Tastemaker: Party Treats & Tips from Chef-Blogger Audrey Leary
Throwing a Valentine’s party with your besties? Planning a glam Oscar Night bash? We’ve turned to pastry chef and style blogger Audrey Leary of Homerun Ballerina for some delectable festive recipes (just click the name of each to get the deets), plus read on for tips on hosting a chic celebration!
1. Chorizo and yellow onion-stuffed squid
2. Egg-cup custard
3. Ricotta-stuffed grapes
4. Spicy scallop ceviche
5. Pork dumplings
6. Savory soufflés
7. Lobster rolls
8. Raspberry vanilla macarons with dark chocolate ganache
9. Almond lemon-curd and blackberry tartlets
STYLUST: What’s your favorite dish to make for guests?
AUDREY: Probably crème brûlée. It’s really so easy to make, and infuse with seasonal herbs or what have you, and people are always blown away by it. It’s also great because you can make it a day ahead of time and focus on everything else day of.
STYLUST: What’s the best dinner party soundtrack?
AUDREY: My husband and I have a pretty out-of-control record collection, so we’ll usually just let the guests take turns putting on records. It works really well, and everyone gets to hear something they like.
STYLUST: Do you find that your personal style is in line with your cooking/baking aesthetic?
AUDREY: VERY much so. I’ve had multiple people tell me I dress like a macaron, which I guess is pretty true—I like to wear lots of bright colors, mixed together, just like a macaron.
STYLUST: What’s your biggest baking faux pas?
AUDREY: Probably the mess I make. I am an incredibly messy cook (as my husband will be the first to tell you).
STYLUST: What’s the quickest fix to a baking disaster?
AUDREY: Man, it really depends on the disaster—but I guess keep an open mind and be creative. If you have a pie that doesn’t work out, turn it into a crisp or a cobbler. If you have a curd that doesn’t set up, mix it with buttercream and frost cupcakes (or fill macarons) with it.
STYLUST: What are some easy, inexpensive ways to set the mood for a party?
AUDREY: Certainly to have some good music playing—Sam (my husband) is so good at making a playlist to get the night started, before the records start playing, that builds from quieter, background music to more upbeat and dance-y. I also really like to have a cocktail to greet people with—the last dinner party I had, I infused some gin with rosemary and topped that off with St. Germain, club soda and a sprig of rosemary. Instant party.
STYLUST: Are there any specific drinks you’d recommend for a Valentine’s party to complement certain dishes?
AUDREY: I really like to pick a couple bottles of wine—both red and white—which takes the guesswork out of pairing; or give me a glass of champagne any day.
As in love with Audrey’s culinary flair as we are? If you live in NYC, you are SO in luck. Just stop by the Greene Grape Annex, at 680 Fulton Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where she’s the resident pastry chef, to taste her delicious—and totally gorgeous—creations!