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Buttermilk Clouds

My Pumpkin Cocotte

I get unusually excited over kitchen paraphernalia. It is a glitch in my personality. I love the way a perfectly designed kitchen utensil makes a mundane task a joy.

Enter the newest member of my kitchen gang. It is only the most beautiful of all pots imaginable. Calling it a mere pot seems a disservice.

That is why Francis Staub has named it a Cocotte. This is a 5 qt. enameled cast iron dutch oven. Inside is a black matte enamel finish. The lid handle is a brass stem. Each piece was designed by F. Staub and individually cast in a sand mold. Each mold is unique, and destroyed after each use, meaning that every piece is unique.

Cocotte [koh-KOT]
This French word for "casserole" refers to a round or oval casserole with a tight-fitting lid. It can be either individual-size or large and is traditionally made of earthenware. The phrase en cocotte means "cooked in a casserole".

How did it come about that this piece of culinary art is now sitting on my kitchen counter? Serendipity my friend, serendipity.

ser·en·dip·i·ty (sěr'ən-dĭp'ĭ-tē)
n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties

1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

OK, I promise, that was my last definition today.

On with the story. Black Friday. My daughter and I braved the cold and the crowds and got right in the mix of it all. We were up bright and early...4AM. In line (yes, in line) at Best Buy by 4:30. This line spanned the entire front of the store, continued down the side, then wrapped around the corner and stretched the length of the back of the store. We got in line somewhere mid-back.

I could tell you all the gory details, but this post is centered on my beautiful Cocotte. By 9AM the Avenues Mall opened, so we, of course, were all about that. We had no direction or purpose in the Mall. We just walked and shopped. This plan of attack eventually led us to Williams-Sonoma.

We entered the store, much like we entered all other stores, full of excitement of the moment. We turned left, as we always do, unless there is a point to being in the store, in which case we go directly to the object of our attention. Upon turning left, we followed the aisle admiring all the beautiful items. I looked to the display on the right. At eye level was the most beautiful enameled cast iron pot I have ever seen. (Cue the heavenly music.) I peeked at it's underbelly to see the price. My jaw dropped, my heart sank and I said louder than I knew "This is too expensive! I'll never get one!!" It was $199.95.

Luckily, I did say it loud, and as luck would have it again, was overheard by a nearby saleswoman. She came immediately up to me and instead of hushing me and shooing me from the store, she told me with a huge smile and much gusto that they are on clearance (those magical words) at the back of the store.

I was excited to hear this, but I thought even on clearance, which normally is 50% off, I wouldn't be able to afford it. Nikki and I continued shopping in our usual fashion, not hurrying to the back. When we finally got to the back, and to the clearance table, there were no pots to be found. Not to my surprise.

We continued on. I don't know who saw the 3 boxes sitting under the coffee machine display bar, but we saw them. Just 3 boxes sitting on the floor beside a couple of bar stools. I glanced down and saw the price: Original price - $199.95 Clearance price - $49.95!! Immediately we pulled a bar stool on each side of the boxes, sat down and grinned liked idiots at each other. Nikki said she wanted to get it for me for Christmas. I almost passed out and fell off my bar stool.

Eventually another saleswoman asked us if we needed assistance. "Yes, they are on sale." "Yes, for $49.95." "Yes, they are the large pumpkin pot." "Yes, we will hold one for you behind the counter while you continue shopping."

Giddy describes me. We were giddy. We shopped for all of 30 seconds and couldn't concentrate, so we gave up the pretense and danced back to the cash register.

Thank you Nikki and Robert, for a most wonderful Christmas present!!!

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By: Sharon Pickering | 11/24/2007 at 7:47 AM | If you want, you can leave a comment by clicking here.


  1. Blogger janeywan | 11/24/2007 7:13 PM |  

    That is just to cute and what a deal!!

  2. Blogger :: Suzanne :: | 11/25/2007 10:58 AM |  

    I am so envious. I need this for my Pumpkin Soup!

  3. Blogger annie | 11/25/2007 2:43 PM |  

    @janeywan, it was a deal. I'm still giddy! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    @suzanne, That soup sounds soooo good! I made an Butternut Squash Puree that is very similar. Maybe not as soup-like because it didn't have the half & half. But it was really yum.

    Today I made White Chili in my new pot. It was fabulous!!!

  4. Blogger janeywan | 11/25/2007 3:12 PM |  

    White chili yum! Will search your site for it.

  5. Blogger annie | 11/25/2007 4:16 PM |  

    @janeywan, I don't have it on my site yet. I got caught up in the day with my daughter and hubby. But, Here is the recipe until I do an official post:

    White Chili
    1 1/2 lbs. skinless chicken breasts
    2 - 14 oz cans chicken broth
    3 - 14 oz can white northern beans
    1 - 14 oz can white kidney beans
    1 - 4 oz can chopped green chilies
    2 cups chopped onions
    2 Tbls. chopped garlic
    2 heaping tsp. cumin
    2 heaping tsp. oregano
    2 tsp. chili powder
    1 tsp. red pepper
    2 Tbls. olive oil
    Couple dashes of hot sauce

    Bake the chicken breasts at 350 for 30 minutes. Let cool and cut or tear into bite size pieces.

    Saute garlic and onions in olive oil until tender. Add green chilies and saute 2 more minutes. Add chicken broth, chicken, beans, cumin, oregano, chili powder, red pepper and hot sauce in a large dutch oven or stock pot.

    Cook for an hour and serve.

    For a hotter chili, make the night before and serve the next day.

    I let mine simmer on the stove all afternoon while we put up Christmas decorations.

  6. Blogger janeywan | 11/25/2007 4:20 PM |  

    Thanks Annie.

  7. Anonymous Snooks | 1/01/2008 9:22 AM |  

    You are one lucky lady. Even on ebay they are running triple that amount. Good buy for certain. I love the white chili receipe. Thanks much for the receipe out there.