Red, White & Blue desserts for the 4th, for June 29-July 5, 2018

  CatChat – Misty’s preview 

Festive desserts for the 4th    How many chocolate recipes???    Anybody “hangry”?

  Perfect Crispy Bacon {M – mom ran this for me!  Cook like world’s best chefs 

  Boffo “Six Sisters” cookbook    Great use for sticky wrap {M –  balled up, a fun toy

Barbara’s week: playing posset, chips redux, unexpected dad tales

NEW at CS Marketplace, even more stuff for cooks plus “Especially for Readers” & “Especially for Dog Lovers” {M – again with the dogs}

{M – but look what else mom posted for me!!!  Sleeping kitties – by Reader’s Digest}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery 

♦  Tidbits  

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Chocoholics rejoice! Because right here, waiting just on the other side of this link, is “51 Best Chocolate Recipes” as curated by the boffo food pub, “Real Simple.”  Chocolate rules!   Real Simple 

  Oh, oh, better have a snack. Or get one fast to that “hangry” person. This recently coined term refers to the crabbiness some people experience when they’re hungry. Turns out there’s a reason for it and a way to cope with it {other than, say, a sandwich} Newsweek tells the tale. OK, OK, dinner’s ready!

  Crispy bacon lovers, gather ’round.    From Extra Crispy {ummm, yeahhhh}, how to give what I heard one fellow describe as meat candy that perfect texture.  Crispy bacon every time

♦  CS Marketplace Spotlight  

Steal from good

I don’t know about you but when I dine out what I enjoy almost, almost, as much as the food is seeing what ingredients, techniques, combinations, I can play with back in my own kitchen. Sometimes a bit of success, sometimes not, but always fun.

So if you happen to live in any of these cities, or visit at some point, you can steal from not only good but the best. Six U.S. restaurants earned ranking on this year’s “World’s 50 Best Restaurants”: #46 Saison in San Francisco, #34 Alinea in Chicago, #26 Le Bernardin in NYC, #25 Cosme in NYC, #12 Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown NY, #4 Eleven Madison Park in NYC. {shown}.

Or, you could dive into their cookbooks, some dedicated to recipes from the actual winning restaurants, and all likely to incorporate professional tips and colorful photos. And you can do just that with five of the honorees, all on Amazon.

Cookbooks by Grant Achatz, Alinea   

Cookbooks by Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin   

Cookbooks by Enrique Olivera, Cosme   

Cookbooks by Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns   

Cookbooks by Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park 

CS Marketplace

Also at CS Marketplace, “Especially for Readers” & “Especially for Dog Lovers”

♦  Featured Recipe  

Happy Birthday America!

One of the things I just love about the “Six Sisters Stuff” cookbooks is that they are just so much fun. Something they’ve mentioned in one of their writings is that they “love parties,” and that comes to life in recipe after festive recipe.

Like these preps – perfect sweets for 4th of July celebrations. And some, like the popcorn mix, couldn’t be easier. That one by the way is from their “Celebrate Every Season,” book and it sure does exactly that with such dishes as slow cooker chili cheese dip, mini red velvet cheesecakes, St Pat’s Day cupcakes {with gold-sprinkled caramels!}, bacon Parmesan green beans, Nutella stuffed French toast, and dinner in a pumpkin

The sisters have a whole series of fun cookbooks and all are rated 4+ stars on Amazon. With just a few exceptions, they’re available as Kindles, and also paperbacks that are Prime Eligible. As one of the reviewers said of their “Celebrate Every Season” cookbook, “If you love the holidays and cooking easy and good recipes. Then this is the book for you.”

Dessert page on the Six Sisters site including recipes for the dishes shown

“Celebrate Every Season”    Other “Six Sisters Stuff” cookbooks


♦  Tip  

One of my go-to uses for sealing wrap – Press ‘n Seal or any store brand – has nothing to do with sealing. In this case its sticky surface is the perfect companion for baking. I press it firmly onto my counter and then place all the ingredients, measuring cups and spoons, and mixing bowl right on it.

Some of the flour didn’t make it into the cup – who cares! A drip or two of vanilla – ditto! And if for example you want to take your utensil out of the bowl to add something else you can just lay it, or any others, right down. And best of all, once the goodie is in the oven, you just wrap it all up and toss it away, clean up done.

♦  A Peek at My Week  

  So, is it possible you  haven’t heard of posset??? OK, neither had I, but coming across a reference sure got me intrigued. It’s basically a pudding and a pretty easy one at that, using just three-ingredients – cream, sugar and lemon or lime – four if you count the fact that you use both juice and zest of the citrus, and five if as some preps suggest you also add a pinch of salt. I made a lime one and it was wonderful, super creamy, sweet and tart at the same time. One thing, allow plenty of setting time. Here’s a whole list or recipe sources from Google.  Posset

  OK, clearly I’m failing in the chip arena, once again have potato chips on the brink of exp. This may not be your cup of “tay,” but here’s what I did. Poured a bunch of them into a bowl, broke them up a bit, and covered with a combo of milk and cream, let stand till softened.

Then heated a bit of chicken bouillon in a pan along with a chunk of butter, added some diced, peeled, baked potatoes, and then the chip mixture plus salt and pepper, heated, and hit with the immersion blender. Did add a little more liquid because the chips cause quite a lot of thickening. You know what – tasty mashies!

  One of the best things I read this week was a gem in the “Food & Wine” newsletter, in honor of Father’s Day a round-up of lessons and tips that today’s chefs learned from their dads. Among some highlights in this marketbasket of remembrances, How many eggs per person??? . . . Enhancing ramen with, what? and yay! another way to use up potato chips. Cooking with Dad

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


Doritos meet cornbread, for June 15-28, 2018

Apologies for any format bobbles, just switched hosting platforms, added security, both requiring a bit of a makeover so this session will go through June 28.

  CatChat – Misty’s preview  

Cornbread recipe welcomes Doritos {M – this is so good with butter  Berry good ideas   Growing strawberries    Sheet pans rule    Wine cooler stands tall, good discount    More ways to de-stress the kitchen {M – ummm, stress, what exactly is that?}   Barbara’s week: taters where???, cereal helper, beware the Cracker Test  

Also, Barbara’s Nice Life Books {now “BJN’s Help U Books”} & DoggieShirtz {now “BJN’s Dog Shirts & More”} are now right on this site {M – was tempted to leave out that last one}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  So sad when berries go bad. Help awaits. But as you’ll see, an Extra Crispy story on five ways to preserve them actually becomes seven. There are the five ideas in their list, plus another in the intro, plus another I’ll contribute right here thanks to the suggestion of a friend: bury them in yogurt!

This is all especially helpful if you grown your own and have a bumper crop. I’m also including a youtube on raising your own strawberries, and the image is from that video.  Story    Strawberry video

  More good sheet pan stuff. The pan’s role in the dish from Food52 is to caramelize eggplant cubes for a minty, lemony salad that’s served at room temp. Meanwhile Extra Crispy is giving us six ways to “sheet pan” breakfast, some sweet, some savory, some then topped with fried eggs. And then the inevitable, “Whether you line with parchment or foil, grease with butter or cooking spray, after dozens of trips through the oven” ummm it’s going to need a good cleaning, and the very same Extra Crispy has the answer.  Salad  Breakfasts  Cleaning

  When you see a title like, “A Kitchen Hack That Outlasted the Boyfriend It Came From” you sort of have to take a look. This one minute soap opera in print could display both theater masks at the end – as the title telegraphs boyfriend gone, but not only does the hack live on but so does an enriched life. There’s almost always a bright side.  Tale of a hack

CS Marketplace Spotlight

Found another wine cooler refrigerator, different shape, good sale!

These appliances are so cool {OK, pun intended} for any wine enthusiast. I love mine!Wine Enthusiast Silent 18 Bottle Wine Refrigerator - Freestanding Slimline Upright Bottle Storage Wine Cooler, Black

It’s by Magic Chef, but as noted last week, there are others just as highly rated on Amazon, so if you happen to favor particular brands you can possibly find those too. They range from 6-bottle to 90+ though at that level they start calling them free standing wine cellars. And many are Prime eligible.

The Slimline one shown, fittingly enough, is by Wine Enthusiast, four star rating, Prime eligible, and woohoo $70 off. Note that the browse page I’ve linked covers just those rated 4 stars and up. Btw, I also store my coffee in it since it’s so close to the brewer.

Cooler shown  ♦  Browse coolers here

{The CS Marketplace is on the drawing board for now as we make the new hosting & SSL behave}


Please note: the Book & Doggie Shirts pages are being reconfigured – meanwhile here are the  links for this week’s features

“The Restless Wave” by John McCain    Shelter dogs going home, on YouTube

Featured Recipe

 Can’t believe this happened again! Another bag of Doritos poised on the border of exp land. Must have been when I was using up the other one. Well, saved it and here’s how.

I  found a cornbread recipe I liked, in this case the one called Homesteader. Interestingly several sources claim this, but I’m linking us to the one on AllRecipes, which is one of my favorite go-to’s. In fact while you’re there might want to browse a bit.

So, what I did is poured the Doritos into the food processor and whirled away until the texture was pretty darn close to cornmeal and then just substituted it in the recipe. Baked just as the recipe indicated.

Notes  Totally optional, I whisked in a 6 oz carton of plain yogurt at the end, which actually I always do with the boxed preps, sometimes using vanilla flavor instead. The bread was actually better the next day, Dorito-ier. Btw, you may crunch into a piece of chip that didn’t totally succumb to the blades – bonus!

Homesteader Cornbread Recipe


More ways to de-stress in the kitchen

Building on the Tip in the May 25 CooksSalon chat that offered advice for new or nervous cooks, now we can add some help from the pros. Take a look at the ways celeb chefs show us how to take the stress out of dinner prep. Cool in the kitchen

A Peek at My Week

  So, on the dinner menu was spicy Mexican pork in green sauce, typically joined by rice. But a container of leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge sparked a years ago memory of a dish in Cancun that ringed a plate of well spiced achiote chicken with the wonderful contrast of creamy, buttery mashed. And so it was, a nice scoop right in the middle of the pork, with melted Monterey jack replacing the butter. Yeah, that worked.

  Want to encourage kids – “big” kids too! – to eat more cereal? I have nothing against cereal, have it often for breakfast, but sometimes you’d just like a little more flavor. Here’s how. Pour your milk or cream in the bowl first – then {assuming no allergies!} whisk in a good spoon of peanut butter, then your corn flakes or whatever. If you want to slow down the sogging effect, precede the cereal with a banana barrier.

  Have you heard about this “cracker test” that purports to “reveal how many starchy carbohydrates a person can eat without triggering excess weight gain”? In case you should come across it elsewhere I urge you, before you change your diet based on the results, to read the very ending of this article. I discovered that after the fact – bright side, had a nice afternoon snack.   See it here

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


Martha Stewart’s Chocolate-Crusted Cheesecake with Raspberries, for June 8-14, 3018

  CatChat – Misty’s preview  

Martha Stewart’s cheesecake  {M – did you save me any cream cheese?  Fish tricks    No bad food for you {M – none for me either!  The Guinness secret    For your wine, and maybe more    Something new from Martha    shaping up flour tortillas {M – I could do that but she may not like my way Barbara’s week: saucing a Benedict, mayo-ing a steak, Dorito-ing shrimp    The Spotlights

{M – If you want to take a look,  my mom has added two new pictures to my Gallery}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery



Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Eating fish is usually good for us, but maybe not always so much for the health and well being of the balance within our waterways. In a story in the beautiful “Saveur” magazine, celeb chef Eric Ripert has some ideas about how to fully enjoy the bounty of the seas in a responsible way.

Here also, and as well as in the definitive book “Fish Without a Doubt” by fishmaster Rick Moonen, are resources for sustainability plus buying and cooking tips. Shown here is salmon tandoori from that book, which actually covers this oven roasting technique in a recipe for tandoori sable   Go, fish  Moonen’s book

  As you may know {or hopefully don’t}, bad food will take revenge upon your body in truly rude ways. You might be able to at least sometimes avoid this situation by following the warnings “Reader’s Digest” offers in its online newsletter.  Eat good

  Whenever folks of a certain age are asked what they think got them to that point, I always wonder if they actually know. But then, sometimes, you just sort of want to believe the stated secret to longevity. As with this 100-yr-old English woman, as “Food & Wine” tells us, who drinks Guinness every day. It’s a cute story that also talks about her Guinness-themed birthday party in the nursing home.  Sláinte! 

CS Marketplace Spotlight

I was just extracting a bit of libation from my wine cooler and it occurred to me that I’ve had this boffo appliance for almost 20 years. Wow. And it’s so nice at keeping the whites at the perfect temp, not chilled to death as they would be in a regular fridge.Koldfront TWR160S 16 Bottle Thermoelectric Freestanding Wine Cooler

Now mine is by Magic Chef, but actually others are just as highly rated on Amazon, so if you happen to favor particular brands you can possibly find those too. They range from 6-bottle to 90+ though at that level they start calling them free standing wine cellars. And many are Prime eligible.

The one shown, though a different brand, is similar to mine which easily sits on a kitchen cart. Note that the page I’ve linked covers just those rated 4 stars and up. Btw, I also store my coffee in it since it’s so close to the brewer.

Browse coolers here  ♦  CS MarketplaceColoring Book for Adults: Amazing Swirls


  Adult Coloring Books on the Nice Life Books page

Just one example shown here

  A heartwarming video on the DoggieShirtz page

From dying to thriving


Featured Recipe  

Cook like Martha

There were already several ways to emulate Martha Stewart’s polished way of cooking. Consider all the recipes, tips, techniques and demos in her cookbooks, blog, magazine, pbs demos, youtube, online newsletter, am I forgetting anything, probably. But now there’s one more.

Thanks to “Food & Wine” magazine for reporting the debut of Martha Stewart Food, her own line of pantry staples – brownie mix, pasta sauce, olive oil and more. And it’s Macy’s that snagged the right to be the showcase.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to cook, or not in this case, a cool no-bake cheesecake with chocolate crust and fresh raspberry garnish like Martha, here you go. And yay, there’s a demo.

Recipe  ♦  Martha’s cookbooks on Amazon

Martha’s videos on Amazon {have to scroll a bit}  ♦  Food & Wine


Saw a cute trick in the Kraft magazine “Food & Family.” To create a taco shape with flour tortillas, brush melted butter on both sides, fold in half and place three each down the long side of an inverted muffin tin, and then two each {on the end cups} on the short sides – 10 total – and then bake at 325 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Btw, this was actually for a dessert so the tortillas were also sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

A Peek at My Week

  Well this was darn good. I was out for breakfast and saw Shrimp Benedict on the menu, and even though I ended up ordering something else, that stayed on my mind. So this week cooked some medium size shrimp in water liberally seasoned with Old Bay, poached some eggs, toasted some English muffins – and then what I think made it really work, mixed {eyeballed measures} mayo, ranch dressing, parsley, fresh lemon juice and hot sauce, lightly heated. Next time will order that at the restaurant and see if I like it as well {!}

  And speaking of mayo, I was sure a skeptic about this one. Was on the Hellman’s site and happened to see their suggestion to use mayo and some other ingredients {recipe} as a steak marinade. Even more surprising, when I googled this technique I found others that also used just mayo, but with maybe just salt and pepper, then left on as the steak goes on the grill or in the pan. Really? Tried it in a HOT pan. Wow good sear, tasty crust, juicy meat.  Btw this was just adding s&p, next time will go full Hellman’s take.

  Finally used up the Doritos, yay! This was actually week before last when the exp date was ringing alarm bells ever louder. So, crushed them up with the remains of a well used bag of potato chips, a little shredded coconut, some seasoning, and voila! a great crispy coating for fried shrimp. Truth be told I don’t fry a lot of stuff, but a quick dip in flour, then beaten egg, then the crumbs, actually in a a shallow pool of oil and butter, made for a darn good main dish and the next day’s sandwich filling.

R.I.P. Ella Brennan, 92, doyenne of Commander’s Palace, which launched the careers of such culinary luminaries as Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme and Carlos Guia

and to

Anthony Bourdain who could bring the world to a common table

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


Easier French Chocolate Torte, for June 1-7, 2018

♦  CatChat – Misty’s preview  

Cookies that are good for you     Cathead biscuits {M – wait, what???  “Hot” food    Dine like Benjamin {M – did he like bacon?  New easier French Chocolate Torte    Soup up your stew {M – for my bowl, hold the veggies  Barbara’s Week: Doritos meet shrimp, discovering duck eggs, here comes Bolognese, we know frico 

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  You just never know, beyond the usual sources, where you might come upon a good recipe – such as this one for Sweet Banana Chocolate Cookies that appeared in the UnitedHealthcare newsletter. Not only are they kind of good for you, but as a bonus the mixture uses up three nanos that are otherwise just about ready to head for the door.  Recipe

♦  Have you heard of Cathead Biscuits? Sounds sort of gruesome but the idea behind the name is actually quite benign. The good news is, these are classic southern biscuits, writ large. On the recipe page some tips too for tender results.  Recipe

  What’s new in foodie-dom? According to the National Restaurant Association and its recent show in Chicago, look for plant-based items, ancient grains, designer donuts, more ethnic influence, more creativity in kid foods, sustainability, and expanding delivery options.

CS Marketplace Spotlight

Ben Franklin & Food

In truth the book is more about the culinary world of Ben’s era, and its connection to his personal life and historical times, but that’s OK. Indeed he did have a lifelong interest in agriculture, embracing the full Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin: A Founding Father's Culinary Adventuresspectrum of produce and eventually herbs and spices too. And a chapter toward the end goes into extensive detail on the foods and libations that entered his homes during an 8-yr mission for the U.S. in France.

And here’s a bonus – the author’s exhaustive research treats us to “62 authentic recipes/updated for the modern kitchen” {no need to build a hearth}, both American and French.

Just one example is this horseradish sauce for two servings of fish: Melt 2 T butter over low heat, then stir in 1/2 t grated horseradish and 1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg – lightly beat an egg yolk with 1/3 c milk and stirring constantly pour gradually into the butter sauce – cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens.

Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin  ♦  CS Marketplace

And in my other Spotlights

Adult Coloring Books on the Nice Life Books page

Yorkie shirts, hats & mugs on the DoggieShirtz page 

Featured Recipe  

Don’t fear the French Chocolate Torte

This one’s called the Queen of Sheba torte, and as described by Alice Medrich, the angel that provided her version, “a One-Bowl Queen of Sheba Tortesingle-layer, moist, slightly dense, ultra-rich, and deeply chocolaty torte made with ground almonds (a.k.a. almond flour) and a few tablespoons of AP flour, tons of melted chocolate, butter and eggs and often a little brandy.”

Here’s why we also want to give her a halo. “For the home baker, the revised method means that you can make a fabulous French torte all in one bowl—without separating eggs, folding egg whites, or bringing ingredients to room temperature. Like I said, it’s a win win win.”

Notes And did you see the other bonus? Remember we talked about the benefits of almond flour in our April 27  online get-together. But wait there’s more – check out her online classes.

Recipe    Alice’s website    Alice’s cookbooks

Alice’s online chocolate dessert classes

Story and image from Food52 newsletter


Techniques in unlikely places

I always roast the vegetables for my vegetable soup stock, so don’t know why I had to read this in “Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin” to get a stew clue. Yep, roast them for this dish too! Franklin’s mom Abiah also added some pieces of ham for extra flavor in the beef stew. She actually strained the broth and added it to fresh veggies, and while I do that for the soup, think with the shorter cooking time I’d like to leave it all in for the stew.

A Peek at My Week

  Well this was a rare occurrence, a bag of Doritos heading for its exp date, must be because I spent some time out of town. So, hmmm, lots of shrimp in the freezer, let’s cook up a happy combo of olive oil, butter, garlic, and sriracha until the garlic is fragrant and then toss in that shrimp – meanwhile layering a wide bowl with lettuce, tomato, ranch, and avocado – then scraping the shrimp and all the sauce over, and topping with crushed Doritos. Nuts, belatedly thought that a plop of sour cream would have been so good too!

  Hallelujah! Thanks to Nextdoor found out that fresh eggs, right from the resident ducks and chickens, are available seven minutes from me! Oh yeah, they’re in the fridge now. So about the duck eggs, which I’ve actually never had before – the first thing you notice is that it’s about the same size as Large chicken eggs, but then the yolk, at least for these, is about 50% bigger. Proprietor Bonnie had warned me I might find the flavor a bit stronger vs chicken, but to me it was just eggier and that’a good thing. A very good thing!

  I just love re-discovering a fine cookbook that has been lost in the crowd on my shelves for a while, turning theNorthern Italian Cooking pages on so much good stuff. Yesterday that was the result of renewing my search for a perfect Bolognese sauce, a venture that was begun some time ago after I had thrown together an impromptu one and have never been able to re-create it {has this happened to you too???} on my own or with cookbook preps.

Now though I’ve found one I think is quite promising in “Northern Italian Cooking” by Francesco Ghedini, a straightforward tome abundant in classics across all courses. If the sauce is as good as it sounds I’ll surely share as a Featured Recipe

  Did you see it? On “Iron Chef America” Sunday night, one of Alex Guarnaschelli’s dishes featured a topping of “frico” bleu cheese – no explanation offered. BUT our friends who gather here know exactly what this meant, either on their own, or because of the May 11 CooksSalon.

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