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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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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Summer Cooks

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Summer really sizzles in Texas!  But stay cool as a cucumber with ME in the kitchen while we prepare and taste fabulous food!

Cooking classes are fun for adults and children!!

Register TODAY by Email or website

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Join me on Sunday, June 10th at the Dallas Arboretum 1:00-3:00 for 

French Market~In this four course meal will start with lighter than air Gourges.  Next up, Berry and Endive salad with traditional vinaigrette.  For the main course we will prepare the most luxurious of French mother sauces, Espagnole.  This amazing sauce will be served over Chicken Roulade, stuffed with herbs and vegetables over Golden Luxe Potatoes.  For a sweet finish we will prepare Chocolate Pot de Crème. Purchase tickets HERE

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Join me, Thursday, June 21 6:30 – 8:30 for

It’s a Rum Staycation! A fabulous class featuring Rum for an island vibe staycation. We will start the fun with my all-time favorite vaca beverage, the Grand Mariner Mojito Martini.  This irresistible cocktail will be served with flavorful Barbecued Shrimp in edible cups along with Bacon wrapped Jalapeño poppers.  Next up, we will craft the refreshing Rum Swizzle perfect for a warm summer’s day.  We will prepare delectable Crab stuffed Empanadas with Sriracha dipping sauce and lip smacking Pork Nachos topped with Pineapple Mango Chutney. We will turn our attention to the sweet side of things with a skinny version of the classic Pina Colada while we prepare Flatbread slathered with goat cheese and prosciutto and fresh Heirloom Tomato and Herb Bruschetta.  I’ll also show you how to make Gin and Tonic Pickles just for fun and for a sweet finish we will prepare Vanilla rum Panna Cotta with silky Caramel Sauce and berries dipped in chocolate.  Fee 58.00

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Join me, Friday June 29th 10:00-3:00

French Market Class – Everyone’s favorite class in France.  I’ll gather fresh local ingredients like bread, cheese, wine and more downtown before you arrive. We will craft a 5 course French 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 including a composed dessert, cheese course and wine! You will leave with an ingredient map so you can shop for the local products used in class. Fee $92.50

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Join me, Saturday, June 30th 11:30-1:30 for

Foods of Provence~ Oil and Vinegar Shops at Legacy FREE DEMO

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Calling all KID Bakers! Ages 7-12 Wednesday, July 11th 2:00-4:30

Kids Bake~ Children will have an amazing time as they learn real kitchen skills to last a lifetime.  The merriment begins with my simple but exact Homemade Biscuit recipe.  These fluffy gems will be stuffed with ham and cheddar cheese for nice foundation before we dive into the sweet stuff.  Kids will be delighted by rainbow cakes baked in jars, topped with fluffy buttercream frosting and of course plenty of sprinkles.  Lemon Blueberry Muffins packed with huge berries will be a refreshing summer treat.  Next up we will bake ooey gooey Chocolate Almond Bars and for our cookie we will learn the principals for shortbread as we craft Key Lime Shortbread squares.  S’more’s Cupcakes are sure to be a hit, especially when we “Brulee” the marshmallow frosting.  Last but not least will be classic Rocky Road.  Children will be encourage to take many of the treats home for sharing! Class size limited $44.50.

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Calling all KID COOKS! Ages 7-12 Wednesday, July 18th

Kids Cook~Children will learn real life cooking skills to last a lifetime in this fun and learning cooking experience.  We will make real food with fresh ingredients starting with my family’s favorite, Blush Chicken Pasta!  Kids will have a ball learning to make Herbed Parmesan Bread leaves and will delight as they expand in the oven.  Kids will make Marinated Peach Glazed Pork Loin served with Cinnamon Carrots, Smashed Potatoes and fruit chutney!  We will prepare a fresh crispy salad with you guessed it homemade Ranch Dressing!  Children will also love learning Chicken Tortilla Soup served with Cheddar Corn Muffins.  For a sweet finish we will prepare classic Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting!  Class size is limited.  $44.40.

Register TODAY by Email or website

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Blood Orange Martini

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I was in Trader Joe’s today and scored 2 bags of blood oranges for only $2.49 each!

In the past finding this unusual orange meant driving the distance to a specialty food store and paying what seemed like a king’s ransom for the honor.  You can understand my excitement about this deal at Traders.

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All I could think about was crafting my all-time favorite cocktail, Blood Orange Martinis this weekend!!

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The bright maroon colored flesh seems like a freak of nature.  The rich and vibrant hue makes me want to break into a happy dance.

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Generally we think about darker colored foods having greater nutritive value but the truth is there is not much difference between a navel orange and a blood orange.

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The flavor is a different story. Blood oranges are less acid than their counterparts and have a distinct smell and taste of red berries. This explains why the seasonal fruit is so special and perfection in my cocktail.

I hope you will grab a few bags of blood oranges, squeeze that precious juice and shake a few cocktail along with me.  We can toast each other!

à votre santé!

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blood orange martini

 Blood Orange Martini

1 part orange vodka

1 part blood orange soda

2 parts blood orange juice

½ part triple sec

Zest of ½ orange

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain before serving in a glass with a sugar rim.

 

 

Herbs and Spice and Everything Nice

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A post on gardening is perfect for Mother’s Day week.  My Mom is a gardening expert. In fact, I have said many times, her garden should grace the covers of magazines like Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens.

She truly lives for the blooms and she is my gardening muse. I look to her for inspiration and guidance before I plant anything new on our property and she never steers me wrong.

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Growing my own herbs brings me so much joy and satisfaction, I am sure I get this trait from my mother.  There is simply nothing that can compare to that fresh herbaceous flavor and color brought to dishes like the sweet and savory Herbed Chevre and Honey Panini, an all-time favorite recipe, shared below.

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Creating an herb garden for seasoning your dishes can be as simple as choosing 3-4 varieties for a pot to rest on your kitchen ledge.  If you would like to craft an herb garden with me, YOU CAN!  Join me for my upcoming class, Lunch and Learn HERBS where we will prepare dishes jam packed with fresh from the garden flavor before crafting a charming herb gardens to take home and enjoy.

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Let me show you how I get that fresh herb flavor in all my dishes.

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When we moved into this home, ten years ago, there was a small patch of earth on a retaining wall that got full sun and a bonus, it was right outside the kitchen door. It’s the perfect local to grow a few herbs.

Each year I remove 3-4 more of the huge shrubs that used to fill this bed entirely and I expand my kitchen garden, planting more and more food to enjoy at our table and in my cooking classes.

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To get started on your own kitchen garden…

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add good stuff to build the soil like compost and peat moss and till the soil well.  Be sure to remove any roots and stones.

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Next, add a good amount of Calloways flower bed mix before planting herbs and vegetables.

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Be sure to water everything in well.  Keep the water coming so herbs and vegetables can grow to their peak. Look at these peppers!  Only 1 month in the ground and there is already fruit to harvest!Herbs4

 Don’t you just love these little flat stones painted as garden markers, they add a bit of charm to my garden!

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One last thing!  I am so proud of my bay tree!  It has been working so hard to hang on for the last year and look at it grow now! YAY!

Wishing you all a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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Herbed Chevre and Honey Panini

8 slices good quality white or country bread

6 ounces fresh chevre

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried dill

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

Zest from 1 large lemon

1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

½ cup creamed honey

Pinch lavender (optional)

1 teaspoon butter

In a medium bowl mix goat cheese with all herbs and lemon zest, let mixture rest 1 hour to overnight to allow flavors to meld.  Add lavender to honey and mix well.  Heat grill pan over medium heat.  Swab pan with a small amount of butter.  Grill bread on one side until golden brown.  Swab pan with remaining butter and turn bread to other side.  Coat half of the bread with the chevre mixture, next a pinch of gruyere cheese followed by a generous amount of honey. Top with second piece of bread to create sandwiches.  Use a press or heavy skillet to press sandwiches into Panini.  Serve warm.

 

The French Tart(e)

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The first French tart can be traced back to medieval times.  In the 1500’s tarts were enriched crusts generally stuffed with meat fillings and  were seen as haute cuisine for nobility. The tart naturally evolved to include sweet, fruit and custard fillings as well.

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A tart can also be called a pie, like our all-American apple pie but a tart never has a top crust.

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You may also be wondering what the difference is between a tart and a quiche.  Quiche always has an egg base. The tart may or may not have eggs in the recipe and a quiche is always savory.

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The frugal side to my personality loves the tart.

As long as you have a sheet of puff or pie pastry in the freezer, you can have a gorgeous dinner in minutes with leftovers (I like to call them planned overs) from the week.  Start with one serving of protein like a chicken breast or 4 ounce of salmon or ham; add whatever vegetable you have on hand.  Add all the ingredients along with 6-8 eggs and a sprinkle of cheese to the pastry, throw it in the oven and dinner is done!

Whether the tart is sweet, savory, loaded with fruit or eggs, I am in!

If you want to learn to make French tarts from scratch, join me for my upcoming French Pastries Workshop. We will sip wine while we prepare 3 types of tarts along with Crab Gourges, the adorable Saint Eve from Bayeux France and so much more. Details on registration below!

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One of my favorite things to do while in France is to press my nose against the glass of the fine patisseries, gazing upon the beauty and artistry of each morsel. Look at these mushroom hand pies!

  I am in Paris right now with my A Taste of Paris 2018 group; follow along on our culinary journey on Instagram @atasteofparis.

Are you ready to make a French adventure of your own?  Travel with me in 2019!  

signature3 no block less spaceClassic French Pastries Workshop- Friday, May 4th 11:00-2:30 Join me in my gourmet kitchen to prepare my favorite time honored French pastries.  I will share the skills I’ve learned in cooking schools attended all over France in this fascinating look at the French pastries.  We will talk about how gourmet Patisseries prepare their goods and ensure freshness at all times.  Our time together begins French sparkling wine and delicate Crab Gourges, oh my! For our lunch we will prepare 2 savory sensations Goat Cheese and Ratatouille Tart and Salmon and Potato Quiche, both served with a Bistro Salad and French wine of course!  Next, we will head to the sweet stuff including Grand Mariner Soufflés that rise to amazing heights, served with an unbeatable White Chocolate Sauce.  We will feel like we are standing at the Maubert Marche in Paris where I first tasted the fabulous Apricot and Pistachio Tart, this treat will thrill you.  We will craft delectable and creamy Orange Crème Brulee.  Next a classic, Eclairs stuffed with Vanilla Pastry Cream and slathered with Chocolate Ganache.  And last but not least the precious Saint Eve from Bayeux, France will delight.  Guests will be provided a box to take their full sized portions of any goodies not consumed in class. Limited seats available! Class Fee $79.00

Register TODAY by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net OR click HERE to go to class registration page!

Most requested~Fontina Mac and Cheese

macncheese8.jpgDon’t you just love make the dishes that people ask for?  My homemade Fontina Mac and Cheese is one of those dishes.

Recently,  I had a long-time student share that my Fontina Mac and Cheese has become a holiday tradition in her home.  Her husband and daughter insist on it for all special meals.  I can’t tell you how much this story both humbles and brings me so much happiness all at the same time.macncheese6.jpg

Such simple ingredients really do make magic when they are combined!macncheese2.jpgJust mix milk products with half of the cheese.macncheese3Sprinkle the rest on top and bake.

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The person in my life that requests this dish is my son, Brandon.  He is a second year college student that has left our nest empty.  It fills me with joy to prepare this dish for him.  My heart swells as I pick up the special ingredients, grate the cheese and slide this glorious dish in to be baked.  But mostly because she says something funny like “oh mamma it’s goooood” when he sees it coming out of the oven! And it is!

I hope you will love this dish as much as we do

XOXO

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Fontina Mac and Cheese 

1 pound cavatappi pasta

1 ½ cups heavy cream

3 cups whole milk

1 tablespoons flour

2 cups grated Fontina cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Butter a 9×13 glass baking dish.  Cook pasta in salted water to just al dente.  Whisk seasoning and flour into cream and milk.  Add half of the cheese to the milk mixture.  Place cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and pour milk mixture over pasta, stir to combine well.  Sprinkle top of dish with remaining cheese.  Bake 25 minutes, if top is getting too brown tent lightly with foil.  Allow dish to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Let’s COOK Together!

I am very excited to be cooking at the Williams Sonoma at NorthPark mall in Dallas this Saturday, April, 7th from 11:00-3:00.  We are celebrating the launch of Giada De Laurentiis’s new book, Giada’s ItalyGiadas_Italy_Final-1503618517-625x790Giada’s Italy offers a fantastic assortment of flavor packed recipes and simply stunning photography. Photo with Giada 2 (2)I will be cooking several recipes from the book as William Sonoma prepares for her store visit the following day. I’ll be cooking live, offering yummy bites, and it is FREE!Lorie-grapefest-12.jpgI would LOVE to cook with you in May!

There are two opportunities both with delectable results. In my French Pastries Workshop, you will learn classic skills like sweet and savory tarts; how to make a soufflé rise to amazing heights and the precious Saint Eve from Bayeux, France.  Or join in the fun for French Macarons, where the best part is taking home the results!

I’ll be back from Paris just in time to teach with loads of new fun findings. Register now by email or call 214 551 9630Tomato basil tartlets

Classic French Pastries Workshop- Friday, May 4th 11:00-2:30 Join me in my gourmet kitchen to prepare my favorite time honored French pastries.  I will share the skills I’ve learned in cooking schools attended all over France in this fascinating look at the French pastries.  We will talk about how gourmet Patisseries prepare their goods and ensure freshness at all times.  Our time together begins French sparkling wine and delicate Crab Gourges, oh my! For our lunch we will prepare 2 savory sensations Goat Cheese and Ratatouille Tart and Salmon and Potato Quiche, both served with a Bistro Salad and French wine of course!  Next, we will head to the sweet stuff including Grand Mariner Soufflés that rise to amazing heights, served with an unbeatable White Chocolate Sauce.  We will feel like we are standing at the Maubert Marche in Paris where I first tasted the fabulous Apricot and Pistachio Tart, this treat will thrill you.  We will craft delectable and creamy Orange Crème Brulee.  Next a classic, Eclairs stuffed with Vanilla Pastry Cream and slathered with Chocolate Ganache.  And last but not least the precious Saint Eve from Bayeux, France will delight.  Guests will be provided a box to take their full sized portions of any goodies not consumed in class. Limited seats available! Class Fee $79.00Classic Macaroons-4.jpg

French Macarons Thursday, May 10th 6:30-9:00 This class will offer a true hands on cooking experience and the best part you take home the results!  Macarons, the quintessential French treat; light, delicate and irresistible! After studding macaron making in Paris, Lorie will lead a hands on class using tried and true Laduree method, but now with time saving shortcuts. We will first toast the macaron 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 Salted Caramel, Raspberry Rose, and Mint Chocolate.  Recipes for additional macaron flavors will be shared. Class size is limited to 10, class fee class fee $62.50

See you soon!

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Pink Champagne

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Is there a more festive sound on earth than a champagne cork popping?

This is my last PINK post for March.  I have been posting all month celebrating women and a special event I am hosting in Paris next year.

A Taste of Paris Goes PINK

The response to my all-female culinary excursion, set for April of 2019 has been amazing, in fact there is only 1 room left for this adventure of a lifetime.  Don’t hesitate; click the link for more information and to register.

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Can you hear the sound of my own bottle of pink bubble popping right now?

I particularly love pink varieties; they tend to be a bit yeastier, with a velvety round finish, than their golden, fruit forward counterparts.

I rarely meet a bottle of pink bubbles that I don’t like but I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you and could not do so without relieving my recent trip to the champagne region with my September 2017 group.

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Here we are in Reims at our first stop, Taittinger. The Taittinger brut rosé, is vigorous and refreshing and you cannot beat this amazing vibrant shade of pink!

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We also visited Billecart-Salmon while in the champagne region.

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This is such an elegant brand and the brut rosé is lovely.

French champagne is expensive.  Visiting the region and many winemakers over the years, definitely gives me an appreciation of  the science and precision that goes into each precious bottle, which of course explains the high price tag.

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 If you don’t want to spend $50.00 or more for one bottle, there are lots of varieties can give you the same effervescence, lovely pink color and no sticker shock!

Le Grand Courtage is one of those brands; it is a product of France and is quite affordable.

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I tend to like sparkling wines that come from the Loire Valley like Deligeroy Cremant de Loire for around $15.00!

When shopping for an affordable bottle of bubbles check the label to see if it is made in France and in the traditional method and you can bet you will not be disappointed!

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You can’t do a post on Champagne without mentioning the world renowned Veuve Clicquot.  Veuve pronounced like LOVE with a ‘V”.  Can you tell I am having the time of my life?

I sincerely hope you are in celebration mode at your house and if you want to purchase a set of champagne flutes check out a few of my favorites below!

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Lenox Champagne Flutes

Villeroy Boch Champagne Flutes

LSA Champagne Flutes