Friday, April 29, 2011

tiger stripes

good morning! happy friday! it's been a long time coming. i'd had lofty plans to attend an event last night, but sometime around noon my teeth started hurting. real bad. now, i've had this before - i'm 25 and my wisdom teeth are still dwelling somewhere deep within my gums, and i've long clung to the fact that i have room in my mouth for mine and shouldn't have to have them removed (information imparted on me when i was about 12 by a backwoods south carolinian dentist.) i suspect he was incorrect. what started out as an annoyance became a throbbing pain so intense that i was begging sam to hit me in the face hard enough to knock a tooth or two out. (to his credit, he demurred.) needless to say i skipped the event in favor of pumping myself full of ibuprofen and relishing every bite of mango italian ices. it wasn't very glamorous, but it wasn't too terrible, either.

so this morning it was a little hard to drag myself out of bed. it's been growing increasingly hot in my apartment, too - an apartment that is so hot even in december that i wear t shirts and shorts inside. so the glisten in these photographs is no photoshop trick; it's sweat, pure and simple.


shirt: j crew
shorts: asos
belt: asos
tights: hue
sandals: j crew
tiger pin: thrifted, a gift from sam

sam has gotten really, really good at picking out little gems like this brooch for me while he's out of town; it is not only awesome but also quite impressive. i've never known a guy who could pinpoint my weirdo taste in jewelry. yep, he's a keeper.

any big plans for the weekend? sam and i are heading up to boston, to attempt entry into the beer and bacon fest and attend the going away party of a good friend (and groomsman.) should be good times.

enjoy your weekend! also, i wasn't so sure about tumblr at first, but i'm pretty much addicted to it now. should you want to follow me, you can do so here.

xo audrey

**edit: i just realized the whole name of this post was incorrect. that is not a cheetah. it is a tiger. i need to review my big cats.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

beehives and houndsteeth

good morning, afternoon, or evening, depending on where you may be! i am sipping my cold cup of coffee and lamenting that it's already past noon in new york. how did that happen? i guess a flurry of office work this morning made the early hours fly by.

anyhow, how was everyone's wednesday? i came home and sam had picked up a bunch of veggies, so i decided to use the leftover pork from the scotch eggs and make some bibimbap. we both loooove korean food - we have our place that we go to up in midtown that's so popular the line goes all around the walls of the place, and there's a little intense woman who comes around and takes your order while you're still waiting to be seated. their bibimbap puts mine to shame, but i have to say, it wasn't half bad.


i've been making us juices to go along with dinner this week; i came to the startling realization that i drink alcohol nearly every night, be it a glass of wine with dinner or a beer when i get home. i'm making a conscious effort to cut that out. it can't be healthy.

and today! i've had these pants for some time now, but their length is such that they really have to be worn with flats, and i really only have flats in the form of sandals, so i've been saving them for warmer days. (i do wear them around the house a lot, because they're so comfortable, so they've actually been dry cleaned TWICE before i've worn them in public. i'm a spaz that way.)


shirt: j crew
pants: asos
scarf: thrifted
belt: thrifted
shoes: cole haan outlet

the new york times had a tutorial a few months ago on how to do the beehive; now that they have a pay-wall, though, it seems to be unaccessible. there are plenty of youtubers, i'm sure, who can guide you through it.

back to the grind for me!

xo audrey

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

a single tear

not much news today; i got home from work a bit on the late side and sam finally took me to this hole-in-the-wall mexican joint in sunset park, where we proceeded to eat the best mexican food of my life. i stuffed myself so hard i couldn't bear to stay awake any longer, and fell asleep at about 10:30.

which led to me waking up nice and early today! i figured i'd try an artsy photo shoot - these tights seem to demand it. i wanted to wear 'em before it's too warm to do so, which seems to be happening faster than i expected. our long, shitty winter is apparently turning right into a hot, humid summer. but after all these weeks of whining about the cold, i'll try not to complain.


dress: AKA new york, via gilt group a couple years ago
tights: les queues des sardines
shoes: steve madden

have a lovely wednesday, dears!

xo audrey

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

pretty woman

hi everyone! happy tuesday! i have a bunch to do today so i'm just going to crank this out.

last night i came home with a dinner plan all set; i'd spotted these scotch eggs on tastespotting earlier in the day and decided to make my move. i've always wanted to try these things, and as they require some frying, i figured it'd be best to get them out of my system before it gets so bleeping hot in my kitchen i barely want to cook, much less negotiate with hot, splattery oil. i changed the recipe a bit to suit what i had, and to make it small enough for me & sam. i paired it with these sesame soba noodles and fresh squeezed juice to try to keep it light. a great meal it was, but light it certainly wasn't. don't make this for dinner unless you plan on retreating immediately afterwards to bed to watch a movie. (fortunately, this was exactly what i had in mind.)


vietnamese-ish scotch eggs

4 eggs, soft boiled (put eggs in a pot; boil some water; pour it over them and turn the heat to medium; set a timer for 6 minutes; remove the eggs and plunge them into ice water. peel when cooled.)
1 lb ground pork
2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped
3 small green chillies
4 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of fresh ginger (skinned)
a spoonful of brown sugar
zest of one lime
fish sauce
1/2 bunch of cilantro
a couple cups of flour
a couple cups of panko
1 egg, beaten

combine the lemongrass, chillies, garlic, ginger, and lime zest in the food processor until quite pulverized. add the brown sugar, then turn on the food processor and stream in fish sauce until it turns into a loose paste. add salt to taste. (beware: this will be pretty spicy. i was talking on the phone when i was making mine and i somehow got chili on my hand and then on my phone and then on my face, and way too much of my conversation became about my face being on fire.) finely chop the cilantro. mix this, the pork, and the paste together well.

now you're going to want to get a piece of saran wrap. grab a piece of the pork about as big as your fist (a little bigger, in the case of my toddlerhands,) and pound it out so it's about 1/2 inch (or less) thick. put the egg on top. caaaaarefully use the saran wrap to envelop the egg in the pork mixture. seal it well and make it as round as possible, then pop it in the freezer until you're ready to use it. repeat 3x.


once you're ready to go, get some oil going in a pan on medium-low heat until it's good and hot. take your eggs and roll them in flour, then egg, then panko and plop 'em in the pan. you want to cook them until they are very dark on each side - 3-4 minutes - and turn so every side is well cooked. repeat. you can keep them warm in the oven; i set them on a drying rack as they came out and put them in at 300.

and voila! they were so tasty - sam had his with some sriracha sauce and i just drank lots of milk to minimize sweating. they are hot and heavy, but so good, and paired with fresh juice and soba noodles it was a pretty great dinner.


aaand an outfit at last! i had to get dressed in a hurry today - i'd planned on tights but it was already over 70 by the time i left my apartment this morning and i was worried i'd overheat. what i should have worried about was wearing newly-thrifted shoes without road-testing them first - my feet hurt so bad after walking to and from the subway this morning that i'm truly not sure how i'll make it home today. and the title of this post doesn't refer to my appearance, but the fact that this dress is straight outta that 1990 julia roberts classic.


dress: thrifted
belt: urban outfitters
shoes: painfully thrifted

all right, that's all from me for now! have a lovely tuesday!

xo audrey

Monday, April 25, 2011

trouty mouth

ladies, i highly recommend marrying a fisherman. in my experience, at least, they are handsome, charming, sweet, and funny, and top of all of that they will bring home beautiful fresh fish for you to cook up. and then heap praise on you for doing so. it's a pretty sweet life.

sam and i spent the weekend in connecticut, meeting with our florist and hitting thrift stores to find serving ware for the wedding. i hit the cloche JACKPOT and got like four of them for $12, plus a bunch of old glass jars that will be great for flowers. but while i slept in until 10 am both days, sam got up early and brought home dinner.


sam had a great trout cookbook he'd picked up at a goodwill along the way, so i adapted this recipe from it and made it for us last night:

trout and fennel cream with pate a choux

for the pate a choux:

1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of water
a heaping 1/2 cup of ap flour
about 2 ounces of grated gruyere, plus more for sprinkling
2 eggs, beaten

preheat the oven to 350.

start a large pot with the butter and water on medium heat. once melted, add your flour and stir stir stir, until it's dried a lot and there's a film on the bottom of the pan. let it cool for a couple of minutes and then dump in the cheese and stir, then the eggs little by little until they're totally absorbed. take a 10 inch dinner plate (or other round thing) and trace it on a piece of parchment paper; flip it and use a stick of butter to attach it to a cookie sheet. put the choux in a piping bag and pipe it onto the circle. sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, and put it in the oven to cook for 20-25 minutes (until the underside is well browned.)

trout & fennel cream filling
(the original recipe called for watercress in place of the arugula and fennel, but i didn't have any so i just subbed what i had. [and it was awesome.])

2/3 cup of wine
1/3 cup of water
4 parsley stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
one trout (ours was about 18 inches and rainbow)

put all ingredients in a saucepan with high walls and poach the fish for a few minutes on each side until it's fully cooked. strain the liquid and save it; put the fish on a cutting board and peel back the skin and use the fork to remove the meat. repeat on the other side. discard bones & skin.

2 T butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup of flour
reserved liquid from poaching
2/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup of heavy cream
trout meat
2 oz grated gruyere
about 1/3 cup of chopped fennel
about 1/2 cup of raw arugula
salt & pepper to taste

start the butter in a saucepan; add the onion and cook until soft. add the flour and stir to coat it with the stove on medium-low heat. add the poaching liquid and stir; it should start to get creamy. add the trout and stir, then add the milk slowly, stirring all the while, then finally the cream. once it's been reduced and is good and thick and no liquid remains, turn the heat to very low and check on the pate a choux ring (it should be done, or close to it.) take it out and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing it in half and cleaning out the soft dough in the middle. take the trout mixture off the stove and add in the cheese, arugula, and fennel. season to taste and then spoon into the pate a choux and top with the other half. voila! it's tricky to cut but DELICIOUS.


i came straight from connecticut to work this morning, so i'm a bit bleary and wearing some new thrifted duds from this weekend - more from me soon!

xo audrey

Friday, April 22, 2011

les queues de sardines

well, yesterday i woke up too late to take photos, and today i had my tripod all set and realized that my camera had been switched to 'on' all night long and, subsequently, died. so once again no outfit today; and i ate leftover chinese food, so no food post, either. what i DO have is this incredible tights brand that an old friend from chicago sent me over the weekend and i have been ogling ever since.

they are hard to find in the states; the websites that carry them here only seem to carry a style or two, and those are often sold out. your best bet, i think, is to check out enigmatic smile - they're based in the UK but have free international shipping, so you may be able to convince yourself it's a reasonable idea.

have a wonderful friday, and enjoy your weekend! sam and i plan on stealing away to connecticut to meet with wedding vendors and relax in the comfort of a real house, complete with tv and washer/dryer. what are you guys doing, anything exciting?

until next time,

xo audrey

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

dinner for one

when sam isn't around, i am really, really lazy about cooking. what's my favorite thing in the world becomes something of a chore when there is no one exclaiming over how delicious the pasta is or how well this flavor pairs with that. a night home alone is usually a night of chinese takeout or cereal for dinner. i didn't have plans for anything grand when i came home last night - i carried my wedding dress, fresh from the tailor, all the way home on the subway, then stopped to pick up some dry cleaning (that i'd literally dropped of last november. the lady at the shop laughed in my face) and struggled to open the door to find a pile of mail and a big box from crate and barrel. i teetered up the stairs and barely managed to open the door without dropping everything; finally inside, i dumped everything on the couch and attacked the crate and barrel box with my keys. and voila.


new dishes. after my kvetching on sunday, i could hardly believe my luck - my sweet sister's mother-in-law, kathy, either read my mind or just happened to order the very things i wanted most of my registry. i texted sam "MOST EXCITING NEWS EVER," resolved to scrub up my kitchen and head to the grocery store so that i could get some ingredients to break these plates in with the tastiness they deserve.


lobster strawberry risotto. i took my inspiration from a couple of places - one of my favorite cookbooks includes a peach and pancetta risotto that is absolutely to die for, and i worked at a sushi restaurant when i lived in chicago that made a lobster strawberry maki special in the summer months. i had to deal with frozen lobster tail, which isn't ideal, but i have to say this was damn delicious.


lobster strawberry risotto

prep time: about 30 minutes
serves: 2 (or one pastry chef who eats like renee zellwegger preparing for her role as bridget jones.)

1 frozen lobster tail (or two if you'd like it to me a little more lobster-y)
1/2 tiny yellow onion, diced
about 1 cup of strawberries, cut into small cubes
1 T butter
3/4 cup of arborio rice
~ 1 1/4 cups of chicken stock
~ 3/4 cup of dry white wine
a few sprigs of thyme
1/4 t white pepper
1/2 t ground fennel
2 T marscarpone cheese


so. if you decide to make this more than an hour in advance, thaw out your lobster tail in the fridge the night before. much easier than what i had to do here. and just skip this step if you do. if not, get a pot with a little water and put a steaming basket in there; steam the lobster for just 3 minutes or so - you just want it to be thawed and easy to remove from the shell, not cooked at all, if possible. take it out and let it cool off a minute, then use some kitchen shears to cut the shell of the thing; rinse it, and chop it into bite-sized pieces.

start your butter in a good sized saucepan. once it's sizzling, turn the heat down to medium low and add your onion; toss it around until it starts to be transparent, then add your lobster for like 30 seconds, then your rice. mix this around the pot to keep it from sticking for a couple of minutes, then add half of the wine and half the chicken stock, turn it to low, and let it simmer, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking.


once most of the liquid has been absorbed, add the thyme, the fennel, and more chicken stock & wine. basically, just keep tasting and adding until it comes to the texture you want. make sure you keep it on low heat all the while. once the liquid is gone and the rice is nice and creamy but al dente, remove it from the heat, stir in the marscarpone cheese and the strawberries, and serve.


i also threw together a little side dish, just to ensure that i dirtied every new porringer. i am a hollandaise freak - i would eat a bowl for breakfast if i could - but every recipe i find makes way too much for one person. i thought i'd toast up some bread, grill some asparagus, and make my own recipe for solo hollandaise.

hollandaise sauce for one

1 egg yolk
2 T butter, divided
about 1/2 t lemon juice (1 quick squeeze of a lemon)
a dash of paprika & salt

in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, start 1T butter melting on the absolute lowest heat you can manage. once melted, stir in the yolk and whisk whisk whisk whisk whisk; add the other tablespoon of butter and whisk and whisk until melted. squeeze in your lemon juice and continue to stir; sauce is done when you can coat the back of a spoon and drag your finger through it and it stays put. nice and thick. add your paprika and salt and serve. they key to this is really to cook it on the lowest setting possible - if your butter is bubbling at all, your egg will cook up as soon as you add it and it's no good. slow and low, that is the tempo.


all right. i actually like my outfit but didn't get out of the shower in time for any outfit pics this am - more from me later!

xo audrey

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

old favorites

my awful neighbors decided to have a party last night (yes, MONDAY night,) and i realized early on there was no chance of going to sleep at a reasonable hour what with the drum circle accompanied by whoops and cackles; so i made the best of it and finally got around to posting a bunch of stuff on etsy i've been meaning to shed for awhile.


including these three, all favorites in their time. le sigh. sometimes i regret having photographic evidence that i used to be much skinnier. stupid birthdays. and cake.

anyway! these three, and many more, are all for sale on my shop. let me know if anything strikes your fancy and i'll hold it for you.

xo audrey

april showers

good morning! well, afternoon. i spent most of my morning adding things to my etsy shop; my closet is packed to the gills and beginning to overflow onto my desk, my chair, my floor, so it's time to dig in deep and get rid of some things, no matter how attached i may feel. i'll post in a bit about the stuff up for sale - if you're interested in anything, leave a comment and i'll hold it for you.

as for today, i'm combatting another rainy, chilly day with one of my favorite outfits of all time. this little red dress has been in my closet, completely untouched and all but forgotten, for probably two years; it was a little big when i bought it, and by the nature of the way i organize my closet - by color, starting with red and ending with black - it's all the way to one side of the closet, and gets kind of hidden by the wall. it fits much better now that i've put on a few pounds, and the strength of the corduroy allows me to cover it with the mess of flower brooches i've amassed, via etsy, bonanza and a few thrift stores. my new favorite collection.


dress: on sale at anthropologie (a long time ago)
belt: thrifted
brooches: thrifted, etsy'd, bonanza'd
tights: man on the street
shoes: urban

someone asked for the cupcake recipe, so here it is! it's adapted from the vanilla cake we made at the bakery where i used to work. without further ado -

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs , at room temperature
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
3 large egg whites , at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

preheat oven to 325. sift together flours, baking powder, soda, and salt; set aside. cream together the butter and shortening until soft and no chunks remain; add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. add egg and vanilla and mix juuuuust until combined. in three additions, add flour, then water, then flour, then water, then flour and mix until just barely combined. whisk up your egg whites and cream of tartar in a separate bowl until they are white and frothy and no yellow remains - NO peaks, though. fold this in to your cake batter and scoop it into cupcake cups, about 2/3 of the way full. makes about 30 cupcakes. bake for 10-12 minutes, until they just start to turn golden and a toothpick comes out clean. i actually don't know how many minutes this was - i just kept an eye on them.

pastry cream

2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
cherry whiskey or brandy (optional)(but highly recommended)

put milk and 1/4 cup of sugar on the stove on medium - high. meanwhile, whisk the remaining ingredients together until they're pale yellow and well combined. once the milk starts to boil, take it off the stove and add it to your egg mixture, bit by bit, whisking furiously all the while, until it's combined; pour the whole thing back into the pot and whisk it on medium heat until it starts to BOIL. once it's boiling, KEEP IT GOING for another 2 minutes at this heat to get rid of the starchy taste from the cornstarch. pour it through a seive into a bowl or tupperware, cover it with plastic, and let it cool.

take about 1 cup of strawberries and cut them into pretty small dice. mix this with about 1/2 of your pastry cream, and set aside.

take a big star pastry tip and insert it into the cupcakes; twist, and pull. you'll pull out a little tube of vanilla cake. you can keep this for munching, or making a trifle with your leftover pastry cream and strawberries! yum. put your pastry cream/strawberry mixture into a piping bag and fill the holes you've made. ta da! i plan on topping these with a lavender buttercream, or maybe even just whipped cream for the sample ones.


all right, that's all from me for today. stay warm, stay dry, and i'll see you tomorrow!

xo audrey

Monday, April 18, 2011

easter monday

that is, the morning before easter. hello! how was your weekend? mine was, as usual, much too short, but pretty enjoyable (if rather uneventful) nonetheless. friday night we had a work party, and i didn't make it home until rather late, was pooped, and hit the hay. saturday morning we slept in, then i headed to the farmers market (something feels so wrong about having to bundle up to go to there, which i did on saturday, but i digress,) and got some little fish called shiners, some squid, and a couple of duck breasts with no real plan for them. when i came home and showed sam, my handsome fisherman husband-to-be, my bounty, he was horrified; apparently shiners are commonly used as bait fish, and he couldn't believe i'd been silly enough to pay for them. i insisted on frying them up though, and made him try them (he took iphone photos and sent them to all his fishing buddies so they could all share a laugh at my expense) but in the end they were actually quite tasty, pretty cheap, and completely sustainable, which makes them okay in my book.
coincidentally, it poured all saturday evening, so we stayed in and ate chinese food and watched movies, and one we stumbled upon was a documentary about commercial fishing and its affects on the ocean and fish levels; it was really horrifying and eye-opening, and i am sadly resigned to the fact that this sushi-lover will never eat blue fin tuna again - it's too awful to see how it's fished, and the population is really dwindling. i'm no expert and i'm not hear to stand on a soapbox, but if you're curious, you can watch it for yourself - it's called 'the end of the line.' (bonus! it's narrated by ted danson.)

sunday we slept in (again) and woke up to get some work done; sam decided to take advantage of the sunny day and headed out with his skateboard for a few hours, so i threw on an apron and decided to make some wedding-cake-test-cupcakes.

i want to keep the cake pretty simple - my desserts menu is no less than eleven items long, cake not included, and i've always thought a very basic cake is best, anyway, since that way you won't offend anyone with flavors. i've decided on a very light vanilla bean genoise, layered with framboise pastry cream and fresh strawberries, and finished with a lavender buttercream. i haven't made the frosting yet, but the cake with the pastry cream and strawberries is divine - almost like a cake version of strawberry shortcake.


a friend called right when i was pulling the last of the cupcakes out of the oven, so i threw on a sweater and walked to his part of brooklyn to grab a drink, commiserate over our busy lives, and share a couple of cheek-kisses before heading back home to meet sam and his friends for the end of the celtics game. (my new england man is a fan of all-sports-boston, which is a major point of contention when it comes to football and baseball, but for basketball i don't care, so i try to be supportive.) i snuck out a few minutes before the game to make dinner - grilled squid salad with arugula and lemon vinaigrette, and duck breasts a la erika. one of my very dearest friends recently went to paris and took a cooking class with a great chef there, and to try to temper my raging envy, she sent me all the recipes they'd used. this one was straight from her - a very simple preparation of the duck breast, topped of with a thyme and caramelized onion compote. it was really easy, and absolutely incredible.


sam and i have the ugliest thrift store dishes EVER. i hate them. friends, family, we are registered at crate and barrel and if we don't get some new plates i am going to hurl all of these from our second story window so that i have an excuse to buy them myself.

and that was my weekend. it could be summed up as, drink, sleep, eat, drink, eat, watch, sleep, eat, drink, eat, watch, sleep. perfect.


my outfit felt very easter-y to me, which i didn't do consciously, but i suppose is appropriate. i've got to figure out some kind of egg-related project to do this week in honor of the upcoming holiday!

shirt: anthropologie
shorts: j crew outlet
tights: gift
shoes: rachel comey

all right - i'm going to jump back into the grind, for now. have a lovely afternoon!

xo audrey

ps i'll try to include some of these recipes later on in the week - i need to grab my notes (and my friend's permission) before doing so.