July 1, 2017

easy apple tarts

It’s the first of July,
but around here, it’s apple picking season!

Believe it or not, I’ve been picking apples
all week off my little Anna Apple tree,
and today alone,I gathered around 5 pounds of apples! 

So, today I’m adding a new recipe,
 my repertoire of apple desserts.

I just watched Ina Garten make these
easy apple tarts this morning on The Barefoot Contessa.

The timing couldn’t be better.

I just happened to have puff pastry dough in the freezer
and then all I needed was sugar, butter, apricot jam
and course apples!

Look at my little tree.  It’s only about 7 feet tall,
but it literally produces bushels and bushels
of apples all summer long.

I’m hoping to also make a few of my other
favorite recipes next week like
Huguenot Torte, and
Traditional Apple Pie.

Ina also has a recipe for Apple Pie Bars made
with a shortbread crust that I want to make too, (Yum!)
but for now, here’s the recipe for you all:

Ina Garten’s Apple Tarts

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
4 small (6 ounce) Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, small-diced
3/4 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
3 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water (I used water)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 4 squares. Divide the pastry between the prepared sheet pans and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally across the pastry and place one slice of apple on each side of the arranged slices. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the sugar and dot them with the butter.

Bake for 40 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Don't worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tarts will be fine! When the tarts are done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados until bubbly and brush the apples and pastry completely with the jelly mixture.

Loosen the tarts with a metal spatula so they don't stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

ciao! fabiana

June 30, 2017

my friday five

The  Tablelands model home

Wow, it’s Friday!

We made it through the first “official” week of summer
and I’m enjoying our summer schedule soooo much!

School just let out for us last week, so here
in Newport, the kids are spending lots
of time at the beach.

So that means lots of 
sand is filtering its way into the house,
I’ve got loads of beach towels to wash,
and lots of sunscreen to apply!

It is so fun!  
And now, we can look forward
to 4th of July in a few days too.

We’ve already been hearing the pops 
and bangs every night from the local fireworks 
people are randomly setting off…
my dogs are terrified, ugh!

Anyways, this weekend I’m looking forward to
checking out a new community of homes here in
Eastside Costa Mesa, called Tablelands.

The model is now open on Sundays,
so I’ll be taking a peek, and I can’t wait to see it,
 because the model was designed
she’s got a really fun fresh farmhouse style I love!  

This week I stopped into Roger’s Gardens
to grab a few lavender and boxwood plants
to fill in a few empty spot in my garden,
and took a shot of this pretty outdoor table
just for you all!

I just love the pretty blue glasses on the table.
They really liven up the whole table. 

I love the herb section at Roger’s.
They integrate edible flowers and cute
garden accessories so beautifully. 

I’m tuning up my bike this weekend... 
filling the tires with air and oiling things up.
It’s so fun to ride around town
instead of getting in that hot car!

And speaking of bikes,
Here’s a  cute pic from Marissa Hermer’s
new cookbook, “An American Girl in London”.

Doesn’t her Couscous and Tomato salad look good?
This is what I'm making for Saturday...

Herby Couscous with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

1½ lbs. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 red onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
¼ cup plus 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tsp. black pepper, divided
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2½ cups uncooked pearl couscous
1 cup pitted, roughly chopped kalamata olives
1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
½ cup finely chopped fresh basil
1½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 oz. feta cheese (about ¾ cup crumbled)

1. Preheat oven to 250°. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Place cherry tomatoes, cut side up, and onion wedges on baking tray. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bake until caramelized, sticky and sweet, about 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, bring stock to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add couscous, and simmer 6 minutes. Remove from heat; cover, and let stand until all of the stock is soaked up, about 10 minutes. Spread couscous on a large, clean baking tray to cool.

do something amazing this weekend! 
ciao,  fabiana

photo credits:
Ciao Newport Beach blog
Country Living
Marissa Hermer

June 29, 2017

the textures of summer

I’m so happy that summer’s officially here!

I love pulling out textural pieces
to accessorize the house,
so today it’s all about looking for
new inspirational ways to
change things up a bit at home.

Bamboo, wicker, raffia, seagrass, sisal and burlap
are great ways to add a
 little dimension to your decor.

Isn’t it fab how tropical houseplants
can instantly put you in a summer mood?

And bright and cheerful geraniums
epitomize the warmer seasons.   

Imagine how boring this room would be 
without all the plants and natural textures. 

A simple way to update a front entry,
is to just add a basket or two.

They’ll provide extra storage and
add a little coastal vibe to your home.

I love the zig-zaggy pattern on these!  

Woven wood or bamboo blinds are relatively
inexpensive and look great all year.

It’s easy to create a layered look with these
natural blinds and fabric drapes.

These tall windows look amazing with the striped 
curtains and woven blinds,
and what about those antique doors...


How about this room with texture on
the ceiling, mantel and at the table?

These interesting wicker chairs are a mix of
industrial on the bottom, and beachy on the top!

I love how these vintage chairs are updated
with this fabulous nubby fabric
and whip-stitched detail.

It’s a great idea to add a little pop of color
for a fun element in a room so full
of natural fibers and a neutral palette.

I'm off to mix things up a bit at home!

I hope you guys are having an amazing day,
whatever you're doing.

I'm looking forward to the weekend,
and we're in the last stretch of the week,
so finish it off with something that makes you feel good!

Treat yourself to a little 
something special...


ciao! fabiana

photo credit:
1 2 House Beautiful 
4 5 6 Traditional Home
7 Architectural Digest


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