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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A Garden that Lures you IN

 

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My mother and I attended the McKinney Garden Club tour this weekend.  It’s become a tradition for us to traipse through historical homes and yards and then cool off at a local restaurant for lunch.

I enjoy seeing all kinds of gardens and relish in the details that make each one unique.

When in France, I make it a point to spend some time in the little green patches all over the cities;  small community plots begging you to come in and sit for a while.

This year I was particularly inspired by s set of metal envelopes filled with bright blooms hanging from a wooden fence.

Both gates that lead to my backyard have an archway covered by pink climbing roses.  The ideal location for a set of metal planters, don’t you think?

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When I got home I found these extra tall metal bins with wooden handles at a local craft store and I was on my way!

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The first step was to drill a few holes in the bottom of each bin so water can drain through.  As my mother always says, “Plants don’t like their feet (roots) to stay wet!”

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Stones in the bottom of each bin will also help with drainage.

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I filled the bins with potting soil.

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Next, it was time to plant!

I recommend choosing a variety of flowering plants to create some interest.  I like to use one plant that spills over the edge and something that will spike up on top.  Since the metal bins are relatively small it’s important to use plants that really like to show off their blooms all season.

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It was finally time for the best part, hanging the pretty pair of planters.

Every time I look at them, I am transported to that sweet garden in Paris that lured me in!

Join me for a cooking class in JUNE or in Paris next April!

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Trend Seeker

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Did you know, my first career was in the apparel industry? Ultimately, I directed the design of the private label textiles for a 500 million dollar company.  Part of my job was to follow fashion trends.  That was many years ago but when I am not in the kitchen; I still love to seek out the latest craze.

The best place on earth to do this is Paris!  After I wrapped with my A Taste of Paris group this year, I found myself with 4 days in the city.

I had a great time wandering around, window shopping in between meetings. It did not take a rocket scientist to see that WHITE for feet is IN like Flynn!

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On every single block, store fronts were packed with white footwear.

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From oxfords to mules, slides and amped up athletics

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I adore these white boots with the western detailing.  Wishing I’d brought these babies back to TEXAS!

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And I’ll have to admit that I am still dreaming about this pair of leather brogues with the crazy pearl bars.

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Can you guess what was in order when I got home??? A little shopping!

I found these adorable patent leather mules by Bass, the expert on loafers and wow what a steal at less than $60.00! Shop NOW

These Michael Kors leather sandals are light and breezy for summer. The flower motif with gold toned studs makes them irresistible. Shop NOW

Are you in the mood for something a little funkier?  How about these Gentle Souls with a flower and bead crusted vamp! Shop NOW

And if you don’t have to ask

“how much?” This pair of Gucci’s

With bee and star golden

embroidery is ideal to take

you right through fall.

That’s right!  White shoes

after labor day!! Shop NOW

 

White shoes are clearly no longer just for nurses and the gym!

Join me in Paris for a little trend watching and a lot of cooking and tasting.

A Taste of Paris-March 31-April 7th.

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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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HERBS-Lunch and Learn Take your own Herb Garden!

Join me for this amazing class on Herbs!  We will have a fantastic time cooking recipes that are herb rich AND you will leave with your very own potted herb garden!! First Up, homemade Chimichurri topped hummus is so fresh and flavor full served with soft rich naan bread.  We will prepare a fantastic Greek Chopped Salad loaded with fresh ingredients form the earth and topped with an Herb Vinaigrette of course!.  We will prepare a Spatchcock Roasted Chicken that will melt in your mouth like butter but wait, when basted slow with Gremolata…oh my!  The chicken will be served with Chive Mashed potatoes and Roasted Rainbow Carrots.  Oh and we will make our own Herbed Butter for Brioche Rolls.  We cant do herbs without an Italian favorite, Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes.  For a sweet finish we will make Coconut, Lime Basil Panna Cotta!  A YUMMY GOOD TIME WILL BE HAD BY ALL!  With Herb Garden $66.50 without herb garden $56.00.

 

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.

 

Laduree, One of my favorite Parisian Addresses

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Laduree is the home of the modern day French Macaron selling more than 15,000 of the little cookies every single day! Can you imagine the ovens needed to produce that quantity of cookies?

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The first French mac was only a fraction of what we know today. In fact it was not French at all but an Italian cookie brought by Catherine de Medici.

In 1533 Catherine, married Henry II who would become king of France a few years later.  It was the Italian chef to Catherine that brought the recipe for the cookies made of almond flour, eggs and sugar.

This is still the recipe that Laduree uses today and the one that I teach in my French Macarons class.  The main difference, the cookies were only 1 layer, an almond meringue.

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A man by the name of Louis Ernest Laduree opened a fine patisserie in 1862 in the current Rue Royale location.  Laduree was an outspoken reformist and prolific writer of the times.

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Rue Royale was a nice address and considered quite posh and still is today.

A few short years later in 1871 the patisserie was burned to the ground in a social uprising.

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Jules Cheret, a popular poster artist of the time was hired to design the new structure.  Cheret is credited with choosing the iconic celadon green used for the exterior, interior and the packaging.  He designed the chubby “pastry cherubs” that adorn the ceiling at the Rue Royale address.

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In 1930, Pierre Desfontaines, the grandson of Laduree, decided to sandwich the cookies together with chocolate ganache, and the first double decker macaron was born!

But there is something else that may surprise you.

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What really makes me stop in my tracks is the knowledge that at the beginning of the 20th century women were not allowed to go into cafes, they were strictly reserved for men.

Laduree helped to change all that by creating one of the first tea rooms for women.

Laduree at Rue Royale is more than a wonderful stop for goodies; it is a historic site for women.  Having tea with friends in public was an absolute liberation for the women of this generation.

No wonder I love this brand so much!!

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The next time you are in Paris, soak up the girly vibe that is Laduree and have a French macaron!

Or, go with me and I will take you there!

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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!