It’s hot and horrendous everywhere and all I want right now is a hot dog and some sweet tea. I made the sweet tea, I’m working on hot dog logistics!
I learned how to make sweet tea where it was invented: the south. In college, I worked at a restaurant and my side work was usually to make the sweet tea and roll a bunch of silverware. Making the tea was my favorite.
The way I made it was deemed “the Yankee” way and depending on who my co-workers were, there was usually a ton more sugar added as soon as I walked away.
I don’t like it too sweet! If you loooooove it sweet, then feel free to add another cup of sugar to the hot mixture below.
I used Lipton, though I was on the hunt for Luzianne because that’s what I always used way back when. If you want, feel free to use the free-range/pasture-raised/gluten-free black tea that you get from those fancy-ass tea shops. That stuff will be delicious, too.
Add some lemon slices and mint and you have yourself a glass of something that is really the most refreshing thing you could possibly get on a hot summer’s day.
Today I’m taking a break from my Amy Schumer-binge watching to discuss one of my favorite topics: props! YAS. Maybe you have your own food blog and wanna add a few things to your collection or maybe you’re just super nosy and wanna know what I use. Or, maybe you’re like me and just love flatware, plates and mugs. Either way, this is all the stuff I love to use when shooting food. I’m also including a bunch of stuff I’m currently coveting because yes, I do need more stuff.
Probably my most used category of prop-age. A few years ago, I started throwing ceramics and I surprised myself by actually being able to make things that could properly contain liquids and foods. Who knew! I use a lot of my own small bowls for “ingredient shots.”
And these bowls from Anthropologie are pretty too. I bought them on sale for about $4 a piece. Scour the sales!
I forgot who makes the big orange bowl but I got it from a ceramicist in New Mexico. The peach color is exactly the color I think of when New Mexico pops in my mind.
I have a collection of Heath plates for my apartment. They’re simple and classic and food looks great on them. They’re also incredibly sturdy, which is great because I don’t want to stress about expensive ceramics breaking when I’m just eating some random quesadilla I made in 5 minutes.
One of my favorite plates is this one from Someware Goods. Her stuff is beautiful.
I also love the light blue flat plates with this lip all the way around. (Forget who makes them and they’re not marked on the bottom.) I actually need some new plates so if you have ones you’re coveting, let me know!
I’m really on the look to buy some new flatware. I use this collection that I bought from Amazon the most.
And this spoon! One day I’m gonna actually eat some soup with that spoon rather than just stare at it.
These types of accessories are my guilty pleasure. Put me in a store and I’ll come out with a tons of useless little things that have no real purpose other than “looking cute.” A lot of these items have been collected over time and weren’t bought all at once–that would be a bit crazy.
We’re gonna be psychos and make Christmas presents in July. Yes. This is happening. A good first step to getting in the mood for Christmas is open up your freezer and stick your head in it. It’ll rev up your wintery engines. (That is not a euphemism, by the way, “wintery engines.”
Cherries are in full bloom right now. I was lucky enough to come across sour cherries and they are my absolute favorite. They require a bit of sugar to give them a nice balance, but not too much because I like to celebrate their tartness rather than just blast it out to oblivion.
I’m sure you’ve had cheap, bright pink maraschino cherries. Perhaps you had them when your mom ordered you a shirley temple and you loved them. I was the same way.
But they have no place in my adult cocktails nor my adult banana splits. (Again, that sounds bad!)
It’s time for us to grow up and make fancy-ass maraschino cherries. This step in the right direction starts with a bottle of Luxardo liqueur.
Let me start by saying thank you so much to all of you who pre-ordered my new book, The Year of Cozy. Your support truly means the world to me.
Have you ever had someone be very skeptical about something you’re making. These people can also be referred to as H8TERZ. They drink haterade as they sit there and h8te.
When I was discussing this recipe with my boyfriend, as I often do, he was h8ting HARD. He didn’t like the peach. He didn’t like the bourbon. “It’s too common of a combination.” Blah blah I don’t care. It’s a delicious combination that’s why you see it a lot and I’ve never seen it on ribs so let me live!
Please judge this book by its cover because I think it’s a good indication of what’s inside. There is lots of pie (naturally). There are pretty flower arrangements. There are fluffy things like whipped cream and soft fabrics. And those crafting scissors make an appearance or two. Also, AMELIA. That bitch is in da book A LOT.
I’m like one part excited and happy to share this with you and another part completely petrified. Like, part of me wants to hide under my bed and come out after the holidays. I’m at my most comfortable in the kitchen, writing and cooking and listening to music and saying inappropriate jokes with Billy. The part that scares me the most is having to present something like this to you, to shout this off the rooftops. This is the part that feels very uncomfortable. But here I am, screaming at you! Haha.
That’s not to say I’m not incredibly proud of this book. This book is personal. It feels like good piece of me is throughout; in the recipes and in the writing and in the use of lots of pale pink and grey and orange. It’s me.
There’s lots of Amelia in this book, too. TONS! She has a dog leash and doggie doughnuts and, and…lots more. This book is one part crafts, one part recipes with tidbits about how to make your days a bit more meaningful and exciting and fun.
The book is really about being happy. I cook and create because nothing makes me happier. And I firmly believe that this is the reason you probably do it, too. These recipes are meant to bring sparks of joy in the midst of our mundane and sometimes challenging lives. We can’t always control the larger things in life, like our jobs and relationships and family problems, but we can control how we spend our Saturday mornings. This book is about living with a bit of intention.
There will be more posts about the book, leading up to its release, which is October 6th (EEEK!). I want to write a post about making this book because OMG was it equal parts fun/hard/sweaty (heatwaves galore!).
I also think it might be helpful to see a proposal process?!
Honestly, writing this book reaffirmed my belief that nothing makes me happier than making, creating, cooking and hanging out with Amelia.
In publishing, pre-orders are extremely important. So, this is me pleading with you to pre-order. It also means that come October 5th or 6th, you’ll have this cute thing right at your doorstep! Also on Amazon it’s on sale for only $13!! (That’s about half off!)
Thanks in advance for your support. I can’t do it without you.
It’s rainy today. The clouds are rumbling and lightening is lighting up the sky. It’s feels sort of strange since it hardly ever rains here in Los Angeles, let along during the summer months.
The air feels thick and damp. It reminds me of summer days in the south, which makes me want to curl up with the air conditioning blasting and do absolutely nothing. I’m not doing exactly nothing today (there are last minute book edits and other shenanigans) but I am here to let you know about this dish, my favorite childhood meal: Tallarines Verde.
This was one of the recipes mom would make us when she didn’t have a ton of time. My brother and I were obsessed with this dish. I remember always coming into the kitchen and sneaking cubes of queso blanco off of her cutting board—it’s so good and salty and fresh. This green sauce is unlike what you might be accustomed to—it’s creamier and thicker.
Traditionally it’s served with steak on top but she never gave it to us like that. She skipped the steak and would just serve it to us in a bowl. Whenever I eat this, I immediately get nostalgic in a way that almost hurts. It’s an edible reminder that childhood is gone and time moves too quickly. How does that happen? I would hate to be thirteen again, with all of the doubt and anxiety and loneliness I felt as a kid, but man, it really is just moving too quickly for me. Have I ever told you that rain makes me super emo?!
You might be giving me side-eye right now. Skeptical side-eye. It’s ok. I get it. Tomato and watermelon are a bit of a weird combination.
A few years ago I walked into one of those very LA cold-pressed juice shops in Venice. Not to go on a juice cleanse, oh no that would never work. Instead I just like to have some juice as a bit of a late-afternoon snack. (It’s better for this overly energized human than coffee.)
Anyway, the flavor that jumped out at me the most was watermelon tomato and lime juice. I was intrigued and was surprised at how delicious and refreshing it was. So, here you go. As a popsicle now!
For this recipe, I teamed up with McCormick Gourmet. The hit of cayenne pepper and salt add a nice savory quality to this popsicle. If your watermelon is super sweet (mine wasn’t), feel free to skip the sugar.
It’s a super refreshing snack when it’s sweltering outside.
I guess you could say I like to collect a few things. I have a collection of vintage ice cream scoops. I have a few vintage salt and pepper shakes. And recently, I’ve been slowly buying beautiful ceramics.
Well, a few of them have broken. The bowl you see pictured was broken by Amelia who excitedly ran into it when someone knocked on the door. (It was on the floor because I was unpacking from a shoot.) The spoons were broken because I didn’t realize the bag was on the bed and when I threw off the covers because I was exhausted, well, they went flying.
I always have something that needs repair. I always promise myself that I’m going to glue things back together and I often times do but this time I wanted to try something different.
Enter: Kintsugi. It’s the Japanese art of repair. Think of it like a beautiful rendition of gluing things back together. The philosophy behind kintsugi is about seeing the breakage and repair as part of the object’s history—embracing it rather than hiding it.
I feel like there could be some sort of analogy drawn out of this DIY and applied to life and I’m especially hormational today so I’ll stop while I’m ahead!
Traditionally kintsugi involved mixing a lacquer (gold, silver, copper) with a binding rice flour. It sounds simple, but nailing does that ratio is incredibly difficult. For some, repairs can take up to two months!
We ain’t got that type of time on A Cozy Kitchen, so I made some shortcuts. Here’s what you’ll need:
It’s Monday. There’s probably some a-hole in Positano, Italy in your Instagram feed posting photos while you’re doing your Monday to-do list on a post it note with a pen that barely works. Yes, this happens during the summer and it’s sort of rude. How dare they. Don’t they know that you can’t find a real pen and all you want to be doing is frolicking in the sand and making out with someone kewt, too. They do know but they don’t care so this is why you need sprinkles, today and every day.
Before we get too deep into these thangs, this is the popsicle mold I used. (Last week someone asked me to post it! As for the popsicle sticks with the cute sayings, they belonged to my boyfriend’s mama. They’re from Williams-Sonoma and the box says 2003 so I’m guessing they don’t sell them anymore. Aren’t they the cutest?!)
Like, it was so good that it made me want to make batches of it now and then freeze it, so I can eat it when it’s cold(ish) out. I am not at all a freezer person. I know people who have whole meals in their freezers. Nope, not me. There’s something about piles of freezer-burned food that just grosses me out. But I’m contemplating doing this before the summer is over because this soup is THAT good.
For the recipe and more photos, go to PBS Food. I’ll be back next week with…popsicles!!! YAY!