Caprese Panini and HERBS at the Arboretum

MInt growing in Lorie's garden.

There is nothing like herbs fresh from the garden to bump up the flavor quotient of your summer foods. I will be celebrating all-things HERBS at the Arboretum on Saturday, July 20th from 11:00-1:00, register TODAY!

basket of herbs at the french market

Do you have a favorite herb?  Mine is basil. I thought I would share one of my most-loved herb recipes; Basil Pesto and my favorite way to eat it, Caprese Panini!

basil pesto

Pesto is typically made with pine nuts but my version uses walnuts.  I always have walnuts on hand and I think it makes the pesto really creamy.  My basil rich pesto only calls for 1 tablespoon of olive oil, you can definitely use more but I personally don’t like an oily mouthfeel so it’s perfect for us.

Lorie clipping basil

There is something so gratifying about going to the garden to pick basil for a bright green batch of goodness.  It’s not too late to plant basil and reap the rewards right up until the first frost!

caprese panini

 

Caprese Panini

1 loaf French bread sliced in about ¾ inch slices

6 slices provolone cheese or fresh mozzarella

½ cup sun dried tomatoes drained and chopped

2 large tomatoes sliced thin and drained

1/3 cup fresh basil pesto

Olive oil

Brush grill pan with olive oil and turn burner to medium heat.   Make sandwiches by spreading a generous amount of pesto on every other slice of bread. Sprinkle pesto with sun-dried tomatoes.  Add cheese and fresh tomato slices and top with additional bread slice to create a sandwich.  Place sandwiches on grill with a panini press on top; grill each side for about 2 minutes until golden brown.

Basil Pesto

1 ½ cups fresh basil compacted

2 garlic cloves

½ cup walnuts

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Place basil, garlic, walnuts, salt in food processor, pulse until smooth, add Parmesan, olive oil and process until mixed well.

herbs

Arboretum- Herbs Fresh From the Garden or market. Do you cultivate a garden full of fresh herbs and want to cook more with them or maybe you love picking up fresh herbs at the local farmers markets; either way this class will delight with flavors from the earth.   The tasty dishes will begin with a vibrant appetizer of freshly made Chimichurri Hummus as pretty as it is tasty.  Next up, crispy Herbed Greek Salad that will have you diving in bite after bite.  For the main course we will prepare succulent Herb and Pistachio Crusted Chicken served with fresh from-the-garden Tomato Gratin. For a decadent treat, we will make Herb and Garlic Parmesan Knots.  For a sweet finish delectable Basil Infused Berries and Cream will not disappoint!

Hope you will tell me your favorite herb!  See you at the Arboretum!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

Red or White?

Wine Burgundy

Do you prefer red or white wine? I know when its hot outside many people drink lighter wines.

rose champagne 2

I simply prefer reds, the darker, thicker and richer they are the better!  The truth is, I have not always been a wine drinker.  In fact, I never drank wine other than sparkling’s, until about 16 years ago.

4 champagne glasses

I was invited to a big birthday party for a friend, I won’t tell you what number we were celebrating because I reserve the right to keep mine and my friends ages a secret!

French wine and cheese 2

The menu for the birthday dinner was set.  The choices were beef or salmon.  I never order salmon, since I am lucky enough to have a freezer full at all times due to my husband’s annual Alaskan fishing trip.  And the drink choices were red or white wine; naturally I selected the beef filet and my first ever, glass of red wine.

  Wine glasses

The label was Dynamite Cabernet and there was definitely a flavor explosion happening in my mouth. I never looked back and have been an avid red wine lover ever since.

Burgundy french wine corks

I discovered rosé wine in a similar way.  About 4 years ago when I was researching for my first ATOP group trip to Provence.  I was sitting at a seaside cafe eating mussels and frites with my sweet friend Donna who happens to live in Australia.  She suggested that we order wine with lunch…OK why not!  After that first glass of French rosé I totally understood the phrase Rosé all Day!

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I have not had that same light-bulb experience with white wines but I am hopeful!

Wine on boat

Tell me, are you a red or white wine drinker and if white is your jam, what label?  Maybe I will give it a try and be converted before summers end.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assortment of chocolates at Maison du Chocolat in Paris.

Lorie’s Top 3 Paris Chocolate Bites

Chocolate is the ONLY food I eat every day without fail.  Does this make me a chocolate expert?  Maybe not but my passion for chocolate goes way back, I’ve been studying this fascinating food for over 20 years. I am excited to share my top 3 chocolate bites with YOU that will not disappoint.

Milk chocolate piece

On ATOP trips to Paris, we always schedule a chocolate tasting and it’s one of my favorite events of the week.  I buy tidbits from 5-6 of my favorite chocolatiers and we taste and learn more about chocolate.  It is big fun!

Chocolate and praline fish at Easter in Patrick Roger, Paris.

Fine French chocolates have several things in common.  To start, they are mostly dark chocolate; roughly 70% with the remaining 30% being milk chocolate and NO white chocolate.  It’s rare to find white chocolate in fine French shops, after-all, with no cocoa in the formula, it’s not really chocolate.

Chocolates at Maison du Chocolat.

Secondly, fine French chocolate bonbons come in 2 categories; praline and ganache.  Praline is a mixture of caramelized nuts, caramel and chocolate that has been finely ground into a paste.  The nuts can be hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios or some combination of these.  Ganache bonbon centers are a mixture of cream, chocolate and flavorings, almost always natural such as steeped herbs and fruits.  Ganache fillings are very smooth and melt on your tongue.

Assortment of chocolates at Maison du Chocolat in Paris.

The third commonality and a big difference between French chocolates and American, Swiss or Belgium varieties is the very thin coating of chocolate that covers the fillings.  The thinner the coating, the more elegant the bite.  This paper-thin coating is very difficult to achieve and takes a tremendous amount of skill.

Now my favorites counting down from 3-1!

Jean-Paul Hevin poster.

In 3rd place- JP Hevin- My favorite bite is Framboise (raspberry) Ganache in dark chocolate. It’s sweet-tart decadence in one bite!

La Maison du Chocolate in Paris.

2nd place- La Maison du Chocolat 

Favorite bit at La Maison du Chocolat, Paris.

The Petit Rocher Noir- Small chocolates with an almond in the center, en-robed first in praline and then coated with dark chocolate.

Patrick Roger chocolate almonds, Paris.

1st place- Patrick Roger Chocolate Almonds.  I have never had this type of almond anywhere else.  I know many have tried to replicate it, including yours truly to NO avail.  The almonds are roasted, en-robed in praline, coated in chocolate and then rolled in coco powder.  I call them heaven and hell almonds, heaven when you have them and craving hell when you run out!

Next time you are in Paris, you will know exactly where to go to get your chocolate fix!

Register for Paris 2020 and be on my NEXT Chocolate Tasting!

OH, are you looking for a speaker for your meetings in 2020?  See The Joy of Chocolate and my other speaker offerings here.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

Annick Goutal- Intoxicating, Fresh and Feminine

Store front of Annick Goutal Paris

On my most recent trip to Paris, I had a surprise for my A Taste of Paris Goes PINK group. Every French adventure reminds me to embrace and share the things I love.

Lorie and Celine at Annick Goutal in Paris

We spent a little more than an hour at one of my beloved Parisian addresses, Annick Goutal, the original location on rue Bellechasse.

A Taste of Paris perfume workshop in Paris

Celine guided us in our discovery of this iconic French brand. Fine French fragrance can’t be rushed, in some cases taking up to a decade to create.

A Taste of Paris travelers smelling fragrances

A Nose, is the name given to the highest caliber perfumer.  An artist, working with many raw scents to develop something original, that evokes emotion, much like a symphony. Celine explained the process of developing a perfume and offered us the chance to smell many raw ingredients that go into their fragrance assortment.

An assortment of Annick Goutal fragrances

My favorite Annick Goutal fragrance is Un Matin D’ Orage; a stormy morning.  Annick, the founder of the brand, was out for a morning walk after a rain storm, she discovered a magnolia blossom on the ground and pinned it to her blouse.  The scent of the flower, softened by the rain, was wafting about and from this experience she imagined the fragrance and set about creating it.  The smell of Un Matin D’Orage is intoxicating, fresh and feminine.

This is a snip of Celine explaining the NOTES of a perfume.  The first note, or head note is what you smell when the perfume is applied.  The head notes are the most volatile molecules so they fade quickly.  As the perfume dries down, you begin to have a hint of the middle note or the heart note.  These notes will linger longer and are considered the heart of the fragrance.  With a bit more time on the skin, the base notes come through and as they mingle with the heart notes, you will experience the full body of the fragrance.

Several A Taste of Paris travels that attended the perfume workshop

Body chemistry plays a role in how the notes of the fragrance mix.  That’s why a very fine fragrance never smells the same on someone else, it becomes your OWN.

Celine at Annick Goutal in Paris

Every time I spray Un Matin D’Orage, I am transported to the precious boutique on rue Bellechasse.

Sharing my love of Annick Goutal and fragrance with my A Taste of Paris travelers and YOU is a real joy!

Check out the details of A Taste of Paris 2020 Would YOU or someone you know like to fill one of the last seats?  If so, click the link and tag your friend in the comments.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Rainbow windows at Dior exhibit at the DMA.

Christian Dior, a Fashion Legend

Join me for A Day of Dior

Friday, July 19th 2019- 8 tickets still available!

Dior office and store at 30, Montaigne Avenue Paris

In 1946 Christian Dior established his fashion house at 30, Avenue Montaigne and it still remains there today.

Dior window Spring 2019
Dior Window, Spring 2019, 30, Avenue Montaigne Paris

I take great delight in retracing Christian Dior’s footsteps as I head out with my Paris groups, we pass this address on our way to the morning train.

Dior 1947-1957

Dior was convinced that people were ready for something new after many years of war and in 1947, he debuted the New Look; a silhouette that would define the 1950’s.

Dior day suit with black skirt and white jacket and hat

This New Look with its narrow shoulders, accentuated bust, nipped waist with a wide flared “flower” skirt exudes femininity and despite the lack of practicality, people loved it.

White Dior gown with red velvet ribbon and ivy

Dior employed the very finest tailors and used the most sumptuous fabrics money could buy.

Diors fabric swatches and drawings

He understood the importance of catering to starlets and the press that would ultimately follow; after all he was making more than dresses, he was building a brand.

An assortment of white and cream Dior gowns.

Dior was the first to licences his name for other products like make-up and perfume.  The name Dior was and still is synonymous with luxury.

Join me for A Day of Dior

OR for A Taste of Paris 2020 and see Dior at Avenue Montaigne for yourself. 

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

Shrimp with Basil Gremolata

shrimp with Basil gremolata

In the summertime, I am less interested in spending time in the kitchen prepping and cooking.  Dishes that utilize all of the goodness from the earth and my garden that cook very quickly are winners in my book.

Basil gremolata

My Shrimp with Basil Gremolata is fast and easy to prepare and incredibly tasty.  Gremolata is an herb rich, lemony sauce that is fantastic over any fish or grilled meat.

Serve Shrimp with Basil Gremolata over pasta or alongside a large salad and you will have a fantastic dinner on the table in minutes. Enjoy!

Shrimp with Basil Gremolata

Shrimp

1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

Gremolata

Zest from a lemon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

1 ½ cups fresh basil, packed

½ cup fresh parsley packed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup olive oil

To make gremolata, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.  To prepare shrimp, heat a chefs pan over medium heat, add olive oil and shrimp.  Sprinkle shrimp with salt and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes until shrimp is opaque.  Remove pan from heat.  Toss with gremolata and serve.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Salmon with Fresh Strawberry Salsa

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

Today I want to share a true go-to from my kitchen.

A standout topping that can be used on practically any grilled meat.  My Fresh Strawberry Salsa over salmon is a true taste sensation. The sweet and savory blend of fruits and vegetables with just a hint of lime keeps you diving in for more with every single bite.

Try this idea with fruits and veg you have on hand and create your own flavor combinations; the key is to combine flavors you love.

Fresh salsas; a great way to brighten up any plate!

Do you have a delicious go-to you would like to share from your kitchen?  Please tell us in the comment section!!

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 Salmon with Fresh Strawberry Salsa

1-2 pounds wild caught salmon

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped

½ orange bell pepper, chopped

½ poblano pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh jalapeno, finely minced

½ cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

1 lime, zested and juiced

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare salmon by brushing with Worcestershire sauce on both sides of the fish.  Salt and pepper the fish generously and place it in a glass baking dish.  Cook the salmon for 12-15 minutes until fat is bubbling to the surface.  Meanwhile, prepare the salsa by combining all remaining ingredients and toss well. Season with salt and serve a generous amount of salsa on each portion of salmon.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Maubert; a favorite Parisian Market

Vegetable Provence market

Market shopping in Paris is a must.  Markets run every morning in various areas of the city.

This is a quick selfie-video I took on my last trip.

One of my favorite markets is in the Latin quarter and it’s called Maubert Marche.  It’s so easy to find, just take the Metro, line 10 and get off at Maubert Mutualite, come above ground and you have arrived!

eggplant 2 market

The vegetables are incredible!

Basket of fresh herbs.

So are the herbs.

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And eggs.

wall of roses.

Don’t even get me started on the flowers; pure paradise!

 

Lorie in the Maubert market

This is me in the Maubert Marche, from what seems like a million years ago!

I would Love to take YOU there!

Make one of the last seats for

A Taste of Paris 2020

YOURS!!

Register today by email lorie@atasteofparis.net

au revoir for now lorie (002)

An assortment of white and cream Dior gowns.

An Exclusive Day of Dior- with ATOP

An assortment of red Dior dresses.

Dior- From Paris to the World

I spent a few hours at the Louvre several years ago exploring the incredible world of Dior at the world acclaimed exhibit that broke all attendance records.  When I returned to the Dallas area, I visited the Dior store at Highland Park Village, they were all a buzz with the news that the Dior exhibit would, eventfully make its way to Dallas! After waiting more than 2 years the magnificent exhibit has finally arrived.

An assortment of white and cream Dior gowns.
I am thrilled to bring you an exclusive Day of Dior, curated just for ATOP followers.

This experience promises to be filled with amazing fashion, fabulous food and wine and of course FUN.  I sincerely hope you will join ATOP for…

A Day of Dior

Friday, July 19th

11:00 am Dallas Museum of Art
Welcome and a preview of the exhibit with an expert-
Dior from Paris to the World
Enjoy the Exhibit

12:45 Lunch at Bistro 31, Highland Park Village
Private lunch in the Champagne Room
with Wine

Christian Dior Highland Park Village- Sweets and Champagne
A look at modern day Dior and a peek at 2019 fall fashion- Jake Walton

3:00 Farewell- Gift bag for all participants

Tickets are limited Get them HERE

Cream colored Dior gown with red velvet ribbon and ivy.

The exhibit was so incredible, it literally brought me to tears.

An assortment of 4 Dior gowns.

Pictures hardly do the gowns justice; the fabrics are so ornate.

Up close of fabric from Dior gown.

This is a close-up of the fabric from a strapless gown.  The flowers are all hand-made of silk.  I wanted to scoop this up and take it with me, it was my favorite!

I hope YOU will join me!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

A melt in your mouth bite…in Paris!

fred 8

When I find something new that is crave-able…

ATOP 2019 group at Aux Merveilleux de Fred, Paris

I can’t wait to share it with my travelers and YOU!

Last year I happened upon this adorable sweet shop with its classic slate grey facade and huge crystal chandelier that beckoned me in.

Aux Mervilleux de Fred, Paris

Aux Merveilleux de Fred in the Latin quarter of Paris has windowed stuffed with cute balls of goodness that resemble Hostess Snowballs

fred 6

One bite lets you know this is oh so different!

Aux Merveilleux de Fred small treat with 1 bite missing.

I have always been a lover of meringues and when you stuff it with cream, and then roll them in chocolate, how can you go wrong?

Fred 7

I predict these pretty, melt in your mouth treats will become all the rage.  There are already 1/2 a dozen locations around Paris and a location in New York city!

Fred-2.jpg

Want me to take you there?  I would love for YOU to be along next year for the tasty FUN!

Register TODAY by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net

 A Taste of Paris April 13-20th