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

Soups Stews and Breads at the Arboretum

Lorie Fangio, teaching chef and owner of A Taste of Paris™ culinary trips will lead you through a class on comforting soups stews and breads.  When it’s cold outside, nothing warms your soul quite like fresh bread and soup. The tasty goodness will begin with French Loaves guaranteed to make your house smell amazing. Our first soup is the chef’s favorite, Shrimp and Roasted Poblano Pepper Soup. We will prepare a simplified Boeuf Bourguignon, this easier version does not sacrifice flavor. Sure to become a fam fav is Southwest Chicken Soup perfect served with Jalapeno Cornbread.  For a sweet finish rustic Apple Crostata will hit the spot!

Price and ticketing through A Tasteful Place Dallas Arboretum.  CLICK HERE for tickets.

 

 

Hand Poured Candles from France at Sharla’s!

 

 

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I love it when something really special comes to our sweet town of McKinney.  We can always count on Sharla Bush of Sharla’s Boutique to do just that and to be very generous, hint; stay tuned there might be a giveaway!

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Sharla and I share of love of France and the fabulous luxuries that are produced there. At Sharla’s, you can find many treasures from around the world but today I want to tell you about one that was over 2 years in the making.

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Several years ago, Sharla was encouraged to create her own line of candles.  After a series of serendipitous events, she was led to Paris and the oldest manufacturer of scented candles.  Rigaud in Paris produces customized scents for customers all over the world including the very best French designers.

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At this magnificent place, Sharla began the journey to create a line of exquisite candles reflecting her interpretation of how to live beautifully.

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The candles are hand poured using the finest oils into a mirrored glass container.  The containers have an etched front door and window allowing the light to shine through when the candle burns.

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Each candle is outfitted in a darling “house” box.  The boxes and fragrances are numbered 1-5; each number represents a different fragrance.

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  Sharla wanted to give the candles numbers instead of names.  “I want my clients to interpret each fragrance,” she said, “scents evoke memories and I want choosing one to be an individual experience for each guest.”

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This a silver tray full of Sharla’s candles, a gift I recently gave to my party guests.  I attached and antique key from a flea market find in Paris.

Sharla’s scent, is number 1, she describes it as encompassing her life and the olfactory senses from her past.  My favorite of the collection is number 5, what will yours be?  Please tell me!!

GIVEAWAY

I am very excited to tell you that Sharla has graciously given me 2 of her signature candles in scent number 1 for an instagram giveaway.  Head over to @atasteofparis for all of the details and I hope YOU win!

To double your odds, write your friends name in the comment section of this post, share the post and if they subscribe to A Taste of Paris, you will both be entered TWICE!

GOOD LUCK!
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Pumpkin Madeleines

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The most requested flavor of fall is without a doubt pumpkin.  I thought I would get into the act by creating a recipe for my favorite little cakes, so I present, Pumpkin Madeleines! Packed full of crave-able pumpkin and fall spices, these moist little cakes will not disappoint.  Grab a few Madeleine pans and make these for your family, they will be so glad you did!

The truth is I am not sure if I like my new leopard booties or Pumpkin Madeleines better, it’s a toss-up.  If you need a pair to spice up your wardrobe, click the link below!

ENJOY!!

Pumpkin Madeleines

¾ cup butter

3 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 ¾ cup powdered sugar

1¾ cup flour

2 teaspoon vanilla

¾ teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

1 ½ cups pecans, finely chopped

More butter and flour for preparing pans

Preheat oven to 375 degree.  Grease Madeleine pan generously with butter and dust with flour.  Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer.  Add pumpkin, vanilla and eggs one at a time.  Mix all spices and salt with flour in a bowl and slowly add it to the butter mixture until it is all incorporated.  Stir in nuts by hand. Place the batter into a pastry bag.  Pipe Madeleine tins most of the way full with batter.  Bake for about 16 minutes until edges are beginning to brown.  Flip pan to release cakes and prepare pan again for baking the last batch.  Cover tightly as soon as cakes cool and freeze any portion that will not be eaten the same day.

 

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Autumn in Provence~Olives

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For my last look at autumn in Provence I want to share picture of gorgeous colorful olives in the markets.

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Workers scoop large spoonfuls of olives into bags to be enjoyed by their customers.

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I am not an olive eater per say, but the olives in France taste amazing and once I start, stopping is difficult!! The olives are not pitted, making eating them a bit inconvenient but the flavor and meatiness is well worth the effort!

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There is much variety in the brining liquid and herbs used to finish the olives, a flavor for everyone.

Olive tapenade and bread is often served on the tables of  Provencal restaurants when you sit down, think salsa at a mexican restaurants. Below you will find my Green Olive Tapenade recipe, enjoy!

Green Olive Tapenade

1 ½ cups Spanish olives, pitted and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tablespoon capers

1 teaspoon each lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons or more olive oil

½ teaspoon herbs de Provence

Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture is chunky.  Serve with French bread.

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Autumn in Provence~The Land of Lavender

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Beautiful lavender fields abound in Provence.

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By the time we arrived in September, the lavender had already been harvested for the year.  Lavender is a fragrant bushy shrub that reaches the peak of its growing cycle in late summer. This is a small lavender field depicts the recent harvest.

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Lavender is prized for its essential oils that have many medicinal properties.  It is said to have a tranquilizing effect making sleep easier as well as an antiseptic used for insect bites and treating wounds.

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Visiting the distillery was interesting.  Steam is used to extract the prized essential oils from the blooms and stems of the plant.

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Once extracted the oils are kept in plastic vats and shipped all over the world.

Lavender can be used in our food too, like in my recently published Goat Cheese Truffles or the Lavender Vanilla Scones that are sure to please!

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Lavender Vanilla Scones

3 cups flour

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ sticks cold butter, cubed

1 cup chilled buttermilk

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

1 teaspoon edible lavender plus more for garnish

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients in food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles small peas.  Mix extracts and vanilla seeds and lavender into the buttermilk.   Pour buttermilk into food processor and pulse until dough is formed.  Gather the dough into a ball and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead it gently not more than a dozen times.  Cut the dough in half.   Roll ½ of the dough into a circle ½ inch thick. Slice the circle like a pizza creating triangles.  Repeat with second half of dough.  Place triangles on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly brown around edges.  Frost scones with glaze and garnish with lavender sprinkle if desired.

Vanilla Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon vanilla

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

Pinch of salt

Cream

Add all ingredients in a bowl except cream; add cream slowly until desired consistency is formed.  Drizzle tops of baked scones with glaze.

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Autumn in Provence- Through an Open Door

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. Joseph Campbell

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I adore this image from my most recent autumnal visit to Provence. It draws you in, wondering what could be on the other side of that passageway.

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It’s Friday and I am contemplating the doors that have both opened and closed in my life while sifting through photos and I am grateful for both.

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I am always curious about what is on the other side of colorful doors like this with grand adornments.

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When a door closes it can be very sad.  It’s like we are being pushed forward even though we might not feel ready; it’s times like these that faith and hope get us through.

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And just like that a window opens and things are better than you could have ever imagined.  I think this little kitty agrees!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, hug someone you love today!

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Autumn in Provence~A Trip to the Market

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Provencal markets are truly a magical place for food lovers.

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Gorgeous seasonal vegetables were relying only on their vivid color to entice buyers.

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Stunning eggplants begging to come home and become something wonderful on your plate!

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I adore the vegetables artfully displayed in sturdy baskets.

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Freshly picked thyme and bay leaves perched in this precious, red riding hood basket.

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The markets of Provence have much more to offer foodies besides just produce.

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Freshly made sausage is always a good bet to go along with a cheese and wine picnic perhaps?

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Nuts and dried fruits as far as the eye can see.

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And prepared foods like roasted chicken or this enormous copper pan loaded to the brim with Paella, just look at the size of those shrimp!

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Markets are bursting with jams, tapenades and spreads along with clothing, table linens, soaps and lavender. All in all a truly lovely way to spend a few hours and we did!

Travel with me next autumn! Two seats are available for

A Taste of Provence September 7-14th 2019

Reach out today for more information!

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Autumn in Provence~Sunflowers and Van Gogh

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I was at Trader Joes this morning gathering supplies for my classes this week, French Foods of the Normandy Coast and 4 Course French Menu at the Arboretum on Saturday and I noticed the gorgeous sunflowers for sale.

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They reminded me of the lovely sunflowers I enjoyed while touring my A Taste of Provence group in September. Sunflowers are such a happy flower!

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So big and bold, they almost don’t look real.

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The Provencal sunflowers surely inspired Vincent Van Gogh to paint this vase chalked full.  This particular painting was done while he lived in Arles, not far from our base in Saint Remy.

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One of the most interesting places we visited this year was the Van Gogh Clinic.  Van Gogh checked himself in and spent the last year of his life here in Saint Remy.

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He was very prolific and painted some of his most well-known pieces here, including Starry Night and Irises.  This is a look at the beautiful interior garden that inspired Van Gogh and many other residents.

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This is such a beautiful view of the outdoor garden at the clinic, also a source of inspiration to the artists here.

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I thought this was such an interesting arrangement I came across while traveling in the area. The sunflowers standing so tall and proud!

Have a happy day!

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Autumn in Provence- A Visit to the Fig Farm

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September in Provence is glorious.  I recently heard someone say that autumn in Provence is what springtime is to Paris and I wholeheartedly agree.  The crowds are gone but the temperate beauty remains.  I will be sharing some of my favorite moments from travel with my 2018 group in the coming weeks.  I hope you will stay tuned and enjoy!

Welcome to the fig farm.

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Meet Frances who is a passionate fig farmer.

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He welcomed us with open arms to his farm.  Not only does Frances grow many varieties of figs here, his wife creates flavor-packed jams and condiments on sale in their tasting room. Frances is truly happy when visitors have tasted every last one of her concoction!

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Look at this beauty, so ripe it’s falling off the tree. Locals pull up and buy fresh figs by the flat.

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Frances was eager for us to taste his figs. So many figs!

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Frances is definitely a fig expert.  Both of his children live in the United States; he confessed that when he flies over the pond for a visit, figs are always on his mind.  He enjoys visiting fig farms all over the US, learning about new varieties and adding them to his orchard collection.

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There is nothing technical about drying figs, just lay them out on a rack and let the sun do the work.

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The farm was a quaint location to enjoy a picnic of market goodies curated from the Saint Remy morning market.

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Definitely a great way to spend a few hours!

Travel with me in 2019, for all the details, CLICK HERE!

Feel like a fun night out?  Join me Tonight!  Thursday at Toulouse for a Provencal Happy Hour

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