Healthy

Celery Butter Bean and Pepita Salad w/ Winter Citrus | www.acozykitchen.com

I read a really depressing article the other day.

It was part of Joy’s Sunday round-up (I love her Sunday reads). Oh man is was depressing. This article is all about dating and being dissatisfied and feeling like there are so many options out there so why would we settle when something better might be around the corner?!

I really think this is why it can be so hard to date in big cities. A lot of people are always in search for the next best thing. That search, that need for constant stimuli, the need for something even better than what you have makes people’s attention span thisbig. Good gracious, how terrible.

Celery Butter Bean and Pepita Salad w/ Winter Citrus | www.acozykitchen.com

I’m convinced that the fastest way to lead a miserable life is to go around constantly wishing you have more. To compare your happiness to another’s and thinking it doesn’t measure up. I know this all too well. It’s a gnawing feeling. It’s the rat race and I’ve recently realized it doesn’t just pertain to our work lives. It can seep into parts of our personal life, too.

For all my single friends, I FEEL YOU I LOVE YOU STAY STRONG! To people who are in good relationships questioning, Are they good enough?! They probably are. Let’s talk about salad. (Don’t worry, I’ll have a cheese dish soon.)

Celery Butter Bean and Pepita Salad w/ Winter Citrus | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Collard Green Wraps // www.acozykitchen.com

I read one of those lame trend reports and apparently collard greens are the new kale. Did you know this? I feel like every year there’s always some sort of claim saying something is the new kale. Let’s just all be ok with the fact that kale is NEVER going away. It’s here to stay. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a moment with new greens.

I loooove collard greens. I love them braised like super Southern-style with ham hock and a side of fried chicken and I love them in this healthy iteration: blanched, air-dried and then stuffed with smooth, sumac-spiked hummus, crispy carrots, avocado, sprouts and herbs.

I could eat a million of these and it’s nice to know that it’s a-ok if I do…that’s if Amelia doesn’t steal them before I get to ‘em.

For the whole recipe and more photos, go to PBS Food.

Collard Green Wraps // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Red Dal

in Dinner

Red Dal // www.acozykitchen.com

Even if I’m on a diet or trying to eat healthy, I’m always trying to find ways to incorporate carbs into my diet. I mean, I have the best intentions but it doesn’t always end well. It’s a daily struggle.

Some days I’m like, I WANNA LOOK CUTE AND BE IN SHAPE – NO BREAD! And then other days I’m like, BUT RICE AND BREAD!

It’s hard.

Red Dal // www.acozykitchen.com

This is somewhat of a happy medium. It’s healthy. I don’t care what anyone says but lentils are not bad for you. These are clean flavors, there is very little fat and all of the foods below are whole foods that I think anyone’s body would feel better having eaten. THIS IS MY STORY! I’m sticking to it!

Red Dal // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Kale and Chard Potlikker // www.acozykitchen.com

December is for cookies and pies and appetizers, specifically meatballs. I love meatballs.

January is for recovery. Honestly, I always feel a little silly and cliche posting healthy recipes at the beginning of the year, but right now I’m actually craving vegetables and broth and nourishing foods. December wrecked my body. I ate and drank a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it (no regrets!), but this state of recover is really necessary.

Enter: this potlikker (pot liquor?) soup.

Kale and Chard Potlikker // www.acozykitchen.com

I first learned about potlikker while watching PBS’s A Chef’s Life with Vivian Howard. Have you seen it? Oh man, she’s my new obsession. Every show ends and I’m so inspired to make the stuff she’s making. She’s fun to watch, too. Vivan strikes this perfect balance of being knowledgeable, relatable, and vulnerable. And all her ideas are really smart and interesting…even if she doesn’t think they are at first.

Kale and Chard Potlikker // 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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Moroccan Carrot Noodle Salad with Golden Raisins, Harissa and Goat Cheese

I feel like I’ve been on a bout of straight indulgence. In the last week’s there’s been a hash I ate all by myself for dinner, soft serve dripping with honey, my favorite burger in LA and don’t get me started on last week’s pimento cheese situation, which also transitioned into pimento cheese chilaquiles.

I need a reset button in form of some carrots. And probably a spin class because I mean, it’s been a little reckless over here. Straight reckless livin’.

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Grilled Peach and Haloumi Salad // www.acozykitchen.com

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.


Grilled Peach and Haloumi Salad // www.acozykitchen.com
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Watermelon Radish Chicken Milanese // www.acozykitchen.com

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.

Chicken Milanese with Radish Salad // www.acozykitchen.com

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.

Chicken Milanese with Radish Salad // www.acozykitchen.com

Today we’re giving away this 3 quart sauté pan to one winner. All you have to do:

1. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite flavor of Ice Cream (I need inspiration for the upcoming Ice Cream Week that I keep promising)!

One winner will be chosen on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014. Giveaway is open to U.S. readers only.

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Steph who said:

“My local ice cream shop made a flavor they called Mango Unchained. It was amazing- sweet from the mangos and spicy from cayenne pepper.”

Chicken Milanese with Radish Salad // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Flax and Oat Porridge with Grilled Peaches

Last night my clutch was stolen—and to makes things worse, it was my favorite Claire Vivier—straight out of my very unlocked car. It was a big ol’ gigantic bonehead move on my part. I blame my dad. He never locked the front door because he was raised in The South in the 70s where no one locked their doors and people actually borrowed sugar from their neighbors. I tend to shrug off the idea that people will steal from me because, well, I wouldn’t steal from me!

Luckily no real damage was done. I actually didn’t even realize it was stolen until I went to grab my wallet when I went to pick-up my takeout Chinese food at Pine & Crane. The restaurant took pity on my moneyless-self and gave me my dinner on the house. I thought that was so nice; it made me believe in good people all over again. I got all these fuzzy feelings in my tummy at how nice they were about it.

Flax and Oat Porridge with Grilled Peaches

In moments like these, I need comfort. And in my world that comfort comes in form of breakfast. This is what I like to think of as a summer porridge. Something you’d eat during the warmer months.

This recipe comes from the book, The Homemade Flour Cookbook, by Erin over at Naturally Ella. In this book, Erin explores the variety of ways you can grind your own flours at home. And, it includes a ton of recipes that focuses on those flours, seeds and even beans. I think it’s a really interesting book. I thumbed through most of the recipes and fell in love with this flax porridge with peaches. I love a good porridge but had yet to try one with flax in it.

Flax and Oat Porridge with Grilled Peaches [click to continue…]

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Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing

I like to think that the woman population is broken into two categories: women who love nothing more than to spend hours at Target, perusing the aisles for all of the things…and women who get itchy at just the thought of having to enter.

I belong to the second group. Yesterday I went to buy a pretty white floor lamp, which isn’t online or else I’d have you tell me if it’s cute or not, and I formulated a plan before I entered—I was in and out in 15 minutes! I got home thinking I was on top of my game…until I pulled the lamp out of its box only to find I had to assemble it, which normally shouldn’t be a big deal but it took me well over an hour. It was a bad scene, I hadn’t eaten, my blood sugar was low, meltdown mode was thisclose.

I kept making mistakes, which I think was partly due to the fact that I couldn’t really see (I have bad vision when it’s dark). I needed the lamp’s light to put the lamp together! It’s like when I need my glasses to find my glasses. Anyway, I got through my Tuesday night just fine, thank you for your concern.

After finally having enough light to see, I headed to the kitchen to eat this post’s leftovers. It’s a gem of a recipe from a gem of a cookbook from Kimberley Hasselbrink. Her new book, Vibrant Food, is all about eating color. Don’t you ever look at a colorful plate of food and get excited. I have to say I do. This is why I’ll always pick the purple cauliflower over the white cauliflower and why the farmer’s markets here in Los Angeles make me so dang giddy.

Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing

This book celebrates foods’ natural colors and vibrancy in a really delicious way. The recipes are easy-to-follow, the combinations interesting and the food is just downright pretty.

All of the recipes are things you’ll want to eat on a random Wednesday, which is honestly my favorite type of food to make. Very normal, everyday food, but with twists that make them special.

Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing [click to continue…]

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