You won’t believe this miso fudge, for April 27-May 3, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Fudge -> Brownies -> Sundae    Guess what you can freeze    Fun foods that fool    Don’t have a cow, wait, do have one {sort of}    A book-ful of tasty food just for you    The perks of almond flour, who knew    Some magic for bean soup & a classic cocktail plus what to serve at “your” state dinner


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Love the fact that the Reader’s Digest online newsletter seems to be running even more food articles. The current edition brings us 10 foods we can freeze {might find a few surprises here}. Some I knew, some I didn’t, some I have to try to believe, and one is among the 50 kitchen tricks in my Kindle book. See more in Tip next week.    Freeze it!     50 . . . Tricks

  This bit of fun cookery arrives “pinball” style – from Taste of Home to Reader’s Digest to CooksSalon to you! It’s all about “April Fool” food but would be fun anytime. Find out how to make “onion rings” that are actually candy, a “burger” that’s cookies, “popcorn” that’s cauliflower, a two-layer “cake” that’s meatloaf, and some eyeball and spidery creations you might want to tuck away for Halloween or for a party for little kids or little kids at heart.    See all 23

  Adopt a cow, get cheese. Really! Of course, we’re talking very special cows, very special cheese. The adopt a cow button is at the top of the page in the link, more details if you scroll down.    Cheese it!

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Cooking for one can be so much fun

Whether it’s most nights or just occasionally, cooking for just yourself can be a challenge. Or . . . it can be a delightful experience. In “Serve Yourself/Nightly Adventures in Cooking For One” author, and “Cooking for One” columnist for the Washington Post, Joe Yonan brings Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for Oneus creations from every part of the food pyramid for this very purpose, noting that if you do want more, “it’s much easier to double a recipe that’s written for one than it is to shrink one for six.”

Yonan makes clear that of course he loves sharing a meal now and then, but dining solo is “also about answering my particular, ever-shifting cravings.” He takes that a step further, saying unlike Miss Lonely Hearts in Rear Window, “I don’t pretend my true love is sitting across from me – I’m often too excited about the flavors I’ve just put together to think about much of anything else.”

Also see the motto that appears at the end of each of our posts.

“Serve Yourself”    CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe 

Decadent, Decadent-er, Decadent-est 

Would you ever expect to see “miso” and “fudge” in the same recipe title??? It was intriguing enough I had to try it, especially given the bonus of few ingredients, easy technique. The result: a chocolatey, creamy,  soft {OK, messy!} confection.

But wait, there’s more. Even though I made just the fudge, the full recipe, linked below, is actually for cocoa intensive brownies with the miso fudge as a topping along with miso candied almonds.

And more. The recipe also includes a suggestion for turning the whole shebang into a brownie sundae. And btw, as long as there aren’t any suspect ingredients in the ice cream, the dish is gluten free.

Notes  Since I wanted to first try the fudge as just fudge, I refrigerated it in a spray treated foil lined pan, and then lifted it onto a work surface for cutting.  Note there’s no reason you couldn’t use the fudge/nuts atop your own favorite brownies. Wondering if guests {yours or mine} would be able to figure out the secret ingredient.

Miso Fudge Brownies recipe


The brownies referenced in our Featured Recipe this week achieve their gluten free status by using almond flour, which inspired me to learn more about this ingredient. Wow, what a surprise.

The real thing is made of only ground skinless almonds, which is why no gluten. But it’s also high in fiber, high in protein, and low in carbohydrates, as well as a good source of vitamin E and a number of essential minerals. You may also see it called almond meal.

You can find it here on Amazon

A Peek at My Week

  Made bean soup and while good, turned out broth-ier than I wanted. Hmmm, what to use to thicken? Tomato paste, cheese, mashed potatoes, cornstarch? Didn’t want anything that would dilute the bean taste, so . . . duh . . . used a can of frijoles. Turned out great!

  So maybe I’ll want to host a state-like dinner sometime. Maybe you will. So that thought sent me in search of the menu for the recent event at the White House in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte. Here’s what came to the elegantly set table: First Course – goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles, young variegated lettuces / Second Course – rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise {pureed onion sauce}, Carolina Gold Rice jambalaya / Dessert – nectarine tart, creme fraiche ice cream.

  Nothing against Mountain Dew, know it has its avid fans, but I just don’t happen to be much of a soda drinker. But I had purchased some for a guest and now had leftovers. Toss? Wait, though I haven’t had one in a very long time, could this contribute to a scotch sour??? Along with some fresh lemon? Did. Good!

  Kept Mystic River on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

  Posted Adoption Message T-shirts & more on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

  Added Adoption Message T-shirt & more on Amazon

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



Breakfast {oh my} by Valerie Bertinelli, for April 20-26, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Valerie’s wow wow wow Breakfast Biscuit Sammies   Stephanie Izard interview link    Test your oven temp    Cocktail hour reading    Book takes  you way behind the scenes with a rock star, Michelin-starred chef    Can you hear the eggs?    My week in food & more 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well not sure why the Daily Beast is getting into food again, but no argument from me, especially when they bring us insights into the creative processes of super Chicago chef Stephanie Izard. You may have seen her recently, among other places, on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef Gauntlet” where she made it through the grueling {no pun intended} path to earn the coveted title of Iron Chef.  Interview

  Maybe you can try this at home, especially if you’re a “handyperson,” or have access to one. A recent edition of the Hometalk newsletter shows how to check and if necessary correct your oven temp. Btw anyone who’s into DYI will find a bonanza in this free online publication.   Oven step by step   Hometalk

  For some folks nothing says 5 o’clock like an icy cold martini. Now how about some verbal buzz as well for cocktail hour? The Daily Beast at your service with an irreverent look at the classic cocktail’s “tipsy march through time,” beginning in 1882. Along with the history, tales of the ingredients including the two meanings of “dry,” and some recipes too. Drink it in

CS Marketplace Spotlight

Go deep behind the scenes in Marco Pierre White’s kitchen-centric memoir

This might be one of the best glimpses ever of the backstage drama in Michelin-starred restaurants, the passion, the pressure, and yeah the hi-jinks too. And White was a catalyst for all three. England’s original The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness, and the Making of a Great Chefrock star chef takes us into the kitchens for most of the book  {and sometimes into the dining room to make nice with some, or make sure others never come back} and then after hanging up his apron in 1999, into the world of building a restaurant empire.

“His story is genius, his voice is his own, and the tale retold is just as much fun as it was watching the whole chaotic conundrum evolve the first time around” – Mario Batali

“. . . in all his haggard, debauched-looking, obsessively driven glory – we dreamed of nothing more than to be just like him” – Anthony Bourdain

4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Kindle, Paperback {discounted}, Audio

“The Devil in the Kitchen” White’s cookbook, “White Heat”   CS Marketplace 

Featured Recipe  

Start the day right with decadence on a plate

If you watch Valerie Bertinelli’s Food Network show, you already know that she has a talent for combining flavorful ingredients into the stuff of cravings. And all of that passionate goodness is front and center in her new cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” while her friendly self seems to step right out of the pages with the personal notes that intro each section and each recipe.

The one we’re featuring here sure does capture all of the above, starting with her remembrance of a dish her mom used to serve to her dad’s poker buddies, reserving some for Valerie to have the next day for breakfast. That breakfast, with the addition of a few more ingredients, evolved into this breakfast, an attractive stack-up that is so hearty, so satisfying, so full of tasty stuff.

Breakfast Biscuit Sammies

From Valerie Bertinelli’s “Valerie’s Home Cooking”

3 c all-purpose baking mix

1 lb ground spicy pork sausage

4 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese {about 16 oz}

1 T pure maple syrup, plus more for serving

1 T hot sauce, plus more for serving

2 t olive oil

8 large eggs

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t black pepper

8 pepper jack cheese slices

8 bacon slices, cooked

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Combine the baking mix, sausage, cheese, syrup, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Shape into 16 {1 1/4″} balls and, with wet hands, flatten each slightly into a disk. Place the disks about 1″ apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and cooked though, about 15 minutes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-hi. Add the eggs, reduce the heat to med-lo, cover, and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are soft, about 2 min, or to the desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with the 1/4 t each of salt and pepper.

Place one slice of the cheese on the bottom half of each sausage biscuit. Top with the eggs and bacon. Top with the remaining sausage biscuit halves. Serve with more hot sauce or maple syrup, if desired.

Notes: Valerie says you can make these the night before to grab on-the-go in the morning . . . also, that you might try different cheeses, e.g., cheddar or regular jack in place of the pepper jack. Watch for more to come from this book: her Bloody Mary Tea Sandwiches, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp with Cherry Cola Sauce, Spicy Shrimp Soup.

“Valerie’s Home Cooking”

4 stars on Amazon, Kindle, Hardcover {discounted}, Prime eligible

  Valerie’s other books    Valerie’s movies, TV, workout  DVDs


One of the bonuses of reading Marco Pierre White’s fascinating book is that along the way we pick up a cooking tip here and there from White himself or one of his accomplished peers. Valerie’s recipe reminds me of one that came from right from White: when you’re frying eggs, if you can hear them cooking, you know the heat is too high.

A Peek at My Week

  Gosh, I remember chiffon cakes from when I was kid {censored} years ago, almost always on the table for a special celebration. So it brought back some pretty happy memories when I came across this demo from the pros at CIA. Have a look  {Even if your browser doesnt support the video, you’ll still have access to their recipe}

  One of my fave ways to get that five-a-day is a sandwich filled with a produce stand worth of good stuff. But, and especially if you’re not a vegetarian, it can seem like something’s missing – and there is – meat and cheese! So here’s what I did recently kick it up – whisked together about equal parts of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, added some herbs, freshly ground pepper, finishing salt – and then dipped away. This one happened to be tahini, cucumber, shaved carrots, onion, cilantro and mayo. Napkins at the ready!

  I guess this qualifies because it starts out with a kitchen item, but then colors outside the lines of the salon a bit, because I re-purposed it for the bath. Have a counter-top wine rack you no longer use? Oh, is it great for storing shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, mousse, body wash in all those openings. So neat!

  Posted  Mystic River  on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

  Posted  ThunderShirt & Thunder Ease on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

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



Celebrate Prime Rib Day . . . with Prime Rib, for April 13-19, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Cooking questions, cooking answers, cooking tips    Faking the pastry    Meet Lidia Bastianich in person    “Tee Party”    Perfect prime rib    Smashing garlic    Re-purposing fudge frosting, fudge sauce, cherry tomatoes {no, not in the same dish!}


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Cooking questions? Cook’s Illustrated may well have the answers in their book published a fewKitchen Smarts: Questions and Answers to Boost Your Cooking IQ months ago, “Kitchen Smarts”: “packs together hundreds of definitive, researched, kitchen-tested answers to questions large and small, common and bizarre.” It follows their “Kitchen Hacks”50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks of a few years earlier, also on the same Amazon page. Then there’s also my “50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks.”

Theirs has a lot more than mine but also costs more than mine, though offering some nice discounts. Both of theirs on Kindle and paperback, mine on Kindle at 99 cents. We all earn 4 1/2 stars. Btw, you can also email me Qs at any time and I will do my best to bring you answers.    Smarts   My “50,” 99 cents

  Well when you see a subject line that says, “How to Trick Anyone Into Thinking You’re a Pastry Pro,” you sort of have to go to the site and read the story. I did. You can too. Right here

  Want  to meet Lidia Bastianich? The restaurateur, cookbook author and tv star is currently hitting cities from coast to coast to introduce her new book, “My American Dream,” a “heartwarming, emotional and revelatory memoir.”  You can connect with her in the selected venues now through May 11.  Lidia’s Tour Schedule   “My American Dream” on Amazon

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Party like a kitchen star

This fun t-shirt embodies favorite party elements, balloons, streamers, confetti, and spirited beverages. Colorful too!

Other colors available, men’s & women’s, many sizes.

Tees, sweats, hoodies – hats too.

A’ll crafted at Michigan company SunFrog.

Party Party Party shirts    Hats    CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe  

Friday, April 27 is Prime Rib Day!

Celebrate in your own kitchen or out at a great steakhouse. If you happen to be in Las Vegas . . . may we suggest Oscar’s inside the iconic glass dome of the Plaza Hotel downtown. It’s bone-in right from the carving station and will sit alongside the steakhouse classics, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad and Yorkshire pudding. $40 p/p

What, you’d rather do it yourself? Are you in luck because we have right here a boffo prep from Las Vegas’ own celebrity chef, also cookbook author and cooking instructor, Les Kincaid. And, here ’tis . . .

Perfect Prime Rib from Les Kincaid

Serves 6-8

 1 (4-pound) bone-in standing rib roast

Kosher salt and black pepper

4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
For jus

2 cups beef broth

1 small fresh rosemary sprig

1 small fresh thyme sprig

1 garlic clove, smashed

 Preheat oven 360 degrees F.

One hour before you plan to cook, take the roast out of the refrigerator. Season the roast on all sides liberally with salt and pepper. Don’t add water to the pan, and don’t cover it!

In a small bowl, combine the butter, basil, tarragon and rosemary and mix well. Spread the herb butter all over the roast, applying the heaviest layer to the fat cap.

Place the roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan and cook for about 2 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature deep in the center of 125 degrees F for medium-rare.

Transfer the roast to a platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes or up to 30 minutes. Cut the meat away from the bones and slice the roast thickly or thinly against the grain as desired. Separate the leftover beef rib bones and serve them along with the meat.
Make jus:

Skim fat from pan juices. Add broth, rosemary, thyme, and garlic and deglaze pan by simmering on top of stove over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Transfer to a small saucepan and add any juices that have collected on platter. Gently simmer 10 minutes. Skim fat and season jus with salt and pepper.

NOTES {from Les}: To make the best prime rib:

A thermometer is the absolute best way to guarantee the roast turns out exactly the way you want it. For an accurate reading, push the thermometer into the middle of the roast, making sure the tip is not touching fat or bone (or the pan).

Medium Rare = 130-140 degrees F
Medium = 145-155 dfegrees F

Remember that the roast’s temperature will rise at least 5 degrees after you remove it from the oven.

Allow the roast stand for 15 or 20 minutes before carving to let the juices return to the center.
Also, allow at least 6 ounces of cooked, trimmed meat per adult. A boneless roast will give you about two servings per pound, and a bone-in roast will give you one to one-and-a-half servings.

Les Kincaid’s website


Truth be told, prepping garlic can be a pain in assorted parts of the anatomy. Thanks to the late, funny, and much missed Mr. Food, the process actually can be painless. Here’s what he showed me: put the clove on a work surface {if very large, cut in half and place cut side down}, then take a regular flatware fork and start pressing down all around the edges, gradually making your way to the center.

In addition to not having the pieces stick to everything in sight, there’s the added bonus that you can so easily create whatever result you want. Stop when the pieces are coarse, or continue to make them finer, or add a little salt and turn it into a paste. No muss, no fuss, no cuss.

A Peek at My Week

  As I’m sure you all know, leftovers tease our creativity . So true in a recent pancake venture, said ‘cakes coming out of the freezer because I’m about to experiment with a new recipe {if good, you’ll “hear” it here}. Hmmm, some pears that need to be used up could be good toppers. What else. Hey {however rare} leftover fudge frosting. It went like this, melt a chunk of butter, pour in some maple syrup, stir in a good dollop of frosting till blended and hot, add the diced pears and cook till heated through, plop on. Mmm mmm.

  Leftover leftovers? Well as it turned out, didn’t need all the syrup for the pears so stirred in some hot sauce, peanut butter, and a bit of dissolved beef bouillon. Voila! Impromptu {OK,  totally non-authentic, but really good nonetheless} mole! And that will go on tonight’s bean and cheese burritos.

  Those who regularly check in here know we HATE to waste food. So when I recently spied some cherry tomatoes going crepe-y, grabbed a small skillet and the olive oil. Heated that up and tossed smashed garlic, salted a bit, till fragrant, oh just a minute or two, then in with the ‘mators and a good glug of hot sauce. Cooked until a lot of the juice evaporated, then piled atop quartered avocado. Yeah it was good! Proportions to your taste of course, but I used five smallish garlic cloves for 8 tomato-ettes.

  Posted Oprah’s Book Club pick on my Nice Life Books site– Thursdays

♦  Posted  The Daily’s “Countdown of 10 Cutest Puppies – on YouTube”  link on my DoggieShirtz site – Thursdays

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


Secrets of a famed steakhouse, for April 6-April 12, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Steak sandwiches like a pro    Reader’s Digest’s “Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal”    Cheese board  like a pro    Antibacterial lights?    Click to Best Rated cookbooks    What the heck’s a “tian” {for starters, usually delicious}    Potatoes, biscuits and breakfast in “My Week”


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks

  “Reader’s Digest” has just updated its comprehensive tome, “Foods That Harm/Foods That Heal,” 60+ recipes,  170+ foods, 100+ ailments. Foods That Harm Foods That Heal When you go on the Amazon page you’ll find the 2013 original listed first and then the 2018 update which oddly costs less than the original with an especially good discount on hardcover.  Food book

  Planning a big bash? A small cocktail party? A little “do” for two? Something that’s pretty much always welcome and as a bonus can be prepped in advance – a cheese board. But you want to do it right, right? We’re in luck because the savvy folks at “Food & Wine” tell us just how to assemble a party hearty offering: the cheeses balancing flavors and textures, the accompaniments which vary depending on time of service, even cutting techniques. Cheese It!

  Recently a new hospital in our area was built with anti-bacterial lights in the operating room, something I’d never heard of before and I thought was absolute genius. Now, it turns out, this technology is available for your own kitchen in the form of an under-cabinet light. There’s a whole lot of information on the page about just how this works. Also says since it “uses no UV light so it’s 100% safe for people and pets.”  Amazon

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Here’s help to buy a good cookbook

Whether you’re buying a cookbook for yourself or selecting one as a gift, you sure want to be confident you’re making a good choice. We can help! At this link below right now, and anytime in our “Good Stuff” section at the bottom of the CS Marketplace page on this site, you can click right through to the cookbooks that are ranked 4 stars and up on Amazon. And once there you can refine your search by format, type, author and more.

Best rated cookbooks    CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe  

If steak is on your craving list, satisfy it either of two ways, Morton’s-style. One is to take a seat at one of their famous steakhouses across the country and around the world, and a boffo family offshoot, MB Steak in Las Vegas, where I had the pleasure of attending a grand opening that showcased their dry aged Tomahawk, Wagyu strip loin, signature sides and more.

The other way is to tap into their secrets in “Morton’s Steak Bible/Recipes & Lore from the Legendary Steakhouse.”  The intro chapter, “How to Cook Like a Steakhouse,” is followed by sections for each course and accompaniments, plus cocktails too, including “mortinis” which couldn’t be drier – no vermouth! On a future post I’ll share the very personal “momtinis.”

Petite Steak Sandwiches

from “Morton’s Steak Bible”

18 oz. beef tenderloin, tail or end

Seasoned salt

18 finger sandwich rolls, preferably with sesame seeds, each about 3″ x 1″

2 T mustard-mayo sauce {see Notes}

Preheat the broiler and position the rack 2″-3″ from the heating element. Lightly season the tenderloin with seasoned salt. Arrange on a broiler tray and tuck the thin ends under, if necessary, to prevent them from cooking too fast. Broil 6-7 min, turning once, for med-rare, or longer depending on thickness and desired doneness.

Meanwhile, slice the rolls in half and place cut-side up on a baking sheet. Toast under the broiler for about 2 min, or until lightly browned. Turn them over and toast 1-2 min longer, or until lightly browned and heated through.

Spread the rolls with the mustard-mayo sauce. Slice the tenderloin across the grain into 18 pieces, and put a slice on the bottom of each roll. Top with the other half of the roll and serve.

Notes  So, most folks probably don’t need a recipe to make a steak sandwich. What’s especially interesting here is to craft them appetizer-size, plus the meat choice and cooking method, and then the special sauce: whisk 1 1/2 c mayo, 3 T Dijon mustard, 3/4 t Worcestershire, and 1 1/2 t prepared horseradish – btw, Morton’s also uses this sauce on their Baked Crab Cakes, also in the book.

“Morton’s Steak Bible” cookbook    Morton’s Steakhouses    MB Steak


Learn a new word? I just did. Even though I’ve had an example of this dish, did not know it was called a “tian.” The origin of the word is Asian, but in the culinary world it refers to a dish of layered vegetables, sometimes with cheese. A nice light dish for spring. {link below takes you to the search page for descriptions, recipes, pix} Btw, the tasty one I had was potatoes, parsnips and goat cheese at Charlie Palmer Steak in Las Vegas.

Tian    Casserole cookbooks

A Peek at My Week

  Probably should have resisted that 10 lb bag of russets, but such a good sale, so some baked and in the freezer, some mashed and in the freezer, some transformed into my crowd-pleasing cheesy casserole and, yep, in the freezer.

  I seem to be on a biscuit kick these days, have tried one new recipe using Sprite and sour cream, and have another in the wings based on sweet potatoes, and thinking for this latter one might use my boffo casserole recipe instead of just straight sweets. If all goes well will share on a post in the near future.

  One of my new favorites for a hearty breakfast: an egg {poached or fried depending on time and mood} atop a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich.

  Posted Oprah’s Book Club current pick {all, not just cookbooks} on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

  Posted Travels with Casey on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

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