2010 starts with a BANG!

The house gets published~

2010 promises to be an exciting year and it has already started off with a big bang.

Our house has been published in the 2010 February “Makeovers” issue of House Beautiful magazine on news stands now. Yes, House Beautiful has already sent the February issue to its subscribers and some of our friends have already found it on sale in stores. Please check your favorite local store—whether it is a grocery store, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Borders, or convenient store. If you cannot find it, ask the store when the 2010 February issue of House Beautiful will be appearing on their racks. Once you find it, buy it! There is no way to view the magazine on line and we’d love for our issue to sell out.

The article is entitled “Reimagining a Grande Dame” and appears on pages 66 through 75. Mimi Read (http://www.mimiread.com) wrote the article and insightfully brought to life the interviews that she did with each of us separately—I was in Hilton Head Island while Richard was home in Montgomery. William Abranowicz (http://www.williamabranowicz.com/HOME.html) photographed the house and it was thrilling to watch him work the natural light that floods our house. Peter Frank (http://peterfrank.com/) cleverly styled the house, arranging flowers and using items that we already had throughout the house. House Beautiful’s Design Director Scot Schy originally “scouted” our house and started the ball rolling, plus he is a genius with an iron. The architecture firm that Richard works for (www.mcalpinetankersley.com) repeatedly has their work featured in House Beautiful, both architecture and interior design.

For the photo shoot I made an Heirloom Tomato and Onion Tart and it can be seen on the kitchen island, page 71. I have included the recipe for it below (*). This is not the most opportune time of year to make a tomato tart, but we can all read it and dream of a warm summer and the taste of tomatoes. If you do happen to find delicious tomatoes now, make this recipe and enjoy a bit of summer in winter.

Enjoy our house and the rest of the articles in the 2010 February issue. If you’d like to write to House Beautiful and let them know how much you enjoyed the article on our house and this February issue, they can be reached at: readerservices@housebeautiful.com.

Thanks for indulging me on this slight diversion from the blog’s usual content. With the New Year, I have also slightly altered the blog’s format, which now includes a “Tags” section. This is a glossary of previous entries categorized by topics. The “Tags” appear on the right side of the blog below my bio. You can still scroll down and read beyond the most recent entry, but with the addition of the “Tags” listings, the blog can now be searched for common subjects between all the entries.

Ciao e a presto~


*Here is the recipe:

Heirloom Tomato and Onion Tart with Pancetta, Basil, and Mint

by Mark Leslie

3 large heirloom tomatoes (2 ¼ – 2 ½ pounds)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 slices (approximately 5 ounces) ¼-inch-thick cut pancetta, cut into ¼-inch-thick cubes

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-rounds

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

¼ cup chiffonade of fresh mint

2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, divided

¼ cup chiffonade of fresh basil

1 (8 ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, cut into seven ¼-inch-thick slices

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Deseed each tomato by slicing across just under the stem end, and using your finger or the handle of a spoon, remove the seeds from the tomato’s cavities, leaving the firm flesh walls of the tomato intact, and discarding the seeds and any of the tomato’s juices. Cut each tomato into ¼-inch-thick slices, liberally salt and pepper both sides of each slice, and place on three layers of paper towels to weep.

3. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Add the onions and cook with the pancetta until the onions are soft and start to turn a light golden brown, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the vinegar until well combined. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan.

4. Lightly butter a non-stick 10-inch tart pan with removable rim. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out until it is large enough to fill the tart pan. Fit it into the tart pan and trim off any overhanging pieces of pastry. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.

5. To assemble the tart, spoon the cooled onion mixture onto the chilled pastry, evenly distributing the onions and pancetta. Scatter the mint over the onion mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon bread crumbs over the top. Overlap the tomato slices in a circular pattern, using the smaller slices to fill in the center of the tart. Scatter the basil over the tomatoes and evenly space the mozzarella slices on top of the basil. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon bread crumbs over the entire tart, followed by the Parmigiano. Drizzle with olive oil.

6. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until the crust’s edge and mozzarella are golden brown. (Place a baking sheet on the rack below if the tart starts to drip while baking.) Remove the outer rim and let the tart cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before slicing, and serving warm. The tart may also be left to cool completely before slicing and serving at room temperature. Serves 8 to 10.