Monday, November 28, 2011

m.i.a.

and i do mean ACTION. i do think this new (awesome) job will allow me more time for blogging, but it's been a big adjustment - waking up at 5 am, and working until 2 or 3 pm - as yet, i haven't figured out how to get enough sleep the night before to bypass a nap when i get home; usually a 3 to four hour nap, which sucks me of any energy and still sends me off to bed early.

a typical day for me now looks like this: wake up, stumble into some clothing; tie my seriously-dark-rooted mop top into a bandana, slip on some comfy shoes, grab my magical red notebook of recipes and hop into the passenger's seat of sam's car, because he is a saint who wakes up when i do every morning just to drive me the 3/4 mile or so to work. once i get in to the bakery, i flip on the oven and start prepping muffins for the morning; i'll usually make two, say a blueberry cinnamon and then what's become a standard - a cheesy cornbread muffin with a hardboiled egg baked inside. next, biscuits; i'll see what cheeses or herbs need to be used and incorporate those - today's were buttermilk prosciutto.






somewhat by accident, i've been making lots of gluten free stuff that has gotten a pretty positive response - much of it inspired by this lovely blog. around this time of the morning, i'll pick a fruit we have in abundance, match it with a spice, extract, or herb and slowly bake it at a low temperature to create a fruit leather of the day.





next i'll try to bang out a few savory items, for lunch time - usually a pissaladiere, some kind of galette, and maybe a puff pastry tart. mini tomato tartins, cornbread upside down cakes, or mushroom and lamb galettes. . .






then the real fun starts. this is the time of day i get to experiment a bit; i make a batch of macarons (so far flavors i've tried: root beer float, chocolate raspberry, pumpkin pie, salted caramel apple, vanilla pomegranate, peppermint dark chocolate,) and any other cookies or sweets i want to test out. one of my favorites so far has been homemade s'mores - i made graham crackers and marshmallows from scratch, then pressed them together with some dark and white chocolate and melted them for about 30 seconds.












so, all is well, and i really feel like i've found my place - what's better than getting to do the thing you love all day long, and get paid for it?

i know i've been awful about responding to comments, and getting back to you guys - i swear i'm getting my feet underneath me (and getting over a pretty nasty cold) and i'll be back to my old self in no time.

much love,

audrey

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

brunch

sunday afternoon, four old friends from culinary school came over for brunch. in other words, five pastry chefs gathered at my apartment sunday and they all brought food. for my part, despite two late nights in a row - friday night was my going away party at work, and saturday night was a close friend's birthday - i roused myself at a reasonable hour (10 am is reasonable, right?) and started cookin'.













the apple cake i made can be found here; it was great, nice and light, not like a lot of apple cakes which end up really dense (also delicious, but when you're got a zucchini, asparagus & goat cheese strata, 2 kinds of eclairs, chocolates, a spice bundt with caramel icing to get through, you've got to keep it light any way you can.)

my other contribution (aside from some fresh-squeezed juice to house the champagne) was a smoked duck, beet and goat cheese hash, a variation on one of my favorite breakfasts of all time. it takes a bit of time (mostly for the beets to roast) but it so well worth it.


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smoked duck, beet and goat cheese hash

1 smoked duck breast, cubed
2 large beets, roasted until soft when pricked with a fork and cubed
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled, boiled and cubed
1 4 oz goat cheese log
4 thyme sprigs
salt & pepper

start a large saucepan on medium high heat; add duck. sear it on all sides, then add thyme, beets and potatoes; cook until crispy on the sides, remove from heat, and stir in goat cheese. salt and pepper to taste; serve with fried eggs atop if desired.

easy as pie! and so, so savory or delicious. you can really sub in any meat you like, but the duck did work great with the beets and goat cheese.

i started the new job yesterday, and i have to say, it's pretty incredible. now that i've emptied my camera of brunch photos, i'll be sure to document my goings-on in there. and i'm off work around 2 every day, so i should have some daylight time for an outfit post or two. . . as long as i don't fall asleep watching netflix at 3 like i may or may not have done upon arriving home today.

hope all is well, and more from me soon -

xo audrey

Thursday, November 10, 2011

hand pies

hello hello! second to last day at work here; i've been trying to insure they'll miss me by making some decent snacks. i tested out this muffin tin pie idea wednesday night with dinner (and packaged most of them up to send to my little sister) - so yesterday, i stepped it up a bit and made 2 different kinds of pie, apple and pumpkin, all in a muffin tin.

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i just used standard pie dough and regular fillings - for one-crust pies, like the pecan and pumpkin, one pie crust is about perfect for 12 pies, and one batch of filling is a littttle extra, so you can scale down a touch.

more from me soon!

xo audrey

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

one fish, two fish

blackfish, bluefish. sam took monday to head down to new jersey to do some fishing, and came home that night with a big, gorgeous blackfish, which he deftly filleted and packaged up, telling me to do with it what i would. i've been pretty overwhelmed lately - coming up with menu ideas, testing recipes, trying to wrap up my work here while searching for a replacement - but i spent a significant amount of tuesday dreaming up ideas for what to do with that beautiful piece of meat when i got home. and i mean the fish, not sam. (ha-cha!) i found a recipe that sounded complicated enough to take a few hours and use most of our pots and pans, and knew it was the one.

so i took this recipe and tweaked it to what ingredients i had handy - cherry tomatoes, some baby chanterelles and lots of thyme. my variation is below.

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saute├ęd blackfish with corn & roasted red pepper pudding


2 blackfish fillets (preferably with skin still on, but sam had removed the skin and they still held together pretty well.)
1/2 lemon wedge
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper

1/2 roasted red pepper (cut in half, splash with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil and blast at 450 until the skin starts to blacken. let cool entirely then remove seeds, stem and peel off the skin [this should be easy if it's fully roasted.])
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (recipe calls for fresh; i cheated and used some good frozen corn. still delicious.)
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs + one egg yolk
salt & cayenne to your liking

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth will do to if you're pescetarian.)
4 thyme stalks
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 T butter
salt & pepper
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

a few sauteed mushrooms, for garnish


preheat your oven to 275. spray six ramekins with cooking spray (for real. i tried brushing mine with butter instead and the buggers did not want to budge out of their molds.) start cream, red pepper, and corn in a small pot; bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. pour into a blender and puree until totally smooth, then add the eggs, one at a time, while the blender is still going. add cayenne & salt. pour this mixture into the ramekins, and then set them all into an oven safe dish big enough to fit them. pour hot water in, halfway to the top of the ramekins, and bake for at least 20 minutes. mine took closer to 40 to fully set. once they don't jiggle anymore, set them to the side.

while they're cooking, start another small pot with the chicken stock, thyme, and corn. let it simmer at a low temp.

now start the olive oil in your pan. if the skin is still on the fish, score it and squeeze lemon juice in; otherwise just squeeze lemon juice over the fish, salt and pepper it, and toss it on the pan once it's good and hot. cook the fish on medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side, until it has a nice sear and is cooked all the way through. set on a paper towel to rest.

at this point, strain the chicken stock so that only the liquid remains; add the butter, and whisk until it's nice and foamy. invert the corn pudding into a bowl, pour the foamy sauce around and add the tomatoes; top with the blackfish, mushrooms, and some thyme. voila! it's a lot of work, yes, but really nothing too complicated, and the result is a beautiful, delicious, restaurant quality meal. and the savory pudding was such a great base for the fish - i'll definitely be trying some variations on it for other dishes.

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xo audrey

Thursday, November 3, 2011

pipettes

good morning! last night was my first calm, quiet night for what feels like ages. i've been eating more than my share of chinese takeout and cereal-dinners, so i was excited to finally come home and make a nice, big dinner. i'd been saving a bottle of champagne since my birthday back in june, so i told sam to put it in the fridge, fillet the perch he'd caught and be home in time for supper.

i'd been wearing uncomfortable pants all day, so i was pretty determined to make dinner with whatever i had in the fridge, and nothing more, so that i could remain in sweatpants-and-barefeet mode for the remainder of the night. i ended up having sam pick up a couple of things on his way home, but for the most part managed a dinner of convenience.

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arugula & duck confit crepes with tangerine buerre blanc

crepes:

1/2 cup flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup whole milk (i just mixed half and half and 2%)
3 T water
1 egg

sift or whisk together flour & salt. now whisk milk, water, and egg together until mixed, slowly add flour mixture while whisking. strain through a seive, pour into a cup measure, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

simply shred the duck confit and toss it around in a pan for a few minutes, until nice and hot. turn off heat and add arugula, stirring to coat it with the duck fat.

to make the crepes: melt about 3 tablespoons of butter. i like to use clarified butter, so i melt it at a high heat and simply spoon off the fat that rises to the top. brush just enough butter to coat the pan you're using; pour the crepe filling while turning the pan to coat it completely. i got about 10 crepes from this batter. once the crepe starts to bubble along the edges, flip and cook it for another thirty seconds or so, until browned. repeat until you run out of batter.

for the filling:

1 leg duck confit
about 2 cups baby arugula

tangerine beurre blanc: (i adapted this from a recipe found here)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (about 2 tangerines)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into tablespoons
a couple pinches cayenne pepper
1 T lemon juice
salt to taste

put tangerine juice in a small pot and bring it up to a boil; let it cook down for a few minutes, until it's thickened and only about 1/4 cup remains. add garlic and bring heat down to very low, and add one tablespoon of butter, whisking until almost melted; add another, and whisk. add half the butter this way, whisking and adding another just before the other one has entirely melted. then remove from heat and add the remaining butter one piece at a time. whisk in cayenne, lemon and salt to taste.

to serve, i simply filled up three crepes each for us, and topped each one with half a cherry tomato; the purpose of that was mostly to hold in place the pipettes, which i filled with the beurre blanc. i'd been looking for some pipettes for cooking ever since we ate out on our honeymoon, and a place served raw tuna cubes with a pipette of soy sauce puncturing it; i thought it was such a cool, playful presentation. i lucked out and a friend of mine was able to score me a box of 500 from a manufacturing plant that apparently thinks he works for a hospital. score! (thanks, brad!) so prepare to see a lot of these in the coming weeks. and months. and possibly years.

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it seems gimmicky, but this was actually kind of perfect for the dish - the pipettes held the perfect amount of sauce for each crepe, and waiting until the last second to dress them meant they stayed crisp until the last second, and didn't get all soggy while i took photos of them before we dug in.

i also made a tomato bisque variation of our honeymoon soup, using some fresh perch sam caught this weekend. de-licious.

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we toasted with the veuve cliquot i'd been holding on to, scarfed down our food and retreated to bed to snuggle up with breaking bad, which sam has taken a liking to at last. how was your night?

man, i'm out of practice. i feel like i can't remember how to write a blog anymore! i'll get better, i swear.

until next time,

xo audrey