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

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Planning for the Future Brings Memories of the Past- Couscous Apple Salad

Thursday. I can't believe it's already Thursday! This week is flying by and I don't feel like much has gotten done (though my family would probably disagree)

I know I mentioned earlier this week that we probably won't be doing tablescapes for a while due to Mr B INSISTING that most of my dishes need to be packed (he can be SO unreasonable!), but Allie and I had a little "Blog Planning" session today, so I thought I'd invite you along to see how easy we are to distract plan out our blog posts. We're linking up to Susan's fabulous Tablescape Thursday party, so come and join us!

This morning was spent taking my 12 year old to the dentist for 6 (yes SIX!) extractions. His baby teeth just refuse to pop out on their own and today the canines had to be pulled- next up- orthodontist. 


I have to tell you- he was awesome! And 15 minutes ago when the dentist called to check on "her poor boy" I informed her that he was busily polishing off a humungous plate of pasta and already had his eye on the ice cream. He claims he's not even sore! 

Allie says she has to give him a few lessons on "milking it".

She's an expert

As I was sitting in the waiting room, I flipped through this month's issue of Country Living magazine. Of course I looked at the recipes first. 
I found a recipe for a lovely couscous salad that is VERY similar (actually, almost identical) to a recipe I frequently made in the Fall at our home in the Hudson Valley. We lived among wineries, dairy farms and orchards and apple recipes were always a staple. My original recipe was copied from a magazine or newspaper years ago and I've made it both with couscous and orzo, depending on what I had available.

Since I had the ingredients in the house, this was lunch for me and Allie. 

Now when we started planning, we talked about trying some new things next week

We're really anxious to try some of the fabulous looking recipes in a Greek community cookbook that was sent to us by a follower- turned- friend. Emilia so generously insisted on gifting us with this very special book from her church. So stay tuned for that!

We almost always have reminders of our family to inspire us...

Lunch at the island

He watches over us to keep us on track

As it happened, my Dad was home today and saw what we were doing. He appointed himself Supervisor and told me I was photographing the WRONG pages.

Okay, Dad.

I was showing my kids how even in the 1940s our family tables were filled from one end to the other

One of my favorites- my Dad and Grandma Josie at her dressing table. 

And to whichever family member got that vanity and lamp- I WANT IT!! P-l-e-e-e-e-a-s-e...............

And Dad with Grandpa Joe- the wine was always shared!

As we ate and planned,

I noticed something. There were pictures of my Dad, his parents, and cousins on their summer trip to Upstate NY

What are the chances??

They visited the Pine Bush, NY area for 2 weeks every summer. Fifty years later, I would (unknowingly) end up living within a half hour of the family vacation spot in the beautiful Hudson Valley of NY.
We sat at the island for several hours. I told my kids that you can never go forward without looking to your past.

Hopefully Casa Bramasole's still uncertain future will bring us to another wonderful chapter in our family's journey

Couscous and Apple Salad
adapted from Country Living and recipe from unknown magazine circa 1990s
4 tblsp. olive oil, divided
1 cup Israeli couscous (I used French couscous)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp salt
1 large Gala apple, cored, chopped, and diced
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
1 largish shallot, minced
a couple of handfuls of heirloom golden mini tomatoes
4 ounces crumbled Feta (I used herbed Feta)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup rough chopped mint
1/4 cup rough chopped basil
1 tblsp. chopped oregano

in a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tblsp of olive oil. Add couscous and, stirring frequently, cook till toasty looking and golden. Add broth and salt to taste, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes till cooked. Drain in a wire strainer and rinse with cold water- drain well and put in a large bowl. Set aside
In another bowl, toss apples with 2 tblsp lemon juice. Mix in shallots, couscous, and tomatoes, then gently toss in most of the Feta and pine nuts (save a bit for garnish).
In a blender, pulse together herbs and remaining 2 tblsp lemon juice. With motor running, dribble in remaining 3 tblsp olive oil till emulsified. Add pepper to taste and toss with salad. Garnish with reserved Feta and pine nuts. I heaped the salad in the center of a platter and added some fruits and veggies from our Farmer's Market- roasted beets, apricots, figs, and apples.

**NOTE- This is just an opinion, but since I ALWAYS have an opinion, I thought I'd share it. I followed Country Living's proportions for the dressing tonight to try it. Honestly, I would increase this by 50 per cent or even double it next time. My original dressing has a bit more dressing and I do believe I prefer it- this was a tiny bit dry for my taste.

Join us tomorrow for Foodie Friday at Gollum's and have a WONDERFUL evening full of love and family!

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. Great post. Aren't the family pictures fun? I noticed that your shots are similar to ones that we have!
    The salad sounds light and delicious!

  2. Hi Ladies, It is still hot and humid around here and hope your all keeping cool.I was surprised to see my name and cookbook mentioned! I will be looking forward to your future posts(I always do).I will pray for you all to find your next home smoothly and be where God wants you to go.I know your next home will be as inviting and full of memories as this home. I love your older family photos and it reminds me of photos I have seen. Because I don't blog and only follow and comment I was thinking of no longer commenting but your post gave me inspiration to continue to say how much I appreciate and enjoy your special blog and others I visit. God Bless and take care all you have to do in your transitions.Emelia.

  3. Great photos from yesteryear!

  4. What a wonderfully touching post, P&A! Your salad looks so cool & refreshing & I LOVED the family albums!! I must dig mine out & share them with my sweet Caroline before it is too late.
    Thanks for the push!

  5. Wonderful photos and the salad looks delicious. My first visit. Wonderful blog!

  6. Love those photos! Priceless. What a great looking salad -- glad that your son is doing so well with all that dental work!

  7. I love the family photos! I have my parents photos like thse from the 40's and it is the same scene! Relatives from one end to the other! And all smiles! Ah, why can't we live like that again! Family was FAMILY!
    Thanks for sharing,
    PS- hope you big guy feels better after all that dental hoopla!

  8. Wow! Six extractions! Tati has had two, and one more scheduled for the same reason, but not all at once! Love the salad...looks yummy! Joni

  9. ooh so love the chef with the blackboard. Can't the dishes stay out till last? What is he thinking.. Well we will just have to stay vigilant for when they get unpacked again in your new place in the sun!

  10. Great photos! I love that vanity mirror!


  11. Wow, you have been posting up a storm! I am lucky to do one a week!
    I missed where you are headed. You are packing up...
    Everything looks delicious. Poor son, 6 teeth! Brave guy!

  12. Thanks for having us to lunch at your own Greek "island". What fun to have an album full of those family photos. Thanks for sharing! ~ Sarah

  13. A trip to the island and down memory lane. You are so smart to share your heart with your children. Thank you for sharing your charming design. Cherry Kay

  14. what lovely post. How cool you're going 'back home' so to speak.

  15. What a great meal with family past and present. The salad looks like a great combination of flavors, perfect for a hot day.

    I don't envy your packing up and moving, but you can always think about how much fun it will be to decorate your new home.

  16. The salad looks amazing! I love looking at your old photos. How fun to share this with your kids. I will soon be packing and moving myself...well as soon as we sell the house...OH I am not looking forward to that. I love your plates and silverware.

    Good luck with the packing and moving.

  17. The post looks very fun and I love the chatting about family and seeing their family table. It makes me realize we need to take more pictures at Sunday dinners. They are just such a regular part of life I haven't even thought of it. I love your plates, very pretty and fun to have the computer there as part of the tablescape. Good luck!

  18. I love your family photo album...the photos look so familar because we have many very much like them. Such sweet nostalgia.

    I wish you the best of luck as you prepare for your move must be so much work but I know you will flourish where ever you go!

  19. What a great post. Loved the family photos. That salad looks great too. I will definitely have to try the recipe.

  20. Morning gals,
    I visited the Hudson valley once many years ago and loved it there. Some very nice winerys. There was a Chablis I used to by buy the case but I can't remember the name of the vinter. Maybe you could do a post about local wines? Can't believe I haven't been up since we really are pretty close here in PA.
    Thanks sweeties for the recipe I'll be trying it this week.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  21. YUM YUM! Looks delicious and beautiful! :)

  22. OH SO Yummy!!! I am definitely making this salad... and your setting was scrumptious...Donna

  23. What a lovely salad to pair with wonderful family memories. It is always so pleasant to visit here. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  24. So enjoyed my first visit with you! Great write ... love the old photos.

    Have a lovely summer's day ~
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  25. I just LOVE family photos! I so enjoyed looking at yours. There is something so wonderful about being squished around a table. I always fret that I don't have enough room but photos like this remind me that it doesn't matter. I love your white plates with the swirl design. Thanks for the recipe! I hope all goes well for you and your family.

  26. You are lucky to have the photos. So many of my family's have disappeared along the way, and they are a part of history. Thanks for sharing a piece of your life.


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