I spent this past weekend getting back in the vibe of normal life which included going to the gym, going on a run, sniffling my way through Queer Eye on Netflix, getting cocktails and burgers with friends and going to watch Black Panther. I’m sure you’ve seen it; if not, you need to remedy that situation.
One weekend goal that was not met was a trip to my favorite Chinese restaurant to eat dumplings and pot stickers. I have to say, I love their meat pot stickers and dumplings but their vegetarian variety is not all that great. I wanted to make delicious vegetarian pot stickers. I think I found it.
I roasted a kabocha squash and added a bunch of stuff to it like green onions, sautéed mushrooms, sesame oil, chili paste, ginger and white pepper. It was glorious. It tasted like heaven.
This makes about 24 pot stickers which sounds like a lot but when you start eating them, it feels like it could go on forever and ever. I would highly recommend doubling this recipe and then freezing the rest. Pot stickers are THE ABSOLUTE BEST to cook straight from the freezer.
Let me just say that one of my goals for 2018 is to explore content beyond just food. Maybe dip into interiors (kitchen remodel post coming soon, I promise), maybe some clothes, maybe some of my favorite beauty things…you know, just switch it up because recipe after recipe can become so monotonous for me.
But it really hadn’t crossed my mind for us to read a book together until my DMs about The Glass Castle were off the chain and everyone wanted to do a book club. I was surprised about the positive feedback and now I’m super stoked that we’re all doing this together!!
So let’s dive in to what we’re gonna do:
The Purpose of #CozyBookClub – Every year I want to read more books. But every year I get super busy and can’t seem to find the time. Also, a lot of times I get distracted; I need help staying focused. I’m hoping that this will help me and you!
ALSO, whenever I read a book or see a movie by myself, I talk Josh’s ear off about it and basically tell him the entire story and premise and he just stares back at me and nods. I know he’s not paying attention, he’s just being nice. NOW HE DOESNT HAVE TO because we have each other!
I think this comes from my time at film school where we’d watch a movie and talk about it for 2 hours after. It always felt so nice to talk about the work.
The Books – I want to choose good reads that everyone will like and everyone will have access to. One of the rules that I’m following when selecting the books we’re reading is that the book needs to be in audible form because this isn’t dang school! So, if you can’t find the time to read the book, then listen to it on your way to work or when you go on walks. Whatever. There will be no test.
The Timeline – We’ll read one book a month. That’s it. It’s totally doable. And I don’t think we’ll be picking super long books nor books that are trilogies.
3. Cranberry Chestnut Cake – I love this cake frosting so much. I’m contemplating putting it on a bunch of other thing too. The sliced cranberries and rosemary leaves are festive without being too kitchy (I think).
7. Classed-Up Double Decker Tacos – If you have a bunch of people coming over and want to feed them something that will be fun, affordable and easy to throw together, make these! I like to set out all the things: the meat, hard shell tacos, beans, etc. and let people assemble their own.
8. Vegan Nut Butter Coconut Chocolate Tart – This is vegan! And it’s SO good. The crust is nice and chewy and the filling is fluffy and rich. If you need a delicious vegan dessert to feed your friends/take to a party, this is a great option.
9. Marbled Tahini Chocolate Cups – These are beautiful and really easy to throw together. I love the tahini in these guys and, of course, if you wanted to swap that out with almond butter or peanut butter, you could do that too.
10. Milk Tea Flan with Boba – I haven’t always been a flan fan. It took me years to warm up to it but once I did, I went on the hunt for a base recipe that was silky smooth. This one is just that AND it has the flavor of milk tea. Boba on top are added for more cuteness.
11. Miso White Chocolate Cookies – These are some great chewy cookies. The miso adds some a lovely savory element and the white chocolate is delicious and pretty.
12. Chocolate Caraway Babka Buns – I love the flavor combination of chocolate and caraway. It works so well in this bun—so chocolatey and delicious.
13. Chai Tiramisu – I’m sure you’ve seen this recipe before because it’s one of my most popular and for good reason! It’s SO delicious and a lovely riff on the classic.
(This post is sponsored by the Martha Stewart Collection, created for Macy’s. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy!)
I know I’ve been writing autumn love letters since like mid-September, but if I’m being completely honest with you, Los Angeles doesn’t even really begin to hint at fall until November. But now it’s November and I’m freezing! And I love it. My fluffy socks are on at all times, my favorite soft sweaters are out of storage and all I’ve wanted to do is break in the new kitchen with some cozy foods. The kitchen is almost completed and I was finally able to cook our first meal in it!
Since there are some things that need to happen (like trim, a coupe light, etc), I figured I’d start light with a little dinner party for four. I wanted to serve cozy food that wasn’t fussy.
For this post, I teamed up with Macy’s and Martha Stewart. The Martha Stewart Collection’s harvest dinnerware is SO pretty. I absolutely love these hatchcross, grey plates, along with the marbled pink plates. They are gorgeous. And I love the shape of Martha’s Enameled Cast Iron cookware . The handle shapes are sleek and simple and the colors are lovely! Check out the whole Martha Stewart Collection at http://mcys.co/2kIpJAv.
I used the small 2-quart white Enameled Cast Iron pot to make the best cozy dish ever.
This was the perfect size for four people. At the bottom is a vegan chili with a fluffy cheddar cornbread on top. I like to think of it like cornbread and chili all in one!
The vegan chili is spicy, made with kidney beans, and loaded with delicious things like diced onion, mushrooms, red bell pepper and lots of spices.
The cornbread on top is inspired by fluffier cornbread cake. It isn’t dry at all and it’s so soft and delicious.
It may seem like a small portion for four people but it’s so filling that it’s actually perfect. Especially when paired with a snappy, refreshing salad AND with dessert.
For dessert, I used the 6-quart Enameled Cast Iron pot (in beautiful white) to fry up apple cider churros and they were SO good.
Were at t-minus nine days before Thanksgiving and the countdown is very real. I’m crossing my fingers that everything for the kitchen renovation will be in tact so we can have our first quiet, small Thanksgiving. It’s been a slow and arduous process that has tested my patience. But everything looks awesome haha.
Let’s talk about DIYs. I have lots of opinions about them. When I did The Year of Cozy, I really wanted to make DIYs that were doable and that people would actually make. The Thanksgiving nametags were one of the most instagrammed DIYs! Because they consisted of things you could easily find with minimal amount of supplies.
I wanted this DIY to also be like that: easy to do, no crazy skill required and not stressful. I like to delegate things like this to people. Give people jobs! That’s the only way Thanksgiving is not crazy. I feel like this would be a great thing to delegate to kids and it is also something you can prep WAY in advance since the corn is dried.
For this post, I teamed up with French’s®! I love their mustard (obviously) and I buy and love their Crispy Fried Onions every single year. This year they sent me the Crispy Jalapeños and omg they are so good. I ate them by the handful and had to stop myself because we actually needed them for the shoot.
Amelia is officially one year older but don’t worry because she’s still bratty, a little looney, still has an attitude when I try and touch her toes, still loves to roll around in grass and still loves harder than any dog I’ve ever met.
She is the one living thing that is by my side ALL day long. We literally do everything together. I feel lucky to have her in my life. And when I think seriously about her, I get emotional and teary because she is 100% my best friend.
Ahhh Italy (part 1)! This was my very first time visiting Italy and it was really, truly a beautiful and memorable experience. I loved Italian culture, the cobblestone streets, aperitivo time, old buildings, shopping and of course, the food.
The first stop on our trip to Italy was to Verona, a small town that literally looked like Epcot straight out of Disney World. As we were walking the streets, I was like this all sort of looks familiar! But this is the legit real thing!
Autumn is my time to thrive. It is when I’m my best human self. I wear cuter clothes. I bake cuter things. I’m usually just happier because I’m not sweating—it’s a great season!
I figured I’d do a lil’ round up of some items that I think you should bake this month! Some of these dishes I dug up out from the dark archives of my early blogging days because I still love the recipes. Thank the heavens I got better at using my camera!
1. Classic Apple Pie – If you want to live fall to its fullest potential, make a pie. If you’ve never made a pie before, this PIE 101 Post I did a loooonng time ago is still super helpful.
4. Asian Pear and Apple Pie – I looove Asian pears. A few people on the Instagram have asked me “what do Asian pears taste like?” Well, they’re really fragrant and floral and are kind of melon-like. They’re so amazing. This pie is delicious—highly recommend!
5. Fancy-Ass Chicken Pot Pies – I used schmaltz to make the crust on these but feel free to use regular ol’ butter. It is amazing, though. They’re so chicken-y and delicious and make me happy.
1. Fearless Baker – Erin Jeanne McDowell. If you follow Food52, then you might’ve fallen in love with Erin’s work already. She is a master baker and I love her bubbly personality and interesting yet classic recipes. I can’t wait to bake from this.
2. Guerilla Tacos – Wesley Avila. A true love letter to Los Angeles. No lie, their tacos are some of my favorites in LA. AND, their catering is incredible (we rented them for Josh’s dad’s birthday party last year). This book is beautifully shot (by Dylan + Jeni) and I can’t wait to try some of the taco and salsa recipes.
3. Erin Bakes Cake – Erin Gardner. This book is SOOOOO fun. If you want to have a fun life baking stuff, this cake is it. It’s amazingly well done with beautiful step-by-step photos showing you how to accomplish these ambitious cakes.
4. Sweet – Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. A collaborative effort between Ottolenghi and and pastry chef and product developer, Goh. I’m SO pumped to bake through this book. It looks so ridiculously beautiful. I actually bought it and it arrived yesterday. I can’t wait to read and bake everything.
5. Holiday Cookies – Elisabet der Nederlanden. This book stopped me dead in my tracks at World Market. I was there picking out cookie cutters and got distracted by the cover—it’s that beautiful. I haven’t tried any of the recipes but the photography and holiday baking ideas alone are worth a purchase.
6. Brave Tart – Stella Parks. I love classic American recipes. They make my heart swoon and Stella’s recipes all look and read like gold. If you’re unfamiliar with her, she is the in-house baker and writer at Serious Eats and her work is LEGIT.
8. Smitten Kitchen Every Day – Deb Perelman. I don’t think Deb needs an intro, especially to us food blogging peeps. She is GOD. And truth: she is one of the reasons I started my blog. I wanted to be just like her. Her recipes are always clever, classic and delicious; I can’t wait to cook from it ALL fall long.
9. Baco – Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock. True story: Josh and I met at Baco Mercat downtown. And Bar Amá (Centeno’s other restaurant) is one of our favorite restaurants in Los Angeles. I can’t wait to recreate some of our favorites at home.
10. The Chef and the Slow Cooker – Hugh Acheson. Not gonna lie, I’m not really a slow cooker type. I own one but it’s in a box collecting dust. Hopefully this book will encourage me to break it out and make some slow-cooker easy dinner.
Before we start, here’s a link to Part 1 in case you missed it!
If you’ve been following the kitchen renovation on the Insta Stories this is all old news to you BUT I figured it’d put a legit update on this here space to show you where we are in renovation land.
It has been a pretty fun learning experience. A lot of people told me that the four week estimate that we were aiming for probably wasn’t going to actually stick and they were right. We’re currently four weeks in and we’re kinda far from being done.
The first thing that was done was the demo. PHEW! This might’ve been my favorite part. It was so dramatic and really made me laugh because it was so crazy how different the space took. Continue Reading