Easy, Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, Feb 19-Feb 25, 2021

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New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Carrots gone wild. Tasty and somewhat unexpected ways to use them up. Find salads, soup, smoothie, stir fry, fried rice, and desert bars in this story from Clean Plates. Also see a carrot prep & demo below in Alexa’s Room    Ha! another way to make oatmeal a bit more appealing. Thanks to MyRecipes for Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, further elevated with bananas, peanuts and honey. Btw, that same post also suggests toasting and stirring the oats for a couple of minutes over low heat before adding the liquid.    Bring some south into your kitchen no matter where you live with these 25 Classic Southern Recipes from Southern Living.

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Shopping Finds – Have you seen these? So clever. Designed to look like Mason jars but actually reusable plastic bags that tuck neatly into freezer, fridge or pantry. Four sizes, three packages 30-50, 10.99 -20.29. Prime eligible, 4 1/2 stars, and an Amazon’s Choice. Dimensions are shown on the page.   The reviews for the brownies from Prepared Pantry’s mix glow right off the page. Their most recent newsletter features a recipe for using the Seriously Fudgy mix to make pretty brownie cake pops. You’ll also find other flavors such as thick & chewy, chocolate raspberry, and chocolate chip blondies.

This week’s featured CS Kindle on Amazon – good for students, other writers, too! On Kindle, read it today, use it tomorrow. “Be a Better Business Writer in Nine Easy Steps”. You can also view this book, and others, and other items here on CS in BJN’s Eclectic Mall.

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Kitchen Talk – Finding fun ways to play with the gold and silver decorating sugar I originally bought for the tie dye cookies featured in our 02.05.21 Salon. Striped both on a homemade banana donut, just gold on a chocolate filled pastry, a combo on buttered carrots, and just silver on my fave sundae, chocolate ice cream with marshmallow topping. One thing, how much the sugar sparkles depends on how much light is on it.    More fun. Blood oranges, which I’ve long heard of but just recently had in my kitchen. You slice through the darkish peel to find juicy, crimson fruit waiting inside. Expect a nice balance of sweet and tart {and also red drops on your hands}. Squeeze into water, add ice, and you’ll have an “ade” that looks sort of exotic.    Still playing with making my own marshmallow topping.

   On the Table   

Feature – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars

So, the Pillsbury refrigerated dough I used for the tie dye cookies mentioned above in Kitchen Talk made such good cookies I decided to take another look at their site for other recipes based on this dough. And just look what I found!

After the ready to go dough there are just a half dozen ingredients. And four steps.

Four of those ingredients add up to an elevation. Store-bought caramel sauce is kicked up with more butter and brown sugar and, somewhat unexpectedly, graham cracker crumbs. Interesting!

It rates 4 stars and the comments delivered rave reviews. One tip therein, two of the cooks said they lined the pan with parchment paper.

The top of my to-make list is getting pretty crowded but this has to go there. Will report the results in a future Kitchen Talk.

{Photo from Pillsbury site}

Next week – Aunty Peggy’s Ham & Beef Tavern Chili, a storied dish

Recipe  ♦  Pillsbury recipe pages    Pillsbury cookbooks on Amazon

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make caramelized banana peanut butter cheesecake? Are those all the right words, or what??? Prep for a large rich cheesecake meets up with a cup of creamy peanut butter, destined for a graham cracker crust. Then . . . it’s topped with sliced bananas that have been glazed with a creamy, buttery caramel sauce. And guess what? No bake! We can say our thanks for this recipe, once again, to Tasty.

Alexa displays: Show me this recipe. This option appears with every recipe that pops up on the screen. You can also just request it by name later – the good news at that point is that other possibilities also come along for the ride. The bad news, however rare, can occur when the request includes a quite unfamiliar name that Alexa may not recognize.

This happened recently with Socca, though as always you can of course look it up on line. The other good news embedded here is the opportunity every now and then to learn about a new food. Btw, Socca?  Born in Genoa, popularized in Nice, it’s like a cross between a pancake and a pizza, topped at will a la the latter. Here’s what I found on google and the first prep shown is the same one that had been shown by Alexa.

Alexa says request: How do I make roasted carrots with pistachio pesto? We previously posted a darn good recipe for roasted carrots in our 06.12.20 Salon. No harm though in taking a look at how it’s done in this demo. But what was really intriguing in this offering from Epicurious was the pistachio pesto, which interestingly takes a “nose to tail” approach to the carrots. Also wondering how it might work to just sub pistachios for whatever nuts you now use in a classic pesto prep.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play the song quiz

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

♦  Molly Yeh of “Girl Meets Farm” on Food Network brings us a substantial happy hour treat. It starts with a multi-flavored Bloody Mary and ends with a multi snack. Anchoring the latter is a mini reuben sandwich on a stick that also holds a cornichon, the whole shebang then cozying up to the required celery stalk. Btw, one of the ingredients in the cocktail is caraway which bridges nicely to the rye bread in the reuben. And, it seems Yeh has a broad definition of happy hour, telling us, “Bloody Marys wake you up in a way coffee wishes it could.”   

  This taste-intensive Tex-Mex dip for the cocktail hour from Las Vegas celeb chef Les Kincaid – “Combine over lo-med heat until cheese melts, 1 lb Velveeta cubed, 8 oz jar cheese spread, 1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled, 1 bunch green onions sliced and 4 oz chopped green chiles – serve with chips and an assortment of veggies.” It’s quite amazing how so few ingredients, simply stirred together, can create such big flavor.

   We previously talked about martini variations – not the kind of drinks that bear no resemblance to the classic cocktail but adopt that name because they are served in a martini glass. But rather the requisite gin or vodka and vermouth, with the variations being usually just a single add-in, as in our previous references to the “dirty” one with olive juice or my fave with jalapeno or other hot pepper juice. Meanwhile there’s been a low level trend of a few years now of adding pickle juice to adult beverages. Tried it in a tini. Nope.

   While advice may not always be appreciated, this example might be welcome. “7 Best Cocktails to Drink While Cooking Weeknight Dinners.” Now if you’re wondering what makes these  sips different from others, here’s what the folks at Food & Wine say: “There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about cooking dinner after a long day. There’s something even more therapeutic about cooking dinner after a long day with a drink in your hand. Skip the martini— what you need is something quick, refreshing and relatively low proof so you’ll still be coherent by the time supper is ready.” {btw, the martini link takes you to F&W’s prep}

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Easy Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie, Feb 12-Feb 18, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Hello, bacon lovers! And rejoice as msn/lifestyle brings us these 10 most Creative Bacon Dishes from across the country. And I know all you clever CS-ers can replicate these bacony foods and beverages right in your own kitchens.     As far as we can tell, these foodfests are still scheduled in these locales for this year. South Beach, May 20-23.  Aspen, Sept 10-12. Austin, Nov 5-7.  Food + Funny. On Feb 17 PBS/Create is teaming chef Curtis Stone and chef/comic Alex Thomopoulos for a “Moveable Feast” through Australia.

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Shopping Finds – So, we’ve already seen ice cream for dogs. But here’s what’s new – ice cream for dogs from Ben & Jerry’s    In Amazon’s Hot New Releases, and “hot” applies doubly here – Mott’s Hot Apple Cider Keurig pods.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item  If we thought the new year would see high fives across the aisle and a bipartisan chorus of kumbaya in govs in DC and beyond . . . nope! Let’s flash this message everywhere we can.  See all 5 “Decent” items on our Eclectic Mall page.

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Kitchen Talk – Here’s one of those magnetic headlines I came across from MyRecipes. Why Snack Dinner is the Best Thing You Can Make for Yourself Tonight”  Wow, there are some fine looking assemblies here. But shown is the plate we featured from our cheese board in the 01.22.21 Salon and to the article’s point, it sure did add up to dinner.   So, had a lot of Genoa salami hanging around and decided to put it in the food processor with the other ingredients that would typically go into ham salad {including peanuts, love peanuts in ham salad}. Turned out good. But, duh, now had even more leftovers. Hmmm. After using some for sandwiches, mixed the rest with egg and bread crumbs, browned in a skillet, and then I had something I could freeze. Some has already come back out to join eggs and salad for a boffo brunch.    When you’re making chili, e.g., do you brown the meat trimmings and add veggies to make a stock? Me too. Then usually strained, defatted and made it into gravy. But recently instead added into the chili. Turned out to be a tasty idea.

   On the Table 

Feature – Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie

For being so simple, this savory treat from Food Network is a supremely satisfying dish. Tater tots, which are already somewhat seasoned, make a tasty base for an easy combo of cheddar and bacon, later joined by sauce and chives.

You know what’s a big bonus? That sauce! And as a double down, you’re likely to have some left over to kick up other preps you creative CS-ers can imagine.

One thing, looking at FN’s rendition {link below} the light color of the sauce makes me think they pulled back on the Sriracha. Depending on your heat tolerance, might want to taste as you mix.

And an egg good is so good on here. But just take a look and you can see how it’s sort of a natural playmate for these particular ingredients.

And with eggs, what a great centerpiece for brunch, especially joined by guac, tomatoes and olives. But you sure don’t have to wait for Sunday.

Recipe Notes – After the tater tots are baked, the assembled dish needs to bake for only about 5 minutes.

Substitutions if needed – Thinly sliced green onion tops can stand in nicely for chives. Also, you could certainly consider other cheeses or a combo.

Next week – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, starting with store-bought cookie dough

Recipe  ♦  Tater Tot cookbooks on Amazon

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make No-churn Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream? Oh my, with a title like that about all we need to do is add this recipe link. Maybe just note that both the peppermint and the chocolate make more than one appearance. From Food Network. Really sounds good.

Alexa says request: How do I make Mexican Cornbread Salad? This is nice, something like a 7-layer salad but as the title suggests with a decided south of the border accent. Colorful too! See it here from AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: Play the cookie dough secret video  Well, this couldn’t be easier. Chill the dough – 30 min in the fridge or 15 in the freezer. It says the fat will melt more slowly in the oven and thus help prevent overspreading. As a bonus chilled dough is easier to handle, and sturdier for cut-out cookies. Left it in too long? Just let the bowl sit on the counter until the dough softens a bit.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play sleep and meditation sounds

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  CS Tasting Panel member Debbie Vinson gives five stars to a recipe she passed along for a sambal sauce to be drizzled on cod, but as she and I noted it could be equally good on other fish, maybe even chicken. I’ve since made this sauce, and btw did use it on cod, and my palate and I 100% agree with her rating – sweet and spicy, tangy and tasty. You can see it right here on parade.com.

   How fun would this be for a sweet finish to cocktail hour? A cousin to last week’s tie dye cookies but this time it’s candy all the way as once again Trisha Yearwood shows us how to play with our food. White chocolate meets pastel wafers to create bark that’s an edible work of art. Melt x 5, spread, drizzle, swirl, then chill {both you and the confection}. Done!

   A pop quiz – when are ice cubes not cubes? When they’re spheres or hexagons or sticks. Or opt for classic cube shape but tiny or HUGE. Many trays are made of silicone or other easy release material and some come with lids. All right here on this Amazon page.

   Here’s a whole bunch of stuff we love tucked into one book. It’s Susan Spungen’s new work, “Open Kitchen,” a place, her site says, to “welcome company and enjoy togetherness.” It goes on to describe her entertaining approach as a “‘get-ahead’ cooking philosophy that ensures streamlined, stress-free preparation, so you can spend more time opening your kitchen to new menus, flavors, and guests–effortlessly.” Kindle and hardcover on Amazon.

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

                       

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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FN Host’s Tie Dye Cookies, Feb 5 – Feb 11, 2021 {1}

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites –  Credit goes to AARP for telling us about these 10 Best Superfoods for Your Eyes Well look what Pillsbury did with its crescent rolls – transformed them into a circle of creamy, spicy goodness. Their Buffalo Chicken Crescent Ring is kind of fun too, like a tasty craft  project.    Much as we CS-ers love to cook, guessing there are days when we could welcome “What to Cook When You Are Tired of Cooking” from MyRecipes.

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Shopping Finds – Bakers, do you know about this magazine? Just received a flyer for “Bake from Scratch,” subtitled The Go-to Resource for Artisan Home Bakers, adding that it offers pro tips and visual guides. Haven’t decided yet it there’s room in my magazine rack for one more resident. In case you like to consolidate your purchases, the link takes you to Amazon and the price there is the same as on the magazine’s site.  Thinking of getting a multicooker? The folks at Cook’s Illustrated took an in-depth look at these appliances and reported the #1 pick as the 8 qt Duo-Evo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, and in 2nd place the 8-qt Express XL Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker. The links take you to Amazon – the Duo-Evo is I believe the correct one because the titles match; the second is the right one because the model numbers match. Here now is the rest of the story and a chance to sign up.

This week’s CS-written item on Amazon  How’s the diet resolution going? If you need help, you just may find it in our quick-read Kindle book loaded with ways to avoid fat traps in everyday situations and also including  a “free zone,” “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide”

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Kitchen Talk – Could this be one of the best tasting flour-free cookies ever? The miracle is that these Flourless Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies from LiveWellBakeOften actually become . . . cookies! Because this is all that goes into them: almond butter, coconut sugar {or brown, which I used}, egg, vanilla, and chocolate chips.     Thinking whenever I next have a party, this would be a conversation-worthy side dish. French Onion Soup Casserole from Southern Living    Yum! Made french fries {store bought, frozen} in my new Ninja Grill and they were fabulous. I’m guessing there’s likely already a bit of oil on them but no more was needed to yield crispy exteriors, fluffy interiors. Also, the rest of the dinner wasn’t quite ready so just closed the cover back up and hallelujah they held that perfect condition.

   On the Table 

Feature – Tie Dye Cookies

Have to wonder if Molly Yeh, host of Food Network’s “Girl Meets Farm,” is a student of Trisha Yearwood because like the latter she clearly likes to play with her food. And may I offer as Exhibit A, these oh so fun tie dye cookies.

Start with sugar cookies. Divide and conquer with food coloring. Twist and shout. OK, maybe not shout, but form into a ball. Sparkles complete the festive results.

Yeh used red, blue and yellow, but this cute idea could be emerge in any number of color combos. For example, a nice red and white, maybe pink too, for Valentine’s Day.

The recipe calls for nuking the dough so it can be under-baked and still safely consumed. Note that an asterisk under the ingredients provides an alternative for♦ fully baking the cookies.

Here’s another alternative. I used refrigerated cookie dough, easily divided into 12 cookies. A keeper.

Recipe Notes: I made the colors a little more marble-y to look even more like tie dye, and did the kneading inside plastic wrap. Also, rolled some of the cookies in gold sanding sugar, others in silver, with a light touch. Btw the Pillsbury cookie dough I used said on the package it can be consumed raw

Next week – Cheesy, Bacon-Tater Tot Pie, add eggs for a tasty way to start your day

Recipe  Molly Yeh cookbooks  ♦  Girl Meets Farm

Food color on Amazon    Decorating sugar on Amazon

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make giant grilled cheese kebabs? To me, one of the biggest perks of my Echo Show is discovering new food sites, sources for the recipes that pop up on the screen. In this case it’s Tastymade which does show the lock icon. The recipe looks like great fun, and you creative folks I’m sure would come up with variations. Not too surprisingly the suggested accompaniment is tomato soup. One thing, expect to need clean-up on aisle 5, aka your grill pan.

Alexa says request: How do I make white chocolate pudding? The details reveal that it’s even better than the title would tell us. An Oreo cookie layer in the bottom of the individual serving glasses, and then grated chocolate on top. In the middle of course the main event, a rich and creamy white chocolate pudding. This comes from Ree Drummond on her Food Network show. Demo too!

Alexa says request: What’s the cheese ball story? We’re familiar with a number of things that can close down roads. But cheese balls? Yep, that actually happened late last year when a truck overturned on Interstate 495 in Maryland spilling out 20,000 pounds of the snack. After two hours of cleanup of the cheesey escapees and the resulting fuel spill plus lots of rerouting, all was well . . . mostly anyway. No human injuries but it appears none of the cheese balls survived.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play the spelling game {adult & kid versions}

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  CS Tasting Panel member Christine McKellar posted a plu-perfect dish for a wintry night on her Vegas Only Entertainment site. Wait till you see the layer upon layer of flavor in this Creamy Sausage Stew. And while there are lots of ingredients, fear not, just a few steps and it’s ready to go to the slow cooker {or I would guess a large pot OK too} and emerge as big bowls of goodness. 

  The same issue of Cook’s Illustrated that ran the cooker feature above offers this recommendation for spirits to stock in the basic home bar: Tequila, Vodka, Rum, Gin, Brandy, and Whiskey. Saying further, for cocktails stay with bottles in the $15-$40 range, upping the ante then for anything meant to be sipped on its own.

  Credit Ina Garten for this sexy cocktail snack. Large butterflied dates are filled with bleu cheese and wrapped with prosciutto, then warmed in the oven. Mmmmm. Here’s the whole recipe on Food Network. Btw, something Chef Garten used for a different drink but that I think could cozy up to a margarita is a rim of both salt and sugar.

   “Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup” – Beethoven 

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

                       

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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Loaded Mashed Potato Cups {but wait, there’s more}, Jan 29-Feb 4, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS   friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – When Stanley Tucci starred as a chef in The Big Night, which he also directed, turns out the foodie creds were pretty genuine, as evidenced by his Italian flavored best-selling cookbooks. Now he’s about to fold those skills along with experience gained from a year in Florence into a new CNN show, “Searching for Italy,” debuting Feb 14.    Here’s something nice to take into the rest of the year. On the “Food Trends” page in this month’s Taste of Home magazine – “Move over trendy restaurants. The real story about what’s new and exciting in food is coming from home cooks. The renewed interest in preparing and sharing creative foods from scratch ignited during the pandemic shows no sign of slowing down as families rediscovered the magic of a home cooked meal at their own dinner tables.”    Health.com offers these “5 Ways to Keep Bagged Salad Fresh For As Long As Possible.”

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Shopping Finds – Yahoo life believes this one single ingredient “can make every baked good better: milk powder,” {story} which is another name for powdered milk and probably available at your grocery store. If you’re more into ordering than going you can find it on Amazon, and it you do go to the page you’ll see it’s available from nonfat to full cream level, and also coconut milk powder, almond milk powder, and my fave for many foods and beverages, malt powder.    As you listen to cooking shows, read food mags, you may have noticed a particular term entering the conversation a bit more often – Pantry Cooking – which is to say, using up what’s already on hand with the double benefit of possibly avoiding extra shopping trips and also helping avoid waste. No surprise, right, that Amazon has books for that, and the text link takes you right to that page, while the image link takes you to this particular book.

This week’s featured CS-designed Zazzle-crafted item  “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate/ everything else” tee, with the title goodies tucked right into the letters – see it on our Food-Themed Tee’s page or its Zazzle page

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Kitchen Talk – OK, I don’t have esp but can pretty much predict your reaction – no, that can’t work. So, had made a big chicken stir fry and crisped and seasoned tortillas, leading to leftovers. Looking at those tortilla triangles thought, hmmm, nachos. Yep, next day stir fry on the “chips,” a bit of jack, in the oven and – it did work!    Emboldened by that success, took another walk on the mashup side, which you might find particularly interesting if certain leftovers are still in your freezer. Warmed turkey, stuffing, gravy and again the jack, wrapped in a tortilla and crisped in a skillet, then dressed with jellied cranberry nuked with a little water.    Have you tried avocado ranch dressing? Truth be told it’s not avocado-intensive, but it is nice tasting with an extra smooth texture and I kind of like just a touch of it in guacamole.

   On the Table 

Feature – Loaded Mashed Potato Cups

While the Tasty site has made a number of appearances in Alexa’s room, this is its debut in our featured recipe space. But just look at its perfect fit with all we love here at CS and you can see why.

First, mashed potatoes just on their own qualify for the comfort food hall of fame. But here they’re joined by more good stuff – bacon, chives, parm and seasonings, cheese stuffing, sour cream topping.

And it’s an easy prep. Ingredients that are few, familiar, likely already at hand. No complicated techniques. And a pan probably pretty much all of us already own.

You can of course start with fresh mashed as shown in the recipe. But also what a great way to use leftovers. All in all, this is a side that will give the main dish competition for the spotlight.

In addition to being a boffo side dish, tasty variations abound and we show a couple here. Smash down a a bit and top with an egg for breakfast of brunch. Smother with tender beef and gravy to create a savory entrée. Also thinking just go with the gravy for a tasty twist on poutine.

Recipe Notes – I cut this recipe in half with no ill effects. It’s a good idea to taste for salt before adding the amount shown in the prep. Also, depending on appetites and what else is going to be on the plate, may want to serve two, given that these cute little guys add up to just 1/6 of a cup of taters each.

Substitutions if needed – minced green onion tops can stand in for chives

Next week – Tie Dye Cookies – what fun!

Recipe  ♦  Top potato cookbooks on Amazon

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make Nutella Banana Split Bread? Fans of the popular spread have yet one more way to use it thanks to this AllRecipes prep. The recipe lives up to its name with chocolate, pecans and whipped cream in the banana bread batter and then Nutella swirled throughout. Not rich enough? No problem, there’s also a homemade caramel sauce to top it all off.

Alexa says request: How do I make poached scrambled eggs? Well, if this turns out to be to your taste, it avoids a couple of potential issues. First there’s that thing with regular poached eggs about hitting the timing just right so the yolk remains soft and the white is all cooked. Solved. Second, if you love scrambled but want to avoid fat, there you go. It’s really a quite simple process that Food Network calls “entirely a home cook’s meal.”

My request: Do you have a recipe for Black Bean Chili ? Actually quite a few good possibilities were returned for this inquiry. Rachael Ray’s version adds extra interest with a green onion corn cake as a cover over the serving, kind of like a chili-esque pot pie. That corn cake btw shortcuts the prep with muffin mix. Lots of nice seasonings too in her Beef and Black Bean Chili, also on the Food Network site.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – {6 Minute} Full Body Stretch or 7 Minute Workout or Animal Workout

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Oh happy day! And thank you Iowa State University, where a recent study looked at the foods and beverages that can help us hang onto our marbles, or in U-speak, protect against “age-related cognitive problems, even late in life.” The winners? Red wine and cheese!!! Beating out, among others, fresh and dried fruit, cooked and raw vegetables, oily fish and lean fish, meats {except lamb}, cereal and salad. Read the rest of the tasty details here.

  What a fun breakfast idea from Kellogg’s, their Rice Krispies® topped with tri-color melon balls for a fanciful beach scene, enhanced by a tiny umbrella. So why is it in our Happy Hour? Because – if you used a larger dish, laid down some soft cream cheese, topped with the cereal and then a bit of brown sugar for that sandy look, and then the melon {beach} balls, what a sweet and theme-y addition to the cocktail table. Don’t forget the umbrellas! 

  These would be great for the baked ham & cheese party snacks that we featured in our 11.20.20 Salon. Easy and tasty Tender Potato Biscuits, from AllRecipes, CS tested and approved. Nice way to use up mashed too.

   “A love of life, spaghetti and the odd bath in virgin olive oil. Everything I have I owe to spaghetti” – Sophia Loren  ♦ “No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention” – attributed to Christopher Morley

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No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Jan 22-Jan 28, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – What’s better than a celebrity chef recipe for cornbread? Five celeb chef recipes for cornbread. What’s even better yet? Someone on insider.com willing to test all five, take us through each process, and give us the results. You have to search a bit, but there are links in each description that will send you to the recipe.    A slide show from USA Today lifted the curtain on how pickle juice can elevate fried chicken, calling it a magical combination. Quite intriguing, but didn’t say exactly say how to go about that {amount, timing, other ingredients}. But AllRecipes does with its Pickle Brine Chicken recipe.    Thinking ginger root must have hired a pr agent since I’m seeing more and more about its health benefits and flavor perks. Food & Wine brings us no fewer than 29 ginger recipes in this slide show {or scroll for full list}, including an intriguing one for ginger-roasted acorn squash that adds greens for a very pretty platter. {Hey, could put these three together for a mighty fine dinner}

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping Finds – Did you know this? Panera Bread offers a decent variety of pantry items for contactless delivery or curbside ordering or pickup. See the details.     And did you know about this kitchen tool? You hold it kind of like a knife, run it over certain fruits or vegetables or even pastry or say slices of Swiss cheese for salad and end up with perfect uniform shreds. Many variations here on Amazon, all quite reasonably priced.

Also, CS Designed, Zazzle-crafted“I’m Being Trained by a Sweetie I Adopted from the Shelter” – see MUG on Zazzle page, TEE on Zazzle page OR preview BOTH here on CS page

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – All my previous ice cream breads have to move over, because there’s a new fave in this kitchen. Peppermint! Yes, peppermint stick ice cream bread, a semi-sweet treat that just dances in the mouth. See the original recipe in our 07.17.20 Salon, and remember, just three ingredients. Could be quite nice on the Valentine’s table.    Hot news! Yahoo Life reports that research presented at the recent AMA Scientific Sessions cited a wide-ranging chile pepper study that shows consuming these palate igniters could be instrumental in avoiding major diseases and increasing lifespan. The favorite spicy cookbook in this kitchen is The Fiery Cuisines, 5 stars on Amazon and notable for balancing flavor and heat in dishes from across the food groups and around the world.

   On the Table 

Feature – No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

This might border on illegal {if so, blame Tasty.co & Alexa}. Or at least something you might not want to mention to your dentist.

Rich cheesecake goes a big step richer with melted chocolate chips blended in. Then cozies up to a thick layer of peanut butter that’s gone all sweet with powdered sugar.

Would certainly be good as is. But looked sort of plain, so melted another 1/4 cup of chips to drizzle overall.

While a number of desserts taste better after sitting out of the fridge for a while, this is best nice and chilled. Probably don’t need to add that small slices will suffice.

So, just for the heck of it thought I would see if Amazon offers a ready-made chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and yep they do, and quite showy but also quite pricey. What you might find surprising though are the other choc/pb items on the page including even coffee.

Recipe Notes – I cut this recipe in half and made it in a deep dish pie plate. It calls for just chocolate chips, but I opted for semi sweet and wondering if even bittersweet might work. Also, ran both layers through the food processor so they would turn out silky smooth. Note that it needs fridge time in the process and afterward.

Next week – Loaded Mashed Potato Cups, 3 ways, all fun

Recipe  ♦  Chocolate peanut butter goodies on Amazon

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make tater tot breakfast pizza? Tater tots + egg = a crispy, tasty crust, especially if you heed some of the commenters who seasoned both the potatoes and the eggs. Then, the toppings, yum. Two cheeses, bacon, the eggs, pepper, not in the list but looks like parsley in the demo, and then avocados. Check other comments too for different topping suggestions. However it came together, these folks love this recipe from Tasty.

Alexa says request: How do you make cinnamon roll pancakes? AllRecipes wins this delectable derby with their 4 1/2 star recipe. Let the description on the page tell the rest of the story – “Sweet and delicious buttermilk pancakes with a butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon swirl filling. These are great any time of the day and less time consuming than making real cinnamon rolls!” Wow, add the above prep and we’re talking a 5-star brunch.

My request: Most of the time Alexa is quite amazing in putting together the parts of your request to deliver exactly what you’re looking for. In this case though, it took some “negotiating.” What I really wanted was a 5-star recipe for New Orleans style barbecued shrimp which as you all know is a whole different category of bbq. After trying this and that I finally decided to name drop and asked for a barbecued shrimp recipe by Emeril. Voop up it came and Voila! 5 stars. On Food Network and actually called Emerilized Barbecued Shrimp, it has more ingredients than maybe most others but oh my each one just layers on more flavor.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play dinner party music, such as classic jazz or classic rock

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

♦  Well look who dropped down out of her room. Alexa! That’s because she popped up some party food on her screen. S’Mores Popcorn. It comes to us from Giada on Food Network, and indeed has all the right stuff. You’ll see that she gives it a bit of a Valentine’s look, and woohoo it starts with store-bought popped corn.

  Well I’d say definitely soothing, but Food & Wine goes all in and declares, “Hot Cocktails Are Like Heating Lamps for the Soul,” and then goes on to describe some toddy siblings found in restaurants around the country. And fear not, there’s a link to another F&W story with actual recipes.

   Here’s how Ashe Cayne in “The Unspoken” dresses up a charcuterie plate: cured meats, hard and soft cheeses, olives, grilled artichoke hearts, pepper & fig spread, bruschetta, crackers, fresh & dried fruit, strawberry jam. There are just a couple of pages in this Amazon 4-star book where you wouldn’t want to be eating at the time, but it’s otherwise a relentlessly unfolding mystery in the toughened hands of Cayne, a Shakespeare-quoting, Food Network-watching Chicago detective, hard boiled and soft boiled. Here’s my recent plateful.

  Heard on Food Paradise, Food Network, “You season both sides because you eat both sides.” Kind of a cousin to Emeril’s oft-said “I hate one-sided tasting food.”

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Celeb’s Flipped Out Tamales, Jan 15-Jan 21, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – The phrase Oldies But Goodies takes on a whole new meaning with these 25 Indulgent Depression-Era Desserts. Think – Sugar Cream Pie, Potato Donuts, Shoo Fly Pie, Chocolate Mayo Cake, Poor Man’s Cookies, Frozen Fruit Salad, Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy, and all the rest that could keep the sweet tooth happy even in the leanest of times.    Insomnia? Could your midnight snack be the perp? Clean Plates indicts these Worst Foods to Eat Before Bedtime    Well this could be a fun project for the news year. “Michelin-star chefs share 7 easy dinners that take almost no prep.” All the perks are right in the title.

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping Finds – Came across this book on the way to something else on Amazon. “A Year Without the A Year Without the Grocery Store: A Step by Step Guide to Acquiring, Organizing, and Cooking Food StorageGrocery Store: A Step-by-Step Guide to Acquiring, Organizing, and Cooking Food Storage.” OK, title seems somehow odd, but the promise is quite appealing – knowing “you will always have plenty of food” {shopped in advance?} with this technique they say can be accomplished in 15 minutes a day or less. It rates 4 1/2 stars.   Care and coziness and convenience! Dennis Weaver at Prepared Pantry says this about slice and bake cookies – “You can make up three or four different batches, form the “logs” and put them in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. When friends come over {or to deliver to someone who’s quarantined}, slice up a half log and bake them. You’ll have warm cookies in 15 minutes.” Click the link to see their offerings.

Also, CS Designed, Zazzle-crafted  “Ice Cream Ice Cream Ice Cream/everything else” mug {with ice cream cones right in the words} – see it on the Zazzle page or preview on our CS page

{also see our ice cream tip just below}

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – All it took was a package of pine nuts {purchased for the butternut/polenta feature} to take me back to one of the best and most simple pasta dishes I’ve ever had, taught by an old school grandma, owner of a house-style Italian restaurant in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. It’s just this – cooked pasta, diced fresh tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts, and a last minute addition of broccoli florets, all tossed in garlic butter. And here it is.    And came across something that immediately moved into a high spot on the to-make list – sweet potato bread pudding with pecan praline sauce, found in Eating Well magazine. Report to follow.    Oh, oh, you’re ready for the ice cream and it’s like a concrete building block? Saw this in Cooks Illustrated – warm a sharp knife under hot water and make cuts both ways across the surface, then serve up with a scoop that’s likewise been warmed. Voila!

   On the Table  

Feature – Trisha Yearwood’s Deconstructed Tamales – pulled pork & cheese grits & more

Yearwood’s work ethic is more like a “play ethic.” And maybe one of the reasons her dishes are so satisfying is that she clearly has so much fun making them. This tamale makeover is a perfect example.

It starts with fried cheesy grits cakes. Then Mexi-seasoned pulled pork. And then on with the corn salsa, sour cream, green onions and cilantro.

Now in the demo that accompanies the recipe, when the dish is served Trisha tells her guest to be sure to get some of everything on the fork. That prompted me to think a little differently about the “assembly.”

First, the thick and creamy grits right from the pot rather than chilling and frying, which lets them spread out on the plate. Then the pork in a thinner layer {though her piled high version is definitely more Instagram-ish}, then the toppings strewn far and wide.

Do you see how this works? Fork at the perimeter, glide path to the center, and voila! an “everything” bite. And I’m very glad she said this because you really do want all those flavors and textures to arrive as a tasty team.

Recipe Notes – Given the high heat, I added the garlic for about the last minute of cooking. Also, did not use oil in the second step of cooking the pork, though it indeed might give the seasonings a little extra kick. Avocados make a great accompaniment. And, any leftover pulled pork makes a mighty fine sandwich or tortilla wrap.

Substitutions if needed – I’ve used all different kinds of cheese in grits with good results, and in this case stirred in cheddar jack.

Next week – No-bake chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

Recipe    Trisha Yearwood Cookbooks

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make Upside Down Banana Bread? Oh my, this steals a march from pineapple upside down cake to bring a new dimension to realm of banana bread. Butter and brown sugar join forces to make caramel which goes in the bottom of the pan. Then banana slices. The banana-intensive banana bread. Bake, flip, dive in. Think this recipe from Tasty could be a keeper.

Alexa says request: How do I make General Tso’s Chicken? If you’re like me you are quite intrigued by this rather sassy mix of ingredients that deliver sweet and sour,  spicy and mild, soft and crunchy. I’ve yet to ever venture making this dish, but given the ratings for the particular recipe from Epicurious, it just might be time.

Alexa says request: How do I make scalloped potatoes? I’m guessing most of us already have a recipe for this dish. But when it came up on the screen, it sure as heck didn’t look like any of the preps I’d seen, though the title told us why – this was a Scalloped Potato Loaf. A whole lot of other groceries got in on the act, including onions, ground beef, tomatoes, mozzarella, and seasonings. Demo too. This sure looks to be another winner from Tasty.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – take photos

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   What a cool {hot!} idea. Thanks to Eating Well magazine for this bit of perfection for the Valentine table – a “Boozy Hot Chocolate Board.” They even serve up a recipe for the hot chocolate, with an optional spike of Kahlua or Bailey’s. Then what makes it holiday-special is the Board, holding such toppings as candy, cookies, marshmallows, cinnamon sticks and more. The rest of the story right here {note site shows as not secure}.

   Nothing wrong with a classic martini, in fact well made it’s a mixology work of art. But those who have already ventured a bit beyond tradition with say a dirty tini might like to kick things up with my new addiction – peppertinis, best with jalapeno juice but also good with a splash from pepperoncinis or sport peppers.

   Still have some turkey in the freezer? Celeb chef Charlie Palmer suggests creating a hardy game day party snack by turning it into a birdy version of the classic French sandwich, croque monsieur, tucking in turkey instead of ham {though kinda looks like ham in the pic unless that’s smoked turkey}. He also colored outside the lines by adding a layer of pickles, though the shine on the bread would indicate he retained the traditional béchamel sauce. Extra points for topping with a fried egg and thus transforming it into a croque madame.

   Tasty repurposing. CooksSalon Tasting Panel member Debbie Vinson had a cup of cider vinegar glaze left over from the salmon recipe we’d featured {10.30.20 Salon} and used it in a happy merger with pork butt. After browning the meat in oil in a heavy skillet over high heat she added a bit of water, then the glaze, and let it all simmer for a couple of hours. When the pork was meltingly tender, she removed it from the pan, pulled it apart, then poured over the cidery juices. “It was wonderful.”

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Favorite Recipes from CS 2020, Jan 8-Jan 14, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 r

To see the full details for each dish, including recipe, context, recipe notes and any relevant substitutions click the opening link with the date – to see the recipe only click the closing link

07.17.20, Food Tips for Our Times  Fruit Pizza There’s a good chance there might be some extra fruit, fresh and canned, in the house these days, after stocking up for baking, dressing up a holiday table, received as gifts. A fun and colorful way to put it to good use is a fruit pizza. And at the same time show off your artistic skills! Just layer different colors of fruit and jam on a baked pizza crust spread with soft cream cheese and voila! a work of art. And so pretty! Here are some other suggestions for fruit pizzas that google found.

05.13.20, Featured Recipe  Chicken Pepperoni Parmesan  Just looking at the name tells you it’s a pretty good bet it tastes pretty darn good. And it does! This chicken pepperoni parm is already a plate of flavor. But in fact I did add some Italian seasonings to the tomato sauce or you could certainly use a jarred marinara. I also sautéed the chicken as is in butter/olive oil instead of breading it. Add crusty bread and a green salad and it’s done and yum. More good news – it all bakes on a sheet pan.  Recipe 

04.03.20, My Week  “Potato Snow”  What a fun and festive way to play with taters. See the pic? – that’s “potato snow,” and oh so easy too! Per the recipe, simply push boiled, peeled, towel-dried potatoes through a coarse sieve with a wooden spoon letting them “pile high into a snowy mountain slope.” Or do that several times to make a “range.” Another recipe I found {on an unsecured site}, suggested adding onion salt and garlic salt to the cooking water rather than trying to mix it in afterward. The prep I used is from The Secret Garden Cookbook.

10.23.20, Featured Recipe  Bobby Flay’s Cheesy Bacon & Tater Quesadilla  This is a perfect example of Chef Flay’s passionate take on southwest cuisine. The title foodstuffs join onion and peppers in a tasty tortilla stack, topped with a nice fried egg, fresh tomato salsa, and chopped chives. A perfect way to start the day. Especially a day with a late and lazy start. Bloody Marys anyone? The recipe is on the Food Network site.  Recipe

07.17.20, Featured Recipe  Ice Cream Bread  Wow, the unique flavor of ice cream right in your bread? And just 3 ingredients. In the original sojourn I used French vanilla, then played with some variations. The result is sweeter than bread, less sweet than cake, with a texture kind of between French bread and pound cake. Those subsequent variations  – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough {08.07.20}, Chocolate Brownie {10.30.20} Each good as is, but also happily welcome toppings.

10.02.20, Featured Recipe  Knife & Fork Bacon Cheeseburgers  This is one satisfying plateful, a happy gathering of onion, tomato, pickle, bacon, burgers, buns, plus a condiment mashup, and savory cheese sauce. And this is nice. Lots of the elements can be prepped in advance. To make life even easier, use store-bought burgers if there are some you like, and fill out the plate with deli-supplied or pantry & fridge ready side dishes. Might also like to take a look at these google-found alternatives for burger sauces.

06.19.20, Featured Recipe  Bacon Peanut Butter Corn Muffins  One bite and you’ll see why these goodies took a top award in a Taste of Home contest. Yowza are they good. And happily the come together with ingredients likely already in residence in your pantry and fridge. Great as is for breakfast. Or with the caramel ice cream topping, Poof! Dessert! Or go all in for dessert with the suggested alternate of chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. And you know what, thinking this topping would be just as happy on a regular pan of cornbread or even pancakes, French toast, regular toast. Recipe 

11.20.20, Cocktail Hour Buzz  Baked Mini Ham & Cheese Sandwiches  This hearty snack actually was part of a reply when we invited “Alexa” into CHB and asked her for cocktail snacks made with cheese. These minis sounded so good, and then tasted as good as they sounded. Pretty easy too. One of the others that’s now high up on our to-make list is the Filled Parmesan Baskets, and then maybe the Stuffed Artichoke Hearts. If you would like to see the other snacks and their recipe links, just click on the 11.20.20 above. All are from AllRecipes, and there’s demos too. Recipe

09.18.20, Featured Recipe  Cheese Ravioli Soup  A big bowl of good, and thank you Taste of Home. Despite the long-ish ingredient list, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. 1} brown the ground beef, then add the sauce ingredients. 2} cook the ravioli, combine with the sauce and heat through. 3} stir in parm, top with parsley. Done! So what brought its rating down to 3 1/2 stars. Not the flavors. Nope, instead critics said it was more like an entree than soup – and we couldn’t agree more! Thick, hearty and satisfying.  Recipe 

10.09.20, Featured Recipe  Nanaimo Bars {and “Plan B”}  For at least seven decades these rich bars have been on celebratory tables in Canada. Rich, yeah! A chocolately, nutty, graham cracker crust, topped with amped up butter cream frosting, topped with a kind of ganache where the cream is replaced by butter. Indulgent! Even so, I played with an alternate, “NaNaNo Bars,” – a bit less complicated, a bit less crumbly, and a bit less sweet, maybe more creamy. You can see details of this version if you want in the 10.09.20 Salon. Recipe

Our Featured Recipe when we return to regular Salons Jan 11: a full of flavor tamale makeover

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Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

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All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

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Dec 4, 2020, Gifts Cooks Will Love, From This Year on CS

ALL THE BEST TO OUR SALON FRIENDS THROUGHOUT THIS JOYOUS SEASON

LET’S MEET RIGHT BACK HERE ON JAN 8, 2021

WE’LL GREET THE NEW YEAR WITH “THE GREAT RECIPE ROUND-UP OF 2020”

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

Check for delivery times in item listings

03.27.20  Marketplace  What fun for anyone, or anyone who loves both eating out and eating in. Todd Wilbur’s “Top Secret Recipes . . . Step by Step/Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home” – is just that. Specifically, 125 recipes from over 60 sources – think fast food outlets, family restaurants, ethnic places, breakfast spots, steakhouses, coffee emporiums and dessert bars. The packaged goods clones include Twinkies®, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels®, Fudgsicles®, a couple of Girl Scout cookies, and more.  “Top Secret Recipes Step by Step”

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

10.23.20  Cocktail Hour Buzz  While I’m guessing we probably all know some folks that can likely defy this promise, for the most part this is a very welcome prospect – wine glasses that won’t, or maybe we should say strongly resist, tipping over. They’re 12 oz and because of the design the maker says they’re “naturally aerating.” Hand blown, stemless, all in all very stylish. Prime eligible and right now at a nice discount. Set of two, by Culinex. Four and a half stars and an “Amazon’s Choice.”  “Spill-Proof Wine Glasses!”

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

10.30.20  Shopping Finds  And a find it is indeed. Reese’s has taken its peanut butter a step further into the sauce realm. How many ways would you use it? Best think of lots of them because it comes in a 4.5 lb tub. I do sort f wish they’d taken a page from the candy and maybe swirled in some chocolate, but hey we can add that if we want. No disappointment indicated in the reviews, 4+ stars on Amazon, and an Amazon Choice. Btw, there’s also a topping version.  Reese’s peanut butter sauce 

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

11.13.20  Shopping Finds  For anyone that uses the toaster oven on a regular basis, these pans are so handy, so welcome. I have them and just LOVE them. Four sweet little helpers that fit most ovens, with the two sheet pans and baking pan checking in at 11 x 7.75, and the baby pizza pan at 4″ also suitable for say rolls or muffins. Non-stick, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Prime eligible. And reasonable too! – at this writing $13.35 for the set, shows reg as $19.99. Toaster Oven Pans

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

07.17.20  Featured Recipe  This book was actually linked in that Salon in conjunction with our featured recipe that week, the 3-ingredient Ice Cream Bread. But we thought just maybe some folks might be interested in making their own ice cream. And if so, how about turning to the ice cream icons. Their recipe book offers a bowlful of inventive flavors made with fruit, candy and cookies and even includes some of their “greatest hits.” Kindle and Prime Eligible paperback, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, very reasonably priced.  Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

10.09.20  Shopping Finds  What cook wouldn’t like to have fresh herbs available right in the kitchen. Especially when there are a number of options that make it so easy. In addition to the seeds or seedlings, they arrive variously with pots or self watering peat pots, potting soil or potting soil disks, seedling trays, plant markers, tools, gloves, grow light, growing guide. Some it seems include just about everything but a gardener. The pot shown {clickable} comes with paints so you can decorate it however you want.  Herb Starter Kits

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

11.13.20  Quick Bites  They’re becoming an ever bigger thing, and that’s how they ended up in our newsy section. These “bombs” are made with cocoa or other ingredients inside a chocolate shell that “explodes” in hot milk. What fun! You can google them to see how to make them. Or you may be able to find them in your local grocery or general merchandise store. Or you can, no surprise there, find them on Amazon. The same Amazon page also has the molds to make your own.  Hot Cocoa Bombs

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11.20.20  Salon Topper  This sturdy cup is offered as a classic design, two tone, frosted, and morphing in both 11 oz & 15 oz sizes, plus as a stein and travel mug. Any would be great when you’re in the Salon and having a “Cuppa with Alexa.” Our very own CS design, and crafted by CA-based Zazzle, it’s perfect for that unique morning group. Yep, Coffeehounds, this one’s for you. And if you’re a dog lover, it’s even more for you. Especially if you know the answer to this – “Who’s a Good Coffeehound???”

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

09.25.20  Shopping Finds  Anyone who cooks a lot will welcome having {finally} enough spatulas, one of the handiest tools in the kitchen on a par with whisks and good knives. And even better, in different sizes and styles with some flat and some scooped for different tasks. Plus a food brush. And on top of it all, so pretty, so festive. Heat-resistant, non-stick silicone and dishwasher safe. Right now the set is $13.50, Prime eligible, 5 stars, and an “Amazon’s Choice.”  7-pc Spatula Set

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

05.22.20  Tips for Our Times  So, in this item in the Salon we were suggesting a tasty way for cooks and other food-o-philes to spend some enjoyable time at home. And that was online food-themed crossword puzzles. But . . . that’s a little hard to give as a gift, though we still like the general idea. So, decided to see what Amazon might have to offer and we found what looks like a goodie – as the site says, ” over 50 new food themed word searches and word scrambles by puzzle master Emily Jacobs.” Food for Fun

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Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups {etc!}, Nov 27-Dec 3, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

One of our own CS items, crafted by Zazzle

In a party mood? Even if it’s just hanging with the householders, you can still dress the part with CS’ very own Party Party Party {then everything else} tee. Images of party parts tucked right into the letters – balloons, beverages, music. Choose from different styles, sizes & colors, or in a nice mug also various colors & styles. On Zazzle page see delivery date to the right under pic.

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – I’ve definitely upped my French fry intake since reading that they’re a regular part of Betty White’s diet. And while I’m fine with then as is, there are some intriguing ideas in the Chelsea Davis story, “I tried 10 ways to make frozen fries better, and there are 9 hacks I’d definitely do again,”  on insider.com via google news. You’ll find seasonings, toppings and cooking techniques.   Food & Wine checks in with Recipes for Two, and start to finish they do look quite satisfying, with a nice spectrum of pasta, vegetable entrees, seafood, steak & other meat, and a”supersilky” no-bake chocolate custard.    Wait! Don’t throw out that muffin pan just yet. This tip, also from F&W, may salvage it. See the step-by-steps at “How to clean grimy muffin pans the easy way.” Could this also work with regular baking pans?

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Shopping Finds – Here’s a timely present for yourself or any food lovers. These cook-friendly calendars on Amazon feature all kinds of edibles, drinkables, and interests. Just some examples – fruits & veggies, herbs, cupcakes, baking, coffee, cocktails, and the chocolate one shown.    Know anybody that needs to keep bandaids in the kitchen? This could be just the solution. Finger guards! Fingies hide behind the metal barrier as the knife goes to work. I’m wondering if it could also help in creating more uniform slices.

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – So now, armed with a good cooking method for quinoa {in Alexa section, 11.20.20 Salon}, I’m reaching beyond the Mex bowl {11.06.20 Salon} to another savory app, using it as a substitute for rice in a now inaptly named “fried rice.” But here’s what’s nice about quinoa – it’s every bit at home in sweet versions. And here’s one little kids, big kids, really big kids, just may like – for each cup of cooked quinoa, 1 T ea {or more to taste} peanut butter and jelly. Here I used apricot preserves and topped it all with swirls of syrup and chopped peanuts.

   On the Table  

Feature – Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups – and tasty variations 

I don’t necessarily make the recipes from “Alexa’s room.” But in this case . . . resistance was futile. We first mentioned this confection from AllRecipes in our 11.06.20 Salon.

They’re a take off on the Reese’s classic, but made in muffin cup liners, and with almond butter. You could put them in an actual muffin tin but since it helps to give them a little room to spread out a little I arranged them in a baking pan.

The recipe calls for dark chocolate chips {I used 60%}. You may be tempted to go with a sweeter chip, but this really is a good foil for the richness of the filling.

One change I did make for the second batch was to melt the entire 12 oz bag. So, those variations . . .

First it’s very easy to cut down the almond butter recipe to use it in just four of the cups. The others? As shown here, along with the almond butter, marshmallow cream just as it comes from the jar, and hazelnut spread mixed with powdered sugar as for the almond butter.

Recipe Notes – maybe my house is too warm, but these really didn’t fully set up until I refrigerated them {and btw, according to the label almond butter needs to be in the fridge}. It is a good idea to let them sit out a while before serving. As long as you can stand the wait, anyway.

Next week – Our fave cook-loving gifts from 2020

Recipe

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make Come ‘ere Puddin’ Pie? OK, when Alexa pops a recipe like this up on the screen you sorta just have to have a look. Turns of the more formal name is Chocolate-Ginger Pudding Pie, and it tucks in the title ingredients twice. First, chocolate wafers and ginger snaps in the crust. Then, bittersweet chocolate and – this is interesting – candied ginger joining cream, powdered sugar and more in the filling. It’s the creation of celeb chef Aarti Sequeira on the Food Network site.

Alexa says request: How do I make curried chicken & apple wraps? Food Network steps forward with another celeb chef for this recipe. Credit Giada for a mix that goes so far beyond chicken and apples it could threaten flavor overload {that’s a good thing}. Think mango, raisins, goat cheese, hot sauce – ahhhh, maybe you’d just like to take a look.

My request: Alexa, what spices go well with sweet potatoes? So, thinking the sweet potato casserole in last week’s Salon {11.20.20} would be good for Christmas too. One thing I had mentioned in the recipe notes is that if you think you might not like the thyme specified in the prep you might substitute nutmeg. But then just thought I’d see what Alexa thought and she replied, in addition to nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice or baking spice, the latter being kind of an interesting possibility.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you the time or temp in locations around the world

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Oh, what a joy it is to bring into the Salon for you some fine words from celebrated chef Daniel Boulud, one of my top faves of the chefs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. This interview comes to us from epicurious, and the impetus for it is Boulud’s new book, “Daniel: My French Cuisine”, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. In the interview he notes that while his other cookbooks made French cuisine quite approachable, this one is more complicated, then revealing how we can actually have fun with serious recipes. Paraphrasing my favorite takeaway, Just cook, don’t worry how wrong or right you are. I have his “Chef Daniel Boulud, Cooking in New York City” which I love, and here is a full list of his books on Amazon.

  Highlight, print, and save for Jan 1. The beauty of these 23 Best Hangover Foods, is that for the most part they are indeed foods, not drink concoctions or say exercises that are the last thing in the world you feel like doing. Even better, they’re likely already on hand, in your household. Neener, neener New Year’s Eve excesses! From Healthline.

   Let’s hear it for Science – and red wine! Victor Marchione on the LifeHack site {shows lock icon} headlines his tale about a new study as follows – “A glass of red wine can replace 1 hour of exercising.” Did I just hear some early New Year’s resolutions going back to the drawing board? Read all about it. Sent to CS by BLV.

♦  “Your recipes are incredible” – Linda Faso, Las Vegas. Well thank you so much and what a nice way to end our last regular Salon until next year. Happy cooking, Linda!

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Favorite Sweet Potato Casserole, Nov 20-Nov 26, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New! Another of our very own CS designs

Coffeehounds, this one’s for you. And if you’re a dog lover, it’s even more for you. Especially if you know the answer to this – “Who’s a Good Coffeehound???”

Crafted by CA-based Zazzle, it’s offered as a classic design, two tone, morphing, stein and travel mug.

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Whole lot of enhancements for the dining room table in this “30 Deliciously Easy Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides” story from MyRecipes    Have you noticed that the beef or chicken in some Asian dishes is not just tender but super soft? Yahoo Sports {?} explains it all in its story, “Velveting is the Chinese Technique That Takes Stir-Fries to the Next Level.” And yes, it is something you can try at home.    There a promise of being good and good for you tucked into this tale of “The Wellness Tea Concentrate to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season.” It actually does sound pretty tasty. Also from MyRecipes.

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping Finds – Have you heard of Chef’s Gold? Quite interesting, made from prime beef tenderloin fat trimmings, formed into “bricks,” and dry aged along with the beef. This msn.com story calls it “the secret to adding serious flavor to any cut of meat,” later noting it can also transform mashed potatoes. There’s a link to the source but it’s incorrect – use this instead, Snake River Farms – the site does show the lock icon.    Hands up, who loves chocolate? You? Shout it from your shirt with our own “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate / then everything else” tee, with images of the title goodies tucked right into the letters. From Zazzle, with details on our CS food-themed tees page. You can also go all chocolate on our CS food-themed mugs page.

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – A great recipe source is most food product websites. And a nice perk is by definition the prep likely shortcuts the process with store-bought goods. I recently tapped into the Barilla site and found a nice minestrone with an unexpected ingredient – butternut squash. This Tomato & Basil Minestrone recipe starts with their pasta sauce of the same name.   So had some of the spinach puree left over from last week’s squash polenta casserole, and found a good home for it in a grilled cheese & tomato sandwich. A really good home.    NFG? Ehhhh? So heard this term on Fieri’s GGG, and don’t know if it has currency beyond this show but it stands for something worth thinking about – Non Functional Garnish. Meaning don’t plop on top something that doesn’t add to the dish, doesn’t go with the dish, or worst of all detracts from it.

   On the Table  

Feature – A surprising mix of ingredients, easy & sooooo good

This sweet potato casserole is one of my most crowd-pleasing recipes. The original is by a favorite chef, Nick Stellino, and the only major difference between my version and that one is that his is a souffle and mine isn’t, and then there are some minor variations in seasoning amounts.

My non-egg version is denser and needs to bake only until heated through. Those who favor a lighter touch will want to stay with the original.

Either way, an unexpected ingredient combo makes this a winning companion for ham, chicken, turkey – I even like it with a nice pork roast or even Mexican food. But the next time I make it, very tempted to add the topping from one of the recipes from the MyRecipes story above.

Below are links for all three . . .

Recipe Notes – if the thyme in the recipe isn’t to your taste, nutmeg is an interesting alternative.

Next week – Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups {and sweet variations}

My version on our Recipe Page    The one from the MyRecipes story {above} with the topping  

Nick Stellino’s original    Stellino’s cookbooks

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make enchilada rice? Well, here we are right back on the Tasty site, where the recipe gets even better because the full title is “One Pot Enchilada Rice.” A quick glance at the ingredient list shows this is a fiesta in a pan. What doesn’t show in the print but does is the demo is ways to use it other than just on a plate, which is in a taco, wrapped in a tortilla and something I was already planning on, topped with a fried egg. Btw, cheese is listed as optional, hahahahaha, more likely doubled.

Alexa says request: How do you make a Twix Lovers Cake? So, this recipe from Food Network shows a wonderful cake, both in appearance and in the rich ingredients that start with a cake mix. It does call for making chocolate mousse, but if you’ve had satisfactory results with a mix or premade, that could be a worthy shortcut. It also calls for making ganache, which is actually quite easy. This cake is likely to be quite the crowd pleaser.

My request: What’s the best way to cook quinoa on the stove ? As a newbie I relied on the package directions but something didn’t seem clear. Thanks to Alexa, I now have a method that works great. Combine 1 part of well rinsed and drained quinoa with 2 parts water {or broth}. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed and the grains have curly tails. I like this visual check, don’t even have to worry about timing.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play podcasts

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Get lit – twice. Friend Norene sent along an adorable mini-book titled Tequila Mockingbird, which in turn is adapted from a full size tome, “Tequila Mockingbird, Cocktails with a Literary Twist,” an Amazon best seller that loosely ties classic reads to cocktails with such related names as Rye and Punishment, Brave New Swirled, Frangelico and Zooey. Some spinoffs too on the same page. Of course I’m not really suggesting you get drunk because we know that can be painful. As these t-shirts, also on Amazon, say “One Tequila/Two Tequila/Three Tequila/Floor.”

♦  Look who we invited into the Salon. Alexa! This special visit, “downstairs” so to speak, is to ask her for cocktail snacks made with cheese. Here’s what she found. Baked Ham & Cheese Party Sandwiches {shown}   Filled Parmesan Baskets  ♦  Beer Cheese Pretzel & Dip Dip {includes recipe for pretzels which also incorporate beer and cheese and could be fun, but could certainly use store-bought}   Stuffed Artichoke Hearts   Jamie’s Baked Brie    Double Tomato Bruschetta. All from AllRecipes. Demos too!

   See, replicate, voila! – beautifully upgraded presentations on your table. Chef Pete Ghione has a remarkable talent for assembling dishes in ways that take colorful all the way to eye-poppingly artistic. Probably no reason you couldn’t make many of these pretty entrees and more seen here on his Instagram page.

   “What could be healthier than the food you love” – Marie Barone {Everybody Loves Raymond}

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Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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