Category Archives: baking

Cookies for Santa

Thank you to Rebekah for her guest post below. Follow Rebekah’s adventures at Girl Gets SoCal.

When my brother D was little, he used to sleep under the Christmas tree to wait for Santa. He would fall asleep under the boughs of the tree looking up at the lights and the ornaments, breathing in the heady pine scent.

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I, being the older and wiser sister, would sleep in my own bed under warm flannel since I knew the whole Santa game thankyouverymuch. D never got to see Santa, but the cookies he left out were always eaten and remnants from the carrots set out for the reindeer could be found on the front porch.

This year, D made homemade Oreos to set next to the tree. Christmas morning there were presents under the tree and the milk and cookies left for Santa were almost gone.

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Lucky for us, D shared some of his cookies before we went to bed on Christmas Eve. I am lucky to have a brother that knows how to share his love of Christmas is such a delicious way.

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Filed under baking, Christmas, Family

Pizza Amore

Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.

                                                                                          ~Ann Quindlan

You are invited to join us at our kitchen table for

great conversations and ideas.

Favorite recipes will be shared, too.

toppings 6 FAV

Today, David makes his favorite crust recipe for Pizza Amore! at Rose Cottage Cooks.

Rose Cottage Cooks is a collaborative journal

where we are sharing what’s cooking with friends and family.

Pizza on a plate 2 FAV

Won’t you join the discussion at our kitchen table at Rose Cottage Cooks?

You are invited for a Sunday pizza supper!

You may also enjoy:

 Summer Diva {the heirloom tomato

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Filed under baking, Cooking

Bon Appetit!

Find something you are passionate about and

keep tremendously interested in it.

                                                   ~ Julia Child 

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. Please allow time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the seventh in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

artisan samplings

In the true Mediterrean style, dining al fresco prevails at Chateau Dumas. The polished terra cotta terrace just off the chateau’s dining room is perfect foil for leisurely watching the interplay of summer light and color as the sun quietly sets over the tapestry of the French countryside. The simplicity of the centuries-old terrace allows the dramatic beauty of this Mediterrean region to take center stage.

Terrace view

Dinner on the Terrace 2

In celebration of some of southwest France’s finest offerings, sommelier Laurent Zimmerman presents a cheese, bread and wine tasting. Ah, what can be more lovely than the bread and the freshest cheeses of the region?  The warm bread aroma is amazing.

Laurent welcomes the Chateau’s guests with warm French enthusiasm, and tells of the sampling process for the evening. The goat cheese samples are served with the white wine. The red wine is accompanied by the cheese from cow’s milk. The charming Chatelaine de Dumas effortlessly provides interpretation for those of us less fluent in French. I am quite grateful.

Laurent 2

Laurent 3

Laurent

The tasting is quite an International event amongst our tiny band of travelers. Laurent’s stories are translated from French to English by the adept Chatelaine Lizzie. Then, a generous traveler translates into Spanish, and another traveler translates into German. A five nation tasting–quite amazing! Laurent pauses and listens attentively… to English … to Spanish … to German. Travelers ask questions. The questions are translated from Spanish or German to English — then to French. Laurent responds in French . . . Yes! it is rather lively and colorful!

The regional goat cheeses are featured first. Each of the hand-crafted artisan cheeses are to be eaten in a specific order ranging from mild to more pungent. The delicious cheese variety samples are quite unique in flavor and vary in texture from one another.  Most of the cheese varieties have edible rinds, including one excellent cheese with an splendid ash rind. In particular, the Chevre du Quercy is an outstanding local artisan variety, and is a favorite of our merry band of travelers.

Laurent and Goat Cheese Sample

 Next, stories about the cheeses made from cow’s milk are presented. Some of the cheeses are both beloved and reviled for their earthy aroma. They are all outstanding. Mais, j’adore le fromage.

More cheese

Goat Cheese FAV 2

The evening’s sampling includes tastes of three speciality breads of the region–multi-grain, walnut and whole grain fig. While all are delicious, the fig bread is amazing and is made from fresh figs gathered locally. I consider how to slip a few loaves of the fig bread into my luggage for the return trip–the bread is spectacular! Alas, maybe some for breakfast tomorrow? A quest for a fig bread recipe lies ahead. Ideas?

Fig Bread FAV

 Goat Cheese and Bread Sample

sweet endings

It is nearly 9:00 p.m. — time for the evening meal following a brief intermezzo from the superb tastings on this picturesque summer eve. A plethora of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are offered for the evening meal. Mediterrean cooking is quite wonderful — I feel so healthy.  The finale of tonight’s meal is an amazing fruit creation.

The adorable and incredibly talented MamaJo creates feasts befitting of kings and queens! This well-versed and former British university professor, prepares daily masterpieces at Chateau Dumas. Her beautiful desserts are steller using local fresh fruits. I consider whether or not she may enjoy an eager apprentice?!

MamaJo

assorted desserts

Pear gateau

rustic apricot pie

What gorgeous edible “gifts” the talented  MammaJo serves-up  to guests at Chateau Dumas each day! The little packages are almost too pretty to eat tonight. I decide to look for one of her cookbooks she authored. . .

Apple bundle dessert

everything

A beautiful evening shared with travelers from around the world is ending. As I begin to slumber, the simple — yet lovely — artwork on a wine bottle from the tastings comes to mind. It is rather intriguing. It simply says, tout ce qu’il faut” — all that is needed or necessary.

all that is needed wine FAV

My thoughts in the wee morning hours become quite contemplative . . . there is so much wisdom in the lovely little art adhered to the side of  the dark brown glass. I am so thankful for all that I have been given — it is all I need. My eyes are heavy. It is futile to resist the soothing effects of French lavender fragrances finding their way to my second story windows. Bon soir et rêves doux! [Good night and sweet dreams!]

The final lovely sights of  a once-in-lifetime dream trip to France are just around the corner.

à bientôt mes amis!

Won’t you journey with me awhile on this amazing trip in a gorgeous countryside chateau? Other adventures are at: 

 French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

Read about how everyone is enjoying the outdoors at A Southern Daydreamer.

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Filed under baking, Cooking, France, Travel

Vintage Artisan Bread Bags {les sacs de pain

If thou tastest a crust of bread,

thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.

                                                               ~Robert Browning

tasteful simplicity

Frequently, the most satisfying meal features a simple loaf of freshly-baked bread.  What says “welcome home” or “I am so glad you are here for dinner” more than the heart-warming aroma of  bread that greets your family and friends at the door? Sharing a freshly-baked loaf of artisan bread is a wonderful and honorable hostess gift, too.

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what is vintage is fresh

It is the end of a very busy day and I stop at a  favorite shop to visit with my dear friend. Knowing it was a long day, Mi graciously invites My Best Sweetie and me to her home for a serendipitous meal. A quick call home and it is all arranged. The aroma of a home-cooked dinner and fresh-baked bread warmly welcomes us at the door just 20 minutes later.

After a lovely dinner, our creative spirits are refreshed and we start designing in Mi’s well-stocked studio. Her studio is bursting with amazing inspiration–including one of my favorites–vintage millinery and trims. The guys discuss the latest projects in the woodworking shop–they are deep in conversation. 

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Mi has a new collection of vintage linens. We start brainstorming projects with the new finds. One thing leads to another…soon the idea of creating bread bags for storing artisan breads or for gift-giving a warm loaf of bread to a friend emerges–les sacs de pain. I think we are inspired by Bob’s artisan bread served during dinner!

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We select several embroidered and vintage printed linens. I scour the fabulous old-fashioned wood and glass front drawers in a tall, wood cupboard that was re-claimed from a shop in England. The well-organized drawers are filled with millinery from around the world. Dreamy…

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Our imagainations are bubbling over with an endless succession of ideas! Soon, two les sacs de pain are created–one is perfect for a baguette and the other a boule loaf. The designs for several other bread bags are laid out ready for assembly on another day. I am reminded of the five-word acceptance speech at the recent Webby Awards given by Biz Stone:  “Creativity is a renewable resource.” Are spirits are renewed with all of our creativity. Do you have those moments when the more you create the more you are inspired?

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fresh is best

When I bake bread, I hear Mom’s voice saying, “It is only good when it is fresh!” This saying is particulary relevant for artisan breads–crusty breads are best eaten fresh–usually within a day. Breads baked at Rose Cottage usually don’t last beyond 24 hours!

Often, we bake several loaves of bread at one time so that we can share with others. It gives us great joy to bring a still-warm crusty loaf as a “thank you” for dinner hosts or to share a loaf with a neighbor or two. What fun it will be to share some fresh artisan bread with another in one of the vintage les sacs de pain like the ones Mi and I made!

No matter how large or small it is, sharing is one way that helps to create a beautiful life at Rose Cottage. How do you create a beautiful life? For more ideas about creating a beautiful life, visit The Inspired Room.

Don’t miss all the fun! Julia is hosting a hooked on Fridays post party — visit Hooked on Houses.

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(Thanks, Mi, for sharing the photos!)
What is your favorite kind of bread that makes you feel like you are tasting “all the stars?”

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Filed under baking, Cooking, Homekeeping, Sewing