Today we’re talking about fall dinner party inspo. I’m exploring the world of plates and linens and flowers and color schemes. This weekend I teamed up with Bertolli to throw a dinner party, as a larger part of their #Bertolli Gold Label Progressive Italian Dinner Party with a few other food bloggers (like Tracy, Beth, Carrian and Kristen).

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While the virtual dinner party plays out with fantastic recipes (see menu below), I’m also taking this opportunity to get my friends together in a backyard and eat fancy cheese, stuff our faces with a persimmon galette (recipe coming soon!) and delicious porchini mushroom lasagna featuring a new Bertolli Gold Label sauce. But more on the food next week! When people think of Italy, the first thing they think of is food, but details are in the table setting, too. So today is all about the pretty images I’ve been hoarding on Pinterest as inspiration for a fall table.

I love the idea of having a fall table with absolutely zero orange. I personally adore the color orange, but isn’t it refreshing to see fall tables with other color schemes? For this particular table I wanted the color palette to be a cool blue, baby green and beige. It’s a lil’ bit California meets Italy, a little cozy and a whole lot of cute.

1. I’m obsessed with these really simple and beautiful plates from Heath.
2. I adore these linens from Libeco, though I’ll probably find an alternative since the price is a bit steep, especially when I need to buy six.
3. These very simple and modern Marta glasses from CB2 are my favorite. They’re inexpensive so if a friend breaks one I won’t get super weird about it. No one likes a weird host.
4. I’m in love with this marble and wooden board for charcuterie and cheeses from Shop Terrain. One word: Epoisses.
5. And lastly, I want it to feel casual so that’s why I’m loving this white flatware set.

As for flowers and centerpieces, I really into the idea of combining ornamental kale and squashes of all varieties and sizes.  And again, no orange!

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Delicata Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas | www.acozykitchen.com

Do you have a food blog? I feel like many of you do. Or at the very least, you like to take photos of your food. We’re all weird, aren’t we?!

Last Friday, when I made this recipe, it was rainy and windy and a little cold. I was excited to cook and have the oven going, but I wasn’t in the mood to set things up, arrange forks on plates, pour a fake beer or style anything, even in a small way. I just wanted to cook and then eat. JUST LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.

So, I didn’t. At all. And this is what we get. No plates that match, no perfectly diced avocado, no homemade enchilada sauce and I even…wait for it, bought the cheese pre-shredded. I always, ALWAYS buy the blocks and grate it myself. Not last Friday!

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This past Friday my manuscript was due, so I’ve been scurrying, testing last-minute recipes, shooting, and writing a whole lot in order to make the deadline. Turning it in felt epic. And this past weekend was the first few days I’ve had off in a while, and even then I was working. But there’s something about working from bed that doesn’t feel like it actually counts as real work, so I feel back to normal, refreshed and ready to have another busy-ass week.

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Pumpkin Spice Pot de Creme | www.acozykitchen.com

Pumpkin everything. Pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, pumpkin every which way.

That is the style of October, amirite? I’ve been thinking a lot about pumpkin these days, and desserts. I’m pretty sure it’s my bodily reaction to want more dessert and soup once the weather dips below 65. It’s all nature’s game plan.

We’re hurling toward November. How did this happen? I want October back! This week includes meeting some deadlines, figuring out (finally!) want Amelia is going to be for Halloween (maybe a banana?), and more recipe brainstorming. There’s a holiday at the end of this month and I need to be prepared so you can all be prepared, you dig?

Pumpkin Spice Pot de Creme | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Peanut Butter Cream Pie | www.acozykitchen.com

Amelia and Joy the Baker have never met. But I know they would get along because they’re both what I could consider “peanut butter enthusiasts.”

Amelia, in her little time on this planet, has tried peanut butter every which way: cheap creamy peanut butter (read: Jiff), all-natural chunky peanut butter, smokey peanut butter, and even peanut butter mixed with honey. She prefers her peanut butter vessels to be human spoons, slices of apple, bananas or even sneakily off the side of a bowl. She does not discriminate.

Joy prefers her peanut butter on bread with pickles, coupled with bacon, and in smoothies, and in her new book, Homemade Decadence, she puts PB on a bed of buttery chocolate crumbs and tops it with perfectly whipped cream and calls it a pie. An-omg-yes-please-pie.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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In the last three days I’ve had one:

One delicious bowl of ramen.
Three slices of pie.
A quarter of a Mast Brothers chocolate bar.
Three slices of pizza.
Two chocolate croissants.
And probably more that I’m forgetting about.

I’ve been craving something healthy and light but still food that’ll make me feel full. I cracked open Claire’s new book, The Kitchy Kitchen, and found the perfect fit. The farro is nutty and delicious and works beautifully with the squash and sweet pomegranate. This dish is a breeze in preparation and the vinagrette gives a

ClaireSalad [click to continue…]

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Classic Apple Pie | www.acozykitchen.com

Do you ever wonder what your legacy will be?

I probably won’t be the richest grandma so I doubt I’ll leave copious amounts of money to a school or hospital; I won’t end up buying a ton of jewelery in my lifetime so there will be no diamonds (sorry, grandchildren); and there’s a good chance I won’t be leaving behind large amounts of land in the hills of Wisconsin (are there hills in Wisconsin?…you get what I mean).

My hope is that my grand kids will tell their friends about how their grandma looked so sweet and small yet she was strong, told sarcastic jokes and had a foul mouth. I hope they tell their friends that whenever I visited, I made them the most elaborate ridiculous lunches and wrote them the sweetest notes for them to find at lunch time. And I hope they tell their friends about how their grandma, with her super veiny hands, made the best pies ever.

My future legacy is what I’m sharing today.

(I’m feeling v emo this week, can you tell?)

Classic Apple Pie | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Pumpkin Sage Alfredo Pappardelle with Brown Butter | www.acozykitchen.com

This pasta is special-event worthy. Here are some scenarios when it’s perfect:

1. You’re feeling sort of under the weather but chicken soup sounds boring.

2. You got a parking ticket but forgot about it but the DMV just sent you a very kind (not really) reminder in the mail.

3. You want a hug but your boyfriend is at work and asking for a hug from a stranger is weird and your dog is being oddly unaffectionate today.

4. YOU’RE HANGRY!

I made this bowl of pasta, and ate this bowl of pasta because of every reason listed above. It’s this season in pasta form. It’s a little decadent and rich but oddly not overwhelmingly so.

Pumpkin Sage Alfredo Pappardelle with Brown Butter | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Pollo Frito a la Criolla | www.acozykitchen.com

There are days when I miss home. I didn’t grow up with my mom cooking Cuban food, but when you grow up most of your life in South Florida, Cuban food tastes like home, too.

Cuban food was a big part of my eating growing up. If there was a big family get together, we’d often times be eating at a Cuban restaurant. There were days when I’d get out of school and head to little hole in the wall Cuban joint and I’d sit there with my friends, in our Catholic school uniforms, drinking coke and eating chicken palomilla, maduros and my all-time favorite, rope vieja.

I hardly ever get the opportunity to eat Cuban food now (the few Cuban restaurants in Los Angeles are kinda awful) so when this cookbook, The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez, arrived at my doorstep, I was V V excited. I began thumbing through it, ooing and ahhing.

Pollo Frito a la Criolla | www.acozykitchen.com

I landed on this chicken because it has everything I love about Cuban cooking. It’s inexpensive, it uses my favorite parts of the chicken (dark meat 4evr!) and it has mojo. MOJO IS EVERYTHING!

Mojo is a combination of sour oranges, onions, garlic and spices like ground cumin and oregano. Mojo is the heart and soul of this dish and a popular base for a lot of Cuban dishes.

Pollo Frito a la Criolla | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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How to Make a Fancy-Ass Grilled Cheese | www.acozykitchen.com

I’m gonna be honest with you: there isn’t anything necessarily fancy about the ingredients in this grilled cheese (minus the brioche). This isn’t one of those grilled cheeses filled with expensive cheeses, spreads or meat like prosciutto or anything like that. This is more about the actual preparation.

Here’s why: The first time Josh and I made a grilled cheese together, I was shocked at how haphazard he was with the technique. The heat was too high, burning the bread! The cheese in the center wasn’t completely melted, and instead of butter, he used olive oil. THIS IS ALL WRONG!

Like all awesome things in life, grilled cheeses are ridiculously simple to make. And like all simple things, the details matter A LOT.

Here is a fun “how-to” on making our favorite childhood sandwich. And, as always, if you have tips on this matter that you feel passionate about, please leave them in the comments below; we’ll all benefit.

How to Make a Fancy-Ass Grilled Cheese | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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