Citrus Season Sweetness

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It’s been a [very] long time since a recipe post. While I had big ambitions at the beginning of the year to make these more frequent and better planned (and better photographed!), a new ambitious plan has sort of taken everything over. So this will probably be the last food post for a while (and the blog itself will probably remain quiet as well) while I focus my energy into getting the magazine off the ground. The GOOD news on that front though, is that the magazine itself will feature a dozen or so beautiful full color pages of recipes and food photography!

(You can like, preorder the magazine right here btw)

But, anyway, today we have a couple recipes all about citrus, which is in season usually at the end of winter. And of course, it’s Spring now — that’s my bad. But early Spring in Minnesota is basically still winter, and these are some beautiful, bright and colorful tasties to brighten the dreary days.


Upside Down Blood Orange Cardamom Cake

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Count this among the decadent ways to enjoy citrus, but one that is not totally over played (looking at you, lemon bars). The question of how to capitalize on the striking beauty of blood oranges but still bake them into a tasty dessert is answered perfectly with this upside down cake. The batter itself is simple and not overly sweet- the caramel does most of the heavy lifting there. Cardamom, which can go savory or sweet, lends a much needed floral quality here. It compliments the citrus and the caramel nicely without overpowering. It should be noted that the recipe calls for a whole vanilla bean, which has a very high market price at the moment. You can use vanilla extract in its place, or even better if you can find vanilla bean paste and substitute the amount per the packages instructions. We served this with citrus sorbet, because I like doing a sorbet with a cake to lighten it up a bit, but try serving it with ice cream or unsweetened whipped cream as well if you’d choose.

Ingredients

– Nonstick Spray
-3/4 cup light brown sugar
-1 1/2 sticks unsalted room temperature butter
-6 small blood oranges, peeled with pith removed, cut into round slices (make sure to remove any seeds)
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-3 tablespoons polenta
-1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon cardamom (or more, to preference)
-1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
-4 eggs at room temperature
-3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature

CITRUS-6Method

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You will need a 9” springform pan for this recipe, as well as a baking sheet lined with foil.

In a small pot on the stove, cook the brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the butter, 2 tbsp of water, and a dash of sea salt. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved and smooth, bring to a boil and stop stirring for about 2 minutes. Spray springform pan with oil and place on the foil lined baking sheet. Pour caramel into pan and let it sit for a few minutes before arranging the orange slices on the caramel, filling in any gaps for an even layer.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together the flour, polenta, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom. Using a large bowl, combine the white granulated sugar, 1/2 cup butter and vanilla with an electric mixer. Beat for about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating the mixture between eggs. Mix all together for about 3 minutes.

Using the lowest setting on your mixer, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. Start with a third of the dry ingredients, and then half of the buttermilk. Continue using the same proportions until everything is incorporated, mixing between each addition.

Once the batter is fully combined, pour into the springform pan over the caramel and oranges.

Bake until golden, and your cake tester comes out clean, 50-65 minutes. I recommend the full 65 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 10 minutes, run a knife or offset spatula around edges, and unmold pan. Place a plate on top of the cake and carefully flip over. Slowly remove the bottom of the pan. Let sit and cool completely before serving. Recipe adapted from epicurious.com


Citrus Fennel Salad

All these flavors are such a bright spot in the dead of winter. They can border on being a bit astringent, so that’s why the olive oil and sea salt is so important. There are many fantastic ways to mix and match ingredients to make a satisfying winter citrus salad, but this one is super simple. A nice sharp knife or a mandolin will be essential to get the thinly shaved fennel just right.

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Ingredients

-1 large grapefruit, peel and pith removed
-2 clementines, peel and pith removed
-1 medium blood orange, peel and pith removed
-1 small bulb of fennel, thinly shaved
-Mint leaves Olive oil for drizzling
-Maldon sea salt

Method

Turn grapefruit on it’s side and slice off a portion of the peel to create a flat bottom and top. Turn onto the cutting board flat bottom side down, and run a sharp knife down the sides to remove the peel. Make sure to take off all the excess white pith as well. Once peeled, use knife to cut between the sections to create supremes. Repeat until all sections are cut out. Squeeze the leftover grapefruit over a bowl to capture all of the juices. Use the same method for peeling the blood orange and clementines, however cut the fruit in round slices instead, making sure to remove any seeds.

Arrange the citrus on a plate, dress with the grapefruit juice, drizzle generously with olive oil, a few leaves of mint, and a sprinkle of the Maldon salt.

Served immediately.

Introducing Northerly

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As I’ve documented recently, I’ve been filling my non-working days with personal projects. Sharpen the ol’ skills, you know? Learn new tricks, etcetera.

I have to say, it’s difficult to be a talented, passionate designer and still be unable to find a good job that can put my skills to use. That’s been getting me down a lot. And then a couple weeks ago I was at REI to get Alan a (last minute, oops!) valentine’s gift (I got him socks and a S’well thermos because we sexy like that) and was browsing a shelf near the checkout that had a few stacks of pretty magazines with lots of photos of outdoor pursuits and travel adventures. As I was skimming through one of them, I had an idea to go home and just play around with some layouts using my own photos. Make a little magazine mockup for fun. So I did, and I had fun making a fake magazine cover, with a fake name, and trying all the different photo set ups, and doing character styles, and, and.

Before I knew it, I had decided that I was going to do this for real. The prospect didn’t even seem daunting. Start a magazine? How hard could it be? I already have a designer, ME, and I’ve worked on publications before, so I totally know exactly how to run one. If I dig into my own pockets, I can get them printed, and then I’ll find people to sell them. On the surface I believe it really is that simple, but since then I’ve realized just how many moving parts there are to something like this. To market it, I need to have a website, a place to sell it from, and an instagram, and facebook! I gotta get the word out if I want it to actually sell. All that stuff is kinda scary.

But I also know people, lots of writers, who I can go to for submissions or story suggestions. And Instagram is a hotbed of talented photographers all trying to get themselves out there (with varying degrees of success).

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But I’m getting ahead of myself. I read articles like this and thisOne thing that was reassuring is that it didn’t seem as crazy as it sounded. I decided that the success of this venture would be determined by what I really wanted out of it, and really all I want is to create something beautiful and if a few people get enjoyment and satisfaction from it, then I’m happy. And I told Alan recently “I’m going to put my heart and soul into this. It’s going to be a print magazine. And if I only manage to put out a couple issues before I burn out or it becomes unsustainable, then that’s OK.” I thought of an angle, a journal for life in the North, and a name, Northerly. Not only could I capitalize on an ever-growing movement in Minnesota to rebrand as “The North”, but it’s also a topic I know about. I know about living up here, because I’ve done it my whole life.

I realized I was really sick of being disappointed in where my career was at, and I had to bring the work to myself. And I also realized that I may actually be well suited for this kind of undertaking. Sure, I’m not an editor, but I was raised by two journalists, and worked at a newspaper, on an “alt-weekly” (that’s not what we called it but that’s kind of what it was) so I have a feel for the editorial process. And editorial design is my passion, which sounds so dorky, but it’s super true.

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I created a website through Squarespace and got an email set up. I took my outdoor photography instagram account, these__trees, which was dormant anyway, and deleted everything and made it the official IG account for Northerly. I went to work on a grid that looked professional and design-y (and stood out from other photos on peoples’ feeds), and threw in some hashtags and slowly people started following. I put the word out to my Socality pals, many of whom travel all over the place.

It’s slow building, but so far I’m stoked as hell that people are responding well to it. People are actually submitting pitches, which is *wild*. It’s all I ever could have hoped for. It’s got me thinking down the road a bit. I will probably need a marketing person at some point, maybe a co-editor, maybe even a social media designer. But, this is way down the road.

If you are reading this and want to write about what “northern living” means for you, well heck, get on it! The deadline for the fall (and first) issue is June 1st.

A Fun Branding Exercise!

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I haven’t known what to blog about lately. I’ve been in kind of an occupational rut, an the theme of winter has been cold, and sick baby home from daycare. So I haven’t had a lot of time to center myself and get stuff done. This last week in particular I had baaaaaad depression so, yeah, I’ve been in a rut.

So on Monday morning, after a weekend of feeling miserable and useless I decided to do something different – to get the creative juices flowing, to teach myself some new things, to make something for my portfolio. I’ve long felt that design is design – the principles can be applied across all media, and you know what, my portfolio should just show potential employers/clients that, right??? Theoretically, yes? In practice – not really. I shouldn’t expect people to look at my website and think “yes, she’s good at this kind of design work, so she must be good at all other design work.” Now that I think of it, I mean, I literally was expecting people to have those thoughts.

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So, I decided to go nuts and take on a packaging project – which turned into a full-on exercise in branding a product from start to finish. A line of skin care products appealed to me, and I brainstormed some names til I came up with “Boreal Botanicals” which allowed me to find inspiration in the cold, stark, beautiful landscape and geography of Iceland. Icelandic skin care seemed really natural from there. Volcanic ash, lush geothermal valleys – the blue lagoon? Totally made sense.

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Obviously a project is 1000% more fun when you’re your own client, and you have zero constraints. It takes the pressure off for sure. And obviously this is not reflective of real-world design work. Still though.

I got a fantastic mockup bundle from CreativeMarket, my go-to for all my assets. Was pretty cool to come up with the names of products too (like “Glacial Facial”, and “Andlit” and “Líkami” which mean “face” and “body”, respectively, in Icelandic).

After I had started doing the packaging, and I was feeling energized and inspired, I thought to round this project out I ought to make a website design to go with it. I have only one experience with website design, and it was… Fine. But I’ve really wanted to do a COOL website design for a long time, but didn’t feel I had any opportunities. Welp!

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Turns out front-end web design is actually super easy if you know how to use a 16-column grid.Products1From start to finish this project took about a day. I’m so fond of it, and I’m so bummed that it’s already finished! I may do 5 or 6 explorations of this sort. Or I dunno, 9 or 10 or 20? This is the kind of stuff that made me want to become a designer.

Fonts: Gotham Bold + Light, Chloe

 

Motherhood Made Me a Better Artist

NORTHSHORE-49Life is uncertainty. For me, I’ve always tried to pretend I was a person who knew what I was about. Over the years people have asked me what kind of designer I want to be, what kind of job I ultimately want. I always had a different answer. “I want to do album covers”; “I want to be an Art Director of a Magazine”; “I just want to design.” Creativity has always come easily to me so I never really imagined putting in the work to focus on any one of these ambitions. I kind of went where my career took me, from poster designer to layout editor to quasi-Art Director to Social Media designer to nothing to Freelancer.

It’s the “nothing” period in my career that I think particularly shaped me. That would’ve been the time between when I ended my contract at General Mills and Alexander went to day care. For about 17 months I had no job, no income, and very few opportunities to create.

But it strengthened my creativity more than any other job could’ve. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, but in my case it also made it more skilled. It’s like something clicked in my brain, or maybe my batteries just needed to be recharged. I feel an artistic instinct moreso now than ever before. It’s more focused and the style is refined, but I’m also more disciplined and detail-oriented too. I’m even more principled, by being firm on pricing and passing on jobs that couldn’t pay enough. I’m at a stage now where I don’t have to work for exposure if I don’t want to.

 

Since coming back from “maternity leave” I’ve had a handful of really cool clients and done some work I would put up there as my best, and one of my goals this year is to blog more about design, so I’ll start by rounding up recent work:WG_covergifWG_inside7

I art directed this big printed winter guide for GoMN. I’d never made a style guide before, or design something of this magnitude totally from scratch, but it was an amazing rediscovery of skills and taught me about who I am and what I want from projects. Full autonomy and a really supportive and willing collaborator (in this case, the editor Reed Fischer).


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I was approached by the wonderful jeremy messersmith to design a souvenir poster for a January residency at Icehouse here in Minneapolis. It sort of fulfilled another goal of mine, which was to be sought out because of work I’ve done, not just because I’m a designer. (There’s still one more show if you’re in Minneapolis).


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Through a combination of networking and just dumb luck (which is how 90% of design jobs happen) I ended up doing a listicle graphic for the website Stereogum… And then asked if I would do 10 more graphics for year-end content… Which ultimately ended up at 15 pieces. The editors over there were super open and game for whatever. I tried out a few new styles and even snuck some of my own photography in. And, not only was it a really cool opportunity but it came at a time where I was desperate for work (and a paycheck). MOMMUSICVIDS1PROTEST1


And of course I’m still doing my Transmission gig, which I’ve been doing since before I graduated college, since before I met Alan! I’m usually able to stretch on these and figure out new ways of doing things; pick up skills for later on. BOWIE4NYE2

 

 

Catching Up

ALEX_HOLIDAYS-15Boy I really fell behind in my blogging. With the holidays, and this little guy getting MAJORLY sick (more on that below). So, I still have to do another post about my Alberta trip, I want to talk about my 2018 goals and a BUNCH of other blog stuff but for now I’m just going to do a photo dump from the holidays and a lot of little young sir, who somehow just keeps getting cuter and cuter. ✨

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Over Christmas weekend, Alex came down with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, which was absolute hell on us. He was in so much pain and covered in sores. It was too painful to eat or drink from a bottle for a couple days. I’m not even sure how we got through it! My parents came over and helped a lot the first two days, and Christmas Eve we went over there for dinner. Since HFM is viral you just have to wait it out, although the doctor we saw gave him antibiotics for possible strep (AND we alternated ibuprofen and tylenol ad nauseum) and that made it so he could at least eat a little and get some rest. But hooooooly shit were those first 48 hours difficult.

ALEX_HOLIDAYS-6ALEX_HOLIDAYS-8ALEX_HOLIDAYS-7Christmas day things were getting back on track. We went back to my parents house for our traditional breakfast.ALEX_HOLIDAYS-12ALEX_HOLIDAYS-19

Also, it was cold. Alex missed a week of day care while his blisters healed so we stayed inside allll week.I’m not as ready with the camera as I was when this dude was just a little stationary nugget. But he’s also doing a lot more interesting things now (and as I mentioned previously, is SO CUTE. OMG HIS LITTLE BLOND HEAD).ALEX_HOLIDAYS-24We also got the little guy a rocking horse for Christmas.ALEX_HOLIDAYS-29.jpgWhoaaaa how did I get all my favs into a pic? Swords, trees, vikings, Christmas, feminism, MY BOY? ALEX_HOLIDAYS-31😍ALEX_HOLIDAYS-32ALEX_HOLIDAYS-33ALEX_HOLIDAYS-34ALEX_HOLIDAYS-35On December 30 the Royce family gathered for Christmas dinner and gifts. The next day, NYE, Alan’s parents were in town and we went to the Swedish Institute to check out the holiday deco and grab lunch. It was actually a perfect time to go – the crowds were minimal. Maybe we’ll make an annual thing of it!

ALEX_HOLIDAYS-36ALEX_HOLIDAYS-37ALEX_HOLIDAYS-39ALEX_HOLIDAYS-40ALEX_HOLIDAYS-41ALEX_HOLIDAYS-43How sweet is this little gnome? For the Swedish Institute visit I made sure he was dressed head to toe (literally) in Swedish brands. Name, Hanna Andersson and H&M. These little skiing overalls are too good. ALEX_HOLIDAYS-45ALEX_HOLIDAYS-47.jpgALEX_HOLIDAYS-50ALEX_HOLIDAYS-54

Hope you and yours had a splendid holiday season. Looking forward to making some changes in this year!

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