I was first introduced to Mademoiselle J in Dancing with the Moon, the second book in this magical series. I traveled back in time and journeyed through the pages with her in The Secrets of Pistoulet~ a charming little book filled with food, magic, and love. . .
“There is magic and mystery in the farmhouse known as Pistoulet. Here in southwestern France, Mademoiselle J. discovers the ancient recipes that transform the guests who come to Pistoulet weary and lacking in spirit.”
The magical recipes are designed to feed the soul and cure the maladies of the guests who pass through Pistoulet. I decided to blend some Potage of Passion, despite the word of caution:
“Facial flush may occur due to extreme ecstasy. Guests often fall in love with the cook. Serve with discretion!”
“Go the market and find a farmer with a twinkle in his eye. Buy a large quantity of big ripe tomatoes.”
I was a couple of weeks premature of tomato season and finding a farmer with a twinkle in his eye at our Farmers Market, so I opted for some tomatoes in the can for my potage.
Potage of Passion, aka Tomato Basil Soup~
Recipe adapted from Madame Claude, Monsieur André and Vie du Sud aka Southern Living :)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 (28-oz.) cans Italian-style whole peeled tomatoes with basil
1 (32-oz.) container of chicken broth
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
My magic ingredient~ 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sauté onions in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 9 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Process mixture with a handheld blender until smooth.
Process basil, next 4 ingredients, 1/4 cup water, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Stir basil mixture, sugar, and pepper into soup. Add grated Parmesan. Cook 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
In addition to grated Parmesan, I added Celestial Croutons, known to enhance the magical properties of any potage.
Best when prepared under the falling stars. . .
Day-old bread from the most soulful bakers
The most fragrant herbs~ Rosemary, thyme, and oregano from a sun-flooded patch
Aromatic garlic and the best olive oil
Cut bread into appealing shapes, such as stars, hearts, and crescent moons. Sauté garlic in olive oil. Add bread shapes, stirring occasionally. Add fresh herbs and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.
Caution: Magic Enhancer
Sunflower bowls, napkins, quilt/ Pottery Barn, last year
Chargers & flatware/ World Market
Urn/Pottery Barn, several years ago
Rooster/ Hobby Lobby, several years ago
“Everyone who passes through Pistoulet has a story which unfolds. All who spend time there leave with their hearts and minds transformed.”
“Originally published in 1996, this 15th anniversary edition of The Secrets of Pistoulet tells the gentle tale of the healing power of magical soups and foods, while celebrating the redemptive and sustaining nature of shared meals among friends and family. With fold-out letters, removable recipe cards and pockets, and special vellum pages, The Secrets of Pistoulet quickly became a bestselling gift book. There’s no better time to rediscover its magic.”
You can find the book from Pfaltzgraff, here.
Come back Wednesday to travel to through the pages to Villa della Luna and the coast of Italy for more food and fun!
Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:
Love your post today! Will try to get this book. It is my kind of read!
Oh, how I *heart* this post! This is the first I’d heard of this delightful book….and I’m going to search for it this week! I love the celestial croutons…they are so cute, Mary!
Thanks for sharing with us, and I’ll look for a farmer with a twinkle in his eyes selling tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market in our neighborhood.
I did buy some early summer squash at Saturday’s market, but no tomatoes!
Have a great week!
Beautiful post today, Mary. Love the sunflower bowls and the quilt. The cookbook sounds darling. I will be keeping my eye out for that one!
Love this post. You should work for schools, the way you scape a book…you make reading look fun and creative and you entertain women by “scaping” it beautifully!
Thanks for sharing it -)
Beautiful post. The red tomato soup in the yellow sunflower bowls is a lovely composition. I love the illustrations in he book, too!
Adore today’s edition of HIWTBI! So charming! Very inspirational and sweet, Mary. You’re my favorite blogger. ;)
Beautiful pos, Mary!! The tomato basil soup sounds so yummy!…Christine
Oh Mary, you make me want to make some tomato basil soup and the magical croutons tonight for dinner! What a fun post to read and I savored every bite.
Lovely post, and tomato basil soup my favorite, I bet the cute croutons would make it even more yummy !!
Enjoy your day !
You ARE the most FUN blog! Good grief, now I want to make soup..and it’s going to be 90+ today (maybe cold soup.) I have the sunflower bowls…franki
I just ordered the book and can’t wait to be enchanted.
What a charming post. Thank you so much for sharing your magic!
Have a wonderful day!
Although I don’t post comments often on your blog, I must tell you that it really is the most delightful to look at. You are a wonderful decorator and your posts are so colorful and fun. Love your recipes that you post too!
Thanks for all the efforts you put into decorating, taking pictures and posting.
It’s so appreciated!
GOOD MORNING MARY,
SWEETIE, YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ME FAT -ER.
I JUST LOST 10 LBS, AND YOU SENT ME PHOTOS OF F O O D ! THAT’S OK, I’M A BIG BOY (66 YRS) AND I’LL JUST HAVE ANOTHER CUP OF COFFEE AND PRINT AND EAT YOUR E-MAIL. GOT TO SAY HELLO TO CHLOE AND GRACIE. SCRUFFLE THEM BEHIND THE EARS AND SAY, “UNCLE JOE” SENDS GREETING FROM DELAWARE. I AM EVERYONE’S UNCLE JOE. A LITTLE TOO WELL FED AND SPORTING A FULL, FUZZY, GRAY AND WHITE BEARD AND HANDLEBAR. BY BEING UNCLE JOE TO ALL MY DAUGHTER’S GROWN (45+) FRIENDS, I GET GREETED WITH HUGS EVERY WHERE I GO. EVEN MY COUSIN, WHOM I HAD LOST TRACK OF IN 1976, TOLD HIS WIFE IT WAS OK TO HUG ME. MY PHONE RANG ONE MORNING 3 YRS AGO AND THE DEEP MALE VOICE SAID, HI, JOE, THIS IS WALT. HOW’S EVERYTHING WITH THE FAMILY? WHEN HE RETIRED AT AGE 63 HE MOVED BACK TO DELAWARE, WHERE THEY DON’T TAX SOS. SEC. OR DISABILITY INCOME. OF COURSE MY WIFE LOVES THE FACT THAT I’M UNCLE JOE TO SO MANY SHE GETS THE EXTRA HUGS WHEN WE MEET MEN. I’M NOT SHY ABOUT EMBRACING A MAN I’M ACQUAINTED WITH. IT IS PART OF MY VIETNAM VET HOMECOMING COUNSELING. I MET EVERY THURS NIGHT WITH 30 OTHER VETS FOR GROUP COUNSELING, FOR 20 YRS AFTER THE WAR. I’M A DISABLED VET WITH PTSD NOT DIAGNOSED UNTIL 1991. BEFORE THEN, I WAS AN ALCOHOLIC.`NOW, I ‘M SOBER BUT WHACKO ! ACTUALLY, NO ONE KNOWS UNLESS I TELL THEM. I’VE BEEN BLESSED WITH A NORMAL MARRIED LIFE FOR 46 YRS. I JUST DON’T SLEEP WELL OR COPE WITH CLOSE CONFINEMENT WELL. A N D, I WILL NEVER STAND IN LINE BEHIND 75 PEOPLE AS IN THE PAST, TO RECEIVE SOMETHING. YOU KNOW YOUR ARE AN OLD FOGGY WHEN YOU NEED A CELL PHONE TO FIND YOUR WIFE IN WAL MART OR THE GROCERY STORE. AND YOU’D RATHER GO THROUGH THE “CASH ONLY – 15 ITEMS OR LESS – CHECKOUT TWICE THAN TO WAIT IN THE REGULAR LINE. WELL, I GUESS I’VE BENT YOUR EAR LONG ENOUGH TODAY. HAVAGOODDAY,
JOE POSTLES, LINCOLN, DE.
Joe Postles email@example.com
Beautiful post. I love when you mix books, recipes and tablescapes!
Why do I always want to start each comment I send to you with “oh my goodness!” I also always think… I love this post the best! You speak to my soul, Mary!!! THis is such a charming, French inspired post. Thank you for putting right in the book with you!!!
Oh Mary, you did a splendid job of representing the book! Complete with entertaining commentary and fabulous photos ~ I was smiling all the way through. Fantastic job my friend ~ very, very well done! I cannot wait to see what you have in store for us on Wednesday. xo~m. Ciao!
OH SO CUTE! i adore your sunflower bowl all bright and tasty with the moon and stars~ with the addition of your rosemary they look like shooting stars in the bowl :-) and such a cute chicken too!
your cover is different then mine, very fun with the sunflowers! these are such darling series you introduced us to through your dancing with the moon table, its so fun to be playing with books and food again, something you do so well! thanks for a divine moment in the heart of passionate pistoulet~
I absolutely love your book reviews.
I ordered and received both books – The Secrets of Pistoulet and Dancing with the Moon – when you did the review of Dancing a month or so ago, but haven’t had a chance to read them yet…They are both on my “to read” pile on the side table by my chair.
I have been wanting some sunflower salad plates and/or bowls for a few years but can’t find them here! I tried to order them a couple of years ago from Marshall’s but they didn’t do mail order :(
Mary, you always inspire me with your lovely words and photography, but I am just bowled over by your visit to Pistoulet. From the Provencal tablecloth to the soup to the sunflower dishes to Mr. Red Rooster, you have brought me to Pistoulet. If only I could have been in your kitchen while you were creating this potage. I can just imagine the bubbling soup–I can smell the buttery, garlicky croutons (so adorable and magical, all strung together with thyme). What a great time we would have had! As always, I love the details and whimsical touches that grace your world–wherever Mademoiselle J. is living her life, I know she is smiling. I know I am!! I am so honored to join you, Jain, and Mari in this post, and I cannot wait to see what you’ve cooked up for Villa Della Luna and Kindness. xxoo
Everything about this post is scrumptious and delightful!!! What a treat.
All of your pictures are beautiful Mary! I love the sunflowers. The soup sounds great and lemon zest would be a very flavorful addition. Cute croutons:@)
I love the colors of this post! Love sunflowers, and those celestial croutons are just too cute. xo
Bravo…another standing ovation post…your recipes read like novels with great characters!…gorgeous pictures and will have to check out the book!…
Wonderful post! I just ordered the book.
Mary , that was lovely! You present everything so beautifully. So ,”the Darling Bakers” have morphed once again, lol. Did I ever tell you that story? The ebook is coming soon!
Thanks for linking to Let’s Dish!
How charming, Mary. And so coincidental that you should feature The Secrets of Pistoulet! When the book first came out it was in a delightful slipcover that when removed from the book made a “frame” for one of my favorite snapshots. Unfortunately, the cleaning crew at the library where I worked knocked it down between my cubicle wall and the interior wall where I couldn’t get to it. Two weeks ago I retired after 25 years and as I was packing up my things I threw myself on the mercy of one of our maintenance men who went through heroic efforts to retrieve it. Finally, The Secrets of Pistoulet emerged again, and also in your blog! Thanks for bringing this charming book to light!
I don’t even know where to begin with this. You have the uncanny knack of making every single one of your posts into a work of art, whether it’s a post about a table, or your potting shed, a book, or a recipe. I’m just in awe of how BEAUTIFUL this was.
I’m pinning yet again.l Not just for the recipe but for the whole post. Just a pure delight.
Wonderful table. Beautiful inspiration!
You captured me with your words and filled my senses with your photos.. So delightful. I must be making that soup, my basil is growing wild!! xo marlis
Mary, it great fun to see you playing with books and food again. The reflection of the sunflowers in the spoons, your celestial croutons, and the charm of all that you show here ~ sheer delight! Love the darling illustrations on the pages of this book. ~ Sarah
I was actually visiting Once upon a Plate for the first time and saw the link to your blog, one of my absolute favorite blogs. Your post is delightful, I really don’t consider myself as a foodie, but couldn’t help but be pulled in by your beautiful words and photos.
Love your interpretation! Just delightful.
– The Tablescaper
What a fun post…fabulous photos, too!
Have a wonderful week, Mary…
So, so charming! I had never heard of the book, but now I simply MUST have it! I’m a firm believer in the comforts that a bowl of good, simple soup, shared lovingly can bring. Thank you, truly, for this delightful post!