ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Foodie Friday Comfort Food- Mini Chaussons and Ginger Spiced Almond Rugelach

Hi All! 

Can you believe it's Friday?? The first week of school has been chaotic, but also happy. Everyone is happy with their teachers and Friday night is Allie's first football game as a Varsity cheerleader!

Go Tigers!!

Lots going on at Casa Bramasole as you all know. Getting ready to list and sell a house is quite a job. And things have changed in the real estate market, even just in the last few years. As a decorator myself, I can tell you I remember a time when "staging" was unheard of- now it's part of everyday vocabulary. Thanks HGTV!!

I'm going to take a minute here to ask you all for a little of your collective wisdom. We've learned that our wonderful readers always seem to have answers and viewpoints that we may not have considered

I will preface this by saying that I get paid to stage homes for sellers. I am familiar with the process and with what's expected. I AM discovering that there is a big difference in my thought process when it comes to my own home. And yes, I did have a talk with my dear mom about her staging efforts 

My question concerns my kitchen. Standard staging protocol says clean it (no problem there) and CLEAR IT. Stash all appliances, tools, kitchen stuff, etc. That's the problem. Until we move, this is a working kitchen.
This is where recipes are developed and prepared for tastings, classes, and events. My kitchen is clean,

 but...I do keep my stand mixer and food processor out (both are used several times daily), and there are "things" around. 

Like this...
the red metal bread box holds whisks and spatulas, my mezzaluna, gnocchi board, mortar and pestle....

and this.....
cookie cutters, and a basket of English ironstone cups. I found 20 at a thrift store and scooped them all up for use as ingredient cups when I'm teaching mis en place to a class

and this....
dough is usually rising somewhere and my utensils hang on the custom rack made for me by my talented husband....


assorted mismatched silverware and tureens for use during class dinners...

and my onion basket and bread box

Arborio, cookies, and corks !

and pasta- this IS Casa Bramasole!

So tell me- if YOU were buying a house- would you be turned off by seeing this?? 
The reason I ask is that the one couple that came through were MOST impressed by our kitchen! She commented to me that she loved the fact that she could absolutely tell that this was a kitchen that would work for her family. She was able to see that her mixer would fit on the counter and that there were work zones. And that it could work and still look good

So do you want to see a "model home kitchen" or a "serious cook/family kitchen"?? Can't wait to see what you think!

Kids coming home from school are always STARVING

time for cookies and milk- Mini Chaussons and tiny, spicy Ginger Almond Ruggelach

"Chaussons" translates as "slipper"- what's more homey and comforting than your favorite slippers??
How about a flaky, buttery puff filled with a barely sweet apple, cinnamon and date filling?
And how about a very NON-traditional ruggelach? This one has a filling of ground almonds, spicy crystallized ginger, and warm cinnamon and nutmeg


Mini Chaussons

Puff Pastry- homemade or 1 box (2 sheets) frozen store bought, thawed
egg wash of 2 eggs whisked with a bit of water
coarse sugar- I use "raw" or turbinado sugar

2 TBLSP unsalted butter
juice and zest of half a lemon
4 apples- peeled, cored, and diced
scant 1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean- split and scraped
cinnamon- a few good shakes to taste
a handful of dates (I used about a dozen)- chopped

Make filling- melt butter and mix in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on low for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and using a potato masher, just gently crush the apples a bit (you can puree them smooth with an immersion blender if you prefer). Set mixture aside to cool completely
Roll out puff pastry to a rectangle on a lightly floured board. Using a 3-4 inch cutter, cut out rounds. Place a small spoonful of filling on half of each round and fold other half over. Seal edges, brush lightly with an egg wash, and put tray in freezer for 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Remove tray from freezer, brush each chausson again with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Pierce top of each 3 times with the tip of a sharp knife. Bake for 20 minutes till golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.  If you want to kick these up a notch, serve them slightly warm with a cinnamon sugar dip made of creme fraiche or greek yogurt mixed with a bit of confectioner's sugar and cinnamon

Ginger Almond Ruggelach

these are not traditional ruggelach. The dough for these has a bit of greek yogurt which makes it easy to handle and there are no  preserves in the filling. Add ginger to your own taste- I'm only giving a guideline here :)

2 cups flour
scant 1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter
3/4 of an 8 ounce bar of cream cheese
1/3 cup of greek yogurt

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse till dough forms a ball. Remove and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight

3/4 cup slivered almonds ground in mini processor with a handful of crystallized ginger
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tblsp soft unsalted butter

Mix all together in a small bowl. Use your hands to completely rub together and incorporate butter

Remove dough from fridge and let st on counter for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in 4 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 9 inches in diameter. Sprinkle each with 1/4 of the filling and gently press into the dough. Using a pizza cutter, cut each round into 12 slices. Roll each slice up from the wide end and place pointed end down onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Brush each with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar mixed with a bit of ground ginger. Bake for 20-25 minutes till lightly golden and remove to a rack to cool

I can't wait to hear what you all think!

We're linking up this week to 3 wonderful parties:

Foodie Friday at Gollum's 

 Vignette Fridays at Artie's place, Color Outside the lines


The Cookie Exchange at Relatively Unique

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. Patti...I LOVE the way your kitchen looks. I would buy the house for that alone. I don't think a house has to be showroom perfect for someone to envision their life there. In fact, when I bought my home, half the fun was visualizing how I would put my stamp on it. You have enough to worry about. Leave everything the beautiful way it is.

  2. Have some freshly baked bread lying on the counter, keep you kitchen as it is and potential buyers will lap it up. You want a family with the desire to have their kitchen the heart of their home and to treat every nook and cranny with as much love as youe family has.

  3. I say leave as is. Your kitchen is your life and right now your livelihood. You don't have anything hanging around that isn't some type of kitchen tool. I love your kitchen and am modeling mine after yours. I think that as long as the other room are "staged" you will be ok.

  4. Pattie, I love your kitchen and decor and Everything taste. If your buyers are so detached from reality and cold, they don't belong in this amazing home and old world-new world gourmet wonderful kitchen. All your accessories, dishes,china cabinet with pristine ironstone ware is all what others would have a stager bring in to decorate.Don't be too hard on yourselves. Hope you don't change too much. Wish you all the best...Emelia. Hugs!

  5. Leave your kitchen as it is-it's beautiful, the hardest part will be when the new buyers want you to leave everything behind! Your pastry looks just yummy:@)

  6. Pattie, Your kitchen looks beautiful. I think the stagers are in part talking about "clutter." What you have and use is not clutter. Wanna see clutter? Come to my place and see my "paper collection!" lol I work from home, and my office has papers on the floor at times. I just don't have anywhere else to put them. So I do what works for me - also, I'm not selling right now...your home and kitchen are lovely. Your recipes just amaze me, Pattie. They're so "exotic." Things I have never heard of, words I cannot pronounce. My mother was (and is) a great cook....but we grew up on meat, potatoes and gravy....
    Have a wonderful wknd and thanks for INSPIRING me! If you EVER get to the midwest, come see me. I would love to have tea with you.
    Blessings, Beth

  7. Hi Pattie - first, I didn't realize you were moving... I HATE MOVING!! No, I hate packing and unpacking!!!!!!

    With that said, I love ruggelach, and I adore a well used, attractive, and function kitchen! One time when we were selling one of our homes, I left the house to pick up the kids from school. I was baking that day and there were cooling racks and dirty dishes all over the place. I was horrified when I returned and found a realtors business card on the kitchen counter. Later I found out the visitor who came that day ended up buying the house - the wife fell in love with the "real life functionality" of my kitchen.


  8. love your place it looks great, and your desserts look divine!

  9. Are you kidding???? I would buy your house JUST for the kitchen, and JUST the way it is. I want to know that it works, I can work in there, AND it still looks GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't listen to the "experts"!!!!!

  10. Pattie,
    I wouldn't change a thing either! When we listed our home I keep the counters as they organized working kitchen. Your counters look organized and beautiful, not cluttered!
    Yeah! I am so glad you joined in on our party tonight (and that I figured it out)!!
    I printed off both recipes. I know Lil Tony and I will give them a try :)

  11. I think everything looks just perfect Pattie! And these two recipes look fantastic! YUM!

  12. The kitchen is the heart of the home and your heart beats! I wouldn't change a thing. If you happen to have some of those delightful Chausson or Ruggelach baking in the oven when people come for a showing, so much the better :)

  13. I would not change anything! Your kitchen is beautiful and I, for one, find it warming and welcoming to see your 'things' out. They are nicely displayed and also say 'someone lives here' and uses this kitchen. It doesn't look cluttered at all and I think that would be the turn off to someone.
    The pastries look and sound great too!


  14. Patti, I love your kitchen. Of course, as you know, Scott's the real estate agent so he'll probably have the best advice - but it's 12:30 and he's fast asleep! :) I say that when I tour kitchens in open houses, I look for 3 things: UPDATES, which your kitchen most certainly has - so no need to go crazy there, COUNTERSPACE, again - you have, and you've already cleared those counters and left out only the necessities! (A mixer is DEFINITELY an necessity!) and FLOW. So long as you can see yourself navigating easily throughout the kitchen - it will sell as a "cooks kitchen." I always tell Scott's clients who don't have great kitchens to show the convenience of the workspace with a beautiful bamboo cutting board on the counter next to the sink and a crock of wooden spoons next to the stove. It gives people an idea that there is space to store things, and to do things - even when there isn't! :) Just my two cents, or three? LOL! I'll get Scott's idea's tomorrow for you! Thanks so much for linking up this Friday, I'm SO glad you did, and I value your participation! Hope you'll link up next week too!

  15. Love your after school snacks and I ADORE your kitchen just the way it is! I would buy your home just based on the strength of that kitchen! I have such a tiny space here. I have only a 2 foot square measure of working space. As a cook I find that very frustrating. Not much I can do about it though, that's just the way it is! xxoo

  16. J and I were just talking about organizing our kitchen this morning. I really need to redo some of our stuff. It is definitely a 2 cook kitchen, as we share in the prep of meals.

    I absolutely love your kitchen the way it is and definitely would not be turned off, as a prospective buyer.

    I know the plan is to take the owner's personality out of a house when trying to sell...but then the "soul" is gone and I wonder if some of the soul of the house remained, along with staging, perhaps the house would sell quicker. Just my 2 cents Pattie. I know and appreciate the importance of home staging when selling. We've been in homes that are blank canvases, some with staging and others with staging plus soul. Your kitchen has soul.

    After school snacks look fabulous!
    Happy Weekend!

  17. Patti, I think buyers dislike clutter. If the things you want to keep in the kitchen are not crowded together and are neatly spaced you'll have no problem. I love your recipes for chausson and ruggelach and can't wait to give them a try. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  18. Hi Patti! Oh, your food looks absolutely scrumptious!
    Now about your kitchen, if I were looking at your house as a possible buy, I'd love seeing it just like it is! I love it that you have all the space for all of your gadgets and kitchen pretties. I don't like to see a kitchen nekked (that's Texan for naked) they always look so cold. I'd much rather see a lived in kitchen - especially one as pretty as yours.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  19. Patti and Allie -- I love your kitching and when staging...I like a working kitchen! Your desserts both seem so good...I REALLY need to make some of your recipes! Joni

  20. Scrumptious, delicious, yummy, indeed! Oh my, you have a beautiful home and your kitchen is awesome! I would live and enjoy and do what you normally do, buyers will certainly like the feel of a warm home!


  21. Pattie

    I think kitchen would be a dream come true for anyone, keep it the way you have it, people coming thru can see that it is a kitchen you can work it and provide loving meals from! Now your chaussons looks delicious, my favorite pastry of all time was from Paris, Chausson au flaky and delicious! Yours look every bit as good!
    Keep baking!!

  22. Your food and your kitchen both always perfect and delicious! I definitely wouldn't change a thing! Someone said have bread - I would go for nice pot of pasta sauce simmering :-)

    We made it through the first week of school successfully too. TGIF!

  23. First - I want to come home from school to your house with those kinds of treats!!!

    As an interior designer myself, your kitchen looks like a model home, with everything tastefully displayed. Rather than cluttered, it looks artful and inspiring and makes people feel like they could cook there. I think the people that commented on it were how most people would respond.

    I love it and your kitchen is beautiful. Good luck with selling in this market, but having sold our first house when interests rates were 16% in 1982, I know that a house well done can sell in any market!

    Tell Allie congrats on being Varsity cheer, how fun and busy for her!

  24. Hello there,

    I expect you'd enjoy (that may not be the right word, actually) reading the section of Dominique Browning's latest book ("Slow Love") in which the Uber-Competent Real Estate agent visits her house in preparation for the first "Open House".

    The agent doesn't seem to know that Browning is the former editor of House & Garden and has lived in this house for 22 years. She goes through the house simultaneously gushing with delight and barking out orders to CLEAR IT AND PUT IT ALL AWAY!!!...

    "This is terrific. What a gorgeous kitchen. You've decorated it so beautifully. NOW, you're going to have to CLEAR ALL THE COUNTERS....knickknacks. Get rid of all that stuff...Beautiful. I love what you've done with this house. Make sure you PUT IT ALL AWAY!!!!..."

    The author's taken aback at hearing her treasures referred to as "knickknacks"....and she briefly entertains the notion "Maybe I could sell the house to my sister. Maybe I could just GIVE it to her..."

    In any case, good luck. When I leave this house (which, as I just discovered, is only about twelve miles from yours), I'll probably just let one or another just-divorced friend(two or so fetch up here every year) move into it as it is. The alternative (scrubbing it of "personality") is just too appalling to even consider.

    David Terry

  25.'ve touched upon two strings today...the one as the sweet tooth that I am and of course the Interior Designer who does for a living. You've done a fabulous job on both ends. Brava on your decor and baking!

    Flavourful wishes,

  26. lovely kitchen, relects warmth and usefullness ... two great recipes that I want to make... thanks


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