Le Cordon Bleu Tops the Chart!

What was my favorite part of our trip to Provence, France and Geneva, Switzerland? Hands down, cooking school! Within the first week, we spent 2 1/2 days in Paris, primarily eating very well, doing the tourist thing and revisiting sights we have seen a half a dozen times during our seven years living in Europe. It simply felt good (and comfortable) being back on the continent as we remembered what we most enjoyed during our travels. Before heading south to Lyon for the Rhone River cruise, we spent the morning at Le Cordon Bleu Paris making chocolate macaroons.

The class began by selecting from the 12 cooking stations and getting dressed in our aprons and hats. Chef Eric Verger demonstrated the mixing and baking process, to include using a pastry bag to press the cookie dough into perfectly round half dollars. The most important instruction was to not overmix the dough or the cookies will crack during baking. I took copious notes during the demonstration, intending to get this right the first time.

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Ladies Day In

When we moved into our new house in December, a few of our good friends were unable to join us. Thankfully, I have an incredibly thoughtful friend for whom that scenario “just wouldn’t do!” So, we scheduled a ladies only brunch so they could see the new house and we could have a relaxing day indoors.

Well, today was the day! A snowy, very cold February Monday brought me three dear friends, a salmon fritatta, fresh fruit, blueberry bran muffins and plenty of chocolate!  I provided the venue, mimosas (and of course, tea & coffee) and a warm fire and they brought brunch.  I set the table with square Lenox Butler’s Pantry plates I purchased about 15 years ago at the factory in Italy over chocolate brown woven chargers topped with my grandmother’s ivory cloth napkins. I love, love these plates and I simply do not use them enough! I specifically bought them for ladies luncheons and so, they had to be featured on this special day. Please do keep in mind, I am not a stuffy ladies luncheon kind of person — but I was a military spouse for 25 years and sometimes you have the privilege (or responsibility) of hosting a whole lot of wives for a social or luncheon and I wanted to be prepared. Read More