Jan 25-31, 2019

No Salon this week

Next one, Feb 1, and then wine cooler guide, salad as finger food, my version of butternut squash sauce {and soup!}, speedy mac & cheese, peanut butter French toast – see you then!
Meanwhile you can scroll below for past salons or browse the other pages

{It’s a secret} tasty toast, for Jan 18-24, 2019


Misty shows you what you’ll find in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – awesome eye of round / a sheet of cookies / some human food = good doggie treats    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – bye bye pounds    FEATURED RECIPE – wait till you see    TIP – ham, let us count the ways    THE WEEK – chicken tenders “cordon bleu” / easy Mex salad / Mother Sauce book t.c.

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  In case you didn’t see this on Food Network – a beautiful eye of round prepped by Jeff Mauro on The Kitchen. I love this cut of meat, but his version including a savory dry rub looks like it would take it to a whole new level and can’t wait to try it. Here’s the recipe in case you would like to give it a go too. The page also has a demo.

  The sheet pan moves into the cookie realm. In this case, sugar cookies. The beauty of this kind of cookie is while it’s great tasting on its own, it’s also a blank canvas for all kinds of flavors and decorations. And the beauty of this method is that you can skip a whole bunch of steps. Thanks Food 52!

  Who’s a good boy! Or girl! And who wants a treat??? {Btw, I just love that commercial where the guy says to his dog, Do you want to eat, Do you want to eat, over and over – and finally the dog says, Tomorrow night let’s just assume I want to eat!!!} So, Southern Living knows our four footed good boys and girls like treats and has compiled a list of people food that dogs can not only have but that they say is actually good for them. Also some no-no’s.


OH ! OH !

Have extra holiday pounds now overstaying their welcome? Help is here!

My very own Dieter’s Survival Guide series gives you ways to deal with all those everyday situations that try to add more pounds or keep you from shedding the ones you want gone. Some quite tasty.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s available in the “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide,” including all the information of the original but in fast-read form.

You can see the full series, available on Amazon, in our CS Marketplace, .99-$2.99.

CS Marketplace


Did you resolve to buff up your cooking game?

Well hooray, here you go. Ina Garten just may have given us the book we’ve all been waiting for.Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks

Pro results for  the full spectrum of “am” cooks, from gourmet level to “Is this one the frying pan?” Here you’ll find how to taste, season, plate, arrange a bar, measure, test for doneness, cut, bake, prep, make stock, time, substitute – like a pro.

And . . . pro results without complex recipes. So, about our Feature. If I had ‘fessed up in the headline that these are cauliflower toasts, would you have clicked past so fast your screen would have spun??? But just look at these . . . in addition to the title veggie there’s prosciutto, three kinds of cheese, chives, seasonings and a touch of spice. Pretty easy too. Thanks “Barefoot Contessa.”

Recipe    “Cook Like a Pro”    Ina’s other cookbooks

CS page of cooking substitutions on this site


Still have leftover holiday ham in the freezer?

You probably already know some tasty ways to use it up. But, just in case you would like a few more ideas, here’s Tasting Table at your service with a trio of dishes that can take that porky delight into whole new realms. All pretty easy too.

Transforming ham leftovers


Where we talk cooking and other salon-y subjects

  Well this was darn good. And, cheers, it starts with store bought chicken tenders. Here’s what I did – melted butter in a skillet over med-lo heat, split the tenders length wise and placed cut side down in the hot butter for just about a minute, then turned over and topped each pair with two slices of Swiss and two slices folded in half of thinly sliced ham. Covered just until cheese had melted enough to hang onto the ham, then flipped over, covered again till all heated through. Poured the butter over the servings.

  In addition to the restaurant clone Mexican salad we talked about in last week’s salon, there’s another I like to make that’s pretty darn good. In fact at one get-together after four of us had seconds, one of the guests went and picked up the platter and proceeded to finish it off by herself – didn’t ask if anyone else wanted more because I think she didn’t want to risk the answer.

  So, it’s sliced avocados drizzled with ranch {could substitute stirred sour cream}, topped with chopped red pepper, green onion and black olives black sliced olives.

  Years ago I clipped a recipe for a potato casserole and not only has it been a go-to dish ever since, but in more recent times I’ve started using a version of the sauce – now called my own personal Mother Sauce – for other preps. Later this year I’m going to round up all these tasty dishes into a Kindle book. I hope you’ll like it.

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

{new, and still doesn’t quite have all its ingredients}

So far next week: wine cooler guide, salad as finger food, my version of butternut squash sauce, speedy mac & cheese

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me at bjnosek@gmail.com 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons



Mystery Writer’s Tasty Supper Dip, Jan 11-17, 2019


Misty shows you what you’ll find in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – salt baking perks / drink your apple pie / foodfest    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – party easy    FEATURED RECIPE – mysterious supper dip    TIP – garlic easy    THE WEEK – Nasty reading / squash easy / Mex salad lost & found

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Have you tried this technique? The boffo publication Saveur reveals the benefits of salt baking and how to do it. Prepping food this way, they say, allows the food to cook in its own juices, produces a moist result, and enhances flavor, and without making anything too salty. You’ll see how to use this method and also recipes for applying it to fish, Cornish game hens, and shrimp.

  Drink your dessert. What a tasty idea for a morning starter, a midday pick-you-up, a sippable dessert, or with a spirited addition, an after dinner libation. The apple pie smoothie features the flavor profile of the title pie along with banana for added richness and Greek yogurt for a silky texture. Btw, I did not use all the spices, so if you follow the full recipe will likely see more speckles.

  Fort Lauderdale in Feb? Then you could be in for “a weekend of CRAVE-able Bites.” Part of a series in the city, this CRAVE will offer a chance to dine and learn with such notables as Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Valerie Bertinelli and lots of others.


The holidays may be over, but the parties don’t have to be

They can  go right on, year around. Or at least . . . after a suitable recovery period!

What brought that happy thought to mind was an item in a pro culinary newsletter that took note of restaurants across the land catering to an ongoing, and maybe increasing, penchant for ordering an array of appetizers in place of dinner.

Let’s borrow from good! Thinking how appetizers can often be totally prepared in advance, or just given a quick kiss by the oven, and how you may not even need flatwear, and that with variety there’s likely something for everyone – that this adds up to an easy time, a party just waiting to happen.

I’ve included a link for something which you may have seen previously in the salons, the Six Sisters books, treasure troves of party goodies and guides. And you’ll also find fun appetizers in Tiffani Thiessen’s book {see pic}, featured in our Dec 7 salon

Google, appetizer sites    Amazon, appetizer books    Six Sisters cookbooks

Thiessen book    CS Marketplace


As promised, out of the Mystery Writers Cookbook 

So many to choose from, but we finally settled on “Charlaine’s Very Unsophisticated Supper Dip” by Charlaine Harris. Don’t be frightened by the long list of ingredients because it goes together in a flash and results in a grand mix of flavors.

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die ForAs for some of the other contributors, Sarah Paretsky pays homage to V.I.’s mom with Chicken Gabriella, Sheila Connolly gives us an Apple Goodie, James Patterson checks in with Grandma’s Killer Chocolate Cake, Rhys Bowen offers up scones and a reminder that there are recipes in all her books, Peter James shares his fave martini, and to wash it all down, Lee Child schools us on the best way to make and serve coffee.

You can find more about the book in our Dec 14 salon. So much good stuff, purloined from the books or just authors’ favorites, and each starts with the dish’s backstory, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

 “The Mystery Writers Cookbook”    Recipe Page  


Garlic the way you need it, easily

Prepping garlic can be so easy thanks to the late Mr. Food. Here’s what he showed me: put the clove on a work surface {if very large, cut in half, cut sides down}, then take a regular flatware fork and start pressing down all around the edges, gradually making your way to the center.

No sticking to everything, and so easy to go coarse, medium, fine – or add a little salt and turn it into a paste. No muss, no fuss, no cuss. You can use this method for the butternut squash sauce in the next section.


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Reading and very much enjoying Anthony Bourdain’s 2006 book, The Nasty Bits. If you can get past the first two page, where you may think this really is all about what the title indicates {it isn’t}, you’ll be treated to Bourdain thumbsing up and down on such topics as fast food, celebrity chefs, Las Vegas restaurants, crime, regional cooking, New York, New Orleans, tv cooking shows, Christmas, and on and on.

  The item on butternut squash in our Dec 14 salon got me thinking of one of my favorite childhood dishes, squash stuffed with seasoned ground beef pattie, usually served with baked apples. Mom would usually make this with halved acorn squash, and how she managed to factor the size of the squash, the amount of meat, the baking temp and time so that it all came out of the oven perfectly remains a mystery {maybe the above writers could help!}.

  So instead I bake the squash separately and fill it with ground beef crumbled and browned with onions, garlic and a bit of taco sauce. Comfort food, especially with a nice ladle of cheese sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro.

  Bummer and recovery. So a nearby restaurant served a salad I absolutely loved, almost outshining the neighborhood-sized enchilada next to it. And now – poof! – off the menu. OK, let’s try this at home. Lettuce, tomato, avocado, green onion, pickled jalapeno, a dressing of mayo, ranch, sriracha, chili powder, garlic salt, all topped with a crumble of corn chips. Ha! Preeeety darn close. Next time, Doritos!

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings

{new, and still doesn’t quite have all its ingredients}

So far next week: Tasty toasts, another Mex salad, sheet pans strike again, ham bonanza, food for dogs

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me at bjnosek@gmail.com 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons



10 Favorite CS Recipes from 2018, Jan 4-10, 2019

From celeb chefs, awesome cookbooks, foodie newsletters, food boards

{some links take you directly to the recipe, others to the relevant salon}

In no particular order – we love them all!

Giada’s Raspberry-Cherry Chocolate “Pop” Tarts recipe

For an extra kick, she uses pop rocks as part of the filling! More happy news – the sweet treat is made almost entirely of ganache, easy ganache, the topper adds a festive splash of color, and they’re already individual servings – no carving required.

Charlie Palmers Acorn Squash with Vegetable Chili

Craving something hearty and warming? One chef that sure can make good on that kind of promise is big guy Charlie Palmer, a celeb chef whose repertoire ranges from high style to downright down-home. Here, he 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. A tasty dish for the family, a showy dish for guests.

Forget those stingy little individual chocolate lava cakes. Go big or  . . . no, just go big. And this panful is just the way to do it. Thanks to this boffo foodie newsletter for an easy and rewarding way to send the sweet tooth into decadent overload. Also called a Brownie Pudding Cake, every spoonful delivers a generous eruption of melty chocolate. Grab a big utensil, tell everyone else to stand clear, and have at it.

Franklin BBQ’s Cole Slaw

This was one of our most accessed recipes all year. It’s from the book “Franklin Barbecue,” a master course in q – with chapters on the smoker, wood, fire, smoke, and most of all the meat – and a few recipes from one of the top pitmasters in the U.S, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, also known for his PBS show.

Valerie Bertinelli’s Breakfast Biscuit Sammies

This is like a whole array of flavorful cravings all in one dish, a Bertinelli signature by the way, and a great way to start the day. It’s from her cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” featuring personal notes that intro each section and each recipe. This particular prep combines sausage, cheese, maple syrup, hot sauce, eggs, cheese, and bacon, some in the baking mix, some sandwiched between the halves of the homemade biscuits.

Ree Drummond’s Cap’n Crunch Chicken Strips

Ree Drummond’s “Come and Get It” cookbook has to be one of the most helpful ever because for every single recipe she shows step by steps with photos. This simple and satisfying dish from the book is also shown on her site and that’s what we’ve linked. And guess what – it also shows the step the step process too, even though this is an extremely easy prep.

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Crusted Cheesecake with Raspberries

You know when she’s in the kitchen, a polished result will be coming out of the kitchen and this elegant dessert is no exception. A buttery chocolate wafer crush, rich cream cheese/whipped cream filling, and pureed raspberry topping = mmm mmm. And, yay, all no bake! A real show stopper! And in addition to a link for the printed recipe, the page also includes a demo so you can see her at work.

Les Kincaid’s Perfect Prime Rib

Image result for prime rib picturesWorking with an expensive cut of meat can be quite scary, but you can cook a prime rib with confidence, thanks to this detailed recipe from chef/cookbook author/cooking instructor/syndicated wine show radio host Les Kincaid. Even better, he also shares a jus prep and extra cooking tips. {Science of Cooking picture}

Eggs Rockefeller from the Egg Board

And who would know eggs better??? In this clever take on the oyster dish, these beautifully poached eggs sit atop a rich mix of bacon, spinach, heavy cream, parm, a touch of spirits if you wish and more, right down to the bread crumb topping. And may I add one thing – I’d replace that fork with a spoon to scoop up every last bit of goodness.

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars {go to 11.09.18}

This is from the ever so helpful “What Can I Bring?” cookbook, filled cover to cover with satisfying dishes that are for the most part make-ahead, multiple-serving, and fairly easy to transport. It features the made-in-heaven pairing of chocolate and peanut butter, and wait till you see an additional flavorful ingredient – two choices actually, theirs and mine. Either would be good, mine was a matter of what was handy.

Next week so far: Appetizers, Mexican salad, butternut squash pasta sauce