joy of nesting

joy of nesting
Shiree Hanson Segerstrom Design and Wellness for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain.

Chez Panisse Pastry Chef Lindsey Shere's Super Easy Recipe: "Another Fig Tart"

I've been on vacation this week, or "staycation" in catch phrased version. Yesterday morning when I took the doggies for their walkies my garden was scented with the wonderful smells of my neighbors numerous fig trees.

Figs are a favorite of mine this time of year. I especially love them with Gorgonzola and a drizzle of honey over bitter salad greens, adding a  few toasted walnuts for a nice crunch. I've also had figs and Gorgonzola on pizzetta. Another big hit.  Wrapped in bacon is an exotic version I've loved in the past, though since I've turned vegetarian this is obviously no longer an option.

One of the more inspiring cookbooks is Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Shere. Here is her recipe for Another Fig Tart. She named it this to differentiate it from her Fig Tart recipe with the puff pastry crust. This one has a pate brisee crust.  Lindsey is one of the best pastry chefs in the country.

Pies and tarts are one of my favorite Saturday morning projects. I've been baking them since I was a young mother and wife. I would love to try this with creme patisserie. Lindsey would probably not approve that change however.

Lindsey's Another Fig Tart

8 servings

One 9 inch tart shell (buy Lindsey's book or use my pie crust recipe found in the archives of this blog)
1 and a half pounds rip figs
1 t. sugar
2 T. apricot jam
few drops each of kirsch and Grand Marnier

Bake the tart shell in a preheated 350F oven until evenly golden brown and cooked through.  Meanwhile, cut off the tough ends from the stems of the figs. Peel the figs--the peel should pull off easily if the figs are ripe; if they are thick-skinned green figs, you will have to cut the peel off. Slice the figs in half and overlap them in the cooled shell. Sprinkle them lightly with the sugar and bake the tart in the 350F oven until the figs are cooked through and juicing a little--about 30 minutes.

Cool the tart on a rack. In 5 or 10 minutes, warm the jam and add the liqueurs to it. Brush the figs with the glaze, and serve the tart warm with a little creme Chantilly.

Photo Credits: Evan Sung New York Times and Andrew Scrivani New York Times

Framed Prints and Reproduction Hand Painted Canvas'

There are times when reproduction artwork fills a specific need. I am working on a living room, dining room, and kitchen that is just such a project.

Choosing original artwork can be a daunting task. In the past when I've chosen for client's I've always relied on the assistance of a gallery manager. I have enjoyed those times and subsequent projects placing the artwork I assisted in purchasing.

When budget doesn't allow, or when original artwork isn't a priority, I enjoy choosing reproduction prints and canvas' to compliment my home designs.

Purchasing such pieces for the home need not be such a serious event. Since you won't be investing large sums of money on originals you can have a little fun with it.

I really love these doors. They are quite large and would compliment a contemporary or Asian style decor.

Love the brush strokes of this hand painted canvas.

More hand painted canvas'. These coordinates are suitable for the kitchen.

These pieces would be appropriate in a hospitality project like a restaurant or hotel or in model homes.

Mission Accomplished-a New Rectory for Father R.

For the past few weeks I've been working on a church rectory project. It entailed going to several church owned residences, choosing various furnishings from each, having them moved to the new rectory, and placed.

I had a beautiful sofa to work with, a large framed mirror, some interesting religious artwork, and various end tables and lamps. I found this lamp in a spare bedroom in one residence we were picking from. I wondered if it was Meissen but I'm not an expert on ceramics.

The carpet made a definite statement that had to be worked around. As well, much of the furniture I had to choose from was neutral and made a rather drab space initially.  The end results ended up being rather homey all things considered.

I'm told the priest was quite taken with his new surroundings. Mission accomplished.

A Sunroom for a Returning Client

This is an unstyled shot of a sunroom I recently fitted with roller blinds. It belongs to a returning client who has recently overcome cancer and wanted a space that was super light filled and clean.

I think we accomplished that. Today we were measuring for a retractable awning with wind sensors. While there, she shared stories with me about her time as doctor in the emergency rooms of Afghanistan.

She served us slices of almond raspberry tart and coffee while the awning company measured for the job.


I have a little news to share with my Joy of Nesting readers. David and I were married in a small courthouse park ceremony on Friday.  Our wonderful friends John and Charlene witnessed our union and later  joined us for a champagne lunch at one of our favorite haunts. Our reception will be held in late September at my 1930's Spanish revival home.

In September the weather is perfect here and the garden is verdant green. I can hardly wait to see the faces of family and friends gathered around us to bless our marriage, some of whom I haven't seen in a year or two. More reception details to come. For now, it's back to designing beautiful homes for my wonderful clientele.

Here's to a long and happy marriage my dearest David. I love you.

ELLE DECOR September Issue

This month's issue of Elle Decor magazine features a romantic, cozy, and architecturally stunning home in Ojai, California. Ojai is next door to Santa Barbara. It's a much less expensive place to live and over the last ten or fifteen years has seen many lovely retail shops move in.

The home belongs to actress Reese Witherspoon (darling nieces shown above) and was furnished by LA designer Kristen Buckingham. The decor is very subtle, very comfy and is well suited to the architecture and location--one of the things I'm forever preaching about.

Above is the living room with it's fabulous fireplace and Juliet balcony. The ceiling has exposed beams and I wonder if at one time it was a vaulted barrel ceiling.

The dining room is very laid back with mismatched furniture. It's a charming effect but is it practical and comfortable during meals? I love to see new uses of furniture but there's a fine line between avant garde and "affected". I don't mean to be a nay sayer. It really is a lovely home.

The garden features some lovely stone work, native plants and crushed granite paths.

Above lots of faux mounted antlers, one of my current obsessions. Emphasis on the faux thank you very much.

Another shot of the living room portrays very little color, a confident move considering virtually everything right now is bright and bold. Perhaps Reese, working as hard as she does while filming, needs to be surrounded by relaxing neutrals.

Not everyone subscribes to Elle Decor and I wanted my design enthusiast readers to be aware of the article. It is a wonderful example of Spanish architecture: one of California's more beautiful, inherited legacies. This article can currently be viewed online by clicking here- Elle Decor. 


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