Handcrafted Cheeseboard

Cheese and other foods on a wooden board.

Handcrafted cheeseboards that make people swoon are easier to make than you think!  After a long hard week, Mark and I often opt to stay in on a Friday night and enjoy a “picnic” cheeseboard made in a matter of minutes, and YOU can too!

3 types of cheese on a wooden board.

Start with a beautiful wooden board and 3 cheese varieties.  I like to choose something soft like Brie, a semi-soft cheese like Gouda and a hard cheese like Comté. Or in this case a stronger cheese like Blue.

Hancrafted Cheese board 6-R

I always add some type of meat to the board. If you get something sliced thin, like this salami, you can pinch the center of each slice to create this pretty ruffled effect.

Hancrafted Cheese board 7-R

Next, add fruit, apples are my favorite. I like a firm, tart apple varietal like Honey-crisp to pair with rich cheeses.  Dried fruits are always nice too, they are sweet and chewy giving you another texture to enjoy.  Sprinkle on a few nuts, some Provencal olives and maybe even a few cornichons.  Last but not least a good loaf of French bread.

Hancrafted Cheese board 3-R

That’s all there is to a gorgeous display of food.  Add a bottle of wine and you are ready for an epic Friday night!

I hope you will join me for an upcoming cooking class, we have so much fun!! Register for classes TODAY by email to Lorie@atasteofparis.net

April 25th 6:30-8:30 Let’s Make Dinner  A new offering at the cooking school; come and make and enjoy a 4-course meal.  The fun begins with a CoCo-Light Martini as we will dive into our menu. We will prepare and enjoy a Texas tradition Jalapeno Poppers MORE

May 3rd 10:30-1:00 Make and Take Dinner for Two A new offering in the cooking school!  Come and take a cooking class and take home a 4-course dinner for two.  Share it with your spouse or a friend!  This class promises to be lively and full of fun!On the Menu:Appetizer- Blue Cheese Pecan Crusted Grapes is a flavor explosion MORE

June 21st 10:30-1:00 Make and Take Dinner for Two A new offering in the cooking school!  Come and take a cooking class and take home a 4-course dinner for two.  Share it with your spouse or a friend!  This class promises to be lively and full of fun!On the Menu:Appetizer- We will master the art of precious Chinese Dumplings in Pork MORE

Handcrafted Cheeseboard Shopping LIST:

3 wedges of cheese

Thinly sliced salami

Assorted fresh fruits

Dried fruit

Nuts

Olives

Cornichon

French bread

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Suitcase packed for a trip.

5 Steps to Make Packing a Breeze!

Suitcase packed for a trip.

I will be traveling with my 2019 group to Paris very soon.  Before we go, I always send my list of “Paris Essentials” to my travels.  As I was checking and refining the list, I started thinking about packing.

When I head to France, I am often gone over 3 weeks at a time.  I always get lots of questions about packing so I thought I would share my no-fail steps to make packing a breeze. Whether you are going for a weekend or a month it works!

STEP 1- Make a list of clothing essentials, see mine below, from this list you will plan all of your outfits.

STEP 2- Decide how many days of clothes you will need and lay them out in outfits.  To save space, only take bottoms that can be worn more than 1 time.t for a great trip.  

STEP 3-Accessorize each outfit with everything you will need including socks, underwear, scarves and inexpensive jewelry. Using a cell phone take a photo of each outfit, this will help you remember how you planned to wear them. 

STEP 4- Fold everything into square stacks by outfit.  Bottoms on the bottom of the stack, tops on top and dresses folded into thirds.  I like to make a separate stack for accessories.

STEP 5- Place shoes in the bottom of your bag.  Next, place 4 stacks of clothing into your bag, one in each corner and voila, you are set for a great trip!, scarves and inexpensive jewelry.  Using you

My Outfit Essentials are:

3-4 pairs of dark jeans that don’t stretch out

1-2 pairs of black pants

one pair of soft black pants that can be dressed up

1-2 Dressy blouse

1 pair weight heels for a night out

2-3 pairs of comfortable shoes

Blazer to dress up an outfit

Soft shirts and blouses

Light and mid-weight sweaters for layering

Lightweight jacket

 

Bon Voyage!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basil from the Market

Lorie harvesting basil from her garden.

Sweet Basil is my favorite herb.  The vibrant color and fragrant flavors of pepper, anise and mint make a delightful addition to many of my recipes. I grow plenty of this prolific herb in my garden every year to support my habit and my cooking classes.

Fresh basil, glass of water, scissors and a zip top bag on the counter.

During the winter months I crave that fresh from the garden flavor so I pick up organic containers of basil at the market. To prolong its life, you will need a few household items; a glass or vase filled with water, a pair of scissors and a zip-top bag.

Stem of basil being trimmed

Snip the tip of each basil sprig at an angle with a pair of sharp scissors and put each stem in the glass filled with water.

Zip top bag being placed over the basil.

Next, split the bottom of the zip-top bag on both sides about 2-3 inches and place it over the basil. This will create a greenhouse effect.

Basil green house.

Leave your basil greenhouse on the counter-top where it will receive plenty of bright light.  Change the water daily and you will be surprised at how long basil will keep!

Basil pesto used for Panini is my favorite Basil; recipe, what’s yours?

 

Basil Pesto

1½ 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.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Single chocolate brownie on a parchment square.

Homemade Brownies!

Glass 9x13 baking dish with brownies, 1 removed.

I know I have published my homemade brownies before but this decadent chocolaty recipe deserves another look!

I made these last week for my Make and Take Cooking Class; a new type of class where participants come and cook and then take the delicious results home to share with someone they love!

Single chocolate brownie on a parchment square.

Instead of just cutting the brownies and putting them on a serving platter, I wrapped each one in parchment paper and tied them with this cute red and white string.

Brownies, wrapped in paper and tied with string.

Such a darling way to offer a sweet treat, don’t you think?

Join ME for the fun at an upcoming cooking class!  New classes have been added to the roster!  Register today by Clicking HERE or email lorie@atasteofparis.net

AND for information regarding upcoming trips to France email me at Lorie@atasteofparis.net!

Thursday and Friday March 21-22nd 10:30-2:00 Food and Wine Workshop- 2 SEATS OPEN! Join me for an extraordinary 2- day culinary event and immerse yourself in good food and wine!  We will explore wine styles and pairings as we work side by side to prepare truly mouthwatering dishes. We will dine together as we taste wine varietals and enjoy the recipes. Dinner tastes can be enjoyed here or taken home.  This course promises to improve overall kitchen skills that last a lifetime.  Hope you will join the fun! Class size is limited.  Class Fee $192.50 Day 1 Champagne and Crement and Appetizers. We will begin our time together with a mini champagne workshop.  The mystery of this amazing beverage will be revealed as we enjoy it with our appetizers of Tomato Basil and Gruyere Gourges, Crab Stuffed Mushroom Caps and an artistic American Style Cheese Board, packed to the brim with cheese, meat and goodness. Sancerre and Chardonnay and Lunch We will prepare and enjoy a crispy Goat Cheese Grapefruit and Avocado Salad and Seafood Crepes as we enjoy these beautiful white wines. Rose and Dinner We will prepare a lovely Chicken and Artichoke Tart perfect for dinner when served with a green salad.  For a sweet finish we will make Pears in Chocolate Ganache and tiny Chocolate Madeleines.  Day 2 Beaujolais and Grenache and Breakfast We will prepare a breakfast soufflé, Bacon and Cheddar to be eaten alongside Fruit and Almond Butter Tartine. Red Blends and Lunch As we taste our wines we will enjoy freshly made Creamy Cauliflower Soup and an inventive Crispy Vegetable Salad. Bordeaux and Cabernet and Dinner We will learn the origin of the iconic dish Beef Tournedos served with Blue Cheese and Walnut Butter over dreamy Mashed Potatoes.  To finish our days together we will celebrate round an exquisite Double Chocolate Tart topped with Raspberries. 

April 25th 6:30-8:30 Let’s Make Dinner A new offering at the cooking school; come and make and enjoy a 4-course meal.  The fun begins with a CoCo-Light Martini as we will dive into our menu.  We will prepare and enjoy a Texas tradition Jalapeno Poppers a true crowd pleaser.  We will sit for our 2-4th courses and wine will be served.  The second course will be Strawberry Salad served with Sweet and Spicy Pecans a perfect starter.  Our main course will be decadent Coriander Cured Beef Tenderloin served on a bed of Sweet Bourbon Smashed Potatoes and finished with Roasted Corn Salsa.  Yippee! For a delectable sweet finish, we will prepare Pistachio Coconut Pot de Crème. What a great way to spend the evening!  We will cook together to prepare our feast then sit and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  Class size is limited and promises to be an amazing evening! Class fee 62.50

May 3rd 10:30-1:00  Make and Take Dinner for Two A new offering in the cooking school!  Come and take a cooking class and take home a 4-course dinner for two.  Share it with your spouse or a friend!  This class promises to be lively and full of fun! On the Menu: Appetizer- Blue Cheese Pecan Crusted Grapes is a flavor explosion Starter- Stunning Birds Nest Salad and Herbed Brioche Rolls Main- Sweet Spiced Bourbon Pork Loin served with Darling Pommes William (ours are baked not fried) and abundant Balsamic Veg Roast Dessert-Petite Chocolate Loaf Cakes slathered in Amara Cherry Creme Sauce Tomato Soup and tea will be served.  Class size is limited.  Class Fee $64.50

June 21st 10:30-1:00  Make and Take Dinner for Two A new offering in the cooking school!  Come and take a cooking class and take home a 4-course dinner for two.  Share it with your spouse or a friend!  This class promises to be lively and full of fun! On the Menu: Appetizer- We will master the art of precious Chinese Dumplings in both Pork and Vegetarian varieties and dipping sauce. Starter- Thai Lettuce Wraps with chicken Main- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry with Pineapple Fried Rice Dessert-Precious Pound Cakes with Sweet Citrus Compote Spinach Salad and French Bread will be served with iced tea.  Class Fee $64.50

Homemade Brownies

¾ cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup flour

¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

3 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Add cocoa powder to melted butter and mix well.  Stir in sugar and then eggs.  Add flour salt and vanilla and mix to combine.  Add chocolate chips and nuts and spread batter into dish.  Bake for 24-28 minutes until edges are beginning to brown.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

 

Bright red tulips in a green vase setting next to a stone cherub.

Are you ready for spring?

 

Bright red tulips in a green vase setting next to a stone cherub.

I don’t know about you, but winter has seemed extra-long. In my town we have had many cold, rainy and I will say it, gloomy days.

Much to my surprise, a sweet friend brought me a lovely bunch of tulips on Friday evening and it was a welcome sign that spring is on the way! I simply adore having fresh cut blooms in the house, it is such a decadent luxury.

Red tulips laying on a counter

When you start to see tulips and daffodils in the markets and florist you know warmer weather is just around the bend.

The stems of tulips being trimmed.

Tulips are probably the easiest flower to manage into a gorgeous arrangement.  I thought I would show you what I did. First, trim each stem with very sharp scissors and cut them at an angle.  This lets the stems take on more water.

Tulips laying on a counter with a hand removing excess foliage.

Next, remove any loose foliage towards the bottom of the stems.  This helps to keep the water clean and pure for the blooms.

A bunch of tulips being put in a green vase.

To arrange, simply gather the bunch of stems and place it into a vase or even a mason jar filled with water.

A bunch of red tulips in a glass vase.

I am always amused at how the stems seem to turn towards the sun, just like me!!

Are you as ready for spring as I am?  What are you looking forward to most? I hope you will share your thoughts so we can all get ready for spring together!au revoir for now lorie (002)

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French Pastries at the Arboretum

Lorie Fangio, teaching chef and owner of A Taste of Paris™ culinary trips will introduce you to the wonderful world of French pastries.  We will start our time together with Sundried Tomato and Basil Pailmers, a yummy appetizer or snack.  We will prepare  Salmon Artichoke Tart served bistro style with salad greens and then onto the sweet stuff.  Two classic French recipes will be taught while making  Raspberry Eclairs stuffed with Pastry Cream.  Next up, dense, versatile and delectable Chocolate Moelleux is a fantastic recipe to have up your sleeve.   Precious Lemon Tarts with Sable crust make the perfect finish to any meal and Amaretto Vanilla Bean Madeleines are lovely with afternoon coffee or tea.   Oui, sil vous plait!

Tickets sold only through the arboretum CLICK HERE for tickets

Tune into FOX Tomorrow for Valentine Date Night

Lorie Fangio with the KDFW Fox crew

Tune into Fox 4 KDFW, tomorrow, Wednesday, February 13th about 9:40 to see ME cooking LIVE with the morning crew!

I’ll show you how to host a Romantic Date Night, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Instead of fighting crowds this year, opt to stay in with this mouthwatering menu.  Pan seared Pork Chops with Apple Cranberry Pan Sauce served over Creamy Mashed Potatoes is decadent and satisfying and the best part, it won’t take you all day to prepare!

For a sweet ending try one of my favorite go-to recipes French Chocolate Bark.

porkchops with apple cran sauce

Pork Chops with Apple Cranberry Pan Sauce

2 boneless pork chops, 6 ounces each

1-2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

½ large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon onion, grated

1 small garlic clove, pressed

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons dry white wine

¼ cup chicken stock

pinch cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sage

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a chef’s pan set over medium/low heat.  Salt and pepper pork chops liberally.  Dredge chops in flour and place into the hot pan.  Sear for 3-4 minutes until pork is getting brown.  Flip and sear the second side. Remove the chops from the pan and place them in a glass baking dish and into the oven to finish cooking, about 18 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.   To prepare the sauce deglaze the pan with the white wine.  Add remaining ingredients and cook until mixture is thick and apples are breaking down a bit.  Remove from heat and serve over the pork shops.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold’s, peeled and diced

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender.  Drain water, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.  Place potatoes in a bowl an electric mixer and mix with cream and butter until perfectly smooth.  If potatoes are still too stiff, add a bit of the cooking water until desired consistency is reached.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Silver dish of French Chocolate Bark topped with dried apricots, pistachios and dried cherries.
This version of French Chocolate Bark is topped with dried apricots, pistachios and dried cherries.

French Chocolate Bark

1 12-ounce package of 60% cocoa chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli’s

½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

½ cup coconut

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.  Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals stirring well in between each time.  Spread melted chocolate on parchment paper creating a thin sheet of chocolate. Sprinkle with fruit and nuts and slightly press into chocolate.  Chill the candy in the refrigerator until set and break into pieces. Keep bark refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

TASTE THE FOOD. TASTE THE WINE.

TASTE THE CULTURE.cropped-ATOP-Branding-Board-2-FINAL-02-1.png

A Taste of Paris 2020

Culinary adventure of a lifetime!

More Details…CLICK HERE

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

My Favorite Valentine Treats!

french chocolates

Valentine’s Day means plenty of chocolate everywhere!

Red Velvet Brownies with cream cheese frosting in a glass baking dish.

I am sure you saw my recipe for decadent Red Velvet Brownies last week.

Chocolate lava cake. JPG

How about Chocolate Lava Cake, a quintessential favorite and oh so easy to prepare as long as you know the secret…bake the cakes cold from the refrigerator!

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And of course Chocolate Truffles like the ones at Maison du Chocolat in Paris are unbeatable and surprising simple to make!

I hope you will be inspired to make a chocolate treat for someone you LOVE today!

Consider joining me in the kitchen for upcoming Cooking Classes, where Fun is Always on the Menu! Seats are limited, register TODAY! 

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Decadent Red Velvet Brownies

Red Velvet Brownies with cream cheese frosting in a glass baking dish.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!  Will you be making a sweet treat for someone you love?  Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting may be the most decadent treat on earth!

Ingredients to make Red Velvet Brownies spread out on a counter top.

This is such a great recipe because it begins with 2 boxed mixes so there is very little measuring required!

Baked Red Velvet Brownies, in a glass dish inside the oven, oven door opened.

Just mix by hand and pop them in the oven.

Baked Red Velvet Brownies with bowl of prepared Cream Cheese Frosting

Let the brownies cool completely before slathering with rich cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Brownies with cream cheese frosting in a glass baking dish.

I like to sprinkle the tops of my Red Velvet Brownies with a tiny bit of unsweetened coco, to hint that there is chocolate here!   Make a batch today, your Lovies will be so happy!

Red Velvet Brownies

Batter

1 package family size dark chocolate brownie mix

1 package yellow cake mix

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

¾ cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

1-ounce red food coloring, I used Wilton

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl mix all wet ingredients including red coloring until well blended.  Place both brownie and cake mix in a large bowl and whisk until mixed well, add chocolate chips.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until no lumps remain.  Spread batter into a greased 8×11 glass baking dish.  Bake for 50-58 minutes until edges are beginning to brown.  Let brownies cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

1 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature

2 tablespoons butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

Using a hand mixer combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla and mix well.  Add sugar slowly until all is combined.  Frost cooled brownies.

I hope to see YOU in an upcoming Cooking Class!  I have new titles just added TODAY!

There are still a few seats remaining for the extraordinary 2-day culinary event; Food and Wine Workshop on March 21-22nd.

I hope you will join me!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Bowl of Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Crackers

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

Bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup 2

Nothing warms the body and soul like a bowl of homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.  With a cold snap upon us, make a pot today, you will be so glad you did!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

2 chicken breasts baked and cubed

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3 ribs of celery, finely chopped

2 cups carrots, chopped

1 clove garlic minced

1 bay leaf

6 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1 12-ounce package egg noodles

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in large soup pan set over medium heat.  Cook onions, celery and carrots in butter for about 8 minutes until onions are clear.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add spices and stock and bring to a boil.  Add noodles and cook for about 7 minutes.  Add chicken into the pot and continue cooking until noodles are tender.

grand-marnier-souffles-6e9184.jpg

Join me for Let’s Make Dinner Thursday, March 7th 6:30-8:30- A new kind of cooking class.   The fun begins with a Cran-Pineapple Vodka Spritzer as we will dive into our menu.  We will prepare simple French Loaves to be served with Salmon Rillettes, packed with fresh goodness and Herbed Goat Cheese Spread.  We will sit for our 2-4th courses and wine will be served.  The second course will be Vegetable Lentil Soup, so tasty it could stand on its own.  Ripe peppers, onions and paprika are key ingredients to the mouthwatering Chicken a la Basquaise served alongside Potato Leek and Gruyere Tart, oh my.  For a delectable sweet finish, we will prepare Grand Mariner Souffle served with a White Chocolate Sauce. What a great way to spend the evening!  We will prepare our 4 course feast then sit together to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  Class size is limited and promises to be an amazing evening! Class fee 59.50.  To Register CLICK HERE or email lorie@atasteofparis.net 

au revoir for now lorie (002)