Recipe for the Royal Wedding Cake, for May 25-May 31, 2018

  CatChat – Misty’s preview of this week  

  Pinot celebration in Oregon {M – can you turn some into water please}

  Rick Bayless interview    Top winners in World Spirits Competition 

  America the Great Cookbook/No Kid Hungry {M – another chance to help this cause

  Tips for new/nervous cooks {M – there’s a surprising note here  More about the royals  

  Elderberry cordial {M – wine, spirits, cordial – think I’m getting tipsy just doing my preview

  Barbara’s week: Reese’s to the rescue, the burrito mission, tacos retrofitted for breakfast {M – do you think on occasion she could use just a little less spice???}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Attention pinot-philes. It’s almost that time again, for the International Pinot Noir Celebration, U.S., in Willamette Valley. In addition to vineyard visits and seminars, this “mecca for lovers of Pinot noir and northwest cuisine {will feature} world-renowned winemakers, northwest chefs, esteemed media, epicures, and wine lovers” will pour on the fun at Linfield College McMinnville, Oregon, July 27-29. IPNC

  Thank you “Daily Beast” for this unique and personal glimpse of Rick Bayless, his inpiration, his tequila/mezcal take, his favorite things, and more. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at one of his restaurants, you know this is Mexican food at its finest. Interview   Bayless cookbooks

  Want to have some award winners at your cocktail party? No, not the people. Talking here about the spirits. The results have now been announced in all categories in the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This stuff must be good to have risen to the top of almost 2500 entries. Award-winning spirits

CS Marketplace Spotlight

Held over! – Tap into the favorite recipes of 100 food pros

America The Great Cookbook: The food we make for the people we love from 100 of our finest chefs and food heroesThis is a quite a find. “America the Great Cookbook/the food we make for the people we love from 100 of our finest chefs and food heros.”

The recipes come “from our top chefs, artisan producers, and fascinating food heroes.” And since they’re from all across the country, we’re also treated to any number of regional specialties.

And this warms the heart. The cookbook also supports “Share Our Strength’s incredible No Kid Hungry initiative {that} connect kids with at least 200,000 meals.”

“America the Great Cookbook”    No Kid Hungry    CS Marketplace

Featured Recipe

Do dessert like the royals  

Leave it to Food & Wine magazine to bring us the recipe – and a bit of backstory – for the “sponge cake with elderflower and lemon and cream cheese frosting” served at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Ummm, may want to cut down the quantities somewhat.

If you can’t find the exact brand of elderberry cordial and for that matter any brand you can, not too surprisingly, find several on Amazon. In checking on this libation I found several references to how pleasant it is just on its own {and duh guess that is the original purpose}.Image may contain: 1 person, indoor

The image here is from the Royal Family’s facebook page {yes, they have one!}. From the comments posted and given that the context was the wedding, it would seem this is indeed the trio of royal cakes. Aha, Forbes just showed this as the genuine article {thanks}.

That cake description above is from another article in the F&W newsletter, an interesting peek at some other royal food facts including some preferences of the newly titled Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It’s linked below.

Royal Wedding Cake Recipe    Royal food

Elderberry Wine on Amazon    Food & Wine magazine


Nervous cook? Our tip this week comes from the Food52 online newsletter and it fits right in with this: I was watching “Barefoot Contessa” Ina Garten’s show, and after asking her guest, an accomplished chef, about a step she was about to take, added something like, I always think I might be doing something wrong.

As I regard her as an accomplished chef herself I found this at first surprising, and then oddly reassuring. Guessing any cook, pro or no, who stretches the culinary boundaries, tries this preparation and that, adds tweaks and refinements, will likely feel trepidation on a regular basis. And, good for you who do! Meanwhile here’s Food52’s advice for the new or nervous. Calm cookin’   Ina’s cookbooks

A Peek at My Week

  Dieting? Look away, nothing to see here. For everybody else – I wanted a sweet finish for Sunday brunch but no help from the fridge or freezer. Hello pantry and that bag of little Reese’s peanut butter cups, and at the same time into my head came MFK Fisher’s admonition to never have chocolate without bread {hmmm, didn’t say peanut butter couldn’t join in}.

So, halved them, lined them up on French bread slices and into the toaster oven on Warm for just a few minutes. Do I even need to tell you? Btw, for a little crisper version can lightly toast the bread first.

  Well some dear friends and I tried Food & Wine magazine’s selection for best burrito in town, at a Korean/Mexican restaurant. And while it’s probably not my top fave locally it was pretty good – but here’s what made it interesting. Whichever meat you chose, beef/chicken/pork, it had been prepared bulgogi style, thinly sliced and marinated in soy, garlic, sesame, green onion and sometimes other Asian flavors. Some fusions can get quite crazy but this one worked and may inspire some experiments in my own kitchen – and maybe yours?

  Love tacos, but after using leftovers once in their original form, wanted to do something with the rest that would be a bit un-taco-y. Ha! Fried up a lot of onion, seasoned with garlic salt and pepper, chopped up the tacos and added to the pan, tossed till hot then slid onto a plate, dotted with hot sauce and covered with pepperjack cheese and nuked till all melty. Meanwhile fried some eggs, plopped on top, and ringed with avocado slices. Oh yeah good!

♦  Posted “A Higher Loyalty” on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

♦  Posted Yorkie Shirts  Hats  Mugs on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

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


Nigella Lawson’s easy sheet pan chicken dinner, for May 18-24, 2018

  CatChat – Misty’s preview for this week  

Lawson’s chicken recipe    Cheese fest! {can I go???}    Kitchen appliance cleaning clues    Food storage help {I’ll store that for you!}    America the Great Cookbook with over 100 top food pros {any tuna recipes?}  ♦  Sheet pan cookbook links    Sheet pan tip    No Kid Hungry {this is a great cause}    In Barbara’s week: good food mag, loving cumin, unexpected key ingredient for easy minestrone



Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Love cheese? Going to be in the midwest June 1-3? Go wild at the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival in Little Chute, n/e of Appleton, s/w of Green Bay. Looks like quite a charming little town – the link takes you to a civic site, but lots of cool pix.  Fest   Town

  Could you use some clues on cleaning your various kitchen appliances? “Reader’s Digest” has helpful suggestions. Clean Kitchen

  Like to have longer shelf life, less waste in your fridge, cabinets, and pantry? “Reader’s Digest” checks in on that too.  Save your food

CS Marketplace Spotlight

Tap into the favorite recipes of 100 food pros

America The Great Cookbook: The food we make for the people we love from 100 of our finest chefs and food heroesThis is a quite a find. “America the Great Cookbook/the food we make for the people we love from 100 of our finest chefs and food heros.”

The recipes come “from our top chefs, artisan producers, and fascinating food heroes.” And since they’re from all across the country, we’re also treated to any number of regional specialties.

And this warms the heart. The cookbook also supports “Share Our Strength’s incredible No Kid Hungry initiative {that} connect kids with at least 200,000 meals.”

“America the Great Cookbook”    No Kid Hungry    CS Marketplace

 Featured Recipe

All in favor of easy dinners . . .  

Even though sheet pan cooking has been around for a while, it’s suddenly become one of the newest darlings of chefs, food writers and culinary publications. And why not – it’s often an easy way to cook for a crowd or cook the whole family meal at once.

Among those with a recipe for this kind of cookery is Nigella Lawson, English cookbook author and broadcast personality.  Her well seasoned “Chicken and Pea Traybake” linked here is featured on the Food 52 site.

In a piece from NBC Today on celeb chef tips for taking the stress out of dinner, Curtis Stones says “With sheet pan dinners, you can place all your items on one sheet pan and bake, broil, roast or steam them together . . . One pan means less clean up, which is the real bear and deterrent for weeknight cooking.” {Watch “Tidbits” next week for the “rest of the story”}

And Ree Drummond’s recipes in her new “Come and Get It” cookbook, featured in the May 4 CooksSalon chat, include a prep for Teriyaki Salmon and Kale Sheet Pan Supper.

Recipe    Lawson’s books on Amazon    Sheet pan cookbooks on Amazon



Do your sheet pans tend to go cattywampus in the oven, heralded by a “crack” sound. Really good heavy duty pans probably won’t do this, but the lighter ones likely will. Is this too simplistic a solution. If you do have another pan the same size, nest the pan with the food inside the other one. This so far has always worked for me.

A Peek at My Week

  I just started receiving a new {to me} magazine called “Cuisine at Home,” and this is a keeper. Actually they had me early on when on page 8 they shared this tip about making pie crust: If like the contributor you don’t have a pastry blender and don’t have much luck cutting in the ingredients with two knives, do what she did. Use a whisk. I haven’t tried this yet, but assuredly will, and she says with up and down and side to side motions it made the task “easy as pie.”  On Amazon

  Cumin! Have always loved its flavor, but recently I was inspired to use it more liberally thanks to a successful ropa vieja recipe from Eva Longorio that went all in {will share soon}. So now I intend to up the quantity of cumin in chili, but have meanwhile added it to bean soup and also egg salad. All good!

  I’ve made lasagna many times but recently crafted a new recipe with great promise, needs I think just one more tweak. But here’s what I want to share: after I portioned it into various containers for the freezer had “scraps” left over. So, dissolved two teaspoons of beef bouillon in two cups of water over lo-med heat, tossed in a can of drained kidney beans and a can of petite diced tomatoes, and then the diced up lasagna leftovers which contributed their various seasonings from the meat, sauce and ricotta. Poof! Impromptu minestrone.

  Posted  “have your name appear in an upcoming novel” on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

  Kept “Just Married” tee {& more} on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

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


S’Mores & More S’Mores, for May 11-17, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

S’Mores Brownies . . . in a crockpot?    Frico is what again?    A Love of an interview    They did what to ketchup???  ♦  Coffee lovers unite  ♦  Save the cheese    In My Week: great Chicago lunch, save the sushi, have a laugh  



Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  What the freak is a frico??? Well if you’re a cheese lover you probably want to know, and Extra Crispy can tell you. In brief, what you do is plop some cheese in a skillet, get it melty and then plaster something right on top of it – a tortilla for a taco, the inside of a bun for a hamburger, the outside of a grilled cheese sandwich, and more. Or you can cook it till it’s crispy. Which & How

  He’s the Chef of Love, and you may know him from Food Network Star and Cutthroat Kitchen. Now we learn even more about Chef Jennard, thanks to his chat with the National Peanut Board, touching on his passion for food, social media, and sustainability . . . and peanuts. Interview

  Whaaaat? Sliced ketchup?? Really??? It’s actually a thing. Have yet to try it, but in its favor it needs no refrigeration so can go just about anywhere. It’s a slice

CS Marketplace Spotlight

Calling all coffee hounds

Proclaim it in your own kitchen or in the “klatch.”

Coffee Coffee Coffee / then everything else

And that cup in the design is just about the right capacity

Other styles, other colors, many sizes

Crafted by Michigan company SunFrog

See it all here    CS Marketplace

Featured Recipe  

Guess we all knew that classic S’Mores had tasty variations

But wow, enough to fill cookbooks! In our featured book, “The S’Mores Cookbook” by Susan Whetzel, we also learn interesting stuff about the history and ingredients, some of that in the foreword by Duff Goldman, some in the opening pages.The S'mores Cookbook: From S'mores Stuffed French Toast to a S'mores Cheesecake Recipe, Treat Yourself to S'more of Everything

crock pot browniesThis irresistible combo of flavors and textures comes together as not only alternate takes on the original {think, Black Forest} but as well in breakfast fare {oatmeal even}, cakes and cookies, pies and tarts, cheesecake and bread pudding, many other baked desserts, frozen treats, plus hot and cold beverages {oh Lord, a S’More-tini}.

Here, we’re featuring her Crockpot S’Mores Brownies. Crockpot! There are two other brownie preps too: cream cheese swirl, and a gluten-free layered version.

Crockpot S’Mores Brownie recipe    “The S’Mores Cookbook” on Amazon

Other S’Mores cookbooks on Amazon


Hey cheese-o-philes, have you discovered a really good way to store the stuff? If so, love to have you share via my email address under Let’s Chat. Meanwhile here’s what so far I’ve found works best. Leave the cheese in its original wrapper but after each use, fold the wrapper as tightly as possible against the cheese, and then refrigerate in a plastic storage bag, folding it around the wrapped cheese too.

A Peek at My Week

  Was back  in my old home town of Chicago this week and somehow there’s just never enough time to work in all the culinary bounty from fast food to fine dining. One of the places was a first visit but won’t be the last. Kendall College – offering certification in culinary, wine, and beer – conducts student-produced lunches and dinners, fixed price and a la carte, all first rate at third rate pricing.  Details

  So might your favorite sushi place be struggling to make a profit. Maybe you can pass along some advice. An offhand conversation with a food service employee at O’Hare yielded this: When the sushi vendor added hot dishes to the menu, soups etc., business more than doubled.

  Well this gave me a chuckle or two {or more} this week. Justified it because many of the cartoons center around food and drink. Thanks Reader’s Digest

  Kept “Be a Better Business Writer in Nine Easy Steps” on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

  Posted  “Just Married” tees & more on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

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


The “Pioneer Woman’s” Cap’n Crunch Chicken, for May 4-10, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

New movie starring . . . a dumpling!    Find restaurants like Bourdain    Those sneaky grocery stores    The celeb chef connection    Title recipe    Egg whites to the rescue    In “My Week”: saving avocados, walnuts to the rescue, two-ingredient bagels, miso fudge redux, used up more Mountain Dew, yay 



Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Like foodie movies? Here’s the trailer for a new one titled “Bao” coming from Pixar about, yep, a dumpling that comes to life. Wait, will we be able to eat dumplings after this???  Watch

  Yes indeed, though we’re home cooks, we do occasionally like to eat out, maybe even pick up some ideas for our own kitchens – but how to find the restaurants most worth our time and resources, especially in unfamiliar territories? “Travel and Leisure” lets us tap into Anthony Bourdain’s experience to see how he does it. Bourdain’s cheat sheet

  CNBC has taken a look at impulse purchases, saying it can hit up our purses for an average of $5400 a year. And guess what perp ranks highest? “Most of the spur-of-the-moment outlays go toward food, with 70.5 percent of respondents saying that category was the major culprit.” Oops. One suggestion: “Taking a minute to ask yourself if you truly need whatever you’re suddenly eyeing can help stop you in your tracks.” {uh huh . . . did y’all talk to passionate cooks???}  The rest of the story


CS Marketplace Spotlight 

Do you like to keep up with high profile chefs?CELEBRITY CHEF BOOK OF LINKS: Bios, restaurants, websites, email, social media, newsletters, cookbooks, giftware

Now, so easy to connect with the chefs you know from their TV shows, top rated restaurants, and best selling cookbooks, over 100 in all.! Here, all in one Kindle book, is the scoop on their fascinating histories,  restaurants across the country, websites, email addresses, social media, newsletters, blogs, merchandise, and classes, as available. And because they’re links, the information is always up to date.

“Celebrity Chef Book of Links”  ♦  CS Marketplace


Featured Recipe 

There may be other cookbooks this helpful, but pretty sure not too many 

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!: Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy LivesRee Drummond, bless her heart, has created a cookbook where for every single recipe she shows step by step photos. The helpfulness also shows in sharing her go-to staples, 12 for the freezer, 15 for the fridge, 20 for the pantry.

There’s also a personal and personable vibe throughout the book thanks her talking-right-to-you style. And also because it features a bunch of family pictures, dog and horse pix, and chatty captions for each and every one.

And not too surprisingly, the book is cover to cover with the kind of hearty down home fare, appetizers through desserts, that she typically preps for her cowboy/girl crew on her Food Network tv show,”The Pioneer Woman.” This one from “Come and Get It” is simple and satisfying.

Recipe for Cap’n Crunch Chicken Strips    Ree’s “Come & Get It” Cookbook



The first item in the “what you can freeze” article by Reader’s Digest mentioned in Tidbits last week is egg whites. This is the one in my Kindle book but with a slightly different focus, and I pass it along with a caveat. I have long used egg whites to treat simple kitchen burns, and in my experience when I’ve applied them fairly quickly there’s usually no redness, no pain, no blistering, and no problems.

But as I note in the book, apparently there’s some controversy about the practice so I urge you to research online to decide this for yourself. The freezer connection is because that’s where I keep the egg whites so I always have some handy, just pressing  my finger into them until a slight thaw can coat the skin.  50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks, 99 cents

A Peek at My Week

  Oh happy day. It’s not often I have leftover avocado, but on those occasions when I do I’ve typically bundled it up in Press ‘n Seal {those of you that have my “50 . . . Tricks” book know how many ways I’ve found to use this magical product}, but there would still be a bit of browning. Well this time I was wrapping up some ham in aluminum foil and after covering up the ham there was still foil left so threw in the avocado and a piece of tomato too. Next day, voila! pristine avocado. Should have known because that’s how I store celery {also in the “50” book}.

  Stress happens. Sometimes we know why, sometimes we don’t, but whichever it is, we would like to see it go away, right? I had read an article making the case for recapturing calm by “reaching for a handful of walnuts instead of a martini.” So recently when I started feeling some of the symptoms of stress I did indeed head for the walnuts. And you know what, woohoo! it actually lived up to its billing and will be a go-to from now on. But I do have a question: anything wrong with both???

  Well this was a pleasant surprise. While I do have a decent bagel place in town it’s a bit of an excursion so was intrigued by an odd recipe to make your own, calling for one expected ingredient {though I used the all purpose mix} and one unexpected {additional optional}. Surprisingly chewy and crusty! Note that even though the dough was a bit sticky, out of the oven the bagels came right off of the parchment paper. Also. and since this is the first time I made them no way of knowing if this had an effect, just to somewhat simulate the classic recipe, I sprinkled a bit of water before baking, two finger flings worth.  Easy bagels

  Found a way to use some of that miso fudge from last week. Melted it on pancakes. Yeah it was good.

  And speaking of hotcakes, they also helped me use up some more of that leftover Mountain Dew. There’s a  recipe on my pancake mix box that calls for melting a tablespoon of butter in a glass 9″ pie plate in a 450 oven, then pouring in a batter of one cup of the mix combined with 1/2 cup water and an egg, baking for 15 min or till tests done. This is a really convenient way of making pancakes but I found them a little flat. Ha! This time substituted the MD for the water and voila, more flavorful, better texture, nicely browned top {in the toaster oven done in 12 min}.

  Posted “Be a Better Business Writer in Nine Easy Steps” {mine, on Kindle} on Nice Life Books  – Thursdays

  Kept Adoption Message Items 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