Get in the holiday spirit with one of these holiday home tours…
Considering Emilio Pucci was founded in Capri, nearly 40 years ago, it’s not surprising that a Pucci look would complement this Mediterranean-style outdoor space gracing the pages of our March Outdoor issue. Photographed by Nancy Nolan and designed by P. Allen Smith, it’s the Little Rock backyard (oasis) of Chip and Cindy Murphy.
(Sneak peek: Pucci was the inspiration behind one of our real weddings in our Spring/Summer 2010 Weddings issue, which we sent to press yesterday!)
A huge welcome to renowned garden designer, author and television personality P. Allen Smith! We truly could not be more thrilled to kick-off our Holiday Guest Blogger Series with P. Allen’s delicious holiday recipes: fig chutney and a cranberry-pear tart! He served us that delicious chutney along with warm brie and crusty bread when we visited earlier this season to photograph the holiday project ideas you’ll find in our December issue. We think you’ll enjoy both the recipes and the projects!
PS- Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a year-long subscription to At Home in Arkansas magazine! Click here for details, and to see our month-long Holiday Guest Blogger Series schedule.
(photo by Nancy Nolan)
The holiday season is in full swing, and I for one could not be happier. This is one of my most favorite times of the yearâwhatâs better than spending time with friends and family, exchanging gifts and good cheer, and of course, indulging a bit in delicious food?
I am of the opinion that the best food is fresh food; using seasonal ingredients imparts a level of flavor that simply cannot be matched by canned and processed foodsâ¦especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Thereâs just something special about picking out fresh produce from the farmersâ market or, even better, from my own garden, and heading straight to the kitchen to prepare a feast.
Now, I admit thereâs another reason Iâm excited about this particular holiday seasonâmy sixth book comes out at the end of December, and itâs a cookbook! After years of featuring cooking segments on my television shows and on the web site, creating a cookbook for the Garden Home book series just seemed like the natural next step! P. Allen Smithâs Seasonal Recipes from the Garden is a celebration of using fresh, seasonal ingredients to create wonderful meals, and is filled with my own recipes, as well as memorable recipes from friends and family members.
The hardest part of creating the cookbook was narrowing down all of my recipes, and some just had to be left out. Two particular recipes, for fig chutney and a cranberry-pear tart, are just perfect for the holidays, so I wanted to share them with you all. I love the versatility of the chutney, as it can be used as either an appetizer or an accompaniment to pork and poultry dishes, while the balance of sweet and tangy in the tart makes for a truly decadent finish to a holiday meal.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do, and I wish you a wonderful holiday season! Cheers!
2 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 lb. light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup diced white onion
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4 lbs. firm, slightly ripe fresh figs, rinsed, stems removed and sliced
In a large saucepan combine the vinegar, sugar, onion, mustard seeds, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, salt, allspice and cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened and reduced by two-thirds, forming a fairly thick syrup. Add the figs and cook gently until the figs are very soft and beginning to fall apart and most of the liquid they’ve produced has evaporated, about 15 minutes. The mixture will be quite thick.
Transfer the chutney to a non-reactive container and let come to room temperature before serving. The chutney may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. It is great served over brie or as an accompaniment to roast pork or poultry.
For the crust you may choose to use readymade rolled crust from the grocery rather than making a crust from scratch. This is a 9-inch crust and you will need a glass, ceramic or metal pie plate for this. Follow the manufacturerâs directions on the box, and allow the crust to cool completely.
3 cups dry red wine
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
5 large slightly under-ripe Bosc pears, peeled, halved and cored, each half cut into 3 long wedges
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. chopped unsalted pistachios
Allow the cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Combine the wine, sugar, water, lemon juice, lemon zest, cloves and cinnamon stick in large skillet. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add the pears and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until pears are tender when pierced with a knife, turning occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes depending on ripeness. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a plate and place them in the freezer to cool while you continue with the remaining steps.
Add the cranberries to a bowl of hot water to soften. While the cranberries are softening, boil the poaching liquid in the skillet until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, stirring often, about 10 minutes. When the cranberries are softened, drain and transfer to a plate. You can make the pears, cranberries, syrup and crust one day ahead of time, refrigerate, and then assemble prior to serving. You will need to let the reduced syrup come to room temperature if you choose to do this.
To assemble the tart, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl using a spoon or handheld mixer. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the inside of the cooled crust. Starting at the outer edges of the crust, arrange pears closely like the spokes of a wheel with stem ends toward center. Arrange remaining pears in the center in a smaller circle. Scatter the cranberries over the pears and drizzle the tart with the reduced syrup. Top with the chopped pistachios. Slice and serve.
Allen has so many great ideas that we wanted to share even more of his tips with you. So, he graciously offered to giveaway a signed copy of his cookbook:
And a trio of his gardening card decks, with how-to tutorials:
We’re going to make two lucky blog winners happy and giveaway the book to one and the gardening how-to’s to another! Leave us a comment telling us your favorite holiday decor idea from Allen’s own home, and you’ll be entered to win.
Winners will be chosen in a random drawing via random.org on December 18th. Happy holidays! We’re looking forward to reading your comments.
One of our favorite new holiday albums is A Very She and Him Christmas. Have you heard? M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s soulful interpretation of classics like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Silver Bells” is pure wintertime goodness. Art director Mandy Keener, a fan of She and Him’s vintage style, used the album’s cover as inspiration for this month’s Cover With Style edition.
Wouldn’t you just love to curl up on this porch in P. Allen Smith’s home, featured here in At Home in Arkansas’ December issue, with a warm blanket and soft Christmas tunes from She and Him playing in the background? Sign us up!
Thanks to everyone who commented on last week’s blog post about P. Allen Smith’s holiday decor in our December issue. And those who commented were entered to win a signed copy of Allen’s cookbook and his how-to gardening decks. Through a random selection via random.org, the winners are:
Comment #6 belongs to Randye Dill, who wins these:
Congrats Victoria and Randye! We’ll be contacting you via email. And stayed tuned for another giveaway beginning today!
Anyone else have spring fever? This lovely warm weather has us ready to welcome spring.
(photos by Nancy Nolan)
To see more of this gorgeous outdoor living area (designed by Ward Lile, former creative director for P. Allen Smith), visit here. For an extra treat…take a peek INSIDE the Schocks’ lovely home as well.
And welcome spring!