Friday, October 16, 2009

Falling Leaves and Starry Nights

Please click on pictures to enlarge and crank on the music for some fun tunes...

French castles in the autumn air

Oh wrap me in your dreams so fair

Of fireside and simmering stew

a crust of bread and friendship true

- Castles Crowns and Cottages

As I watch summer leave me like a friend departing after a memorable visit, I stand fixed at the window of my memory. Summer's culinary wonders trail behind a cortege of a season past, leaving vestiges of gloriously prepared and shared meals. Autumn however, is not a time of culinary dormancy.

On the contrary, the seductive aroma of fresh summer basil and oregano hangs suspended in the autumn air, only to take center stage again. Instead of freshly made pesto to spread over a summer pasta, dried flakes of these magical herbs will dance and bubble about in hearty stews that gently simmer in glowing pots of copper on a well-equipped stove.

Welcome to my kitchen of dreams

where warm hearts create a hearth of warm friendship against the chilling beauty of limestone.

Old, timed-tested recipes from the kitchens found in the majestic Chateau de Chenonceau were prepared in well-worn copper vessels crafted by artisans

such as those found in the village of Villedieu-les-Poêles, the city of copper, tucked away like a little secret in the Southern Manche region of Basse Normandy at the Bay of Mont Saint Michel.

I have my own dream kitchen, equipped with French copper pots, utensils and molds, where the morning sun barrels in and dances with the crystal chandelier

and admires its reflection in the pink caste of a copper bowl.

Great meals emerge from new, state-of-the-art "chateauesque" kitchens

as well as from humble cuisines like my own

from which I will bring you one of my favorite fall stews. So come back next time and put on your tabliers

and your chef's toque

and help me mince the onions and garlic and sauté them in the nectar of the gods

and let the comforting aroma of saffron and herbs waft in the echoing halls of our chateau of culinary dreams.

And while all the ingredients merge together, we can share the joys of the kitchen with humor and adventure. Enjoy!

See you next week at the chateau!

A la prochaine mes amies!


Anne Marie said...

those kitchens are missing one thing: a nice comfy couch - because I'd want to stay in there -
scratch that; make it a daybed...


studioJudith said...

I'd say these dreamy kitchens are missing just one more detail:
A staff of chefs to prepare and serve all those glorious meals!


Presépio no Canal said...

La belle cuisine de etait une fois, j etais la-bas...;) September 2008....

quelles belles fotos! so gezellig! the dutch word for cozyness!

j ai envie de connaitre ta cuisine :) smells good with your marveilous dishes...I will be there for the dinner ;) just a moment...I will take the plane ;) to be with you ;)

KeKe said...

Anita, I've been thinking about you, my friend. Wondering what you've been up to and if the leaves are changing colors in your neck of the woods.
I suppose they probably are.
I love the pictures...I just got back from a shopping trip-purchased LOTS of fruits and veggies, and breads and pastas to create wonderful Mediterranean inspired dishes-
Can't wait to see the stew recipe, I'm sure it will be delish!!

FIONA said...

A feast for the eyes, Madame.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't mind the turquoise stove and oven. I probably wouldn't leave the kitchen either if it looked like one of these. Beautiful pics Anita!


Crystal Rose Cottage said...

Hi Anita....Speaking of kitchens, I spent most of the day in mine. It is chilly and dreary here today and I decided to hang out in there and make a big pot of chicken vegetable soup and bisquits. There is something comforting about spending our time in "the heart of the home"...especially on a day like today! Love yours, btw!~Hugs, Patti

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Bonjour Anita!

What beautiful kitchens and your kitchen is just as gorgeous as all the others!! It's so European & french! Ohh la la! Great post.

Thank you for your kind & sweet words and all your prayers for sweet little Sam.

Mille bises, Sherry

Unknown said...

Oh my dear heart, kind soul that you are. Could we simply arrange some day, over the rainbow to cook a fine meal. I'll stand sipping wine as you stir and chatter and coo and we'll toast to imagination and starry night stew.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Oh, to walk the halls and enjoy the aromas!!! Lovely pics! Stop by. You're invited to play along. Have a grand day!!! Cathy

Bumpkin Hill said...

What a delight all those kitchens are, I love your words too :) Have a lovely Autumnal weekend, Catherine x

The Dutchess said...

AAh a post to my heart..I love making a good stew..its my hubby's favorite food..maybe I will make a post about it with a recepie...and what DREAM kitchens...I simply adore yours..:)))

Unknown said...

I love your new header, and the background. This chateau is amazing but your kitchen is gorgeous!!! That chandelier, OMG. You have created another magical post, and I love the music. I am popping in the mail an Evening in Paris card for you. Every time I think of France I think of my sister Susan and my lovely friend Anita.
Have a lovely weekend.

Unknown said...

P.S. The castle I created, is actually a building in Rhode Island which is a cathedral in amongst gorgeous buildings at a private school there. The views are spectacular, it is just outside the Newport border.

Fete et Fleur said...

Oh! Kitchens of dreams is right, Anita. Beautiful photos!!


Jorgelina said...

Hi Anita!!
What beautiful kitchens,fantastic!
This chateau is amazing .
Beautiful photos!!

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

Hi Anita.....No, we did not paint the kitchen island yet. I wanted to do it in September but because of my neck, I was just not up to it. I am still not feeling that great so hopefully maybe after the first of the year.~Patti

Ulla said...

Sometimes its the 'humble' kitchens that serve the best food! I love your photos, and wish I had a chateau kitchen too...
p.s. could you email me privately, I have a question for you!

Anonymous said...

Good evening Anita, What marvelous kitchens! I love the fall. I can almost smell the fresh herbs in those kitchens. I would love to sit in a chair there and dip my fresh bread in oil and herbs while I sip a glass of full bodied red wine. Sigh...... Charli of course would lay at my feet. p.s. I can't wait to see your little black dress and hear your story.

Rosemary said...

Those kitchens are simply amazing. Those stoves are in my dreams too!
Thanks for the lovely kitchen tour.
Hope you are having a fabulous weekend Anita!
Chat soon,

Libby Buttons said...

Breathtaking kitchens! I adore copper and have my own meager collection. Your words paint such a wonderful image.

LiLi M. said...

Bonjour Anita! Ah to be in France and to enjoy everything french! We always spend our holidays in Northern France when our kids were small. We always made a little circle: Normandie, Bretagne and the Loire Valley or the other way around. So we were at the Mont St Michel, Chateau de Chenonceau (we didn't went in though). And we were in Villedieu-les Poêlles too. I have some copper inherited but I never use it. When I am in France I like it, but somehow it just doesn't seem to fit in my kitchen. I love your dream kitchen though and your own! Great photography; they even make me hungry! Hope that all is well with you and your family. Have a lovely weekend, bisous LiLi

LuLu Kellogg said...

I love the Two Fat Ladies!


Rattus Scribus said...

Dearest Anita,
Thank for this trip down memory lane, as I remember with great fondness our trip to France and the visit to the wonderful castles and those magical kitchens.

To all of Anita's friends, you should also know something about her that she is too humble to say about herself: she creates a fabulous magical atmosphere of hospitality and glorious food for guests.

She has recently perfected a wondrous stew containing fire roasted stewed tomatoes and chicken (or salmon), cannellini beans, fresh basil, safron and other fabulous things that to me is simply fairy magic. The result? The food of the gods themselves.

Beautiful post.

Rattus Scribus

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Oh Anita...I will be there at the chateau...complete with my tablier and toque. What glorious kitchens...and I notice your copperware there also!!!
Thank you so much for your very much appreciated...Bon Appetit...Dzintra♥x

My Casa Bella said...

Now that my poor laptop is soaked with drool from seeing all those gorgeous kitchens....LOL, oh a girl can dream can't she? Beautiful blog!!
My Casa Bella

Fifi Flowers said...

LOVE those chateau kitchens... oooh to have a chateau would be FAB! Those Two Fat Ladies looks FUN... must look into that! Merci!

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Thank you very sweet of you♥ Have a lovely Wednesday...Dzintra♥x

Woolytales Miniatures said...

Anita, Like Ruben said, I had a feeling a about that!*grin*
I don't need to look around to much for inspiration for my little Masion , do I ? Love , love the first simple kitchens... I like th country. farm , simple but ellegant looking...Hugs,

C'est moi Claudette said...

I adore the blue cuisine, the bunnies, the ballerinas, the horses, the food, well everything Anita.
Your blog is so beautiful and so very French.
Bonsoir mon amie.
Love Claudie

LiLi M. said...

Bonjour Anita, It is no punishment at all to scroll around your castles and kitchens, ahhhh! Merci beaucoup for your lovely comments, as always and for being such a faithful blogfriend. Anita, I sometimes wonder at what hour do you rise? When I think that everybody in the US is still asleep, I get comments from you. Are you such an early bird? Anyway I love it. Have a lovely day, bisous LiLi.

FrenchGardenHouse said...

sigh...LOVE the chateau. But really, that aqua~ish stove is to die for. Is that La Cornue? dreamy!
xo Lidy

claudie said...

C'est beau Anita!
It's working and here I am.
Have a good evening.
I sometimes hesitate when asking this from some ladies.
Not sure if it's appropriate. One lady said NO! She will not have Anonymous comments. OH well...
Love Claudie

Barb said...

Hi Anita,

Love, Love, love all the kitchen photo's. Can't pick a favorite.

Your blog header and background is heavenly. I am convinced that you never sleep.


Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

I agee with Anne Marie,I can live in one of those kitchens.LOL...But you know what? I bet your stew out doese theirs big time.
I love your castle banner,kool Anita.You take care dear. XXOO Marie Antionette

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Hi Anita,
Thank you for the beautiful tour. I loved it! Now that is a real work table in that kitchen, heavy duty and meant for real prep, correct?

Your kitchen is charming and I have my eye on those fleur de lys café au lait bowls (and everything else). I found myself wanting to peak around the corner to see a little more of your home!

Can't wait to tour the chateau. Happy weekend... oh and the photo of you tres belle!

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Hi Sweetie,
Zeke and I are doing well these days, but if it wasn't for my furry Great Pyrenees giving me "fluff therapy" I don't know what I'd do! Pets really do help me and when I'm alone at home, I have a big furry munchkin and chats too which make the days a little lighter. Thank you as always, Anita for your sweet comments and prayers. I always like to tour here and visit with you.
Bonne journée,