October Lo Down

Welcome to the October Lo Down, the monthly newsletter from Zestful Kitchen. Wondering why the newsletter doesn’t get published earlier?

Well, it’s an exclusive newsletter for Zestful Kitchen subscribers. So, if you don’t want to wait for it, be sure to sign up! Don’t worry, I won’t blow up your inbox!

photography of a Red wine apple sangria set on a white marble tray

My new go-to party cocktail^. Why? Because you can make it ahead (which ensures you won’t be tied to the bar making custom cocktails all evening) and also because it’s absolutely delicious, packed with fall flavor and so easy to whip up! Get the recipe for this delicious Red Wine Apple Cider Sangria.

What I’m watching:

Netflix Show: Chef’s Table – Season 5

Chef’s table is an incredibly well-produced documentary that aims to shed light on some of the world’s greatest chefs (season 1), barrier-breaking chefs (season 2), fascinating chefs (season 3), pastry chefs (season 4), and innovative chefs (season 5).

I love Chef’s Table, there’s no doubt about that. But the creative and stunning dishes are just one part of it, especially this season.

Noted as the season of “innovative chefs who are shaking up the food culture in Philadelphia, Istanbul, Bangkok and Barcelona,” this new four-episode volume is so much more than dishes served at restaurants (but to be fair, it’s always more than that).

These four incredibly different yet equally as passionate and driven chefs are devoted to their individual cultures and authenticity. With stories of division and unity running throughout each episode, the creators of Chef’s Table seamlessly craft the idea that food is more than sustenance—it’s the story of people, relationships, tradition, and culture.


What I’m listening to:

Podcast: Last Seen from WBUR & The Boston Globe

When I moved out to Boston in the summer of 2014, my sister came out to help me get settled in my new home-away-from-home. And the art historian that she is meant that I got personalized tours at some of the world’s best art museums. And I’m here to tell you, it’s the ideal way to visit any art museum.

But the museum she had her sights on most was the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and rightfully so. This venetian-style building is home to Isabella Stewart Gardner’s art collection including a variety of art work (paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and more), from places near and far.

With themed rooms, a gorgeous courtyard, and architectural elements from around the world worked into the design, the building itself is a work of art.

However, in recent years, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is best known for the most valuable art heist in history. In the newest podcast from WBUR & The Boston Globe, Last Seen unveils the timeline of the night of the theft, who last saw the paintings, and who could have been involved.

Delivered in a narrative style, this podcast makes you feel like you’re listening to a novel. It’s easy to listen to, informative, and entertaining. If you like true-crime stories and have even the slightest interest in art history, or history in general, this is a great listen!


What I’m snacking on:

Carrot Chips and Beet Chips from Bare Snacks

Back in September I attended the Tastemaker Conference out in Salt Lake City and luckily, Bare Snacks was one of the delicious sponsors for the weekend. Their toasted coconut chips have been a staple in my kitchen for some time now, often making an appearance in homemade granola and granola bars.

But it was their new carrot chips and beet chips that really grabbed my attention. Amazingly crunchy and savory, these veggie chips are my new go-to when I want something salty in the afternoon. And the best part? The ingredients are carrots (or beets and sweet potatoes) and sea salt. That. Is. It.

They also have a variety of fruit chips and flavored toasted coconut chips that make for a healthy sweet snack.


What I’m lovin’ in my kitchen:

Thermapen from ThermoWorks

As someone who has spent quite a few years working in various test kitchens, I have come to love and rely on my instant-read thermometer for all kinds of cooking techniques (like candy making, grilling, roasting, and more).

ThermoWorks is my go-to company for instant-read thermometers because they’re reliable and last forever. I’ve often used 10-year-old Thermapens that work like they’re brand new.

In my opinion, the next kitchen gadget you buy should be a Thermapen. They aren’t cheap, but buy it once and you’ll never have to buy it again.

Chili topped with onion, avocado, cilantro, jalapeños, and bacon on a picnic table.

This month I developed a smoky Chipotle, Bacon & Black Bean Chili for Cooks’ Emporium. Developed with tailgating in mind, I also shared a variety of topping ideas for a “tailgate chili bar.”

Recipe Throwback:

Since we’re on the pumpkin grind this month, I thought I’d throw it back to these actually crispy Pumpkin Pecan Cookies.

This recipe includes an easy trick to remove excess moisture from pumpkin (which means being able to add more pumpkin flavor) to create the ultimate crispy pumpkin cookie.

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