A few weeks ago I hopped in a car and drove 2 hours north to a small town called Solvang where I checked into a cozy little hotel and put on a robe (my favorite part) and was then scurried off to dinner (not in the robe, I put on real clothes) on a vineyard. Not the usual Monday around these parts but I reveled in being outdoors, tasting wine and food for a few hours straight.
This was all in honor of ALDI grocery stores coming to Southern California. I’m visiting my first ALDI store in a few weeks and can’t wait to show you more. I’m excited about the extensive organic products they have, especially organic butter and organic dairy (my two most expensive splurges in any given week).
In the meantime, here’s a little bit about my experience at the dinner and how it inspired this recipe for a Chocolate Bundt Cake with Almond-y Cream Cheese Frosting.
As a friendly reminder: Mother’s Day is thisnext Sunday. YASSS. Mark it on your calendar because if you don’t call your mom/get her a gift/think of her, etc. you’ll probably have a Beyonce-type beehive buzzing at your door.
There’s a classic French dish called Potatoes Anna. I hear that this is one of the first things you learn when you go to culinary school (never went! lol). But when I first started cooking a lot, my dad bought me the FCI textbook and I cooked my through many of the recipes.
Potatoes Anna consists of a bed of perfectly browned round slices of potatoes, layered on top of each other. It’s the simplest most perfect dish because it’s literally just carbs and salt and butter. EMOJI HEART EYES
Since the beginning of time I’ve wanted to make a version of it, my way and call it a very cheeky, Potatoes ADRIANNA.
As health-conscience as my mom was growing up, she was not above shoving a frozen French bread pizza in the oven. I’m so glad I was privy to that childhood experience!
Lately I dunno why–maybe I’ve been browsing Pinterest too much–but I’ve been craving really trashy French bread pizza. But since I am a person who cooks stuff for a living, I figured I’d make a non-frozen version that is slightly classy. I figured I’d try and give it a bit of a facelift (not that it really needs it!).
I know it’s not your birthday but I made you a birthday cake. I’m guessing I probably have never wished you a happy birthday because there are a few of you and I’m not exactly sure when all of your birthdays are. And even if we were friends on Facebook, I never check it because it’s filled with a bunch of people’s kids from high school and random political rants that make my eyes roll back very far into my head, so FB isn’t a reliable birthday reminder for me anymore. So….I figured I’d make you this cake and whenever your birthday shows up, you can just look at this post and know I’m wishing you a happy birthday!!
I love making people birthday cakes. If you follow me on snapchat (acozykitchen), you might’ve caught a glimpse of me making Josh’s birthday cake. I wanted to show step by step how I was putting it together. And then I made the biggest mistake: I left the room. I came back and Amelia had somehow managed to get herself up onto the counter and eat half of it! Yes, nearly half. It was actually very similar to the cake you see pictured: a yellow cake with chocolate frosting (luckily i hadn’t frosted it yet when she consumed a big chunk of it).
When Tessa’s beautiful book showed up in the mail, Layered, I was immediately drawn to this classic. I figured I needed to give it another go, with Amelia far far away from it.
Lately I’ve been playing this super fun game called How Many Episodes of Fixer Upper Can I Watch In a Row. Another game I like to play: How Many Iterations of Enchiladas Can I Make.
I’m great at both games! As a person who lives in LA and deals with housing prices that make me want to cry (especially for what you get), this show makes me want to move to Waco, Texas allllll the time. (Except I’m not sure if I could live in Waco, even tho a craftsmen for 30k looks amazing!)
The other game, the enchilada one, has proven to be pretty delicious. This one is filled with your favorite spring vegetables: asparagus, fresh peas, baby spinach and tons of flavaaaa.
This month is the best month because it’s Grilled Cheese month. I’m not sure who comes up with these official months but instead of questioning it, I’m embracing it by giving you my dream grilled cheese on National Grilled Cheese Day: Spinach Artichoke Dip Grilled Cheese.
I thought the flavors of my all-time favorite dip in a grilled cheese would make eye-heart emojis go off in my brain and I was right.
I could write a dissertation on how I think shredded cheese is the ticket for grilled cheeses but I’ll keep it short. If you want a gooey, melty, irresistible grilled cheese, you need to do three things:
#1 Use shredded cheese. And use one that’s really melty. Enter: Fine Cut Shredded Mozzarella!
Every now and then I look at my inbox and a random person sends me something called a “food trend report.” This has happened multiple times and usually before I even open it, I sort of roll my eyes because most of the time they’re filled with super trite info like, “kale is on trend!” or “quinoa is trendy.”
Things that make you go, kewl info. But one place I love to read about trends is within the pages of Bon Appett. The trends they talk about are definitely before they hit mainstream so they make me think a lil’ bit and make me go, huh…kewl.
In a recent issue (I forget which month), it was all about kefir being a big thing now. And not just for hippies or people trying to settle an upset stomach but an ingredient that chefs and home cooks are putting all up in their foods. I figured I’d give a simple dessert a big of a tangy twist with kefir.
Enter: dis banana pudding. It tastes almost like normal banana pudding. It’s that kind of twist that will make people a little puzzled when they eat it. They might think to themselves, “this is good but what’s different about it…”
Today I’m headed to Santa Ynez (right by Santa Barbara) for a super short trip for the grocery store ALDI (more on dat soon!). I have a few days of eating and drinking and taking lots and lots of photos—-I’m excited.
It’s super cliche but right now I’m really inspired by trips to the farmer’s market. I don’t always go the farmer’s market, which surprises most people since I live in California but my defense is that I bake a lot and many times when I’m recipe testing for the blog, I already have an idea of what I want to cook and many times the farmer’s market is too fickle. sometimes they have stuff and sometimes they don’t, so I usually just buy my ingredients from the grocery store. but recently, walking through the aisles of the markets has been so inspiring.
This weekend was a celebration! The bees successfully packed up their belongings and moved their hive to Pasadena and we got honey! Woot woot! The honey is dark amber, delicious and rich. It wasn’t enough to make a whole dessert from but it was just enough to drizzle on some ricotta slathered on a piece of toast. Good enough for me.
And! And! Joshua is back from a 2-week stint in Asia so I celebrated by baking cookies and making a whole bowl of good things: sautéed artichokes, asparagus, brown rice, an avocado sort of shaped like a rose, and a bunch of bloosmdale spinach.
And then I decided to make these baked falafel balls because I’m allergic to frying things (sometimes).
I learned a trick from Mark Bittman. The trick to good baked falafel is to brush a baking sheet with a few tablespoons of olive oil so it almost pan fries in the oven. The result is a nice golden brown crust all on the outside. Genius, right?!