Santa winking

Dear Santa…

Santa winking

Have you been dreaming of a trip to France?

I’ll bet Santa is wondering what to put under the tree for you…

I have some good news, there are still seats OPEN in all 3 A Taste of Paris food and wine excursions to France, but registration is heating up so let Santa know which trip he should stuff in your Christmas stocking!

The arc de Triomphe in Paris

 Have you always dreamed of visiting Paris?  Or maybe you have been many times before, and like me, you can’t get enough.  Either way, this trip dazzles with historic marvels, breathtaking masterpieces and unsurpassed flavors.

Eiffel tower at sunset

Paris, the most recognized city on earth, holds unmatched gastronomic treasures waiting to be experienced. Tree-lined boulevards and the romantic river Seine, winds through the city beckoning travelers from all corners of the globe. Partake in the glory that is Paris.

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

 

grapes on the vine in Burgundy France

Are you a lover of wine?  Join the fun and explore the thriving wine regions of Burgundy and Champagne, France; their rolling hills, medieval villages, the labyrinth of centuries old cellars and slow cooked iconic dishes will trill.

Very old dusty bottles of wine in a wine cellar in Burgundy France.

Champagne and Burgundy: Two of the most prestigious wine regions in the world, are as divine as the wines they produce.  French wines delight the senses and engage the soul.  With stunning estates and fruit laden vines that reach to the heavens.

A Taste of Paris- Wine Lovers- April 22nd-30th, 2021

 

View of Gordes in Provence

Or maybe you have been dreaming of Provence; the colors and light have seduced artists for centuries and it’s no wonder.  The countryside of rolling hills, olive groves, pine forests and lavender fields is peppered with Roman relics and elegant churches giving it a storybook quality.

Cassis France harbor view

Provence – where sparkling seascapes, fiery sunsets, and the striking variety of scenery make visitors feel as though they are stepping into a French Impressionist painting. Sun-soaked flavors and a convivial spirit flourish in this region.

A Taste of Paris- Provence- September 11th-18th, 2021

Let Santa know what you are hoping for and dont delay! Christmas morning you may just find it under the tree!

For more information, contact me at lorie@atasteofparis.net OR call 214 551 9630 

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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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Christmas decoration with houses and cloches

Inspiration for Your Home

Foyer decoration for Christmas

Do you decorate your home for Christmas?

Christmas decoration with houses and cloches

I enjoy having the halls decked for the season so much, but I’ll be honest, there is a sense of dread associated with getting out all of the boxes and tubs and the mess it makes to decorate.  Once the last ornament is hung, the celebration begins with Christmas cookies and hot chocolate or a glass of bubbly!

Christmas decorations

I think the hardest part is getting motivated.

I want to share a few photos from my sweet friend, Vonda Cloutier’s home.  I am always so inspired when I visit her and I thought you might be too.

Christmas wreath

Wreaths are a major element in Vonda’s holiday decorations.

Christmas decorations

She uses wreaths as the foundation for so many of her decorations and they ground the design. Notice how she creates interest by mixing the style of wreaths.

Christmas decorations

Layered wreaths add fullness to this urn and rose bowl arrangement.

Christmas decoration in mason jars

These darling jars are filled with snow and reindeer!

Reindeer in a Mason jar.

Surprises are everywhere!

Lanterns with Christmas decorations

I love how Vonda uses lanterns on the tabletops and fills them with a mixture of ornaments, trees and houses.

Metal lantern with Christmas decorations

This metal lantern is particularity fetching with sparkly lights; it hangs on the wall near the front door.

Living room with Christmas decorations.

When I look at this picture, I notice that the holiday decor is like jewelry and so elegantly done.

I can’t help but associate Vonda with gorgeous sterling silver jewelry.  She had a thriving Silpada jewelry business hosting in home parties for many years. When Silpada changed their structure several years back, Vonda was one of only a few, invited to be a Silpada Brand Ambassador with an online shop, so if you have been searching for this iconic brand, just click this bit.ly/SilpadaInsiderVonda 

Santa and other Christmas decorations

You can also catch up with Vonda in her latest endeavor; she has an adorable shop called Lovely Jane at the Antique Company Mall in historic downtown McKinney!

Silverplate chalk board with the word Joy

It brings me so much JOY to introduce you all to my talented friends!!

Happy decorating!

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Dinner Boards

 

Lorie holding antique board from Turkey.

I am into wooden boards!

Of all shapes and sizes!  These are a few of my favorites.  The board I am holding is an antique Turkish bread board, and it’s old!  You can see that the wood split and copper was hammered in place to hold it together and restore it for good use.  Below that is a striped board that Mark and Brandon made me many years ago that is a treasure and staple in my kitchen.  And just beneath that, is a prized large olive wood board that I hauled back from Provence and trust me, it barely fit in  my suitcase!

Artichoke and red Pepper Quiche on a wooden board.

I NEVER cut on these boards!

Instead, I like to use them for serving.  Here I am using it as a trivet for a hot dish of Artichoke and Red Pepper Quiche.

Chicken Cesar Salad on a wooden board.

What about the idea of serving an entire meal on the board?  This is my olive wood board, piled high with a fresh crispy Chicken Caesar Salad, ready to be served right from the board.

Sausage, beans and slaw on a wooden board.

Talk about a quick dinner, Sausage warmed along with Baked Beans and Confetti Slaw.

Who’s hungry?

If you are board with dinner, try using your wooden boards to serve!

Tune into Fox 4 for a segment featuring ME and more Dinner Boards on Tuesday, October 14th!!

Chicken Caesar Salad on a Board

Dressing

1 cup mayo

3 cloves of garlic

1-ounce anchovy paste

¼ cup milk or half and half

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Salad

2 grilled chicken breasts cut into chunks

2 heads Romaine lettuce

½ cup of halved tomatoes

Parmesan cheese shards

Toasts

½ small French bread loaf sliced paper thin

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic crushed

To prepare the toasts, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.  Dot both sides of the bread with a small amount of the oil mixture using a pastry brush.  Spread the bread on a baking pan.  Bake toast until golden brown about 4 minutes, turn toasts and cook another 3-4 minutes to brown the other side. Meanwhile, prepare dressing by adding all ingredients in food processor or blender, process to combine well.  Add additional milk if a thinner dressing is desired.  To prepare the salad cut root of each lettuce head off and let water run through to clean the leaves.  Keeping the bundles intact slice heads into thin strips and place the lettuce in the center of the serving board.  Add chicken, tomatoes and toasts and toss along with a generous amount of dressing.  Top with Parmesan shards and serve.

Confetti Slaw.

Confetti Veggie Slaw

2 carrots shredded

1 green bell pepper cut in a julienne

1 red bell pepper cut in a julienne

2 cups of shredded purple cabbage

2 green onions finely diced

Dressing

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

To prepare dressing, whisk together ingredients in a small bowl.  Assemble slaw in serving bowl by layering ingredients.  Add dressing, toss to coat.  Let salad stand for a few minutes before serving.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

2 16-ounce cans of baked beans any brand

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup yellow mustard

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch salt

Mix all ingredients in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes or until center is bubbling.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Homemade peaches and cream ice cream.

Peaches and Cream!

Homemade peaches and cream ice cream.

I thought this cool creamy recipe was worth a second look!

I created Peaches and Cream Ice Cream for Lauren at The Art of Living Beautifully for her July blog post.  Subscribe there so you never miss a post!

As the summer heat drags on, a batch of freshly churned ice cream can really perk up a crowd.  This simple recipe with honest ingredients is a true winner.  Try it today, you will be so glad you did!

Peach ice cream 1

Peaches and Cream Ice Cream

3 cups fresh peach chunks

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

Pinch salt

Pinch cinnamon

In a small sauce pan heat milk, cream, and sugar over low heat stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved.  Remove pan from heat and pour milk mixture into a glass bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and cover the bowl before placing it in the refrigerator overnight.  Pour the cold milk mixture into electric churn and follow the instructions, most ice cream makers will churn for 20-40 minutes.  Remove the ice cream from the churn and place it in a covered glass or plastic container.  Place the container in the freezer to harden completely for at least 4 hours.

Note- This recipe is for a 2-quart electric ice cream churn and can easily be doubled for a larger churn.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Stone Fruit Chutney Over Brie-Oh My

Stone Fruit Chutney Over Brie

Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that taste the sweetest.  Stone Fruit Chutney Over Brie is definitely in this category. So simple to make and it really wakes up your taste buds.

Stone fruit chutney over brie on a grazing board.

Stone fruit is only in season a short time so grab bushels of cherries and nectarines NOW and what you can’t eat; make into chutney.  You will be glad you did!

Stone Fruit Chutney over Brie

1 wedge Brie

2 small nectarines peeled and chopped

1 cup fresh cherries pitted and sliced in half

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Pinch of lemon zest

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

In a small chef’s pan combine, fruit, sugar, lemon juice and zest and salt.  Cook over medium heat until mixture is bubbling, turn the heat down and simmer until the fruit is broken down and the juice is a thick syrup.  Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour hot mixture over the Brie and serve with French bread or for dessert, ginger snaps.

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)