It’s Valentine’s Day -An Enchanting French Experience

pink flowers and petals

When I set out to create the winter A Taste of Paris event for Valentine’s Day, I knew it had to be something really special.

While reflecting on Valentine’s Day, one word kept coming to mind, PASSION.

Curating an experience with one purpose in mind; to spark or reignite passion for the participants, became my goal and I am thrilled to share this exclusive opportunity with you.

It’s Valentine’s Day- An Enchanting French Experience is a French inspired event, held at the stunning Toulouse, Legacy West.  The day starts with 3 sessions focusing on beauty and pleasure.  French people are pleasure seekers, this passion prone quality stems from their Latin roots. This is one of the many mysterious qualities that makes French women so alluring and for the day we will act as they do!

assorted chocolates

Beginning of course with chocolate!  You will hear from a passionate chocolate maker that hand-crafts the very finest ganache and fillings and finishes them in the elegant French style…the best part?  Tasting!

pink flowers and petals

I was deeply inspired by the simple floral arrangements in the Provencal villa where I stayed this past September that I thought this was the ideal chance to share these ideas with you.  You will see a gorgeous arrangement made by an expert in the field, right before your eyes.  I think you will be inspired too!Christian Dior logo

French women just seem to have that special something, that je ne sais quois.  The regional director of Dior Beauty and his team, will present Savoir Faire, an interactive experience designed to unlock the mystery of the alluring French women, Christian Dior the man and this iconic brand.

 

After fanning the flames of passion, we will take a break for a flute of champagne before heading to the table for a lovely 3-course French meal.

At the conclusion of the day, guests will be presented with a gift valued at over $65.00.

I hope you will join me for this exclusive A Taste of Paris event offered 1-time only

Friday, February 7th 10:30-2:30 It’s Valentines Day-

An Enchanting French Experience 

See YOU soon!

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Tickets are available ONLY from Eventbrite, DO NOT accept tickets from any other source.

 

Holiday Appetizers

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Tis the season for appetizers!  I thought I would share  a few of my recent favorites with you!

I had a very large board crafted for my daughter’s small engagement party and for the recent ATOP wine event with Chateau Pommard and I just love the way it works for tasty tidbits.

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I like to line up 3 or 4 selections in rows on the board for a unifying look.  You can see  that I included 2 types of sandwiches, Chicken Tart-lets and miniature Bistro Salads with Blood Orange Vinaigrette.

Small salads made in plastic cups

Making salads in cups with small wooden forks is a simple do ahead idea that allows you to offer tasty vegetables without the traditional veggie tray.

Beef and Blue Cheese Crostini is always a favorite so for the party I modified it into a sandwich.

Open faced beef and blue cheese sandwich

The layers were built on French bread; lettuce and tomatoes were added for a pop of color.

Beef and blue cheese sandwiches

The sandwiches were sliced into smaller, 3-4 bite sizes.

small sandwiches tied with string

To make the small sandwiches an easy grab and go appetizer, just add a strip of brown butcher paper and tie them with string.

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I love making Spicy Chicken Tart-lets because they are so cute.  They are also super easy to eat at a party and everybody loves them.

 

Bistro Salads with Blood Orange Vinaigrette 

1 head romaine lettuce chopped

1 tomato chopped

1 avocado chopped

¼ cup dried cherries

¼ cup toasted pecans

Dressing

½ cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice and its zest

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 shallot minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Toss salad ingredients in a bowl.  To prepare dressing, add all ingredients to a glass jar and shake vigorously.  Dress salad and serve.

 

Beef and Blue Cheese Crostini

Beef Marinade

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 pound deli roast beef thinly sliced.

Crostini

1 French baguette cut into thin slices

3 tablespoon olive oil

Sauce

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

2 tablespoons chives

Prepare beef by placing all marinade ingredients and beef in a zip top bag.  Refrigerate several hours.  Prepare sauce my mixing sour cream, horseradish and pepper in a small bowl.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush both sides of French bread slices with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake until bread it beginning to brown and turn over to brown the other side.  Remove from oven and allow bread to cool.  Assemble the crostini by adding beef, a small amount of sauce and then sprinkle with both blue cheese and chives.  Serve at once.

Spicy Chicken Tart-lets

1 baked chicken breast, shredded

1 package puff pastry, thawed

½ cup frozen corn

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

¾ cup salsa

¼ cup red onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos, diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 slightly beaten egg

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in a medium bowl, add spices and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients reserving puff pastry and mix.  Unfold and roll pastry sheets out on a flour surface to about 10 x 12 inches.  Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter cut rounds of pastry, 12 per sheet. Place a spoonful of the chicken mixture in the center of each circle.  Top with a second circle and using a fork press the two circles together.  I like to pinch a crinkled pattern on the crust edge, like a pie crust edge.  Brush the tart-lets with egg wash and prick tops with fork to let steam escape.  Bake on a greased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

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Christmas cookies

The BEST Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookie platter

Is there anything happier than a platter of Christmas cookies? These are an assortment of my families favorites and so many happy memories!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies are my son’s favorite and if I do say so, they are the BEST!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups ground oatmeal (grind old fashioned oatmeal in a food processor or blender)

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips preferably Ghirardelli’s

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs one at a time.  Mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Add gradually to sugar mixture.  Add ground oatmeal slowly until fully incorporated.  Mix in chocolate chips, drop by spoonfuls and bake on greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes.

 

Christmas Tree Cookies

Christmas Tree Cookies are a tradition and Brooke and I usually make them together.

 

Magic bars

Magic Cookie Bars are my Mom’s favorite and we make them every year!

 

snowball cookies

And last but not least, Snowball Cookies are irresistible!

Happy baking!!

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Top 5 Goodies from Paris

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I have always dreamed of spending Christmas in Paris.  Snow gently falling on the bustling streets and shop windows packed full of interesting goodies.

Alas, for now it is merely a dream.  For anyone lucky enough to be traveling to my favorite city this holiday season, or any time of year for that matter, I have assembled a goodie guide for you.

Top 5 goodies to bring back from Paris

1-CHOCOLATE

chocolate from Paris.

Simple bars or carefully curated chocolate morsels, packed in a precious box, travel well and make marvelous gifts.

2- TEA

Mariage Freees tea from Paris

Mariage Freres tea is a lovely gift to bring back from the city.  The blends are crafted much like fine French perfume and are meant to excite and entice the palette.  You can buy loose tea or tea bags; tiny muslin sachets, that make me smile every time I reach for one. My favorite blend is called Wedding Imperial.

3- COOKIES

boxes of French cookies

Marquise de Sable is a wonderful brand of biscuit, or cookie as we call them, to bring back for friends.

French cookies

There is a wide assortment of flavors and the boxes are nice and flat making packing a breeze.

4- Mustard 

Maille French mustard

Maille is a fantastic French mustard and lovely for gifts carried home.

mustard assortment in Paris

It is astonishing the number of mustard flavors available; there is something for everyone on your list.

5- Olives 

wall of French olives

Olives make a nice gift or tidbit to enjoy once you are home.

jar of French olives

French olives have their pit making them much more flavorful.  My personal favorite are the picholine.

Paris in the snow

Is Paris your favorite city too or have you been dreaming of going there?

Join the group and come along with me, A Taste of Paris!

 A Taste of Paris- April 12-18th, 2021

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Southwest Turkey Soup

Southwest Turkey Soup

If you’re like me, you still have some turkey meat left from Thanksgiving.  Turkey is such a high-quality protein it would be a shame to waste it. Right?

The good news is, you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator to make this dish and start to finish it’s 20 minutes to table. It’s so tasty, you’ll love it!

Southwest Turkey Soup

Southwest Turkey Soup

2 cups shredded turkey

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

4 cups chicken broth

1 large onion chopped

3 ribs celery chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

2 cloves garlic, pressed

¼ cup faro

1 can green chiles and tomatoes, Rotel

1 4-ounce can dice green chiles

1 16-ounce can tomato sauce

1 15-ounce can black beans

Toppings

Shredded cheddar cheese

Sour cream

Corn chips

In a large soup pot, cook the onions, celery and carrots in 1 cup of chicken broth until they are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  In a small bowl, toss turkey with the seasonings very well.  Add all remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 15 minutes before serving with toppings.

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Cornbread stuffed acorn squash.

Thanksgiving Inspiration- 2 Scrumptious Recipes

Cornbread stuffed acorn squash.

Every year I teach a cooking class called The Thanksgiving Table; it gives me a chance to get creative with traditional fall flavors for that big meal everyone is anticipating.

I’m sharing a few of my favorites from this year in hopes of inspiring YOU!

Citrus glazed and roasted turkey breasts.

Of course, the turkey is always the star of the Thanksgiving meal.  If you only like white meat, consider skipping the huge bird and opt instead for a few turkey breasts, either way, my Citrus Roasted and Glazed Turkey is moist, juicy and filled with flavor.

Cornbread cooked in acorn squash cups

These beautiful acorn squash make the ideal cooking cups for cornbread OR your own stuffing recipe!  The key is to pre-roast the squash first so it gets tender, be sure you salt and pepper it liberally too.

Cooking time for the cornbread will be a bit longer than when using a baking dish too, so keep that in mind!

Citrus Roasted and Glazed Turkey

2 large turkey breasts

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons butter

3 oranges, divided

3 lemons, divided

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, pressed

11 teaspoon ground sage

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 onion quartered

1 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare the glaze by first zesting and juicing 2 of the oranges and 2 of the lemons.  Add the juice and zest to a small sauce pan with 2 tablespoons of butter, sugar, honey, mustard, garlic, sage and herbs and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until mixture is thick, like syrup.  Let turkey breast come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before slathering with 2 tablespoons butter.  Liberally salt and pepper the breasts. Quarter the remaining fruit and place that along with the onion in a greased glass baking dish.  Position the turkey breasts on top of the fruit and onions and add white wine to the dish. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake turkey until a thermometer reads 125 degrees.  Remove the dish from the oven and baste with glaze.  Continue to baste every 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  Let turkey rest for at least 20 minutes tented with foil before carving.

Acorn Squash with Cornbread Filling

4 acorn squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ cups yellow corn meal

½ cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup butter melted and cooled

1 ½ cups milk

2 eggs

½ red bell pepper finely diced

½ green bell pepper finely diced

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut squash in half and remove seeds.  Bush the surface of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 30 minutes.  Prepare cornbread by combining dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  Add wet ingredients to a separate bowl along with peppers and mix very well.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until combined.  Pour batter into the squash and bake for 28-32 minutes until cornbread is firm and beginning to brown. Allow to cool before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Coming UP Roses Tart

apple tart

It’s important to celebrate life’s little victories.

This beautiful apple tart I’ve named, Coming Up Roses, was made in a cooking class I taught last week. Even the picture makes me happy!

The recipe is fairly simple, the hardest part is slicing the apples, best done on a mandolin so they can be cut very thin. The key here is to really pack the apples tightly as you layer them around the tart.

It’s apple season so grab a bushel and serve a slice of this gorgeous tart to the people you love and you’ll be coming up roses too!

Apple Rose tart 4

Coming up Roses Tart

1 sheet of puff pastry

4 Honey-crisp apples

1 tablespoon flour plus more for work surface

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup apricot jam

1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll puff pastry out to eliminate the creases and so it will fit into a 9-inch tart pan.  Place the pastry into the pan and press it firmly up the sides and on the bottom.  Prick the bottom well with a fork.  Line the crust with a sheet of greased foil and add pastry weights or dried beans to the top.  Bake the crust for 12 minutes until it is beginning to brown.  Remove from the oven and reduce heat to 375.  Prepare apples by slicing them in pieces off the core and cut into very thin slices or use a mandolin and slice through whole apple, then cut the apple shards in half at the core.  Sprinkle the bottom of the crust with first flour then 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Begin arranging the apples on the outer edge of the prepared tart crust.  Place apples peel side up, making rows and winding towards the center. Continue arranging apples very tightly working towards the middle.  Roll several thin slices into a coil to form the center.  The exposed peel will look slightly pink on the finished tart. Sprinkle the tart with remaining sugar and dot with butter.  Place pan on a baking sheet and into the oven for 30-40 minutes until apples are tender and browning on the tops.  Remove from the oven and glaze the top of the tart by heating the jam with the water until it is smooth.  Paint the tart surface with the glaze using a pastry brush. Allow to cool before serving.

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centerpiece

Fall Dinner Party- 2019

Fall decorations and a sign that says happy fall y'all!

Last year I participated in a huge dinner party with The Art of Living Beautifully and Unique Unique Designs, it was a blast so this year I decided to create a Fall Dinner Party Class on a smaller scale.  It was really fun for me to get out my dishes and crystal wine glasses and set a beautiful table for my honored guests.

Copper pumpkins and fresh fruit centerpiece.

For the centerpiece I wanted to use copper pumpkins.  These were perfect to go along with my copper chargers and I thought a little bit of metallic would reflect the lights.  To make them, I bought fresh white pumpkins, the stems were taped off and then sprayed them with copper paint.  Once they were dry, they were ready to be the focal point of the table arrangement.

To complete the design, pears, squash and lots of grapes were added.  Using fresh foods as centerpieces is an idea that has been gaining popularity and it’s really smart because you can eat the arrangement after the party is over!

orange roses in a crystal bowl.

I still had plenty of fresh flowers in the house.

roses and pumpkins make pretty decoratins

I was completely enchanted with these stunning roses that were the color of fire.

Rosemary Grapefruit Sparkler.

The table was set and the guests arrived!

All 12 were greeted with a Rosemary Grapefruit Sparkler, a tart refreshing cocktail, ideal for the unpredictable Texas fall season.

Focaccia bread and spicy shrimp

While we munched on appetizers of Focaccia Bread topped with Caramelized Onions and Fennel and Spicy Shrimp, we had a short cooking lesson.

I shared about my recent experience in Lake Como, Italy and how a special meal there  inspired this menu.

Salad with pears, blue cheese and pecans.

Next up were beautiful salads topped with pear shards, blue cheese and my famous Sweet and Spicy Pecans, recipe below!

My kitchen all set for fall.

Dinner was a Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Pork Loin Roast served on a bed of root vegetables and alongside Fontina Mac and Cheese.  Dessert was Chocolate Lava Cakes with Tuaca Ice Cream and I might have even gotten the bottle of Tuaca out for sampling…I will never tell!

Pumpkin and leaves in an urn.

The night was a huge success and I look forward to hosting many more events like this one!

Pumpkins arranged on a pedestal.

In fact, I have a Holiday Luncheon scheduled for December 13th with only 2 seats left at the table.  If you would like more information CLICK HERE and register TODAY!

Velvet pumpkins on a silver tray.

Registration for all 4- 2021 ATOP trips to France is in full-swing.  Request information TODAY and start to plan YOUR ATOP trip to France!

 

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I hope you are all enjoying the fall season!

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

2 cup whole pecans

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon smoky paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large skillet, brown pecans in butter over medium heat.  Add sugar, spices and toss until pecans are coated.  Add vinegar to mixture, stir over low heat until the moisture is mostly evaporated.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Pour pecans onto prepared pan and bake for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and pecans are dry to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool.

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A Little Bit of France- A Simple Recipe You Will LOVE!

Tartouillat made with apples and pears

This yummy dish is called Tartouillat, (pronounced tart-o-ya) is from the Burgundy region of France and is typically made with cherries and brandy.

Apples and pears are in full season, so I created this dish to capitalize on their fantastic flavor for my French 2-Day cooking class a few weeks ago.  Many of the class participants voted this dish among their favorites.  The best news; it’s simple and practically fool proof to prepare.

It’s mostly fruit so nice for breakfast or for dessert with ice cream or even a drizzle of caramel sauce!

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Do you love French foods?  There are still a few spaces OPEN for A Day in  France,  it promises to be a stunning display of French foods!

The day begins with me demonstrating Pain Chocolat, as much fun to watch as it is to eat…who am I kidding?  I crave these puffy morsels so I am EXCITED!!

Beet and goat cheese salad from the Ritz in Paris.

We’ll be exploring Bistronomy a Parisian phenomenon and nothing is a better example than this gorgeous Beet and Goat Cheese Salad originally from the Ritz in Paris. To register email lorie@atasteofparis.net OR CLICK HERE

Tartouillat

Tartouillat with Apples and Pears

4 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and sliced into thin wedges

2 Bosc or Bartlett pears peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup flour

2/3 cup sugar

2 ½ cups milk

6 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon apple brandy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large chef pan, cook apples in butter until they become soft.  Add pears to the pan and remove from heat.  Grease an 8 x 11 glass baking dish, pour the fruit into the bottom of the dish.  Beat the eggs with the sugar until it is pale and fluffy, add flour and salt and mix just until combined.  Add milk and brandy and whisk until there are no lumps.  Pour milk mixture over the fruit and bake for 38-45 minutes until top is beginning to brown and springs to the touch.

TIP:
For the best results eat it the day you prepare it, it can hold over night but is not as good the next day. 

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Tune in Tomorrow on Fox 4 for Dinner Boards!

Sausage, beans and slaw on a wooden board.

Tune in tomorrow, Tuesday, October 15th to see me making gorgeous Dinner Boards on Fox 4, KDFW.  I will be on about 9:35!

Lorie with wooden boards

This is a sneak Peek at the featured recipes:

Rotisserie Chicken Board

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

2 sweet potatoes cut into medallions

4 large carrots peeled and cut into sticks

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

Pinch fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place oil, syrup, herbs and cinnamon into a zip top bag and mix well.  Add vegetable and toss to coat evenly.  Spread vegetables onto a baking sheet, generously salt and pepper.  Place into the oven and roast until fork tender 15-18 minutes.

Kielbasa Sausage with Parmesan Crusted Potatoes and Green Bean Salad

Parmesan Crusted Potatoes

3 pounds baking potatoes

1 teaspoon salt divided

½ cup melted butter

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and cut potatoes into 1-2-inch chunks.  Mix parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, rosemary, salt, garlic and pepper on a plate. Put potatoes in zip top bag, pour butter over and toss to be sure potatoes are coated.  Next roll potatoes in bread crumb mixture before placing in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Green Bean and Cranberry Salad

1 ½ pounds of tiny green beans washed and trimmed

½ cup dried cranberries

½ red onions sliced very thinly

¼ cup slivered almonds

Dressing

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons honey

1 garlic clove crushed

Pinch salt

Pinch pepper

¼ cup olive oil

Heat 2 quarts of water with 2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan until it boils.  Add green beans and cook for about 4 minutes.  Drain the beans and plunge into an ice batch to stop cooking. Make the dressing in the bottom of serving dish by whisking all ingredients together reserving the olive oil.  Stream olive oil in slowly while continuing to whisk.  Add first onions then beans and remaining ingredients to the serving dish.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Just before serving toss salad well.

Take Out Pizza Board

Harvest Salad

Mixed greens

½ cup crumbled fresh chevre

½ cup dried cranberries

½ toasted walnuts

1 ½ cups cubed butternut squash

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Vinaigrette

1 shallot minced

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons honey

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare salad preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss squash with oil and salt and pepper and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Roast for 8-12 minutes until squash reaches desired tenderness, remove from oven and set aside. To prepare dressing, combine vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey and olive oil in a small jar and shake well.  Assemble the salad by combining all ingredients in a serving bowl, toss with dressing and serve.