Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fig and Blue Cheese Tart with Honey, Balsamic and Rosemary

I love figs.  Newtons were one of my favorite cookies as a child.....still are.  That cakey exterior with the sweet crunchy filling.  Yum.  But I never associated that cookie with fresh fruit until my first trip to Italy.  We had hired a driver for the time we were in Florence and on about the third day he invited us to his home to taste his wine.  As I got out of the car there was a tree with huge pieces of fruit weighing down the branches.  I had never seen a fig tree before.  I plopped one in my mouth and was smitten.  


So when they start presenting themselves at the summer markets I buy them until they're no longer available.  We mostly eat them raw....sliced on our cheese tray which is frequently our summer dinner outside on the porch with a bottle of Rose'.  We'll wrap them in prosciutto with a hint of stilton stuffed inside or maybe just plain with a bit of honey drizzled on top. 


So when I stumbled across this recipe on Food52 I knew we'd like it.  I added pine nuts for some texture and if I'd had any prosciutto in the house I would have added it to the mix also.


This would be a great for a girls night in (or for your next mahjong party, mama).  I served this with a simple salad of mixed greens with my favorite vinaigrette.  Delicious.

My next house (wherever that may be) will definitely have a fig tree!

Here's the recipe:

Fig and Blue Cheese Tart with Honey, Balsamic and Rosemary



1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but still cool
1 pound figs
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon thick balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoon honey, depending on the sweetness of the figs (the darker and more flavorful the better)
1/3 cup firm blue cheese (I used Wisconsin, but go more intense if you like)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

With a mortar and pestle, bash a few sprigs of rosemary with olive oil. Set aside.

Using a bit of flour, roll out your dough until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Since it’s a free form tart, any shape is fine. Make a pretty little border by folding over a 1/2-inch on each side (the tart gets a little drippy so it’s nice to have a dam).

Stem, halve, and arrange the figs cut-side up on the dough in any pattern (just make sure they’re tightly nestled). Using a pastry brush, generously paint the cut-side of each fig half with the rosemary oil. Sprinkle each fig with salt.

Drizzle balsamic and the honey all over, making sure each fig gets a little splash. Crumble cheese all over. Drape the bashed and oily rosemary stems anywhere you like on the tart.

Bake until crispy, brown, and bubbling (about 25 minutes). If the figs don’t get enough color, cover the edges of dough with tin foil and place tart under the broiler until desired color is reached. Cool for a few minutes. Eat.

Friday, July 25, 2014

So, here's what's been happening around here......

It's been quite the summer!  I thought it was about time I caught up with y'all.

What I've gotten rid of......

After several last minute hiccups which, according to my real estate agent, I don't know the half of.....WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!!  This shit was two years of some extremely interesting/crazy/bizzare and in the end nice people traipsing through my house so you'll have to excuse my excitement.


I can only hope the new owners and their children enjoy the place as much as we did for the past 12 years.  However, we're really happy to not have to take care of it anymore.  We're currently living in an extremely small rental that I'm loving for the most part.....my closet and bathroom could definitely stand to be a little larger....but until we figure out what we want to do next, it's fine.  We're looking at a few options so I'll keep you posted.

Where I've been..........

Right as we were in the middle of house negotiations, we took off for Anguilla for a week.  Not the best possible timing, but we'd had the trip planned for a year so off we went.  We stayed at the Viceroy and man does it not suck.

We stayed in one of Exclusive Resorts four bedroom villas that was a perfect place to forget all that was going on back home.  The tequila may have played a part in that too.


The resort is pretty spread out so it seems as if we had the place to ourselves for the week.  The staff is amazing, the resort is immaculate, and the food mouth watering good.  


Put the Viceroy on your bucket list!




What parties I've thrown..........

And because my planning is impeccable, two weeks after arriving home I was throwing my niece and her fiancĂ© an engagement party for about 50 people!  


Since Charlotte is from Ohio and Ben grew up in Alabama, the was the first time meeting for many of the family members. I think everybody had a good time.....I know I did!!




I kept things pretty simple.....beer, wine, iced tea and lemonade.....and then made arguably the best catering decision of any party I've every thrown and hired one of Birmingham's best food trucks.  Who doesn't love gourmet grilled cheese?  Boom!!

And the best part of the food truck idea was that I didn't have to do any food prep or any clean up and I could thoroughly enjoy myself along with every one else.


I may have even hired professional photo bombers...........


How cute is this little one!  She became a big sister to twin brothers just a few short weeks after the party.


And thank you Mother Nature for providing a beautiful evening to celebrate the bride and groom. 


We even got in some family pics.  The first photo is of Ben's family......


And this hot mess is Charlotte's (and mine so I'm allowed to say that!).....it's clear which side is the more photogenic!!!



The party was on a Saturday night and Monday morning the movers were at my front door to start packing and ten days later we were out!  We closed a day after that.  Crazy.

The next couple of months don't look to be any less interesting as we're heading to Colorado over Labor Day to see some great friends, checking out Sun Valley in mid-September, and then the big wedding in Ohio in October.

I promise to post more regularly now that things have settled down.





Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Furniture for sale

So it looks like we've cleared all of the major hurdles and while I know nothing is ever truly complete until that fucking fat lady sings, I say with 65% confidence (I'm a cynic to my very core) that WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!!!

We close on June 27th and I'm having a MAJOR party here on June 14th.  How's that for some damn good timing?  On June 15th I start my freak out and will begin selling practically all of my furniture because we're old and like all old people, we're downsizing and getting rid of all extraneous bullshit in preparation for death.  

I was really smart in my youth and spent a BUNCH of Mr. Buker's hard earned cash on all custom made/high end furniture.  That's the shit I'm selling and will undoubtedly make Mr. Buker cry when we get pennies on the dollar for all of this really NICE STUFF.

Here it is.  Email me at jillbuker@gmail.com if you're interested or need further information like dimensions.  Like I said, I can't get rid of it until June 15th so all of my guest have somewhere to sit on the 14th.

Oh and everything is in GREAT condition because we DON'T HAVE KIDS!!

FYI.....I don't deliver.



Vanguard custom chairs  There are two of these
  $200/chair or $350 for both 






Vanguard custom sofa.  There are two of these
$800/sofa or $1500 for both





Vanguard custom sofa
$800






two rugs
6 x 9 $100
8 1/2 x 12 $150






$500






 Mirror
(this thing is massive...it's hanging in my foyer and it's 9' high and 9' wide...that's 9 FEET!)
I paid $4500, asking $1000






 Japanese style screens
This is four separate screens that could also be used as room dividers, etc
They're heavy and substantial....all four together are 13 1/2 feet wide and 7 feet tall
I paid $6000, asking $1500


$600



Iron bed in dark green - King size
$100 for frame
$175 for frame and mattress/box springs



Desk $200

Custom chair $75
this is slightly faded but great bones
also includes a matching stool


$150



Custom chair
There are two of these
$100/chair or $175 for both


dining chairs 
There are 8 of these
$25/chair or $175 for all

two rugs
6' 1" x 8' 9" (originally $3000) $500
9' 3" x 12' (originally $5000) $800






Bar height teak table and chairs (Kingsley-Bate)
I've had these for about 15 years and they're still in great shape.  We just sanded them all down last week and re-oiled them.
$150 for set including cushions

Kingsley-Bate lounge chair
$50 including cushion

Kingsley Bate lounge chair with arms
$50 including cushion



Kingsley Bate teak rocker, side table and chaise
$50/chair and $15 for table


 

Kingsley Bate teak furniture 
Couch, four chairs, two foot stools and coffee table
$350 for complete set including cushions




Kingsley Bate teak Bench
there are two of these
$50/bench



Adirondack Chair & footstool
I have 8 of these and they're a composite material so they'll last forever you never have to do anything with them.  I love these!
$75/chair



Washer and Dryer
Free to a good home!  They both work but they're 12 years old.


That's it for right now, but there may be more later.
jillbuker@gmail.com for inquiries

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