Monday, February 27, 2012

winner, winner, potato and kale dinner

hello! i know i promised a winner on friday, but i was seriously in the throws of the worst cold/flu monster i've ever had - three and a half days, no work, completely bedridden. did you know you can be in bed so long that your body is actually sore from being in bed too long? fact. finally, saturday night, i dragged myself out of bed (just in time to catch andrew bird at the bell house) and had a semi-normal sunday, if it is semi-normal to fall asleep at 8:45 pm. so i'm not 100% yet. but i'm getting there.

top: j crew
dress: thrifted
tights: urban outfitters (fleece lined! so warm!)
shoes: thrifted
brooch: thrifted
hair: lack of cut, dye or attention in 6 months and counting

so, anyways, i promised on friday that i'd have a winner and i am a solid three days late, so without further ado: dawn of turby and john! shoot me an email ( and we'll work out the details. congratulations, wear it in happiness and health! and thank you to all of you who entered - more giveaways soon.

it's been awhile since i posted any food - which feels so wrong! - so i have a quick, easy, and even pretty healthy dinner for you guys. for what it's worth, i've become a complete instagram addict - you can follow me @oddreigh - and post my daily goings-on at the bakery a few times a day there. so it's really not that i stopped posting about food - just that i switched to a quicker, more immediate medium.

i was in ann arbor last weekend, visiting family and getting to spend some all-too-rare time with my little sister and mom, and spent a lot of time at my aunt susie's place. aunt susie and i have a lot in common - both "creative" types, i guess, who love to draw, bake and create - and she had a library of cookbooks that made me swoon. i got to flip through quite a few of them (sneaking iphone photos of the ones i want to buy for myself) but one recipe caught my eye, and was so simple i was able to sort-of-memorize it, enough to make it for dinner tonight.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
potato and kale galette (adapted from an old gourmet cookbook)

1 bunch of kale, leaves pulled of the stem, torn up and washed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
3 T butter
2 large baking potatoes, cleaned, peeled and sliced very thin (i used a mandolin)

start off by getting your oil going in a pan, over medium heat; once hot, add the garlic and cook just until it starts to brown; add the kale, still wet from being rinsed, and cook it until it's very wilted, and much brighter green. turn off the heat, and set it aside.

now get a cast iron pan going. i used a 10 inch pan. melt about a tablespoon of butter in the pan, then mosaic about 1/3 of the potato slices over it, working quickly; add 1/2 of the kale, then another 1/3 of the potato slices mosaiced (salt and pepper this, and brush a bit of melted butter atop them,) then the other half of the kale and the last of the potatoes. basically, you've made a double-decker potato and kale pancake. brush the top layer of potatoes generously with butter, then butter a piece of aluminum foil and use a heavy pan to weigh down the stack. let them cook for ten minutes or so, over medium to medium low heat; once the bottom layer of potatoes starts to brown (you'll be able to see the edges start to brown and curl a bit,) grab a sheet pan and some oven mitts. this is the trickiest part. use a metal spatula to carefully slide the pancake out of the pan and onto the sheet pan, then invert the pan over it and flip it back onto the heat, so the browned side is facing up and the previously uncooked side is now being cooked. cook this for another ten minutes or so, and that's it! slide it off and serve. i was trying to keep it healthy and simple, so i ate it plain (i'm a fan of simple flavors, anyway) with lots of sea salt and pepper; it would be great with goat cheese, though, and sam doused his in ketchup, so there's that.

thanks a bunch for reading, and have a fabulous week!

xo audrey

Monday, February 20, 2012

work in progress

hi everyone! i hope you all had a fabulous valentine's day - mine was very low key, which was perfect. sam insisted on staying in and making me dinner, and i acquiesced - i'm so used to cooking for the two of us, and stubbornly set in my way of doing things in the kitchen, that it's really hard for me to sit back and let someone else take the wheel. fortunately we recently re-organized our furniture, so our sofa has a prominent seat in the kitchen (i finally admitted to myself that, while a sofa in the kitchen might be unusual, it is the place where it will get the most use) so i settled myself on it and watched him mix a batch of pasta from scratch, rest it, struggle with the machine and then proceed to make what was honestly the most divine fettucine alfredo i've ever had - topped with wilted spinach, sauteed mushrooms and crispy prosciutto. lesson learned: i should take a seat on the couch more often.

ever since setting eyes on the stella mccartney resort 2012 collection, i've been smitten. i've googled and ebayed obsessively, hoping to find the (seemingly not even for-sale yet) white dress covered in bows at an audrey-friendly price (i know this will never happen) - and it finally occurred to me that, of all the over-priced designer clothing i've fallen for, this was probably the most easily DIY-able. so i bought a spool of ribbon, picked a well-fitting but infrequently-worn dress from my closet, and proceeded to obsessively tie and pin ribbons onto it.

sadly, i'm a pretty good idea person and initial energy runs high; but after sewing on the first half of the ribbons, i lost steam, so i'm wearing this carefully so's not to stick myself with one of the many pins poking out of the skirt and sleeves.

dress: madewell
shoes: thrifted
bows: added by me

i'm pretty excited with the way it's looking so far. a good cocktail dress is so essential - you can tell i think so, as i have a closet full of them and yet 9 nights out of ten you'll find me at home with sam, wearing comfy pants and a t-shirt. still, i love having a cute, well-fitting dress to slip into - an outfit no-brainer for when i DO go out.

. . . which is where you come in! brooklyn industries contacted me not long ago to see if i'd like to do a giveaway for my readers (another no brainer.) i've loved the brand for a long time - my love for red pants started with a pair of theirs a few years ago, and i've admired their simple but flattering silhouettes ever since. i picked this cute dress of theirs to give away - yours, for one lucky reader who leaves a comment.

Screen shot 2012-02-20 at 8.05.49 PM

so. . . enter away, and i'll pick a winner this friday. be sure to take a look at their new collection, too - lots of good stuff to see.

so much to post, and what feels like so little [free] time. i'll be back soon!

xo audrey

Monday, February 6, 2012

downton audrey

hey y'all! i had a rather exhausting, somewhat wine-soaked weekend, so i'm taking it easy with a bit of hulu with a side of blogging. i've become obsessed with downton abbey - about a year too late, i know - watching the first two seasons in a matter of about four days, because that's how i do. the show is essentially a soap opera set in the early 1900's, which is captivating enough, but the costuming is absolutely to die for - for me, it rivals even that of mad men - gorgeous, long art deco frocks, elbow length gloves, fabulous jewelry. it inspired me to snag this skirt, and do my best modern-downton - sort of last year's anthropologie catalog meets downton abbey meets dark-rooted-bedhead.

top: anthropologie
skirt: madewell
necklace: gift from sam
necklace: old anthropologie
shoes: (hard to see) rachel comey

anyhow, last weekend, after the resounding success that was braised lamb neck, i grabbed some lamb lollipops from work and planned a meal around them - a fishcake salad to start, mussels for an appetizer and then lamb lollipops with a fennel and green apple slaw and beet pureé. the preparation was actually quite simple, but so, so good.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +
apple and fennel slaw

one small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
one green apple, thinly sliced
2 T honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
a few fronds of fennel, chopped
sea salt

combine all ingredients and let them sit for at least thirty minutes.

beet and greek yogurt pureé

about 2 large beets, cooked til soft and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup greek yogurt
sea salt

place in blender. buzzzzzz.

lamb lollipops

spice rub: i used rubbed sage, fennel pollen, sea salt, fresh thyme leaves
4 lamb lollipops
a splash of olive oil

start the oil in a pan, on medium high; let the pan get nice and hot, then place the lollipops in. cook for about 2-3 minutes (depending on thickness) each side; let them rest for a few minutes, then serve atop the slaw and puree. ta-da!

and one final note! i've had some exciting press lately - an interview with the host of all things considered on npr (which i have to admit is very much a dream come true for me, the biggest of all NPR nerds) and then today my macarons are featured on! (and just in time for valentine's day. . . i have a feeling the next week will be an exceedingly busy one.)

macaron flavors (clockwise) coconut cream, nutella, mint chocolate chip, lavender black pepper and lemon rosemary. (photo by nymag)

thank you, truly and deeply, for all your kind words - i'll do a post soon to address some questions i've been getting in the comments.

much love to you all,

xo audrey

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

perks of the job

hello! i won't bother to make excuses for myself - when i started this blog, i was essentially a secretary in an office i loved but didn't find very satisfying, and i've since bounced from job to job, remaining unsatisfied - until now. this blog served as a fantastic means of creative expression, a way to force myself to do what i love even though i wasn't getting paid for it - it's rather bittersweet that i've found a job now that is so fulfilling, where i get to be as creative as i can muster and do what i love all day long. it's a wonderful feeling, but leaves me feeling somewhat drained when i come home in the afternoon, and blogging has lost some of its urgency, for lack of a better term, for me - it's almost as if my job has become my creative outlet, and blogging has become more of a job. a job that i love, but one that i've been pretty awful about keeping up with.

so, anyway, here's an attempt at getting back on the horse. one of the things i was sad to leave at my last job was the freedom to wear whatever i liked. i've worked in bakeries before, and it's more a case of dressing for comfort that style - and i'm okay with that, but i do miss my fancy shoes and vintage dresses. so i've been rather delighted to find that the other girls who i share a kitchen with are unendingly chic while managing to be kitchen-appropriate. i've taken to wearing lipstick, tights and dresses with an apron careful placed over them; or on more low-key days, something like this:

shirt: j crew
pants: cheap monday
shoes: vintage, thrifted
belt: asos

another fantastic perk is that the bakery is the sister-store of a wonderful organic market, which is right across the street; i'm able to get off work, walk across and head straight to the meat counter, to see what's freshest and talk to the butcher about the best way to prepare it. last thursday it was a lamb, and the butcher recommended i bring half the neck home and braise it with a rub and some vegetables. it's not something i would ever make - for whatever reason, my cooking preferences tend towards extremely fussy, involved dinners - but i followed his advice and it turned out absolutely divine.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
braised lamb's neck

1/2 neck of lamb
a rub of spices - i used kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, ground fennel seed, coriander, paprika, rubbed sage and fresh garlic
your choice of vegetables - i used what i had lying around: a leek, two potatoes, and a handful of cherry tomatoes
red wine and chicken stock, for braising
a pat of butter, for browning the meat

start the butter in a pan - once hot, add the meat, and cook for a couple of minutes on each side - just long enough to brown it. transfer it to a slow cooker with the veggies inside, and add enough chicken stock and wine to come halfway up the top of the meat. braise on high for at least three hours, or up to six. i served mine with a simple greens salad, tossed with some parmesan, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and topped with a poached egg. (i'm pretty much topping everything with a poached egg these days.)

i have such a backlog of food to post, i'll do my best to stay on top of it this time! much love to all of you for sticking with me, and hoping you've had a great 2012 thus far.

xo audrey