One of my favorite summahtime memories was in college. I got a job on a film set in Maryland for a few days and instead of flying, which they offered, I took it as an opportunity to go on a solo road-trip through the south.
It wasn’t too far, actually, maybe six or seven hours. And instead of opting for highway only, I went for the route that took me on a lot of one lane roads, running straight through a bunch of small towns in North Carolina and Virginia.
I packed a large sweet tea, made a super long mix-CD and filled up my Jetta.
Nothing crazy happened. I stopped off at a diner, had hoecakes and ate Western North Carolina BBQ. At dusk, fireflies helped light up the roads. I listened to music my parents did. But mostly I remember thinking that everyone seemed so happy and normal and maybe this whole idea of moving to Los Angeles to work in the film industry, which is inherently sort of abnormal, was maybe flawed. Maybe they had it right and I had it all wrong.
I tend to avoid bringing up world events or politics on A Cozy Kitchen. Not because I walk around with rose-tinted glasses on but I honestly figure you get enough of that elsewhere. And plus, this is the place I created to celebrate fun and warmth; devoted to things like cheese, butter and corgis. But this week has been particularly rough and I’m finding it hard to muster up the energy to talk about Aviva throwing her leg across the table.
Robin Williams’ death made me so unexpectedly sad. If you know me, you know that me crying is a very common occurrence, but I was still shocked by how much I cried on Monday. I felt like I lost someone I knew; someone who had been there at so many different times in my life.
Also, the sheer irony in a man who dedicated his life to making so many laugh and yet was dealing with so many personal struggles, is just tragic. It’s a reminder that we really have no idea what’s going in other people’s lives and their own personal struggles are ones we aren’t always privy to. It reinforces my belief in trying to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Oh gosh and #Ferguson. Don’t even get me started. Good gracious. I can’t believe this is happening in 2014…yet I sort of can which is even sadder.
I feel like I’ve told you about my obsession with the Amalfi coast and how all I’ve wanted to do recently is get on a plane, stay in an apartment overlooking the ocean, swim all day and eat all night. The dish that I’m guessing I’d eat copious amounts of is this linguine con le vongole.
Since there’s no trip to Italy in sight, I figured maybe making the dish from the place I’ve been dreaming about might make me feel better. It totally didn’t, but it did make for an amazing lunch so I figured I’d share it with you in case you, too, might be needing a dish to make you want to be in some place other than your desk/current location/grey cubicle, etc.
For this dish, I teamed up with McCormick Gourmet spices because it seems like I can’t really make anything without adding a bit of crushed red pepper flakes. They are staple in my house. A ramekin of them sits right next to the black pepper and salt. I add them to EVERYTHING.
A large part of me (the sweaty part) despises summer, but this year I’m like super into it. I’ve been inspired to make all sorts of stuff. Also, I’ve embraced wavy hairs.
This shrimp ceviche might be my most favorite thing EVER. It’s inspired by the ceviche I always order at one of my favorite LA restaurants, Corazon y Miel. The chef there loooves Peruvian food, you can just tell. I believe he’s from somewhere in Central America and while people like to consider it a Mexican restaurant (and sure there are Mexican influences), it isn’t completely true. It seems like he takes some of his favorite Latin American flavors and sort of does a mishmash of them, creating his own unique takes on traditional dishes.
This week is going alright so far. I FINALLY scored some sour cherries (recipes coming soon!), I’ve been doing a ton of recipe testing for book stuff and last night I watched this woman from Real Housewives of New York throw her fake leg on the table. So all in all, I say it’s going pretty well!
Last week I had the great pleasure of making and eating this Corn and Chorizo Hash (with an egg on top, of course) for a very, very late lunch. There’s super spicy chorizo, fresh summer corn and potatoes cut into a small dice, which cuts down on the cook time, which also helps when you’re so hungry you feel like you might pass out. An egg on top was an absolute must because it’s the only way a hash story should end and because seriously what could be better than a drippy egg? A vacation, that’s what.
For the full recipe so you can recreate a delicious breakfast for lunch or dinner situation, go to PBS Food.
Tomorrow I’ll be back with a recipe that SCREAMS a good vacay moment.
This my “towanda!” sandwich. If you’re unfamiliar with what “towanda” is, I forgive you. It just means I might be older than you and/or you don’t memorize scenes from movies that were made in the 90s. Regardless of what the reasoning is, you should watch this scene from Fried Green Tomatoes.
Kathy Bates is having a rough go and these two cute girls take her spot and instead of saying sorry like normal humans, they make fun of her. Instead of finding another spot, she does what all of us wish we could do: she smashes her car into theirs…over and over again. Right now that’s my dream in life. Since I can’t do that because I’ll likely go to jail? (that’s assault, brotha (another 90s movies reference, I’m sorry), I’m eating awesome sandwiches like these!
I’m a bit on a grilling kick. I don’t own an outside grill so instead I use my big griddle that has a side that is like a grill pan. It’s almost like reversible sheets. Or reversible shirts, which were popular for a very short while in the 90s. I think they should come back because seriously, how useful! I also had a shirt that would change different colors if you breathed on it. I’m pretty sure it was supposed to work like mood ring but it failed completely.
Anyway, grilling…fruit. The two surprisingly go hand and hand, AND grilling cheese is an even better idea. The requirement is that the correct cheese be used. A lot of cheese can easily be coated in breading and fried but not many cheeses can be grilled. If you’ve never cooked with haloumi, I can assure you that it’s really really good and super easy to grill. It won’t get all melty and crazy, it’s really hard to mess up AND it’s delicious and salty. I love to pair it with something sweet and something smokey.
I spent the long holiday doing all sorts of exciting things like making sweet corn custard and binge-watching Cesar Milan, which has made me realize that perhaps I’m not what he calls “pack leader.” It’s a devastating realization, actually. I’m guessing it feels similarly when your kid tells you to “shut up, mom” in front of other people. I’m not sure what to do with my beast of a child but this week I’ve vowed to be “calm and assertive”—not my best attributes.
In other news, there’s this perfect summer lunch or dinner. And a giveaway! First, let’s talk about the recipe.
Chicken Milanese might be one of my favorite quick meals EVER! The chicken is pounded to be super thin and then dipped in light, panko bread crumbs. The chicken is pan-fried in a pretty small amount of oil, resulting in delicious, crispness. The salad that usually accompanies chicken milanese is pretty normal; usually some sort of lettuce. Instead of going the ol’ normal route, which I’ll admit is also delicious, I wanted to do something a little bit different.
Watermelon radishes are maybe the most beautiful radish in existence. If the season’s change, or if you can’t find watermelon radishes, feel free to swap them out with another type of radish. Watermelon radishes are mild in flavor–just a little bit spicy, so they’re perfect to eat all on their own. I mixed in a bit of flat-leaf parsley and fresh tarragon for added flavor (I love tarragon and chicken together!). The whole salad is tossed in a easy combo of lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Super simple.
It’s no secret that I adore Le Creuset products so it was no surprise that I loved this 3 quart sauté pan. The pan is light yet sturdy and conducts and spreads heat evenly resulting in chicken that’s perfectly cooked.
Today I teamed up with Frito-Lay to bring you one of those recipes I’ve always dreamed of making for the blog. I just needed a bit of a nudge…and by nudge I mean tasty FRITOS® corn chips in my possession. FRITOS CHILI PIE® is usually served in the bag. It’s one of those super fun recipes that makes you feel like you’re on a ranch. In my dream world that’d mean I’m on Hey Dude (do you remember that show on Nickelodeon, like, years ago?). It always made me want to go to Texas and live on a ranch but let’s be honest I’m not sure ranch work is my kinda thing. Eating chili and cheese on top of FRITOS corn chips in a bag is more my groove!
Over the next few days I’ll be taking over Frito-Lay’s Instagram account, sharing some of my favorite July 4th moments and snack combos. (Think sweet tea and grilled hot dogs!)
Frito-Lay is also giving readers and fans alike the chance to share their snacking moments in the Fun-Up for Summer Sweepstakes. To enter on Instagram or Twitter, upload a photo of your summer snacking moment with #FritoLoveEntry for a chance to win fun prizes. Full rules here.
We’re not really in the dog days of summer. When I think of that term I picture early August, humidity that humbles you and days that involve inner tubes, a river, a cooler full of beer and a janky waterproof radio. Those are some dreamy summer days; instead I’ll be super busy making pie after pie recipe and wishing I had central air conditioning. I’m not complaining, in fact, I’m super excited about my summer.