Thursday, June 30, 2011

rosemary's lady

hello hello! i present to you a SECOND post, in one day, a small pittance for my multi-week absence before, during, and after the hitchin'. after my kvetching about not being sure how to dress from my hair, i got lots of "i've-been-there"s from you guys; and most of you basically said, you can still wear dresses, weirdo. my friend chris, after pointing out that we have the same haircut (a mixed compliment, to be sure,) gave me this advice: "channel Mia Farrow a la Rosemary's Baby and keep rocking the 60s clothes. She's my style icon these days." done and done, good sir! so here i am, doing my best mia farrow a la rosemary's baby. rosemary's lady, if you will. (oh, you won't? fair enough. it was a silly stretch of a title at best.)

top: j crew
dress: urban outfitters
brooch: thrifted
shoes: vintage ferragamos, ebay'd (similar here.)

i think i'll be dragging any shift dresses and button-up blouses out of storage soon.

until next time (much food and i THINK, very soon, the big wedding wrap-up soon to come!),

xo audrey

morels & cream

work has been very quiet for the last week or so, and it turns me into a ball of anxious energy, just waiting to escape my desk; i've even started doing some baking at work, having found that as long as i share the final product, no one seems to mind me bustling around the kitchen. monday night i hurried home from work with a project in mind: making butter.
the times posted a diy handbook recently that really got me thinking about all the from-scratch projects i've been wanting to try but putting off. now that there's no wedding planning to distract me, i plan on tackling a lot of these.

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morel mushroom sweet cream butter

1 fresh morel mushroom
1/2 t butter (for sauteing morel)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
truffle salt, to taste

i had a friend in high school whose family gathered morels from secret locations, and i've always been fascinated with this gorgeous little mushroom. (rumor has it they grow wild in some nyc parks. . . july through september, audrey leary becomes the fungus fighter, morel hunter extraordinaire!) i picked one up at dean and deluca on my lunch break, determined to make the most of it. to wash morels, you have to do something that goes against every mushroom-washing instinct i've got - dunk it in a bowl of water and shake and shake it until sediment comes out. the honeycomb like cap just traps dirt and it's the only way to get it good and clean. once you're satisfied it's de-dirtied, immediately chop it up and throw it in a saucepan with your tiny pat of butter, sauteing on low heat until it's soft and dark brown.

so! prepare a pitcher of ice water, then put your cream in a mixer or food processor and whip it until it gets very stiff peaks. and then keep whipping. it'll start looking kinda curdled. KEEP WHIPPING. it'll start to separate. GOOD! keep whipping! until it's pretty stiff and buttery and there's lots of buttermilk separated out.


strain out and save the buttermilk (i used it later for biscuits.) now rinse the butter in a sieve with that ice water until the water runs totally clear. it's important you use ice water so the butter doesn't melt down the drain. rinsing it will keep it from going bad quickly.


now, take that butter and put it in a blender (or use your immersion blender, like i did.) add salt and your morels and pulse; add salt until you're satisfied with its saltiness, and the butter is speckled and doesn't have anymore big mushroom chunks. ta-da! delicious mushroom butter.


i made this butter the same night as the egg cup custards, and decided to make a really simple pasta with some noodles sam and i picked up on our honeymoon, in curaçao.


fun with food!

all i did for this pasta was boil the noodles (duh) steam and then char some baby artichokes in chicken stock, and make a chiffonade of basil leaves, and toss it all together with salt, pepper, and the morel butter.


voila! this pasta managed to be both light and rich; the morels come through beautifully on the noodles, and the basil helps keep it fresh and not too heavy.

enjoy! my apologies for the overload of food pics. . . i'm having a love affair with my camera these days and i'm bad at editing myself.

xo audrey

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

egg cup custard

good morning!

my parents are two of the most happily married folks i know, to degrees that used to be embarrassing when i was a kid - back then, their public displays of affection made me duck my head and moan "moooOOOM!" but now i'm old enough to know better, and hope sam and i are as happy as they 30 years in. my sisters and i are going home to california for their 30 year wedding anniversary this august and making them a big, fancy dinner; i decided to test out one of my courses for sam and i a couple night ago.

i've been wanting to try out a custard served in its shell for awhile. i have a thing for eggs in egg cups - soft boiled eggs are a bit boring for my taste, but i eat them anyway, just for the joy of sprinkling them with salt & pepper and spooning them out of their shell. i received 8 little white egg cups along with a bunch of other kitchen goodies, and decided it was time to give this a try.


sage & truffle custard with parmesan crisp & tomato foam (adapted from here.)

1 egg
6 egg shells
a few leaves of sage
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 T truffle or mushroom oil

for the foam: juice of one tomato and 1/4 t soy lecitithin (you can find it at GNC, whole foods & the like)

parmesan cheese for the crisp

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preheat oven to 275.

measure the milk, cream, and sage leaves (torn up a bit) into a small saucepan. turn on low heat until it simmers, then let it cool off so the sage can infuse.
while you're doing this, cut the tops off 6 eggs over an airtight tupperware. set aside. clean the egg shells verrry carefully under a gentle stream of cold water; it'll kind of feel like peeling off a sunburn. make sure to get all the membrane out. place these in a cardboard egg carton and hold on.
strain the sage out of the milk and pour the milk into a food processor or mixing bowl; i used my immersion blender. add salt, pepper, paprika, & oil, & blend; then add one egg from the bowl and blend. pour this through a sieve into a container with a good lip for pouring. (i used a gravy boat.) place the egg shells in a oven proof container with tall-ish sides (i used a cake pan,) boil some water, place the pan in your preheated oven and pour water about halfway up the egg shells. set a timer for 30 minutes - the original recipe said it'd take 40-45, but mine was perfect after 30. if they are set, remove them and let them cool.
while the custards are baking, simply grate some parmesan cheese into little piles on a silpat or piece of parchment paper. stick it in the oven for ten minutes or so, until it starts to brown. let them cool and voila! parmesan chips.
for the tomato foam, juice a tomato, then add the soy lecitithin - this just helps the foam keep its structure longer, so you don't end up with tomato juice floating atop your custard. i used a little aerolatte foamer to whisk it up into a foamy frenzy, then spooned it atop the custard & crisp.

and voila! a beautifully delicate & tasty appetizer or amuse bouche that's lovely to look at and sooo tasty. don't be shy with the salt & pepper on this one.

more from this meal soon!

xo audrey

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

under pressure

sous vide cooking has been kind of an obsession of mine since i first learned about it a couple of years ago. for a good long time, our wedding registry on amazon consisted of one item alone: a $400 sous vide circulator. i finally wised up and realized if i didn't register for more, it didn't mean that i'd get the machine, it meant that i'd get NOTHING. (and boy am i glad i did! ladies, if you're on the fence about this marriage thing, do it. worthwhile for the gifts alone. [i kid.]) four hundred dollars for an appliance isn't really in the budget these days (not to mention that our apartment, post-wedding-gifts, is so overflowing with appliances - a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, a large roasting pan, an upright chicken roaster, an ice cream/sorbet machine [thanks keiko!] two different mixers - that i don't know where we'd put it in our little brooklyn abode) so i'd given up on the idea of sous vide cooking for the time being, until sunday. some people exercise after a shitty day; some sleep, some drink (well, i do that, too,) and i cook. i decided to make a big, fancy dinner to get the stink of the weekend off.

i'd bought a duck breast at smorgasburg a week before, and i'd planned on turning it into prosciutto - next time. this time, i decided to see how well i could turn our large le creuset french oven into a sous vide-r. i knew duck needed to be submerged in 135 degree water for at least an hour, so i used a digital thermometer to monitor it and slowly brought up the temperature of the water. i used this pot because it holds heat well and evenly; even so, i had to turn the stove off and on several times to keep the temperature between 130 and 140. first, though, i took out the duck breast and cut off all the excess fat i could and set that aside. rub the duck thoroughly with salt and pepper and vacuum seal the duck back up, ready to be submerged. (if you don't have a vacuum sealer, a. i recommend getting one [it really helps keep things fresh longer, freeze without freezer burn, etc.] b. you can use strong ziploc bags with the air pressed out - or so i've read. haven't actually tried this method myself.) i put the duck in and kept the lid on and temperature monitored for about an hour and a half before taking it out of the water and letting it rest for a minute.

all the while, i got the rest of the meal ready - i peeled 2 potatoes, chopped them, and threw them in some salted water and mashed up a half quart of too-ripe strawberries. the strawberries were reduced with some balsamic vinegar for sauce, and the potatoes were mashed with some horseradish cream, butter and a bit of milk.

now time to break the duck free from its binding, pat it dry, and start a cast iron pan on medium high heat. once good and hot, turn it down to medium and set the duck to crisping. once good and brown on one side (after four or five minutes,) flip it and let the other side just brown before taking it off the heat. let the duck breast rest on a cutting board for a few minutes, then slice. serve on top of horseradish potatoes, with the strawberry balsamic sauce; i served this with a simple strawberry arugula salad on the side.

on the left, just out of the water bath; right side, post-resting and drying.

the duck was perfect - pretty rare, but firm; totally moist and succulent and then crispy around the edges. the strawberry balsamic sauce was great with it, and worked surprisingly well with the horseradish potatoes, too; i'd pour yourself a nice glass of wine with this and enjoy.

oh! and, lest i forget - all that fat you've saved from the duck breast? i put this in a small saucepan and turned the heat on very low and basically just poked at it now and then until it had turned into mostly liquid. strain this out into a jar, and voila! you've got duck fat. you can use it for frying anything. . . i've got plans for this stuff later on this week.

and thanks so much to everyone for your sweet words about my haircut! i'm still getting used to it but all of your kind compliments certainly help boost my confidence in it. still working on feeling like a lady in it.

xo audrey

Monday, June 27, 2011


good morning!

welp, i had a whole, beautiful food post planned out for today (sous vide duck breast! strawberry balsamic sauce! horseradish potatoes!) and then i went and forgot my camera at home today. duck tomorrow, cowlick today. these shots are from last week and, well, i wasn't going to use them because my hair looks ridiculous, but this haircut has taught me to be humble and laugh at myself a bit more easily, so here they are.


pants: c/o adam
top: j crew
necklace: a gift from sam

my weekend was a bit rough, so i hope yours was safe & satisfying.

more soon,

xo audrey

Friday, June 24, 2011

short & sweet

good morning! apologies for lame lack of posting. it's been a kind of rough week. without diving too deep, sam lost his job this week, which is really a blessing of sorts because it means he'll be home with me all the time (his old job required him to be on the road nearly every week,) but it caught us a bit off guard nonetheless. pro: now i have someone to take my pictures every morning! con: i am so, so awkward when ANYONE tries to take my picture. husband included. 99% of them are photos of me gesturing awkwardly or opening my mouth with a concerned look. not cute. but i think we got a couple today that are useable.


pants, shirt & shoes - j crew
necklace - vintage

oh, yeah - i chopped all my hair off. when we were on our honeymoon (in curaçao, photos to come!) it was so crazy hot and humid and all i could think about was how bad i wanted to chop it all off. it's not like i haven't done it before; i've just never LOVED it. no matter. not one to learn from my mistakes, i went ahead. and i like it. i don't love it, yet. i think i want it to be a bit shorter in back and longer in front and choppier all around, but it'll get there, i think, and in the meantime it does FEEL great. i do find myself dressing to my hair a bit more than i'd like to, though. if that makes sense. like i feel like i need to dress more 'j crew catalog' and less '60s lady' because i end up looking like a 12 year old boy playing dress up in girl's clothes. sigh. none of this is helped by the verdict of my friends and family: sam's been calling me "jamie lee audrey" since i had it cut, and my mom literally emailed, "VERY pretty!! Like one of the Lost Boys if he was a sexy girl!!" LOST BOY. there you have it.

what are you guys up to this weekend? me and sam are goin' to a party tonight, then leaving for connecticut early in the am to see our niece/his goddaughter be baptized, then coming back early sunday so i can hit the jazz age lawn party with keiko. you should come, too.

xo audrey

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

homerunballerina & stylecaster

one of the things i've been so busy with the last week or two was a collaboration i'll be a part of with stylecaster and hawaiian tropic. i am as surprised as you are that a suntan lotion would want to pair up with pasty old me, but there you have it! we spent last monday and tuesday shooting in my apartment, the union square green market, and a ridiculous mansion in the hamptons; i'm excited to see how it all turns out, but it has a big focus on me in the kitchen, so i'm pretty psyched. here's a still from the day in the hamptons - me by the pool, just readin' the new yorker and waitin' for lunch. no biggie.

Audrey - HomerunBallerina

(thanks to zac for the shot!)

until tomorrow,

xo audrey

Monday, June 20, 2011

back in the swing

hello everyone. i have to admit, it has been tough to figure out how to jump back into this. i'm waiting for my photographer to send her official wedding photographs, so i kind of want to hold off on the big-official-homerunballerina-got-hitched post, but writing about anything else seems kind of silly, too, since getting married was, you know, pretty much the biggest thing that's happened to me, ever. so i begged my little sister to send me some of her husband's beautiful photos (thanks andy!!) so that i could at least do a little wedding lead-up post.

our banner, made by the lovely caitln of nice

i left work a week before the wedding and took the train up to connecticut to get started on wedding preparations. my to-do list was pretty horrifying. i'd already made a piñata and dyed all 85 cloth napkins, but i still needed to design placecards, cut them out, decorate the piñata, create signs for all the food, and make the topper for the cake. . . not to mention baking everything on the dessert and appetizer menus, which, by the end, had gotten a little out of control. five kinds of macarons, two types of pie lollipops, rosemary creme brulee spoons, malted chocolate chip cookies, and mini lemon blueberry tarts, plus, of course the wedding cake; and for appetizers, two kinds of quiche, lobster rolls, 2 different cold salads, deviled quail eggs, and sam's specialty potatoes. sam had been gone all weekend, fishing with his buddies in the connecticut river; rather than be a responsible adult, staying home and crossing some things off this to-do list, i went out harder than i have in years for three nights in a row, so that not only did i accomplish zilch on the list prior to arriving in connecticut, but i actually took all of monday off once i'd gotten there, choosing instead to kick up my feet, sip some wine, and bask in the glow of my fiancé's presence because hey, we had all week!

yeah, i'm kind of dumb sometimes.

tuesday i spent the entire day sifting almond flour, beating meringues, and folding in colors to make all the macarons: strawberry balsamic mascarpone, lemon cherry dark chocolate, clementine honey white chocolate, chocolate caramel sea salt, and coconut lime. that night my parents arrived, and we had a nice quiet dinner at home as i slowly hyperventilated into my pinot grigio. this was not going as planned. yes, knocking out all the macarons was a big coup; but i had three days left, two of the evenings already set aside for other plans, and a laundry list of things to accomplish.

thank god for dettmars.


my mom and dad got in tuesday, and the rest of the dettmar brood (my older sister emily, her adorable son pete, my sister esther & her husband andy, and my little brother colin,) trickled in over the course of wednesday and reported for duty. we made repeated trips to grocery stores; they chopped strawberries, made pie dough, assembled lollipops, quiches, salads, and cookies. basically, they saved the wedding. i truly wouldn't have been able to do ANY of it without them, and i'm eternally grateful. luckily for me they are all married already, with the exception of my little brother, so i won't be forced into indentured wedding servitude until he finds the right lady. i hope he gives me a couple years to recover.

filling quiches; the tarts, quiches and macarons, ready to be brought out

sam's famous potatoes, and the god-forsaken deviled eggs (quail eggs are my nemesis. i won't be making these again for awhile.)

everything turned out beautifully. the morning of the wedding i woke up at 6 am with butterflies, and went with my dad to pick up bagels and donuts and ride over to the house to start the final preparations. my mom and sister had decorated and filled the piñata the day before; my sister-in-law (and our reverend) sheila sat at the dinner table finishing the placecards; by dad, brother and brother-in-law spent practically the entire day blowing up 700 balloons to fill the roof of the tent (despite andy's CRIPPLING allergies which he was too sweet to complain about.) my mom and esther tied ribbons to the pie pops to identify flavors, and two of my former co-workers showed up and became honorary family members by busting ass all day to assemble the cake, bake all the cookies, make buttercream, and finish the creme brulees.

my cake topper, and my mom & sister's handiwork

rosemary creme brulee spoons; malted chocolate chip cookies

this is what 5 hours worth of balloons look like.

in the end, i know everyone says it, but i look back on that day and just feel so incredibly grateful for my friends and family. people woke up at the crack of dawn (and in my family's case, REPEATEDLY woke up at the crack of dawn, to be subjected to such menial tasks as peeling impossibly small eggs and curling ribbons on the ends of lollipops) to make our wedding exactly what we wanted, and it absolutely, positively was. there is nothing about the day i would have changed (except, perhaps, my choice of facial hair remover, but more on that later,) and i am eternally grateful for all the wonderful, generous, talented people i'm surrounded by that made it possible. i love you all, and i am forever in your debt. i promise i'll make you dinner one of these days to show my gratitude. yes, you. every last one of you.

we got married under the apple tree. . .

and ate dinner and danced under the tent.


much, much more to come. i should have our photographer's photos in a couple of weeks, and there are some really amazing details i haven't even gone into - our florist put together the must gorgeous centerpieces and bouquets i have ever seen, i swear, and the dancing was, as my mother would say, off the heezy. (yes. she really would say that.)

much love,

xo audrey