Drinks

The Gift of Coffee: A Coffee Tray | www.acozykitchen.com

It’s my favorite time of year! WOOHOO! Fall has finally decided to arrive in full force in Los Angeles. There will be a Christmas tree in my near future. And this week I’m going to try my hardest to send out my holiday cards. I’m also knee-deep into planning holiday gifts. I decided to conquer one of the most important ones first: this coffee tray.

This year work has been busy, busy. And behind the scenes with this lil’ blog there are projects and collaborations, which in many cases means there are contracts that I usually don’t understand. This stuff is not fun, but luckily I have my boyfriend’s dad, Michael, help me.

He reads contracts over, explains the details to me in an English I can understand, is so ridiculously patient when I ask the same question a million times, and he makes sure I’m not signing Amelia away in the process. (I’m not that stressed about it, I guarantee they’d return her after a few weeks!)

The Gift of Coffee: A Coffee Tray | www.acozykitchen.com

He just opened his new law office in downtown LA and I wanted to get him something really nice for it. Like every person who has to focus for long periods of time, he loves coffee, especially espresso.

This coffee tray is streamlined and simple, he can move it around his office if he likes, while still giving him exactly what he needs to make delicious espresso or coffee any time of the day.

Nespresso sent over their new VertuoLine system, which is great because it makes coffee and espresso. I picked up other goodies from Sur La Table like these beautiful and simple mugs from Bodum, their Nespresso Aeroccino frother; it requires no stove (a bonus for an office since his doesn’t have a kitchen), some cute birch straws in case he pours his coffee drinks over ice, and a candle because, well, it’s cute.

The Gift of Coffee: A Coffee Tray | www.acozykitchen.com

The tray I picked up at Target (it’s actually from Oh Joy’s line). Oh and there are a few good-quality napkins in case he spills stuff. The colors are sort of holiday-esque but at the same time it won’t look THAT much like Christmas in June.

I also included a set of capsules from Nespresso. Maybe Amelia got a hold of one and chewed it a lil’ bit. Whoops!

I hope he likes this coffee tray (I think he will).

The Gift of Coffee: A Coffee Tray | www.acozykitchen.com

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The big T-Day is next Thursday and if you’re the organized cute person I know you are, you’re probably in big time planning mode. This week is Thanksgiving week on this lil’ blog. There will be sides. There will be a big bird. And of course, PIE will make an appearance!

To kick things off, we’re starting with the most important cooking aide: wine. Cooking is so much better, albeit a little more dangerous, when there’s a glass of wine in everyone’s hands. Wine has the ability to iron out all of the inevitable Thanksgiving woes like fun family tension, messing up the pie crust and maybe making the bird a bit too toasty.

Today I teamed up with my friend, sommelier, and Bottle Stock owner, Whitney Adams. She’s recommending three Thanksgiving wines that are all under $20.

I know most of you aren’t in Los Angeles, so I’m approaching this a few different ways. Two of these wines are available via Domaine LA and they can be shipped to you. If you’re in LA, you can obviously just stop in and pick them up.

We’re also providing tasting notes for each of these wines. The idea behind this is that you can go into your local wine shop and request a wine that tastes similarly.

So, for instance, with the wine just below, you can drop into a wine shop and say you’re looking for an orange wine that’s bright, a little chewy, and under $20-$25. And lastly, if the wine shop doesn’t have an orange wine, there are other alternatives listed that might be a good replacement.

Three Thanksgiving Wines | www.acozykitchen.com

2013 Folk Machine Jeanne d’Arc – (Chenin Blanc from California) Skin contact white wine, or “orange” wine, is so versatile with food because of its savory edge. A little chewy, golden and delicious.

Alternatives: Sherry, Chardonnay or Savagnin from the Jura, Bottle fermented beers, Cider.

Pictured with Bottle Stock Tie-Dye Leather Cocktail Napkins, Corkscrew in Gold Burst and Bodega Tumblers.

Three Thanksgiving Wines | www.acozykitchen.com

Three Thanksgiving Wines | www.acozykitchen.com

2013 Un Saumon Dans la Loire ‘La Boutanche’ Gamay – (Gamay from Loire, France) It comes in a full liter so it’s already winning. Light with cranberry tartness and a touch of funk and herbaceousness.

Alternatives: Frappato, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Loire Cabernet Franc.

Pictured with Tie-Dye Leather Coasters in Light Blue/Dark Blue, Corkscrew in Sweet Tart and stemless wine glasses.

Three Thanksgiving Wines | www.acozykitchen.com

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NV Provenza Spumante Rosato ‘Turbian’ – (Gropello and Marzemino blend from Lombardy, Italy) Fruity but bone dry, refreshing and gulp-able. And a perfect example of why you shouldn’t buy wine based on how the bottle looks : \

Alternatives: Lambrusco, dry Italian or French rosé, Txakolina, Pink Petillant Naturel

Pictured with Tie-Dye Leather Coasters in Slate and Putty and Duralex (4-ounce) Tumblers.

Three Thanksgiving Wines | www.acozykitchen.com

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Fancy-Ass Frozen Daquiris // www.acozykitchen.com

This drink is dedicated to all the peeps out there who wish they were on a beach in their bathing suit, sipping on a drink with an umbrella in it.

Doesn’t it seem like everyone and their mom is on vacation right now? I’m definitely not on vacation but that’s ok because I’m already planning next summer’s vacay. I found this little teeny apartment on the Amalfi coast where I plan on living out my obsession with The Talented Mr. Ripley. I plan on wearing little white sneakers with my bathing suits and drinking nothing but rose and eating grilled branzini all day–it’s going to be magical.

Fancy-Ass Frozen Daquiris // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Grilled Pineapple Margarita // www.acozykitchen.com

I’m still recovering from one of the worst weeks ever (last week). I took the weekend to recover and spent it by drinking copious amounts of sparkling rose, having Chinese food with friends, getting my hair blow dried, watching The World Cup and seeing Boyhood (a must-see!). I feel a million times better. Alcohol and good food has a way to ease my pains.

I’m back in the kitchen this week to share some new stuff and even hopefully finally prepare for Ice Cream Week (ahh!). I’m starting with this recipe I made for PBS Food, Grilled Pineapple Margaritas. I’m not sure if there’s anything better than the flavor combination of smokey and sweet—it’s all up in this drink! Someone suggested that this could be made with rum instead of tequila and I say go for it. I have terrible/fun college memories with tequila so I’m not married to the idea of it being made with juuust this spirit. I say go rum!

Coincidentally I have another pineapple recipe that I’m making today and it involves the entire pineapple. The whole dang thing and I’m super excited.

BRB!

Grilled Pineapple Margarita // www.acozykitchen.com

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Rhubarb Caipirijito | www.acozykitchen.com

The name of this cocktail is just an indicator that there are times in the kitchen when I don’t know what I exactly want and am usually like, why can’t I add mint to this. I’d only make sense! This is a hodgepodge of two kinds of cocktails: a mojito and a caipirinha. So…that makes it a caipirijito. If I’ve confused you, please ignore me and make this cocktail with rum and you can call it a rhubarb mojito.

Sometimes I overly complicate things and annoy myself.

What is the difference between cachaca and rum anyway? There is a difference, even though it might not seem that way at first glance.

Rhubarb Caipirijito | www.acozykitchen.com

Rum is made using processed cane; hence the reason why rum usually has notes of molasses.

Cacacha is much cleaner in flavor because it’s made with unprocessed cane juice. So, I think when you’re pairing it with something like, say, rhubarb, the cleaner flavor is the way to go.

There are a ton of cacachas out there you can use; I picked a super standard one called Pitu. It’s great for mixing cocktails a.k.a. caipirhinias. Is it fancy? No, it won’t impress anyone and it’s definitely not made to sip, but it’ll do the trick when making mixed drinks. And it’s not expensive at all.

Rhubarb Caipirijito | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Grapefruit Shandy // www.acozykitchen.com

Phew. This week handed it to me. Between fighting a case of strep throat to a week of a hundred degree weather to dealing with lots of family issues, this week has been on the rougher side of rough. Let’s just say it was pumice-like. Rouuuugh. The other night as I was wallowing in my misery, being the Negative Nancy I’m usually not, I decided to stop it already. I made the decision to be happy. It’s a hard thing to do when so many of the big things are wrong, off, out of place, but I needed to just enjoy the next hour of my life. I know that sounds silly but I did. So, I made myself a delightful Grapefruit Shandy…mostly out of necessity.

I first had a shandy when I had just moved to LA and went to the opening night of this beer bar called El Prado. They were serving shandies and I had, like, five. Definitely too many, but I absolutely looooved them. Flash to years later, I went to my favorite beer store and found this Stiegel Grapefruit Shandy (they did all the work for you!) and thought it was the most delicious thing in the entire world.

Grapefruit Shandy // www.acozykitchen.com

Anyway, the other night when I was super bummed out I went to the beer store to buy a bottle for myself and they were all sold out. Womp, womp. It had never dawned on me to just make one. So here you go! The short story of a grapefruit shandy.

Grapefruit Shandy // www.acozykitchen.com

It’s the simplest most delicious thing ever. They’re kinda similar to the dude-ly mimosas I like to make: beer and orange juice vs. champagne. Champagne has always been a bit too girly for me. It all tastes the same and it tends to make my nose itch.

Isn’t this the cutest wine cork ever? My friend Whitney makes them.

Grapefruit Shandy // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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PBS_Horchata_1

A Los Angeles dream is sitting on a curb, eating three tacos on a paper plate with a big styrofoam cup full of sweet horchata. If you move here, it’s something you have to do. Call it an initiation or whatever. I drank horchata for a few years before I even thought to make it myself. I don’t make it often but when I do, it’s worth the wait. For the full recipe and more photos, hope on over to PBS Food.

Nachos with an Egg on Top

Annnnd for more Cinco de Mayo recipes, here are some ideas: Mango and Cilantro Guacamole (hi yes), Queso Fundido con Chorizo, Baja-Style Fish Tacos and Awesome Nachos (because nachos deserve eggs on ‘em).

Baja-Style Fish Tacos // A Cozy Ktichen

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Mint julep Granitas | www.acozykitchen.com

This may look like a your prototypical mint julep but IT’S NOT! It’s not at all.

The best mint julep I’ve ever had was at this fancy restaurant in Savannah, Georgia (I forget the name, I’m sorry). They steeped the bourbon with mint for three days. It was a whole thing. And of course, as there should be, it was served with crushed ice…but unexpectedly not a ton of it and it wasn’t served in a julep cup; instead it was poured into a snifter glass. It was different and special and super fancy.

There isn’t anything fancy about this right here, but it was my goal to make an interesting take on mint julep but still keep it a classic-esque mint julep. My goal was to have the mint and sweetness in the ice. That was it. And it worked because that goal is the easiest thing in the world to achieve.

It’s like if a snow cone, granita and mint julep had a beautiful boozy child.

Mint Julep Granitas | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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How to Make Italian Sodas // www.acozykitchen.com

Sometimes (since I’m a nosey person), I wonder what people’s blogging situation looks like. Like, where are they when they’re writing, what are they wearing (not like that, you sicko!), what are they drinking…you know, all that kind of stuff.

So, here’s a very non-glamorous picture of where I write the majority of my blog posts: in bed, wearing sweats and a t-shirt with anti-wrinkling serum all over my face. I usually edit and write the recipe right after I make and shoot the dish, but the blog post is always written right before I press publish or set it on a timer. For me, the idea of writing blog posts weeks ahead of when they’re published feels weird and disconnected. I like it to be almost in real time. I dunno—there’s no right or wrong way, that’s just how I prefer it.

How to Make Italian Sodas | www.acozykitchen.com

I’m so dang excited about these Italian sodas. They’re maybe the prettiest thing I’ve made in quite some time, and my favorite part about this recipe is that it’s an idea-based recipe. You can apply the ratios below to any fruit and be met with delicious results. And seriously how gorgeous are the colors? I LOVE THEM!

If you’ve never had an Italian soda, they’re so rich and refreshing all at the same time. I decided on three flavors: rhubarb, blackberry and strawberry, but feel free to use up any fruit that cooks down well. Other fruit ideas are pineapple, blueberries, mulberries (they just came in season!) and even mangos.

How to Make Italian Sodas | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic // www.acozykitchen.com

I was going start this paragraph by saying, “Cocktail season is here!” But then I stopped myself because we all know that it’s always cocktail season on this blog. Duh. This cocktail in particular is seasonal, I suppose, though I see nothing wrong with using frozen strawberries, making this drank doable year-round.

Sure this looks like a pretty simple strawberry basil situation mixed with some gin, but I can assure you it’s a bit more special. I can’t get near strawberries without thinking of adding a dash of black pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It’s just too easy! So this cocktail has a bit of weird stuff added to it, but do you expect any less from me? No, you don’t.

Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic // www.acozykitchen.com

In other news, thanks for all your concern with Amelia. I’m happy to report that she’s back to barking a lot, stealing shoes, drinking my afternoon tea when I’m not looking and so on. So she’s better.

Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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