Wednesday, August 31, 2011

i'm blue for you

good morning! i'm struggling to form sentences today - last night around 11 i was home, snuggling in bed with a bowl of cereal and my macbook (sam's off on a couple-day-long fishing expedition) when my phone rang. twice. it was a friend of mine, and i am slightly ashamed to say that i didn't want to answer while i was eating cereal (soggy cereal is the worst) so i called him back and was somehow convinced to put on pants and head to the brooklyn inn for a couple of beers. three hours later i was back in bed, but i'm a bit worse for wear.

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blouse: c/o loehmann's, via gifted gift card
skirt: thrifted
pin: thrifted
shoes: miu miu, BUT i bought them on ebay for $12. REALLY.
satchel: cambridge satchel company

i was invited to attend an event at loehmann's last week; i hadn't heard of it before attending the event, but it's basically a tj-maxx type place - plenty of variation of expensive designers and more affordable basics, all at a pretty heavily discounted price. i picked out this top because i love the shade - i think royal blue is going to play a big part in my fall wardobe, especially now that it's one of the few shades i feel works well with my new hair color. (unforeseen consequence of dying my hair: where before i really felt like i could wear just about any color, now several favorites completely wash me out; happy trails, mustard yellow, until we meet again.) the kind folks at loehmann's, aside from providing me some great pieces for fall, also let me pick out an accessory to gift my readers; i selected this bag, which i hope you all like. i'm not much of a bag person, but it seemed utilitarian while still being chic; i love the color.

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if you'd like this bag for your very own, simply leave me a comment letting me know what fall pieces you're itching to buy. i really want to find a muff to keep my hands warm this winter, but i'll tell ya, googling "muff" is not working out so far. i'll close the contest and announce the winner on tuesday september 6 after the long weekend. good luck!

anyhows, i'll leave you with a recipe that i think i'll be making again and again this fall & winter - chicken pot pie. you can really put whatever veggies you want in here - i used potatoes, carrots & corn because that's what we had, in excess, and i wanted to try to use it up.

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chicken pot pie

1 yellow onion, diced
1 T butter
4 ears steamed corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
one carrot, peeled (or scrubbed) and cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked chicken, torn into bite sized pieces*
1/3 cup flour
1 cup (or more) chicken broth
1 - 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 T thyme leaves
salt & pepper to taste
1 sheet puff pastry dough

*if you don't have already-cooked chicken - again, i made this up mostly as a way to use up leftovers - you can use a breast or two, cut up into smaller pieces, and added in with the potatoes and carrots and cooked until done.

turn the oven to 375. melt butter in a large pan with highish sides; turn heat to medium high, and add onion. sautee until it turns transparent, then add the flour. stir until flour is browned, then slowly add about half the chicken broth, stirring as you go, so it creates a thick gravy. add almost the rest of the broth, then add the potatoes and carrots. add cream - enough to nearly cover the veggies - and cover the pan. uncover and stir occasionally, checking on the vegetables and insuring nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan - if the veggies start to stick, add a bit more chicken broth to release them. once the potatoes and carrots are cooked, remove from heat; the sauce should be good and thick, and everything inside cooked until soft.

stir in corn, thyme, and chicken and dump it all into a casserole dish. salt & pepper. cover the top with the puff pastry, tucking the corners in. bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the puff pastry has totally puffed up and is golden all the way through. i'd stick a sheet pan underneath while baking, just in case - as you can see, mine leaked out the sides a bit. let it cool for 5-10 minutes then enjoy! SO tasty.

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xo audrey



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

smitten kitchen

most of the time i cook, i do it without a recipe. this is less because i am some kind of expert and more because i have this weird chip on my shoulder where i feel like i can't really take credit for a good meal unless i made it up. despite this oddity, i spend an inordinate amount of time browsing food blogs and the new york times' dining & style pages; i've been mentally collecting recipes i wanted to try, and this weekend i decided to give them a go. i found out rather last-minute that i'd be making dinner for sam's family up in connecticut, so i fell back on a couple old reliable recipes, and tried two i've been saving for just such an occasion.

smitten kitchen, if you haven't heard of it, is one of my favorite food blogs to peek at. actually, it's one of my favorites even if you HAVE heard of it. the photos are gorgeous but feel like real life, not staged food photography, and she makes everything in her small brooklyn kitchen, which leaves me well assured i'll be able to do the same. and every recipe i've tried has been straight forward & delicious.

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recipe here. mine even came out looking almost IDENTICAL to hers, until i smothered it with bacon.

i also roasted a couple of chickens - this has become a sort of 'old reliable' for me, as sam likes them so much that i've gotten pretty good at making crispy skin without drying out the meat. i stuffed 'em with a bunch of corn we picked up from the farm stand; that, and the extra meat, came in really handy the next day, too, when i made a chicken pot pie (recipe tomorrow!)

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sam's sister had a ton of tomatoes that she'd offered up for use in the meal, so i pulled out this beaut i'd been eyeballing for some time now: the new york times' tomato tart tatin. my theory: finish anything with a sheet of puff pastry and it will be delicious. (again, a theory i put into action with my pot pie on sunday.)

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sam, ever my fishing-lovin' man, had caught some perch and a trout the day before, so i whipped up our honeymoon soup and used the trout in place of the salmon - DIVINE. a lovely amuse bouche.

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and lastly, my in-laws have a beautiful yard (it's where sam and i got married) with a couple of pear trees absolutely jammed full of pears, so i peeled a few and poached them in a sweet white wine with a bit of honey until soft. tip: i really meant to cut them in half and core them before i started poaching, but in my rush to get everything done i totally spaced it and they were impossible to cleanly cut - sam's mom did me a huge solid and chopped them up for me, but they'd be a lot easier to handle - and a lot prettier - if you cut & core them first. i served them atop vanilla ice cream with a quick caramel sauce & toasted almonds i whipped up. (i had to serve 'em quick before the hot caramel and almonds melted the ice cream, so no finished product photos.) this is a great way to use pears if they aren't ripe yet.

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and that's the meal! it was a lot of food, and several dishes, but really only took a couple of hours - i find that if you mix a couple of dishes that take some time on the front end, then bake for a long time (for example, the potato roast or the chickens,) and mix those in with a couple of dishes that have some prep involved and need your attention for the whole process, but don't take much time to bake (the tart tatin and the soup,) it's really quite manageable to make a four course meal all on your own. a dishwasher helps.

thanks as always for reading, and i'm sorry i've been kind of slack on answering comments and getting back to folks lately - i'm getting back on the horse this week, i've just been a little busier than usual lately.

xo audrey

Friday, August 26, 2011

oh no she di'n't

oh, yes i did.

i'm pretty devil-may-care about my hair. i'll chop it off on a whim after struggling to grow it out for years, and i've never been one to straighten or curl it until it's just so; honestly, my blowdryer fell in the toilet a few months ago and i haven't bothered to replace it. but one thing i've always been to afraid to try? another color.

part of it is that i love being a brunette. i have super thick, very dark hair, and i just never really saw the point in trying to dye it - more trouble than it's worth, i guess. add to that the fact that i'm pretty pale and my dark hair works with my complexion, so why mess with that? well, the kind folks at ARROJO contacted me a couple weeks ago to see if i'd be interested in some complimentary treatments - a cut, perhaps, or a style? i emailed them back that i was flattered to be asked, but my hair was pretty much as short as it could get so it probably wouldn't be worth their time. they offered me a color and i blanched and then thought. . . why the heck not? i've been curious about blonde for years, but would never have taken the plunge (see above re: hair apathy,) but if someone else could tell me what would work AND do it for free? psssh, who am i to say no?

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okay. i have to say that i was pretty freaked out at first. having never so much as worn a wig before, looking in the mirror and seeing this golden blonde just seems wrong to me. but after a couple of days with it, i'm starting to kind of enjoy it. it's kind of fun to get to change your look so drastically - i feel like i'm playing a character! getting dressed feels like getting in costume.

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top: thrifted
shorts: urban outfitters
belt: asos
shoes: belle by sigerson morrison/madewell

i swear to god i ironed these shorts RIGHT before i put them on. how does that happen?

hurricane irene preparedness: i'm locking up our brooklyn apartment, taking the train up to meet sam in connecticut, crossing my fingers that the rain holds off long enough for us to hit some tag sales tomorrow morning, and making a big family dinner tomorrow evening. what about you guys? freaking out or staying put?

xo audrey

Monday, August 22, 2011

anniversary dinner

i had a fantastically busy weekend, spent watching the food network, dismembering crabs, and accidentally sunburning - which is extra embarrassing when i think about the stockpile of hawaiian tropic i have in my apartment. i forgot to bring any and instead rubbed what turned out to be expired burt's bees sunblock all over my body, and i tell you, even sitting here typing this is painful. fortunately i think it's juuuuust mild enough that it won't peel, and maybe i'll even end this summer with a bit of color! maybe.

before it gets any fuzzier in my memory, though, i want to write about the dinner my sisters and i made for my parents for their anniversary. thirty years! they are absolutely my heros and number one role models, in life and in love. so we made them a ten-course, pretty-darn-fancy dinner, in hopes of giving them a celebration worthy of their big day.

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the menu for the evening:

sourdough rolls with a trio of butters: truffle, tarragon and honey vanilla bean

west coast oysters served with fresh horseradish and lemon

salmon mustard amuse bouche

my sister emily's roasted carrot and avocado salad (which was DELICIOUS but i didn't get a photo of it - as was, sadly, the case with many of the courses. it was pretty hectic in the kitchen, as we were really trying to push out the courses one right after the other so dinner didn't take four hours. . . we managed it in about an hour and a half, which tells you what hustlers my sisters are, and why i don't have photos of about half the courses. i'm going to try to make this at home, photograph it, and put up the recipe, if emily okays it, because i only had one bite but it was heaven.)

avocado and yellowtail tartar with kumquats

truffle egg custard with sauteed oyster mushrooms and crispy duck skin (very similar to this.)

emily's beet & ginger risotto (again, beautiful and delicious with no photos. fail.)

esther's duck ricotta ravioli (arguably the big hit of the evening - there were a few extra which disappeared in NO time. recipe below, with compliments to the chef!)

steak three ways - one served with a classic bechamel and topped with half a baby heirloom tomato; one "steak frites"; one a deconstructed steak salad, with baby arugula, blue cheese, and a drizzle of good, thick balsamic dressing.

a duo of desserts - esther's champagne raspberry sorbet, served in a hollowed out orange and garnished with a raspberry; and my crepe cake with dark chocolate ganache and a cherry vanilla compote. this was so gorgeous and SO tasty, i really blew it not getting photos. will have to recreate sometime.

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and some completed courses. . .

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avocado & yellowtail tartar

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truffle egg custard with sauteed mushrooms and crispy duck skin

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steak three ways

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and esther's astonishingly beautiful (and delicious) duck ricotta ravioli. recipe follows.


little sister esther's duck & ricotta ravioli

filling:
2 duck legs
about 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of baby arugula, plus more for garnish
about 3 T finely chopped shallot and garlic
salt & pepper to taste

for sauce:
about 1 cup blanched & chopped tomatoes, skins reserved

1/2 batch pasta dough (recipe and directions in the link, though you have to scroll through some awkward to get it.)
1 egg, beaten

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start off by putting a good, thick pan on the stove and turn to medium high heat. add the duck with just a smidge of olive oil. salt & pepper it. allow it to get nice and crispy and lots of fat to render out - i placed another pan on top to help it cook through. flip it over; it should be good and crispy on both sides. let it cool.

once cooled enough, you'll want to rip it apart. we reserved the skin so i could use it on the custard, but it would also be good crisped up as a garnish for the ravioli, on a salad, or whathaveyou. rip the meat into smallish strands, and start the garlic & shallots in the pan that you used to cook the duck in - it should still be full of duck fat. once these start to turn transparent, add the duck, sautee for a minute or so, and then remove and put in a bowl to cool. once cooled to touch, add ricotta, then arugula, and stir up.

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ready your pasta; make a sheet, brush it with the egg, and put a rounded tablespoon of filling every inch and a half or so, fold the sheet over, and stamp away.

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carefully store these on a sheet pan in the freezer until you're ready to cook them.

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get a pot of water boiling; use a pasta basket if you have it. throw in the raviolis and cook them for 5-6 minutes, until they have paled in color and float to the top of the water. heat the pan you used for the duck back up to medium high; toss cooked raviolis in there and sautee until they've got a bit of brown on them, then add the chopped tomatoes and toss in the pan for a few seconds before removing from heat. crisp up the tomato skins in the pan, and serve the raviolis on a plate, garnished with some baby arugula and the crispy tomato skins. voila!

thanks, esther, for letting me share your glory! so many more recipes to come - i know this blog has been food, food, food lately (i secretly prefer it that way) but i promise some outfitty stuff soon - i left my tripod attachment in california and i'm waiting for it to make its way back to me.

xo audrey


Friday, August 19, 2011

. . . happy birthday to you

oops. so, yeah, i'm sorry because i am awful at this sometimes. basically, here is how my last week went:

wednesday: blog! success. followed by a rebecca minkoff event with a couple of friends (and many bloggy friends); great fun, didn't have my camera. i'll attempt to scrounge something together for this soon.

thursday: no blog. woke up late and rushed to work, then scrambled to the anthropologie event; great fun, HAD camera, took a few photos but somehow zero of the clothes. derp. will certainly put something together on this soon. dashed home, packed to go to california for a few days, fell asleep watching the daily show at 1 am.

friday: wake up at 4 am to catch car to airport. fly to california. arrive. family! hugs! food! beer. sleep.

(this cycle is pretty much repeated over and over until tuesday morning, when i spent the day flying back to NYC, with the exception of sunday night, when my sisters and i made a big fancy anniversary dinner for my parents [post pending] and spent monday at disneyland [post pending.])

wednesday: back at work. camera dead. super tired. late night dinner with sam & a couple out of town friends at prime meats, a major brooklyn recommend. woke up late on. . .

thursday. work. too late to take outfit photos. thanks to a hair removal cream *incident*, probably wouldn't want to, anyway. bake cinnamon rolls at work, leave early to see colbert report (AWESOME) then head home to order/gorge on cheap mexican food and watch chef reality tv with my husband. MARRIAGE.

which brings us up to. . . friday! today. woke up late, dashed to get bagels for the office, and have basically been buried in paperwork and receipts since. sam & i and a couple of our friends are leaving straight from work to head down to the jersey shore for the weekend, so i have my fingers crossed for sunlight although it looks like we're doomed to a weekend full of rain (no matter, i can cook, eat, drink and sleep in rain OR shine.)

so, my apologies for my lack of posting/responding/commenting for the last ten days or so; i've been busier than usual, but also just kind of let myself have a bit of a vacation from blogging for awhile. which sounds really stupid, because blogging is something i do voluntarily and greatly enjoy. just not when surrounded by my family and beer all day.

anyway, sam went out of town the night before i did last week, to go on a major fishing mission with some pals; i hadn't made him any birthday cake or anything, at his insistence, but raced home after the rebecca minkoff event to make him a berry tart so he'd have something to blow candles out on. he came home as it came out of the oven, and we decided to let it cool while we watched some 'river monsters' in bed (because we are the coolest) and, short story kept short, i woke up asleep on his macbook pro at 1 in the morning. we'd both fallen asleep and didn't get to eat any tart. i had special candles and everything! but he took it fishing with him and said that it was the best thing at least one of the guys had ever eaten, so i'm going to take his word for it and post the recipe. it did LOOK pretty damn good.

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this recipe is pretty much exactly the same as this one, right here. but you have to have a membership to the site to see it, and i assume you aren't all giant suckers like me, so i'll copy it here.


pate sucree

1 large egg yolk
1 T heavy cream
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
2/3 c confectioners' sugar (about 2 3/4 ounces)
1/4 t table salt
8 T unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

filling
6 T unsalted butter
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 c sugar, plus 1 T
1/4 t table salt
1 t vanilla extract
1 t Kirsch or framboise, optional (i didn't have this, and didn't use it.) (obviously.) (obviously that i didn't use it, i mean, SINCE i didn't have it.) (sorry.)
1/4 t grated lemon zest
1 1/2 t lemon juice
2 T Wondra flour (i used cake flour, since i didn't have any wondra on hand. nor have i ever. i had to google it to find out what it is. apparently it is a "low-protein, pregelatinized wheat flour to which some malted barley flour has been added. it has been formulated to dissolve quickly in either hot or cold liquids, and is most often called for to thicken gravies and sauces." so it actually does sound pretty handy.)
2 T heavy cream
2 half-pint containers fresh blackberries (about 10 ounces total), picked over (i used half raspberries, half blackberries, and just eyeballed the amount.)

for the tart pastry: whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl. combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor with four 1-second pulses. scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about twenty 1-second pulses. with machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough comes together, about 12 seconds. turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk; wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 11-inch round. (if dough becomes soft and sticky, slip onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable.) transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely over rolling pin and unrolling over 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners and sides of pan with other hand. press dough into fluted sides of pan, patching breaks or cracks if necessary. (if some edges are too thin, reinforce sides by folding excess dough back on itself.) run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove excess dough. set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet or large plate and freeze 30 minutes. (frozen dough-lined tart pan can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen up to 1 month.)

meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet; lightly spray one side of 18-inch square heavy-duty extra-wide foil with nonstick cooking spray. press foil greased side down inside frozen tart shell, folding excess foil over edge of pan; fill with metal or ceramic pie weights (or lentils - that's what i use. cheap and easily available. you can save & reuse them over and over.) bake until pastry appears dry and pale gold under foil and edges have just begun to color, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. return baking sheet with tart shell to oven and bake until sides are medium golden brown, about 5 minutes; set on wire rack to cool.

for the filling: while tart shell is cooling, heat butter in small saucepan with light-colored interior over medium heat; cook, swirling or stirring occasionally, until butter smells nutty and milk solids at bottom are golden brown, about 7 minutes. transfer butter to small heatproof bowl to stop cooking; cool butter until just warm to touch. whisk egg and egg white in medium bowl until combined; add sugar and salt whisk vigorously until light colored, about 1 minute. whisk in warm browned butter until combined; then whisk in vanilla, framboise, and lemon zest and juice. whisk in wondra flour (or cake flour,) then whisk in cream until combined.

add berries and bake: distribute blackberries in single tightly packed layer in bottom of cooled tart shell. pour filling mixture evenly over blackberries. place tart on baking sheet in oven. bake until fragrant and filling is set (does not jiggle when shaken), bubbling lightly around edges, and surface is puffed and deep golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating sheet pan after about 20 minutes for even browning. cool on wire rack to room temperature, at least 1 1/2 or up to 6 hours. remove tart pan ring; slide thin-bladed spatula between tart pan bottom and crust to loosen, then slide tart onto serving platter. cut into wedges and serve.


making sure i am clear about where credit is due: this recipe is from cook's illustrated, which i highly recommend but does charge a subscription fee. i made a couple small changes, which i noted in parentheses, but mostly followed this recipe to the letter. i happened to have some pate sucree left over from another tart i made a bit ago, so it was very quick & easy for me and, apparently, delicious.

thanks for sticking with me, and i am going to do my best to do a post or two this weekend to try to catch up - the only time i opened my computer in california was to dump out my camera's memory card, which was filled with 90% pictures of my nephew, pete, and 10% pictures of food. i'm not sure which is more DELICIOUS. (weird.) i then re-filled it with lots of photos at disneyland, including sneakily (and, some would say, creepily) taking photos of every little girl i saw in a princess costume.

have a great weekend!

xo audrey

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

birthday feast

hi hi! i missed blogging yesterday - one of those days i just couldn't find the time to squeeze it in - so a happy belated birthday to my love, sam, who turned 29 yesterday. smooches.

knowing that i work during the week, and usually don't get home until 7 pm or later, i decided to make him a big birthday dinner sunday night to celebrate. so considering his birthday dinner was on the 7th and his birthday gift (tickets to tUnEyArDs in manhattan on september 19th [get yours here]) is 43 days later, that's a lot of birthday. lucky man.

as i mentioned in the last post, sam likes his food with more food on top of it, and then maybe a side of food stuffed with food. so i tried to push my own preferences aside and make a meal that he (well, okay, we) would really enjoy. i settled upon a chilled soup, a ceviche, and a roasted chicken - all things, coincidentally, that i think he either hadn't tried or wouldn't eat when i met him two years ago, sweet, innocent vegetarian that he was. times, they are a-changin'.

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savory chilled peach soup with bacon

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(based off a recipe i found here.)

**note: i thought this was good, but it didn't knock my socks off. i think you have to be pretty into the sweet/savory contrast, which i definitely am, but adding the cold element to it was maybe one step too bizarre. that said, i still really enjoyed it, but i think sam did a little less. just in case you're thinking of making it for your new in-laws or something. maybe test it first.**

6-8 ripe peaches, peeled (mine were small, farmers market peaches, so i used 8)
about 4 ounces plain yogurt (half a container)
1/2 - 1 cup milk
1/4 cup sweet white wine
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 t smoked paprika

garnish: 1/2 peach, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 strips bacon, baked in the oven until crispy
chiffonade of basil, mache, sage, or another herb

place the peaches in a food processor and blend until they are pretty smooth; add milk until it is nearly the consistency you want in the soup. add yogurt. add wine. add cayenne & paprika. place in a container and let it chill for at least an hour.

to serve: crumble the bacon on top, add peaches, and finish with greens. voila! i think our peaches weren't the best, so that played a part - the flavor of the soup itself was a bit flat. next time i might try roasting the peaches first with some honey and herbs. still, we both cleaned our bowls, so it wasn't bad!

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spicy scallop ceviche


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3/4 lb fresh bay scallops
1 peach
1 jalepeƱo
1 red onion
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 avocado
1 lime
salt to taste
tortilla or plantain chips, for serving

dice all fruit & veggies into small cubes; reserve the lime. (scrape the cherry tomatoes of their seeds and juice, as much as possible.) place them in a bowl and cut the lime in half and squeeze all its juice over the diced veggies. cut the scallops into small cubes and add to the mixture; mix well, ensuring that the scallops are covered with lime juice. add salt and cover; refrigerate for at least two hours. the scallops will go from being a kind of translucent beige to a very opaque white when ready. serve with chips.

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this was SO GOOD. light, cold and crisp; perfect for a mid-summer dish. i only served us little glasses, but we had a whole tupperware leftover and i pretty much ate it all with a spoon for dinner the next day.

and finally, the crown jewel of dinner: stuffed cornish game hens. sam loves almost nothing in life more than a good roasted chicken (that "almost" reserved not for me, mind you, but for any kind of fishing,) but i wanted to do something a little more fancy; these were a perfect compromise. i improvised a stuffing out of things we had lying around, and they turned out really, incredibly delicious - succulent, crispy in all the right places and really bursting with flavor.

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bacon & apple stuffed cornish game hens with crispy potatoes


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2 cornish game hens
3 strips of bacon (i used this really tasty uncured stuff we got at the farmers' market saturday)
1 apple
about 1/2 baguette, crust removed & torn into bite sized pieces
about 2 ounces of mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces (i used oyster mushrooms)
2 T butter, melted
salt & pepper
about 1/2 lb potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes (i used purple potatoes 'cuz that's what we had lyin' around)

preheat oven to 350. cut bacon into 1 inch strips, then start it in the pan; once it starts to brown, and fat is rendering off, add the mushrooms and cook until they're browned and soft. remove from heat; stir in bread; dice & add apple. set aside.

i used a roasting pan, like this one found at crate and barrel [thanks kenji! wedding presents are the best] because i was doing 2 birds instead of one; it also allowed me to place the potatoes underneath the rack, so that all the drippings would fall on to them. but i'm getting ahead of myself.

stuff the birds as full as you can of stuffing. i managed to get all of it inside of them, with a bit spilling out the top; any that fell out was just added to the potato mix, so it was all deliciously good. brush the birds liberally on both sides with butter; sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper. with potatoes underneath, place the birds on the rack and pour a splash of liquid in with the potatoes; i used wine, because it was handy (don't hate) but water or any stock would work, too. or beer! whatever. liquid. not milk.

roast the birds at 350 for about 30-40 minutes, then crank the heat to 400 and cook until they look good, crispy and brown - about another half hour or so. take them out and let them rest for ten minutes or so before serving. for my beer-loving man, i'd picked up a growler of local heffeweisen, which i served alongside.

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tender, juicy, delicious. the potatoes had a chickeny, bacony flavor and were crispy on the outside but practically burst when you bit into them. it was hot and heavy, to be sure, but i think that's appropriate for sam's first birthday dinner as my husband (or, as someone referred to him when wishing him a happy birthday, mr. dettmar.)

more from me tomorrow! my camera battery is dead and i can't find my charger anywhere, so wish me luck! and i hope to see some of you at rebecca minkoff tonight! i'm wearing bright red and shoes that i'll be more surprised if i do NOT sprain my ankle in. say hello.

xo audrey