Super chef J-G Vongerichten’s wild mushroom pizza with egg, for January 26, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Safety in the produce aisle National Chocolate Cake Day & recipes! Add architecture to your kitchen talents? Celeb chef resource book  Title recipe  Do-ahead breakfast sandwiches all from a basic recipe  Resource links



  The recent AARP bulletin {yep, busted} lists some tips for safe shopping in the supermarket produce aisle. Damaged skins on produce? Take a pass as that could be a welcome mat for bacteria. On a related note, while bagged fruits and vegetables may be more convenient and possibly less expensive, the only way to know for sure what you’re getting is to select individual items yourself. Think we all know this one. Fruit flies? Shop elsewhere.

♦  Did you know? January 27 is, drum roll, National Chocolate Cake Day! So I googled chocolate recipes, and even though I specified 5-star, still returned over a million and a half results. Most of us probably wouldn’t be inclined to go through more than say a few thousand {grin}, but do check out the page just for that omg top one.

  Also so appropriate for Cake Day . . . maybe you would never go to these sweet extremes, but we all could probably pick up a decorating idea or two from this concept of bringing a bit of architecture to our pastry creations. Say your more of a main meal kind of cook and desserts not so much? Still pretty to look at and an interesting read.

R.I.P Paul Bocuse

  CS Marketplace Spotlight  

Who do you know that would love to have lots of access to celebrity chef information?

These pros are pretty much chefs you know from their TV shows, top rated restaurants, and best selling cookbooks, over 100 in all.CELEBRITY CHEF BOOK OF LINKS: Bios, restaurants, websites, email, social media, newsletters, cookbooks, giftware

You’re just a click away from discovering their fascinating histories, finding their restaurants across the country, exploring their websites, sending emails, connecting on social media, reading their newsletters, signing up for blogs, and attending classes, as available.

It’s $2.99 on Kindle {you can also give as a gift} or free to read on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon page    CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe  

  ♦ Pizza for breakfast? Yep, that can happen when enough ethnic influences cooperate: the Italian flair of pizza, mushrooms that are always part of a traditional Irish breakfast, eggs we’d have to say classic American, and all from French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

And though the world famous chef and proprietor of 3- and 4-star restaurants worldwide doesn’t characterize it that way, as far as I’m concerned – got an egg on it? – ha, fair game for breakfast, or of course brunch. Btw, if the chef isn’t looking, just might consider a store-bought crust, or your own favorite homemade version.

Mixed Wild Mushroom Pizza with Fried Eggs

by Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Access it right here

And Jean-Georges’ website right here

Live near one of the chef’s locations?

Read here about ordering his limited edition chocolates for Valentine’s Day


And if pizza for breakfast, why not sandwiches? Actually the fast food places have already made this somewhat of a staple, but thanks to the Well Done newsletter, you can make your own, and even better in a tasty and time-saving way. When you see the basic recipe that can branch out to several different variations, you’ll also discover how they achieved such fat eggs. Here’s how to do it



Ina’s Pasta Frittata, rich with veggies & three cheeses, for January 19, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Irish pub right in your backyard???    Shopping 2.0 at Kroger’s    Sugar out, flavor stays in    Who’s the Celeb Chef in your house?    Title recipe    “The Best Hot Chocolate Known To Humankind”



  How’s this for a party of parties? Just dig out your favorite Irish recipes {or try some new ones found here on google}, then order up, yes, an inflatable Irish pub that can be installed right in your backyard. Different ones offer different amenities in terms of food, drink, and music, with at least one even willing to include some Irish wolfhounds. They’re now available all over the world, for sale or rent. See if one is available in your area

  Kroger, along with some other chains under its corporate roof, is charging full speed ahead into the digital realm to enhance your shopping experience. In addition to its Clicklist {see youtube demo}, customers in many of the stores will soon see product pricing, not on physical tags as currently, but rather on little screens running along the shelf edge, which may also display nutritional information and even coupons. The program is called, ever so appropriately, Kroger Edge.

  Trying to cut down on sugar? The online Reader’s Digest newsletter has some tasty suggestions. See how to make replacements without sacrificing flavor here.

  CS Marketplace Spotlight  

“In this house I’M the celebrity chef”

Who is the Celebrity Chef in your kitchen? Or in someone else’s kitchen? If it’s you, go right ahead and proclaim your status. If a friend or family member deserves this title, give them some nice kudos with this culinary tribute.

Mug {also in white or white with black handle} or tee {other colors, M&W sizes} or apron, long with pockets, standard size, or Kids.

Mug on SunFrog  Tee on SunFrog  Apron on Zazzle

  Featured Recipe  

Though I live in what’s considered one of the culinary capitals of the country, if not the world, I still miss the eateries of my native Chicago. Whether fine cuisine, ethnic fare or fast food, it was a pretty safe bet you were going to sit down to a hearty, flavorful meal, extra welcome right now when “the weather outside is frightful.”

This satisfying dish is substantial with spaghetti, savory with veggies and seasonings, extra rich with three cheeses, perfect for lunch, brunch or dinner. We can thank Ina Pinkley, of the now-closed Ina’s, and Amelia Levin, author of  “Chicago Chef’s Table,” a phenomenal guide to top Chicago restaurants with recipes from each.

Ina’s Pasta Frittata

Featured in “Chicago Chef’s Table” by Amelia Levin

2 T olive oil

1/4 c chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 c thinly sliced red bell pepper

1 1/2 c sliced mushrooms

1 1/2 c thick-julienned zucchini

1 t dried oregano

Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

10 extra large eggs

3/4 c whole milk

1 1/2 t salt

1 t freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 c shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound cream cheese

3 c cooked spaghetti, drained and cooled

Heat oven to 350º F. Brush a 10-inch round cake pan or leakproof springform pan lightly with oil. Cut a piece of parchment paper to size and place in bottom of pan. Brush again with oil and set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add red pepper, mushrooms and zucchini. Continue to saute until soft. Stir in oregano, salt and pepper and set aside. {If the vegetables have given off a lot of liquid, then drain before adding to the spaghetti.}

In large bow of electric mixer, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper on low speed. Blend in cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. When combined and with machine running, add cream cheese, pulled by hand into bite-size bits.

Place cooked spaghetti into prepared pan. Spoon cooked vegetables over spaghetti. Pour in the egg mixture; mix with your hands so that all the components are evenly distributed within the pan. Pat down so that solids are covered with liquid as much as possible.

Bake 30-40 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly brown. The frittata will puff up, then settle when cool. Remove from pan. Cut and serve immediately, or refrigerate and cut into portions the next day, reheating for 12-15 minutes at 400ºF. Serve on a bed of lightly seasoned tomato sauce, and pass some grated Parmesan to sprinkle on top.

CS Notes – Thinking with so much flavor in the liquid from the vegetables, rather that discard it I’d be inclined to just cook it down a bit more, or if you’re concerned the veggies may overcook, then remove them and then continue to cook the liquid. And as you see, even though it’s not part of the ingredients or technique you’ll want to have available homemade or store-bought red sauce. To make it extra pretty, as in the picture, also sprinkle on some greenery like parsley.

“Chicago Chef’s Table” on Amazon


You know what else is sooooo good on a cold winter’s day. Hot chocolate! Extra Crispy’s version in the Well Done online newsletter is “modestly” billed as “The Best Hot Chocolate Known To Humankind,” and it is indeed quite, quite indulgent.

Btw, the page also features a copycat recipe for White Chocolate Mocha served at a store you just may have heard of. Find it all right here


Chicken with fresh herbs & cauliflower rice, for January 12, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

school lunches 2.0  is food art?  chocolate gone???  who’s the Celeb Chef in your house?  title recipe  cauliflower center stage  resource links

 ◊  ◊ 


  School lunch ain’t what it used to be. AP reports on the recent School Nutrition Association’s annual conference, noting food offerings now can include international, gluten-free and vegetarian fare. Also, that children want more options, and are selective about what they eat, in some cases even having the opportunity to discuss those options with the resident nutritionist – one somewhat surprising request, more breakfast items at lunch.

  OK, maybe everybody won’t find this interesting, but those whose passions lean toward both food and art will likely regard a recent debate as quite fascinating. Credit Surface Magazine with delving into the subject of “Is Food Art,” adding in some brief archival notes and then posing the question to chefs, artists, curators and critics. You may well recognize the names of some those weighing in – Ruth Reichl, José Andrés, Ferran and Albert Adria, among others. See it all.

  Whaaaaaaaaat??? Food and Wine magazine is reporting that in a matter of decades, chocolate will be no more. Rising temps are apparently affecting their terroir in the rainforests, making it untenable for the crop. Hope springs eternal – the Mars candy company thinks it might have a solution. Here’s the full article. Meanwhile, TV food judge, chef and restaurateur Scott Conant joins high profile chefs and F&W editors for the Venice, Italy, Food & Wine Festival, May 3-6. Go here for the details.

  CS Marketplace Spotlight  

“In this house I’M the celebrity chef”

Who is the Celebrity Chef in your kitchen? Or in someone else’s kitchen? If it’s you, go right ahead and proclaim your status. If a friend or family member deserves this title, give them some nice kudos with this culinary tribute.

Mug {also in white or white with black handle} or tee {other colors, M&W sizes} or apron, long with pockets, standard size, or Kids.

Mug on SunFrog  Tee on SunFrog   Apron on Zazzle

  Featured Recipe  

Thanks to Oscar and Oscar’s for our recipe this week. The first is Oscar Goodman, former mayor and well known lawyer for some of Las Vegas’ more colorful residents of yore, and now the proprietor of the second – Oscar’s Steakhouse in the Plaza in downtown LV featuring not only fine food, recently confirmed by a boffo media party there, but as well a view right through the Fremont Street Experience with the light show above, the people show below, and rockin’ music throughout.

What’s so interesting about this dish, beyond the fresh flavors enhancing the chicken, is the rice – that isn’t rice. What an interesting idea to use cauliflower, right color but different flavor and texture entirely, especially with the chef’s extra touches. Great for anyone trying to reduce carbs.

Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Cauliflower Rice

From Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza in Las Vegas


2 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast

1 shallot, chopped

2 T olive oil

Fresh rosemary, chopped

Fresh thyme

Salt & Pepper

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

Cauliflower Rice

1 head raw cauliflower, grated or chopped fine

2 T olive oil



Salt & Pepper

Heat pan with oil until hot but not smoking. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Sear in pan until golden brown. Flip chicken and cook until 165 degrees in thickest part. Once cooked, remove from pan. Add shallot, rosemary and thyme.

Saute until shallots are translucent and herbs are fragrant. Add wine and let reduce. Add chicken stock and cooked chicken back into pan and simmer until thoroughly heated. Serve over cauliflower rice.

For the cauliflower, heat a pan with the oil until hot but not smoking. Add shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown. Add cauliflower and saute until tender Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes. You want to strip the greenery from the stems for the rosemary and thyme and discard the stems. If the thyme leaves are very small, probably don’t need to chop them.

Oscar’s Steakhouse

Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas


I’ve always regarded cauliflower as among those foods that are like a blank canvas for flavors and the ource of a wide range of textures depending on how much it’s cooked, or if it’s cooked at all. In recent times roasting has become a favored treatment, with usually garlic and some seasonings as a quite tasty way to enjoy this veggie. The link below is the search page for all kinds of cauliflower recipes.


“50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks,” 99 cents on Kindle




Charlie Palmer’s acorn squash with veggie chili, for January 5, 2018


Product Details  Well this is pretty cool. The celeb chef and TV personality Alex Guarnaschelli talks to us in our own language in her new cookbook, tellingly titled “The Home Cook.” We’ll have more about the book and a recipe too in the near future. If you can’t wait, find it here on Amazon.

  Freed’s, a bakery you may be familiar with from the Food Network show “Vegas Cakes,” throwing caution and calories to the winds with its DYR {Ditch Your Resolutions} cupcakes offered on Jan 17 only. Time and place don’t work for you? You can certainly try your own re-creation of this Multi-Decadent Cupcake. Start with a chocolate cupcake, then top it with French vanilla-infused chocolate ganache, fudge buttercream, candied almonds, shredded coconut, mini M&M’s, crushed Oreos, mini Reese’s cups, marshmallows and Snickers chunks. Immediately thereafter make your dentist appt.

  Well the Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise {and I never even lived on a farm, though sometimes wish I had}, the CooksSalon podcast will debut next Friday, Jan 12. And you’re all invited! – Well in effect “the creek rose” – was schooled big time on how much I have yet to learn about podcasting – it will still happen though and in the meanwhile let’s plan to meet right back here each Friday for more Tidbits, Spotlights, Featured Recipes and Tips!

  CS Marketplace Spotlight  

Have you discovered the Warehouse Deals/Open Box offerings on Amazon? The lineup varies but there’s always lots of stuff here. And once you’re on the main page, you can drill down with specific selections. Here are just a few . . .

  Featured Recipe  

When baby it’s cold outside, we like to see something on the table that hearty and warming. And the chef that sure can deliver that kind of dish is big guy Charlie Palmer, a celeb chef whose repertoire ranges from high style to downright down-home.
This one
. . .  combines two winter faves, a sweet and tender squash serving as a receptacle for a gently spiced garden-full chili. Though of course you are welcome to turn up the heat with more cayenne or other incendiary ingredients.



Keep you mouth shut! Whaaaaaat? This is something that has worked for me, most times at least, to keep the tears from flowing when cutting onions. A whole page of other suggestions can be found here