Southern shrimp & grits with “bonus soup,” Feb 14-Feb 20, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

  Here’s what you’ll find this week when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – more good press for eggs / power breakfasts / online food help    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – lawless Downton cookbook    FEATURED RECIPE – shrimp dish squared    TIP – save the avocados!    THE WEEK – pig pickin’ dessert / punch drunk sauce / another recipe source 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Another source weighs in on the benefits of eggs. And while pretty much this whole Clean Plates story is contained in the headline, “It turns out an egg a day isn’t so bad for your heart after all,” it goes on to detail the studies and source. Even better, it touts the eggy perks of delivering “a quick dose of protein and flavor to settle hunger in a snap.”

  The same newsletter offers a tasty and colorful take on “7 energizing breakfast recipes to help fuel your week.”  What you’ll find: an overnight oat prep, loaded egg cup, “best” green smoothie, breakfast cookies, breakfast sandwich, and two breakfast bowls. All look and sound quite yum.

  So, was perusing Paula Deen’s latest online newsletter, and don’t know if this is new or just never saw it before, but at the bottom is a link for Ask our Helpline. Looks like you can submit a question right to Deen or her team. Nice.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Ooh, naughty, “Unofficial”!

Guessing no laws were harmed in the preparation of this interesting book of recipes and tales. Meanwhile, what a fun look at history, all about food.

The promise is in the intro. “Indeed while the upstairs elite of Downton may seem miles – rather The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition: From Lady Mary's Crab Canapés to Christmas Plum Pudding―More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairsthan feet – away from the downstairs inhabitants, servants and aristocrats alike share a nearly fanatic appreciation for rich food, a fact that quickly becomes apparent once you begin flipping through the “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.”

Some of those rich preps: Christmas pudding, beef Wellington, showy Duchess potatoes, scones with clotted cream, and jammy Bakewell tarts. One likely to be featured in an upcoming Salon is red wine braised red cabbage.

Ahhhh, maybe it is a little edgy, as a cover caution notes “This book is unofficial and unauthorized . . . not authorized, approved, licensed, or endorsed by Carnival Film & Television Ltd., its writers or producers, or any of its licensees.” Wonder if it arrives in a plain brown wrapper.

“The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook”

now {pretty much} ready for its closeup

The CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A classic Southern casserole and lots of it 

It doesn’t get much more traditional on the Southern table than shrimp and grits. Grits, whaaaat? OK, hold back your groans for a moment.

When you see the fine flavors in this dish you’ll be thanking the grits for being on the job to soak it all up. It’s rich with cream and cheese, savory with aromatics, kicked up with bacon, “souped up” with wine and broth.

Now, about that soup promise. In the description on the main page: “You’ll want to eat the ‘shrimp gravy,’ or pan sauce. It’s that delicious.”

That main page is titled “Casseroles to make every month in 2020” from Southern Living, a nicely reliable source of good recipes. The prep for the shrimp dish, this month’s selection, is linked below, and we’ll be featuring more from this feature in future Salons.

I haven’t tried this yet and despite the length of my to-make list, this one has a priority stamp on it.

Shrimp & Grits Casserole recipe    Southern Living  

  TIP  

So, why didn’t I already realize this trick 

As noted in a previous Salon, a way to make guacamole in advance is to mix all the ingredients, except sour cream and lime if you usually them. Then, top the mixture with some lime juice and a thin layer of sour cream, making sure to cover the mix completely, and then cover and refrigerate the container.

So recently, and atypically, I had some leftover chopped avocado. Yikes, can’t waste avocado, a permanent member of my personal food pyramid.

Light bulb comes on at 1000 watts overhead. Just like with guacamole, cover it with lime juice, frost it with sour cream, cover and refrigerate.

But here’s the thing. Forgot about it for five days. Nuts!!!

The good news, as you can see, perfect. Just perfect. Thank you lime juice and sour cream.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  On a recent show Ree Drummond made a “pig-pickin’ cake.” Eh? If she explained the name I missed it, so found out on good ol’ google that at southern pig roasts, rather than have the meat cut into slices or portions, guests  just pick off what they want, and so the event is known as a pig pickin,’ and typically this particular cake is served for dessert. So just like cake served at a birthday party is birthday cake, this one served at a pig pickin’ is pig pickin’ cake. It really sounds good with layers of yellow cake, mandarin oranges and pineapple plus cream cheese frosting.

  English puddings dating back centuries refer to a steamed or boiled dish, sweet or savory, fairly solid in texture, unlike what we mix from a package. I found this hot, citrusy Punch Sauce for those kinds of puddings in Dinner with Dickens, featured in last week’s Salon. It’s quite well named, counting wine, rum and brandy among the ingredients. I actually found it a little strong and tempered it with some honey.

  I did get a kick out of the note in the cookbook from the Pickwick Papers saying “if ever hot punch did fail to act as a preventive, it was merely because the patient fell into the vulgar error of not taking enough of it.” Here’s a google page for the sauce, and the deliaonline one is very close to the Dickens prep.

  So, my old toaster oven gave up the ghost and so ordered a top-rated one from Hamilton Beach. Yikes, it’s didn’t look this big online, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be a good thing, and as a bonus has a convection function. Did have a few questions though and while I was on hold, among the recorded messages was the news that their website included recipes. Well . . . who among us despite data-pigging files online, bulging boxes, ready-to-burst notebooks, and overstuffed kitchen crannies, doesn’t want yet another recipe source. Wow, way more comprehensive than I expected, more soon.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books-Amazon / shrimp & grits-Southern Living site / all others-mine
  •  Link sources –  books-Amazon / shrimp & grits recipe-Southern Living site / pig pickin’ cake-google
  • Partnerships – Amazon

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

So far next week: Ghiradelli lava cake, book on longevity and the who/why, shirts with message to DC, recycled taco holder, new foodie word, Aspen bonanza, best coffee cake, big cooking resource, wily ways with bacon

Last week, just below veggies ready for their close-up, the good egg, 12 tasty secrets, fat avoidance kindle book, Beef a la Mode/no ice cream, peanuts ‘fess up, pot pie upgrade, un-donuts, thank you chocolate pudding

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

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All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Old English Beef a la Mode, Feb 07-Feb 13, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

  Here’s what you’ll find this week when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – veggies ready for their close-up / the good egg / 12 tasty secrets    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – look out, fat    FEATURED RECIPE – Beef a la Mode, no ice cream    TIP – peanuts ‘fess up   THE WEEK – pot pie upgrade / un-donuts / thank you, pudding

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Love vegetables? Want to love vegetables? Let Jamie Oliver help with his PBS show, “Jamie’s Ultimate Veg,” designed to give veggies international flair and a starring role on the plate. Continuing Saturdays through Feb 22, in my time zone at 2:30p. Some interesting episode subjects: Bigged-Up Broccoli, Charred Salad, Bean Burger.

  The Well-Done newsletter poses the question: Are hard-boiled eggs good for you? Good news here, and some surprising news too. Even better, their take on the best way to make them.

  The same newsletter, same issue, teases us with this headline: “12 Secret Ingredients That’ll Make Your Cooking So Much Better.” Among the recipes with a secret, brownies, pecan pie, extra crispy roasted vegetables, impressive desserts, and the mysterious “cretons.” You can scroll down to see all the dishes as an alternative to the slide show.

Still dealing with a holiday “gift” of extra pounds and inches?

Are they still being unwelcome guests at your waistline and beyond?  Either those that have been hanging around for too long now, or maybe a holiday “gift that keeps on giving”? Help is here!

My very own Dieter’s Survival Guide series gives you ways to deal with all those everyday situations that try to add more pounds and inches, or keep you from shedding the ones you want to go onto someone else’s hips. Not a formal program, but rather a common sense roadmap to avoid fat traps without feeling deprived.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s right here in “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide,” including all the information of the original but in fast-read form. There are also full chapters excepted into 99-cent books. All on Kindle, so you can just tap & start fat-zapping.

See all the Dieter’s Survival Guide books on this Amazon page

New Marketplace debuts next week

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Awesome beef roast with an English accent – yikes, this is good!

Well, there may be no ice cream in this Beef a la Mode but it does fold in some surprising spices more typically associated with dessert. Combined with the aromatics, the medley yields a full of flavor roast.

The recipe comes from the charming cookbook “Dinner with Dickens.” Notes tell us “Dickens writes about visiting Johnson’s famous à la mode beef house near London’s Drury Lane. and this is where he has David Copperfield treat himself to a ‘small plate of that delicacy.'”

The origin recipe, also shown on the page, tells us, “You may serve it up hot or cold.” Author Pen Vogler’s prep, “updated for the modern kitchen,” suggests we serve with carrots and greens. I actually put the carrots in the pan to roast with the beef, potatoes too, more opps for absorbing those flavors.

Dinner with Dickens: Recipes inspired by the life and work of Charles DickensIn page after page, foodie tales from the Victorian era accompany such historical preps as candied French plums, roly poly jam pudding, lobster patties, Yorkshire pie, tea cakes, and a libation called Smoking Bishop. Also, punch sauce which we’ll talk more about next week, when you’ll see how well named it is.

What makes this an especially nice gift book is a cover that almost has the feeling of tapestry. Right now at least, at a good price on Amazon.

Recipe    “Dinner with Dickens” cookbook

  TIP  

This is too important not to have its own spotlight

In the 01.10.20 Salon, in My Week, I referred to cookies I had made but without the usual peanut butter filling because they would be consumed by folks I didn’t know, and accordingly didn’t know if any of them might have peanut allergies. You can use the link if you want to go back and see how what I did at the time.

In that item I also made passing reference to a way that I had subsequently recalled that would allow you to make your favorite peanutty recipes and solve this every time, and it deserves more than that quick note. And that’s regardless of whether the ingredient was peanuts or peanut candy or peanut butter, or peanut whatever, and it would work for any type of dessert.

So obvious, I’m rather chagrined I hadn’t thought of this on my own. It’s simply a matter of topping the cake or cupcake or cookies or pie, et al, with whole or chopped peanuts.  It doesn’t have to be a lot – even a single peanut half sends up a red flag to anyone with this kind of serious allergy.

Shown are half peanuts on chocolate chip cookies baked in a mini muffin tin, and when removed from the oven stuffed with a small Reese’s peanut butter cup {the kind you unwrap}.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Do you ever buy pot pies from the deli in your grocery store for a quick and easy dinner? The ones from my market are pretty darn good, loaded with lean and tender meat. But here’s how they can be fairly easily upgraded – top them with your own gravy. And, OK, ‘fessing up, if I don’t have available homemade gravy I do use, and have ever since a high profile chef told me this is his plan B – dry mix. But here’s a big ps to that. No matter what kind I’m using – chicken, turkey, pork – I always blend it with a brown gravy one, really kicks the flavor.

  Puff pastry donuts – the rest of the story. In our 01.17.20 Salon we featured a demo by Mad Genius for making donuts with this pastry. Couldn’t find the sheets so picked up a package of Pepperidge Farm shells, dipped them in peanut oil and baked as directed. Let me take a moment here to say I share a lot of good stuff from my kitchen which might indicate there are no flops. Wrong! Usually keep those to myself.

  But, ‘fessing up, these guys didn’t bake right {the oil?}, fell apart when I tried to entirely remove the centers to look like donuts, and had to go back in the oven looking like so many onion rings until they crisped up. But I let them cool a bit and then hit them with powdered sugar. So, if you erase donuts from your mind, and replace that image with say the Italian cookie pizzelles, hey not so bad. Just . . . not . . . donuts.

  So, was looking for ways to use the rest of the chocolate pudding from our 01.24.20 Salon item on my version of pudding shots in the My Week section. And then, yay, decided to press it into service as yet another oatmeal helper. Not bad at all! And then staying in the cereal “aisle,” if you want to go all kid with dry cereal, put the pudding under it instead of milk or cream over it. Say, with peanut butter Chex. {OK, yeah, did that – nice combo!}.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books-Amazon / all others-mine
  •  Link sources –  recipe-CS recipe page / Dickens book-Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon / PBS-membership, not affiliate

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

So far next week: more egg bennies, energy breakfasts, celeb helpline, another Downton Abbey cookbook, Aspen fest, pig pickin’ cake, punch sauce, classic savory sauce

Last time, just below: F&W’s Best-Ever Dishes, foodie app, taming the late-night hungries, Marketplace announcement, 5-star seafood au gratin, taming the brown sugar, rye in what???, my pudding shot, taming the food budget

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

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All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Baked seafood au gratin, Jan 24-Jan 30, 2020

NEXT SALON FEB 7, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

  New feature on the way 

I just love my Amazon Echo Show and as I noted before, was so pleasantly surprised to discover how food-oriented it is. But I realize not everyone has this device, so will be sharing some news, tips, recipes, et al, on a regular basis, starting soon, and on a page right here on our Salon site.

  Here’s what you’ll find this week when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – Best-Evers / this app’s for you / taming the late-night hungries    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – announcement    FEATURED RECIPE – 5-star seafood dish    TIP – taming the brown sugar    THE WEEK – rye in what??? / I take a shot / taming the food budget

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well, when a so respected food publication like Food & Wine offers up their 40 Best-Ever Recipes, it sort of snags your attention. So much great stuff! Guest-worthy poached eggs in a rich red wine sauce. Says here, ultimate chocolate mousse. Acclaimed Vietnamese chef’s sizzled pancakes with a savory filling. Julia Child’s ham steak in Madeira {she called it “a fast dish for fancy people”}. “Dreamy and homey” Breton butter cake. Star of the cocktail party, Tiki snack mix. And more, more, more.

  C’mon, get app happy. The new Food Network Kitchen app features star chefs cooking in real time in interactive sessions {yes, you can submit questions}, recipes, classes, episode reruns, even says grocery delivery {?} More details at the link just above.

  Oh, a pox on those late night hungries. But, yay, this kind of thing is right in Cooking Light’s wheelhouse. Their listing of Our Six Best Healthy Late-Night Snacks includes options that can fill you up without weighing you down. And if we might also modestly suggest our “Big Snacks and Subs{titutes} Lists,” two chapters excerpted from “Dieter’s Survival Guide” into a stand-alone Kindle book, 99 cents.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Marketplace is undergoing a remodel. Watch for a new, easier to navigate format. Coming soon.

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Surf and . . . cheese 

I came across a recipe for seafood au gratin that actually seemed a little short on flavor, but was sufficiently interested in this kind of dish to turn to a source I often rely upon and that’s AllRecipes. Eureka and hooray!

The one featured here is generous with bounty of the sea and with just enough other stuff to enhance the stars of the show and hold it all together. Also nice that it yields a party size dish.

No party planned? It actually does freeze and reheat {gently} quite well {one comment, “leftovers were even better”}.

While I was fairly true to the recipe I did make some minor changes based on personal preferences. Interestingly, the comments show many folks tweaked and yet it still turned out good. Seems if you follow the basics of the recipe you can adjust and improvise at will. Majority of ratings are 5 stars.

Recipe  

  TIP  

Oh, bad word, bad word, bad word

That very well may be your soliloquy when you right-now need the brown sugar only to discover it’s turned into something that would be right at home in the petrified forest. Let’s just say, Drat!

Here’s what has worked best for me to prevent the sugar from ever reaching that stage. It starts with a glass jar with a tight-fitting stopper.

Tuck a one-gallon freezer bag into the jar and transfer the sugar from its packaging into this bag. Don’t seal it but fold the open end over to completely cover the contents, and then lay a folded dampened paper towel on top of it.

Last, place a plastic sandwich bag over the top and tightly insert the stopper. Depending on how long the sugar is stored, you may need to occasionally replace the moist paper towel.

Now, if despite your best efforts the sugar goes all concrete anyway, there are ways to rescue it instead of tossing it. The link below will take you to google’s offerings, and other one is for our handy little Kindle booklet that includes storage tips.

Softening brown sugar  ♦  50 Ways, 99 cents

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  In our 02.14.19 Salon, we talked about turning stale rye bread into croutons, as a topper for soup or salad, subsequently also posting that they could be popped atop seasoned sauerkraut or right into your mouth as a snack. Now Jamie Oliver has a sweet use for leftover rye – in easy chocolate cookies. That went onto my try-list right away. Btw, google says 100 grams is just over 3 1/2 oz.

  So, tried my own version of the pudding shots we featured in the 01.17.20 Salon. Here’s what’s layered in: caramel dip, chocolate pudding mixed with marshmallow vodka, repeat those two, then sour cream, chopped peanuts and chocolate sauce. If If I do say so myself . . .

  I recently heard some news on Food Network’s, “The Kitchen,” that unfortunately in general terms is not news to any of us. It has to do with how much the price of food has increased in the past 10 years. It’s the specific that inspires some gasps. 26% !!! Here’s one of the show’s episodes that focuses on budget-friendly dishes and shopping tips too. Here’s another.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – all are mine
  •  Link sources –  chocolate cookies/Jamie Oliver site
  • Partnerships – Amazon

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

So far for Feb 7: ooey gooey oatbars, bacon x 10, cooking like the Dickens, peanut signal, pudding for breakfast, tried the donuts 🙄 , peasto???

Last week, just below:  cheesy chicken galore, pudding shots, cheeseboard upgrade, top-rated cheeseboards, Giada’s salmon – touch of spring, cheese storage, Tejano cooking, donuts from what ???, a tasty, testy past 

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Giada’s fresh & simple salmon dish, Jan 17-Jan 23, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

  Here’s what you’ll find this week when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – cheesy chicken galore / pudding shots! / cheeseboard upgrade    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – top-rated cheeseboards    FEATURED RECIPE – a touch of spring     TIP – it’s a wrap   THE WEEK – Tejano cooking / donuts from what ??? / a tasty, testy past 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

I so look forward to receiving the MyRecipes online newsletter because it’s always filled with good stuff that I like to share with you. But sometimes a single newsletter is just a total culinary home run and one I just caught up with from last month is a perfect example. All three tidbits come from that one newsletter

  Here’s another one of those {at least to some of us!} irresistible headlines. 34 Cheesy Chicken Casseroles. So much good stuff here, classics like parmesan and enchiladas to some a bit more out there including a loaded baked potato version and a Tex-Mex squash combo. Btw, if you don’t want to do the slide show, should be able to just scroll down on the page that opens with the link. And . . . “surf” takes a turn next week in our Featured Recipe, baked seafood au gratin.

  Oh yum. Move over jello shots, here comes pudding. After pudding of your choice and alcohol of your choice, the variations are endless, as their story, “How to make pudding shots: the easy, boozy treat you never knew you needed,” shows in living color. It’s sort of like a spirited, drinkable, trifle. Now, it doesn’t specify where the alcohol goes, but guessing jello shot vets know it will be mixed into the pudding. Some other pudding shots I saw online combined everything into one mixture, but this layered approach makes a really nice presentation.

  So the holidays are over, but the reasons/excuses for a party large or small are fortunately never ending. A star of the show can often be a selection of cheeses. But have to say I never realized that “This ingredient is a crucial addition to your cheese board.” Not trying to be mysterious here, but before you click the link, see if you can guess what ingredient is not usually on the board but in fact makes great sense to join the array. I like it!

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

And continuing  the subject . . .

It’s like a cheeseboard superstore at Amazon. Yikes is this some good looking stuff.

Choose your material, choose your size, choose your shape, choose your amenities, choose your price – it’s all there. To give you a bit of a head start on filtering your options, our link below takes you to only boards that are 4 stars & up.

Did someone say amenities? Yep, some of these items come with slots or niches for serving utensils or even better a slide-out drawer {shown}, or slide out trays for extra surface, or cracker trenches to keep them nice and neat, or with their own little bowls or cheese markers, and at least one that stores as a compact wedge and then swivels open to an 18″ tiered circle {shown}.

Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any OccasionAnd even if you’re not in the market right now? Might want to take a look anyway since most of the boards on the Amazon pages are “dressed,” and as such offer a wealth of ideas on how you could assemble your own goodie mix. Or you can find all kinds of help with our link to colorful books on cheeseboards for all occasions.

Note that you can click on the illustrations to go directly to that item on Amazon. This book, btw, is an Amazon Best Seller.

Cheeseboards 4 stars & up    Cheeseboard books 4 stars & up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just simply good 

Even though spring is not yet even close to visible on the horizon, a touch of it can come to your plate with this fish dish from Giada. And because the salad accompaniment is so “springly,” the goodness of the salmon remains the star of the show.

The filet is treated gently in both the prep and the cooking process. A quick broil and done.

As for that light, bright salad, it actually serves double duty, as a bed under the fish and then as a garnish. That would be a lightly dressed mix of fennel, radish, and basil, a great counterpoint to the richness of the salmon. Btw, I also used some of the pretty and flavorful fennel fronds as garnish.

Giada continues her focus on tasty, healthful dining. You can keep up with offerings by signing up for her newsletter, link in the upper corner of her page.

Giadzy’s Broiled Salmon with Fennel Salad   Giada’s cookbooks    Giada’s DVDs

  TIP  

But wait . . . there’s more

Encore! This is indeed a re-run but it fits in well with our other sections this week.

There are suggestions galore online on the best way to store packaged store-bought cheese. This is what has always worked well for me . . .

Cut off the end of the package wrapper. Then cut along both top edges all the way to the back, but leaving the back intact so that you end up with a kind of hinged flap.

After slicing off the cheese you need, fold the two loose ends of the wrapper over the cheese, and place it in a food storage bag, pressing the opened end tightly against the inside of the bag so the wrapper ends stay in place as you press out the air, seal the bag, and fold the rest of it around the block of cheese.

If you’re rather use devices designed for that purpose, we have a link below to that page on Amazon.

Cheese keepers, 4 stars & up

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  The cookbook, “AMA – A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen” served up a nice discovery. Though I’d heard of it before, had never really delved into Tejano cooking, the south Texas home vs nationwide commercial version of Tex-Mex. It’s marked by lots of beef, chili plain and simple, lots of chiles fresh and dried, cumin, and two surprises – considerable German influence and more bacon than I expected. The title refers to the chef/author Josef Centeno’s LA restaurant, Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen (Mexican Food Cookbooks, Tex-Mex Cooking, Mexican and Spanish Recipes)whose name in turn honors Centeno’s great grandmother’s cooking, and the cuisine is the product of four generations of food-oriented Tejanos {Texans of Mexican heritage} on both sides of his family. Haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but surely will.

  I just love the Mad Genius tips. This time it’s donuts, which he calls the easiest ever and they just may be. The magic is in puff pastry, and the rest of the story is in his donut demo. Btw, since I don’t do a lot of deep frying, I made some by dipping both sides of puff pastry shells in peanut oil and then baking them per instructions. {Hold off for Part II in two weeks.}

  Oh, the memories. As a Chicago native and long time Las Vegas resident, the story is of more than passing interest. My first contact with any of the elements was when my husband and I, visitors at the time, dined at a fabulous Italian restaurant near the Las Vegas convention center – called Villa d’Este, it was parlayed from a previous site called Villa Venice, in turn previously Anjoe’s. After a history of a gunshot, a fire, Chicago mob ties, and a touch of Sinatra, it eventually evolved into Piero’s, now an equally famous institution for almost four decades. One of my very favorite chefs, Hubert Keller, will visit this legendary restaurant during his January 25 “Secrets of a Chef” episode on PBS.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – cheeseboards & book/Amazon, all others/mine
  •  Link sources – cheeseboards, books. dvds/Amazon, recipe/Giada’s site, donut demo/Food & Wine site, history of Villa d’Este, now Pierro’s/ imgur.com {shows “lock” icon}
  • Partnerships – Amazon

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

So far next week: more cheesy goodness with a baked seafood au gratin, 40 best-ever recipes from top source, my own pudding shot, chocolate cookies with surprise ingredient, new fave baked beans

Last week, just below: shrimp curry with spinach, 30-min dinners, hot toddy prep {plus bonus tip}, chai-spiced snickerdoodles, bye bye holiday pounds, save the cookware, food resources keep Echo-ing, “venting”

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Shrimp curry with spinach a la Downton Abbey, Jan 10-Jan 16, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

  Here’s what you’ll find this week when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – dinner in 30 / toddy & bonus spoon trick / Chai goes “kookie”    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – busy person’s diet guide    FEATURED RECIPE – flavors burst out of history    TIP –your pans will thank you    THE WEEK – the peanut indicator / treasure trove of food resources / steam up, up & away

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I’m guessing pretty much every one of us could make good use of this. From Food & Wine online, 30-min dinners in an illustrated slide show with links to the recipes. You’ll find steak & chops, fish & seafood, pasta dishes, burger creations, veggie entrees, soup and eggs. I’m thinking of trying one of the chicken recipes, either the spicy Mexican one or the stir fry with Chinese cabbage.

  It’s sure the right time of year for this libation, and we can thank IrishCentral for a fine hot toddy prep. But what I found equally interesting is a tip embedded here. I haven’t had the nerve to try it and certainly not encouraging you to either – but if you do hope you’ll share it with the rest of us. Or maybe this is something lots of folks already know about and use. It involves placing a metal spoon into the glass which it says will keep it from breaking.

We have to guess this refers to when the hot water is added – clearly something is missing in that part of the prep. It would seem to mean some of the hot water is added to the glass in advance to heat it up, then discarded before proceeding with the other ingredients. I looked at some other recipes and most just put in everything at the same time. Cheers!

  And I just bet these would go great with that toddy. Chai-spiced snickerdoodles! Another flavorful winner from MyRecipes.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

The “weight” is over! {or it can be}

Is taking off some pounds among your 2020 resolutions?  Either those that have been hanging around for too long now, or maybe a holiday “gift that keeps on giving”? Help is here!

My very own Dieter’s Survival Guide series gives you ways to deal with all those everyday situations that try to add more pounds and inches, or keep you from shedding the ones you want to go onto someone else’s hips. Not a formal program, but rather a common sense roadmap to avoid fat traps without feeling deprived.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s right here in “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide,” including all the information of the original but in fast-read form.

You can see the full series, available on Amazon, in our Marketplace, .99-$2.99.

CS Marketplace on this site

  FEATURED RECIPE  

History in every bite 

This just might be high on the list of most fun looking at and for recipes. The Downton Abbey Cookbook serves up delectable back stories for all the preps, plus Downton tidbits, snippets of relevant dialog, and even how to host a Downton-themed party.The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

Curries carry their own piece of history. To quote the book, “In season 4 {Rose’s father} is appointed governor of Bombay and moves to India, which at the time was under British rule: in 1877, Queen Victoria was declared empress of India, and in 1887 she had five Indians brought over to act as her personal attendants.” *

They continue, “British fascination with India went back much further, however, and the first curry recipes appeared in English cookery books in the eighteenth century. By the time Downton opens in the Edwardian period, curries were almost as British as fish and chips, and were often seen as a way to use up leftovers.” {kudos!}

What I found so amazing about this curry is that for all its simplicity, it’s loaded with flavor. And would certainly marry every bit as well with chicken or pork – hmmm, wonder how it would be mixed with just rice as a side dish or meatless entree.

*  This was the real-life basis for the movie, “Victoria & Abdul.”

Recipe page on this site    “The Downton Abbey Official Cookbook”  ♦  Other Downton items  

  TIP  

Save the cookware!

We can thank Cooking Light for this revelation about a possible mistake we’re making with our pots and pans and bakeware. One simple and effective way, they say, to prolong their life, and especially the finish, is to allow some cooling time before hitting them with water. See the full story here.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So I made cookies for some of my favorite people over the holidays and one of my favorite cookies is chocolate chip stuffed with a peanut butter cup. But what about possible peanut allergies for folks beyond the friends who may indulge without realizing there’s pb inside. So, instead used a caramel filled chocolate kiss. But afterward remembered something I’d read long ago which is – whenever this might be a concern, put an actual peanut, whole or chopped, atop the goodie. What a great idea. Next time.

  Do you have an Echo Show? I do now, the “8,” and among all the other features, what a bonanza for cooks. The rotation on the screen regularly features recipes and if you opt for one of them, a demo pops up followed by the actual prep in text form. And if you miss clicking it, you can just ask for it and sweet Alexa brings it right back. Or you can request a recipe and chances are several will appear as in the photo showing roast chicken options. Food podcasts too! What a fun and cook-friendly toy! {And no, not a freebie from Amazon}

  Could be my imagination. Often when I’m making stock, I’ll use a lot of water to be sure all the ingredients are totally immersed with plenty of room to frolic around as they cook. But then after they’ve done their best and are strained out, I let the stock continue to cook and evaporate somewhat to concentrate the flavors. When I was doing that recently I wanted to hurry the process but without boiling steam into the stock. Did this work? –  I turned on the vent fan and it sure seemed like those vapors stepped up their ascent into the ionosphere.

This week’s: 

  •  Photo credits – book/Amazon, all others mine
  •  Link sources –  books, movie, Echo/Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

So far next week: Tex Mex cookbook, seafood au gratin, cheesy chicken casseroles, pudding shots, cheese board upgrade, puff pastry donuts

Last week, just below: top tasty recipes from 2019 on CS

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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10 tasty recipes from 2019, Jan 3-Jan 9, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

  Here are some tasty encores from 2019 to make in 2020 

If you’d like even more details on any of these recipes, please enter the name into the search box

Chocolate Filled Chocolate Chip Sandwich Bars  This was one of the dishes in Food & Wine’s “10 Ooey Gooey Desserts You Should Definitely Be Eating.” Got that right – so gooey rich, so gooey good.

‘Fessing up, I did use store-bought cookie dough. And btw, phooey on waiting for the bars to cool completely. They are beyond decadent when still a little warm and soft. Recipe

Ham & Egg & Cheese Breakfast Braid  The companionable ingredients of the filling are in the title. And they are tucked into a loaf made up of the dough from two cans of refrigerated crescent rolls.

The dough from one can is the base, and the dough from the other is angled over the top to  create an attractive braided design. After baking, a bit of parsley on the slices adds a decorative touch.

Great brunch dish! Btw, the egg treatment, with cream cheese, is also an interesting twist on scrambled eggs, good just as is. Recipe

Butter Basted Ribeye  If you’re going to indulge, might as well go for it. Butter and all! Food & Wine shows the way down this culinary path with its prep for this premiere cut {OK, in my opinion}.  Recipe

Confetti Cake  Thank you Food & Wine! Could this confection possibly be any more festive??? Fun for little kids, and big ones too.

And what make it even more fun is that its party perfect presentation remains a surprise until it’s cut. Dessert and decoration all in one!  Recipe

Chicken Parmesan Dip  Big and tasty! And that makes it a real cook pleaser and crowd pleaser.

Served with crostini for the get-together. It lived on as a sandwich on a bun, then thinned with a bit of V-8 for pasta sauce.

You could even leave out the chicken for a nice vegetarian dish. A Tasting Panel selection. Recipe Page  {05.24.19}

Ice Cream for breakfast  This is a multiple, but so popular with CS friends that we wanted to include it in our “tastiest” list. Pancakes and parfaits, cookies and cakes, and more all join the fun.  Recipes

Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread  This moist and flavorful loaf is just so moist and flavorful, a sweet treat for breakfast, snack or dessert. As it says in the intro: “Forget the pie crust and get all the flavors of fall . . .”

Scroll down at the recipe link past the Get Recipe button and there are the ingredients. Then past the arrow to see the directions.

One thing, mine needed a bit longer to bake {altitude?}  Recipe

Sweet Potato Sundae  Savory enough to serve as a side, rich enough to be dessert. It’s Jose Andres’ creation, just one of the awesome veggie-as-star dishes in his Vegetables Unleashed cookbook.

I topped it with a scoop of cream cheese instead of ice cream. Could also use sour cream even though it won’t exactly look like a scoop {or ice cream either once it hits the warm tater}. Recipe Page  {09.20.19}

Chalkboard cookies & chalk  All edible! This just could not be more fun and we have Trisha Yearwood to thank for that.

Through the alchemy of butter cookie dough, store-bought royal icing and black food coloring she replicated a child’s small chalkboard. Then, white candy melts transformed into “chalk” – that can actually write on the “chalkboards.” Genius!  Recipe

Note that another top fave, the chocolate chip cookie pie, can be accessed in conjunction with the “Comfort Foods Cookbook” item in our gift listing in the 12.20.19 Salon

So far next week: shrimp curry with spinach, 30-min dinners, hot toddy prep {plus bonus tip}, chai-spiced snickerdoodles, bye bye holiday pounds, save the cookware, food resources keep Echo-ing, “venting”

Last Salon, just below: just in case any of you fine folks are really late with gifts

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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10 last minute gifts for cooks & their kitchens, Dec 20, 2019 – Jan 2, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

ALL THE BEST TO OUR SALON FRIENDS THROUGHOUT THIS JOYOUS SEASON

LET’S MEET RIGHT BACK HERE ON JAN 3, 2020

WE’LL GREET THE NEW YEAR WITH RECIPES  GALORE, THE TASTIEST FROM 2019

Link for tasty leftover turkey recipes on google

  Here are some of this year’s top featured items that might rescue procrastinators 

Click the item link to go to the Amazon page, and Salon link for that week’s recipes & resources

Check delivery times in item listings

The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink

Marketplace, 02.15.19  I just love Diner’s Dictionary. Open to just about any page and expect to find something fascinating.

Of course it’s also a fast resource for an individual ingredient, a single food item, or an entire dish. Alphabetical, too. What fun!

And happily, you may find in some cases not only the definition, but as well characteristics, uses, and origins, plus related geography, history, literature, law, commerce, and notable people. Hardcover, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. Diner’s Dictionary 

Featured Recipe, 02.22.19  Our recipe that week, Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, is hands-down one of the best desserts I’ve ever made.

It comes from David Venable, of the QVC show “In the Kitchen with David, in his “Comfort Food Shortcuts,” specializing in satisfying dishes that marry your cooking talents to grocery store convenience.

Lots of dips, soups, saucy preps, casseroles, rich desserts. E.g., bananas foster pancakes, pepperoni/cheesy breadsticks, chocolate stuffed {store-bought!} bread, peach enchiladas. “Comfort Food Shortcuts” cookbook

wall26 Canvas Prints Wall Art - Still Life Various of Spices on Rustic Wooden Table Food/Kitchen Concept | Modern Wall Decor/Home Decoration Stretched Gallery Canvas Wrap Giclee Print - 12" x 18"

Marketplace, 03.08.19  A kicky food poster can add a fun, whimsical touch to any kitchen or dining area. And so many choices, framed and unframed.

There are designs dedicated to herbs & spices, fruits & vegetables, casseroles & ethnic foods, coffee & tea, beer & wine, dishes & utensils, chefs & kitchenware, collages & sayings. There’s a link for that week to the top rated selections. Spice poster

Marketplace, 03.22.19  Martha’s total take on cleaning, organizing, repairing, laundry, decorating, crafts, gardening, pet care, entertaining . . .

And cooking too! Tool repurposing, produce purchases, freezer use, leftovers, timesavers, basic methods, troubleshooting, baking skills. No actual recipes, but guides for veggie broth, nut butters, pan sauces, parchment cooking, a proper omelet, and more.

All beautifully illustrated, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.  “The Martha Manual”

American Masters: James Beard DVDMarketplace, 05.31.19  This precious DVD takes you right inside the mind of a culinary legend, an iconic chef, the “First Foodie” – James Beard. We hear from him and from those who knew him best in this fascinating tale.

And it is indeed the whole story, from childhood travails, to mom’s influence, early challenges, founding role in The Four Seasons and its pioneering devotion to seasonal cuisine,  personal & professional relationships, cookbooks, ascent to legendary status, post-mortem inspiration for the James Beard Foundation and Awards.  “James Beard” DVD

Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker Makes 20 Icy Treats, Includes 2 Reusable Plastic Cups & Ice Scoop – BlueMarketplace, 06.21.19  Oh, how fun is this??? Some lucky person’s very own Sno Cone Machine!

In addition to the adorable little cart shown here, there are others that look more like kitchen appliances, at least one based on a Disney character, a Jelly Belly version, some retro designs and more.

There’s also a link in that week’s Salon to the full range of designs, styles, and prices. Cart-style sno cone machine

The Great Book of ChocolateMy Week, 06.21.19  In April we had featured David Lebovitz’ recipe for chocolate salted caramel tartlets from his book, “My Paris Kitchen.” In the intro he had noted his passion for chocolate.

This Lebovitz  tome, “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide” sure proves that to be true. He gives us chocolate, chocolate, chocolate – back story, tasting hints, health benefits, buying tips, resources and – yes, indeedy! – recipes.

Choco-philes just may want to read this one cover to cover like a pleasurable fine novel.  “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide

The Official Downton Abbey CookbookTidbits, 09.20.19  In her magazine earlier this year, Rachael Ray told us that “to dine like the Crawleys,” just simply serve oysters, soup, fish, fowl, main dish with sauces & veggies, dessert, fruit & cheese, and a final savory. But what would that be specifically?

To the rescue, a Downton Abbey cookbook. And not just recipes, but also their backstories and context. Plus, a guide to throwing a Downton-themed party complete with etiquette tips and customs of the times.

A Downton cocktail book too.  “The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook”

Marketplace, 10.25.19  In our original Salon we featured “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro’s cake kits for humans, including the mix, the filling, the icing, even the pan. But those may not be available in time. {The links are still available on the original Salon page if you’d like to check}.

Originally we showed here a complete Valastro gift kit for dogs, but when I just now checked the link – nada. There are however individual Valastro baking kits for dog goodies, such as the chicken parm bites shown here.

Other flavors, plus biscuits. Valastro dog treat baking kits

Marketplace, 11.08.19  Kitchen timers these days range from the classic tick-tick-tickers to some with advanced functions. And so many designs, some fun, some stylish, some ready to stick to the fridge, some multi-packs so inexpensive they could be party favors or stocking stuffers.

Equal time for kitty-lovers. And could this one be any cuter??? There are also companion kitchen items on the Amazon page. And you can also find a link to the full array on the Salon page. Cat-and-Mouse Design Timer

 

You might also like to browse in our CooksSalon

Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

Gift Shop link is right within CooksSalon. All others on this page go to Amazon. Please see original Salons for available photo credits & partnerships or contact me for information regarding Salons that predated these listings

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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“Multi celebs'” hearty, entree-worthy Tuscan soup, Dec 13 – Dec 19, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – Our measurement equivalents page / PBS upcoming cooking shows / stress less  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – fascinating chef memoir    FEATURED RECIPE – super satisfying soup    TIP – it’s easy . . . or easier  ♦  THE WEEK – edible wreaths / breakfast-dinner do si do / sweet fun 

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  As you cook and bake, bake and cook, did you know you can find a whole bunch of “how much?” answers on our Measurement Equivalents page? You’ll find spoons to spoons, spoons to cups, cups to ounces, plus drops, pinches and dashes. There’s also a link to the AllRecipes conversion chart for baking pan sizes. And finally, a list of common ingredients translated to spoons and cups, ounces and pounds.

No Passport Required  PBS has you covered with some nice holiday cooking shows, and others. The first one – this very night – launches season 2 of No Passport Required, a culinary journey across the U.S., starting with Seattle. Each week super chef Marcus Samuelsson, he of the incredible backstory {his book}, introduces us to a particular city’s take on American cuisine and culure.

  On 12.20 we take a seat at tables across the country with Lidia Bastianich. Also on 12.20 join the celebration of the America’s Test Kitchen 20th Anniversary Special {looks like it might be on tonight too}. Then on 12.21 it’s feasts and more on their Create track’s Joy to the World. Finally, on 12.22 virtually open The Houston Cookbook. Check your local listings for all this foodie fun.

  Nice little tip I found, actually in the HGTV Magazine. A bit of a stress buster as you prepare holiday feasts. In essence it says, concentrate primarily on one main dish, and then supplement with starters and sides you can make in advance and serve at room temp. And may I add . . . some prepared dished from your market make that part even easier, and no guilt allowed.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Celeb chef recipes – and it gets even better from there

World renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has given us a memoir that’s as easy to consume as his acclaimed cuisine in its multi-awarded forms. We’re virtually at his side as his takes his apprentice test in France, travels the world with the French army, polishes his skills in a succession of Michelin-starred kitchens, suffers setback, and celebrates triumphs.

And regarding the setback and triumphs, and especially the very last one – with his team. Always with his team. And with that team, he now oversees, directly or via a license agreement, about 40 restaurants around the world.

A personal note is sounded right at the start when he tells us why he gives such enormous credit to his mom, not only for her cooking mastery but as well for her devotion to quality, service, and a solid work ethic. The latter was essential since she cooked lunch and dinner for a large family and on-site business staff, leading him to say about the home kitchen, “I basically grew up in a restaurant doing 60 covers a day.”

The book is called, “JGV / A Life in 12 Recipes,” and the subtitle is so relevant because those preps mark notable moments or turning points is his storied career. They may seem long, but part of each one is like a one on one chat about the recipe, including his recounting of the POTUS-noted pea guacamole controversy. I’ll be making his carrot sauce for seafood, and will of course share.

When you see that the book rates 3 1/2 stars from six people, I encourage you to look at the detail. There’s a 3 star review that takes issue with the editing, then a 5 star and 4 star. The other three are ratings with no reviews and no sourcing. Here are some other views. All in all, I found this such an enjoyable and enlightening read.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s “JGV”     His “Home Cooking” cookbook    His other books 

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Pagesend a message to all of DC, “Make America Decent Again”

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Acclaimed chef Curtis Stone is just the start 

This is sort of a hybrid celeb chef creation. With all the root vegetables, it’s primarily Curtis Stone’s version and what I particularly like about the way he makes it is that the veggies stay in instead of flavoring the broth and then being discarded, and the bread stays out, which is to say served alongside the soup rather than cooked into it.

And the demo in the link below shows a collaborative effort with Stone and Rachael Ray, during one of her broadcasts, both handling the prep. But then there are other cooks for this broth {and, no, they didn’t spoil it} too, touches by Giada and Ann Burrell.

So, building on Stone’s recipe, I added a can of diced tomatoes and {my own contribution} a cup of vegetable juice in place of 2 cups of the chicken broth. Also spinach {which Stone condones} instead of kale, and a lot of it, half a bag in fact, along with a half package of fresh basil, as well as a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper.

A good crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment, and Stone’s recipe calls for ciabatta which would be great. But I found a Tuscan loaf in my grocery story, and that seemed only natural.

Stone’s Tuscan Soup recipe    Other ones on google     Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

  TIP  

“Easy does it” appetizers or mini desserts

In our 07.12.19 Salon we featured phyllo cups and fillings, one of the Tasting Panel selections. These handy little holders are available already shaped and baked from the grocery store or Amazon {despite seeming quite delicate, mine from Amazon arrived fully intact}.

Shown here, just a couple of possibilities from opposite ends of the spectrum. An appetizer filling of eggs scrambled with sausage, onion, green pepper and cheese. And then a dessert version with a layer of caramel {from a store-bought tub} topped with a layer of ganache, though truth be told you could certainly just spoon on a thick hot fudge from the fridge, such as Mrs. Richardson’s.

Want to make it even easier? Put out the empty shells and a variety of fillings and let your guests create their own little dessert buffets. That also would mean no waste from shells with moist fillings that would not survive as leftovers.

See more possibilities in the July Salon linked above and a Food Network slide show linked below. All so festive and perfect for holiday get-togethers and all such fun whoever fills them up!

Phyllo cups at Amazon  Food Network article

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  One of my favorite things to make, and give away, this time of year is edible wreaths. Really pretty easy, basically the same prep as the classic Rice Krispies treats, but made instead with corn flakes to simulate, along with the help of some green food coloring, foliage. The original Kellogg’s recipe calls for making this cookie size and sometimes I do this. But more often I make them a little bigger or a lot bigger. Also in place of the red hots I use red M&Ms, attached with a bit of sugar water. And one time, instead of wreaths I shaped the entire mixture into a Christmas tree and then used all colors of M&Ms as ornaments and melted chocolate for the trunk.

  Here’s what happened. Had taken some of the turmeric eggs {07.19.19 Salon} and a container of rice out of the freezer to make, along with some cooked salmon, kedgeree for breakfast, only to discover two surprises. Ham slices in with the eggs and some corn nestled next to the rice. Had also taken out a container of my cheesy potatoes as a side dish for the dinner steak. Cut up some onion to start breakfast and the wheels began to turn. Hmmmm. Cheesy potatoes, ham, corn, onion – sounds like a pretty good hash to me, along with salt & pepper and some parsley, sauteed in butter, paired with salad. Yep, parts of breakfast became dinner, and to counterbalance, that dinner steak became the next day’s breakfast, nestled alongside eggs & toast.

  So, we end the last of our regular Salons for the year on sweet note that turns a holiday classic into a whimsical treat. The prep’s pretty sweet too. Cooked sweet potatoes, mixed with melted butter and brown sugar, formed around a marshmallow, rolled in crushed cereal, baked until heated through and a bit of the mallow peeks out.  I used peanut butter Chex but next time thinking pecans or walnuts. Good & fun!

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books/Amazon, others/mine
  •  Link sources – measurements/CS, all books/Amazon, HGTV/HGTV site, Stone’s recipe/Rachel Ray show, items on Offerings page/Sunfrog  
  • Partnerships – Amazon, PBS {member, not affiliate}, items on Offerings page/SunFrog

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

Next week: Top gifts for cooks featured this year in Marketplace, many with short shipping times

Last week, just below: thaw it fast, apple crisp punch, Depression-era dinners, handy kitchen organizers, hot fudge pudding cake, peel ginger?, eggy love, salad-style burritos, heating up Parm corn butter- two ways

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, Dec 6 – Dec 12, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll below  

♦  TIDBITS – thaw it fast / apple crisp punch / throwback dinners  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – handy kichen organizers    FEATURED RECIPE – a bowl of chocolaty goodness    TIP – that is the question    THE WEEK – eggy love / salad-style burrito / heating up Parm corn butter

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I came, I thaw, I conquered. OK, the grammar gets a bit tortured and Caesar’s ashes just turned over, but may I redirect your attention to “How to Quickly and Safely Thaw Anything” – a rescue move for those moments when, OH NO, dinner that should be on the table in short order is still in the {censored} freezer. Having just come upon it, haven’t yet given it a try, but sure seems to make sense.

  This just looks so refreshing. A peek at the ingredients tells you that promise is quite likely to be fulflled. And as you can see right here, it’s pretty too! Two perfect attributes for a holiday libation. Called Apple Crisp Punch, the magic is in the sweet and sour pours and colorful garnishes.

  One link led to another and I found myself on the page, “23 Dinners That Got Us Through the Great Depression.” Since the very first one calls for a slow cooker, guessing some updates may have checked in. Even so, some good stuff here, with many that really are easy on the budget, a hot doggy one that’s sure to be a kid fave, some good looking soups and salads, and yep, meatloaf.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Resolution?

Are you doing 2020s yet? Or, if you’re like me, the one I’m about to pose is an ongoing aspiration.

Getting the kitchen better organized!!!

One of the previous Salons {08.09.19} talked about wrangling at least one set of items, the flat kind of stuff like baking sheets, cooling racks, cutting boards, et al, into a folder holder from the office supply store. And another {09.27.19} featured hanging bags for small items.

But lately I’ve been haunting the Amazon kitchen organization section for more help, and found some I think you might like: stylish towel hooks, pan and lid rack {I actually have one of these already and love it not only for the anti-clutter perk but also because it keeps the pan bottoms off other pans’ inner surfaces}, practical and whimsical drying rack {cloth over “cactus” too?}, sink caddy that lets the sponge and cloth air-dry, and could probably accommodate your kitchen brush too.

                             

 

Btw, the link below goes to only the top rated items. And you know what the #1 best seller in this category is – a portable paper towel holder, finishes from $5.99-$18.99.

Kitchen organization items, 4 stars and up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Who might like a warm bowl of fudgy comfort food? 

I have to ‘fess up that I haven’t made this yet, but yikes it sounds so good, so holiday-ey, that I wanted to share it now. I certainly will make it some time in the new year and tell you all about it.

But just look at the source and the ingredients and the picture and I think we can be pretty confident that this is going to be a very good thing. The promise is in the name – Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.

It’s from Hershey’s where you’ll find tons of other great looking recipes on its site, so I have a link below to the whole shebang, where you can also search by various filters. And of course a link right to our Featured Recipe.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake recipe    Hershey’s recipe page  

  TIP  

To peel or not to peel?

I happen to be in the former category, which is to say I’ve always peeled fresh ginger. You too?

Well, this food editor says we’re doing it all wrong, and also tells us why. See if you agree that we should “never peel ginger.”

Btw, though she kind of disdains using a spoon tip if you do/did peel, I’ve actually found this to be quite a good method. Easy over the bumps, minimum waste.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  In a recent show, Ina Garten mentioned a combo that may not be generally top of mind but happens to one of my favorites too – poached eggs atop seasoned greens {and for mine, bacon too}. And do you know what, alone or accompanied, it’s so perfect for any time of day or night. We did talk about this, including the starting point and seasonings, in our 09.20.19 Salon. Btw, this time I topped it with a bit of hot sauce. All good.

  Just catching up with mentioning this. The jar salad featured in our 11.22.19 Salon as we noted yielded quite a sizable bowlful, almost like the jar was hiding extra stuff in a secret compartment. So, yep, there were leftovers. And where they headed afterward {minus the lettuce} was one of my favorite ways to use them up, after in this case a brief cooking step – right into tortillas to make tasty burritos. A little extra jack on top didn’t hurt.

♦  A Parm corn butter add-on. We first talked about making this elote-style spread in our 11.01.19 Salon. Now, watching one of the Thanksgiving specials on Food Network I saw a reference to an original elote prep that included cayenne. Why not??? A natural I think. Btw, in the same Salon linked above for jar salads we talked about heating up the corn butter the other way, in a pan on the stove, to cook flavor-layered scrambled eggs.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – punch/Nolet’s Gin, kitchen org/Amazon, cake/Hersheys, egg/mine
  •  Link sources – thaw/MyRecipes, punch/Nolet’s gin, Depression dinners/Taste of Home, kitchen org/Amazon, cake recipe/Hershey’s, ginger/Yahoo 
  • Partnerships – Amazon

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

So far next week: Giada’s hearty Tuscan soup, celeb chef memoirs with recipes, fill a phyllo, ingredient measurement help, stress tip, impromptu ham hash, wreath cookies, sugar from where???

Last week, just below: chocolate frosting with a secret, chocolate Yule log recipes, pumpkin pancakes, holiday kitchen decor, bittersweet chocolate sauce with cocoa, easy garlic, all-in cookie pie crust, decorated marshmallows for cocoa, hot sugar icing 

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Sauce with Cocoa, Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

Starting this week, any of my partnership connections in the current week’s Salon

will be listed in the information box below, along with the photo credits & link sources

  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll below  ♦

  TIDBITS – chocolate frosting with a secret / chocolate Yule log recipes / pumpkin-y pancakes    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Merry Kitchen!  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – cocoa loco   TIP – easy garlic  ♦  THE WEEK – the next all-in / merry mallows / a hot trend 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  It looks so innocent, a luscious layer of chocolate frosting. But this icing might need some ice to counteract it. The current Food & Wine online newsletter offers up a prep for Chile Chocolate Buttercream, with the hidden heat of ancho powder and cayenne. Having some time back enjoyed pie with a chocolate-ancho filling I can tell you this sweet-hot interplay can be quite addictive. Btw, there’s also a recipe for the cinnamon cake underneath.

  Was so happy to see IrishCentral feature a Bailey’s Chocolate Yule Log, only to discover it was not a recipe but rather a retail item, and adding insult to injury seemingly only to be available in Ireland and the UK. Not to be deterred, tried Amazon for us. Not even on Amazon! So, back to one of my most reliable sources for great preps, AllRecipes. And there found some good looking Chocolate Yule Logs, which if one were so inclined could certainly not be harmed by the addition of a little spirit.

  So, then Irish Central redeemed itself with a feature on pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes. And, yep, complete with recipe. Nice treat for a holiday morning breakfast, maybe with a bit of bacon or sausage, some colorful fruit. Btw, I quite like this newsletter, and if you might too, can subscribe in the upper task bar on that page.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Deck your kitchen!

Why should the living room have an exclusive on all the festive decor??? Especially when we have so many ways to bring the seasonal colors and images right into the kitchen.D-FantiX Snowman Refrigerator Magnets Set of 16, Cute Funny Fridge Magnet Refrigerator Stickers Holiday Christmas Decorations for Fridge, Metal Door, Garage, Office Cabinets (Large)

Large stores, even pharmacies, often feature items for this very purpose. The ones we’re showing here are on Amazon.

Some are temporary additions like refrigerator magnets {shown}, appliance handle covers, wall decor {shown}, even chair slipcovers. Some are temporary replacements such as towels, tablecloths, napkins, table runners, and dish drying mats.

And this adorable tie-back set. And more. And all such fun.

So often our family and friends gather in the kitchen anyway, so why not make their surroundings sing Christmas and more. Just as good, why shouldn’t you have a joyful setting as you prepare those holiday goodies.

The full array on Amazon 

 BJN’s Eclectic Offerings PageIf you’d like to send a strong message to both sides in D.C., please consider my new items on the Offerings page that say, “Make America Decent Again.”

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just when you thought chocolate couldn’t get any better

I think it has something to do with the cocoa. It just adds such a deep, rich dimension versus other forms of chocolate.

And just like we like it, at least some of the time, the prep has few ingredients, simple technique. As flagged in our notes, though it calls for rum and many folks will find this a welcome addition, I used vanilla and it was still just so good.

The prep also tells us to use it cold, right from the fridge or after a brief stand at room temp. I did use it that way and also tested it heated, both over ice cream {work, work, work!}. As you can see, the ice cream does get melty with the warmed sauce but I actually liked it better that way.

The fact that it’s good however you use it is no surprise. It comes from the sweet genius of the late “Queen of Cake,” Maida Heatter, and appears in her book listed below.

Recipe    Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking”

  TIP 

Easy garlic trick

Thanks to the late and dear Mr. Food for this one. When you need to add garlic to a dish, put the knife or press back in the drawer and take out a fork.

You can start with whole cloves unless they’re extra large, then slice those in half horizontally. Now take your fork start pushing into the edges {not right down over the whole top}, and continue around the perimeter, gradually working your way toward the middle, pressing the tines toward the work surface and pulling them back toward you. If necessary, turn over and repeat on the other side.

The primary beauty of this technique is that in short order you’ll have coarse chopped garlic ready to go. Or you can continue to work the fork for a finely chopped result. Or, if you need the garlic in paste form, add a bit of salt and then mash down and back and forth with the fork. Voila, paste.

The bonuses? No more pieces flying off the work surface, sticking to the knife, and clinging to your fingers.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  My latest all -in. Pie crust! In our 08.23.19 Salon we talked about a pie filling made up of various chocolate items from the pantry and fridge. Now the chocolate vibe has gone into a crust in the form of cookies collected also from the pantry and fridge. There were stripes, stripes with frosting, chocolate coated mint cookies, even a couple of fortune cookies {nice little pockets of crunch}, crushed to crumbs and then mixed with melted butter in the classic graham cracker crust proportion of 1 1/4 cups to 1/3 of a stick. Now in the freezer awaiting filling and pretty sure one of them will host cheesecake. I’m guessing any cookies would do the trick.

  So, I saw such a cute way to serve cocoa on Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network show. She dipped marshmallows in melted chocolate mixed with a bit of coconut oil and then pressed some into pistachios, others into coconut. Next, for each cup of her white chocolate cardamom cocoa, she speared the two kinds of marshmallows on a wooden skewer and laid it across the rim. Adorable. But, oops, in the next scene when the cups are served, the marshmallows had done a backflip so all the pretty toppings were hiding face-down in the cocoa. Ummm, should we tell her about the two-stick trick from our 08.16.19 Salon???

Wait, wait, wait let me make two things perfectly clear. First, could this have been by design so that the chocolate melted into the white cocoa? Maybe. But even more notable, I love the food she does, and the whimsical touches she often shows us, some of which we’ve featured in previous Salons. So, face-up or face-down, a cool idea. Btw, for mine shown here I crushed spicy peanuts and M&Ms.

  Care to experiment? I plan to do so with whatever baked good I make next. This technique is called hot sugar icing, a matter of topping the unbaked cake or cobbler with sugar and then, uh oh, hot water. But the promise is a crunchy, candy-like sugar crust. The link takes you to the Taste article, and then a link at the bottom to a recipe for pear cherry cobbler, which include the amounts and instructions for the hot sugar upgrade.

So far next week: Hot fudge pudding cake, peeling ginger, flashback dinners, thaw it quick, kitchen organizers, elote add-on, next burrito, apple crisp punch

Last week, just below: pie guide, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from the best, bacon-pimento cheese dip, flour trick, another Parm corn butter app, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – pancakes/IrishCentral, decs/Amazon, others/mine
  •  Link sources –  recipe/CS Recipe Page Heatter book/Amazon, items on Offerings page/Michigan-based SunFrog
  • Partnerships – Amazon, SunFrog

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

So far next week: hot fudge pudding cake, kitchen organization,  

Last week, just below: bacon-pimento cheese dip, pie guide + recipes, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from a legend, flour help, try this with the Parm corn butter, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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