goat Cheese topped with Tomato Confit served with Nan bread.  Juicy and crispy Chicken in a Homemade Biscuit is comfort food at its best.  For something green we will prepare Blistered and Sauced Asparagus, nutty and crave worthy.  We will whip up an Ultimate Chopped Salad, crammed full of goodies, so crunchy and topped with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing.   Spicy shrimp Salad served on an avocado half is almost too pretty to eat. Chickpea Crostini, a simple go to that really delivers on flavor.  For a beautiful sweet finish we will prepare Fresh Orange Curd, Vanilla Bean Butter Cake and Chantilly Cream that will be transformed into a gorgeous trifle that is irresistible.  Class Fee $58.00

2 Day French Workshop May 18th and 19th  2 SEATS OPEN! 10:00-2:00 Join Lorie Fangio for a truly unique culinary event.  Immerse yourself in the food and culture of France in this 2 day workshop. In this one time special offering you will learn and prepare two of the French “mother” sauces, two major French doughs and three irresistible French desserts. Laminated Viennoiserie will be demonstrated and enjoyed by the group in the form of croissant and Pain Chocolate. We will dine together for a true French experience including a cheese course and wine each day. French cooking is the gold standard and expertise acquired in this class will last a lifetime. Limited to 10 participants.  Class Fee $189.00.

Day 1- Using an old fashioned French recipe, we will prepare French Baguettes to be eaten during our class.  We will prepare Pastry Cream as an accoutrement for our breakfast of Ambrosia.  For lunch we will adopt tried and true techniques to guarantee that our Chicken and Mushroom Soufflés rise to amazing heights. We will prepare a Green Salad of roasted beets, goat cheese and Candied Pecans served with a Champagne Vinaigrette. Our dinner portion for the day will be sumptuous Lobster Corn Chowder and for a sweet finish, dreamy Profiteroles stuffed to the brim with cream.

Day 2- Arrive at 9:30 for a demonstration of laminating Viennoiserie, so fun to watch and yields the most amazing Croissant and Pain Chocolate. We will concentrate on sauces today first up Espagnole Sauce to be  served with Beef Tenderloin Tournedos and Mushrooms.  Hearty Potatoes Gratin Dauphinoise will be the perfect accompaniment!  Next we will turn our attention to the perfect Béchamel Sauce used to create a lovely dinner of Croque Monsieur, always a crowd pleaser.  A Sable Crust will be created as the foundation of a take home sweet treat, individual Lemon Tarts!  For the perfect finish of our 2 days together we will enjoy Dark Chocolate Raspberry Rose Truffles; sweet, tart and irresistible.

Artichoke Cheese Soufflé Bake

2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese

1 cup of grated parmesan cheese

1 cup of mayonnaise

1 clove garlic pressed

1 cup chopped frozen artichoke hearts

1 red pepper chopped

Dash cayenne

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together cream cheese, mayonnaise and parmesan cheese for 2-3 minutes.  Fold in vegetables, pepper and bake in a soufflé dish for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Truffles for Valentine’s Day

The iconic brown box from Maison Du Chocolat conjures up sweet memories!

The chocolate tours is always A Taste Of Paris trip favorite. I take my travelers to 4-5 beloved chocolate shops for tasting and Maison Du Chocolat is always an important stop. This is the best place in the city to buy luxurious chocolate truffles dusted in dark chocolate cocoa. Simple truffles are a the perfect hostess gift, especially during the holiday season according to the Parisians.

In America, there is no holiday that begs for chocolate more than Valentine’s Day.  There is still time to craft the Maison Du Chocolat truffles for the ones you love this Valentine’s Day.  Follow my simple recipes and you will be swooning!
XOXO
Lorie

For More information on A Taste Of Paris Trips Click HERE

Join me for French Macaroons, only a few seats open!
Wednesday, March 15th 6:30-8:30
PRACTICAL Magnificent Macaroons
Practical’s are a new style of class I am offering that give you a true hands on cooking experience and the best part you take home the results!  Macaroons, the quintessential French treat, light, delicate and irresistible! After studying macaroon making in Paris, Lorie will lead a hands on class using tried and true French techniques. We will first toast the macaroon with a flute of bubbly before diving in to make this love at first bite treat.  Each step of the process will be clearly defined so students can replicate the process in their own kitchens with success!  We will prepare the classic French flavors; Vanilla Bean with Swiss buttercream filling, Raspberry filled with Raspberry Buttercream, and my personal favorite, Pistachio with a Pistachio Buttercream filling.  Recipes for other macaroon flavors will be shared. Delight in creative packaging ideas and take home treats to share. Class size is limited to 10, book early!  Class fee class fee $58.00

Rich Dark Chocolate Truffles
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, I used Ghirardelli
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
¾ cup unsweetened coco
In a saucepan heat heavy cream over medium heat until milk is steaming, remove from heat.  Add chocolate, vanilla and butter, stir until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  Put cocoa in a plate or shallow dish.  Using a teaspoon, scoop a walnut sized portion of the chocolate mixture in your hands, roll chocolate into balls.  Place the chocolate balls in the plate holding the cocoa and roll to cover all surfaces. Truffles can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

TIP Be careful not to get cocoa powder into the truffle mixture as you are rolling, this will make your truffles gritty