We are so jazzed about our third and final November Bright Rx contributor, Kayla Howey. Kayla is a chef and food blogger who created The Original Dish, a destination for approachable + seasonal recipes and all things food. After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America and working in restaurants for a bit, Kayla's entrepreneurial spirit led her to create something of her own. Kayla's goal is to inspire others to cook exciting, beautiful food in their own kitchens.
Q&A With Kayla
Brightland: What does living in a golden state meant to you?
Kayla: Finding beauty in the little moments of life. Taking the time to enjoy, savor, and soak it all in. Staying inspired by the seasons when cooking and preparing really simple, stunning food with the very best ingredients.
Brightland: How do you unplug and disconnect?
Kayla: There’s nothing like cozying up with a mug of tea and an episode of “Friends” after a long day of work and just zoning out. I also love sneaking out of the city to my parent’s house to get a little dose of nature, which helps me recharge and stay grounded. They have a really beautiful wooded backyard with a little trail that I’d walk for hours if I could.
Brightland: What was your favorite thing that your mom/dad/grandparent cooked for you when you were little?
Kayla: Food has always been a huge part of my family. My dad and both of my grandmas were always cooking when I was younger (and still are), which played a huge part in me pursuing food as a career. One of my favorite things is my grandma’s apple pie. She still makes it for us every fall, and as soon as it comes out of the oven and fills the kitchen with the coziest, sweetest aroma, I’m immediately transported back to my childhood.
Brightland: What is your favorite way to use olive oil?
Kayla: I love a silky smooth drizzle of olive oil to finish a dish – anything from a creamy soup to an heirloom tomato salad. It has to be high-quality olive oil with beautiful flavor…and that’s why I’m obsessed with Brightland!
Brightland: What is your favorite item in your house? What touches make your house your home?
Kayla: My candles are absolutely my favorite items. Every season I buy all the new scents and they’re just so nostalgic and comforting to me, reminding me of past years and moments. I’m all about setting a mood, especially when cooking. Other touches like fresh flowers, beautiful cookbooks, special cookware pieces, old recipes, cozy blankets, and a kitchen full of gorgeous produce make my house my home (and my very favorite place to be).
Roasted Grape Ricotta Toasts with Olive Oil & Honey
- 2 lbs black seedless grapes (or any seedless grape)
- sea salt
- ½ cup raw hazelnuts
- 8 slices crusty bread, ½” thick
- 1 lb whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tbsp honey, plus more for drizzling
- 1 tbsp Brightland’s AWAKE, plus more for drizzling
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spread the grapes out onto a sheet pan and cover with a drizzle of Brightland's AWAKE. Season the grapes with a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 30 minutes until sweet and bubbling.
- Meanwhile, place the hazelnuts onto another sheet pan. Roast for about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Use a kitchen towel to rub off the skins while they’re still warm. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside.
- Wipe off the pan and place the slices of bread onto it next. Drizzle the bread with Brightland's AWAKE on both sides. Toast the bread for 10 minutes until golden.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, honey, and one tablespoon of Brightland's AWAKE. Season with sea salt to taste.
- To assemble the toasts, spread a generous amount of the whipped ricotta onto each slice. Spoon the roasted grapes over top and garnish with the hazelnuts. Drizzle the toasts with honey and Brightland's AWAKE. Season with freshly cracked black pepper over top.